Part Two: Putting It All Together!
Explained in Part One was the importance of protein, carbs and fats for optimal fitness performance, mass gains, and fat losses. I will now explain how to put those nutrients together into an actual program and how to follow it.
First determine your caloric intake per day. Are you training to gain some mass, or are you training to get lean? Knowing what your competition weight should be will help you dramatically in determining this. If you don't know what your competition weight should be, particularly for first time competitors, and exactly how you will appear after gaining or losing, don't worry. Just follow a basic rule to lose 10-15 pounds of bodyfat and make appropriate changes to your diet as your competition date draws near, and your being very observant of your appearance--definitions, symmetry, and leanness prior to. Have your trainer, or some other fitness professional at your gym give you a bodyfat composition test to determine where you are with lean mass to bodyfat ratios, and design your program based on those calculations. This test will help you to determine how much fat you will need to lose, and how much mass you will need to gain. Keep in mind what the judges are looking for in your overall appearance when you start your program, and begin to make adjustments if and when needed. I will elaborate more on that at the end of this article.
This test will let you know how much lean mass you are carrying on your skeletal frame, as well as fat mass. Lean mass refers to bone, muscle, organs, heart, lungs, cartilage, tendons, etc., Fat mass refers to, well fat. There are different layers of fat in the body. The adipose tissue, the fat that is under your skin is your main focus. The subcutaneous fat which is around your internal organs is not. However, subcutaneous fat will be effected by a fat loss program.
A woman's normal levels of bodyfat percentages to lean mass are 18% to 22%. These percentages will give a smooth healthy appearance of fat over the muscle tissue. You will look slim, but not fat, depending on your genetic makeup and how tall you are. To achieve a lean appearance for competition with beautiful tight lines of definitions, you may need to drop that percentage down to 8% to 10% of total bodyfat depending once again on height and muscle mass. Anything below 8% is going to put you into a striated appearance of a bodybuilder, whose bodyfat percentages for competition are usually 4% to 6%. Not where you want to be.
Shoot for a bodyfat percentage of 10% to 12% first, once there access your appearance, if necessary drop another 1% to 2% until the desired overall appearance is achieved. Your trainer who conducts the test can tell you exactly how much lean mass you are carrying and how much fat mass you are carrying, and determine how much fat is needed to be lost, and how much muscle mass is needed to be gained in pounds to achieve a certain overall competition body weight. If you are already lean to some extent, you may not need to lose a lot of fat weight, you may need only to gain some muscle mass, and then reduce excess fat after that mass gain. Or you may be the opposite. Either way, the nutritional program is designed the same way for both needs.
I am going to use a female who is 130 lbs, and is at 16.5% bodyfat, with 83.5% lean mass as an example:
Body Fat: 16.5% = 21.45 lbs. of fat weight
Goal for competition weight is 122 lbs. overall. She needs to gain 3-5 lbs. in lean muscle mass, and then lose an additional 11lbs. of fat weight to achieve this, and be at a mass gain and a bodyfat percentage of 8.5%.
To Gain: Start with 12 calories per pound of bodyweight. *Note: Start at 12 then adjust up to 15 if necessary.
12 x 122 lbs. = 1464 total calories per day to gain 3-5 lbs of lean mass.
Macro-Nutrient Ratio = 35 - 55 - 20, protein, carbs and fat.
1464 x .25 = 366 cal. in protein per day.
1464 x .55 = 805 cal. in carbs per day.
1464 x .20 = 293 cal. in fat per day.
336/4 = 91.5 grams protein per day.
805/4 = 201.25 grams of carbs per day.
293/9 = 36 grams of fat per day.
Six Meals Per Day:
15.25 grams protein per meal
33.5 grams carbs per meal
6 grams per fat per meal
Follow until the goal of lean mass gain is achieved, preferably for 5-7 weeks if your gains are steady at 1 lb. per week. Have bodyfat percentage recalculated at 5-7 weeks to determine percentage of lean mass. Also, the one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight can be used instead of the protein macro-nutrient ratio. Make proper adjustments to total caloric intake, and grams per day/per meal.
Getting Lean: Start with 10 calories per pound of bodyweight. Note: Start at 10 then adjust down to 8 if necessary. Only if necessary.
10 x 122 lbs. = 1220 total calories per day to lose 11 lbs of bodyfat.
Macro Nutrient Ratio = 35 - 50 - 15, protein carbs and fat.
1220 x .35 = 427 cal. in protein per day.
1220 x .50 = 610 cal. in carbs per day.
1220 x .15 = 183 cal. in fat per day.
427/4 = 106.75 grams protein per day.
