T Nation

Help-Preparing For My First BB Comp

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
Prisoner—I’m curious and have a question of my own related to your advice for his “week of contest” prep.

You say don’t screw with water loading and eat normally to this pre-cut diet the day before, and you also recommend messing with sodium levels. Thib says pretty much the opposite–don’t mess with sodium/potassium depletion or loading, eat simple carbs/syrup etc the evening before the contest, and use water depletion/loading.

Obviously you know your stuff. And obviously Thib gives fantastic advice and knows his stuff. So I’m curious for your reasons that you recommend 1) eating like a normal person would instead of simple carbs on the evening prior to the show and 2) why you don’t like water loading–is it just because this is the 1st contest and you want him to keep it simple don’t want to mess with the OP experimenting and screwing things up? Or do you not in general like the specific way Thibs recommended things in “Shredded in 6 days”?

[/quote]

I will clarify what I mean. I don’t believe in depleting salt in the last few days prior to a show, but I don’t believe in adding it either. There is salt in most foods naturally, some foods are more salty then others, and seasonings for example usually have a generous amount of salt. Eating these foods is equivalent to what i call adding salt. That means you eat very blandly for the three days leading into friday for a sat show. Water, fresh chicken breast, and the carb of your choice. I also believe you can start transistioning a small portion of your carb intake to high glycemic carbs - for example mix some white rice with your brown, gradually increasing your cals to maintainance levels through the week.

You really want to be carefull and cautious adding foods that you have not eaten in a long time because of your diet, as you do not know how your body is going to respond. Gastric bloating, excess flatulence, and constipation are things you definitely want to avoid in the home stretch as the last thing you want is to be worried about what your waistline looks like on stage.

Water loading is bad for your kidneys, and it is very risky, as it will deplete all electrolyte levels. Your kidneys really were not designed to handle that amount of water, and really when you think of it we live in an age where freshwater is in abundance. Traditionally throughout history, fresh water was scarce, and people never worried about getting their 8 glasses per day in. And actually the latest research in this area no longer recomends that amount of water intake for the same reasons - it puts an uncessessary load on the kidneys.

Sodium and Potasium loading or supplementation is really a crap shoot. Unless you have daily blood work to go by, It is just your best guess as to where you should be. Thats prior to cutting off the water and after cutting off the water.

As for these programs of getting ‘shredded in six days’ Well in theory they are plausable, but in real world practice they don’t consistently work. It’s either you look great, or you spill over. The biggest problem with these programs is that they give the bodybuilder a ‘license to eat’ You introduce the sweet and fatty tastes into the mouth of someone who has not had these things in months and it is guarenteed they are going to partake way too much.

Also, the window in which you look good is very narrow. You may look great in the morning show, but by evening you have spilled over or vice versa - you haven’t ‘filled’ enough in the morning show, but look awesome an hour following the night show. Its very hit or miss.

It comes down to this. If you put the work in, and have achieved a low body fat % (3% or less) there is absolutely no where for you to hold water anyway. As long as you can get a pump, you are going to look phenomenol on stage. If you are 3% or less. You could do absolutely nothing for pre contest prep, pump up, walk on stage and still look way better then anyone else who is not as lean but incorporated carb/fat loading and water manipulation.

I don’t agree with sodium loading/depleting or water loading/depleting either. For some it may work, but it’s all a hit or miss. If done perfectly and all the stars align it works very well. I’ve found more times than not people fck up and look like sht because of this.

I think if your diet is in order and your in good shape it makes it easier to cut water. If you didn’t do your homework then your going to have more of a headache. If using diuretics and cutting water a day or more before the show, I would recommend a potassium supplement as well as have somebody backstage with a gatorade and/or some salt tablets just in case you cramp on stage. (hasn’t happened to me) but that would suck!

I personally sip 1/4 gatorade while pumping about 1-2 minutes prior to going out on stage. No cramping and in that amount of time it wont make you hold any water that isn’t already there.

