You also will want to take a protein shake before you run to lessen the catabolic effects of running which can eat away your muscle. Also you will want to have a post run meal consisting of carbs and protein to repair, replenish glycogen stores and stop muscle breakdown.
A 4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein is ideal in the fitness world nowadays. You might want to try running in the morning where glycogen stores are low. This means your body will tap into fat for energy. But you might lose muscle which is why you should consume a protein shake 15 minutes before your run.
Do cardio a minimum of 3 times a week for 30 minutes if your new to it. Gradually you want to build up to 30-45 minutes max for 4-5 sessions a week.
What are some of your other plans for entering the contest at your best?
Basically you want to keep a good diet and good training program.
Another thing you can do is practice flexing and posing. Believe it or not, flexing can take out fluid in your body making you more defined. So flex a lot of the time, it's also good for developing control of certain muscles which is good for training since you can concentrate easier on different muscle groups.
Also I will limit the salt I intake since it promotes water retention making someone less defined. You only need about 2000 Mg a day for most people. Don't get me wrong and not eat salt, you need it or else you will die, just don't eat salt loaded foods like chips and fries.
Stop your creatine 4 weeks before competition to be safe. Creatine retains water which also makes your muscles less defined and it takes a while to cycle out of your system. Also you won't be making magnificent gains in 4 weeks of cutting with or without creatine.
Fiber is also something to keep in mind for staying defined. Fiber helps you stay regular or in other words go poo.
Excreting this helps you cleanse your body of toxins as well as expelling fluids that will lessen muscle definition. All though all these things won't make a huge difference, it will help a little bit, and all the little things help when competing.
Posing is also a good way of entering at your best. Practice posing in front of a mirror or another person and see what they think. If you look good but you can't pose and don't show your muscles off properly, then all that training is wasted.
Get Some Sleep:
There isn't much else to say but get some sleep so you can concentrate for your big day. Maybe try some yoga or something if you're nervous.
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Tips For Shredding
What are you going to do to get shredded? What tips can you give others?
Again there isn't a whole lot I can say since 99% of your contest prep is in training and diet which I already explained, and I already told you above what you can do to enter a competition at your best.
I guess I can tell you the supplements you can use to help you get shredded.
First of all eating 6 times a day isn't always easy. That's why protein bars are very good for this.
Remember you want to limit your carbs. But although a bar may say there are only say 4 carbs or something, they may add sugar alcohol which act similarly to carbs and are actually pretty much carbs with just less calories.
Companies just don't list them because they don't have to and sugar alcohol's aren't classified as carbs yet. Things that contain malitol, sorbitol, Xylitol and other sugar alcohol's aren't recommended while cutting. But it still is ok to take it if you can't find a bar without them.
Just make sure you don't take too many grams of sugar alcohol's because it will act like carbs and stop your fat burning process and you wont be as ripped. It can also cause diarrhea if consumed too much and make sure you don't go Atkins style and totally eliminate carbs in other parts of the day.
Although I wouldn't do it because I don't like fat burners, it could be the thing for you. It will help you burn fat and cut up for a competition. Some also suppress appetites meaning you could be able to eat under your carb maintenance level easier.
Whey protein as you probably know adds on lean muscle mass which is what we want, so if your going into competition whey protein is almost essential. The next fastest absorbing protein is egg whites but that would be even more expensive than using whey protein.
Cardio & Diet
Most of all I'm going to follow a consistent cardio program and diet to start cutting fat. My training program will also be well planned to make last minute minor changes and gain a little mass.
Of course the gains won't be as good when your bulking since you need excess calories to gain muscle fast (But it also makes you less defined when you bulk).
What are you going to do for a tan? Are you going to use a certain product? If so, when will you start it? What will you use?
Since I'm Chinese, my skin color is already dark. I don't have to tan as long to get good skin color. I can just go to the beach a couple of weeks before my contest and tan it out by turning over a couple of times to get all my body parts. But you must make sure to get all your body parts!
A tanned upper body will look horrible on pale white legs. That is why it may be easier to use a tanning salon which tans your whole body in this little chamber. All body parts are tanned and you can wear a skin tight Speedo to get your upper legs without embarrassing yourself.
The problem is that these tanning salons if gone to frequently may cause skin cancer. It could be a rumor or it could be the truth, but I would rather stay away from them.
There is also another alternative that is relatively new. It is a cosmetic spray that you apply to your body that colors the skin and makes it look like you have a tan.
You have to apply this a few days before competition since it only lasts for a couple weeks or so. This is probably the most convenient, but again I have no clue what chemicals they use in that and I wouldn't want to use that on my skin.
It could cause my skin harm but I really don't know so I think I will be safe and not use it. It could be alright if you need a last minute tan because you forgot about it or something.
