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So you think you’ve got what it takes to be a bodybuilder? Can you go through grueling workouts with almost no glycogen storage? Can you avoid all simple sugars for nearly two months? Can you get down to below 5% body fat?
If you are one of the few, dedicated individuals who think they can become a bodybuilder, ask yourself this question. “Can I stop drinking all fluids for nearly 24 hours?” If you answered no to the last question, I don’t think any less of you. In fact, the last 24 hours before a competition are perhaps the most miserable for most bodybuilders. In my case, I can honestly say the hardest part was the carbohydrate depletion. As an author and a Personal Trainer, I found it extremely difficult to function without the primary source of energy– carbs. That being said, my experience as a bodybuilder has molded me into the strongest person I have ever been. I’m going to illustrate my latest experience at the Border States Classic in October 2008, in the hopes of inspiring and educating those who are interested in the sport of bodybuilding to compete.


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First and foremost, I should tell everyone that bodybuilding is truly a competition against one’s self. This means that one must constantly be battling their urges to consume junk food, overeat and skip on workouts. No one else can make you do this. Even a Personal Trainer can only give you a roadmap, but you must follow the path. I knew that I could keep myself from indulging in the non-essentials so I decided to try my hand at the Border States. Ten weeks before the show I weighed in at 168 pounds and around 11% body fat. I figured that I couldn’t make bantamweight (up to 143lbs.), but I knew my muscular development was good, so I began to go through a journey of fat burning.
Supplements:
The edge I had over many of my competitors was my knowledge of supplementation. I knew that the right combination of supps could fine tune my body and allow me to go on stage super tight. I was right! I was very, very tight. Below is the list of supplements that I used during pre-competition:
Green Tea Extract 600 mg daily/
7-Keto 300 mg daily/
CLA- 8 grams a day (4 before bed)/
Tribulus- 3000 mg daily/
Gaspari Novedex- 3 capsules at bedtime/
Fish Oil- 30 grams a day/
Max Nitro L-Arginine- 10 grams a day on empty stomach/
L-Glutamine 30 grams a day. (10 at night)/
Controlled Labs Purple Wrath/
AST GABA- 5 Grams before bedtime/
Alpha Lipoic Acid/ L Carnitine/ Co Q 10 compound- 4 capsules a day/
Milk Thistle/
Probolic SR (not the last week)/
BSN Lean Dessert (Not the last week)/
Natures Best- Whey Isolate (not the last week before the show)/
MHP-XPEL water loss (8 capsules daily for the last week)
This may seem like a lot of supplements, and it is! Remember, a bodybuilder cannot deprive his or her body of the nutrients it needs to repair itself. Actually, no one should deprive their body. All we have in life is time and health. It is important to make both of these as good and enjoyable as possible.
Training: High Volume
I used a routine that consisted of hitting every body part twice a week, taking Sunday off. I hit legs and deltoids three times a week. My training was very high volume and looked similar to this:
Shoulders:
Lateral Raise– 4 sets of 15-20 reps, superset with 4 sets of Front Raises 15-20 reps
Overhead dumbbell press– (35 lbs) 4 sets of 25 reps
Wide Grip Upright Rows– 4 sets of 20 reps
Shrugs with light weight– 20 reps, superset with Lateral Raises to finish
My cardio increased significantly the last 3 weeks. I did one half-hour session of cardio on the recumbent bike first thing in the morning, after a shake with Purple Wrath. I did this again at night after my last meal to ensure that I would deplete my glycogen stores.


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Diet: Carbohydrate Cycling
This is truly the hardest part of bodybuilding. I opted to cycle my carb intake; taking in only 40 grams of carbs from oatmeal for 4 days. On the fifth day, I would take in about 200 grams of carbs from oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. All of my meals contained about 6 ounces of fish (no salmon), chicken or ground turkey. These are very lean meats, which allowed me to maintain an adequate protein intake. All meals contained 2 cups of green beans, spinach, or bok choy. I would take in 5 meals every day, or the equivalent of 1 meal every 3 hours. I made sure to supplement with plenty of fish oil and Branched Chain Amino Acids to maintain energy levels and muscle tissue. In essence, I tried to focus on lean protein and veggies.
Note: The last week before competition, I ate only 30 grams of carbs per day until the day before the show. I also drank only 2 gallons of water until two days before (Thursday); that day I drank only a ½ gallon of water. Friday I only drank 8 oz. of water. Saturday morning I only had black coffee. I was very thirsty to say the least.
Posing and Tanning: Contest Prep is Vital!
A few weeks before the competition I began to tan. This is one of my least favorite parts of my experience. In addition to the regular tanning, I applied 6 coats of Pro-Tan, a tanning liquid that is painted on the skin. Now, I have the unfortunate disposition of having body hair, so my stubble was somewhat noticeable. Therefore, before the night show, I applied one more coat to hide the stubble. Tanning is a pain, but it is necessary and very aesthetically pleasing. The lights on stage are white, which makes the competitors look pale. Pale white skin would wash away like sand on the beach. Remember, this sport is about how good you look!
Posing is perhaps the most important part of bodybuilding shows. Flexing each muscle is a form of isometric exercise and helps etch in the definition between muscles. A competitor should be used to flexing for at least 60 seconds to build up endurance. Judges do not like to see competitors shake on stage from lack of muscular endurance. I think I posed for at least 30 minutes every day starting from two weeks prior to the show. The last two days, flexing and posing were my only forms of exercise.
Conclusion:
Although it was a challenge, my bodybuilding experience was one of the greatest times of my life. It was a blast being onstage with my fellow athletes. It was even more fun standing right in front of the biggest guy onstage and posing down with him. I suggest that if you are interested in Bodybuilding Competition, you should go to a show to see what the atmosphere is like. See the competitors in person and decide if you have the discipline to transform your body with the necessary strategies.
Keep the Fire Burning!
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