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I want to share the best experience of my life with all those who have dreams and choose not to act on them. My name is Ryan Price and I am an amateur bodybuilder. I am sharing this with you in hopes to inspire and motivate those who have not acted upon their dreams. I hope you enjoy it.
It was the middle of February when I made the decision to compete in my first bodybuilding competition. I remember the moment like it was just yesterday. The owner of Bodybuilding.com who happens to be a truly great friend of mine were just talking about competitions, and he just started talking to me about entering my first competition. He wasn't telling me that I should compete, he was demanding that I compete. I kept saying I'll wait till next year, and his reply was too bad you are competing this year in the next local competition.
I gave some excuses right away like I want to get a little bigger first, or I am just not ready to do what it takes. But what a man he just replied, "you are competing". For about twenty minutes he just persisted on motivating me to make the decision to just do it. Finally I was so inspired just by listening to him determined to get me to say yes, I simply said, "I'm going to do it".
From that moment on there was no doubt in my mind that I was ready and willing to begin my dream of bodybuilding competitions, and for that I am forever indebted to him. This most valuable conversation occurred about six months to competition day. Thank you Ryan Deluca.
4 Months to Competition Day
Body weight: 240 lbs.
Body fat: 24 percent
The first phase of competition started with starting a daily cardio session of one hour a day and lifting heavy five days a week. I kept my reps at eight to ten reps a set; usually four to five sets per muscle group. Being that far out still I wanted to keep reps low and weight high as possible. I had to make drastic changes to my diet if I was going to cut of the weight that I needed to, and at that point I needed to cut about fifty pounds of fat.
My first phase of diet consisted of chicken, lean ground beef, and egg whites for protein. My carbs started with mostly rice, potatoes, with a few servings of pasta each week. This phase of diet was relatively easy because I enjoy cooking very much and enjoy those basic foods. I'm not saying I had no cravings for some garbage, but the cravings were minimal. This part of diet lasted about a month and a half. I lost about fifteen pounds and had not lost any strength in my weight training. So I would have to say that the beginning phase was relatively painless.
Phase Two Diet
I put phase one of my diet together myself, but was not sure of knowledge to take me where I needed to go. So I consulted the best. Todd Ophiem now a pro bodybuilder and friend of mine advised me on the rest of my diet. So we started with basically the same food only taking out pasta for carbs, and sticking with rice, potatoes, and green veggies. But then began the notorious carb depleting process. All I have to say about carb depletion is "just leave me alone".
I started carb depleting two and a half months out. I depleted three days a week for one month. The second week of depleting I saw great improvements. Even though depleting makes you extremely moody, seeing the changes makes it worth while, and is extremely necessary. I could best describe the frame of mind when carb depleting, and no offense to women, as major PMS. You are extremely tired by day three not wanting to do anything let alone interact with people, even those closest to you, but your strength takes a nosedive. Working in some thermogenics helps.
Two months out I changed my weight training to low weight and high reps. Going fifteen to twenty reps per set, still going four to five sets per muscle group. I then began training two muscle groups a day six days a week. You could say that at two months out in this phase of depletion and weight training was hell. Some days were better than others were. But some days it would take every ounce of determination to get me through the doors of Gold's Gym, the only place to train as far as I am concerned.
One and a Half Months to Go
At this time I began doing cardio two hours a day, one hour in the morning before breakfast and one hour in the evening after weight training. I also began posing on a regular basis, every other day. Starting with the eight mandatory poses, holding each pose for thirty seconds each twice through. Posing is an amazing work out all on its own. I would be so carb depleted and tired from lifting and cardio I sometimes would just want to break down and quit posing, but I knew that posing is so important. I had seen competitions where guys new nothing of posing and looked awful on stage because they did not know how to show what they had, and that was not going to happen to me. I also had another friend who had great skills showing me how to pose and also motivating me to get through it.
