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
WEIGHT - fat WEIGHT = LEAN 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
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
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
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