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Rob's 2017 Contest Prep Thread

Was in the car eating smores last night on my way home from Elba’s lol! Easily my favorite

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Thank you very much @littlesleeper! Trying to get my squat numbers to match your military press lol. Enjoying your log man, keep killing it!

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What an awesome weekend, full of relaxation, fun times and amazing food. It was my birthday Saturday, so we started the day with pasture raised maple breakfast sausages, Van’s waffles and Halo Top. Of course topped with peanut flour and 0 cal maple syrup.

Went to the gym and had a great arm workout, including a new PR of 225x3 on close grip bench for triceps. I’ve never pressed that much before for close grips, it’s been a goal to get 225, and Saturday I was feeling good. Must have been the waffles and ice cream!

For dinner we went to a local health food market, and got a pizza made by a nearby farm, in addition to some Italian style chicken sausage with peppers and onions. Last time I had pizza was a couple of months ago after my show, it was awesome.

Dessert was of course cake and ice cream. Cake from the bakery near the house, and ice cream was an assortment of 3 different pints of Halo Top, which were all finished.

In 3 weeks we’ll be on vacation in CO Springs, can’t wait. Last year we discovered an amazing old school bodybuilding gym called “Flex”, pictures of classic bodybuilders everywhere, great vibes. We had an amazing session every morning and we’re really looking forward to going back there. I gotta say, I’m a lucky guy to have a wife who loves to work out in a bodybuilding gym every day on vacation, the fact that we both prioritize training and nutrition, and enjoy it enough to want to do it every day on vacation, is really wonderful.

Side note, taking some more significant steps forward with my new business venture of combining athletics/training and marching band. Assuming most folks reading this aren’t too involved in the activity, the sport has really evolved over the past 10 years, and is incredibly physically demanding. So, I think the market is there, and hopefully people will be receptive to it. Not sure if anyone is a Tim Ferris fan, but “The Four Hour Workweek” is a great book, I highly recommend it. I got some great ideas from there and will be testing the waters soon.


So everyone gets an 200lb trumpet, you gotta deadlift that bad boy up to your lips and hold it there while playing a tune and marching 100m? Sounds like a damn good workout to me :joy:



For offseason work, what are your rest periods like? I hear “as long as needed” said a lot on here by a lot of people, but that’s honestly not a super helpful answer to me, I like seeing examples. Can you provide some examples of your rest periods? Like when you’re doing sets of 6-8 reps, rest is usually 2-3 minutes, 12-15 reps rest usually a minute, for a random example. I’d like to know what your general guidelines are for rest periods.

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LOL sounds about right, don’t forget it’s 100 degrees outside, and it must be done in very, very tall and thick grass!

@staystrong, you’re actually pretty close to it brother. My rest periods for on and off season are pretty much the same. There’s the whole bioscience of keeping shorter rest periods during a prep, but I prefer to keep my rest periods pretty similar, and also go by feel as needed.

When reps are lower (5-6 range) I go at least 2 minutes, and usually closer to 3. For those rep ranges, we’re going for strength, so IMO longer rest periods are good because I feel like I can perform much better with a heavier weight having more gas in the tank. Mid range (8-10) I’m usually about a minute and a half, and if I’m 12-15 it’s 30-60 seconds. Sometimes I’ll look at the clock to gauge it so I know roughly where I’m at, but after enough consistent training, you know how long you need to rest. During prep sometimes I’ll even make the rest periods longer, because I’m so gassed and need the extra time to recoup.

My overall preference is longer rest periods, and if I’m not sure if I’m ready to go, I’ll wait a little longer, unless I’m in a time crunch or my workouts are taking too long in general. When I’m lifting weights, the priorty is strength and hypertrophy, so the popular method of keeping shorter rest periods to keep the heart rate up and burn more fat is certainly not on my radar. I think the difference of fat burning between shorter and longer rest periods is negligible, and fat burning is best managed through nutrition and cardio.

Hope this helps, please feel free to let me know if I can elaborate on anything!

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Thanks for the reply! I’m just recently realizing my rest periods are a little shorter than they should be, especially for lower rep work. I’ll adjust them a bit and see if that doesn’t help me out!

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Happy to help bro, always!

Still training hard and eating well, gym has been 3-4 days a week the past couple weeks, been enjoying the extra recovery. The focus these past weeks has just been writing as much as possible and trying to get my projects done ASAP for my clients. Currently working on the last piece of the puzzle, the Baltimore Raven’s half time show. Just finished the first production today, it’s going to be awesome!


Keep killin it Rob!

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Thanks @joshbenjamin!

Here’s the latest timeline regarding training and competing and such:
-Currently still in off-season mode. I’ve been loosening the reigns on the nutrition, because it was getting to the point where I was still weighing food daily and obsessing about macros daily. I still eat clean and keep track in my head, but I was just tired of feeling like I was on a prep all the time. It was also getting in the way of summer enjoyment, like going out to a restaurant with my wife and still being pretty picky about my food choices. I’m not eating junky stuff, fast food, etc., but I am enjoying myself more and not being so obsessive about it. I am viewing the off season like a vacation - you want to vacation long enough to feel ready to get back to whatever it is you need to get back to. Off season is still controlled, but I don’t want to feel like I’ve been prepping non-stop when the next one rolls around. I did that last year, and don’t want to do it again. When the next cut comes around, I want to feel ready to do it. Weight is 160, so still within 20lbs of stage weight.

