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Bodybuilding Contest Preparation

The key to healthy and intelligent contest preparation is to balance diet and training. Firstly, try not to carry more than 15-20 lbs. above your contest weight during the off season. You accomplish this with consistent low level aerobic work ( under 70% max. H.R.) done in the mornings before breakfast to better target fat mobilization, and a proper diet. Bulking up with a high fat diet is a thing of the past. fat consumption is not good for anyone.

Give yourself ample preparation time to drop extra body fat slowly, thereby sparing lean muscle mass. Begin with a body composition test, and use this measurement technique weekly to monitor fat loss. To calculate your caloric needs which will enable you to arrive at the weight and body fat percentage you want on the day of the contest you must determine your dietary requirements. This is the total number of calories needed to maintain your weight based on your lean body mass, body fat percentage and activity level. Your approximate activity level based on your recovery heart rate is:

100 BPM will burn 500 cal/hr training
115 BPM will burn 750 cal/hr training
125 BPM will burn 1,000 cal/hr training

Add 500 cal. for the average person's daily expenditures. Once you have your body fat percentage, use these formulas to determine your lean body mass:
WEIGHT x body fat% = fat WEIGHT

From lean body weight you can find your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories it takes to keep you alive) by multiplying your lean body weight by 11. For example: at 200 lbs. and 14% B.F., your lean body weight would be 172 lbs. Therefore your resting metabolic rate would be 1892 cal. If you workout with a recovery H.R. of 115 BPM for 1 1/2 hours, you would burn 1125 calories, add 500 cal. as stated above. That gives you a dietary base line of 3517 calories. That is just to maintain your weight.

Be careful not make a drastic change in your caloric intake. Drop calories sparingly, no more than 500 calories a day. This drop in calories should be in the form of carbohydrates while on a low fat diet and being sure to maintain a protein intake of 1-1 1/2 gram per lb. of body weight. Because you only want to drop 1-2 lbs. a week, you must choose a contest date far enough in advance to arrive at your desired contest weight without severe dieting which would sacrifice hard earned muscle. Once you have adjusted your diet accordingly, do not change it during pre contest training unless necessary. If so remember only 500 calories per day mainly from carbohydrates. At this time dietary fat should be at a minimum.

To assist your body in reducing body fat, add one set of 20-25 reps per muscle group per workout. You should find your body fat decreasing while lean muscle weight increases. After another week, if body fat is not decreasing, add further sets of 20-25 reps. Start with an additional set per exercise. Continue to measure body fat weekly. Meanwhile, keep up with continuous low level aerobic work, as well as posing. You will want to pose not only for practice but also to educate the muscles to contract to their fullest. This will make you look harder.

Another technique that might help you to lose body fat is to increase your aerobic sessions from 30 min. to 45 min. or to add another session in the evening. If you are one of the individuals who wishes to try carbohydrate depleting and loading, start 10 days before the contest. Start the depletion stage on that 10th day by attempting to reduce carbohydrate intake to almost zero. Your diet will consist of proteins. Your caloric intake should be stable. This will force your body to use all available glycogen stores for energy, and will cause your muscles to become flat. After 3 days of depleting, it is best to enter the loading stage. Maintaining the overall number of calories. You should begin to ingest small amounts of complex carbohydrates as well as 1 gram of protein per lb. of lean body mass. The carbohydrates should be eaten every one to two hours throughout the day. During this time you should keep your salt intake to a minimum. (You should be doing this anyway). You should do an abbreviated workout on Monday and Tuesday, as well as continuing aerobic work. You should be practicing your posing (both free and mandatory) daily.

Take the last three days off before a contest, continuing with posing and light aerobic work. Start two days out for dehydration by reducing Water intake by a third. Reduce another third the day before, remember drastic reduction is harmful and not recommended. The morning of the show consume a high carbohydrate breakfast.
Approximately 4 hours before the show. Keep Water intake to a minimum. Consume small amounts of simple carbohydrates until you are required to go back stage and pump up. Continue to lift heavy to avoid muscle tissue loss while adding high rep sets to cut up the muscle. With some careful planning and strict diet and training, reaching your desired weight and level of muscularity is within anyone's reach

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