Hi all, New to the forum, but looking for advice from people who have been there/done that. I'm a natural bb'er, 2 weeks out from my second show. I've done everything so differently this time that it may as well be my first show because the only reference I have is what NOT to do!
Been dieting for about 22 weeks, gradually getting more strict. I know there are numerous variables and I haven't given much info (would be happy to do that if someone wants to get more specific), but just looking for general advice for the week of the contest (training, macros, water, etc). My degree is in ex. phys. so I have some background knowledge and tend to prefer advice that can be backed by reason, not just whatever was read in the latest edition of Muscle and Fiction magazine.
Brief rundown of current situation: 170 lbs, vascularity in my abs so fairly lean (just had a hydrostatic weighing and dexa scan done at 10% and 12% respectively, so I'm not going to "guess" and tell everyone I'm probably around 5% because the reality is that anyone who has every told me that I'd call a liar and/or naive). Macros avg/day: 250g protein, 75-120g carbs, 40-45g fats and just started doing a re-feed day of 700-800g carbs once every 6-8 days. Current plan is to load wednesday prior to show with about 700g, Thursday with about 500+/- depending on how full/watery I was looking, and cut back to around 150 Friday while still pounding 2-3 gals water until bed time Friday night, then sips Saturday.
First I should clarify that I was NOT natural when I competed, so there's no use in giving you advice. There are a few things I'm curious about, though, so maybe others will chime in. Also, I know there's no "right" way, and I'm not suggesting I have the answers to everyone's prep, it just worked for ME.
1st: It's my understanding that the high water intake (It was always a ramp up for me to 3 gallons, but it ended on Wednesday) should be done in combination with high sodium, and not carbs. Once you shut the water and sodium down, (for me it was Thursday) you begin the carb load. the idea being for the past 3 days your cells' soduim/potassium pump have been trying like hell to pull anything into the cell due to extra-cellular salt and water. Water was completely shut off on Friday, only sipping about 1/4 cup to "prime the pump" with my diuretics. **** Again, I was taking diuretics, but it would seem that the same principle should apply. 2nd: The fear is always spilling over with carbs, but most of the guys that shared info with me never really decreased carb intake as they got closer to the show. Hell, I didn't even count carbs on Friday night after early weigh ins. I would eat roughly 5 lbs of sweet potatoes and a dozen bananas, and that was before I started on the rice cakes and jam... Up every hour or so Friday night to eat.
Again, I'm not saying what I did was right, I'm just curious as to why you're carbing up with your water intake earlier in the week and then ramping down on carbs before the show.
BTW, good luck. 22 weeks is a long prep! That's some serious dedication.
EDIT: Shit! Is your show on saturday or Sunday. My assumption was Saturday...
Thanks for the reply. 22 weeks is a long time, but it allowed me to not have to do as much cardio and didn't have to restrict my calories as much for awhile. I actually maintained most of my strength whereas last time I was pushing little girl weights by the end, so I've been pleased with that. Overall I'm actually ok with the size I've maintained (although I'll always want to be bigger!), and have gotten fairly lean, but could still stand to lose a little, but isn't that always the case?!
I'm obviously no expert at it either, otherwise I wouldn't be asking for advice, but the reasoning behind my proposed method is because every time I've carbed up in the past, it's taken me a couple days after to look my best. The next day I'm always bloated (I have a tendency to hold water easily), so by carbing up early, I'm anticipating spilling over possibly Thursday and definitely Friday after carbing up for two days, so I figure if I spill as late as Friday but I'm still pounding water, I'll be expelling it all day Friday and be up all night peeing Friday night so hopefully wake up dry and full for the show Saturday morning. I've been researching, but still don't fully understand the mechanism/reasoning behind spilling over. I kind of understand the basic idea, but I guess what I question more is how many carbs I can get away with eating without actually spilling, or if I should just TRY to spill by Friday and hope to dry back out by Saturday, that way I assure myself that I'll be full. Right now I'm not drinking anywhere near 3 gallons and doing it all the way up till bedtime and still waking up fairly dry, so I think with the increased water intake I should be expelling even more, plus actually having some carbs in me to soak up some. I could be way off track as there are so many different methods out there, but that's my reasoning behind it. Best example I can give is that last Thursday I had a re-feed day at 700g, woke up more full Friday but a little bloated, and then by Saturday I had gotten rid of the "bloat." I still think I could have either gotten away with more carbs on the re-feed, or would possibly be even better off spreading it over a couple days and giving my body a chance to soak them up. I've attached a pic from about a week ago that may help. Like I said, I didn't get quite as lean as I'd hoped, so if you have any advice that may help with as short a time span as I have left that would be great!
