T Nation

Spring 2010 Contest Run Up


Okay then,… I’ve certainly had enough questions over the last few months, and now it’s time to nut up or shut up. Today, 1/4/10 begins my official prep for a couple of BBing shows a few months from now. Actually, I will have 15 weeks leading up to the 1st one which I plan to compete in (April 17, in Atlantic City).

I like to think that I learned a hell of a lot from my experience last year, and have examined, and scrutinized every tine detail of what I did last year in hopes of bringing an even better package to the stage. First, a few things that I am doing differently this time out:

1- 15 weeks instead of 14 weeks. This may not seem like a big deal, but this time I have an actual game plan from day one, unlike last time where I think I flopped around between a few approaches until I was a good 6-7 weeks in.

2- Higher calorie intake. I really think I dropped way to quickly when I started dieting last time. Trying to emulate Brian Whitacre’s exact macro breakdown was a bad idea, and I need to remember that I am not Brian.

3- Starting from a much heavier bodyweight. I had started the ‘official’ contest diet last time at about 190 lbs. Tonight at the gym I weighed in at 208.6 lbs. While certainly not shredded in the least, I have seen a hell of a lot sloppier off season bodybuilders. As my body has gotten used to the caloric intake of maintaining this weight, I feel that I can diet on a much higher number of cals than when I started at 190.

4- Higher carbohydrate intake. As long as I am dealing with a caloric deficit, I am going to keep my carbs a bit higher in an effort to hold on to more LBM. My average when I started dieting last time was about 175g on my medium (baseline) intake days. This time I will be ingesting about 225g on most days, with up to 300 on my one high day.

5- I will be incorporating my 6 day split right from the start. Last time I eventually settled on a 6 day rotation where every 3rd day was a low cal/low carb / interval day. I think this worked very well, and allowed me to really get into tight condition while still being one of the largest guys in my weight class. Again, I think this coupled with the higher carb intake should allow me to come in even larger.

6- FINiBARs and ANACONDA. I have been quite happy with the strength gains, and obvious increases in my overall thickness while incorporating these new supplements into my program. I’m really banking on CT’s Peri-workout approach to add to my overall LBM retention.

I will try to update as much as I can, and have already laid out 4 different spreadsheets detailing my total cals and macro breakdowns (and each specific food item as well as time to eat), each further planned into a rotating low, medium, and high intake day. I will go from ‘stage 1’, to ‘stage 2’ all the way down as I begin to plateau. Some weeks will involve a cal drop, others will call for the same number of cals, but with a drop in carbs.

My starting numbers (stage 1) are as follows:
LOW DAYS:
Cals: 2300 - 2400
Carbs: 100g

MEDIUM DAYS:
Cals: 2700 - 2800
Carbs: 225g

HIGH DAYS:
Cals: 3000 - 3200
Carbs: 275 - 300g

Again, I will try to be as detailed as possible, I know a lot of people find this fascinating, and hopefully I will do as well this time out as I did last time.

S

Your lats are looking wider than your older pics.

Despite all that Ive read and learned about lifting, nutrition, etc. for whatever reason pre-contest routines for bodybuilders has been a bit elusive. I look forward to watching your progress through this. Best of luck!

Stu, you look thick man. I still think that some of your posing seems a little “off”. I’m not terribly experienced, but I’ve watched enough shows and been “taught” by an NPC competitor how to pose, so take it FWIW. I hope someone else can correct me and give you better advice. But at a glance:

Rear DB: solid!

Front DB: leaning back too much

Rear lat spread: can’t really put my finger on it, but could be better. Looks kind of all over the place.

Front lat spread: sexy

Side chest: I wouldn’t arch your torso so far back again. Posing looks solid, just, make your torso basically vertical.

Side tri: there are many variations I know, and it isn’t bad, just not “standard” I guess. Looks fine tho.

Other two are good.

Again, FWIW. Can’t wait to see how you look on stage this time big guy.

I’ll try and learn from you since I’ll start my diet right about the time you are stepping on stage for that first contest. All the best (you look great). When the time gets closer, post the contest info so those of us in the area can come and support you.

What are your current estimated 1rm or heaviest sets for all main lifts including curls and tricep work?

Good luck Stu, I’ll be reading along the way.

Sweet, this will be a great thread to follow. I will start my cut in a couple of weeks and possibly lag yours for the free advice! Good luck Stu.

What kind of cardio will you be incorporating aside from the interval work every 4th day?

Hi Stu

You really look thick and are in decent shape for the beginning of a prep! Looking forward to following this thread. Pretty sure you’ll come in in great shape.

You plan to do some of the adjustments I did myself for my last contest end of last year. It’ll be interesting how these work for you.

  1. I started with higher calories as well as higher carbs than in the past. Most of them coming from my peri-workout nutrition (the old protocol with Finibars, SWF, SR).
    It really helped a lot. I was able to even gain strength up to 2 weeks before the contest. The peri-workout protocol helped a lot, I’d even say it was key. I recovered much faster. In the past, during preps, I had a hard time trying no to overtrain, not to get sick and to recover properly from workout to workout. But last time was great. Felt strong and recovered and motivated every day.

  2. As for calories, I did low, moderate and high calorie days, too (along with carb-cycling). I started at around 240lbs and my calorie intake was about 400 calories higher on all days compared to your days.

  3. Another good adjustment was not to overdo on cardio-work. I started with two short interval sessions a week. Towards the end of my prep I increased that to 3-4 sessions, of which two always were interval sessions, the other(s) some form of steady state cardio.

  4. The last big adjustment was to keep training heavy. I hit new PB’s 2 weeks out on tripples and doubles on almost all major lifts.