At this point I was always craving something, anything. It did not matter what it was, bread, pasta, pizza, and it angered me that I could not give myself what I wanted. That was not the only factor that angered me, every factor angered me. It did not matter what it was it pissed me off, and there was nothing I could do to cheer myself up. Some days for no reason I would just ask myself why I was doing this, but the reasons for sticking with it outweighed the reasons for quiting about a thousand to one; I was determined to get through it.
One Month Out
At one month out I was down to nine percent bodyfat. This is where the fear set in. Some days just thinking I was not going to be ready. Worrying it would all be for nothing. My relationship with my future wife was distant due to the carb depletion. But she was so amazing through it all. On bad days she would tell me to just go be alone because she new I could not even handle having a conversation without getting pissed off for no reason whatsoever. She would not even argue with me because she new it was not me that was lashing out.
We were to be married two weeks after the show so I had to plan a large wedding as well as keep myself together. So a very important piece of advice to anyone considering competition: Discuss it with your partner and make sure they understand that it is not going to be easy for both of you, it is definitely a team effort, and I had an incredible teammate on my side. She could see how much it meant to me, and she supported me in every way possible. Thank you to the most wonderful woman I have ever had the pleasure of having in my life.
My weight training at a month out was a joke. My strength had left me now. Most strength had been cut in half now. Just lifting to maintain as much muscle as possible not even caring about how much weight I was putting up. I was so used to lifting so heavy and having all the strength there when I needed it, which was gone now. That was a major mental hardship trying to tell myself it would come back after this was over. I would just cringe seeing guys in the gym almost half my size put up more weight than I could.
I won't lie to you; I cheated here and there. During the last month I would break down and had some pizza or candy. I of course would beat myself up after the cheating, and vowed to never make that mistake again when dieting for competition. I always made sure I made myself pay the next day by doing more cardio than usual.
Two Weeks to Show Time
I woke up on a Saturday two weeks before the show and walked over to the mirror. I did not even recognize the person looking back at me, muscles popping out, lines of definition everywhere. That was definitely an amazing moment for me. I could not believe what I had done to my body. It was like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. I got a recharge of motivation that was badly needed to get me through the next two weeks.
Each day it was getting harder and harder. Just to go to work and work on the computer seemed meaningless because all I could think of was what I needed to do next to improve myself, which at two weeks out is not much. At two weeks out you know if you are ready to roll or go hide under a rock and give up. But I was definitely ready to get out there and show it, but still having those moments of not being sure of myself.
It was wonderful having the support of everybody in the Gym. Even people that I had never talked to in the gym would come up to me to give me a compliment of encouragement. People that I had not seen in months would not even recognize me in the gym. That just told me how far I had come, and how much I had improved my body.
One Week "HELL WEEK"
Now we have come to the week we have all been waiting for? seven days of hell. Calling it hell week is no exaggeration either. I only ate green veggies for carbs with a cup of rice once in a while. I ate about two hundred grams of protein a day consisting of chicken and turkey. I was drinking at least a gallon and a half of water a day.
I would be so depleted every time I would stand up I would almost fall from a head rush. Especially through those last few workouts. It was during this time that I was really realizing that I had lost too much muscle. I had lost about eight to ten pounds of lean body mass from dieting too hard at the end, but this was my first go at it so it did not get me down.
Nothing could get me down at this point. I had lost fifty pounds of fat from my body.
I quit working out on the Wednesday before the Saturday show. That was an amazing feeling knowing I didn't have to go back to the gym till after the show was over. I still went in every day and went through all of the posing. The night before the show I slept with my legs raised above my body to keep the blood out, everything counts.
The Big Show
I woke up to my alarm with a grin on my face. Everything I had done for the last four months was for this day and this day only. All my sweat, blood and tears had gone into the preparation for this moment in my life. I got up and had some breakfast, consisting of two pieces of toast, two eggs and some baby food, yes you heard me, baby food. Baby food is great carbs and it is extremely light in the stomach. It does not taste bad either. I got dressed and was on my way to the pre-judging. I stopped and bought myself a new gymasdf for the special occasion.
