Hey all you fitness folks!
On 20Sept I will do a fitness photo shoot and had to re-align my normal cutting diet to achieve a contest ready body at 3% bodyfat for that day.
So here I will give you a quick breakdown as to the key factors that changed for this “Contest Prep Diet” vs. my normal cutting diet regime.
For those that think a waterpill or diuretic will do the trick a day or two before the contest to bring body fat into acceptable parameters, please think twice.
A waterpill will most definitely get the water content down in the skin and that will help with a ripped look, but it will also get a lot of water out of the muscles that will make you seem flat, the last thing you want. Then off course it will place rather severe stress on the kidneys. Much safer ways is to make sure your diet is really in check to produce the results.
The key factors of a “contest preparation diet”:
Calorie controlled pre contest diet with 6 to 8 meals per day each containing a protein and carb content to protect muscles in harsh diet environment – preferably designed and monitored by bodybuilding diet coach. The fact that each meal MUST contain a protein helps in overall muscle hardness.
Crucial 4 liters water intake (no bottled or sparkling water – it slow down fat loss. Filtered water only) and for the last 4 weeks, severely limit salt intake – in all forms. (NO salt added to foods and be very beware of hidden added salts in processed food).
It is highly suggested that you re-align and recheck your diet and results at least every 3 weeks. Three weekly weight-in sessions and adjusting of calories for target goal depending on progress.
NO CARDIO! Cardio decrease muscle size. Especially in low-calorie contest prep diets, cardio immediately diverts energy to be derived from muscles because of semi-starvation diet (unless one is on anabolics) – on “off” days only 40 min walking allowed. The more pre contest cardio you do, the smaller your muscle size will be…full stop! Many people are of the viewpoint that cardio is the best fat burner. NOT IN A CONTEST PREP CUTTING DIET! You WILL loose a rather severe amount of muscle doing cardio. Your aim is now to preserve the muscle mass you have and divert all energy usage to your fat storage areas. This cannot be achieved via cardio.
Weight training must not be more than 75% of max and not longer than 45 minutes otherwise you will into a catabolic state and energy will be derived from muscles (since your body has limited energy resources). Your aim is to just protect muscle size and drop the body fat levels. Training at regular max levels is requiring waaay too much energy from the body and when that happens the body always tap into the muscles to provide energy.
It is crucial to drink a BCAA and L-Glutamine drink during training to keep the muscles flooded with protection against going catabolic.
Meal times for this cutting diet is extremely important, the more so the before and after training meals. You cannot skip or delay meals, that will result in a catabolic environment that will literally decrease your muscle size! EVERY 3-4 hours eat your meal containing a protein and carb source. Fruit is healthy but it has very little place in a cutting diet – it contains waaay to much fruit sugars.
Many serious athletes are scared to lose their hard-earned muscle during such a strict cutting diet (which unfortunately is a real concern even with the best structured cutting diet available) and later turn to anabolic cutting steroids to protect their muscle size while diverting all energy usage to the fat layers. Typically Anavar (cutting anabolic – oral) is used for 6-8 weeks duration period at 80 mg per day. (Some use Winstrol but the adverse effects on your liver is well documented plus it makes the tendons brittle and has been a culprit in many sports related injuries.) Although Anavar is fairly safe and will definitely give the user the edge, it is something you need to consider carefully.
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Well, bombs away and I will checking-in just after 20 Sept 2014 to give you some proof on the pre-contest cutting diet results!