My Prep for the Chicago Pro
I count the droplets of sweat that fall onto the stair below me…five, six, seven, eight. I’m currently halfway through my second forty minute cardio session of the day. My legs are shaking as I had just trained hamstrings and glutes…nine, ten, eleven. I can feel my stomach rumbling. I just cut out a meal of carbs. The only carb meals left now are pre and post training…twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. Fatigue doesn’t matter though. Hunger doesn’t matter. Never have I been more focused and determined to improve. My goal as I prep for the Chicago Pro, is not just to improve; I want to win.
Competing to Win
Currently I'm four weeks out from the Chicago Pro. This will be my second pro show, and my goal for this show is to win and go to the Olympia
. A year ago, I competed in my pro debut at the Tampa Pro. My only intention for that show was to see how I stacked up against the pros. Now I realize what a terrible mentality that was for me as a competitor. As a competitor, your goal should be to win. That is what competition is—it’s to see who is the best at something. With no intention or belief in myself to place well, how could I come in at my best? That’s the biggest difference in my mentality between last year’s competition and this year’s competition. I’m competing to win, and I know I can win.
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Diet and Cardio
My conditioning was my biggest downfall at Tampa. I came in with an abundance of muscle, but I definitely could have come in tighter and lighter. I’m fixing that this year mainly by manipulating diet and cardio. My diet is more strict this time. Protein comes from very low fat sources only: egg whites, chicken breast, and tilapia. The only carbohydrates I’m taking in is in the form of white rice before and after training. The only added fat I am taking in is from an Animal Omega
pack I take before bed. I’m usually due for a refeed every 5-6 days where I’ll decrease protein a bit and introduce several hundred grams of carbs per day. Cardio is also much more frequent this prep. I usually do 50-60 minutes in the morning before work and another 40 minute session post training or in the evening. My main sources of burning extra calories are the recumbent bike, StairMaster, and walking outside.
From a training standpoint, my main focus has been my hamstrings and glutes. They need more development, so I have given them their own day versus doing a giant leg day. This has been a big game changer for me because it allows me to give 100% effort into those areas, whereas before they were more of an afterthought when training them after quads. I am doing a lot of adduction, walking lunges, heavy RDLs, and several variety of curls. I am also taking a much more conscious effort to feel the muscle contract and stretch over its entire range of motion, and making sure I’m not using momentum to “throw” the weight around.
A Smaller Waist
I am giving my waist special attention. I want to make sure I bring it in as tight as possible. You could have all the muscle in the world, but if you have a blown out waist, it will ruin everything. A small waist makes everything else look much bigger and better. I wear a waist trainer constantly; this tool is useful if you want to be mindful of keeping your core muscle tight throughout the day. I am also taking special care to restrict my diet to foods that don’t bloat me even the slightest bit. Refeed days are limited to these foods as well, just so I make sure I’m giving my body only the types of food that agrees with it.
The last new thing I am incorporating into this prep is Active Release Therapy (ART) therapy. For years I have neglected soft tissue work, so I’m terribly stiff in some places. Fascia has bound up a lot of my muscle, especially in my the hamstring area. Work done there should bring out better detail when I pose.
Even though on paper this Chicago Pro prep has been the most difficult, I am really enjoying the process and seeing my body change daily. I enjoy the challenge and I am really looking forward to showcasing my results at the end. Let’s get this win.