I believe in carb loading to a sense. Not pig out like some guys do, but if you went no/low carb for quite some time then adding a little carbs will help you fill out. I agree with what prisoner said about dieting down to low bf% and once you get a pump you will look good. I guess what I am saying is when you add more carbs the day prior to the show, add in enough to help facilitate that full look but don’t spill over or you will find yourself holding water in the wrong spot.

We want it in the muscle and if you spill over your going to start washing away your definition by increasing the amount of water your fat cells are holding leading to more sub Q water retention I believe.

Now prisoner has come in to a show a LOT dryer and bigger than myself so what he has to say is golden and I’d listen to him over myself.

I’d just add what I have done and my thoughts on the topic.

Another trick you may try for getting rid of those ‘trouble spots’ is get some Preparation H and rub it on parts that retain a bit of water (around biceps, lower abs, love handles, etc) I was told "if it can dry up a hemorroid then it can help dry up a fat cell) lol

DG

Thanks for all the advice, that is a lot to consider. Up until now all my advice has been coming from my friend I am competing with, he’s only done one show before. It’s nice to hear some other opinions. His train of thought is along the lines slowly lower your calories to 2,700 and just put in extra effort with cardio. That way your body gets the protein and nutrients it needs. He advised me not to go lower than that with calories or else I’d sacrafice muscle.

Also, I was considering getting a HR monitor. Do any of you folks use those? I figured that I’d be able to see when my glucose levels are getting low during cardio, have some simple carbs available to prevent going catabolic. Any thoughts?

DG/Pris. -

I realize he is in the vast minority in this regard, but I’m curious as to what you think about IFBB pro Erik Fankhouser’s assertions that "pumping’ is a practice in idiocy and it makes muscles look “smooth” when they are THAT depleted.

He says he basically sits and relaxes and laughs at the people trying to pump up; his lack of pumping is what makes him look razor sharp on stage, so he says.

[quote]Prisoner wrote:

a lot of great stuff.[/quote]

Wow. That clears things up much more, thanks a bunch!

[quote]Affliction wrote:
DG/Pris. -

I realize he is in the vast minority in this regard, but I’m curious as to what you think about IFBB pro Erik Fankhouser’s assertions that "pumping’ is a practice in idiocy and it makes muscles look “smooth” when they are THAT depleted.

He says he basically sits and relaxes and laughs at the people trying to pump up; his lack of pumping is what makes him look razor sharp on stage, so he says.[/quote]

well everybody has their own views I guess. Maybe it works for him, and for a man of his size. I disagree tho.

I know for me I can pump an inch onto my arms during training and get more vascular so thats not hiding definition. I know that if I did squats or any leg exercises before going on then they smooth over.

I think arms, shoulders, chest, should definitely be pumped…its all with light band work and light weights, pushups, etc.

I can do pushups and while I’m lean if I stand their relaxed you can see muscle fibers then I can flex it and rip it up like my avatar. When I’m flat with no pump I can still rip it up from flexing but it doesn’t ‘pop’ if that makes sense.

I think that with minimal fluids and having the muscle full of glycogen (or even depleted) why not pump blood into the muscle?

I think the argument is that the muscles are full of water and that by inducing a pump you make those micro tears in the muscle thus releasing water into the sub cutaneous layer leading to a loss of definition.

I believe that is Dave Palumbo’s theory he brainwashes into ppl and I honestly don’t like a lot of that guys advice. He looked like shit and gives some of the worst drug advice I’ve seen, especially from somebody of his power…well used to be power as he got fired from MD.

Palumbo also tries to take credit for a low carb, high protein, high fat, keto diet. People think it’s hitting the bodybuilding world by storm like he’s some genious. People have been dieting that way for decades. While the low carb approach works for some I know if I went no carb and high fat I’d look skinny as a rail! lol

DG

[quote]Affliction wrote:
DG/Pris. -

I realize he is in the vast minority in this regard, but I’m curious as to what you think about IFBB pro Erik Fankhouser’s assertions that "pumping’ is a practice in idiocy and it makes muscles look “smooth” when they are THAT depleted.

