It’s now 10 weeks to go. It’s getting scarily close to becoming single figures. Whilst the sensible amongst you may sit and proclaim that 9 weeks is a phenomenally long period of time, when you put it into consideration that this has been a 2 year endeavour for me – it’s getting exceedingly close, and extremely real!!
This fills me with absolute nervous excitement, anticipation, terror, focus and exhilaration.
The fear of the unknown is a powerful motivator.
And so is focusing on what I know I need to achieve to be “ready” on the day. Put simply, it’s the greatest Pre Workout on earth. Ever struggle to get yourself ‘up’ for a session, motivated for a big lift or psychologically prepared to go in the Gym and do the business – whether it be cardio or weights? Then I cant recommend setting yourself a target enough. Any goal that pulls you toward working hard, improving yourself and making better decisions every single day is simply priceless..
I understand that not everybody wants to be a competitive bodybuilder. I love that about our Industry and Fitness in general. I love that it’s so far reaching, with so many niches, so many ever-expanding avenues to be explored by absolutely everybody – thats what makes it so exciting. Powerlifting to Kayaking. Cross fit to Roller Derby. Bodybuilding to Marathon running.
I have a colleague, Iain Maynard, who’s preparing to run 200 miles in 4 days to raise money for Charity later in the summer. You can follow his story at @i_m_fitness_frontier . We’re both climbing our Everest in what couldn’t be more dissimilar disciplines, but the focus, motivation and unwavering dogged determination it gives us both is identical.
In another instance, I was fortunate enough to begin working with a new client this week who, by his own admittance, needs to lose at least 10 stone. He has never set foot in a Gym before in his life. He finds himself at the foot of a completely different journey again, yet his determination to achieve what he’s wanted to do his entire life is giving him the hunger and drive akin to myself and Iain. An unrelenting self motivation that drives you not to focus on the hardships, but on what you can gain out of it all.
The event, doesn’t matter. Your end goal, doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it PULLS you towards it and improves you, in some small way, every single day. The rest becomes much easier then. Working hard becomes easy because you know what you want. Slacking off, giving excuses or giving up may cross your mind in a fleeting thought now and again – thats only normal – but the drive and focus that your goal gives you will ensure you do the right thing. I truly believe that THAT, is the key to being successful. Don’t aim for somebody else’s goal or compare yourself against their standards – do it for you.
Carrying on from above; one thing I’m frequently asked or a statement that I’m presented with is “I don’t know how you do it”. I’ve not deviated from course since Easter Sunday, when I was permitted an allowable meal and enjoyed a Sunday Roast with my partner and family (it was unbelievable by the way). Now I GET that not everyone see’s the world as black and white as it is during contest prep and I also would heavily stress that keeping contest prep-esque levels of vigour with your dieting 365 days a year isn’t in keeping with creating a ‘healthy relationship’ with food, which is what I always strive to do as a coach amongst my clientele.
There are times when more rigorous control may be appropriate or necessary, but there is also never grounds to make somebody feel bad for a decision they have made regarding food – there is ALWAYS a case in point for the benefit of ‘relaxing’ somewhat with your dietary control and enjoying the finer things in life; as long as this doesn’t detract away from our end goal.
Contest Prep however, is not one of those times. Every gram of Macro and Calorie must be accounted for; and whilst this doesn’t mean there are no “must eat” or “must avoid” foods – there is also a heavy biasing on appropriate food choices. For instance, if I’m allowed 500g Carbs per day in Off-Season, there is no qualms whatsoever with using Carbohydrate dense foods like Bagels, Pancakes, Cereal Bars etc to hit that high requirement.
If during dieting however, I’m allotted just 100g Carbs of day – it might not be the most appropriate decision to eat 120g of Cocopops and be out of Carbs for the rest of the day. This is where less calorie dense and higher volume food choices come in to their own. Foods such as white or sweet potato or rice cakes are the logical choices.
So the take away message? Be weary of any coach who tells you that you ‘cannot’ eat certain foods because they’re ‘bad’. Ask “Why”, and if they repeat some Bro-Science babble, this should begin lighting warning beacons about their level Nutritional education and understanding to you.
Whilst there is a case that repeated consumption of Gluten and Inflammatory foods MAY cause some gastro-intestinal upset in some people; this is absolutely no grounds whatsoever to eliminate it from everybody’s daily choices.
This is especially true with Sugar. Sugar has been vilified lately as being more destructive and addictive than Cocaine; however finally the world has come to it’s senses and begun listening to research that has identified that although the human brain does have a penchant for nice tasting food – Sugar is NOT an enemy. What do you think all Carbohydrates turn in to once present in the body anyway?
As of this week, we decided to pull food a little more on my training days. Rest days still remain zero carb and lower calorie, but my training days are as follows:
Training has remained the same! After last week and the reintroduction of squats, my legs have taken an absolute battering!
To that end, I found myself on the massage bed getting some much needed TLC!
Some interesting new Research emerged this week as well; regarding rest periods in resistance training too!! I wont bore you with the ins and outs, but it’s another nail in the coffin of short rest period, metabolic based training if you’re in the pursuit of building a physique.
I’ve never been a huge believer or fan or Super/Tri/Giant sets in training. By the time you reach your 3 or 4th exercise, or by the time you hit the later rounds of the routine – your output is SO low that your actual ability to cause meaningful trauma to the Tissue is completely negated. You’re just left with incredibly swollen cells and high levels of lactic acid – which feels GREAT (depending on your outlook) there and then, but doesn’t equal much in results over the long term. It may be beneficial for those looking purely for fat loss or fitness, but not in building or maintaining lean tissue.
In the past 6 + months I have favoured heavy lifts, in single sets, across ALL rep ranges with longer rest in-between and it’s safe to say my physique has absolutely transformed – now the science is beginning to reinforce that approach.
Longer rest periods, closer to 5 minutes or so, are much more beneficial for Muscle Protein Synthesis and Output than 60 second rest periods!! Give it a go! Work your butt off in your working sets and hit absolute failure, before taking slightly longer rest periods.
As we’ve opted to keep changing the energy balance from the Food perspective, Cardio has remained constant.
Logical decisions are key in what is an incredibly methodical process. Taking from both ends at once can lead to not only burning out and draining an athlete unnecessarily early, but also makes it very difficult to ‘pin point’ specifically what change was responsible for the response that was gained. To this end, cardio has stayed at 35 minutes walking per day!
I’d encourage you to use this approach with your own training and/or dieting. Regardless of what it is you’re trying to achieve, if you change too many variables at once, it’s going to be impossible to identify how you ended up where you came out.
And that’s pretty much it – that’s a rap on another week!! Weeks seem to be going past like days at the moment! I’m thoroughly embracing and enjoying every moment of it!! I hope youve enjoyed the read and there’s something applicable to you in there that you can take from it all!!