-Vacation coming up with my wife in CO Springs next week, we’ll be gone for two weeks. We LOVE IT IN CO SPRINGS! We’re going to hit up “Flex” gym every morning, eat a massive breakfast, hike all day, concerts, it’ll be a blast.

-When we get back from vacation late August, we’re starting our prep-style mini-cut together. We’re both aiming for the Hercules 2018 and will be going into full on prep mode in February. She is locked in to doing it, my plan is to prep for it and compete as long as it doesn’t significantly interfere with my writing and business productivity. Real life takes priority, but I am hoping with the pre-emptive strikes I’m taking, I can make it happen.

-The plan is to cut prep-style for 8-10 weeks, from late August through October, losing 10-12 pounds. We’re going into lock-down mode because it’s just easier to do it together, and is the quickest way to get it done, especially since we’ve both prepped before and know how to hit the ground running. We’re both within 20lbs of stage weight, so the goal is to get about half way there, then stop cutting in November, and maintain until February when we go into lockdown mode. If we can start our preps within 10-12lbs of stage weight, should set us up for a more manageable and successful prep.

-Side note, I recently got the logos designed for my marching band athletics endeavor, as well as my personal coaching logo. I am currently studying for my sports nutrition certification, and will be testing early fall. Once that’s done I’ll be getting the websites going. I’m not looking to do it full time, but if I can help others and have a decent additional source of income, that would be great.

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Take it from me, a quality logo can do wonders for new clients. I know it sounds silly but I’ve had people contact me just because they saw someone else wearing my gear. (the fact that Arash loves his Wolfpack hoodie and wears it in his videos has gotten plenty of inquiries!)


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Well, never thought I’d say this, but I just took 9 days off of the gym. That’s right. 9 days straight, no training at all. It started out as 3 days off, which was the most time I’ve spent out of the gym in 5 years, which turned into 9 days, after some bathroom remodeling, throwing a family gathering here, writing and just needing more hours in the day, and wanting to spend more time with my wife and pups. I was initially feeling like I just had to get there and part of my mind was going crazy, but after I gave in and just enjoyed it, man, just awesome. I really needed it mentally, and physically for sure. Back to business today, training every day this week, then Saturday we leave for vacation in CO Springs, where we train every morning because we’re crazy :slight_smile:

For anyone that fears a day off, or heaven forbid, a week off, I HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you haven’t done so before or in a long time. The mental and physical benefits are outstanding. I LOVE training, but after a while, it does become habitual and the spark isn’t always there. I’m excited to get back in. After we get back from vacation, the mini-cut begins, which is in about 3 weeks, so we are going to enjoy ourselves for sure, and when we get back, time for both of us to get ready for the stage!


First session back in nine days, I wasn’t sure how I would feel, if I would be weaker, stronger, or whatever. I felt fresh, strong, incline pressed 105 pound dumbbells for a few sets, strength was up and just felt great. Also tried incline dumbbell flyes for the first time in a while, I typically do all flyes with cables because the dumbbells never felt great on my elbows, but I think I was just going too heavy. I used 25s and 30s, focusing on feeling the stretch in the pecs, slow and controlled, felt good and I enjoyed a new exercise, fairly sore this morning.

Breakfast today is eggs with pulled pork and veggies, my wife and I had a family thing here a couple days ago and we made some crockpot dishes, they all turned out great. The pulled pork we did with onions, sugar free BBQ sauce and a can of Zevia cherry soda, so the sauce is sweet but pretty much no cals and no sugar.


Some new art in the house, a very thoughtful gift from my good friend @HeraWynn1. My wife and I agreed there’s only one spot fitting for this, right above the fireplace!


Back from vacation, what an incredible time it was, as always! We started most days with Finibars, trained at Flex in Colorado Springs, ate something awesome then hiked all day. On days we didn’t hike, we hit the Olympic Training Center, explored nearby towns, some cave tours, shooting ranges, just a wonderful experience to back in Colorado. It was our fourth time going, we usually go for about 2 weeks, and every time seems better than the last. I highly recommend CO Springs if you haven’t been before! I took tons of pictures, here are some highlights, keeping it mostly centered around training and food for this post.


We trained almost every day, and did a ton of hiking. Food was typically 2 Finibars, training, a big post workout meal, long hikes or daily trips where we’d have some more Finibars, trail mix, jerky, etc., then a solid dinner. We shared a couple pints of Halo Top or Enlightened pretty much every night :slight_smile:

Since we were training and hiking so much, we kept it clean for the most part but I also wanted to be sure to eat enough that I could still grow on vacation. I was probably at 3500-4000 cals a day, it was awesome. Now that we’re home, we’re wrapping up this week with a couple family birthdays and a BBQ at my parent’s house.

