Ripped. Shredded. Sliced and diced. That all out, freaky tissue paper-thin skin so dry that the veins in your body look like a road map. Cross striations running through each muscle, making them look four times more dense than normal. You want this look, don’t you? Fuck yeah. Well guess what? Getting in this type of conditioning for a competition is hard. And that’s a fucking understatement. There ain’t no easy way out. You got nowhere to hide, cuz the stage lights reveal all. On stage, you can always see those who have put in their time and those who have not.
Shit, we’re fucking nuts. We are the ones who walk around like mindless drones, thinking about food all the time. We train while hungry. We train our asses off doing cardio and hitting the weights. But that’s never enough, cuz we still got to diet. The hardest part has to be dealing with the people around you who tempt you with food that you would kill to eat while dieting. Misery loves company. But you got to be better than that.
So throw out all the tasty crap because you won’t be eating them for about 16 weeks, heh, heh, heh. Suck it up baby, cuz the time to diet is here. Time to get to work. Real work. This is what it’s all about. A lot of guys can train balls out, but very, very few have what it takes to diet. So if you were expecting some magic formula or a magic pill to do it for you, maybe you should go play video games and pretend that you are the real deal.
At 16 weeks out, I get my diet on point. I make sure I know exactly how many calories, grams of protein, fat, and carbs I am consuming each day. Like a fucking machine I cook, count, measure, and then eat. Like a fucking machine, man… Because pre-contest training is so draining on energy supplies, you got to make sure that there is enough protein in your diet.
Because of all the cardio, weight training, and restricted calories, it is easy to go too far over the edge and lose muscle instead of fat. As body fat is the enemy, everything we do is in an effort to lose body fat while retaining muscle. Pulling this off successfully is a result of knowing your body’s metabolism, time, and practice. Fuck yeah. Practice makes perfect. To win, you got to be perfect in comparison to the competition. So strap a set on and get it done!
Now keep in mind that each person is going to react differently during a pre-contest diet, Me, I usually keep my protein at about 2 grams per lean pound of body weight. I also say yes to fats during this stage of dieting. Not bad fats but good fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These fats can be found in peanuts, olives, pistachios, animal products, and flax seed oil. My diet consists of about 20% fat, (good fats) when getting lean. So for those of you who take the fat out of your diets, listen up. Good fats can help greatly while dieting, not to mention all the good benefits you get just for your general health.
While dieting, the fats can help curve those painful cravings for food by giving you a feeling of being fulfilled after eating. Fats also help curve that monster appetite by helping to control insulin bursts in the body. When you eat food, insulin is released in the body to help store the food as energy, and to balance blood sugar. Now, when you eat too many carbs, the body’s blood sugar goes up, forcing insulin to be released. If the body does not need the energy or sugar at that time, the energy in the food will be stored as body fat instead of glycogen or ATP.
When your body is starving for energy like it does after intense lifting, the energy stores in the muscles worked are empty and need to be replenished. Post workout is the best time to spike your insulin using high glycemic carbs, such as sugar, to replace the used energy with out fats to slow insulin release. Now, for the rest of your meals you want the fat to slow the body’s insulin release. The reason you want a slower insulin release is because you will have less fat storage, and by maintaining a level insulin balance in the blood stream the body will release more HGH, or growth hormone.
One more benefit to having a higher fat diet is that it helps the body become more insulin sensitive. This will help you gain more muscle in the long run. If you are thinking, “Yeah right. It’s bullshit that eating fat can help my pre-contest diet,” then do it your way and send us some pictures. I promise if you listen and incorporate more fats into your diet you will love the results.
Let’s put it all together. Get a handle on your caloric intake before 16 weeks out to start. By starting earlier at 16 weeks instead of say 12 weeks, you can take the weight off slower and retain more muscle. Break up the calories into 6 meals a day, or 7 if you have time to eat that many times. Only use the high glycemic carbs post workout to rapidly replenish energy stores. The rest of your meals should include a healthy source of fat.
You should keep your ratios of proteins at 35-45%, carbs between 35-45%, and fats at about a solid 20%. Also, since the body is a biological organism that only responds to stimulus, be sure to stagger your calories. In other words, if you maintain the same caloric intake day in and day out, your body will not change. Instead, create high and low calorie days to keep your metabolism on its toes.
My suggestion would be to sustain the same caloric intake and use cheat meals to spike your calories. Does this mean you should go out and eat anything you can get your hands on? No. Instead eat a good balanced meal with the toppings that you like and a small desert. This will help you make it through the hard dieting phase. So cheat, but only cheat within reason. Two, or at max three, cheat meals should do the trick.
What I do is I maintain a certain level of calories for three days then have a cheat meal. Then I go back to my regular diet, lowering the calories from what they may have been before the cheat meal. I usually change the calories by raising and lowering my carbs while keeping my protein and fats the same. I take the cheat meals out 2 weeks prior to the competition.
Finally, on the night before the competition, I add one last cheat meal while only sipping water (to ensure that no water is held beneath the skin, blurring muscle definition). The reason I implement a cheat meal the night before is to help fill out the muscles and to replace sodium (to ensure vascularity). Now that you have a basic blue print on how to get lean, it’s time to practice. So train hard, diet right, and track your calories, carbs, fats, and proteins to help give you an idea of what works for you. Good luck brothers.