Jon Huston's Twelve-Week Contest Preparation!

Preparing for a contest is by far the most grueling and difficult part of bodybuilding. This article goes step-by-step through my Twelve-week preparation for my October 5th, 2002 contest. Hope you can get some tips from it.
Preparing for a contest is by far the most grueling and difficult part of bodybuilding. The first nine months of the season is a piece of cake: heavy weight, no cardio, cheeseburgers and pizza. But the remaining three months determine whether or not you proceed to the next level of competition or if you leave with pro-tanned sheets only. This article goes step-by-step through my Twelve-week preparation for my October 5th, 2002 contest. Hope you can get some tips from it.

Please note that all of the diet and supplement information was given to me by my trainer and best friend Jeremy Minihan of Oklahoma City. Also, starting date was July 15, end date October 5.

TWELVE WEEKS OUT

As you can see from these photos, I am holding lots of water and am not in contest shape.

   

MEASUREMENTS
  • Weight: 232 lbs.
  • Waist: 36"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Right Arm: 18.2"
  • Left Arm: 18.1"
  • Chest (flexed): 49"
  • Right Quad: 26.6"
  • Left Quad: 26.6"
  • Right Calf: 16.0"
  • Left Calf: 16.1"
DIET

Meal One:

  • 6 egg whites, 1 yolk
  • 3 tbsp Malt-o-Meal or Cream of Wheat w/ Honey
  • 2 pieces whole wheat toast w/ Jelly
Meal Two:
  • 1 serving CNP MBF
Meal Three:
  • 6 oz. Eye Round or Flank Steak
  • ¾ cup white rice
Meal Four:
  • 1 serving CNP MBF
  • Snack: 2 rice cakes
  • One small apple
Meal Five:
  • 8 oz. Chicken Breast
  • Baked French Fries w/ ketchup
Meal Six:
  • 1 serving CNP MBF
SUPPLEMENTS

  • Optimum Nutrition Carb Accelerator: used only immediately post-workout
  • CNP MBF Strawberry and Chocolate
  • Labrada Charged with breakfast
  • Hydroxadrine x's 3 pre-workout
MISCELLANEOUS

Tanning begins Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

Perform trampoline calf raises 3x50 and crunches 3x20

ELEVEN WEEKS OUT

MEASUREMENTS
  • Weight: 222.5 lbs.
  • Waist: 35.5"
  • Right Arm: 18.1"
  • Left Arm: 18.0"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Chest (flexed): 49"
  • Right Quad: 26.5"
  • Left Quad: 26.3"
  • Right Calf: 15.9"
  • Left Calf: 16.0"
DIET

Same as week 12

SUPPLEMENTS

Same as week 12

MISCELLANEOUS

Continue with tanning 3 times per week.

Increase trampoline calf raises to 3x55 and crunches to 3x25

COMMENTS

If you will notice on the photos (click to enlarge), my abdominals and quads are beginning to separate. Not entirely but enough to see the basic size and shape of the muscle.

   

TEN WEEKS OUT

MEASUREMENTS
  • Weight: 221.5 lbs.
  • Waist: 35.5"
  • Right Arm: 18.1"
  • Left Arm: 18.0"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Chest (flexed): 49"
  • Right Quad: 26.5"
  • Left Quad: 26.3"
  • Right Calf: 15.9"
  • Left Calf: 16.0"
DIET

Same as week 12 except added one meal to prevent rapid weight loss.

*You should probably count on losing about 2-3 pounds per week. Any more than that is not productive. As you will notice I lost over 8 pounds my first week probably due to water loss. Very little weight loss this week secondary to increased clean calories and increased water consumption.

SUPPLEMENTS

Same as week 12

MISCELLANEOUS

Continue with tanning 3 times per week.

Began cardiovascular regimen on treadmill consisting of 30 minutes on a two day on, one day off schedule.