As I’ve written over the years, I am a fan of cyclical bulking AND cyclical dieting, if your schedule allows for it. I don’t have a super precise method, I gain until conditioning gets to the point where I’d like to lean out. Knowing our cut is coming up, I didn’t mind if I put on some extra pounds if it’ll allow me to gain more LBM. When you know exactly what needs to be done to lose fat quickly and efficiently, it’s not really a big deal if a couple extra pounds are added. I don’t have any hard data, but the way I figure it, I’m training balls out and eating up, so if I do gain a little more weight than intended, some of that has gotta be muscle. Let’s say it’s 5 unwanted pounds. If even one of them is a solid pound of muscle, I have no problem losing an extra 4, knowing that pound will make a big difference on stage.

That being said, I’m guessing my weight is around 165. Before I left for vacation it was 162, that was two weeks ago. I haven’t weighed myself since, I’m going to start daily weigh-ins on Monday. I also feel that I want to grow as much as possible, so if I need to get up to 165-167 to allow some more growth, it’s all good. Just as a point of reference, my stage weight is 140-141.

So, again, starting the cut Monday. My wife and I are doing it together as we’re both aiming for the WNBF Hercules 2018. Prep style cut, complete with cardio and HIIT, for 8-10 weeks, than back to maintenance. After 4 shows and 2 years of prepping, I know that when I hit 153-154 I really see a lot of definition and have clear 6 pack. By 148-150lbs, I’m around 10% and my upper body is almost stage ready. At 145 pounds, my upper body is stage ready. So, by the end of the mini-cut, say mid-October, or Halloween at the latest, I want to be somewhere between 150-154.

Now that I’m home and my crazy busy season is done, I’ll be posting much more frequently, and will definitely be keeping a very detailed log of my upcoming prep-style cut.


Is that metal bowl on the weight stack just for chalk…? What an awesome gym!

Super jealous of your holiday, it looked like a blast!

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That gym looks killer! I’m very jealous…and now I’m not looking forward to going to my LA Fitness after work today haha

That panoramic shot at the bottom is breathtaking! It’s my goal to do a lot of fly-fishing trips out west with my dad once he decides he can retire…Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming. So, I’m a bit envious of your Colorado vacations.

Glad you’re back, man.

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I love any gym that has balls enough to put up posters of bodybuilding greats and not give a rats ass about offending the average gym goers.

And the pancakes,… well, everyone knows my weakness -lol

Welcome back brother! Look like you and Katie had a blast!


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@Irishman92 - yes it is! Full of chalk, there’s a few chalk bowls around. It’s an awesome change from my current gym. I love my gym, but it’s more of a “health club”, a huge weight area with multiple types of each bench, lots of hammer strength machines and accessories, numerous types of barbells, tons of cardio equipment, pool, therapy pool, sauna, steam room, everything is always clean and in perfect condition, etc., it really is a great bodybuilding gym, but it doesn’t have a bodybuilding vibe at all, it’s a “health club” vibe. Definitely no chalk allowed, sometimes I’ll use liquid chalk so it doesn’t make a mess, but someone always complains. One time I heard a female complaining because my liquid chalk left a very light white residue on part of a barbell, and she was using it for deadlifts and complained that the chalk was gonna get her insanely bright tights dirty. So, being at a gym like Flex in CO Springs is very enjoyable. The last gym I was at was pretty similar to Flex and was around the corner from my house, but unfortunately the owner never paid taxes so it was shut down a couple years ago.

@IronAndMetal - LOL! I’ve been to a few LA Fitness gyms, especially last year when I was actually in LA for a bit on business, they’re on every corner like Starbucks there. I enjoyed the gyms, great equipment selection and variety, but I noticed, at least the ones I went to, no one cleaned up after themselves and it looked like a bomb went off in the free weight area.

Thanks man! That panoramic shot was taken at a viewpoint near Pikes Peak, Red Rocks right in front, just beautiful. Ya definitely gotta get out there, it is so worth it. The best place to unplug, be around nature and forget about the grind. We were thinking about not going this year because we had some unexpected expenses come up in the spring, but we decided to go anyway, because what’s the point of killing yourself at work all year if you can’t enjoy life when you have the chance?!

Thanks bro, good to be back for sure!

@The_Mighty_Stu hell yeah man! The owners are two guys who have been buddies for a very long time, one of them has their dog, a beautiful English Setter, hanging around the gym. Every year I comment to them how much we love going their and the vibe they have, and they both always say how that’s the vibe they wanted to establish when they opened the gym about 30 years ago. A good variety of people there, some are obvious gym rats, others are folks just looking to get in shape, and also saw a couple of competitors there who looked just ridiculous. Over the past few years we’ve also seen a few olympic athletes in there with their trainers, since the Olympic Training Center is nearby. They have their own gym and trainers there of course, but we’ve seen a few athletes at the gym, awesome to watch.

LOL same! That picture is at the “New Day Cafe” near the gym, awesome food and the biggest oatmeal pancakes you’ve ever seen, they sit in your stomach like a brick. Perfect post workout meal!

Thanks man, we sure did!