3rd Place - bigcalves
How Do You Prepare For A Bodybuilding Competition With Only 4 Weeks Out?
Let's face it, bodybuilding is one of the hardest sports. It takes a special mindset, discipline, patience, and consistency. Bodybuilders are a special breed. We have goals and we are determined to reach, no matter what.
Called 'perfectionists' or 'vein' bodybuilders are what we are. To some people eating 8-10 meals might be vein and self-centered, but to me making a stamp collection and spending all your money on paper with ink pictures on it is a boring, self-centered lifestyle. By bodybuilding, we increase our longevity, make ourselves healthier and more aware of our bodies.
Bodybuilders are the only athletes on the planet training for looks and that's what sets us apart from every other person on earth. Talk about unique. Along with bodybuilding, sacrifices come along. Sparing time to workout, to eat each planned meal, and resting will take away most of your day. It's not a hobby, but a lifestyle that we choose.
So you've spent years, even decades on building your body. You've imagined how it would look from the day you started lifting, and every day since then until now, and you will also imagine yourself getting bigger and more improved. Now it's time to show off all your hard work. By competing in a contest you will see what you're made out of. Sure, tons of people underestimate bodybuilders and say that all they do is take drugs, tan and then go on stage. That's the jealousy talking, you and they know it.
Now back to the contest. Competing will give you a sense of pride and maturity/wisdom that you never had. Bodybuilding is not all about the body, but the mind also. You need to be strong and conditioned in your mind to withstand challenges. Being in a contest will bring a lot of them out, so you better be ready.
Temptation of quitting your diet and workout are only a small part. You will start to say in your mind,
"Am I crazy?", or "What am I doing this for?"
Even when you overcome and actually get ready for the contest, competition day will also be challenging. You will as yourself if you look good, then you will compare yourself to others. Even when that passes, stage fright and nervousness might set in.
As you can tell a bodybuilding contest is very challenging and comes with a lot of down sides. But I believe there's more positives than negatives. Competing will give you a sense of pride and strength. Not only physically but emotionally and mentally also. You will feel way better.
There is no feeling on earth to describe how you feel after a contest. It feels great. Just stepping on stage and seeing thousands (OK maybe less than that sometimes) of people looking at you. You get an incredible 'pump' that is very hard to describe.
As you can tell it's not about the trophy. Winning the trophy is just the topping of the cake, like getting your last rep in on a hard arm workout. But even if you don't win, that's okay, and you will get a lot out of the experience. You will have fun showing your body off, and at the end you will win. Even if you don't come in first, you will gain a lot of motivation for building yourself, and as bodybuilderÃ?'Æ'Ã‚Â¢Ã?'Â¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ã?'â€šÃ‚Â¦ motivation is needed.
Prepare For The Challenge
Like I said, competing will give you a lot of benefits. First of all it will be loads of fun; it's not torture. If you don't have anything to loose, there's tons of things to gain.
The feeling of changing your body and being in control is unbelievable. Millions of people each day try to take control of their life's and fail. But you will be able to set a goal, make a plan, achieve it and be in control for the whole 10 or 14 weeks that you are preparing.
It will be exciting and challenging at the same time. Trust me, I have not me anybody that ever competed and regrets it. There are some that will never do it again, but they do not regret competing in the first place.
The adrenaline rush when competing is amazing. It feels like pumping out the last rep on a set of heavy squats. Your stomach is full with overgrown butterfly's and you are trying to stay in control. And all your doing is standing on stage and posing.
Bodybuilding is an art form. By competing you are showing off your body and telling the world that you work hard and that you cherish every sweat, tear and blood drop that comes out of you. It says that you are disciplined and that you live a life worth living.
You are not just a slacker waiting for the days to go by until they die. You have a desire for life, you have challenges, and you will let nothing stand in front of your goals. Bodybuilding is a form of expression and by competing you are taking it to a next step. You are going public.
You will gain tons of discipline and wisdom out of competing. You will be able to see how hard bodybuilders actually work. Your self esteem will be high, you will feel good about yourself and what you accomplished, and at the end that's all that counts.
There is a saying that goes: 'Winning isn't everything', and it is right. When you compete in a bodybuilding show, it's not about winning, but about gaining important values through your experience. But hey, I wouldn't mind getting a 1st place trophy!
What is your training routine going to be like?
Weight training and cardio can be tough. All the cardio and weight training that you don't have energy for. Since your food intake will get lower, so you can burn fat, you will increase your cardio. That will make you feel very moody.
Low food supply and higher burning of energy will turn into exhaustion. You will be moody and won't feel like talking to people, especially in the last 3-4 weeks. Weight training will suck also. All your lifts will go down (lbs) and that will usually result in a loss of motivation and asking questions.
