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Maximize Your Results Pre-Contest Journal - 6 Weeks Out.

I know that I promised to post a journal entry every week, I also know that I am a week late with this one. There is a reason. I was issued a challenge via email from a fellow competitor stating that he was going to beat me utilizing my own knowledge.

Note: This is week three, click here for week one!

Pre-Contest Journal

I know that I promised to send out a journal entry every week and I also know that I am a week late with this one. Well, there is a reason. I was issued a challenge via email from a from a fellow competitor stating that he was going to beat me utilizing my own knowledge. Well, to say that I love the challenge would be an understatement. But, as I thought about it I had to reconsider my strategy. If for only my own mental edge if anything else. You see, I am no genetic freak. My major attributes are my work ethic and my love for and knowledge of science and physiology.

I will be damned if I am going to help someone to beat me utilizing my own game plan. So, instead of my journal being an entry of the week to come it is now a reflection of what I have done. This will actually be better for those reading as it will allow me to give you feedback on the changes that I have utilized. And, my rivals will be a week behind me to boot!

Changes for the week:

30 minutes of added cardio - The past week I amped up my caloric output with increased cardio. My original plan was to do an extra high-intensity cardio stint after my last personal training appointment for the night. Well, Monday night came and I reconsidered this idea. I felt it would be better to wake up earlier in the morning and do it first thing before work, before showering, before anything else. This was a better decision because it gives me an extra metabolic boost early in the day, I can put forth much more effort after I have slept a few hours, and it doesn't interfere with my post-workout feedings.

The extra cardio I am did this past week was 10 minutes in duration. This may not sound like much, but couple it on top of everything else I am doing in my week, the last thing I really want to do is more cardio. I know that it will give me an extra edge not just metabolically, but alone it is extra calories burned...and we all know by now that the bottom line when losing weight/fat is you have to burn more calories than you consume. So, this little bit will go a long way in getting me ripped. I also plan to amp up the amount of these sessions I do in a week as well as the length of them.

For this past week, 10 minutes three times a week was a great start. On Tuesday morning, I hit the recumbent bike and on Wednesday and Saturday morning I ran. I haven't done much distance (so to speak) running since I played college football. Personally I hate it and I think it is a very counterproductive exercise to muscle building and I find it hard on my joints when I am heavier in weight. But, I also have noticed that the clients that I train that lose the most weight are the ones that run. I also feel that if you don't use it... you lose it!... my ability to run, that is.

So I have actually enjoyed the addition of running this past week. I am no marathoner obviously, since I am only running for 10 minutes at a shot. But my pace has been decent as I am getting in about a mile and a half each time.

Moving for a cool down - One other thing that I have added is a 5-10 minute walk outside after my normal afternoon cardio. This is another way to burn some extra calories and it adds a nice cool down after the high intensity bike ride. You know my motto - Move! Move! Move! And Keep Moving!!!

Workout Schedule:

Day 4:30AM 12:30PM 4:30PM
Monday     Abs and Back
Tuesday 10 minutes Bike 20 minutes Bike Chest
Wednesday   16 minutes Bike Calves, Quads, and Hamstrings
Thursday   20 minutes Bike Biceps, Triceps, and Forearms
Friday 10 minutes Run 16 minutes Bike Abs and Shoulders
Saturday 10 minutes Run 20 minutes Bike 16 minutes Stairmaster

Diet changes - The changes I have made in diet this week come from cutting 1/2 scoop of Creatine HSC (68 calories) from Pre and Post-workout and eliminating the rice cake (50 calories) from Post-workout #4 for a total reduction of 186 calories. I've also added 1/2 tsp. Micronized Creatine to Pre and Post workout to fill the creatine gap and as always I take 15 grams of GL3 L-Glutamine at those times, which aids in glycogen replenishment. I've also added 15 g of GL3 to Post-workout #4 to aid in glycogen replenishment and help make up for the absence of carbohydrates in that meal.