152.5/4 = 152.5 grams carbs per day.
183/9 = 20.33 grams fat per day.
Six Meals per day:
18 grams protein per meal
26 grams carbs per meal
3.5 grams fat per meal
Macro-Nutrient Ratio 50 - 35 - 15 of a higher protein intake:
610 cal. protein per day = 152.5 grams protein
427 cal. per day in carbs = 106.75 grams carbs per day
183 cal. per day in fat = 20.33 grams fat per day.
Note: You may change the Protein Ratio up or down depending on your individual needs and the progress of your results. Remember to calculate based on the overall total calories per day that are needed. Be careful when doing this, changing protein means changing carbs. You don't want to lose too fast or too slow.
Use the Macro-Nutrient Ratio that is working best for you, and you are losing bodyfat at 1-2 lbs per week, yet maintaining your lean mass. Follow this program until you are 7-10 days out from competition, because now you will transition into your carb depleting, and carb loading phase. This process eliminates carbs and glycogen from from the muscle, then puts glycogen back into the muscle to give a more refined cut and definition, as well as causing the skin to look thin over the muscle creating an appearance that looks more toned, full and firm, not smooth and flat. Carb Loading/Depleting is a very delicate process. It may take you 2-3 times to get it just right for your individual makeup. Everyone has a theory that works best for them. You will have to find the process that works best for you in this phase. That comes from trial and error.
Your Visual Appearance - Self Assessment:
You should look for tight lines in the shoulder areas, bicep-tricep, mid-chest for athletic cleavage, abdominal area mid-sides-lower and see some separations, upper and mid-back, tight and firm around the gluteus and hamstrings: no saddlebags, or even a trace of saddlebags when turned front facing forward or to when turned to the side, legs should appear tight with trace separations in the quads, no jiggle when walking in the hip and lower glute area. No traces of cellulite at all. Skin should be smooth and firm as possible with no dimples from cellulite showing through. Calves firm and sleek. Overall appearance should be symmetrical and athletic, toned, defined, and healthy. You should still look very feminine.
Your swimsuit should not cut into the skin as when there is fat on the hips and at the lower gluteus, or around the abdomen. There should be no pudgy overhang at the top part of your swimsuit bottom that fits around the abdomen. Your abdomen must be flat top to bottom. The elastic bands should fit evenly on top of the skin and muscle with no indents from over hanging fat. Same for the straps or ties on the swimsuit top. When pulled tight to clasp or tie, the straps should not have any fat overhang around the sides. You can tell the difference in a slight skin overhang, to a fat overhang. Especially in stage lighting. When you have this appearance with a complete and overall symmetry, you are ready.
Areas of Concentration When Designing Your Nutritional Program:
1) Glucose uptake to support insulin levels by balancing blood sugar levels.
2) Normalization of blood sugar levels to support oxidation of fat, stabilizing the appetite and reducing insulin spikes.
3) A constant nitrogen balance with Branch Chained Amino Acids in the muscle to increase muscle gain and prevent catabolic reactions.
4) Eating clean foods, such as fibrous carbs--veggies in their raw and fresh forms, leans cuts of beef, chicken, turkey and fish. Egg whites for insulin stabilization and protein. Oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice for starchy carbs. Limit fruits to early or midmorning meals. Steam or boil veggies, grill, bake, boil, or broil meats. Eliminate salt and sugar from your competition diet. Drink your water everyday.
Supplementation of your diet will help to keep these key points in check. Some wonderful supplements to consider are: MetRx products, EAS products, Designer Protein, Mass building products, Creatine products with L-Glutamine, all of which are available here on Bodybuilding.com. Also available to aide in the fat burning, or the thermogenesis process are Xenadrine, Hydroxycut, and various products with BCAA's. Click on the blue links for more information on these products or contact me at MoserFitness@aol.com with questions, or if you need help.
Research the various products and choose the ones that you feel would work best for you and your specific goal. There are a lot of products, and confusion can come into play. Research and read about the various products and what their specific purpose in nutrition supplementation is, and then determine if that product is what your body needs. Always make an informed and intelligent decision when deciding on a specific supplement. What works well for one person, may not work well for another. First starting out on this quest for optimal nutrition will come through trial and error. It has happened to us all, however, you will find what products work best for you and what products best meet your specific needs to aide in your reaching your fitness performance goals.
Follow your nutritional program religiously, and Do Not Deviate from your goal. Your gains and results will come only if you follow your training and nutritional programs and you will shine on stage when its time. Train smart, stay focused and positive. You can achieve anything that you set your mind and heart to.
Train for Success!!!