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Prep For A Bodybuilding Competition!

This is where I decided I would prepare properly for my next show and learn from my mistakes so I will have no excuses for a poor performance on stage.

Looking back over my last two I thought I did all my homework as in practicing my posing and tanning but reviewing my last two shows and seeing myself in the videos and pictures I shuddered at the thought I worked so hard on my diet and training and looked so bad mainly due to my tan and preparation. This is where I decided I would prepare properly for my next show and learn from my mistakes so I will have no excuses for a poor performance on stage.


I started dieting again after three weeks of just maintaining my bodyweight trying to put a bit of mass after my second show as there was a couple of months between my second and third show. When in started dieting again seven weeks out I was determined to go one place higher than my last show and win the juniors title at the natural British qualifiers.

The weeks went on. This time I soaked up as much information and did tons of e-mails to other competitive bodybuilders asking their advice on supplements, diet and tanning products to get a range of answers before I made my mind up.

I changed my diet using a lot of whey isolate for my main source of protein and oats for carbs while still taking in flaxseed oil for a majority of my fat. I stopped all the egg whites for breakfast and just had oatmeal and whey isolate for breakfast.


My cardio schedule was also changed and instead of four times a week for 30-50 minutes on the stationary bike I either went on the stationary bike for 20 minutes or power walked for 40 minutes did not have a set day for cardio but I did either cycling or walking 3-4 times per week. I also starting using cutting edge by peak body and citrimax by powerbeck.

I cut down the rest between sets and for my workouts that acted and felt like an exhausting cardio workout in itself. I posed 20-30 minutes before bed which is very boring but if that what it takes to win I will happily do it. Occasionally I missed this as occasionally especially towards the end I did feel very lethargic and never wanted to get of my arse. This all continued up until the last four days prior to the show and it worked great.

4 Weeks Out

I had been steadily dropping 1 lb-2.5 lb a week and looked like I lost very little muscle. I chose dream tan and pro tan for abase along with regular visits on the sun bed and felt confident I would have a fantastic tan on the day. This time I had done my research and got two decent tanning products which were very popular among competitive bodybuilders rather than the unknown crap that I used before. That went in the bin as soon as I finished my show even though three thirds of the bottle was left.

3 Weeks Out

This is where I made my biggest and stupidest mistake. Ive heard numerous talk about cheat meals speeding up your metabolism. In articles I saw increasing your carb intake can also help speed up your metabolism so I decided I would have spaghetti bolognese as my cheat meal and double up my morning oatmeal to 200g. The next day I looked in the mirror and my gut looked fat. This is when I thought I have set my self back a week. I have heard having a cheat meal the night before the show has helped make people even more cut but I'm glad I did cheat 3 weeks out so I know not to do it the night before the show. If I did that I would be screwed.

This week for the first time my weight did not change but I was still 5 ½ lb lighter than I was 3 weeks out from my two last shows so hopefully I will come in more cut as I think the weight loss has come mostly from fat. I started to try out both the pro tan and dream tan and I thought why the hell didn't I use this stuff for my first show. Pro tan comes with a brush and leaves no streaks or blotches like I have had experience with whatsoever.

I also tried dream tan. This stuff is great but is harder to apply compared to the pro tan so I will practice a few times over the next week on my leg until I can apply it without any streaks. I had been using cutting edge one week then citrimax the next and alternating my fat burners like that but now I decided to take both of them together and see what results I got from this.

The Next Show

If I win the show I will be invited to go in for the British ANB finial held in October. The only problem with that is if I do win and have the chance to go to the final I do not want to miss the chance but carrying on dieting would make me go mad. If I had the chance to compete in October I would have to sit down and think about it carefully and ask myself if I can handle much more dieting this year or shall I start bulking up to come in bigger next year.

In my article 'dont go into your competition unprepared' I gave a checklist of things you should take with you for throughout the day. This time I have done more research and will not leave anything to chance. I started writing out a checklist but I still have an open mind on anything else I should take that I have picked up along the way from now until the day of the show.

My Checklist

  • Two pairs of posing trunks
  • Three copies of your routine music
  • Two towels. One for doing lat pulls and the other from wiping of your tan after pre-judging
  • Protein bars between pre judging and the evening show
  • An extra bottle of posing oil (depending on how much you would use)
  • Meals prepared to eat throughout the day

2 Weeks Out

I have been using a teaspoon of honey up until now in my post workout shake to give it an insulin spike. I think I will forget this, this stage out from my show. Ive also cut down the oatmeal from 100g to 75g. Ive Lost 1 ½ lb last week and coming in 4 ½ lb lighter from my last show a couple of months ago. I have not put on any muscle the whole time ive been dieting which I expected but is annoying. I also do not think I have lost much muscle so the extra weight loss is extra fat.

