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Plateaued 8 Weeks Out from 1st BB Comp


Whats up guys, I’m new to posting but enjoy T-Nation community and all the articles. So I’ve been preparing for my first bodybuilding competition since the 14 week mark, and have been making good progress along the way. Although now I’m at the 8 week mark and not sure where I should be at, and for the first time, my bodyfat% did not go down (I do weekly measurements with omrons bodyfat anaylzer, I know its not the most accurate but i do feel its consistant).

I have not been cutting calories since the 14 week mark, maintaining around 3000 calories, but i have been adding and increasing cardio to where I am doing it 4x a week now. I’m not sure if i should cut calories now or just continue to add cardio. Preserving muscle mass is of course the main objective.

I have some pics of myself at 8 weeks out that i have attached to the thread as well as more pics in my profile.

I have been working in carb cycling the past week, with 1-2 high days and 2-3 low days and with a moderate day on the weekend to allow me to have somewhat of a life. I plan on adding an extra day of some SS cardio, so it would be three 25min SS cardio days and two 20 min HIIT sessions, and I plan on going a little lower then normal on my low carb days then i’m use to. I’ve always been cautious of low carbing (less then 50 grams a day) b/c I feel like I lose too much weight, and usually dont know where to get the other calories to compensate for the carbs I’d normally take. Which is why I like the idea of carb cycling. I love having the feeling of having a high carb day after 2 low days, and feeling my muscle fill up with glycogen lol. I just need to get a better feel for how high on my high days, and how low on my low days.

I respect this community and any feedback/advice would be appreciated.

I’m 6 ft 2 inches
weight currently 182.5lbs
bf% approx 7% (omron’s body fat analyzer)
pretty good metabolism.

hmmmn 6’2 and already at 182.5 makes me think you definitely want to pump the brakes a bit least you end up looking ripped, but stringy onstage. You don’t have to drop the calories every week just because you’re prepping. Obviously it will all depend on how things look in the mirror, but if you’ve ever read stuff by Dr. Joe Klemzewski (sp?!), you are very lean) can actually increase your metabolism, and allow for a higher intake (and less required cardio).

In this case, you may actually be able to increase your LBM a bit considering the amount of time you still have left. If you were to just keep going like you are (figuring .5 - 1 lb loss a week), you’d be looking at ~175 lbs (maybe even 170 lbs if you drop your water) onstage, which at your height may be much lighter than you’d ideally want to be.

S

Thanks for the input Stu, definitely follow your threads around the forums.
I guess I dont want to wait too long to start cutting my calories and risk not coming in a ripped as I could of. But again, i’ve noticed that when try to cut my calories thats when I feel a stall in my progress.

I’m a big fan of Dr. Joe Klemzewski, and am familiar with his writings. My high carb days around around 3100-3200 consuming about 320 grams of carbs, 2x a week, on my leg day and my back day (weakest parts), and lately i’ve gone as low as 70 grams on my low carb days for a total of around 2600 calories, which is low for myself, but kind of feel like thats what I should do on my low days. But I think I am going to keep the calories the same, and just work on the correct cycling, I like the idea of carb cycling. Last week after a moderate and then low carb day, i was really looking forward to my high day and really felt good at the end of my high day, skin felt tight, and I felt very vascular.
I’m wondering if the HITT 2x a week maybe is too much, or should i keep it up? Definitely want to add another 20 min of SS cardio this week and see how i feel then.

You could have said that pic was you 2 weeks out and I’d have believed it, Stu already chimed in with his advice which has more experience and perspective behind it than I could wish to have at this point so I’ll just leave you with that compliment(and it kind of agrees with what Stu said: you look prepared enough that you could probably even add a bit in the next 8 weeks, before catching up time wise with where you are already at in your conditioning).

I only do HIT twice a week, and never more than 25 mins max (including 3 mins warmup and 3 mins cooldown, so not long at all actually). You might want to try raising your high days. I usually keep my high days around 3100 cals, and my frame is a lot smaller than yours (you can’t risk losing any more muscle, I’m 5’8, so 170-175 lbs in contest shape looks very thick on stage). If you continue to cycle your numbers (which I would definitely recommend), I would SLIGHTLY raise the high days, keep the low days where they are (I’ve found that the discrepancy between high and low is a very important factor in keeping your metabolism speeding along), but maybe raise your moderate (or baseline) days 100 cals with 25-50g of carbs and see how things look in a week’s time. Ideally you will retain your fullness and size from this week, but still show signs of further tightening.