And just so we're clear, I'm not opposed to any method, I'm just trying to figure out what actually works! My concerns with the method you used is that everything I've read talks about going flat and not being able to get a pump when you're that dehydrated. Not to mention that a day without water is worse than weeks of dieting! Having used that method though, did either of you guys have problems with being TOO dehydrated after cutting water that early? That sounds like a stupid question even to me as I read it back to myself, but hopefully you guys know what I'm trying to get at. Just afraid that if I try to carb Friday night that I'll wake up bloated Saturday morning and not have any time to fix it. And I didn't mention it before, but I had full intentions of getting up early and pounding carbs on Saturday morning as long as I was actually dry.
LOL! I remember the last few weeks before my first show. Benching 135 for sets of 8 and wanting nothing more than to get it over with so I could EAT! I think it's pretty common for everyone that it gets much easier the "next" time. I was setting PR's 2 weeks out by the time I stopped competing. For example, that 135x8 bench went to 225 for 25 2 weeks out about 4 years later. (Shoulder bothered me, so I decided not to go above 225). Anyway, the training will get easier.
As far as how many carbs before you spill... well that's the $64,000 question, isn't it? This was always my philosophy: At local level shows, which is as far as I chose to go, it seems MOST LIKELY that judges will like a guy that's dry as a bone. I've always erred on the side of "dry" rather than "full". It never failed that I had multiple people tell me in the gym come Monday that whatever I did Saturday night and all day Sunday AFTER the show I should have done precontest. For me, the stress of spilling over BEFORE the show would send my cortisol levels through the roof! LOL. As far as bloating, it seemed FOR ME, that as long as there was no water, I could eat as much as I wanted and never spill. And YES, shutting water off Thursday night and all day Friday and Sat was absolute HELL on my kidneys. My lower back would hurt for days after a contest. Not only that, it took an act of congress and a bottle of laxatives for me to finally take a dump. It's a process of trial and error. From your pic at 2 weeks out you look fantastic and seem on track. Whatever method you choose You'll be ok. I don't feel it's my place to tell anyone what they should do. I can only tell you what I did and try to explain the reasoning behind it. There are much more qualified guys here that can help direct you.
Edit: After reading your post for a second time: The theory on "spilling". And a note to the peanut gallery: I'm a construciton worker, not a biologist, so lay off! Your cells are looking for balance externally/internally. You don't want that balance. You want everithing INTERNAL and nothing EXTERNAL. That's the reason for high sodium and 3 gallons of water. A shit ton of water and sodium outside the cell causes sodium to excrete (rememebr the sodium/potassium pump works "backwards" salt flows TO salt. Anyway, you are forcing your cells to work like mad to keep any volume with that much extra cellular activity fo sodium/water. Now, shut the water and sodium down and your cells don't immediately reverse. They still think you're trying to kill yourself! LOL. How long it takes for the cells to balance back out is how long you have before you start to hold extracellular water again.. or "spill over"
Would someone with more knowledge than how to swing a hammer please chime in?
I did not feel too dehydrated to get a pump, if that's what you mean. I was not flat, but everyone is different and two guys doing the same thing will have different results. So you'll just have to try one or the other approach and see how it works for you. Then, if you aren't happy with the result, switch it up a bit next time.
Yeah, I guess that's what I meant. So many things I read talk about going "flat" if you cut water too early. As I mentioned earlier, I'll always want to be bigger and leaner (kind of the idea behind bodybuilding right), but I'm actually fairly pleased with the size I've maintained. Honestly, I look at myself at 170 and I look as big as I did at about 185, and that's without having any carbs in me. With that said, the bigger concern of the two (full and soft vs. lean and dry) is definitely being dry. I have a tendency to hold water easily, so I think if I carb up even a little, but can get dry that I'll look ten times better than I do right now. I guess that kind of answers my own question then....cut water earlier to make sure I'm dry and maybe risk being a little more flat. I can't be any more flat than I am right now because I have virtually no carbs in me. Thanks for the advice guys. Less than two weeks so I'll keep ya posted!