T Nation

6 Day Challenge

I’ve been doing some reading and thinking (I know, dangerous combination for me).

I think I’m going to try to run a 5-6 day contest prep protocol. Now before you go to deep into the reasoning here, know that I am no where near a bodybuilder by the standards I have seen put out there. Even if I was, I’m nowhere near 10% BF (realistically around 17%-19%), so the question is begged…


Well, for a couple of reason that make it a good enough idea in my tiny little brain…

  1. I think it would be a fun challenge.
  2. I want to see what a real competitive BB puts himself/herself though in order to push that last mile to the finish line.
  3. Since I’m not in a really good position BF% wise to be a good candidate for this type of challenge, the extreme flushing of subQ water should allow me to more accurately determine how much BF I actually have left to lose, and how much is just water weight.
  4. I’ve been running heavy lift sessions for the last couple of weeks and my joints could use the break provided by the glycogen depletion workouts. (It’s hell getting older)

I will start on Monday morning and post a before pic to compare to when it’s all over. The plan is going to be straight forward, closely mirroring the articles for contest prep that can be found here at T-Nation.

Namely this one …

There will be a few modifications as I do not have the exact supplements called out in the article, so I’ll have to make do with what I have on hand and what I can get locally. I’ll either have a grand sense of accomplishment, or be dead by the end of the week lol, so I guess time will tell.

The article doesn’t mention anything about total caloric intake, so I guess I’m going to just run the bottom of the barrel for my deficit (1800). I have been running around 2000 cals for the last few weeks. After this challenge week I’ll up the total back to around there.

I will post the exact details of my plan over the weekend, and give daily updates. Hopefully some of you guys can give me some advice and “coach” me along the way, and hopefully keep me from making a mistake that could land me in the hospital or something stupid like that!

Here’s my before picture taken this morning. No pump. No flex. Just me. Straight outta bed lol. This will be the exact same conditions for the after picture at the end of the week.

Will update Day 1 outline later today.

Good luck. Sounds like a kick in the ass for curiosity purposes. But I enjoy self guinea pig experiments. Be sure to post an after pic along with some details (nutrition, supplements, water manipulation and whatever physical changes you notice each day.)

Will you be lifting and/or cardio during the 6 days?

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Thanks bro!

Yes I’m going to post my planned food log and training program in a little while. Mostly glycogen depletion workout for this week. 1 good hard cardio day on Thursday.

Here is my meal plan for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday…

2-3 Gallons Water per day

Decided to go for broke at 1600 calories instead of 1800. I think I can survive it for a week (hopefully)

Meal Food Portion Protein Carbs Fats Total Cal
Breakfast ON Whey Isolate 1 Scoop 30 3 1 141
Boiled Eggs 4 eggs 18.9 1.7 15.9 225.5
Almond Milk 4 oz 0.5 0.5 1.2 14.8
Snack Peanuts 1/4 Cup 7.1 5.1 14.2 176.6
Lunch Chicken Breast 6.5 oz 56.2 0 6.5 283.3
Brocolli 4 oz 2.9 4.4 0 29.2
Snack ON Whey Isolate 1 Scoop 30 3 1 141
PB Fit Powder 2 Tbsp 8 5 2 70
Pre WO Dextrose 2 Tbsp 0 18 0 72
Dinner Kale / Spinach 85 g 2 4 0 24
Raspberry Dressing 2 Tbsp 0 1 0 4
Mahi Mahi 4 oz 21 0 1 93
Almonds 1/4 Cup 6 6 16 192
Snack ON Whey Isolate 1 Scoop 30 3 1 141
Totals 212.6 54.7 59.8 1607.4

I’ll stick to the same plan for these 3 days, and just swap the lunch and dinner meals around for variety.

Thursday no solid food at all. Protein shakes only. 3-4 Gallons Water.

Friday - Carb Up and Water Cut Day - 8oz with first 4 meals only.

