The moment of truth… The time has arrived. Your heart is racing. Your veins are throbbing with carb-loaded blood. The hot lights are blinding you and all you can hear is one voice barking out orders as if you were in a prison line up. “Quarter turn to the right, quarter turn to the right, quarter turn to the right, and face front.” With every turn, flashes of lights blind the weak and strengthen the strong. All the diet, cardio, and busting your ass on the iron for weeks on end. All for that brief window of time to show what you got on stage.
You might ask yourself, "Is it all worth it?" If you have to ask, it just might not be. This is bodybuilding. This is our world, our stage, our time to shine, and our moment of truth. This is what makes a bodybuilder--the stage, diet, cardio, the selfishness of body over life. Any gym rat can hit the weights hard and get big with eating and skipping the 4:00 am cardio sessions. But it takes a true bodybuilder to cut down and step into the light, it takes a true Animal with killer instincts. Let’s face it, what it comes down to is bodybuilders must be able to gain quality weight in the off season and lose weight in season for contests. There are many differences in diet and training during these two totally different stages of the sport.
When dieting for a contest, one will find their true self and show their true colors. A contest diet will bring out the dark side in all of us from time to time. Anytime you restrict fuel from your body it makes temptations greater. One of the biggest temptations on a diet is all around you—food. It is what makes the world go round. When your metabolism is cranked up from eating every two hours, but hungry five minutes after you eat your meal, many thoughts cross your mind. Some of these thoughts might not nudge you in the right way. A weak normal person would give in, but a true bodybuilder, an Animal, will stay focused. Contest dieting can change the way a person acts and thinks.
When I am preparing for a show my mood changes about every five minutes, and this is due to my "carb rotation". I find that a low carb intake works best for me. I like to rotate my carb intake as I get ready for a show, while keeping my protein and fat intake the same all the way through. My trainer likes me to diet for 16 weeks, with carbs changing about every two weeks. My protein will stay at 400 grams, my fat 60 grams, and my carbs start out at 300 grams at 16 weeks out.
I get most of my carbs from tasty white rice and delicious oats. After 16 weeks of dieting you would be amazed how many ways I have tried to prepare these two fuel sources. Ask any bodybuilder they will try about anything to make the food they eat taste a little different. Some of my favorite ways to make my white rice meals are as follows...
#1 Plain Old
The always plain old microwave with tons of Splenda and water. This is just like eating candy if you put enough Splenda in it. You can also change the consistency of this mix by adding less water and cooking it longer. I don’t recommend this if you have weak teeth so all you master bodybuilders take the false teeth out or they might get chipped.
#2 The Mix
Cooked in the "time saver" again without Splenda, then added to cubed chicken and hot sauce in the frying pan. This is just like a fiery treat on the taste buds. Now, my favorite carb choice of all time the oat cookie… This is a must try recipe. I know you are thinking, "Hey House, you already mentioned this in a prior article", but just read on and you will know why I am talking about it again. I'm taking a good thing and making it even better...
The Oat Cookie Revisited
When I eat the oat cookie it takes me back to the good old days of the off season. I make the oat cookie many different ways, but I will tell you my new in season version I call it version 3.1 get wired. I mix one half cup of oats with one fourth cup of black coffee some no-calorie spray butter, and throw it in the lucky pan where I fry it. I told this recipe to a fellow bodybuilder and they made it and said it reminded them of a funnel cake from the circus.
When you cook for bodybuilding, you need to experiment with different seasonings to spice up the diet. When deep into a contest diet I hit the high low carb rotation. This is where you go three days low carb one day high carb, then back to low. When I do this I really see good results and start to peel off that unsightly fat.
To get totally shredded and dry for a contest, you have to get your lazy ass up and do some fucking cardio early in the morning before you even eat your first meal. I feel doing cardio in the morning is one of the best ways to get ready for a show. I try and get at least thirty minutes of cardio in before my first meal. Cardio plays a big part in your contest diet. Some people respond different to cardio, but the more I do the harder I get.
By the end of a diet I am up to around two hours of cardio a day. When doing this much cardio I break it up into three different fat burning sessions--one in the morning for thirty minutes, one after I train for sixty minutes, and one before bed for thirty more minutes. When I do my cardio I use cross training and interval training--I feel this works best for me.
When losing fat and doing all the cardio you must try and stay hydrated. I take in at least two gallons of water per day while on a diet. When doing this it helps to keep all the pipes clean and move out all that unwanted waste. When training for the competition I have a tendency to lose some strength. This is normal when you lose weight and are not taking in lots of carbs.
One thing you must remember... You are a bodybuilder not a powerlifter. No one cares if you can bench seven hundred or one thirty five. All that matters is what you look like on stage. When I lift for a show I keep it simple. I do the basic core movements and some smaller isolation exercises. I don’t lift longer than one hour at a time. I feel if you can’t destroy a muscle group in one hour then you are just not hitting it hard enough, and probably bull shitting too much. I keep my reps around eight to twelve total sets per bodypart at twelve to fifteen.
When you do diet for a show and are true to your self you will be stoked no matter what place you get, because you will know you gave it your all and that is all that matters. So when the lights hit you right in the face and at that moment you will know you did everything you could do to get where you are. Bodybuilding is an individual lifestyle and a contest is won or lost off stage not on… It is decided long before the house lights shine.