Same trampoline and abdominal routine

COMMENTS

You will notice a little bit better shape coming out in the abdominal and quad region. My shoulders are starting to separate slightly which is not too bad for ten weeks out. Also, tanning is helping with showing better physical form and makes your body appear harder. I also noticed the beginnings of quad striations while posing (don't know if you can see on photos).

 

NINE WEEKS OUT

MEASUREMENTS

  • Weight: 217.8 lbs.
  • Waist: 35.5"
  • Right Arm: 18.1"
  • Left Arm: 18.0"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Chest (flexed): 49"
  • Right Quad: 26.5"
  • Left Quad: 26.3"
  • Right Calf: 15.9"
  • Left Calf: 16.0"
DIET

Diet continues to be the same up to this point except that I have eliminated the bread from the morning meal. I continue to lose water weight well and maintain the sodium and carbohydrate levels pretty much the same. Remember to keep drinking 1.5 gallons of water each day. You can help this by adding in sugar-free tea to make it more tolerable.

SUPPLEMENTS

Same as week 12

MISCELLANEOUS

Continue with tanning 3 times per week.

I have begun to increase my cardiovascular intensity by elevating the treadmill 1 degree and increasing the speed to 3.8 mph. I have also increased time to 35 minutes. I continue with the two day on, one day off schedule at this point.

Increase trampoline calf raises to 3x60 and crunches to 3x40

COMMENTS

Finally, after three whole weeks of diet and two weeks of cardiovascular training my abdominal muscles are beginning to separate. Last week all that was visible was the central line (linea alba). This week I am beginning to see separation between each muscle. No vascularity yet but it will be there. Continued progress with separation between quadriceps especially noted separation of the sartorius. No significant energy loss.

 

EIGHT WEEKS OUT

MEASUREMENTS

  • Weight: 218.2 lbs.
  • Waist: 35.5"
  • Right Arm: 18.1"
  • Left Arm: 18.0"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Chest (flexed): 49"
  • Right Quad: 26.5"
  • Left Quad: 26.3"
  • Right Calf: 15.9"
  • Left Calf: 16.0"

DIET

Now begins the fun part of the journey, when we start to cut back on carbohydrates and all the fun stuff.

Meal 1:

  • 5 egg whites/1 yolk
  • 3 tbsp Cream of Wheat
Meal 2:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 3:
  • 6 oz. Eye of round steak
  • Asparagus, broccoli, or green beans
Meal 4:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Snack:
  • 2 rice cakes
  • One small apple
Meal 5:
  • 8 oz. Chicken Breast
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1 bowl salad w/ low fat dressing
Meal 6:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
*You should notice that I have replaced a lot of my starchy carbohydrates with fibrous carbohydrates. Also, I have gone from white rice to brown rice. potatos are still possible at this point but I just choose not to eat them.

*I have also switched supplements which will be explained in that section.

*There are a lot more fibrous carbs than I listed. These are just the primary ones that I prefer.

*Continue with the sugar-free tea and high levels of water. However, drink most of your water between meals, not with meals. Just sip small amounts of water or tea with meals.

SUPPLEMENTS

  • CNP Pro MR
  • Labrada Lean Body
  • Ultimate Nutrition Carb Xcelerator
*I have switched to the above meal-replacements for the simple reason of lower amounts of carbs.

MISCELLANEOUS

As usual, continue w/ tanning 3x's/week.

Cardio changes a little this week. I have started to utilize other machinery. I have started cardio sessions with 10 minutes stair-master, 20 minutes bike or elliptical runner, then 10 minutes treadmill at 2% incline and about 3.8mph. I am trying to get away from the treadmill due to my developing of shin-splints. I continue with the two day on, one day off schedule at this point. However, I have increased time to 40 minutes at a little bit higher intensity.

Continue with same intensity of trampolines and crunches.

COMMENTS

OK, here is where the ugly monster rears it's head. For me, decreased carbs=decreased patience. I have already yelled at one person in the gym for being there. More will follow. My wife could attest that I get a little bit edgy from this point on and I know it just gets worse. That's why they invented Zoloft J.

