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Rob's 2017 Contest Prep Thread


do you find your workouts affected negatively the day after the fast?


Hey @Yogi1! I did notice the day after the fast my chest workout was a little underwhelming in terms of energy and strength, but not more than any other day when sometimes you just don’t feel optimal and you’re not sure why.

This past week has been good, enjoyed myself on the holidays without going overboard. Had an unexpected second thanksgiving on Friday with some family, and a great meal out to dinner last night with some friends. I still managed to lose almost a pound this week, so currently sitting just above 157.

Moving forward, I’m going to be adding carbs and subtracting a little protein to get to the numbers I was using during most of my prep earlier this year leading up to my first show. So far I’ve been keeping carbs at breakfast (sometimes), always pre workout and before bed. I’ve found I’m lacking energy lately and am missing the carbs, so I’m going to make sure I always have carbs at breakfast, meal 2, pre workout and before bed, totaling about 180g carbs for the day instead of the current 100-120. I was able to get to 147lbs on those numbers, including a 350g carb high day, and under 10% bodyfat, and I’ve found from the past I just respond better to more carbs and can handle them well as long as I keep carb sources that work for me.

Thursday we couldn’t get to the gym for HIIT because of a turkey trot going on in the neighborhood, couldn’t drive out of the neighborhood. So, instead, we made up our own HIIT workout outside and it was AWESOME. We jogged to the park which took about 15 min, then we ran around the fields for a while, and every time we got to a corner we did a bidyweight exercise, including burpees, jump squats, scissor jumps, knee tucks, etc., quick 10 seconds to recover then started jogging again. We did 8 or 9 times through various exercises, then jogged home with a sprint to the house at the end. Way more fun than in the gym, we’ll probably do it this way from now on.

Side note, not sure if anyone else has experienced this, but I’ve had a couple chocolate Finibars in my last box that had some solid chunks of chocolate in them and it was SO GOOD!

Non training related, the wife and I are taking a vacation to Baltimore Inner Harbor this weekend and going to the Ravens-Lions game on Sunday. They’re performing my music for the half time show, not sure if it’ll get air time or not but it would be super cool if it did! Definitely going to enjoy a mini vacation and get some great seafood!


Good workouts the past couple days for chest and back. Yesterday tried a machine that my gym has always had but I just never paid attention to, a plate loaded lat pullover machine. Man, that thing is awesome! Took a couple sets to find the right range of motion, where to put the tension and the right weight, but once I did, it was a serious pump isolated in the upper lats. Going to keep that in for sure.

Today is day 3 of eating more carbs, yesterday I started feeling better and today I feel great. For some reason I equate fat loss with having to go low carbs, and realistically, my current carb intake is still what would be considered “low.” I always feel so much better with a higher carb intake, train better, and can get pretty lean without having to cut carbs too much, I need to remember that less isn’t always more.

Haven’t had any scale movement yet this week, but I’m not going to change any numbers. Last year the first two weeks of my prep didn’t have any movement, and week three I lost 3 pounds and kept moving from there, without making any changes. Slow and steady, and since I’m not in a contest prep right now there’s no reason to feel any pressure to have to see consistent scale movement.

Delts and LISS today!


Couple pics from yesterday, 158 this morning. Definitely still want to keep going until ~150, but current 158 looks better than last year’s 158.

These next pics are last year mid-December when I was about 155. It’s hard to be objective, but I feel like I’ve made some progress considering I’m heavier now with similar conditioning.

Also goes to show that LBM and overall physique progress is a slow and steady one, especially as a natural. But, I love the bodybuilding life style, training, eating well, so I know that ultimately progress will keep coming with time. Exciting to continue the slow cut and see what 150 looks like when I get there, which will put me about 10lbs above stage weight, and will give me a better idea of what to continue to focus on.


I agree that this year’s look is an improvement. Either way you are looking ferocious!!


@FatKidfromFL thank you very much bro!


Rob’s Recipe Corner - High Protein Dip!

Thanks for tuning in! If you’ve been following along my logs over the years, you may have noticed I am really into finding delicious ways to stay healthy. This is high protein no fat veggie dip, tastes great as a dip for veggies, chips, and even makes an awesome salad dressing.

Heading to Baltimore tomorrow for the weekend and making some healthy snack options, made a double batch to bring in a cooler, along with veggies and some Mary’s Gone Crackers.

-8oz fat free cream cheese
-5oz plain fat free Greek yogurt
-1 packet dry ranch seasoning
-fresh cut dill

Making a cameo in the back is our counter container of Metabolic Drive. We use it every morning in our coffee, we both have a shake with it every day, just easier than reaching into the bag multiple times a day.


Looking good, @robstein! Always enjoy your log and finding your great recipes is a bonus.

I have an OXO container I put all my powdered supplements into - like you said, much easier than the bags.


Man your lats are honestly insane. Have you always had a crazy V?


@cdmac24 - Thank you very much man, I really appreciate you following along and chiming in! I read in the T-Ransofrmation forum that you’re hopping on board, looking forward to following your progress.


Hey man, looking great! I noticed you added some solid mass to your delts and lats so good job.


