I've always been a fan of the Body-For-Life competition, as it's not who gets the biggest or most cut over the 12 weeks, but who made the most progress. Seeing the pictures of past champions is inspirational, seeing what 'regular' people can achieve when they dedicate their time and effort to a specific goal. Over the past couple of years I must have taken about three lots of 'before' photos for this competition. Do you know how many 'after' photos I have taken... NONE! Why? Because I never really committed myself to making serious progress during my past attempts, it was 'half-assed' and I failed to devote quality time at the start correctly planning my 12 week attack. This time will be different.
My focus of this article will be on how to properly use your mental power to succeed over the 12 weeks. I truly believe that through effectively using the mind you have a much better chance of being successful. By following these steps you will be organizing your mind to efficiently maximize your training and diet plan. Everyone has their own preference on training, nutrition, cardio sessions, and as long as you're being consistent with your training and aiming for weekly progression things will be fine. Bodybuilding.com has many excellent articles written on different training and diet strategies, I suggest that if you would like a change of routine to look through these and find the methods that motivate you the most.
Charlie Poole's Changes Over A 12 Week Period
Planning Your Destination And Setting Your Goals
'Start with the end in mind.' This popular saying is completely true when it comes to physique improvement. Before embarking on a training journey you need to first write down exactly what you want to achieve at the end of a 12 week training cycle. Such as: the type of physique look you're after, desired body weight or better still body fat level, new levels of strength, increased training intensity and higher levels of aerobic fitness and stamina. By listing your goals down from the start you can devise the best strategy needed to make these goals a reality. The great thing about the competition is that the 12 week duration is perfect for making it a short term goal. This creates a sense of urgency, every day and every week become important and you can't afford to slack off occasionally and then get back on track later. Once you have set your 12 week goals, break them down into small manageable weekly goals. This will make you feel in more control and give you something to shoot for every day. For anyone deciding on giving this challenge a try I would suggest also making it apart of your overall medium and long term goals. Using the competition as a vessel to get you on the right track of correct training and eating and then building momentum towards bigger goals later down the line. Check out Bodybuilding.com's Body Transformation Guide here!
My 12 Week Goals for the Body-For-Life Challenge
Before I set the plan into action I first listed out all of the goals I wanted to achieve over the 12 week period. These goals are:
- Lose 20 pounds of fat and have a lean muscular physique weighing 185 pounds.
- Increase my strength levels to new personal bests in ALL my lifts. Keep strength charts to monitor progress and increase my motivation.
- Complete all my aerobic and abdominal sessions. Never miss them.
- Keep an up to date journal covering my training, diet and mental state, constantly assessing how I am doing and making immediate changes when things aren't going to plan.
- Every day calculate the nutritional values of my diet. Showing the amounts of calories, protein, carbs and fat consumed. The time I ate the meals and how my body is responding to the diet and making correct changes when required.
- Develop a fantastic base to build new muscle for bodybuilding competition in 2003.
You will be happy that you invested your time in getting really specific with your goals, as you'll notice an immediate increase in your dedication and motivation. To do this effectively list twenty aspects of your day which you must follow through in order to achieve your long term goal. Refer to the list every morning, acknowledge what is required to make your day a success and then go after achieving your set standards. After awhile it will become second nature, as you become more consistent and focused. I have revised my standards list a couple of times, as my achieving my goal increase so does my self-imposed standards.
Below I have my daily standards which I am following through everyday in order to achieve my 'Body-For-Life' goals.
My Higher Set Of Standards - Set April 2002
I must strive to live up to them everyday
- Pay Letitia, my wife, a loving compliment every day, pave the way for a happy loving home life. A base for both of us
- Every Sunday, review the previous week - Good or Bad points to be made, with decisions on what needs to be done to make the following week better. Make the following weeks schedule with objectives set.
- Ensure healthy foods are always available. Weighing out food portions for accurate daily calculations.
- Always keep training log and daily diary up to date, logging the days diet and working out the nutritional values, mental state, improvements and failings. With points on what needs to be done to keep moving forward. Keeping Strength charts to monitor my progress.
- Take physique measurements and body weight every Wednesday, monitor changes and make adjustments to diet and aerobic training if needed.
- Every workout, strive for 100 percent focus on the session, so that my all is in it. Attain set goals.
- Every workout, make improvements in either / or all areas - increased reps, weight, exercise form, less time take increasing the intensity, better focus and feel of the muscle. Never be satisfied to just stay still.
- Complete every planned C.V. and AB workout. Never miss them. Always be looking to keep the intensity levels at a high to make an enjoyable session.
- Only have cheat meals on planned day, being Saturday. Plan what we're going to have to give something to look forward to and help fight urges to cheat.
- Take in at least 300 grams of protein in every day.
- Never go longer than 4 hours without a healthy meal, as this leads to the increased desire to cheat.
- Drink a gallon of water every day.
- Make sure that I get 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Always review the previous weeks training before each session. Focus on what my short term goals are in relation to that workout and how I am going to achieve them and continue improving.
- Always get to the gym on time. Plan in advance, be organized and stick with the plan.
- Perfectly follow the Pre and Post workout nutrient plan. Set myself up to maximize my gains by getting all the protein and carbs my body needs at the RIGHT times.
- Always search mags, books, Internet, videos and seminars for new info to increase progress further.
- Once I reach a new level of development and strength never look back, keep on progressing. That new level will now become my standard for future improvements. Never be satisfied, always strive for more.
- Always believe that I can achieve whatever tasks I face and set myself, all I need is a well constructed plan and be consistent and confident that I'll succeed.
- Most Importantly: Competing in the SNBF Atlanta show in 2003. I will build on my success I WILL get with Body-For-Life. Continuously build my dedication, desire and intensity with this as my main current objective. This is what all my current work is leading up to. This will be the summit of two years of hard work. It will also be the start of my new highest level. From here I will gain competitive momentum and work towards future years of successful muscle growth.
I keep a weekly log based on how effective my week has been. I list the great things that have occurred and how I can further enhance these and also list the bad things that happened, and take the appropriate measure to make sure that I don't repeat those short-comings again.
How the Body-For-Life Challenge Will Catapult Me Onto My Future Goals
This time I have devised a solid plan for the competition. I have built the 'Body-For-Life' contest into my long term goals. The main focus of my planned one year goal is to compete in a bodybuilding show in 2003. With this in mind I am using the 12 week challenge to gain momentum and focus towards being my best when I step on stage again for the first time since 1996.
I'm happy to report that since following this schedule of daily self-evaluation I am experiencing my best training period ever. I'm constantly increasing my performance in the gym and have consistently lost body fat over the past five weeks. I'm right on track to make my 12 week goals a reality and my motivation is at an all time high.
I hope that by reading this some readers will find the value of not only setting the goal setting, but also how using daily self-assessment will take your training and physique up a notch, and you'll experience great rewards.
After the 12 hard weeks are completed I will have feel like I have won the 'Body-For-Life' Challenge regardless of what happens when it is finally judged at the end of the year. Success will be gained through the achievement of my goals and by setting myself up for future progress. That's what the competition is really about, taking your physique, training and mind to a new level, and if you can achieve that then you have won too. Of course, if you walk away winning the $100,000 grand prize that wouldn't be too bad either!
Set your goals, train hard, assess yourself daily and achieve your dreams.
All the best,