Also, I have a little less energy now secondary to decreased carbohydrates and calories. Sleeping has become more difficult and therefore harder to get up and go to work on time.

SEVEN WEEKS OUT

MEASUREMENTS
  • Weight: 211.0 lbs.
  • Waist: 35.0"
  • Right Arm: 17.6"
  • Left Arm: 17.5"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Chest (flexed): 47.5"
  • Right Quad: 25.8"
  • Left Quad: 26.0"
  • Right Calf: 155"
  • Left Calf: 15.7"
DIET

Meal 1:

  • 3 egg whites w/1 yolk
  • 4 oz eye round steak
  • 3 tbsp Cream of Wheat
Meal 2:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 3:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving peas or asparagus
  • ½ cup Brown Minute Rice
Snack:
  • 2 rice cakes
Meal 4:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 5:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving green beans
  • Salad (dry)
*Noticeable decrease in the amount of red meat. Why? Ask my trainer.
*Continue to cut back on starchy carbohydrates and replace with fibrous ones.
Continue with everything else.

SUPPLEMENTS

Same as before except eliminate Carb Xcelerator

MISCELLANEOUS

*Tanning remains at 3x's/week. Eliminate use of air conditioner to increase water loss.

*Increase cardio workouts to Mon and Tues., Thursday through Saturday. Maintain intensity level and duration. The big change here is that I began two-a-day cardio (AM and PM).

* Continue with same intensity of trampolines and crunches.

You should notice a big change in my physique. Lots of water loss on all body parts especially abdominal/oblique region. Better separation in back and leg muscles.

     

 

SIX WEEKS OUT

At this point in my training I have seen a significant change in my body. Abs are coming in much crisper, legs are looking much more separated, and my upper back is coming in nicely. Only problem is that I am having difficulty losing the lower back and glute water/fat. That will be eliminated in time.

MEASUREMENTS

  • Weight: 206.5 lbs.
  • Waist: 34.9"
  • Right Arm: 17.6"
  • Left Arm: 17.5"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Chest (flexed): 47.5"
  • Right Quad: 25.8"
  • Left Quad: 26.0"
  • Right Calf: 155"
  • Left Calf: 15.7"
DIET

Meal 1:

  • 3 egg whites w/1 yolk
  • 4 oz eye round steak
  • 3 tbsp Cream of Wheat or ½ cup oatmeal
Meal 2:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 3:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving peas or asparagus
  • ½ cup Brown Minute Rice
Snack:
  • 2 rice cakes
Meal 4:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 5:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving green beans
  • Salad (dry)
SUPPLEMENTS

Same as before. I've begun taking Xenadrine EFX as it makes me less-jittery when I take it.

MISCELLANEOUS

I have begun to notice a significant decrease in stamina while working out. This is due to the continued decrease in amount of carbohydrates. This is necessary to eliminate body fat as well as reduce subcutaneous water.

Tanning continues three times per week and the air conditioning is off. You can keep a fan blowing on you though.

Continue with the two-a-day cardio at this point (AM and PM). This week I was instructed to begin wearing a sweat shirt and sweat pants while I do my cardio. You will sweat, trust me. Also, start working on posing as much as possible. It will really pay off in the end if you get down to the overall posedown.

   

FIVE WEEKS OUT

Everything is rolling along quite nicely. I have been working on my posing a bit more to increase my endurance and sharpness. I am still sweating quite a bit with it but that is normal at this point. I have also been having a regional judge (not one judging my show) look at me on occasion to make sure I am doing everything correctly.

