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12-Week Contest Prep!

This article will go through my diet, cardiovascular training, weight training and supplements and will give you some visual proof of how my methods worked for me.

By: Jon Huston

Over the past year or so I've been writing articles for Bodybuilding.com and have gotten hundreds of responses from my articles. What I would like to do, to give back to those of you who have taken the time to write me, is to give you a detailed description/guide as to how I won First Place at the 2004 Mr. Oklahoma Bodybuilding Competition in the Light-Heavyweight division.

This article will go through my diet, cardiovascular training, weight training and supplements and will give you some visual proof of how my methods worked for me. Just bare in mind that everyone responds differently to training and you might have to modify your particular program but I think that this will give you a good starting point.

After reading this, I hope that you will be able to apply the principles and theories I used to get yourself a nice trophy to put on the mantle.


Diet

For starters, I used a little different approach this year as to my diet. For those of you who have read my previous contest preparation guides, you will note that this is a much more lenient diet. That is due to the fact that I didn't get overly fat in the off-season. Let's begin.

10 Weeks Out

    8:00 - ½ cup oatmeal, 6 egg whites w/ one yolk
    10:00 - Isopure Zero Carb drink, 3 rice cakes
    12:00 - 6 oz. chicken breast, sweet potato, asparagus
    3:00 - Isopure Zero Carb Drink, 3 rice cakes
    6:00 - Train
    7:30 - ABB Mass Recovery Drink
    8:30 - 8 oz. steak (sirloin, round), sweet potato, broccoli
    10:30 - Isopure Zero Carb Drink

Final 2 Weeks

    8:00 - 6 oz. chicken breast, sweet potato
    10:00 - Isopure Zero Carb drink, 3 rice cakes
    12:00 - 8 oz steak, sweet potato
    3:00 - Isopure Zero Carb Drink, 3 rice cakes
    6:00 - Train
    7:30 - ABB Mass Recovery Drink
    8:30 - 8 oz. steak (sirloin, round), sweet potato, broccoli
    10:30 - Isopure Zero Carb Drink

As you will notice, there is very little change in my diet throughout the pre-contest preparation. The primary change was made to my first meal where I substituted chicken and sweet potato for oatmeal and eggs.

I don't know the exact protein amount of this diet. I don't count calories. I judge my diet based on how I look in the mirror. If I was looking bloated or like I was holding fat I could cut back on some of the higher carb products.

Water Intake:

I drank between 1.0 and 1.5 gallons of water each day. While at work, I would drink it with Crystal Lite Lemonade which has very little sodium. Also, two weeks out from the contest I switched from bottled water to distilled water.


Cardiovascular Training

Due to the fact that I kept off the majority of fat this off-season I was able to take a more leisurely approach to the cardiovascular conditioning.

  • 12 weeks to 9 weeks out: Treadmill 30 min/day, 3 x's/week
  • 8 weeks to 6 weeks out: Treadmill 35 min/day, 5 x's/week
  • 5 weeks out: Treadmill 40 min/day, 4 x's/week
  • 4 weeks out: Treadmill 45 min/day, 5 x's/week
  • 3 weeks to 2 days prior to contest: Treadmill 45 min/day, 6 x's/week

Cardio was performed at lunch time before I ate lunch. I did this to keep my metabolism elevated throughout the day as well as preserve some time in the evenings for family time. This worked excellent for two reasons: 1) I got to spend some time with my family and 2) I wasn't all wound up in the evening before I went to bed. I had a much easier time sleeping once I started doing cardio over lunch.

I believe it to be best to do cardio before you eat and on as empty a stomach as possible due to the fact that it will put your body into caloric debt and encourage weight loss. This is just my opinion but it seemed to work well for me.


Weight Training

For those of you who haven't read my articles concerning HIT and Volume Training here are some definitions that will serve to make you understand my approach:

  • High-Intensity Training (HIT): Method of training using heavy weights, lower repetitions (6-10), and explosive movements using a large amount of energy over a brief period of time.

    HIT focuses more on the larger Type II-b fibers that give your muscles a more voluminous appearance. These fibers fatigue more quickly but produce the greater amount of force compared with Type-I fibers.

  • Volume Training: Method of training using medium weights, higher repetitions (12-15), and more succinct movements using a similarly large amount of energy over a more extended period of time.

    Volume training focuses on the smaller Type-I fibers that give your muscles a harder, more defined look. These fibers have a greater longevity for training and are more associated with cardiovascular training.

