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Keith Gmirkin's 12-Week Bodybuilding Contest Prep - Competition Time!

My competition prep is over and now it is show time. Here I will talk to you about what I did and how I felt during the day of the show. I will also include my plan following the contest. Check it out!

Competition Breakdown

My name is Keith Gmirkin and I competed this last weekend at the First NPC competition in Boise, Idaho on April 8th. It was great seeing a bunch of guys that I've competed against show up for the competition. People came from Seattle and even as far away as Alaska. There weren't a lot of competitors but there was certainly some quality in the group. I weighed in at 209 and figured I walked on stage for the prejudging at about 212, dry and harder than I had ever been in the past.

This was great as I drank more water than I ever had in the past and will drink even more for the Emerald Cup next week. I drank about half a gallon before prejudging and, compared to my regular water consumption, this was about a half gallon shy of what I normally consume by this time of the day.

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Harder Than I Have Ever Been!

I woke up at 3:30 A.M. and did 30 minutes of cardio while drinking 16 ounces of water. At 5, I had 6 ounces of steak and a cup of yams with another 8 ounces of water. I went back to the gym for a light pump up workout for about 45 minutes to break a light sweat and burn off any excess sugars. I then had a low carbohydrate protein bar from Labrada and a 1/3-cup of raisins.

Dr. Joe wanted me to have a banana but I don't like to eat them precontest as they upset my stomach, so he let me substitute for the raisins. A couple hours later I had 4 ounces of steak with another cup of yams and 16 ounces of water. We all checked in at 8:00 and I was pleasantly surprised to see a bunch of guys that compete at the shows in Washington.

Dr. Joe had me eat a chicken breast around 9:00, followed by an incredible blueberry muffin. It's bizarre how good normal food tastes when you haven't had it for 3 months. An hour later I ate 2 pieces of Canadian Bacon/Pineapple pizza with about 8 ounces of water. Then it was time to pump up for pre-judging.

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Keith Gmirkin.

The quality of the guys I competed against was great, possessing both size and good conditioning - there's nothing worse than losing to someone who may be bigger but obviously hasn't put the effort in to their conditioning. This was not the case here - both the guys that beat me went on to win the overall championships in the Open Heavyweights and in the Masters.

When you lose to guys like this it's all right. Now does it make you more determined to not let it happen again? Hell Yes!! This is what this sport is all about and that is what will differentiate you from the rest of the pack, this is how champions are made. When I got done with the pre-judging I was pretty tattered, I had been up since 3:30 in the morning and the adrenalin rush of being in the heat of battle was wearing off.

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Losing To Guys Like This Is All Right.

I went home and had a chicken breast, a cup of yams and a pile of steamed vegetables, and then I took a wonderful nap. I got up 3 hours later and had some steak, yams and some more veggies then headed back to the competition.

I talked to Dr. Joe and expressed that I felt a little flat earlier in the day so he had me pick up a regular coke to sip on while I had 3 more pieces of pizza before the night show. I also had a candy bar to give me a little more quick energy before the night show. Is there anything I could have done differently to change the outcome, probably not.

Some of the judges in the Masters had me in first, but it just was not enough. I talked with them in the evening and many of them had judged me in prior shows. They all agreed that this was the best condition they had ever seen me in but still felt that I need to increase my upper body size to balance the size of my legs.

I'll be judged by most of the same judges at the Emerald Cup and I want them to see how much tighter I can come in. This will help in reducing the size of my legs, as my upper body was as tight as it will get, the only place left for more change was on the legs.

Dr. Joe is going to have me consume more water earlier in the day as I normally have 3/4 of a gallon before breakfast while I'm doing my first cardio session. We will also load a little more aggressively earlier in the week and see what happens.

My future in this sport is now a matter of time, lifting hard to continue increasing my upper body size and keeping my conditioning level at a point where I am close to contest condition year round. This will ensure that I don't lose what I am working so hard to pack on in the off-season. I've walked away from other shows knowing that I could have done better; this was not one of those shows!

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My Best Condition Ever.


    This week I'm going to continue with my hour cardio sessions in the morning on an empty stomach. Later in the day I will do another 30 minutes.


    I will be running on 200 grams of carbohydrates from Monday through Thursday with a bump up to 300 on Friday. My protein will remain constant at 350 grams and the fat will be at around 60 grams. I will keep my protein from steak, egg and egg whites and whey protein.

    For dinner my wife will switch our meat source from fish to shrimp to chicken and turkey. We just throw it on top of 2-3 cups of salad and she adds a carbohydrate source. On Saturday I will deplete with 200 grams of carbohydrates for two days and then I go to 400 grams on Monday, 325 on Tuesday, 300 on Wednesday, 250 on Thursday and 3-350 on Friday, then it's show time again.


    The week after the show I will be using an 8-10 rep range and go as heavy as I can. This will help in burning off the excess sugars in my system from loading for the competition. The sooner I get these burned off the faster I will go after what fat is still left on my body.

    I will take Saturday and Sunday off from lifting during the deplete then will lift fairly hard the following week as I will get more carbohydrates and I want to pack them in to the muscle tissue.





Topic For The Week:

    My topic for the week, and to wrap this article up, is gratitude. I am so thankful that I have the health, the will power and the support of friends and family that allow me to participate in such an amazing sport. The outpouring of support from people in the community was almost overwhelming.

    It was so nice hearing people shouting out their support and encouragement while I was up on stage. It makes it all worthwhile when people came up to me for days afterwards telling me how good they thought I looked. The support I received from readers like Frank Bruno, who e-mailed me once or twice a week, helped me get to the finish line and I thank you all.

    I want to thank the entire staff at and Gold's Gym for supporting the local athletes in the community; you help make this possible for us. I want to thank Dr. Joe Klemczewski who brought it all together nutritionally and Craig Toth for years of training and believing in me.

    I also want to thank Rebecca Slatt and Kristin Christoph who both won Overall Championships in figure and bodybuilding respectively. I am proud to call you both fellow competitors, and more importantly friends. I have to thank Cynthia James for my incredible suit; it fits perfect and was the perfect color.

    Rebecca Slatt
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    Rebecca Slatt.

    Last but definitely not least I want to thank my beautiful wife for believing in me and allowing me to immerse myself in my training, knowing full well that it would take away from our precious time together.

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    Thanks Everyone!