How much cardio will you do?
As for your split: Will you be working each bodypart only once a week or more often?
Will you keep in some cheat days or be 100% clean from the beginning?

Thank you very much for sharing your prep-experience and knowledge!
Para

By the way: Just received my first order of the new anaconda-protocol :slight_smile:

BUGEISHAAD- Thanks for the thoughts. I haven’t actually practiced my posing in a while, and I know last time I had a slight tendency to lean back on a couple of 'em. A few of the changes I was trying out are from watching vids of the guy who took the overall at the show last year, so I’m sure I’ll play around quite a bit as my condition gets better (and the posing looks less like a hippo flailing about)

DAVIDCOX- Thanks bro, I’ll definitely get all the info up. Not sure how many folks are in the NY/NJ area, but you never know. Besides the 1st show in in Atlantic City, so even a few of my brother’s friends may stop by and then go out drinking and gambling afterward.

CELTICS- No clue man. I train as a bodybuilder, and although I do realize that I move some decently heavy weights, I don’t really take note, nor do I ever even try to figure out what I can move.

ELUSIVE- Thanks, always makes me accountable knowing that people are following along :slight_smile:

PHATKINS- My only cardio at the moment will be the interval work every 3rd day. Towards the end (last 2 weeks) last time I threw in about 20-25 mins of incline walking on a treadmill every morning just to burn through a few extra cals (and to focus on squeezing my hams - got this from Whitacre). I may throw some short steady state in a little further out this time, but for the most part, I’m going to rely on the Intervals. They really worked well last time, and so many Natty competitors I know do the same.

PARAGONA- Very cool to hear the changes you implemented with success. Obviously starting as a much heavier bodyweight you could get away with the extra 400 cals (boy would I LOVE an extra 400 cals -lol). Also a nice testament to the efficacy of the peri-workout approach, which will be quite different than my previous PWO Poptart/Whey Shake approach. My split will be every body part trained once every 6 days, with the exception of some abs, lower back, and forearm work on my interval days. Basically it’s the 4 day split I’ve used a lot over the last few years (Chest/Gastroc, Back/Bis, Delts/Traps,Tris, Legs/Soleus)

OKay, so just finished eating a cup of egg whites with broccoli, turkey pepperoni and a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon. Not to prep my food for the day, and head off to work. I’ll try to write about my actual workouts a bit later.

S

damn, looking thick Stu.

Surely you must remember if you’ve ever benched 405 before or curled 225?

I’m asking because you look huge bro

Good luck Stu, this’ll be a good one to follow!

Is this the same show you did last year? If not, what’s this show like? Is it known for having tough competition?

LR

CELTICS- I have done 385 going back a few years (weighing about 185/190), right when I started having shoulder issues from doing heavy flat work, so I discarded the movement. I tend to focus more on making better use of angles to properly target the muscles I’m trying to stress instead of pounding away with ego boosting (or boasting!) exercises.

I can incline about 315 (rep with 295), have done seated military presses with 275, and while I no longer do them, have full deaded 500 (overhand grips), and back squated 550 (Both just gave me a big ass and thick obliques).

S

'RUNNER- The April show is a new one, in fact it’s promoted by the head expediator from the show I did last year. I actually sent him an email for details, and when he wrote back, remembered me and paid me quite a few compliments (he helped me out a lot back stage last time, very cool guy).
-The May show (2 weeks later) is the same show I did last year, and while I didn’t watch the other classes on stage, from videos, and pics, I can say that the Middleweights were pretty tough, and had a lot of competitors last time (15+). The Novice and Masters categories were a wider spectrum of talent, some really tough, and others,… not so much -lol.
-A possible show for June (26th), would be the INBF Mr. Hercules in Manhattan, which is widely known as a very tough show.

Should be very interesting to see the difference between the first two (which shouldn’t be a problem), and then with a 6 week gap before the June show (going to have to slowly up my numbers, and then re-peak)

S

Awesome Stu! I will be watching your prep with great interest.

Considering how well you did in your very firt contest, coupled with your discipline and attention to detail, I’m sure you’ll smashing the competition.

Best of luck. : )

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
'RUNNER- The April show is a new one, in fact it’s promoted by the head expediator from the show I did last year. I actually sent him an email for details, and when he wrote back, remembered me and paid me quite a few compliments (he helped me out a lot back stage last time, very cool guy).
-The May show (2 weeks later) is the same show I did last year, and while I didn’t watch the other classes on stage, from videos, and pics, I can say that the Middleweights were pretty tough, and had a lot of competitors last time (15+). The Novice and Masters categories were a wider spectrum of talent, some really tough, and others,… not so much -lol.
-A possible show for June (26th), would be the INBF Mr. Hercules in Manhattan, which is widely known as a very tough show.

Should be very interesting to see the difference between the first two (which shouldn’t be a problem), and then with a 6 week gap before the June show (going to have to slowly up my numbers, and then re-peak)

S[/quote]

I thought I read your first post well, but obviously not, I didn’t realise you were doing 3 shows pretty much back to back.

I’m guessing this is like last year and you can’t use HRX for your prep?

You need to build yourself a trophy cabinet my friend, you’ll need it!

LR

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I tend to focus more on making better use of angles to properly target the muscles I’m trying to stress instead of pounding away with ego boosting (or boasting!) exercises.

S
[/quote]

Well said. I never quite know what to say to those for whom the max numbers are so important. I like how you put it and will remember your response the next time it comes up.

Cool bro looking forward to following along.

First contest is in AC, I’m gonna try and be there.

Stu…best of luck man. You’re an inspiration to a lot of us, and a great dude. I’ll be following this one all the way.