S

Yeah ive never dieted down for a contest but at 8 weeks away youre completely shredded considering its your first show. Good job.

You definitely have room for a few nice cheat meals. Quality cheat meals. How about a 6oz bison burger with a fried egg on an english muffin?

[quote]red04 wrote:
You could have said that pic was you 2 weeks out and I’d have believed it, Stu already chimed in with his advice which has more experience and perspective behind it than I could wish to have at this point so I’ll just leave you with that compliment(and it kind of agrees with what Stu said: you look prepared enough that you could probably even add a bit in the next 8 weeks, before catching up time wise with where you are already at in your conditioning).[/quote]

Thanks Red04,
If I could do it again, I’d probably look for a trainer to help me prep better. I am basically just going from everything I read that I feel can work best for me. Being new and no one to really guide me, this time of the prep, I begin to double guess myself alot, and alot of things go through my head on how to change what I’m doing. Although I know I should just keep the calories up.

I’m not sure how much carbs I should be taking in,I know handle carbs well which is why I dont like dropping them too low… I consume around 50% of protein in my diet, its the rest I second guess myself with.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I only do HIT twice a week, and never more than 25 mins max (including 3 mins warmup and 3 mins cooldown, so not long at all actually). You might want to try raising your high days. I usually keep my high days around 3100 cals, and my frame is a lot smaller than yours (you can’t risk losing any more muscle, I’m 5’8, so 170-175 lbs in contest shape looks very thick on stage). If you continue to cycle your numbers (which I would definitely recommend), I would SLIGHTLY raise the high days, keep the low days where they are (I’ve found that the discrepancy between high and low is a very important factor in keeping your metabolism speeding along), but maybe raise your moderate (or baseline) days 100 cals with 25-50g of carbs and see how things look in a week’s time. Ideally you will retain your fullness and size from this week, but still show signs of further tightening.

S [/quote]

I’m not going to lie, I’ve wanted to higher my carbs like you mention, b/c i know I burn calories pretty well. I guess its my inexperience that has kept me from trying it. Although, I will give it a shot Stu. I think I really need to get a better handle the carb cycling and how it pertains to my body. I really feel once I get that down, I will be alot more confident

[quote]BONEZ217 wrote:
Yeah ive never dieted down for a contest but at 8 weeks away youre completely shredded considering its your first show. Good job.

You definitely have room for a few nice cheat meals. Quality cheat meals. How about a 6oz bison burger with a fried egg on an english muffin? [/quote]

Thanks BONEZ, a burger here and there is probably what i need. I’ve been eating only fish, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, both low in fat. But I know that some steak and beef would definitely help, I guess I can throw that in my low/moderate carb days (since my high carb days i do try and keep my fat intake pretty low under 50grams) I’ve actually found some lean turkey burgers that I am going to start throwing in as a snack (without the buns of course).

I only do HIT twice a week, and never more than 25 mins max (including 3 mins warmup and 3 mins cooldown, so not long at all actually). You might want to try raising your high days. I usually keep my high days around 3100 cals, and my frame is a lot smaller than yours (you can’t risk losing any more muscle, I’m 5’8, so 170-175 lbs in contest shape looks very thick on stage). If you continue to cycle your numbers (which I would definitely recommend), I would SLIGHTLY raise the high days, keep the low days where they are (I’ve found that the discrepancy between high and low is a very important factor in keeping your metabolism speeding along), but maybe raise your moderate (or baseline) days 100 cals with 25-50g of carbs and see how things look in a week’s time. Ideally you will retain your fullness and size from this week, but still show signs of further tightening.

S

What are you doing for peri-workout nutrition? Anything? That could be a place to add in more carbs.

It will help with muscle retention this close to a show, as well as fuel your workouts.

What about your training? Can you give a general overview of what you’re currently doing or have done in the last couple of months?

In my experience, sound workout nutrition and heavier training (at least a large percentage of my overall program) have been key to maintaining (and as mentioned above, possibly gaining a little LBM for your situation) lean mass when dieting.

If you’re interested, I’ve got a forum called “Synergy93–Fill Us In”, in which I talk about some of the things I’ve done personally , pertaining to both training, and nutrition…may be a few things in there from me and others that could help you out.

Good luck. You’re looking great at 8 weeks out

[quote]synergy93 wrote:
What are you doing for peri-workout nutrition? Anything? That could be a place to add in more carbs.

