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Rob's 2021 Contest Prep Log - Round 3


Physically last week was the first week I consistently felt the effects of the prep, not like 4-weeks-out type of feelings but noticeably low energy throughout the second half of the day from after my workout through the evening, mentally started feeling the effects as well. Sluggish, run down generally negative mindset which is not my standard of typical positive and high energy, etc.

I haven’t gone too into detail about my work life, but I do own two businesses, one is a residential real estate company and other is I write music for highly competitive marching bands (pretty diverse huh?) and both of those businesses are kicking up into high gear as they usually do this time of year. With real estate the market here in the Austin area is absolutely on fire, it’s intense and over the past week had numerous real estate related issues come up. All standard stuff for being in the business, but it was an ass kicker in terms of throwing many wrenches in the day, a few days last week I was having to write contracts and take phone calls between sets at the gym (there’s literally no way around it sometimes with the time sensitive nature of the industry in this area), unexpected showings, etc.

Regarding writing music, when I sit down to write I really need all my mental faculties at 100% to feel creative, positive in a good mindset, etc. Between real estate items I mentioned, feeling sluggish from prepping, it was a rough week for that business as well. I recently picked up a couple of very big music clients and will need to be able to give them my very best for their music, which I know from experience is not going to happen if I’m writing while prepping. It’s been 3 years since I stepped on stage last and the prospect was (and still is) very exciting, but when I did it earlier I was just writing music at the time and it was easier to be flexible and get it all done, take naps during the day, etc. With the real estate business added, music writing, family obligations, all that stuff combined, those aspects of life are 100% priority and need be at my best, and adding contest prepping to the mix is starting to take a toll. It’s something that I could push through if I really, really wanted to, to get on stage, but I know that the sacrifices that would be made in those other departments of life would be significant and ultimately, for myself and my life priorities as a dedicated husband and the sole income earner in the family, not worth it. I’ve never prepped with so much going on professionally, and especially with being an active Realtor thrown in the mix, in addition to writing music, and getting deeper into the prep, I’ve concluded that I need to drop the contest prep so I can focus and be my best for those aspects of life.

I have learned a TON working with Cliff the the past 4-5 months, and am not ruling out competing forever, right now just is not the time. The way I look at it, I learned a ton from an incredible coach, lost 17 pounds of fat, definitely made huge gains in the gym, and learned that I can get down to a physique I’m very happy with without killing myself. It may definitely be in the cards to get on stage again and working with Cliff has been a fantastic experience. I’ve communicated with him and will be working on slowly reversing out of the prep diet and how I can best maintain where I am.

This was an extremely tough decision, long conversations with my wife who is INCREDIBLY supportive of bodybuilding and really thinking on it, but I know it is the right decision for my life right now.

I sincerely appreciate the support on this thread and from the T-Nation community as always!


Sorry to hear that. I’ve been following you progress on this thread and it’s been inspiring. I know how it when life gets busy and you need to put you interests aside to take care of business. I’ve had to do it a few times in life and it sucks. Best of luck to you in your professional endeavors. Sounds like you have a lot on the plate besides chicken and rice!!

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A decision made for the right reasons is the right decision. Good on you and good luck!


No one doubts your ability and dedication brother. Happy to hear that things professionally are picking up. Looking forward to seeing how things shake out in the future.

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That had to be difficult.

Whether you compete or not, I like tagging along for the ride. You have an amazing way of generating excitement and a contagious enthusiasm.



Sorry to hear you had to make that choice, but a good choice nonetheless.

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This is so fucking smart. Appreciate you sharing this. It is so easy to remain dog-headed and let that erode other aspects of our lives and rarely if ever is it worth the cost.

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@s.gentz thank you so much for your kind words and support!

LOL yes indeed, all positive and excited to be in a great spot with conditioning I’m happy with and more mental and physical energy to dedicate to life and business!

@TrainForPain and @johnson2133, thank you gentlemen, much appreciated!

Yeah man it was, I was having those thoughts throughout the previous 10 days or so of that post and really wanted time to think about it, and a few times brushed it aside and had the mindset that I made a commitment and will stay with it no matter what, but eventually it’s like, “at what cost?” Weighing the variables, I know it was the right decision.

THANK YOU so much, that means a lot and am grateful for your following along! The T-Nation forums and website were literally life changing for me, I learned SO MUCH and was truly inspired by so many great folks on here.

@whang thanks for the support brother.

@Voxel thank you man for saying that. Agreed that it really can be easy to just “push through” at a detriment to other aspects of life. Tough decisions but it was the right one, I know for sure because I’ve had 0 regrets about it since I decided to pull the plug. My overarching goal with health and fitness isn’t necessarily to win another trophy (though of course that would be great), but really just to maintain a great physique, eat right and enjoy the bodybuilding lifestyle without the rigors of prep and having to revolve the rest of my life around it.


Is it an ambition to maintain where you are at currently?

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It’s a bummer that you had to cancel the show, but you have to do what’s right for you and your family. Keep up the great work and keep us posted on the next prep.

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Thanks for the support man! Will definitely keep the community updated if next go around.

@Voxel great question. Ultimately yes, this is new territory for me as I’ve never been this lean in the “off season,” and after a few days of recovery and some extra food I am feeling pretty great. I haven’t weighed in since late last week, I’m probably 151-152 but will confirm later this week. I’m back on my reverse diet plan with Cliff now and am going to continue working with him so I can learn how to maintain where I am best I can. If I could maintain my current level of conditioning I’d be absolutely ecstatic. I used to think I had to work too hard to do it, but this prep experience has taught me that may not be the case. One thing it opened my eyes to was how much I was snacking. All healthy stuff, but in the off season I’ll grab a handful of cashews here, an extra bowl of protein cereal there (Ezekiel or healthy cereal with milk+protein), etc. Numerous times already the past few days I ALMOST went back to those habits, but didn’t. I tend to get the “well I’m looking good so I’ll see how much I can push the envelope,” which is a slippery slope because one day you look in the mirror and daaaaaamn now it’s time to diet again. Right now I am working with Cliff to keep myself accountable and also change my mindset to “I love where I am, let’s have some discipline to keep it here.” Working with a coach in the off season is also a new thing for me, but I am excited for the prospect. I think it’ll help me achieve and maintain my physique goals more consistently and I still have a ton to learn.

Just wrapped up chest workout, snapped these real quick. Would definitely love to maintain right here!


After reading your and many other recommendations to measure what you’re eating I got a food scale.

Now, I knew I was getting a good bit of over eating specifically from cashews, but I would not have guessed 7-10 x a single serving.

That alone represents a massive calorie reduction for me, as ridiculous as that may sound.


I am with you 100%! I remember the first time I weighed an ounce of nuts, I could not believe it. THIS IS 200 CALORIES?! WTF?! Super easy to eat 1000 calories of nuts in 5 minutes without thinking about it.

Food scale is absolutely essential, it’s the only way to know for sure what you’re getting. Mind blowing. Once you get used to it though you also get better at eyeballing servings and guesstimating cals.

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I’m very happy I found a brand of seasoning with small containers that fit about 25-35g of nuts depending on the type (pine nuts being a 35g variety) and about an ounce of diced avocado. Makes packing lunch easy. Just fill em during the weekend. Coincidentally, it’s also an excellent size for intra-workout shakes.