Contest Preparation Week 18!

A guide you can follow! This week's topic: FOCUS. Learn to focus to accomplish all your goals.
This Is Week #18. Click here for Week #1.

Greetings, welcome to week #18 of my weekly goals and objectives page/journal. I have begun to calculate the exact number of weeks that we have left until the 2003 Team Universe. We are currently 26 weeks out, that is it, and it will be here before we know it! I expect this year to be the biggest turnout ever. This year an IFBB Pro Card will be awarded to the overall winner. This will undoubtedly draw in the top natural bodybuilders; all of which are trying to cross the ranks into IFBB professionalism.

WEEK #18

Topic of the Week: "FOCUS"

This past week was one filled with temptation, distraction, obstacles, and negative individuals. How did I manage to overcome? Intense focus, determination, willpower, drive, the conscious urge to strive for perfection, and mental sharpness! - Focus is a necessary trait of any successful natural bodybuilder. This week's journal will teach you how to stay focused through your incredible journey to the posing dais.

Stop and ask yourself, "what is willpower" then think about it... is it possible to develop this valuable trait? If so... how can willpower be developed? Willpower has been defined as a "person's mental ability to produce or change any behavior at will by focusing sufficiently on the appropriate thought (1)." Damn that statement is awesome, do you not agree? The keywords being "? mental ability?produce or change any behavior? (and) focusing sufficiently". The possibility of increasing your mental focus means that you also have the ability to increase your level of willpower because they go hand in hand.

Improving these traits is obviously going to be a great asset to your overall life and can be done through proper utilization of Self-Programmed Control (SPC) techniques. SPC techniques are powerful; I like to think of them as "Jedi-Warrior" tactics. These tactics/techniques allow me to overcome all obstacles that are brought on to me in my journey along the bodybuilding lifestyle and life in general. I am pretty tough and I like being considered "strong minded" and having a solid will to excel at my endeavors. SPC techniques are based off of the following concept "words and thoughts have the ability to produce reflexive or automatic responses." To better understand this concept try the following experiment/exercise (1):

"Visualize as vividly as you can biting into a very sour lemon."

I challenge you to put forth every ounce of effort that you have into this exercise. Imagine yourself slicing the lemon into two halves. Now willfully bite into each half. You have to see this in your mind! Squeeze lemon so that the tart juice quenches your very sensitive tongue. Doing this correctly produces and auto-response and your mouth should have automatically watered itself in anticipating the actual tart lemon juice hitting the sensitive taste buds of your tongue. This phenomenon was an automatic physiological response that occurred when your brain and sensory nerves believed that they were about to experience the tangy juice of the lemon. The latter entire process was stimulated by the mere words and/or thought of the lemon's juice.

Now was that not a simple exercise? Sure it was and I would bet that just about 100% of the people that try this exercise get the right response. Therefore, it is or at least should be simple and possible, to achieve this by focusing on any appropriate positive thought. Think about it you have the power to produce any positive reaction that you wish to. Now do not get me wrong here we all know that words or thoughts do not always yield the appropriate outcome. Have you ever heard of the old cliché  " it went in one ear and came out of the other?" Well oftentimes good, great, and valuable plateau breaking advice does just what the cliché ³ays and we loose or fail to adhere to beneficial advice. Be not afraid my friends you will have plenty of opportunities to use your new Jedi-mind because availability of words and the thoughts needed to produce the desired responses will always be there. All that you need to do is learn how to bring them out. SPC, or as I like referring to them, "Jedi" techniques allow you to make this possible. SPC is sort of based off of the old "power of positive thinking" theory, but SPC adds a new twist by enforcing thought focusing techniques, which provide immediate and positive feedback. This means that instant proof of the techniques is present. This immediate feedback increases the belief of which you have in the technique, therefore increasing your mental focusing abilities.

Another excellent example of this principle is the "Arms" technique.

"The Arms Technique"

Step #1

"Extend both arms in front of you. Make sure they are both at the same level to begin with. Now with your eyes closed, picture one of those gigantic weather balloons capable of almost lifting a man off the ground attached to one of your wrists and pulling up(1).

Step #2

"After you have focused on that image for a few seconds, imagine holding a bucketful of water in the other hand. Continue to focus on this image until you can really feel the heaviness. After a total elapsed time of 30-60 seconds open your eyes and look to see where your arms are(1).

Their should be a great difference between your "bucket arm" and your "balloon arm" when you are finished. A focused and powerful mind, one of which has control, will have an easier time with this exercise. Additionally, you will be able to program your "Jedi mind power" into your brain as part of your new behavior. Keep practicing this technique till you can cause your arms to fully separate. At the end of the exercise one arm should be lifted straight up (by the balloon) while the other arm has been pulled down (by the bucket).

The above techniques assists you in believing that you can be much more responsive when your very own positive input is utilized. You will be able to understand that your willpower can be incredibly stimulating and is at a higher "Jedi-like" level. Once you start using this tactic day in and day out you will be able to "program in" anything that you set your powerful, strong, iron, non-penetrate-able, and "Jedi-powered" mind to.

Good Luck and may the "force of Focus" be with you!

1. SPC and Developing Greater Mental Focus & Willpower. The SPC Program. http://www.lifelines.com/Spc/program/part1.html. 9 Feb. 2003.