He says he basically sits and relaxes and laughs at the people trying to pump up; his lack of pumping is what makes him look razor sharp on stage, so he says.[/quote]

Well you can be too pumped, but if you are gradually fluffing most body parts that should not be a problem. A good pump can add 3/4 of an inch to an arm, myself I respond very much so to a pump, and people have told me I ‘explode’ - I.e. I look big prior, but noticable bigger following. And keep in mind if you are bellow 3% bf there is no way you are going to look smooth.

[quote]Chi-Towns-Finest wrote:
Thanks for all the advice, that is a lot to consider. Up until now all my advice has been coming from my friend I am competing with, he’s only done one show before. It’s nice to hear some other opinions. His train of thought is along the lines slowly lower your calories to 2,700 and just put in extra effort with cardio. That way your body gets the protein and nutrients it needs. He advised me not to go lower than that with calories or else I’d sacrafice muscle.

Also, I was considering getting a HR monitor. Do any of you folks use those? I figured that I’d be able to see when my glucose levels are getting low during cardio, have some simple carbs available to prevent going catabolic. Any thoughts?[/quote]

lol keep in mind you want your blood sugar to drop as that is what puts you into ketosis to burn fat. Adding carbs during your cardio is a practice in futility. I suggest you hire somebody to help you who knows what they are doing because so far all your ideas are exactly what not to do.

Even a relatively insignificant amount of carbs would be futile? ie. a gummy bear. I imagine it is better to be cut and flat than to be muscular and over 4%?

[quote]Chi-Towns-Finest wrote:
Even a relatively insignificant amount of carbs would be futile? ie. a gummy bear. I imagine it is better to be cut and flat than to be muscular and over 4%?[/quote]

Why would you have a gummy bear when you are in ketosis? Ketosis is a good thing. You are burning body fat, don’t interupt that state. Worry about filling out the week of the show.

The only time you need the simple carbs is post workout or post cardio if you are doing your cardio following your weight training session. Other then that just protein and complex carbs, and a little fat - like a table spoon of flax no more… You want to stay insulin sensitive, only utitilize the insulin spike when getting protein and carbs in post workout to replenish the muscles. This is the time to do it, and all in one shot. If you trickle in the simple carbs, you will be taking yourself out of ketosis. The body will always utilize the simple carbs first.

4% btw is too fat and it doesn’t matter how ‘full’ you think you will look, you will just look like another also ran - holding fat and water in places that will give the judges a reason to put somebody ahead of you.

This is really turning out to be a great thread!

[quote]Chi-Towns-Finest wrote:
Even a relatively insignificant amount of carbs would be futile? ie. a gummy bear. I imagine it is better to be cut and flat than to be muscular and over 4%?[/quote]

I know of some guys who don’t even chew gum because of the 1g of carbs you might get from it…

This sport is one that requires 24/7 attn especially when dieting for a show. You don’t want to place 2nd three times like me and each time wonder wtf you should have changed to win…or know what you should have changed and kick yourself for not doing it.

DG

[quote]Prisoner wrote:
Why would you have a gummy bear when you are in ketosis? [/quote]

LOL that was hilarious. Watching a seasoned BBer having to discuss the merits of a gummy bear during cardio is probably one of the funnier things I’ve read on here lmao.

Just wanted to post my current diet, feel free to shoot holes and tell me when I am having too many carbs, fat, water, ect.

7:00 AM: Multivitamin, serving of l-glutamine and BCAA powder, serving of lipo-6.

–stretch–

7:15-7:45 AM: Run
7:50 Banana and 1.5 servings whey protein isolate. Followed by 16oz water (is simple carbs here a good idea?)