I have also added a meal on the mornings that I am doing the extra cardio. Those who have read my past articles know that I am adamantly against doing cardio on an empty stomach after a nighttime fast. Since I am waking up at 3:30AM to do my cardio and I don't usually have my first meal until 5:30AM, I have added one scoop of VP2, 10 grams of GL3, and my normal morning's 2 Dymetadrine at this time. Although this is a caloric increase of 100 calories, the net effect of the extra calories burned during my cardio and the metabolic boost I get from it still puts me in a major deficit range. This first meal is strategically ingested to blunt the catabolic effects of doing cardio on an empty stomach after that nighttime fast.

These small deficits in caloric intake and small increases in cardio and energy expenditure have been key in my steady fat loss, yet maintaining my muscle mass and strength.

Areas I Need To Improve On

Posing - I had all intentions of posing everyday this week. I had it in my mind that I would spend 15 minutes every day working on the mandatory poses and I would spend an hour on the weekend working on my relaxed poses, mandatory poses, and my routine. Well, let's just say I only got about 2 days of posing in. I am not really great about making this a priority.

Almost every show I do, I get best poser. It is very natural to me and I find it fun... when I am on stage. Other than that, I find it a chore and I am not very motivated to do it. Since it does come so naturally I don't feel so urgent about it as I do other aspects of my work day and it eventually gets pushed aside. Bad move! Posing could and should be utilized to condition my muscles and eventually harden them up as well as a great way to burn some extra calories. I really need to get my act together on this one.

Tanning - I also had planned to get in the tanning bed everyday this week and get into the sun during the weekend. I was not as bad at accomplishing this as I was my posing. I did get into the tanning bed four times this week, but as far as the sun goes - there wasn't any. Rain, rain, rain. I still need to make my skin color a priority. Even though I can counter this by applying Pro Tan and some bronzer, sunshine will enhance my color and tighten my skin. Gotta do my chores!

Week's Conclusion

All in all, it has been a great week and I have made some really good progress. The pictures that accompany this article were actually taken at the 5 week out mark. I weighed in at 180.5 and I am well on track to my goal of making the middleweight class. I am feeling excited as the time ticks closer. It is mostly mental now. I have the plan and I need to execute. My destiny is in my own hands.

Q&A of the Week

Q - Jim, what do you mean by warm-up sets and acclimation sets and how do I utilize them?

A - This is the question I have gotten the most since I wrote my four part series, Maximize Your Results. The aspect of proper warm-ups is one that I have found to be the most misconstrued aspects of a person's workout. Most weightlifters and bodybuilders will utilize the ever popular pyramid system where they will pick a weight and do it for a moderate 12, then do a heavier 8, then a near maximum 6, and finally struggle for 3-4 reps. The problem with this way, and mostly all other ways I have seen people warm-up, is that it invites lactate into the muscle which in turn causes fatigue. This way, every successive set is effected by the previous work. If overload is the name of the game, this is definitely not the way to go about it. When done correctly, your warm-ups should get blood into the working muscles without fatigue and acclimate you up in weight, enhancing muscular contraction and performance. Here is the recommended protocol:

  1. 2 sets x 10-12 reps with about 45-50% of your work set weight. This gets blood into the muscle without fatiguing it. I also recommend doing what is called a compensatory acceleration set on the second set. What this is, is a speed set. Accelerate the transition points and use a non-stop motion. This gets the muscle contracted faster and forcefully, yet the weight is still light enough not to cause injury.
  2. 1 set of 6 reps with about 65% of your work set weight done in your normal lifting style.
  3. 1 set of 3 reps of about 80% of your work set weight. This is an acclimation set. You don't want to jump right into your heaviest weight after your warm-ups. The jump would be too great. Acclimation sets ready your muscles, tendons, skeletal structure, and your mind for the big weight to come.
Then, if needed, 1 set of 1 rep with about 90% of your work set weight. Most of you won't need this set. I rarely utilize it. Sometimes on my heavier days, such as benches or leg presses, I may utilize it.

You don't need a calculator for these percentages as exact numbers are not important. As long as you are in the ballpark and you don't invite lactate in, nor fatigue your strength levels, you will be doing yourself a huge favor in performance and muscle growth.

This system is something that bodybuilders have not perfected, yet power lifters have. They have known for a long time how to warm-up without inhibiting their strength. Zapped strength will equal less overload and less overload will equal less muscle growth stimulated. Read, learn, perform, and grow!

More Week Three Pics:

Note: This is week three, click here for week one!

That's it for now... Until next week,