Written by Josh on September 3rd, 2010
I feel that this bodybuilding contest is the end of a trilogy. It’s the end of my beginner phase in bodybuilding. I’ll explain what I mean at the end, but first here’s a brief recap of the trilogy. My memory isn’t that great, so I’m also jotting down a few things I remember doing so I can reference them in the future.
My brother, Zack, had moved to Omaha and we officially became Team Best in October 2005. In 2006 we competed in a couple powerlifting meets and Zack competed in strongman. I thought that bodybuilding would be my calling, and after watching the Bluffs Classic in September 2006 – I started my first prep.
Heartland Classic, May 2007
I started prep for the Heartland Classic sometime in the September/October timeframe of 2006 because we moved apartments on Halloween and Zack wouldn’t let me go to the grocery store to buy food because it would be more stuff to move. So on moving day all we had was a bag of Doritos to eat and I was very cranky with him because he was already throwing me off my diet.
I was in my last year of college and I can remember taking a lot of ground turkey and potatoes and also spinach and tuna in my backpack. I believe these were staples in my diet early on.
I learned a great deal during this prep. I had to because I didn’t know anything. I watched a lot of Jay Cutler DVDs, I read the Arnold Encyclopedia, Jay Cutler’s book – CEO Muscle, and also The Cut Diet. I read a lot on the Bodybuilding.com forums and found Layne Norton and his pre-contest article.
I also remember going skiing with Zack and our dad over Christmas break. They were stopping for something to eat and got Subway and I was so hungry and got very, very cranky.
As I entered my last semester of college, I really starting dieting – I boiled lots and lots of chicken in a big pot, and also lots of broccoli. At this time the staple of my diet was 5oz of chicken, 3oz of broccoli. I also got tired of eating egg whites for breakfast and starting purposely burning the egg whites and calling it egg pizza. Another thing I remember eating was plain rice cakes with regular Skippy peanut butter and slices of bananas on top after our workouts.
I also walked about every morning during this prep before breakfast. I also remember walking on a treadmill after workouts for until I reached about 300 calories.
I mapped out the last 25 or so days according to Layne’s article. I followed it pretty close, including the sodium load.
I used the tanning bed pretty heavily, a couple coats of pro-tan, and dream tan for my tan.
The actual contest went well. I got 2nd place out of 3 in the men’s open short class. It was an accomplishment just for me to compete.
The Bluffs Classic, September 2008
In early 2008, I knew I was going to start shooting to do the Bluffs Classic. I dropped down from around 205 to around 185 by May. In May of 2008, I got married, became a stepdad, bought a house, went on my honeymoon, and found out a baby was on the way – then I started 16 weeks of hardcore contest prep.
I felt by having the knowledge from my first contest and pre-dieting down to 185, I would give myself a better chance at getting leaner
and I wouldn’t have to diet for 8-9 months this time. I wanted to do less cardio this time as well. I still walked every morning, but it was a very low intensity walk – a lot of times, just in flip flops. Towards the end of this prep, I incorporated sprints in the Golds Gym parking lot.
I don’t recall cheating in any fashion during this 16 week prep. I eat extremely clean. I ate egg whites for breakfast, 5-6 oz of boiled chicken every 2-3 hours, and tilapia in the evening – I skipped vegetables this diet. I ate oatmeal around my workouts.
I didn’t really learn much during this diet – besides how to just plow through a prep. I hardly read anything about bodybuilding or nutrition, I didn’t watch many videos, etc. I just went by what I already knew, and tried to do it better. I did good. Although I probably freaked out a little more than necessary. I would get cranky easily if I was getting late on my meal, etc.
In the end, I dieted down to 149. I didn’t use the tanning bed at all and just relied on pro-tan + dreamtan for my color.
I got 4th out of 5 in my class. I was disappointed with my placing, but not really because I had come in the best shape possible for me at that time, with that knowledge.
Best of the Midwest, October 2010
I wasn’t planning on doing another contest for awhile – several years. But plans change. After Zack got injured during a powerlifting meet and had to have surgery – I knew it was either, have an easy going summer, or start prep for a contest. So, I quickly decided I would start prep the next week – which would give me 22 weeks until the Bluffs Classic.
This prep – I feel that I’m starting to come full circle with bodybuilding, nutrition, listening to my body, and most importantly, fitting bodybuilding into my life. Now being the father of 2, there are certain things I’m doing during this prep for a better fit. For starters, I only workout 4 days a week – but to me, this is the most beneficial schedule in all aspects – bodybuilding and life. Two, I don’t do hardly any cardio at the gym – I do cardio while children are in bed – 4:30am and 8:30pm. Three, eating at 6:00pm or 7:00pm isn’t going to make any difference at all… I’ll eat when my family eats. Four, relax… or at least try to. This is probably the hardest thing to do during a prep – relax.
This is the first prep where I decided to change contests. I realized at 10 weeks out that I wasn’t going to be ready in 10 weeks. So, I changed the contest I was doing to the Best of the Midwest and went on vacation. This is probably the smartest thing I could’ve done.
I’ve learned a lot about nutrition during this diet as well. Starting around 18-19 weeks out, I started going (very close to) 0g’s of carbs Sunday afternoon – Friday afternoon and carbing up Friday evening through Sunday morning. I thought I was just doing a big carb cycle
to the extreme, I had no idea that it was actually a cyclical keto diet. After reading a lot of what Chris Aceto had to say, I added more carbs into my diet. Later, I realized that carbs truely were my enemy. Also, during this prep I started listening to Natural
Bodybuilding Radio and read a little more about other people’s contest prep’s at Bodybuilding.com.
Six more weeks to go and I feel great. I’m already in as good of condition as I’ve ever been. My body feels great, my mind is focused and I’m ready to nail this last 6 weeks of prep.
Yes, the Best of the Midwest is 100% on my mind – but it never fails – I always start thinking about the “offseason” around this time. I think it really comes down to the question of how serious I really am about natural bodybuilding.
During pre-contest prep, there are no doubts… I’m extremely serious about bodybuilding. But, after the contests… after the dozen glazed doughnuts and the pizza buffets… I always seem to get a little un-serious. I’m always serious about weightlifting – Zack and I compete in a couple powerlifting contests each year… and I always try to gain as much weight as a possibly can – usually maxing at around 202. But my diet is junk and I have no idea what kind of macros I’m taking in. I work on powerlifting but don’t necessarily work on building my muscles. I don’t think I’m pushing myself as hard as I can.
I think that after this third contest in trilogy is done, I’ve done all I can do in natural bodybuilding unless I make the turn to become a little more serious in the offseason. Unless I make a commitment that I’m going to be a natural bodybuilder. It’s time to either make the turn and become serious about bodybuilding all the time, or don’t.
So I will finish this trilogy and then start the next phase of my bodybuilding career – and I’m very excited to stay true and committed and really push my body to it’s limits.