8:30 AM: 2 whole eggs, 4 egg whites, serving of flax oatmeal, 16oz water (too much fat?)

11:00 AM: serving of vanilla almondmilk (90cal) blended with a serving of syntha six, and one serving NF vanilla yogurt. One serving flax cereal w. skim milk. (too much simple carbs?)

2:00 PM: serving of whole grain brown rice, 4-6oz chicken breast, less than a serving of veggies & broc.

3:00-4:15 PM (generally): Lift, followed by 1.5 servings whey protein isolate, two table spoons sugar, and a banana.
(37.5g protein and about 40g simple carbs, is that an appropriate amount of postworkout carbs?) In addition, I drink a considerable amount of water peri-workout, is that a bad idea?

My postworkout meal is always between one hour and ninety minutes after my shake. I have one serving flax cereal and 4-6oz chicken breast. 16oz water.

8:00 PM: 1.5 servings skim milk, one serving sytha-six, and less than a serving of either flax cereal or whole grain honeynut cherios dry. 16 oz water.

10:30-10:45 PM: one serving whole grain brown rice, less than a serving of veggies/broc, 4oz chicken breast. 16oz water.

11:00 PM: Bed

Thanks for all the advice, I have certainly valued and appreciated all the input thus far.

-AB

What were the final numbers for the day? I know with my own system, no way I’d be losing fat on what you just rattled off -lol

S

very quickly, ditch the milk. Not sure what is in your flax cereal, but ditch the honey nut. and no whole eggs. 6-8 egg whites instead.

no banana following your run, just the whey BCCA and glutamine.

ditch the skim milk, ditch the yogurt.

ditch the table spoons of sugar, and the bannana post workout, use a mixture of dextose, waxy maize and you may blend half of your banana in there if you must. Also add creatine, bcca, and glutamine in as well.

for fat you may have 1/2 to 1 table spoon of flaxseed oil with you protein shake following your run.

[quote]Prisoner wrote:
very quickly, ditch the milk. Not sure what is in your flax cereal, but ditch the honey nut. and no whole eggs. 6-8 egg whites instead.

no banana following your run, just the whey BCCA and glutamine.

ditch the skim milk, ditch the yogurt.

ditch the table spoons of sugar, and the bannana post workout, use a mixture of dextose, waxy maize and you may blend half of your banana in there if you must. Also add creatine, bcca, and glutamine in as well.

for fat you may have 1/2 to 1 table spoon of flaxseed oil with you protein shake following your run.
[/quote]

Prisoner, I’m curious as to the choice of flax seed oil. My impression of it, in simple terms, is that it was hard for the body to process it because it has short chain fatty acids and has a low conversion rate to long chain omega-3’s. Is there a specific reason behind the flax instead of something like evoo, coconut oil, sesamin oil, or fish oil?

[quote]Trenchant wrote:

Prisoner, I’m curious as to the choice of flax seed oil. My impression of it, in simple terms, is that it was hard for the body to process it because it has short chain fatty acids and has a low conversion rate to long chain omega-3’s. Is there a specific reason behind the flax instead of something like evoo, coconut oil, sesamin oil, or fish oil?
[/quote]

use whatever oil you prefer. Flax is a simple and easy choice for myself - it doesn’t taste that bad, and I don’t have to choke down those gel caps. Fish oil tastes disgusting by the way lol.

Keep in mind it is just a very small amount, using one over the other is unlikely to be the difference maker in your contest prep.

Okay, thanks for the reply. Good to see you posting around here, again.

Lots of good advice on here!!!

I am still really new at this but completed my 1st 2 shows last year and have just started dieting for round 2. Like mentioned above I always stay with protein + fats or protein + complex carbs (brown rice w/ fibrous veggies) then egg whites before bed. Although I am far from an expert I have never talked with anyone who had milk,juice,fruit,yogurt or sugar in a pre-contest diet…

Keep us posted on your progress - any pics yet ?