My first contest ever was the Mr. GA in which I placed 4th. Not bad but I knew I could have done much better. A week later and 2.5 lbs lighter than at the Mr. GA, I competed in the 3rd Annual Southern Polytech SNBF Open. At 165 solid lbs and the lightest competitor present, I won my weight class and the overall in the novice division and placed 2nd in the Open. Placing 2nd in the Open qualified me to compete in the upcoming SNBF Nationals to be held in Atlanta on October 28th.
Now to the meat and potatoes of the article. Yes, I am referring to the training, dieting, and supplementation portion of the article. My precontest training split went like this:
Pull-ups 2 x 10(warm-up)
Seated Underhand Cable Rows or Barbell rows 2 x 6-10
Lat Pulldowns( alternate front and back each week) 2 x 6-10
T-Bar Rows 2 x 6-10
Close Grip Pulldowns 2 x 6-10
1 arm dumbbell rows 2 x 6-10 per arm
Upright rows 2 x 10(warm-up)
Front Barbell shrugs 2 x 6-10
Behind Back Barbell Shrugs 2 x 6-10
Dumbbell shrugs 2 x 6-10
-Chest- Bench press 1 x 15 x 6 x 2(warm-up with progressive weight)
Incline press 2 x 6-10
Incline dumbbell press 2 x 6-10
Incline Cable flyes 2 x 8-10
Bench press 2 x 6-10
Flat Cable flyes 2 x 8-10
Seated dumbbell press 1 x 15 x 8(warm-up with progressive weight)
Seated dumbbell press 2 x 6-10
Behind Neck Military Press 2 x 6-10
Standing Dumbbell laterals 2 x 8-10
1 Arm Cable side laterals 2 x 8-10
Bent over Rear delt laterals 2 x 8-10
Stiff Leg Deadlift 1 x 15 x 8(warm-up with progressive weight)
Stiff leg deadlift (feet shoulder width apart) 2 x 8-12
Stiff leg deadlift (feet about 6 inches apart) 2 x 8-12
Lying Leg Curls 3 x 8-12
Seated leg curls 3 x 8-12
Standing E-Z bar curl 1 x 15 x 8 x 4(warm-up with progressive weight)
Standing E-Z bar curl 2 x 6-8
Standing Alternating dumbbell curls 2 x 6-8 per arm
1 arm cable curls on preacher bench 2 x 8-10 per arm
Dips 1 x 15 x 8 x 4(using bodyweight only)
Straight bar Triceps pressdown 2 x 6-10
Overhead Cable Extension 2 x 6-10
Reverse Grip 1 arm tricep extension 2 x 8-10 per arm
Reverse grip curls 2 x 8-10
reverse grip wrist curls using straight bar 2 x 8-10
behind back wrist curls using straight bar 2 x 8-10
Squats 1 x 15 x 8 x 4(warm-up with progressive weight)
Squats with feet shoulder width apart 2 x 8-12
Squats with feet a few inches wider than shoulder width 2 x 8-12
Squats with feet a few inches narrower than shoulder width 2 x 8-12
Leg Extensions 3 x 8-12
Lunges 2 x 60 yards
1 leg standing calf raises 2 x 10-15 each(warm-up with bodyweight)
weighted 1 leg standing calf raises 3 x 8-12 each
seated calf raises 3 x 8-12
Hanging leg raises 2 x 12
hanging leg raises to the side 2 x 12 per side
Decline crunch 2 x 15-20
That's the training aspect of my article.
Diet and Supplementation
Now I will share with you the dieting and supplementing part. Let me warn you ahead of time that precontest dieting is not for one with weak willpower. I can recall spending countless days and nights basically starving.
First and foremost, the only thing I supplemented with was Xenadrine. I would take 1 in the morning, 1 before my first cardio session, and 2 before my weight training session. I also took a multivitamin with my first meal along with 500 mg of vitamin C with each pill of Xenadrine I took. That's it....nothing fancy. Elegance in simplicity I would tell my training partner.
As for dieting, I started my precontest diet 12 weeks out from the SNBF show. I figure that this would be ample time to prepare myself. I was wrong. If I could go back and change anything about my contest prep, I would cut the preparation time from 12 weeks to about 6-8 or so depending on the condition I was in. This wouldn't be ideal for your typical IFBB pro b/c they somehow balloon to 60 lbs or so above their contest weight.
Anyways, here we go. For the first 2 weeks, I upped my calories to about 3500 per day. I did this to force my metabolism to work a little faster. I ate roughly 45% low glycemic carbs (pasta, wheat bread), 35% protein, and 20% fats mostly coming from virgin olive oil. I dropped 7 lbs in this 2 week period with ZERO cardio.