MEASUREMENTS

  • Weight: 206.0 lbs.
  • Waist: 34.9"
  • Right Arm: 17.6"
  • Left Arm: 17.5"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Chest (flexed): 47.5"
  • Right Quad: 25.8"
  • Left Quad: 26.0"
  • Right Calf: 155"
  • Left Calf: 15.7"
DIET

Meal 1:

  • 3 egg whites w/1 yolk
  • 4 oz eye round steak
  • 3 tbsp Cream of Wheat or ½ cup oatmeal
Meal 2:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 3:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving peas or asparagus
  • ½ cup Brown Minute Rice
Snack:
  • 2 rice cakes
Meal 4:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 5:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving green beans
  • Salad (dry)
SUPPLEMENTS

Same as before. I've begun taking Xenadrine EFX as it makes me less-jittery when I take it.

MISCELLANEOUS

I am having a little better stamina with my workouts now. My body is probably adapting to the decreased carbohydrate diet. My strength levels are still not up to par but that should probably be expected.

The pictures for this week aren't very good. You can't really see the increased detail in my serratus and obliques. My back is also starting to dry out nicely but still have that little pocket of fat on my lower back that will go away with the cardiovascular exercise.

Cardio is still twice a day, 45 minutes a session 5 days a week. It is getting easier, so I am gradually increasing the intensity. I am having a little trouble with tendonitis in both of my achilles tendons from all the walking but it goes away after about 5 minutes.

   

FOUR WEEKS OUT

MEASUREMENTS
  • Weight: 201.0 lbs.
  • Waist: 34.5"
  • Right Arm: 17.6"
  • Left Arm: 17.5"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Chest (flexed): 47.5"
  • Right Quad: 25.8"
  • Left Quad: 26.0"
  • Right Calf: 155"
  • Left Calf: 15.7"
DIET

Meal 1:

  • 3 egg whites w/1 yolk
  • 4 oz eye round steak
  • 3 tbsp Cream of Wheat or ½ cup oatmeal
Meal 2:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 3:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving peas or asparagus
  • ½ cup Brown Minute Rice
Snack:
  • 2 rice cakes
Meal 4:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 5:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving green beans
  • Salad (dry)
SUPPLEMENTS

Same as before. Continue with the Xenadrine EFX pre-workout. I have begun using Thiomucase on my abdominals and lower back to help keep off some of the water.

MISCELLANEOUS

My energy level is surprisingly high right now. I think it is simply knowing the fact that all the training is about to pay off. I am still tanning 3-4 x's per week. Cardio is one hour twice a day (AM and PM) to help get the fat off my lower back. The Thiomucase is working surprisingly well. I am sweating very heavily during cardio and also with my workouts.

   

THREE WEEKS OUT

MEASUREMENTS
  • Weight: 199.0 lbs.
  • Waist: 34.5"
  • Right Arm: 17.6"
  • Left Arm: 17.5"
  • Neck: 17.5"
  • Chest (flexed): 47.5"
  • Right Quad: 25.8"
  • Left Quad: 26.0"
  • Right Calf: 155"
  • Left Calf: 15.7"
DIET

Meal 1:

  • 3 egg whites w/1 yolk
  • 4 oz eye round steak
  • 3 tbsp Cream of Wheat or ½ cup oatmeal
Meal 2:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 3:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving peas or asparagus
  • ½ cup Brown Minute Rice
Snack:
  • 2 rice cakes
Meal 4:
  • 1 serving CNP Pro MR or 1 serving Labrada Lean Body
Meal 5:
  • 8 oz chicken
  • 1 serving green beans
  • Salad (dry)
SUPPLEMENTS

The supplements for this week remain the same as before. I've begun adding dandelion root twice a day to see what kind of water loss I can achieve.

MISCELLANEOUS

No significant changes this week. Continue with tanning and cardio as previously described.

TWO WEEKS OUT

This week I have probably noticed the most significant change in my body yet. You should note that I did not take measurements this week due to the fact I am just going off of what I see in the mirror. My body weight is at 194 pounds. My waist is 33.5" at this point and should probably come down a little by the end of my final week.

I have eliminated all supplements this week. I've done this to prevent any water retention of any kind as that seems to be a big problem for me. Instead, I've substituted in regular meals mostly of chicken and green beans to keep me going. This has made a big difference as far as water retention in my lower back and tops of my hamstrings. I still am using the Thiomucase liberally 2-3 times per day to keep the skin tight.