Meal Food Portion Protein Carbs Fats Total Cal
Breakfast ON Whey Isolate 1 Scoop 30 3 1 141
Apple 1 Large 1 34 0 140
Banana 1/2 Medium 0.6 13.5 0.2 58.2
Snack White Rice 1 Cup 4.3 44.5 0.4 198.8
Chicken Breast 6.5 oz 56.2 0 6.5 283.3
Lunch Sweet Potato 1 med 4 41.4 0.3 184.3
Grilled Ribeye Steak 8 oz 39.7 0 50 608.8
Snack White Rice 1 Cup 4.3 44.5 0.4 198.8
Turkey Breast Slices 6 slices 30 3 3 159
Dinner Protein Bar 1 bar 20 18 5 197
Snack optional 0
Totals 190.1 201.9 66.8 2169.2


All Exercises 6 X 10-12
Standing Leg Curls
Lat Pulldowns
Flat Bench Press
Straight Bar Tricep Pressdown
Standing EZ Bar Curls

All Exercises 6 X 10-12
Leg Press
Lying Leg Curls
Bent Over Barbell Rows
Incline Bench Press
Skull Crushers
Standing Alternating DB Curls

All Exercises 3 X 15-20
Flat DB Press
Incline DB Press
Rope Pressdowns
Skull Crushers
Seated Row
Lat Pulldown
Isolation Curls
Preacher Curls
Standing Lateral Raise
Standing Front Raise
Decline Crunches
Machine Crunches

HIIT - 1 Hour


Interesting. I will “watch” this topic.

Starting stats…

Sunday Morning - Day before start

Height - 5’ 8.5”
Weight - 185lbs
Hips - 38”
Waist - 35.5”
Chest - 42”
Neck - 16”
Us Navy BF Calc - 19%

Do you think you will have a hard time with 3 gallons of water a day?

I might. That’s a lot of water!! Lol

I went and bought 4 gallon jugs of water. I’ll bring two with me to work and then refill them when I get home and try to finish a third gallon during the workout and throughout the evening.

I have a 20oz contigo stainless steel water bottle that I normally keep with me all the time and continuously refill that all day. I would lose count if I had to try to remember to fill that up 18-20 times, so I’ll just keep the gallon jugs this week to make sure I’m getting enough.

I would say on average I’m normally only drinking close to a gallon a day already, so it’s going to take a very conscious effort to put down the required amount for this experiment.

Edit to add - It’s also one of the reasons I decided to go to 1600 cals instead of 1800. To make a little more room for the water! Lol

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Pre “hell week” celebration!

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Day 1…

Got off to a little bit of a rocky start this morning. Slept a total of about 4 hours last night, and woke up to about a foot of fresh snow in the driveway, so that put me into a bit of a rush mode. Forgot to boil my eggs so we just scrambled them to save time.

Back on track now, driveway is plowed, and made it to work finally lol. I’ve got my first protein shake down, 4 eggs in the hole, and a 1/2 gallon of water so far. If I keep up at this pace it shouldn’t be too hard to meet my water goals today. So far so good!

19:15 local time. I’ve gotten 2.75 gallons of water down so far so I’m confident that I’ll be able to get the last bit in before bedtime. I hope I’m not awake all night peeing!! lol

Edit to update…

Monday’s workout is over and done, and I was pleasantly surprised how much pump I was able to generate from just one exercise per muscle group. 6X10-12 ain’t no joke. I had to be very conscious about lowering the weight if I felt like I could fail in a few more reps. From what I understand, the goal here is to deplete and try NOT to breakdown any muscle tissue…

Day 1 is almost down and I’m still alive as of now. I actually feel pretty damn good. I’m really glad I decided to go down in calories, because with all this water, I’m just about having to force feed myself what I have allowed right now…

At least it’s not hard to force feed when you have good food to do it with…

All in all though, I think it’s going to be fun ride…Will update more tomorrow…


Day 2…

Well I made it through a full 3 gallons of water yesterday. It’s HARD to drink that much water!!

Woke up this morning to another foot and a half of the white shit…, wait…this sounds like a joke I heard a long time ago…:joy:

Anyway, got to work late again because of the deep snow drenching we got, but I started my water intake way earlier this morning. Remembered to boil my eggs so breakfast went off without a hitch. Going to take the water slow and steady today. I read that too much water in a short period of time can lead to water intoxication. Your kidneys can only process around 27-36 ounces of water an hour, so I’ll have to just keep sipping on a steady pace to stay under that, but still reach 2.5 - 3 gallons for the day.

Rolling with it!!

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Day 2 final notes.

It was easier getting all 3 gallons of water in on day 2 than it was for day 1. I’m definitely starting to feel the effects of the extreme deficit. Not “weak” per se, but a slight dull headache from lack of nutrition. Nothing deal breaking I don’t think.

I don’t see any major differences yet, besides a slight drop in weight (and I didn’t really expect to yet) but I have noticed that I’m starting to see a few veins in the bicep area that I haven’t noticed before. Not any big ropes or anything, but just something to note. I really expect to see the bulk of any difference on Saturday morning, after the water cut and carb up on Friday. Time will tell.