To begin, I'm going to go through my program for the first 10 weeks of my contest preparation. The last part of the section will be what I did the final two weeks before the show. There will be some subtle changes but necessary changes which I will explain at the end.


10 Weeks Out:

Monday: Biceps/Hamstrings/Calves

Click here for a printable log of Monday.

Tuesday: Chest/Triceps/Abs

Click here for a printable log of Tuesday.

Wednesday: Quads/Forearms/Calves

Click here for a printable log of Wednesday.

Thursday: Back/Biceps/Abs

Click here for a printable log of Thursday.

Friday: Shoulders/Traps/Calves

Click here for a printable log of Friday.

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: Triceps

  • Tricep Extensions: 120 x 8, 130 x 8, 140 x 8, 150 x 8
  • Single Reverse Tricep Extension: 70 x 8, 80 x 8, 90 x 8
  • Rope Overhead Extensions: 100 x 8, 120 x 8, 140 x 8
  • Rope KickBacks: 70 x 8, 80 x 8, 90 x 8
  • Bench Dips without weight: x 15

Click here for a printable log of Sunday.


Final Two Weeks:

Monday: Biceps/Hamstrings/Calves

  • Concentration curls: 45 x 8, 50 x 8, 55 x 8, 60 x 6
  • Alternating Dumbbell Curls: 35 x 8, 40 x 8, 45 x 8
  • Super set with:
  • Double Hammer Dumbbell Curls: 30 x 8, 35 x 8, 40 x 8
  • High Cable Curls: 70 x 10, 80 x 8, 90 x 8
  • Double Leg Curls: 220 x 12, 240 x 12, 260 x 10, 280 x 10
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlifts with Dumbbell: 110 x 15, 110 x 15, 110 x 15
  • Single Leg Curls with 3 sec pauses: 100 x 8, 110 x 8, 120 x 8
  • Calf Raises: 160 x 100 (do as many as possible, rest, continue until you reach 100).

Click here for a printable log of Monday.

Tuesday: Chest/Triceps/Abs

  • Incline Dumbbell Press: 90 x 8, 100 x 8, 110 x 8, 110 x 8=>80 x 8=>50 x 8
  • Incline Flyes: 40 x 10, 50 x 10, 60 x 10
  • Flat Flyes: 40 x 12, 45 x 12, 50 x 12
  • Cable Cross-Overs: 100 x 15, 120 x 12, 140 x 10
  • Tricep Extensions: 90 x 12, 100 x 12, 110 x 12
  • Single Reverse Tri Extensions: 60 x 12, 70 x 10, 80 x 8
  • Crunches: 4 sets of 30

Click here for a printable log of Tuesday.

Wednesday: Quads/Forearms/Calves

  • Double Knee Extensions: 180 x 12, 200 x 12, 220 x 12, 240 x 10
  • Leg Presses: 560 x 15, 640 x 15, 730 x 15
  • Squats: 225 x 12, 275 x 12, 325 x 12
  • Single Knee Extensions with 3 sec pause: 90 x 8, 100 x 8, 110 x 8
  • Hip Extensions: 180 x 15, 200, 15, 220 x 15
  • Wrist Curls with Barbell (behind back): 115 x 12, 135 x 12, 155 x 12
  • Wrist Extension with dumbbells: 25 x 12, 30 x 12, 35 x 12
  • Calf Raises: 200 x 40, 220 x 30, 240 x 20
  • Seated Calf Raises: 115 x 20, 140 x 20, 165 x 20

Click here for a printable log of Wednesday.

Thursday: Back/Biceps/Abs

  • Lat Pulls (wide grip): 160 x 15, 180 x 15, 200 x 15
  • Lat Pulls (narrow grip): 150 x 12, 160 x 12, 170 x 12
  • Hammer Strength Rows: 180 x 12, 200 x 12, 220 x 12
  • Seated Cable Rows: 150 x 15, 160 x 15, 170 x 15
  • Cable Pull-Overs: 130 x 15, 140 x 15, 150 x 15
  • Hyperextensions: No weight x 15 x 3 sets
  • Concentration Curls: 35 x 12, 40 x 12, 45 x 10
  • Single Dumbbell Preacher Curls: 30 x 15, 35 x 12, 40 x 10
  • Ab Machine: 110 x 15, 120 x 15, 130 x 15, 140 x 15

Click here for a printable log of Thursday.