WEEK OF THE SHOW

SUNDAY

All hell is about to break loose now. Here are the things I have changed starting today:

  • 1) Meals: No fibrous carbohydrates after breakfast.
  • 2) Training: No training on Sundays.
  • 3) Drinks: I've switched to distilled water mixed with Green Tea.
MONDAY

Another day in paradise. Eliminating all the fibrous carbs really puts me in a bad mood. Plus, I hardly have enough energy to work, let alone train. Here are the modifications for today:

  • 1) Bath in epsom salt.
  • 2) Training: Very quick routine with no rest between sets. Basically, I'm doing an "I go, you go" routine with my training partner to eliminate rest. I was worn out by the end of the second set.
  • 3) Cardio: I'm doing my best to keep up the intensity and duration right now but I start to get light-headed after about 30 minutes. I have really noticed a significant loss of lower back water and have recognized the fact that I am not sweating nearly as much as before--that's part of the plan.
TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY

Everything is the same as the previous day. The big change will be on Thursday. One thing however, Wednesday is the last day of training for the remainder of contest-preparation.

THURSDAY

Today is when I start applying my Pro-Tan to increase the darkness of my skin. Also, my diet has changed dramatically, this is the part where we begin the "CARB-LOADING" phase.

  • Meal 1: 5 egg whites w/ one yolk, 35 grams (1/2 cup) of oatmeal
  • Meal 2: Chicken Breast w/ green beans
  • Meal 3: Tuna w/ 8 oz. Sweet potato
  • Meal 4: Chicken w/ 8 oz. Sweet potato
  • Meal 5: Tuna w/ 8 oz. Sweet potato
  • Meal 6: Chicken w/ 8 oz. Sweet potato
  • Meal 7: Tuna w/ 8 oz. Sweet potato
No training today except for 1 hr. of cardio in the morning. I worked on my posing for about 45 minutes this evening and went through my routine a few times. Took a shower. Then began the process of applying Pro-Tan.

FRIDAY

Are you scared yet? I am. I think honestly I am just ready for the damn thing to be over. But that just makes me look forward to actually getting up on stage and doing my thing. I spent this day eating and laying down. Thank goodness for days-off from work. I took the entire day off to go up to Norman and stay in the hotel. I basically worked on my mandatories in the hotel with the A/C cranked up so I wouldn't sweat off the Pro-Tan. I also went through my routine several times to make sure I had it down. Ever heard of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)? That's me. Practice, practice, practice.

I got Pro-Tanned again this evening after weigh-in for the show.

*Water depletion: I eliminated all water consumption as of noon today to dry myself out to the bone.

SATURDAY: SHOW DAY

All of the preparation is about to pay off. I began the morning at 6:45 AM with pancakes at IHOP. This is to begin the simple carbohydrate loading phase of the carb loading. I take in carbs every hour. Here is a list of things to eat for carbohydrate sources: candy bars, apples, oranges, rice cakes (sodium free), sweet or baked potatos.

I also continued with eating a regular meal every 2.5 hours. As soon as the morning show was over I went to Santa Fe steakhouse and ate a 9 oz. Steak with a sweet potato. However, I kept my fluid intake down and didn't even drink half a glass of unsweetened tea with my meal.

The night before I bought a bottle of red wine to drink periodically throughout the day. This will help with vascularity once you begin to pump up back stage.

Stay off your feet then entire day. I spent the day in the hotel watching college football and cartoons. Even while I was waiting to go onstage at the show I kept my feet elevated.

Find a nice spot at the back of the auditorium and put your feet up on your ice chest. Take a good nap.

Here are some of my contest day photos.

 

 

I hope this journal will help some prospective bodybuilders decide to go ahead and prepare for a show. As you can see, I am not the biggest guy, but I did come in great condition. I placed 2nd in the Open Light-Heavyweight class.