Finally, after eight weeks of intense dieting and training, I have made it to the final week before the competition. What I do this week will make the difference between a first and second place finish. During the final week, I will pay close attention to my body and recognize any necessary adjustments. No time for mistakes!!!
The cravings have doubled now and I seem to be in a state of constant hunger. During the final three weeks, I have reduced my caloric intake and reduced my six meal diet to five. This has taken a toll on my psyche. I begin to question why I even do this! Is it worth it all??!!! That's a question I continue to answer with a euphoric, "Hell Yes"! My Sunday training will be legs (quads and hams), calves, abs. I train with as much intensity (high reps) that my body will allow. This will be my last leg training before the contest. Why? It's to prevent the onset of water retention that results following a hard leg routine. Training legs will send the body into a state of shock which will cause a natural physiological response that causes water retention. My Sunday diet will be the same as before with the following adjustments. As I previously mentioned, I will eat only five meals instead of the six. I also have switched to eating whiting fish for at least two of my meals. I do this to further reduce my calories, I love whiting fish, and because it's rich in omega-3 oils that are important for stimulating hormonal activity. I add salt to every meal. I'll tell you why later in the week. I have also increased my amino intake to help reduce muscle tissue loss as a result of my low-carb diet. All other supplementation is the same except I will add creatine (1 tsp) per meal for the entire week. Finally, during this week, I will cut-out all cardio. This is a true benefit of off-season diet maintenance. Without, sticking to your diet during the off-season as well as during contest preparation, you WILL be doing cardio during the final week!!! Posing practice has increased to two 30 minute sessions. My water intake is about 1 1/2 to 2 gallons per day.
On Monday, my training will be chest and arms (high reps) with as much intensity as I can muster, I will continue with the same diet as on Sunday with the exception that my 5th meal will be a carb-loading meal as detailed in article #7. Don't forget to add the salt!!! This will be the last carb-loading day before the show. It's a truely sad affair, booohooo!!, but it will make me more tight and hard for the show which makes it well worth the sacrifice. Posing still for two 30 minute sessions. Water intake still 1 1/2 to 2 gallons!!
Tuesday I will train back as intense as I can with again, high reps. Again, I will eat five meals throughout the day and add salt to each meal with the same supplementation. I'm really starting to feel the effects now!! My body is getting leaner by the minute. My striations are at an all time high and I can see the fingers in my glutes!!!!!! As much as I feel the suffering, I am re-affirmed by the visual results that I'm obtaining. Posing, again, for two 30 minute sessions. Keep drinking the water!!!!
Today is my last training day. No more training before the show! Only posing practice. I will train shoulders and abs with high reps and as much intensity as I have left. My confidence level is beginning to rise because I see that I'm peaking on schedule and leaving nothing to chance. Only two days to survive!!! My diet and supplementation is the same today. Posing practice for a full hour straight. More...more...more...water.
No training today. This makes me feel a little more alive. The sense of rest from the intensity that I must create in the gym makes me feel re-energized. I have more time for other things like, applying competition tan, posing, and concentrating on the finer details of my diet. The adjustments to my diet today are: cutting my sodium intake by 50%, removing any fibrous vegetables, reducing water intake by 25%, and taking 2-99 mg potassium tablets every hour. I know what you're thinking, "What are fibrous vegetables and why is it important to remove them??!!!". The truth is that I'm not sure what a non-fibrous vegetable is , however, I do look at the nutritional contents and try to find vegetables that are low in fiber. The reason it is important to reduce its intake is that fibrous vegetables reduce the absorption rate of protein which is a very much needed resource while in this stage of dieting. The potassium I added is over the counter and helps maintain a proper electrolyte balance. Remember, NO CARB-LOAD MEAL TODAY!!! This will be hard to do but I must remember the goal I have set!!! Lastly, I will practice posing for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on how I feel.
I have made it through the week and it's the eve of the day that I have thought about, trained for, and dieted to prepare for. Am I ready? Have I done all that I could do to win? Have I committed to doing what it takes to win? Is my posing perfected enough? Many more things will enter my mind today. More doubts and more questions. I have accepted this as a reality that must be encountered. I know that, if I can answer "yes" to all these questions, I will have no regrets regardless of the outcome on Saturday. As was the case on Thursday, I will not train again today. My dietary adjustments will be, reducing water by an additional 25%, eliminating any sodium, and 2-99 mg potassium every hour. Also, for this entire day, I will eat 6-8 oz. very lean beef and 1/2 grapefruit for six meals. Sounds like a lot but believe me, it's not!!! I will practice posing for 45 minutes to an hour. I'll also apply a final coat of competition tan before bed. One last thing before bed is a couple glasses of red wine. The purpose of the wine is to help prevent the release of a hormone that causes water retention. The hormone is released due to the nervous excitement that I experience based on the pending competition. More than that, it sure tastes good!!! Now I'm ready. When I rise tomorrow, I will be in the "ZONE" and ready to take on the world, I say to myself, "It's game time." Lights out....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
Important Points to Remember:
The most important advice I can give is that it is crucial to your success as a beginning bodybuilder to realize the importance of off-season diet maintenance. Maintaining a diet program in the off-season will avoid the agonizing effect of a "last minute" crash diet. A proper off-season diet allows more flexibility while in contest preparation. It may even mean little or no cardio depending on your body type. A little sacrifice in the off-season will reap substantial rewards when you need it the most.
Another important point is stretching. If you want to maximize the striations and separations that will set you apart from the rest of the competition, then s-t-r-e-t-c-h as often and as much as possible. Stretching promotes greater muscle growth as well.
Finally, always be prepared. That means, plan your entire day with the thought of competing in mind. Prepare as many meals in advance based on your schedule and where-abouts. If I know I will be on the go all day, I will prepare protein meal replacement shakes that I can easily and conveniently consume on-the-go. I'll also take along low-carb protein bars as an alternative. This makes it easy for me to avoid missing a meal and falling victim to the fast-food monster that lurks on every street corner!!!
In my next article I will talk about an entire day of competition. All the frills, chills, and excitement that keeps me coming back for more. Like anything in life, there has to be some level of satisfaction gained for all the sacrifice. See you next article!!
"Don't ever stop trying to get to where you always wanted to be. The moment you stop trying, Is the moment your dream stops coming true."