Whenever I’m in the middle of contest prep, I constantly review my nutrition, training, and supplement plan. I always want to a have a solid reason behind each decision I make regarding all of these variables. I don’t want to waste any time investing in something that is not getting me closer to my goal. In this article I will take you through my current Animal supplement stack on contest prep and explain how I use each product in my plan.
1. Animal Pak
I try to use a variety of food sources in my diet plan to cover all micronutrient needs. However, this is challenging to do. With bodybuilding, we typically stick to a narrow range of foods, then those foods get taken away or reduced as we diet. This in turn reduces the amount of each micronutrient we consume. The multivitamin fills in the gaps in our diet. Consuming sub optimal amounts of micronutrients will hinder your performance. These vitamins and minerals all play a role in the metabolism and functioning of your macronutrients. I use one scoop of Animal Pak Powder with breakfast and another scoop mid-day. The powder helps me keep my fluid intake up high, and having a flavored beverage is always helpful when I’m hungry from the reduction in food.
2. Animal Omega
Next up are omega fatty acids. Animal Omega is combination of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which are essential to the human body. They are essential because we cannot produce them—they must be consumed. Most people don’t eat fatty fish, nuts, and seeds every day. If you follow a low-fat diet during contest prep, you are also cutting out many dietary sources of essential fatty acids, making it necessary for you to supplement. Some of the many benefits of essential fats include reduced risk of heart disease, reduction in triglycerides and blood pressure, improved cognition, reduction in inflammation, alleviated joint pain, and improved glucose utilization. This is a supplement that is all around good for your health, and the healthier you are the better your body can perform and get stage lean.
I take one pack of Animal Omega with my first meal of the day. I don’t have a specific reason to take it with that meal other than I am most consistent taking most of my supplements then. I would say to take it with food to prevent any fish burps. If you do experience that, you can also take it with your last meal of the day.
3. Animal Whey
We can’t talk about supplements and leave out protein powder. Although this isn’t an essential one for me during prep, I do really enjoy it. As I said before, I like setting up a diet with a variety of food sources. I use beef, chicken, eggs, and whey as the main protein sources in my contest diet. These are all sources that digest well for me, which is an important thing to consider when choosing your foods. You don’t want to be bloated throughout prep and have poor nutrient assimilation. During posing practice, you don’t want to have a distended belly and have trouble keeping your waist small.
I use 2 scoops of Animal Whey in my pre and post workout meal because I want foods that have a small food volume and will digest faster than solid food. This provides 50g protein, 6g carbs, and 2g of fat. There is no issue with the carbs and fats as long as they fit within your total daily allotment. As I get closer to the show and hunger increases, I will usually switch out the post workout shake for a solid meal.
4. Animal Juiced Aminos
When I’m in a demanding training phase such as contest prep, I supplement intra workout with essential amino acids (EAA) to help in recovery. Recovery is of the utmost importance when you’re pushing your body hard during contest prep. It is not uncommon to weight train for 1.5 hours and follow that up with 45 minutes of cardio. This is a long training session and amino acids are beneficial in starting the recovery process. They are also helpful when you are lowering calories and beginning to limit total protein intake in order to save calories for carbs or fats. Ten grams of EAAs can give you the same protein synthesis response as 20g of whey—this saves calories which potentially allows you to keep more carbohydrates in your diet. I take 1.5 scoop of Animal Juiced Aminos in water and sip on it throughout my entire weight training session.
5. Animal PM
Recovery goes hand in hand with training. You can train like a beast, but if you don’t recover from it you aren’t going to see the full effect. You might even see a diminished response. During contest prep, I am pushing my recovery capacity to its limits. I am restricting calories and increasing training volume. This is a bad combination if you don’t have a solid recovery plan. Sleep is a huge part of recovery. The bad part of prep is once you get lean enough, sleep becomes difficult. Your body is in survival mode at this point. You are starving and your body wants you to go eat food, not sleep. So I add in Animal PM in the later stages of prep. It contains a great blend of herbs and minerals to reduce anxiety and get me into a relaxed state. Once in a deep sleep, the aminos and analogues help increase the GH response that naturally occurs during sleep. I just take one Pak about 30-45 minutes before bedtime.
If you are in a dieting or contest prep phase, make sure you aren’t deficient in anything by taking all the right supplements to optimize your efforts. They can be the final touch needed in a plan to really make your results killer.