It will help with muscle retention this close to a show, as well as fuel your workouts.

What about your training? Can you give a general overview of what you’re currently doing or have done in the last couple of months?

In my experience, sound workout nutrition and heavier training (at least a large percentage of my overall program) have been key to maintaining (and as mentioned above, possibly gaining a little LBM for your situation) lean mass when dieting.

If you’re interested, I’ve got a forum called “Synergy93–Fill Us In”, in which I talk about some of the things I’ve done personally , pertaining to both training, and nutrition…may be a few things in there from me and others that could help you out.

Good luck. You’re looking great at 8 weeks out[/quote]

I appreciate it, synergy93. My peri nutrition on my low carb days are just a scoop of whey (24 grams) in water with about 10 grams of bcaa, and another 10 grams of glutamine before my workout and On my high days I’ll mix it with some gatorade to get those extra carbs in. Then post workout, on my low carb days i mix 2 scoops of whey, with bcaa’s and glutamine. Also mix it with creamer, I love milk, but creamer offers only 2 grams of carbs per serving comparted to milk’s 12 grams, I also throw in a tablespoon of extra virgen olive oil. On my high days I have a weight gainer, that is about 80 grams of carbs, and 56grams of protein, this time mixed with skim milk (8oz), and my bcaa/glutamine.
I’m actually kind of anal about my calories where I have a spreadsheet where I count all my calories, grams, percentage per, for each meal. I also supplement with disscated liver pills about 5 tabs every 3 hours) and also take about 15grams of fish oil a day. Besides my other vitamins.

As far as my workouts go, I currently have 5 day split, which I plan on changing it alittle though. currently:
Mon- legs/calves
Tues- chest/tri’s/abs
wed- back/bi’s/calves
thurs- legs again, (hamstring work)/abs
fri- delts/traps/calves
I do cardio in the morning, usually in a fasted state, although I’m not sure if I should be doing that in my HIIT days, currently i do mon-tues then thur-fri, with an optional weekend day. (mon is SS cardio, tues is HIIT, thur is SS cardio , friday is HIIT, and planning on adding an extra day somewhere of SS cardio. all sessions last 25 min with warm up.

Although I plan to switch to
Mon- legs/calves
Tues- chest/abs
wed- arms/calves
thurs- back/abs
fri- delts/traps/calves

I would like to add a day off in between the week somewhere and just do a workout on the weekend. just still tweaking it. Hate not being in the gym during the week.

As far as my workouts, I do about 4-5 exercises per body part, lifting heavy with my first workout, usually some sort of 5x5 to get my CNS going. Except I’ll throw in a few extra sets for volume (i’m a high volume kinda guy), so i’ll end up doing something like 7-8 x5 or a 6x6. My next exercise i like to keep the reps to 6-8 adding some supersets or dropsets. Then I try to get a exercise hitting 3x10 and i finish off the workouts with more workouts in the 10 rep range but supersetting. I superset alot, except of legs, where I am trying to get stronger.
thanks for the feedback, definitely is appreciated.

[quote]parrao79 wrote:
I do cardio in the morning, usually in a fasted state, although I’m not sure if I should be doing that in my HIIT days, currently i do mon-tues then thur-fri, with an optional weekend day. (mon is SS cardio, tues is HIIT, thur is SS cardio , friday is HIIT, and planning on adding an extra day somewhere of SS cardio. all sessions last 25 min with warm up.
[/quote]

I certainly don’t think you need to add any cardio sessions at the moment. You might even want to cut out the SS sessions and just ride the next couple of weeks on the two HIT sessions. This would keep you moving along, albeit at a slightly slower, albeit more LBM sparring pace.

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

I certainly don’t think you need to add any cardio sessions at the moment. You might even want to cut out the SS sessions and just ride the next couple of weeks on the two HIT sessions. This would keep you moving along, albeit at a slightly slower, albeit more LBM sparring pace.