@j4gga2 - Thanks a lot dude! Lats certainly were not a strong point starting out, took a lot of development, along with shoulders, to get that V look. Here are some older photos from the start of my first ever contest prep, after a few years in the gym.

And of course the “before” pic, taken at my heaviest weight of 205. I was pretty embarrassed and didn’t make an effort to get a variety of angles, but you can see the lack of any muscle or V.

I think one key aspect that helped was focusing on lat development right away. My very first training program was P90X, and while it does utilize some dumbbell exercises, the majority of the back work is pull ups for days with various hand positions. My first time through the first 90 days, at the beginning I couldn’t even get my feet off the ground. By the end of the first 90 days I could do 3-4 solid pull ups from a dead hang. By the end of the second round of 90 days I could do 20-25 pull ups in any hand position, so having the majority of my initial back training being pull-ups certainly helped. Once I got into the gym, my first program was the Indigo Hypertrophy Training Program, which is an excellent program and also features a direct lats and arms day, aside from a back day. So, hitting the lats directly from the start with exercises like pull downs, kayak rows, etc., in addition to a challenging back workout every week was helpful. Shoulders were a big focus point over the past year and a half as well, after my first contest season I thought my lats were strong but delts and arms were weak comparatively, so bringing up the shoulders and arms to look more proportional helps with that V look. Still a long way to go!


@duketheslaya thank you so much bro, I really appreciate that! I’m always looking at my delts and am never really content, although I don’t know if anyone has ever gotten to a point where they think, “alright, my shoulders are as big and round as I’d like them to be.” Thanks for the feedback man!


You’re very welcome . And Well, the day you started lifting is the day you become forever small :wink: . Man, You have one of the most impressive physiques on this site. I hope one day i can look like you!


Lol so true! Thank you very much for those extremely kind words man I really appreciate that!


Just read this article, a very good read. I found myself last year and early this year struggling with some of these issues outside of the contest prep, and am glad that I’ve decided to change course and better balance life and training/nutrition.


Couldn’t agree more! Read this article and honestly it’s been 6 months since the Monetti show and I finally feel somewhat normal again


I hear you there, man. I once got a pretty cherry gig for a HUGE company…but because the company had strict rules about working hours, it didn’t fit into my “gym schedule” (that I was used to at the time). I lasted 3 months before I just said “I Quit!” and went and got my old job back (which pays $15K a year less than the cherry gig)…just so I could go to the gym when I wanted to.

It was about six months later that I realized what I did and why. Talk about taking a step back and saying 'Whoa…"

That was two years ago now…So…proof that you don’t have to be a competitor to lose yourself in the fitness world…


Yeah, it’s crazy how long it takes to regulate. This year was a little quicker than last year for me, but I wasn’t as hard core about staying super lean, I just wanted to feel better and gain some weight. I’m glad I did it that way, allowed me to gain some quality LBM, and knowing how to diet down, I wasn’t worried about a few extra pounds of fat that I already lost.

Damn, hindsight is always 20/20 huh? Better to realize it now though than later and continue unnecessarily sacrificing quality of life.


Having an outstanding week of training and nutrition. Came up with a few new methods to help keep things moving quickly while feeling good:

-Mid-morning occasional cardio. Not every day, but a couple days this week I’ve gone to the gym after a few hours of working for a 45min MISS session, heart rate around 130-145. It works well in the day, I eat breakfast around 7, work for a while, then around 10 or so go to the gym, get on the elliptical or incline treadmill with the iPad and just watch TV or movies for 45 minutes. Great way to burn 450-500 cals without interfering with weights or recovery. Eat lunch when I get home, then train later in the afternoon, typically without cardio, but if I do add cardio after weights it’s strictly 15-20min LISS, heart rate 120-125.

-I stopped weighing myself, and probably won’t weigh myself for a while. Even though I know the process of scale/fat loss is not linear, I can’t help but feel somewhat emotionally tied to the scale. For example, if I nail my nutrition, cardio, training for a few days with a serious deficit, wake up and weigh myself to see 0 scale movement, even though I know I’m losing fat, seeing the scale not move along, I can’t but feel a slight sense of discouragement or a little pissed about it, leading me to feel like I need to “do more.” So, I modified my nutrition a little, make sure I stick to it and get my cardio in, and it is so much easier to stay motivated when my attitude is based strictly on my actions and not perceived results from the scale. My TDEE is around 2300cals. I’m eating about 1800-1850 cals a day, and it’s really not that hard. Add training and cardio on top of that, I’m netting about 1300-1400 cals a day depending on the cardio schedule, so that’s a pretty serious deficit that should allow me to lose 1.5-2lbs a week. So, going to just stick to my plan, look in the mirror every now and then, and I’ll weigh myself when I feel like it, but not anytime probably until after the new year.

Today is HIIT Thursday, looking forward to it. After making some solid improvements since my shows almost 8 months ago, I really want to get as lean as I can. Still not sure about competing next year, but right now I’m focused on business, and physique wise I just want to look jacked and feel happy. Now that I’m not weighing myself every day, I feel more motivated without any outside factors affecting my mindset.