Also you will ask yourself if you look too small or too fat and might regret why you started the process in the first place. It is no walk in the park and most average people that cannot get through a hard leg workout will not get through this. This is not for whiners or 'girlie men' but if you look at it in the end it will be a positive benefit from all the hard work you did.
Even though it will be hard, when you are on stage it will be well worth it. Even though it's not going to be that long you will understand why you did it. The last 4 weeks are the hardest and that's the 'do or die' time for any bodybuilder. Pro or amateur, that's when you will find out if you really want it.
Since you will be low on energy, there's no point to go heavy. You will be setting up yourself for injury if you go for 3-6 reps, because at this time your joints will be weaker, and your power will be below normal.
Think about it, you will NOT gain muscle when your barely meeting your caloric needs. The point now is to create good muscle separation, work on posing, and making good striations because that's the moment that this should happen.
Striations on shoulders and chest always impress judges and working on those and squeezing those parts in between sets will be beneficial for that. Also make sure your load is less, and the reps are higher.
Take fewer brakes so you keep your pulse up in the fat burning level and control each rep as your joints and tendons are not at their best at the moment; hurting those will make posing a nightmare.
Make sure you get some sleep so your body can recover, and before every weight training session have a good amount of carbs, so you can have energy and keep yourself from going catabolic during the workout.
Workout as usual and train all your body parts like you always do, except with lighter loads, less reps, and shorter breaks with a lot of squeezing in between. Here is a simple split that always works for me.
- Monday- Chest and Triceps
- Tuesday- Legs
- Wednesday- OFF
- Thursday- Shoulders and Biceps
- Friday- OFF
- Saturday- Back and abs
- Sunday- OFF
Cardio is very important at this stage of the game (4 weeks out). You want to have minimum body fat at the day of the show, and now is the time to work on that.
The last week is more about getting rid of water rather than fat. So by now you should be lean, but still have little bit you can work for. I would suggest 4-6 cardio sessions per week, keeping in mind that your weight training and cardio are at least 6 hours apart.
Otherwise your body will over train, especially when your eating less. That can be a very bad experience. Your mood will be affected because you will be tired.
Your daily tasks will seem harder, but hey it's all worth it at the end! Also make sure to talk to your boss about what your doing, and explain that you can get mad easily and that you are very hungry!
Anyways, here is the perfect cardio routine for keeping the mass and loosing the fat.
- Monday - 35 minute jog
- Tuesday - HIIT 20 minutes
- Wednesday - HIIT 20 minutes
- Thursday - 35 minute low impact swim
- Friday - HIIT 20 minutes
- Saturday - OFF
- Sunday - OFF
What is your diet going to consist of?
Diet is very important at this point. It's that important and can make or break you for your contest. It's very easy to gain water weight, and even if your body fat is low you won't look good on stage.
Your mood will be affected by your diet, and some say that this is the hardest part, but the discipline you get is unreal. You will still eat the same foods but you will eliminate all the foods with sodium.
Make sure you don't eat any canned foods and that all your protein sources are low sodium whey, no sodium (aka dry) chicken breast and very lean fish that's also dry.
Foods such as beef jerky, hamburgers are very, very bad for you at this moment. They will retain water, and with most males, that will occur in the ab/back region and that will be very critical for you.
Also all your veggies and carbs have to be sodium free too. Most people don't do this, and like different foods, but I always eat the same for the 4 weeks before the contest. I mean come on, it's only 4 weeks. I only eat dry chicken, veggies and dry brown rice. Sure the amounts lower as the contest approaches but I eat the same.
Here's a short list of my diet at the 4 weeks out stage. My usual split is 40/30/30 (protein/carbs/fat). But it can vary from person to person.
- Dry Chicken Breast
- Dry Brown Rice
- Veggies (no carrots, high sugar)
Also my caloric intake gets low. I never go lower than 1000 calories per day, but at the last week things can change depending on my water level. I also cycle up my carbs so I have 3 days of higher carbs and 4 days of lower carbs for the day.
I make sure I switch them up so I can find out which works for me, and before every contest my body reacts differently. Also make sure that you are getting enough protein, which can be expensive at contest time.
I tend to have almost no fats at my last week. I maintain a lean diet and take fish oils in pill form. Water intake will range, but at the last week, I tend to drink a lot and then stop the day before so my body can dry out and look it's best. Here are some diet tips.
- Microwave almost everything to dry it out
- Chicken breast is your friend
- No canned food, as they contain high sodium
- No egg whites as they have sodium too
- Low fat diet for the most part
What are some of your other plans for entering the contest at your best? What are you going to do to get shredded? What tips can you give others?
Bodybuilding is not all physical, there's tons of other aspects that you need to focus on. Physical and mental also need tons of focus and preparation.
