By Medifit Education.
If you did not build your muscle mass doing large amounts of aerobics then why in the world would you do them when you were trying to maintain that mass. Our goal is to drop bodyfat, not muscle mass. Our precontest training strategy must reflect this goal.
First and foremost, correct dieting over the proper time period is the only way to drop the bodyfat! Secondly, we must, as always, guard against over-training. We must keep in mind that precontest training is already tough on the body due to dietary intake levels that are below normal.
In order to expedite the “cutting” process we can pick up the intensity of the training simply by cutting down the rest time between sets. This increased intensity combined with additional posing (30 to 60 mins. per day) will produce the hardness that is the benchmark of the winning contest physique. If you built your mass doing workouts with heavy weights, then through the contest period you should continue doing so. The only modification that you might want to try would be training each major body part twice a week, the first time heavy then light. If you feel that you must do some aerobics then make them productive not destructive (30 minutes of nonstop abdominals would fit the bill).
Finally, have you ever noticed that not working out does not improve your physique. Then why is it that bodybuilders stop training several days before a show? Understanding that following intense exercise muscle size is restored within 48 hours tells us that we should make our last hard training session two days prior to the show. Perhaps Thursday for a Saturday show. The day before the show should be used for some final practice posing.
THE FINAL WEEKS
You have trained hard, dieted correctly, practiced your posing, and are almost there. It is now two weeks from the show and if you have done your homework you should be at 99 percent. You now have two paths left to take: You can try to do more or you can continue doing what got you to the point that you are now at. If you follow the former your choices might be carbohydrate depletion and loading, Sodium loading and depletion, extensive aerobics, diuretics or other more bizarre practices. The problem with these approaches is that they all represent a “crap shoot” since they shock the body. Several years back in a conversation with my friend Mike Katz, former Mr. Universe, I was enlightened to the moderation approach to contest preparation. It goes, if you are going to make changes to your diet make them in moderation…. the body does not react well to shock. I could not state this rule better and have repeated it often since then. How many times have you seen a competitor who looked great two weeks before a contest only to show up looking flat and small. In trying to gain that last one percent he gave up 10 percent. The next day following pizza and beer he looks great again. All of these quasi-scientific precontest shock schemes sound appealing in desperation, but they will more often than not leave you flat.
THE DAYS AND NIGHTS BEFORE A COMPETITION
- The week before a competition is usually when I begin to “tweak” an athlete’s nutrition. At 7 days out is a good time to work with bland, plain or easily digestible food items. I keep ratios of carbs, proteins, and fats similar to the ratios that athlete has been using. I do not tweak too much.
- At about 3 days out I begin to adjust the macros of an athlete. The three to four days out mark from an event is critical for success. A high level of athletic performance can be maintained throughout the contest if the body is given 48- to 72-hours to properly hydrate and fuel. This is a good time to stock the carbohydrate stores so that you do not enter into strenuous competition glycogen depleted. Glycogen is a form of sugar stored in the muscle and the liver and it is the main source of energy in high intensity activity like CrossFit. The most important consideration in a pre-event meal is to eat enough carbohydrates to refill the muscle and liver stores.
Water is the other critical factor in the glycogen storage process. The body needs water in order to store glycogen in the muscles and the liver. The ability to produce speed and power over a period of time is dependent on how much glycogen is available to the muscles. I reduce the amount of fats and protein consumed by the athlete and I re-direct those calories into good carbohydrate sources. Meals two nights before leading up to a competition should be higher in good carbs and low in fat. I tend to use the 1/3 to 2/3 ratio of protein to carbs so that glycogen storage can occur. I like to use sweet potato, white jasmine rice, cream of rice, and baby food because of their high digestability. Since these items are already broken down they’re easily assimilated by the body and will not steal valuable energy for the metabolizing and breaking down of food for fuel. I also encourage my athletes to drink lots of fluid with each meal.
In addition to a hard, cut body a sure fire way to impress the judges is to step onto the stage with a tremendous amount of vascularity. That is the blood vessels must appear full. A common practice among novice competitors is, in an effort to remove water from their skin, to severely curtail the consumption of water for the last 24 hours prior to the show. Unfortunately, dehydrating the body, or depriving the body of its most important fluid, ultimately leads to a reduction in blood pressure which will lead to less vascularity and smaller muscles with little or no effect on “water in the skin”. Once again the “do not shock the body” principle arises. Understanding that we do not want a bloated stomach on contest day, the best way to ensure this vascularity is by consuming small but frequent amounts of water that in total are close to our normal consumption. Assuming that you did not do anything stupid with your electrolytes (sodium and potassium) then any excess water will promptly be deposited in the toilet and not in your skin.
FINAL DAY COMPLEX CARBS:
Finally, it is extremely important that on the morning of your show you consume a small amount of complex carbohydrates to give your body the energy it needs to compete and to make the muscles look full. In addition, if you have been using high quality supplements (that should not have the large amount of sodium that is hidden in some products on the market) you should take them the morning of the show.
By Medifit Education.