Workouts have been taking about 65 minutes and are surprisingly more effective than I thought they would be for only 1 exercise per group. I wouldn’t run this training style in a normal routine by any means, but it’s still fun to have a week of mixing it up so drastically.

One more day of this and then Thursday will be the liquid only day with just an hour of cardio for workout. Then Friday starts carb up! Can’t wait for this day lol!

Day 3…

Ready to roll this morning. Started sipping my water at 5:30 this morning.

At the near halfway point, the only difference I see so far is weight drop.

This morning, the scale showed 182.3lbs. I’ll do an “official” weigh in and measurements / BF calc on Saturday.

As a side note, my wife is doing this program with me this week, and she has dropped a tad over 7 lbs of water weight in the last two days!! She started at 110lbs, and this morning rang up a solid 102.5lbs.

Day 3 update…
Having a serious loss of appetite today. Couldn’t finish lunch and am not even hungry for supper. Feeling pretty run down to say the least, but I’m going to chug through. I was very busy at work today and had to make several trips to different sites. As a result, I haven’t been able to stay on top of the water as well. I’ll wind up with about 2 1/2 gallons total…close enough.

I was just reading the article you linked at the top. Honestly, I’d be the crankiest man-bitch by the end of Thursday. Congrats getting your wife to join you in this experience. Misery loves company…

With that said, keep it up. Carbs are coming soon.

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Updated Friday’s meal plan. Hopefully after tomorrows “shake fast” my appetite will return. Still trying to decide what exercises to do for Friday morning as well. The article says to choose a muscle group that you want to emphasize most, so I’ll probably do the typical alpha male style approach to that…Arms and Chest! lol

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Day 4…
Today is the pulse fast day. I don’t have any Mag-10, so I’m substituting that with 16g of ON whey isolate powder (20g protein) and 1 tbsp dextrose (9gr carbs). This is the closest I can get to the macros listed on Mag-10 package. It’ll have to work.

Should be pretty straight forward today. 6 of these shakes with water and enough supplement water to total 3-4 gallons for the day.

Still on the fence about cardio this evening. If energy levels are where they were yesterday after work, we may skip it or just do 0.5 hr instead of the hour. Will decide this evening when that time gets here.

Side note…the scale showed 180.2 lbs this morning. That’s a full 5 lb difference from last Sunday.

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Day 4 is over…THANK GOD!!! lol

That was by far the worst day of the challenge. To go from force feeding yourself with the nutrients you need on top of 3 gallons of water a day, to completely cutting out most nutrients and forcing more water down your throat is brutal. Not undo-able, but brutal.

The headache was back in full force yesterday. I can say that I have learned a few things about my body so far along this journey. I will summarize them all when it’s over, but the applicable lesson to Thursday was that when I drink excessive amounts of water, it does NOT curb hunger. What it DOES do, is make the thought of adding anything else to your stomach completely nauseating.

I didn’t quite make it to 4 gallons yesterday. I think the grand total was a little over 3 but I just couldn’t drink any more than that.

Day5…TGIF!!! Carb up day!!!

I’ve been looking forward to this day all week. That shake with the half a banana was especially good this morning. The apple I ate with it was even better. Note to self for next time…eat that first meal on Friday morning after the fast SLOWLY…I gobbled it pretty quick so it upset my stomach a little. All good now though and I feel like I have energy like I’ve never had before!!

Going to be doing my second meal in about an hour and I’m genuinely hungry for it. I think its gonna be a good day…Update more later…

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water loading is god-awful.

The key is to make sure you space the water out evenly. just sip it throughout the day. I’ve made the mistake of taking a bunch in at a time, at intervals, and that just doesn’t feel good.

this is actually probably more due to the water. from my experience.

no, it’s not. that’s more of a problem than you think. just as an fyi. I’ve made this mistake before, it KILLS my water cut. Makes it so much more difficult at the end.

again, you’re failing the program.

but you know what? You weren’t doing this for a contest, so that’s good news. I bet you’ll end up getting a lot out of this, tbh, and that’s what experiments like this are all about.

Your appearance will likely not change in any significant way because of your bodyfat being so high. And I don’t believe you will be able to ‘more accurately gauge’ how much fat you need to lose either. But at least you have a vague idea of how a water cut feels and how hard it is. I’ve cut as much as 20 lbs for a contest, and put 25 back on in the subsequent 24 hour period. So I’m well versed in this experience. It sucks. And I can tell you that the DETAILS MATTER. To get real, tangible results, you need to nail everything.

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