Friday, August 24, 2012
The work is done. I have met my goal weight and bodyfat for the time that I had to prepare. All told,Â I started getting serious aboutÂ 4 or 5 weeks out. I am very much a procrastinator and it is not recommended! I would generally recommend 12 weeks for prep time for first time competitors and about 6-8 for a seasoned competitor depending on your year-round condition.Â REMEMBER: I am a seasonedÂ competitor and fitness enthusiast who works out vigorously year-round with heavy weights and cardio 5-6 times per week. Those who are new to this should seek supervision of a professional before incorporating any of these nutrition, training, or other prep tips.
So now there isÂ approximately 32 hours before I step on stage at the California regional fitness competition. What have I done and what am I doing until then? Here is a snapshot
1. LastÂ 5 weeks was diet cleanup time. Getting rid of most of the junk, artificial sweetners, "white" carbs and getting calories in check. I did a weekly tapering down on calories to have about a 100 calorie deficit each week. So it was 1800, then 1700, then 1600, then 1500, and 1400 the final week.
2. During the last 2-3 weeks, I have also increased exercise by doing a 1-hour circuit weight and 30 minute cardio session 4-5 times a week and 30 minutes of cardio each night about 5 times a week. I have lifted as heavy as I can while keeping most upper body rep ranges between 12-15 and lower body between 15-30 reps (15 for single joint and 30 for multijoint exercises).
3. Last week of the show, low carbs 50-75 Monday through Thursday. High protein about 1g per pount of lean body weight (120g for me) and a ton of water - at least 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon most days. *there is a lot of sweating going on at the gym and I am really trying to get fluid out so replacing fluid is crucial to not go into retention mode and electrolytes are equally important. SoÂ consuming a low-calorie hydrating product at least after the heaviest gym session is highly recommended as well.
4. Also the last week, epsom salt soaks, muscle rubs, stretching, and lots of sleep (at least 8 hours)! Got to support recovery or that cortisol will sabotage your efforts every time. Don't get me wrong,Â cortisol has its place, just not all day every day! Glutamine and Branch Chain Amino Acids are also important for recovery. I take these before exercise if I haven't eaten for more than 3 hours beforehand and definitely afterward. Sometimes you can find a good BCAA blend in a post-workout recovery shake. That makes things simpler
5. Water and salt manipulation starts the day before the show. Don't want to do this too long or the body starts trying to compensate and get back to a "normal" water and salt balance. 24-36 hours is about as much time as your body is willing to give before rebelling. I have been taking in about 1500-2500mg sodium daily for the last 2 weeks. Day before I will limit to 700mg. Still drinking plenty of water. Total about 2-3 quarts of water on the day before.Â On show day, I will continue with the low salt intake and only consume sips of water or replenish based on output.Â For example,Â if my body is shuttling out a cup of "water", I will make sure to take in a cup.Â Â The day before showtime is also the day I also incorporate carbs or "carb up". About 40-50g of clean carbs (oats, yams, etc) every 2-3 hours on the day before and continue on day of the show with last meal or snack about 2 hours before I get on stage. I make sure my last gym session is before the carb up so my muscles can take advantage of the glucose load and appear fuller on show day.
6. Skin prep is VERY important too. Started daily exfoliation 3 weeks ago and continues until day of the show (or last shower before show). All shaving is done night before color application to limit skin puffiness and irritation as well. Daily sweating through sauna or wraps will help get that tight look. 2 nights before, I use Preparation H cream onÂ problem areas, wrap the skin in saran wrap and sleep in this. Sounds silly, but it really works to draw out extra water and tighten up the skin. This is only done about 2 days before though because it is a very temporary method. Once the body starts drawing in water at a normal rate with a standard diet, it isn't very effective. The diet and skin prep generallyÂ work together.
7. Caffeine. I am addicted to this stuff! However, I limit consumption my final week out to keep cortisol in check. Only use about 100mg caffeine right before exercise during the final week. No caffeine before exercise that is after 7p at night or real close to bedtime.
That's about it. All of this only works if you have done the work! Still must train hard and eat right all the way up until those last several weeks and everyone's body is a little different. Contact me today to find out more aboutÂ when and how to prepÂ for your show!