***Tips On Diet***
Q: When it comes to contest prep, assuming the bodybuilder is in good shape, it’s the last week before the show that can make or break any competitor. What are some of the biggest mistakes a lot of guys make in that last week?
A: There are many mistakes a competitor can make, eating things the last week you haven’t eaten the entire diet and cutting water out too soon are two of the biggest problems. During the last week it’s time to stick to the plan. Many competitors will stray from their plan because they are unconfident or feel they are off on their conditioning. Because of that they will change their whole game plan looking for a quick fix only to be disappointed with the results.
Q: When it comes to the competitor who is in great shape coming into the last week, what’s the best approach when it comes to water, carbs, sodium, depleting and loading?
A: If a guy is in great shape the week of the show, there isn’t much that should be manipulated, if anything, he could probably add a few more carb meals to his already existing program to fill out more over the final 3 days, if needed. Otherwise, what sense does it make to reinvent the wheel? As far as water goes, just pull back a bit, but never cut it out all of the way. If he chooses to deplete, he should not take the carbs too low (50-100 grams should do the trick) and this should be done the first few days of the week, so that the final few days, he can put the carbs back in, using the mirror, not the scale, too monitor his progress as to whether he needs more carbs, less carbs, or if he’s on the money.
A solid plan to follow for most bodybuilders:
- Start depleting on Sunday-Wednesday (leaving sodium in)
- Begin carb up phase Thursday-Friday (sodium out).
Q: What about the guy who is close but is going to be cutting it right down to the wire? Are there any changes he should make compared to the guy in great shape?
A: This Guy has certainly been close to all of our hearts as we all have been here before! He needs to pose-pose- pose! To tighten up and shed some extra fat fast! These are the guys that are really tough to dial in. It’s hit or miss, so to speak. Cardio/ water should stay high, in my opinion. As far as depletion, same rules apply. Even though you’re cutting it close, try to remain calm, if not, nervousness or anxiousness can raise cortisol levels leaving you holding unwanted fluid, which in turn, blurs your definition
Q: What about training that last week? When should the last workout be?
A: The final week of training shouldn’t be any different than any other week of training. Keep the intensity high!!!! As far as the final day, that is solely up to the athlete. Some prefer to stop training on Thursday before the show; that gives them at least of day of rest and relaxation, so to speak, before the BIG DAY!
A solid plan to follow:
- Train the last week Sunday-Tuesday. This will end your training in prep for the show with Glycogen depletion of the muscle groups.
- No weight training on Wednesday and Thursday only posing!
- You will include "Push" movements on Sunday with 3 exercise for each muscle group for 12-15 reps each and 3 sets for each exercise.
- Monday will be the same exercise, rep and set schedule for "Pulling" exercises.
- Tuesday you perform both Pushing and Pulling exercise dropping the exercises down to 2 for each and keeping the reps at 12-15 for 3 sets each.
Q: What about cardio? What’s the best approach the last week?
A: Cardio is dependent on condition. If you’re confident and diced, it could end as early as Monday; if you need more fat reduction, you could end up being the guy that keeps it in right up to the show. Either way, continue to pose daily, 30-40 minutes every day.
Figure & Fitness Competitors:
Q: We have a different animal in a lot of ways, but a lot of the approach is the same. Let’s go right into assuming the woman is in great shape coming into that last week, what’s her best approach when it comes to water, carbs, sodium, depleting and loading? And what if any differences would you recommend for a figure vs. fitness competitor?
A: For most figure and fitness competitors, they will do much better if they forgo carb depleting and loading. For the figure athlete you don’t want her to end up too hard or stringy. Keep the diet consistent up to the show.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind with figure and fitness competitors is that when it comes to judging the physique, we never know if the judging panel is going for the harder or softer look, so this last week can be a little confusing sometimes depending on your condition.
If she is in great shape, she will have a much easier week ahead of her, in fact she could end up finishing her training as early as Monday and cutting her cardio in half at the same time. However, she should keep the cardio in play simply for a stress reliever and for water control.
A Solid Plan To Follow:
- Water is dropped in half on Wednesday
- Sodium is cut out on Wednesday
- She may need to cut her carbs at this point but in most cases will not need to eliminate them completely. If she needs to fill out slightly, she should slightly up her fat intake. As long as she keeps her water low, her results should be winning ones
Q: What about the girl who is cutting it very close? Any changes?
A: Cut the carbs back a bit and increase cardio. The girl who is still not there yet needs to train right into the show, much the same as the poor guy who is in the same boat with his condition. Her water and sodium plan should be the same as the other girl in a better position.
The Final Minutes Before Going Out On Stage:
Q: A lot of competitors will start shoveling in carbs right before they go out on stage; eating candy, drinking anything they can find with sugar or whatever they can find with sugar in it. Is this a good idea?
A: Many athletes do this in order to bring out vascularity. Sometimes it misses more than it hits. Most of the time shoveling in all of the carbs or candies only gives you a bloated stomach. Last minute crap never works.
The last minute is really about "knowing your body.” Most will never benefit from a better pump or look from a fast ingestion of sugar right before stepping on stage. The only time a little sugar pump beforehand might be justified is if your blood sugar is low.