Its not a bad idea for a couple of weeks before you start to diet properly, to break into your contest preparation regimen gently. Continue to eat well in respect of quantity, but cut out any fatty and sugary foods and junk food treats, which I previously said it was okay to include now and again. During this time, plan what you are going to do so you are completely ready to start properly. As most bodybuilders are habitually big eaters, during this period they often lose a little fat anyway; a great motivational aid for the coming diet. This period should not be hard and you should not be hungry. Train as normal.
Eight to ten weeks out (or as appropriate) commence the pre-contest diet properly. The basis of this next stage of preparation is to continue to consume high protein foods as before, and cut carbohydrate intake right down, whilst maintaining a regular intake of starchy foods. This is similar to Figure 8 in Chapter 15, for those people who wish to lose fat whilst gaining weight, but the protein intake will be higher, and you will need to be more disciplined. It is still possible to gain muscle during this time. Fruit and fruit juice intake should also be low, due to the simple sugar content, so make up for this by consuming plenty of non-starch vegetables, to ensure a good intake of vitamins and minerals. Red meat now and again is also useful for variety and great protein quality.
If you use creatine monohydrate off-season, make sure you are not on the loading phase during the pre-contest diet, i.e. load up 12-15 weeks before the show. You may remain on creatine up to week four pre-contest. Do not take creatine with carbohydrate, though, as this is a source of unwanted simple sugar and calories you can do without; you may not get optimal muscle uptake, but there will still be sufficient absorption for this time. Continue to take creatine in a hot beverage and I suggest the use of a sweetener to mask the taste.
Figure 10: Example menu plan of pre-contest preparation form the onset to 4 weeks pre-contest.
Time Food Protein
Wake 7.30 am
7.30 1 scoop whey protein in water 20g
8.00 breakfast 1-2 slices wholemeal bread
/ portion MRP + / scoop whey protein in water 31g
50ml orange juice + 2g glutamine + 1 tblsp olive oil Tea/coffee (+ dash skimmed milk) + 2g creatine Supplement + sweetener
1/ scoops whey protein in water rice cakes
V small chicken breast (60g) 1 slice wholemeal bread Huge salad
4-6 amino acid capsules
15.00 1/ scoops whey protein in water 30g
2 rice cakes
17.30 Full portion MRP in water 42g
18.30 (after training) 2 scoops whey protein in water 40g
19.30 Mackerel (95g) 20g
/ small chicken breast (60g) 18g
Either 1 small jacket potato or 50g boiled brown rice or 75g boiled wholewheat pasta Vegetables
4-6 amino acid capsules 20.31 Mug green tea with lemon juice
22.00 / portion MRP in water 21g
23.30 GABA in low sugar fruit cordial
1 scoop whey protein in water 20g
Middle of night 1 scoop whey protein in water 20g
TOTAL PROTEIN 340g
You should increase your cardiovascular work considerably during this time. If you weight train four times a week in the evening, I suggest doing a cardio session for 30 minutes on six mornings and on two of the evenings where you do not weight train. Have one day a week, completely exercise free, where you must relax. Cardio should be at the 55 - 60% of maximum heart rate level, as described in Chapter 15. Some competitors opt to do a lot more cardio, so they don't have to diet so strictly.
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Bodybuilding requires commitment. It is a totally different lifestyle that entails letting go of old habits and adopting new ones. You cannot go into bodybuilding and be half- hearted about it. It is a test of strength, self-discipline and willpower. Start only when you are sure you can commit time, effort and energy. Learn tips like this one and 99 more.