Layne Norton's Contest Preparation Journal!

I am a competitor, always have always will be. I cannot stand not competing against something or someone and after rugby season was over I had no one to compete against. So I decided that I would do another contest this year...
Well, it's about that time again. It's contest prep time. After winning the INBF Mid-America Muscle Classic Teenage and Men's Novice Tall class titles I told myself that I would take a year or two off from competing. It was my first competition and at the time I was a bit burnt out after all the low carb dieting, sodium depletion, and everything else that goes along with preparing for a contest. I decided I would take it easy for a while. Well, I should have known myself better. I am a competitor, always have always will be. I cannot stand not competing against something or someone and after rugby season was over I had no one to compete against. So I decided that I would do another contest this year. At the time of my decision I weighed 206lbs and had been slacking a bit and losing intensity in the weight room. From the moment that I decided to do another competition my intensity went through the roof. The idea of being onstage competition against some of the best natural bodybuilders in the country drove my intensity up.

When it was time for me to start cutting I weighed 216lbs and I had gained very little body fat. Now it was time to begin cutting. I started cutting 14 weeks out this time instead of 12 weeks out like I did last time because I think I crash dieted a bit last time and lost a bit more muscle than I would have liked to. Right now I'm at 11 weeks out and I weigh 208 lbs. Most of the weight I lost in the first two weeks was water weight so I wasn't concerned that I was losing weight too fast. I usually lose around 5 lbs on the first week of dieting. This is from reduced carbohydrate consumption. When you lower your carbohydrate consumption you also reduce the amount of glycogen your body stores. And since the body stores 2.7g of water for every gram of glycogen, it is only logical that you will lose a lot of water weight when you begin. My diet for the first two weeks consisted of 250g protein, 300g carbs, and 60g fat. Once every seven days I raised my carbohydrates up to 400g to prevent metabolic backlash. I designed my routine so that my high carb day also fell on my leg day which is my most demanding workout of the week.

The foods I ate are as follows:

  • Protein Sources
  • Chicken, lean red meat, fish, eggs (mostly whites),
  • cottage cheese, low fat milk, and turkey
  • Carbohydrate Sources
  • Oatmeal, bran cereal, whole wheat bread (non-enriched), dextrose (workout shake), apples, and vegetables
  • Fat sources
Most of my fat came as a by-product of the protein I was eating. However I did have ½ a serving of peanut butter with cottage cheese before bed every night for it's slow digestion properties.

I didn't divide up the carbohydrates evenly. My carb consumption centered on a few crucial times: breakfast, pre-workout, in workout, and postworkout. Out of the 300g of carbohydrates I was consuming, 75g of those were consumed at breakfast. Another 50g of complex carbs were consumed pre-workout in order to refill my glycogen stores so I would have more energy when I trained. I consumed 75g of dextrose during my workout, and another 60g of complex carbs were consumed an hour after my workout. The other 40g of carbohydrates were spread evenly among my 5 remaining meals.

Now that I'm at 208 lbs and 11 weeks out it is time for me to tweak my diet a bit more. I have lowered my carbohydrate consumption down to 200g per day, with a 300g carb up day once every week to prevent metabolic backlash. I raised my protein intake by 25g to 275g per day. I lowered my fat intake to 50g per day, which is where it will stay the remainder of my diet. I have also started doing 30-minute sessions of walking before breakfast 2 times per week. This diet should get me to around 200 lbs in about 4-6 weeks. My carb distribution is similar to the previous two weeks as far as carb distribution. I consume 40g of carbs at breakfast, 50g pre-workout, 50g in workout, and 50g post workout. The other 10g of carbohydrates are spread out over the other meals.

My carb and protein choices have remained the same however, I have begun drinking less milk and eating fewer apples. My only sources of fat come as by-products of my protein intake. I have done away with the peanut butter before bed as well. When I am using a diet in which I am calorie deficient I use more supplements than when I have a calories surplus. This is due to the fact that it is harder to stay in an anti-catabolic (with relation to muscle tissue) when you are dieting than when you are trying to gain weight.

The following is a list of supplements that I am currently taking.

  • Whey Protein (40g in workout shake)
  • Blended Protein source (whenever I cannot make a meal
  • or do not have time)
  • Glutamine (10g with pre-workout meal, 10g in workout shake, and 10g before cardio)
  • Creatine (5g in workout shake)
  • BCAA's (10g in workout shake, 5g before cardio)
  • ZMA (3 capsules before bed)
In two weeks I am going to also begin taking ALA (alpha lipoic acid) with my high carbohydrate meals.

My Goals:

As of now my goals are to come into the contest weighing anywhere from 188 lbs to 193 lbs. It all is a matter of what weight I am when I hit my body fat low. This will put me anywhere from 10-15 lbs heavier than I was at last years contest. Most of that weight gain has been in my legs as they have increased a full inch and a half in the last year and my calves, which have grown by ¾ of an inch in the past year. I will be entering the same contest I did last year (the INBF Mid-America Muscle Classic) in Henderson, KY. The only decision I have to make is whether or not I want to enter the open class or the novice class. I won the novice heavyweight last year but lost the overall so I would like to win the overall but part of me also wants to get out there with the big boys. If I entered the open class I would be competing for a WNBF pro card against some of the best natural bodybuilders in the country. I will make my decision based on how I look in 6 weeks as to which division I will enter. I am not yet sure what this contest will bring but I can assure one thing. I will be totally focused on my training and diet for the next 12 weeks and I will come in to the contest in the best shape of my life!

*I am sorry but I have no pictures to post at this time I will be receiving a digital camera to track my progress with shortly so my next article will have pictures to go with it!*

As always email me if you have questions or comments at or visit me on the message boards and ask for str8flexed!