There are a number of different regimens that are used in bodybuilding competition preparation, many of which are effective. I will discuss some of these, but will only go through in detail one method that I have found to be most effective and efficient in a range of competitor standards.
The principles are generally the same, in that you need to have a high regular protein intake, with a low fat and carbohydrate intake. This is coupled with more cardiovascular exercise to increase the calorie deficit further. Some people like to have a day a week on high carbohydrate intake for personal gratification and to kick start the metabolism (which I recommend). Some people don't follow the low fat principle and consume as much as 40% energy as fat throughout the preparation period. However, all regimens are consistent in that there must be a calorie deficit and high protein, in order to lose fat and maintain muscle. Also, during the final stages, the body's water balance needs to be adjusted in order for fluid to be taken from around the muscle to within it, to make the muscle fuller and improve definition.
".avoid any outside distractions during the weeks in the run-up to the show."
The length of the contest preparation period or 'diet' varies from individual to individual but usually ranges form 8-12 weeks, depending on how hard the individual diets and how much body fat is needed to be lost. It is better to be safe, and reach your desired body fat level early, then hold the weight you are at, than to be too late and have to crash diet at the end and lose muscle size. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to gain muscle during the early stages of dieting, and then to lose none in the latter stages.
I will discuss a regimen in detail, basing it around a 10 week preparation diet, as I will assume you have heeded my tips from the remainder of this ebook and only have 1 - 1/ stones to lose to be in tip-top condition. If you feel you have less to lose (you are one of those lucky 'forever-lean' folk!), you may be able to prepare in 6-8 weeks. I am assuming you are using a variety of appropriately recommended supplements, and are already eating a high, regular, quality protein diet, with fairly high and regular carbohydrates, some fat, plenty of fruit and vegetables, loads of fluid and are training really hard and enthusiastically.
You may wish to continue to use some supplements and nutraceuticles like aloe vera and probiotics during the early stages, but these may need to be excluded during the last two or three weeks pre-contest.
The regimen I have described is merely an example and is in no way intended to be ideal for everyone. Keep a strict diary of all factors involved in your contest preparation for the whole pre-contest period, and learn from this for next time. There is no right or wrong way; it's how you look on the day that's important. Use your first show as a learning curve, and you must be the judge, as you know your body better than anyone else.
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