I got to the competition and we started weighing in right away. I came in at 176 lbs. It was at that moment I new I had lost too much muscle. But it did not phase me; it just told me to do things a little different next year. I entered the light heavy open and the novice class so I had to go out twice. There were five competitors in the open and ten in the novice. I had no idea where I stood, none whatsoever. I just went out and did everything I could.
I have definitely realized that pre-judging is boring and not too many people come to see it, but I still enjoyed the hell out of myself. How could I not, I had worked too damn hard not to enjoy every single second of it. During the novice pre-judging they had ten competitors so they would have five in front and five in back. But you had to stay tense even if you were in the back.
We were on stage for a good twenty minutes. When my legs would go loose without me noticing my corner always had my back yelling "nice legs #19", that was a clue to stay tight. It was so exciting to see the judges bring me out with the top five in front, which alone made everything worth it. So pre-judging is over and you have five to six hours to kill. So I went home and watched some movies and ate my potatoes and chicken. I still could hardly drink anything. Even though the judging was done I wanted to look the very best that I could for the crowd. I did not even think about the night show in front of me. I just relaxed as much as possible.
The Night Show
When I got to the show it was amazing to see all of the people there to cheer us on. It was completely different from the pre-judging; every seat in the house was full. My adrenaline started pumping right away. I went into the back stage area and started pumping up to get ready for the stage. I didn't have a second of nervousness, I could not wait to get on stage in front of the crowd and have some fun. The judging was over so this was all for fun and the fans.
My First Routine
They called my name and it was time to get it on. I walked on stage and posed to Limp Bizkits remake of Faith. It was the most amazing feeling I have ever felt in my life. My adrenaline is pumping more than ever and I have hundreds of people cheering me on, if that isn't awesome I don't know what is. I did my routine better than I could have imagined. But I did not want to stop there, I had worked so hard for this that I wanted it to last as long as possible. So first I visited the right side of the crowed and through my arms in the air bringing the crowd to a rumble. I gave them a couple most-muscular poses and they went crazy. Then I made my way over to the left throwing my arms up again. The crowed got even louder. At that moment it was my contest. I was on top of the world.
I could have placed last and it would have made no difference to me. After that they brought the light-heavy weights out for pose down. That was great the crowd roared again so I just jump to the front of the stage and gave all my best poses again. Then we got back in line and I placed fourth out of five in that class. Of course it would have nice to do better but it was my first contest and I was the only rookie in the class so I was pretty much satisfied. I was also in the novice class so they brought up all the rookies. There were ten of us so the pose down was fun. I placed fourth out of ten in the novice class so I was completely satisfied with that placing.
This experience was a big change in my life mentally and physically. I now keep my diet very clean, and my training more intense than ever. Next year I will not settle for fourth place. I now keep my body fat about twenty pounds from contest weight.
Next year I will come in at 190 lbs. and my body fat will down to at least five- percent. I plan on at least one show next year, possibly two depending on where I am at physically. My long-term goal is to compete in the Olympics in four to eight years, and I know I can do it. So now that bodybuilding has become an official sport of the Olympics I have found my motivation for the next four years, and if it does not happen in four years I'll have another four years of motivation. So if any of you are thinking about competing don't think it, just do it. I give you my word that it will change your life.
By reading this testimonial I hope to have given you a taste of the experience, and some motivation to go after what you want in life. In closing I would like to give deepest thanks to Ryan Deluca CEO of Bodybuilding.com, if not for him any of this would have been possible. But for last I give my deepest love and thanks to my wife for putting up with a very angry man for four months, and supporting me all the way. I hope you have benefited from reading this in some way, and hope to see you on the stage!
Supplements Used - Click for a description.
Your Questions Answered!