This does show as my abs are showing a lot clearer than in the past but my definition in my legs are still not as good as I would have hoped. Ive also dropped the creatine as it is coming to the end of my cycle and I'm worrying about retaining to much water with it. Other than this nothing has changed in my diet or training but I have increased the cardio slightly but not significantly. In the 4th issue of the beef their was an article about how to loose water before the show using Vitamin C as a natural Diuretic and increasing your water intake slowly but I will explain that in the last week.


I've been trying out different ways to apply dream tan such as using a cosmetic sponge or just using figure tips. I tried each way on each leg and compared them both in the mirror. I found I could apply the dream tan much more evenly with my hands than with a sponge so I will use my hands on the day. Luckily I did one leg at a time and I noticed while applying the tan to my right leg when starting at the bottom tanning my foot the tan from my left thigh was rubbing of onto my trunks. This taught me to on the day tan both legs evenly rather than doing one leg at a time.

Now I'm am feeling like crap. Not just occasionally but all the time and I can't wait until the show because I can't take a lot more of this. As a result my intensity at the gym has gone down. I'm still powerwalking in the mornings for 40 minutes but finding this a lot harder than a couple of weeks ago.

The organiser of the show rang me up and told me the organisation he is going with has been changed. It was going to be the ANB and I spent £20 on my membership especially for the show so suddenly changing this is a little annoying. I'm now eight days out and realize there will be around six competitors in my class. This means I will have to be at least four of them to qualifier for the final as the top two go through.

Removing Excess Water

I'm on my first day of using a way I read about to remove excess water from the body that works by increasing water and vitamin C intake. Today was the first day for this and I went down to 2 grams of vitamin C and three litres of water which was hard as I'm used to drinking more than double this easily but I will be gradually increasing my water intake so it will get better.

Seven days out and I'm feeling good. Mainly because this was my last day of work until after the show and I have finished school so I am concentrating 100% on the show. I have also been doing cardio everyday for 20-40 minutes depending on how I am feeling. People would say I am over doing this but its allowed me to drop 1 ½lb -2 ½lb a week so I rather do this than reduce my calories further.

Tuesday - Today I shaved my bodyhair. I really don't like this part especially the legs but it has to be done. I used clippers even though a shaver gives a smoother finish my last attempt with a shaver caused me to end up with scratches all over. Today I had 5 litres of water and 2 grams vitamin C.

Wednesday - Today was my last workout and it was hell. I really don't want to set foot in the gym other than to practice my posing until after the show. I got my haircut shorter than last time with a grade 2 and 1 rather than a 4 and 2. Today I increased water up to 8 litres which I was comfortable with and also increased my vitamin C intake to 5 grams.

Thursday - I'm starting to get really nervous now but am also looking forward to getting up onstage and seeing how the audience will react. The Mac Donald's after the show I will be having is also making my mouth water and that will be a great treat after all the weeks of dieting. Today my water has stayed the same at 8 litres but my Vitamin C intake has increased to 7 grams. I applied my first three layers of pro tan today and rinsed of before bed. Posing has stayed at around 30 minutes, which is mainly just practising my routine.

Friday - Today I applied my last two coats of pro tan. I also increased my water intake to ten litres and vitamin C to 10 grams. I have just tried to spend the day relaxing as I do not want to get any more nervous than I already am but I also feel ready and looking forward to getting up onstage.

Showday - When I got up this morning I was feeling exited and ready for the show then it happened. The owner of my gym who was going to drive me done to Dorchester hurt his back so I was stuck with no driver. Luckily a few calls were made and I found someone else to take me but this little upset did not do my nerves any good. At the way in I met a few of the competitors who were all really friendly which helped to keep my nerves at ease.

This time I did my homework and got my tan right and was a lot more cut but I realised I had also lost a fair bit of my size in the process. There were five of us in the juniors that were all of a good standard. The top to seemed to be in a different class all together and were both very big and cut.

I was abit disappointed as I practised the compulsories a lot leading up to the show and when I looked at the judges they were only interested in looking at the top two. In the evening my mum came to watch which felt good to have a bit of support. At the end she asked why I did not go in for the under 75 and under 80 as she thought that meant ages.

The Crowd

Although the crowd was small they gave a lot of support with their cheering and clapping even when I messed up my routine. I did my routine a thousand times and for some reason I mistimed it and for a second that seemed like an eternity I stood frozen facing the audience. That moment a thousand thoughts went through my mind such as should I slow the next pose down so the music will catch up with me or should I fit another pose in the routine.

At the end the day I came forth which is what I deserved for the amount of muscle I lost. I reckon with a better diet that would enable me to not lose so much muscle I would have been a contender for a place in the top two. After the show I ate and ate like there was no tomorrow well I deserved it.

I'm disappointed I lost the amount of size I had which took me so long to gain in the first place especially my legs which was my strong point have become chicken legs but by doing this show and knowing I should be going home with an accomplishment of placing in the top two I have even more motivation for this years off season where I will return next year bigger and in better condition.

John Le Mare