I have decided that to start off every article I will simply talk about an issue in pre contest prep that happens to be on my mind at the time. Today I'd like to talk about mental focus. In all honesty there is no stronger force than the will of a motivated person. However, even the most motivated of us can become discouraged.
Dieting for a bodybuilding show in particular can play havoc with one's emotions, some of you may not realize it, but food intake plays a big part in controlling your mood. When you aren't getting enough calories to support your weight you tend to be unhappier and subject to moodswings. Evolutionarily speaking this makes sense, as it is not an advantage to one's survival if they feel emotionally well while dieting otherwise many more of our ancestors may have starved.
The key to preparing for a contest is to learn to master your emotions and focus yourself. Some days I wake up and look in the mirror and feel I'm shrinking (and many of my friends have said "you look skinnier") or feel I'm not losing fat fast enough and I become frustrated. This is why it is important to take pictures of yourself, track bodyfat measurements, and weigh yourself at least once per week so that you can convince yourself that you are in fact making progress.
It's hard to see progress from day to day, even week to week in the mirror however; it's very easy to see a 1.5 lb drop in bodyweight or a 1.0% drop in bodyfat. Small, but obvious improvements like these can help one maintain their focus and not lose their cool while preparing.
Many people also have trouble maintaining their intensity in the gym while dieting. I have talked to many competitors who claim they can't gain any strength while dieting or that no matter what they do their performance suffers. This is true to an extent, as once one reaches an extremely low level of bodyfat it becomes much harder to stabilize heavy loads without the normal layer of adipose tissue around the joints.
Until one reaches that point however, it is definitely possible to gain strength while dieting. I have done it every time I have dieted for a contest. Many people however seemed to resign themselves to the idea that intense workouts or strength gain on a diet is impossible, it almost seems as if they are defeated. In the end, it is this type of situation that sets a good competitor apart from a great competitor.
You can resign yourself to the idea that you can't have intense workouts or you can quit your whining and step up. Whenever I find myself losing focus in the gym all I have to do is remind myself why I'm in there. "I'm in here because in I love this, and in 18 weeks I'm going to be going up against some of the best natural amateur bodybuilders in the world… If I can't do this then I don't deserve to win."
One must believe that they can maintain/gain strength while preparing and have intense workouts. The time you spend in the gym is YOUR time. I can't understand people who lose their intensity. I get goose bumps every time I go into the gym because I know that today could be the day I break all my old records. Today could be the day I ascend to a higher level.
Today WILL BE my best workout ever. One must take this attitude every time they enter the gym if they want to step on a bodybuilding stage. Every workout is your best workout; there are no bad workouts... PERIOD! In the end all you are up against is a stack of plates, a hunk of metal; that's all that shit is.
I don't know about anyone else but there is no way in hell I'm going to let a stack of metal get the better of me. It won't beat me, no matter how heavy it is, because I have heart and I want this more than anyone can possibly imagine.
You must lift with attitude!
With that out of the way let's get down to the nitty-gritty.
Diet consists of:
- 300g protein
- 240g carbs
- 60g fat per day
(notice I dropped carbs by 10g)
A sample of my diet for one day is as follows (it may vary as far as food selection goes, but the macronutrient breakdowns will likely remain the same).
Sample Day In Detail
Macronutrients are listed to the side as protein/carbs/fat.
- Meal 1: Turkey on whole wheat bread with lettuce and mustard 35/30/4
- Meal 2: Chicken breast with 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter 40/3/10
- Meal 3: Lowfat popcorn, 3/4 cup oat bran cereal in skim milk and 10 egg whites 40/70/7.5
- Meal 4 (in workout shake):Whey protein and Dextrose with 5g of creatine 35/35/2.5
- Meal 5: Meal 1 + brown rice 35/76/6
- Meal 6: 1 can tuna with mustard, 1/4 cup oatmeal, 3 fish oil capsules 35/20/6
- Meal 7: 1 large chicken breast with 3 fish oil caps and 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter 40/3/13
- Meal 8: 1 can tuna, 2 fish oil caps, 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter 40/3/11
- 300g protein
- 240g carbs
- 60g fat
After Four Weeks.
Three site bodyfat measurement (took 5 at each site and the averages are as follows):
- Average chest skinfold - 10.4 mm (-0.6)
- Average abdominal skinfold - 11.8 mm (-2.0)
- Average quadriceps skinfold - 17.2 mm (-1.4)
- Average bodyfat measurement - 10.6% bodyfat (-1.2%)
- Weight - 211 (-2) lbs
- Calves - 16 3/8"
- Thighs (at largest part) - 26.75"
- Chest (unflexed) - 46.75"
- Shoulders - 54"
- Arms - 17.5" (they were 18" but a bicep strain has prevented me from training them for 3 weeks)
- Waist - 34"
I will continue to update this log every two weeks. Please send any questions or concerns to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am very busy but will do my best to answer your questions in a timely fashion.