You have to find a room with a lot of mirrors. Then you should practice almost every day before the 4 weeks end. Posing is not only an art form that you need to master but it takes a lot out of you.
If you don't practice, but still know what to do you will be in trouble. Posing requires endurance and cardio vascular strength. Make sure you eat something sweet before your contest so you can have energy to pose, and to bring out your vascularity.
Remember that if you don't know how to show what you have, most judges will overlook you even if you have a better back or shoulders, but if you don't know how to display them at their best you are in trouble.
You have to prepare mentally. What if you win? What if you lose? Don't be discouraged or too happy. Take it like a man and go on. Being mentally prepared will help you perform at your best without any mistakes from being nervous or scared.
Visualize your body and how each part looks good and how when you flex it and do your mandatory poses. Imagine your body and the feeling from being tired but still going on. This will help you as you will know what to expect. Also don't look at other people before the contest as you will think you look smaller.
Don't be intimidated if there's someone that's clearly better than you, after all there's always going to be someone better. So instead of whining about it, just take it like a man and go out there and show your best, and if you win good, if you don't then you'll get them next year.
Jay Cutler hasn't given up because of Ronnie's wins, but he is still going strong and knows that one day his time will come.
Shaving is very important. Hair kills definition and that's something you don't want on the stage. Also make sure your skin is not sensitive. Shave your whole body 4 weeks out, and maintain very short and neat.
Then at 1 week out I suggest going to a waxing place, and waxing your whole body. That way your hair won't have enough time to regrow, and the skin will be able to heal up and you won't have any marks or irritations. Also remember to shave your knee caps, because there's nothing funnier than someone with hairy knee caps on stage.
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Picking Your Music
Although it might not seem so important it is. Your music will help the judges interpret what kind of person you are. And although this is still bodybuilding, that can play a role. Never pick songs with cuss words in them, or something weird.
Pick music that makes you excited and helps you visualize your victory. For most people this is techno, but for some it might be rap or old school disco.
Doesn't matter as long as you and the audience like it, and as long as it helps you bring out the best in you. Try to coordinate your movements to the songs beat if possible.
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Although I discussed this in the diet part, I can still give you some more tips. Getting shredded is very important at 1-2 weeks out. Now, being shredded is not about body fat, but about the water in your body. I tend to hold water in my abs and back, so I have to take care of that via nutrition.
Take all sodium out and drink lots of water until 1 day before the competition. Then stop and you will get very lean and dry. I would suggest going tanning the night before so you can really make that paper thin look. Don't overdo it and always remember that the water will come back, but your health is always at risk.
Don't do anything stupid or dangerous especially if it's an amateur contest. I would understand it if you are going in at the Arnold Classic and you have the chance to make money and fame, but if you are going in for your gyms yearly competition it's stupid to risk your health.
In order to bring out muscle fullness and hardness we will not workout 3-4 days prior to the competition. Also remember to have sweets and carbs on the day of the competition so that you can bring out our vascular side, and also fill out your muscles.
Everybody reacts differently to carbs and the insulin spike that they've created. For some it's good to fill on carbs right before, and for others a few hours before.
It all depends on your body and you can feel free to experiment with this. I personally stop training 3 days before, and I eat some sort of sweets right before I go on stage but everyone is different.
What are you going to do for a tan? Are you going to use a certain product? If so, when will you start it? What will you use?
Sure you went tanning at a bed, but that will not be enough. The lights on stage are very bright. So after all your tanning session, it's time to apply the pre-contest tan. You will look weird and dark in front of your mirror, but trust me that once you get on stage you will look perfect.
For this we will use Pro Tan Instant Competition Color. This product is simply the best, and it's used by many pro's.
Bodybuilding.com sells this product at the best price you can find, and the quality is amazing. I wouldn't risk all my hard work and preparation on some cheap product that can ruin everything.
I would apply this the night before, and if you manage to get sleep, in the morning before the show use a sponge and apply evenly and have someone help you.
This is not that hard, but can ruin your show if not done properly, so ask someone that's competed or has tons of knowledge to help you apply it and spend the last few hours giving you tips for the contest.
Review Of Other Articles
Or "Why Wasn't Mine Picked?"
- Good content/seems to know what they are talking about.
- Writing/grammar was very poor.
- - Good information.
- - Good organization.
- Too little detail. More detail could have been added on what routine they follow, what types of foods they eat, etc.
- Too short. There could have been more tips on how to prepare for a contest.
The writer has the right ideas, and has good but limited information. UliqMadiq's article is a good example of a detailed and descriptive article. They go into detail on glycogen, sodium cycling, different foods, etc. They were very descriptive, which seems to be what this article is missing.
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