S[/quote]

Thanks Stu for your input, definitely do appreciate it. I really only started doing the 2 extra SS cardio days a few weeks ago, and mainly b/c i felt thats what I “should” be doing, you know what I mean? To be completely honest with you, I dislike SS cardio (maybe b/c I’m more of an ectomorph), and whenever I do SS cardio, in my mind i feel like my muscles are withering away, so to speak. I love HIIT, I currently do intervals on the treadmill at the highest incline, 1 min on, 1 min off, for 20 minutes with a 5 minute warmup, then I also have a few complexes that I love, which I’ve gotten from T-Nation articles, which take me about 10 minutes each, so I’ll do 2 different ones, for a total of about 20 minutes. I feel great the rest of the day. I am going to refrain from adding more cardio, you do make a good point.
And I am taking your advice and already have planned my next high carb day (thursday) and plan on having close to 400 grams of carbs. As of now though, I only have about 350grams of carbs for thursday. Not sure where I’m going to fill in the rest (every week, i like to create a loose template of the upcoming week, and breakdown what im going to eat, how much carb/protein/fat etc… It helps me not have to relie on my instinct when it comes to eating :slight_smile:

I’m a spreadsheet guy as well, so I know where you’re coming from -lol.

I’ve had a few high days myself where I almost didn’t make my numbers, and found myself eating an entire box of Mike n’ Ike’s after my workout on multiple occasions!

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I’m a spreadsheet guy as well, so I know where you’re coming from -lol.

I’ve had a few high days myself where I almost didn’t make my numbers, and found myself eating an entire box of Mike n’ Ike’s after my workout on multiple occasions!

S[/quote]

Stu, I dont know what I would do without the spreadsheet. It really puts everything into perspective and allows the manipulation of macros to be much easier and fluid. Especially % wise. I know that my high days i consume about 45% carbs and protein and 10% fat mainly coming from fish oil and EFA. Although I do know that my carbs should be higher then my protein, i just cant find enough clean carbs to compensate. My low days are ok, where I take in 55% protein, 35% fat, and about 10% carbs. Without a spreadsheet, there is no way I would know all this… Definitely helps, and is a great learning tool as well.

I love cardio, do it all the time. But I wouldn’t recommend a low bodyfat bodybuilding competitor do it.

20 Minutes of SS cardio doesn’t really do anything for fat loss specially at your bodyfat, You would be better off cutting calories. Long as it makes you feel good warm up your body, brain or muscles then it helps.

That’s assuming you need to lose fat. Looking at your picture that’s the last thing you need to worry about, although in more rural areas, you can win an amatuer competition with extreme leaness and not huge size.

You would probably get a better body response raising the reps a little and lowering the rest periods. That would equal the same amount of calories burned plus not make your muscles appear any longer or less flat, maybe even accomplish the opposite.

Good luck

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
I love cardio, do it all the time. But I wouldn’t recommend a low bodyfat bodybuilding competitor do it.

20 Minutes of SS cardio doesn’t really do anything for fat loss specially at your bodyfat, You would be better off cutting calories. Long as it makes you feel good warm up your body, brain or muscles then it helps.

That’s assuming you need to lose fat. Looking at your picture that’s the last thing you need to worry about, although in more rural areas, you can win an amatuer competition with extreme leaness and not huge size.

You would probably get a better body response raising the reps a little and lowering the rest periods. That would equal the same amount of calories burned plus not make your muscles appear any longer or less flat, maybe even accomplish the opposite.

Good luck[/quote]

Your right and thank you… I shouldnt really get caught up with too much cardio, I never do cardio, I actually like keeping my rest short, and my heart rate up through out my workout. Thats how I’ve always worked out, which i feel allows me to stay relatively lean without doing cardio.
The thing with me, is I see how important it is too come in shredded, but at the same, I feel that by “trying” to maintain as much muscle mass, I can have an edge. Although of course that is easier said then done lol The thing with me, is I know how to eat “healthy” and how to eat “right”, i’m just learning how to eat as a “bodybuilder”.

[quote]synergy93 wrote:
What are you doing for peri-workout nutrition? Anything? That could be a place to add in more carbs.

It will help with muscle retention this close to a show, as well as fuel your workouts.

What about your training? Can you give a general overview of what you’re currently doing or have done in the last couple of months?

In my experience, sound workout nutrition and heavier training (at least a large percentage of my overall program) have been key to maintaining (and as mentioned above, possibly gaining a little LBM for your situation) lean mass when dieting.

If you’re interested, I’ve got a forum called “Synergy93–Fill Us In”, in which I talk about some of the things I’ve done personally , pertaining to both training, and nutrition…may be a few things in there from me and others that could help you out.

Good luck. You’re looking great at 8 weeks out[/quote]

BTW Synergy, I checked out the forum you mentioned, very informative. I appreciate it. Your a beast too, thats where I need to be, around 215lb and solid… After this competition definitely going to try and pack some more muscle on. Nice Job

Looking great - even this far out.

Impressive conditioning. Best of luck at your show!