So it's that time again, time to put down the pancakes and peanut butter, and pick up the food scales and fat burners.
Starting this prep in the middle of December was tough but I allowed for a few days of over the festive period by bringing my weight down a little beforehand. Some people may say dieting for 20 weeks is too long, but dieting this long enables me to bring my weight down slowly giving me more chance of retaining the muscle I have gained in the offseason. As I'm cutting out all the high calories foods and changing to clean foods this enables me to start with my food intake quite high, high enough that at times it's a struggle to eat. The point I'm trying to make is, I don't drop my food, add cardio and then add more cardio all at once, the prep is slow and steady, once I stop losing weight the diet or cardio regime will be adjusted accordingly.
My last prep I was guided my IFBB Pro Anth Bailes, I learned a lot through this prep and it resulted in me being in the best shape of my life. He introduced me to high carb days which we used around every other week to kick start the fat burning hormone "leptin" which can be severely decreased during dieting. I didn't have any cheat meals, the high carbs days have a purpose, you're not just eating for the sake of eating. However, on these days high GI sugary carbs are fine so the cereal bars and poptarts kept me sane.
In this article I'll give you an insight as to how my training regime, diet and supplements look 20 weeks out.
Weight Training and Cardio
My exercise selection doesn't really differ that much from offseason to pre-contest. I will include more volume in to the workouts but it is important to keep the weights heavy to maintain fullness. The intensity of the session will also increase by including super sets, drops sets, increasing weight or reducing rest periods between sets. I will focus a lot more on form and squeezing the muscle I'm training to bring out as much detail as possible.
My last prep I didn't start cardio until 10weeks out, this time round I have added it in from the start for a couple of reasons.
1) Because I kept it in in the offseason for health reasons and to stop me getting to fat whilst eating extra calories so dropping it out completely would be a bad choice.
2) Because I am starting with my food higher than my last prep and I'm a little heavier I feel throwing the cardio in straight away is necessary for me to lose body fat.
For my cardio I will either use the Stairmaster on a steady setting for 45mins or incline treadmill at 4mph for 45mins on full incline.
A typical weeks training looks like this....
Monday 45mins LISS Chest and calves
Tuesday 45mins LISS Arms
Wednesday 45mins LISS Legs
Thursday 45mins LISS Rest
Friday 45mins LISS Shoulders and calves
Saturday 45mins LISS Rest
Sunday 45mins LISS Back
My diet is very simple and boring, I don’t believe in making my food look pretty, at this point I’m eating for the nutritional value not the taste. I eat 6 meals a day and the diet is typically low fat, moderate carb & high protein. This is the style of dieting which brought us many of the hard and dry conditioned physiques of the 90s which we very rarely see today. I don't add any extra fats in apart from omega 3 and CLA, the rest of the fats I consume are what naturally occur in the foods I eat. If the carbs come down low, to 50g or 0g then the protein and fats will increase to keep the calories up. I rotate my carb and protein sources where possible as the body can build up a tolerance to certain foods causing digestive problems and bloating.
Here's what a typical days eating looks like 20 weeks out...
Meal 1 60g Oats with 60g Whey isolate, 1g omega 3 & 1g CLA
Meal 2 200g sweet potato with 200g chicken breast, 1g Omega 3 & 1g CLA
Meal 3 200g sweet potato with 200g chicken breast, 1g Omega 3 & 1g CLA
Meal 4 60g Oats with 60g whey isolate, 1g Omega 3 & 1g CLA
Meal 5 228g white potato, 200g chicken breast, 1g Omega 3 & 1g CLA
Meal 6 228g white potato 200g extra lean beef mince
At 20 weeks out my supplement intake isn’t much different to my offseason, I tend to stick to the basics and the supplements I feel are essential year round. The only addition is the omega 3 and CLA with my first 5 meals.
I add these because my diet is very low fat but having adequate amounts of omega 3,6,9 in the body is essential.
My supplement arsenal consists of the following;
Optimum Nutrition Gold standard Whey – Fast acting whey protein which comes in quality flavours that makes dieting easy. Click Here for ON Gold Standard Whey
CNP Pro BCAA Burst – Branch chain amino acids to prevent catabolism during cardio and weight training, and to ensure to the body has adequate amino acids for protein synthesis. Click Here For CNP Pro BCAA Burst
Anabolic Designs Raging Full – contains a quickly absorbed card source called branch cyclic dextrin with digestive enzymes and a pump matrix, ideal for intra or post workout to keep glycogen stores replenished, keeping you looking full and pumped in the gym while on low calories. Click Here For Anabolic Designs Raging Full
Gaspari Qualitine Creatine Monohydrate – I use creatine to ensure my strength stays high while the calories reduce and its also used to draw water into the muscle keeping it in an anabolic state and looking full. Click Here For Gaspari Qualatine
Anabolic Designs Shredabull – used first think in the morning pre-cardio to mobilize fat cells so they can be used for fuel during my cardio session. Click Here For Anabolic Designs Shredabull
Anabolic Designs Matador – I take 1 capsule of these before every carb meal, it mimics insulin in a way that it will transport the carbs you eat to your muscle whilst keeping your insulin levels low and ensuring less carbs are stored as fat. Click Here For Anabolic Designs Matador
Animal Pak multivitamin – A good multivitamin is essential for normal body function and to keep your body performing at its best. Click Here For Animal Pak
Udos choice super 8 microbiotics – Friendly bacteria to ensure I have a healthy stomach with no digestive issues. Click Here For Udos Choice Super 8 Microbiotics
Ripped freak pre-workout – Can’t go wrong with a good pre-workout, this is exactly what you need when energy is down and morale is low to pick you up so you smash your workout. Click Here For Ripped Freak
...Check back soon for more about my prep!