Training

I am training 5 days a week now. I train each body part one time during the week. The ideal routine is broken down as follows:

Day #1 Quads, Hamstrings, & Glutes
Day #2 Chest & Shoulders
Day #3 Back & Traps
Day #4 Calves
Day #5 Arms

I will do hamstrings and quadriceps together from now on. I really like staying in the squat rack and when I break up the muscle group I stay sore too long to fully recover before it is time to train the remaining portion of the legs. Therefore I am choosing to bomb them out together as I said before I stay in the squat rack for quite a while. I basically go into the gym and punish the hell out of the muscle group being trained. I use moderate to light weight and really concentrate on squeezing the blood into the muscle. My workouts have been productive and interesting. I love this method of training and plan on using it at least until the 2003 season is over. I just go into the gym with a predetermined number of sets in mind and reap havoc on the muscle group. My theory as always has been is that if you are getting sore and you eat to build you will grow. Although I am "dieting" I am still fueling my body with plenty of protein for maintenance and rebuilding. It is a true science this sport of bodybuilding and only few can do it.

Weekly Cardio Program

I do 15 minutes a day. I usually break the session up into three "5 minute" sprints for a total of 15 minutes. I use elliptical machine on max incline and a resistance level of 1. I keep my revolutions per minute at 180 or above. I go 5 min pedaling forward for glutes and hamstrings, 5 minutes back pedaling for quadriceps. I have also recently been experiencing the "Strider." I keep the RPMs in 135-145 ranges when using this machine. I also use the Stair Master at level 7 for 5 minute sprints (great for calves and glutes).

Sometimes, like on a non-training day I do 15 hard-core straight minutes at 180 RPM or above on the elliptical, 135-145 on the Strider, and level 7 on the Stair Master. This is torture, but I am getting into really good cardiovascular shape and improving.

Weekly Goals & Objectives

I love setting short-term daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Goal setting is a great habit. Once you set and accomplish your smaller daily goals your larger scale goals have moved that much closer to being accomplished. Great days compiled over a consistent time period equal results in the end. To improve my performance every day of the week, I outline my goals and objectives. These are things that I must accomplish during the week in order for it to be considered a successful one. Each week I will review how well I did in attempting to accomplish them.

My goals for the week were:

  1. Maintain my consistent protein intake throughout the week and follow my nutritional plan 100%.

    I managed to do this 80%! Like I said I had a troubled week and some obstacles held me back from my picture perfect nutrition plan. The good thing is that I learned how to adapt and overcome through this lesson so that it will never happen again! I must get back on track!

  2. I must follow my supplementation plans 100% every day of the week.

    I met these requirements 90%! Again this week was wacky but I will get it right, you know I will!

  3. I must use an intelligent weight selection when training. I need to concentrate on working and building the muscle utilizing great execution during training. I must get inside the muscle mentally to understand what I am doing during each exercise. I must attempt to go as heavy as possible while maintaining perfect form and execution during the movements.

    I remain to do really well here but I missed a day of training! Overall bad week but learned a lot from the mishaps.

  4. I must complete my cardio sessions, which are scheduled every morning. They will be done according to the prescribed intensity or with an increased level of intensity.

    I managed to complete this task at about 98% only because I missed that day of training. I was on track with the RMPs. I get right! I will keep working hard at this until 180 seems like a joke, then I will bump it up a notch - what ever it takes!

  5. I must constantly remember what my goal for the 2003 competitive year is (NPC Team Universe)! I must present myself as a National level bodybuilder. I need to be assertive, proud, maintain eye contact, realize who I am becoming and live it out. I need to do this to be where I want to be next year and to represent my sponsors (Bodybuilding.com) with honor.

    I am continuing to work hard in this area, reviewing my vision every morning has helped by reminding me that I have goals, plans, and a mission to be met. I am not just wandering into success it is a well drawn out plan!

My goals for the week are: (SAME AS BEFORE)

  1. Maintain my consistent protein & nutritional plan throughout the week.

  2. I must continue to follow my supplementation plans 100% every day of the week.

  3. I must use an intelligent weight selection when training. I need to concentrate on working and building the muscle utilizing great execution during training. I must get inside the muscle mentally to understand what I am doing during each exercise. I must attempt to go as heavy as possible while maintaining perfect form and execution during the movements.

  4. I must complete my cardio sessions, which are scheduled every morning. They will be done according to the prescribed intensity or with an increased level of intensity.

  5. I must constantly remember what my goal for the 2003 competitive year is (NPC Team Universe)! I must present myself as a National level bodybuilder. I need to be assertive, proud, maintain eye contact, realize who I am becoming and live it out. I need to do this to be where I want to be next year and to represent my sponsors (Bodybuilding.com) with honor.

Current Supplementation Plan

I bumped up my L-glutamine and creatine intake. I take 5 grams of each about an hour prior to training, immediately following training, and one hour following training. This is a total of 15 grams a day and revolves around spikes and surges of insulin that I am getting through my tactical nutrition program. Nutritional/Supplemental Science at its best!

Daily Supplement Regimen:

I am taking a 10-12 week break (until late March) from prohormone use to let my receptors open wide up again. I will also be taking 12 weeks free of ephedra products. I have now added HMB and ZMA.

HMB 3000mg
Z-force (ZMA)
3000 mg Vitamin C
Multivitamin
Vitamin E
Vitamin A
15 grams L-Glutamine (Pre/post and post cardio-workout consumption)
15 grams of Creatine Monohydrate (Pre/post & post cardio-workout)
Glucosamine
Flaxseed Oil
Calcium

Nutrition

See last week's main topic for nutrition info.

Coming Up!

6-7-03: The Southern Classic, Jackson Mississippi - 19 weeks away!
6-14-03: The Mr. New Orleans - 20 weeks away!
7-20-03 (tentative date): The Mr. Louisiana - 23 weeks away!
7-8/9-03: National Debut-New York, New York- The NPC Team Universe - 28 weeks away.

Till next week practice your mental focus techniques. I guarantee that you will find all kind of neat areas of life that will allow you to throw them in and use this power instilled inside of you!

Dino Paul Pierce, CFT (III)
B.S. Dietetics
Natural Bodybuilder