Friday: Shoulders/Traps/Calves

  • Single Dumbbell Lateral Raises (standing): 25 x 12, 30 x 12, 35 x 10
  • Single Cable Lateral Raises (standing) 20 x 20, 25 x 20, 30 x 20
  • Dumbbell Front Raises: 30 x 10, 35 x 10, 40 x 10
  • Or
  • EZ Bar Front Raises: 65 x 10, 75 x 10, 85 x 10
  • EZ Bar Upright Rows: 65 x 10, 75 x 10, 85 x 10
  • Shoulder Shrugs with Bar: 225 x 15, 315 x 12, 405 x 12, 495 x 10, 405 x 12, 315 x 12
  • Or
  • Dumbbell Shrugs: 110 x 15 (for 5 sets)
  • Calf Raises: 360 x 15, 450 x 15, 540 x 15, 630 x 15

Click here for a printable log of Friday.

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: Triceps

  • Tricep Extensions: 120 x 8, 130 x 8, 140 x 8, 150 x 8
  • Single Reverse Tricep Extension: 70 x 8, 80 x 8, 90 x 8
  • Rope Overhead Extensions: 100 x 8, 120 x 8, 140 x 8
  • Rope KickBacks: 70 x 8, 80 x 8, 90 x 8
  • Bench Dips without Weight: 3 sets of 15 reps

Click here for a printable log of Sunday.

You will notice that there is very little change between the first 10 weeks and the last two weeks. This is due mostly to the fact that I lost little to no strength throughout my dieting and contest preparation. This is primarily as a result of keeping my protein intake high and keeping my intensity up.

Most people may need to change their program up quite a bit due to decreasing strength from dieting. My advice: don't get so overweight in the off-season. I'm telling you this from experience. The last time I competed I started at 240 and ended up at 185. This year I started at 220 and ended at 195 with a much better physique.


Supplements

Despite what you might think, bodybuilding is a very expensive sport. Because of that fact, I chose to stick with protein drinks/powders only. In my diet I mentioned the Isopure drinks. One thing, I did work in ProLab Pure Whey and Dymatize IsoWhey in for the first protein drink of the day. That being said, here is a list of my supplements:

  • Xenadrine EFX: 2/day one hour before workout
  • IsoPure Zero Carb (in the glass bottles): 2-3/day
  • ABB Mass Recovery (grape): 1/day immediately post workout
  • Liver-Rite: 2-3 capsules/day


General Advice

These are just a few of the things I've found throughout my short bodybuilding career that seem to make things easier:

  1. Start Early: Never wait until the last minute to either diet, start your cardio, or put on your Pro-Tan. This will only increase your anxiety level and thus hinder your results.

  2. Get A Workout Partner: This will be the most helpful person in your life for your entire training career; especially pre-contest. Your partner will push you harder and make sure that you are working as hard as you need.

  3. Pose Regularly: I started posing 12 weeks out from contest. The first 6 weeks I just did it pretty low intensity for about 15 minutes 3 times a week. The last 4 weeks I posed every night, went through all the mandatory poses twice, and posed for at least 30 minutes.

    This will make getting up there on Saturday a breeze. For those of you who have never competed; it's hot as hell up there. You will sweat and you will cramp unless you are in condition. I was only out-conditioned by one competitor (of course I was bigger, had better symmetry and proportion, and better aesthetics). That's my b^tch session.

    You've got to be in posing condition or else you would lose. I practiced my butt off and had no problem holding poses or measuring my breath. Practice, practice, practice. I only started sweating towards the end of the overall posing because I drank too much water back stage and it was over 95 degrees up there.

  4. Be Confident, Not Cocky: Backstage at a competition is a bonding session between competitors. The morning pre-judging you are sizing yourself up with the other guys both in your class and in your division. The evening show you are helping each other and making sure everyone gets to the pump up area on time.

    I am a very competitive person and because of that I want everyone I'm competing against to look their best. That way, I feel like I've accomplished more when beating someone who looked their best also It's a strange philosophy but it makes me tick and makes everyone around you respect you for being honest.

    Tell someone if they missed a spot with their Pro-Tan. Tell them if they are sweating or if they need to get off their feet and rest. Be a good sport. That doesn't mean you aren't going to want to beat them but it means that you want to beat them and still have the respect you've earned.


Special Thanks

I'd like to thank Jeremy for helping me with my diet, posing, and keeping my head on straight. Thanks to Darrell for showing up each and every workout and for keeping me motivated (even though I kick his ass all over the place). Thanks to Howie for letting me train in his gym for free (BodyTek, Moore, OK) (the best gym in Oklahoma). Wayne, for general advice, posing assistance and for letting me make fun of his age. And especially my wife Melanie and my daughter Erin for always being there.

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12-Week Contest Prep!
jhustono1@cableone.net

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