For the next 5 weeks, I dropped my calories down to about 2500 per day while slowly upping my cardio as follows: one 15 min. session every day for week 10, one 20 min. session everyday for week 9, two 15 min. sessions every day for week 8, two 20 min. sessions every day for week 7, two 25 min. sessions every day for week 6, three 20 min. sessions everyday for week 5.
By this time, I was very lean and felt ready for a contest. So I decided to give my body a test run for the carb depletion/carb loading stage. I carb depleted (took in less than 25 g of carbs) for three straight days. I compensated for the lack of carbs by upping my protein intake a little bit. I kept training and cardio the exact same.
Needless to say, I was pretty pissy these 3 days. Once again, I dropped a few more pounds and looked absolutely shredded but flat. That's where the carb loading test drive came into play. I carb loaded for 2 days (took in 300-400 g of low glycemic carbs evenly spaced in about 6 meals per day) and completely filled my muscles with glycogen. I had veins popping out from everywhere and I felt full and hard again. So this test drive served its purpose and I would know what to do the final week before the contest.
By this time, I started catching severe competition fever and grew weary of my diet. I was contest ready and had a whole 5 weeks. So I basically had the difficult task of maintaining my form b/c I had peaked way too soon. To keep from losing much muscle mass, I upped my calories a little bit and pulled my cardio back to two 25 min. sessions per day. That was the story for week 4.
Week 3 rolled around and I decided to compete in the Mr. GA b/c I felt ready and needed a preliminary showing. I did the whole carb depletion/carb loading phase I discussed earlier and it worked. However, I ran into a problem a couple of days before the show. I wasn't careful about my carb and water intake the day before and the morning of the show. Basically, I walked on stage during prejudging flat as ever. My muscles were glycogen depleted and I could not figure out why. I could not attain a pump to save my life.
Discouraged after my seemingly poor performance at the prejudging, my friends and I went out and did some "post contest noshing." I had two spicy chicken sandwiches, two biggie fries, and a biggie coke from Wendy's. I felt bloated but I didn't care too much b/c the judges had already made their decision. We went back to the World Congress Center and I elevated my feet to keep gravity from pulling my blood down and took a 2 hour nap. I woke up rejuvenated and ready to destroy the stage.
While pumping up for the night show, I was able to attain an unbelievable pump. I had veins coursing through my body once again. My friend said that I look better now than I did in the morning. That's discouraging b/c all of the judging had already been done. Nonetheless, i was ready to put on a show for the sell out crowd. I went out as poser #12 and lit up the stage. I posed to Fire by Scooter and worked the crowd.
I can relate to bodybuilders who pose with tenacity b/c that's the way I am. I believe that your posing music reflects a bit on your attitude and my attitude that night was out to kick some butt, as it always is in the gym. I walked off stage while thousands were screaming for me. As I walked back to meet my friends, I was paid a multitude of compliments by total strangers. This made all of the contest preparation worth it. It lit a fire inside of me which wanted to do even better at the SNBF the following week.
I knew changes needed to be made so I decided to veer away from my diet Sat. night until midday Sunday. Then i was back on it carb depleting once again. This time for only 2 days. Half of Sunday, all of Monday, and half of Tuesday. Prior to the Mr. GA, I stopped cardio the Sunday before the show (which was held on a Saturday). This time, I proceeded with my cardio until Wednesday. I continued to carb load through Friday and felt really good about it this time around.
We drove down to weigh-in Friday afternoon and I weighed in at 169. i knew I could shed a couple of more lbs of water weight so I spent the rest of the night forcing myself to pee and I carried a cup which I spit saliva to ever few moments. I woke up feeling nice and dry Saturday morning. I weighed myself again Saturday morning at a shocking 165 lbs. Not only would I be the youngest but i would also be the lightest of the competitors.
I walked on stage and went through the prejudging like it was nothing. My friend, who is also my training partner, said that I was virtually untouchable during the prejudging. I was psyched b/c I knew I had done well. So we went out and did the same old Wendy's thing. Once again, I looked even better at the night show.
Before you walk out to perform for the audience, you are a bundle of nerves. But as soon as you walk on stage and the music starts, the crowd starts cheering for you especially if you're in top shape. Finishing your routine and watching the crowd stand up in applause for you makes all of that hard work well worth it. It's satisfying to know that you were able to accomplish what many others dare not attempt in their lifetime. With this knowledge, you go home with a smile on your face and the desire to come back even better next year, win or lose.