I'm a teenager from Western Australia. I've been training for a while and at the moment I am pretty much training for a contest in about 45 weeks time. I'm looking to cut about 10 percent bodyfat to get me to about 10 percent. I can stay there until a few weeks out from the contest. It's also summer over here so I gotta look good. I've got sufficient muscle mass so I'm not really worried about losing muscle mass.
What I need help with is my diet - pretty much my diet is screwed. I do nothing but eat 50% 'good' foods and 50% 'junk' food. It just gives me the craps.
I don't have time to cook anything or anything like that but could you please give me an idea of what a diet should be like for a day and what foods to eat which are cheap and can be prepared with little or no stress. I'm quite an experienced bodybuilder but I just can't seem to get my diet. Your story was inspirational!
It's great to hear that my story was inspirational to you and I really appreciate your response. So let's get right down to business shall we?
First you're going to want to be at 10% bodyfat more than a few weeks before show time if you want to do some damage on the stage, and I know you do. I would shoot for 10% at six to seven weeks out so those last few percent can come off reasonably slowly to maintain as much muscle mass as possible. Believe me you will thank me if you do, otherwise you will either lose too much muscle mass, or not lose enough fat in those last weeks of preparation.
By being at 10% six weeks out you should shed the last four to five percent comfortably in those last six to seven weeks. I would even try to be at 10% eight weeks out just to make it that much easier on yourself and giving you plenty of time to get shredded. Most of the experienced competitors I workout with start eight weeks out at eight percent. But these are top competitors who know their body chemistry to the T and have years of experience.
So first of all we have to get you to that point of ten percent. So I would make that a ten week goal. I would shoot for a loss of about 1% a week. As long as you can cut the junk food out of your diet that goal should be very attainable. I completely know how your eating habits are. You are in the exact position I was in when I started. I was at 20% as well and had the diet of at least 50% garbage. So when you decide to start I am right there with you buddy!
You have to make the decision to just do it. It's not easy but you just have to tell yourself everyday that you can do this. Then from that point on no junk food except on your cheat day if you choose to have one. One of my biggest suggestions is to cook one or two days worth of meals at one time. Just cook a ton and put it in plastic containers so all you have to do is grab and eat. Believe me this will make life less stressful.
Here is a one day meal breakdown that I have put together for you. I was weighing about 240 lbs. when I started my program. I have found that ground turkey burger is very low in fat and cost effective.
If possible do at least 45 minutes of cardio first thing in morning then have a meal replacement or protein shake. I would suggest Myoplex by EAS or if on a limited budget Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey with a piece of fruit for carbs.
Meal 2 (1 and a half to 2 hours later)
6 to 8 ounces ground turkey or low fat beef
one potato or one cup of rice
vegetable of your choice - preferably green veggie
Meal 3 (2 and a half to three hours later)
6 ounces of chicken or turkey burger
2 slices wheat bread
green salad - easy on the dressing
Meal 4 (2 and a half to 3 hours later)
meal replacement or protein shake
6 ounces of chicken or turkey or fish
one potatoe or cup of rice or pasta - easy on pasta portion
veggie of choice
If possible stick with rice and potatos for your carbs. If you want to maximize fat loss, pasta and bread are not the best choice. You could sub in steak or lean ground beef a couple days a week.
Think of your body as a fire burning. If you keep adding wood to it consistantly it burns hot continuously. But if you just let it burn down then throw on a big log it just smolders. Thats the idea of five meals a day, your body will start to burn fat all through the day. If possible I would suggest a thermogenic like Xenadrine by Cytodyne Technologies wich would help burn more fat on a daily basis.
Last thoughts: Keep your carbs at about 250 to 300 grams a day, your protein at one and a half grams per pound of body weight and keep your calories at 2000. I hope this information is useful to you and wish you all the luck in your bodybuilding goals. If you ever have any questions at all feel free to ask and I will reply to you as soon as possible.
Always keep your head high and always know you can do it because you can. At Bodybuilding.com we are always here for our customers.
P.S. keep us updated on your progress.