Pre Contest Diet Changes 10 Weeks Out


Friday, July 29th, 2005. Things are on schedule and looking good. I weigh 196 lbs today. I’ve been losing weight slowly, but that’s intentional as I’ve been known to lose too quickly in the past and come in shredded but flat and kind of “stringy-looking.” Gotta keep the size and thickness, but over the next few weeks I definitely need to kick the fat loss up a notch, so I’ve made a few adjustments (slight decrease in calories and carbs on low days.)

My new carb cycle is 3 days low carbs (approx 200 grams, 3200 calories) and then 1 day high carbs (380 grams, 3800 calories). This is my second adjustment (downward) in carbs so far. I’m not a really low carb kind of guy, I prefer moderate reduction in carbs and a lot of cardio. That’s what works best for me and my body type. When I go very low in the carbs, I completely “deflate” and look flat. For me, 200 grams IS low carbs, and 150-175 grams is VERY low carbs (and is about the lowest I’ll go).

Even on very very low carbs, I don’t seem to get lean without a lot of cardio. My body simply responds to the cardio more than carbohydrate manipulation. I know some people are the reverse (cut carbs and don’t do much cardio), so it’s important to understand your own body and how it responds. There’s no doubt – I DO get leaner with as reduction in carbs, just not a severe reduction

As of earlier this week, the diet now looks something like this:

Meal 1: 6:45 am
3/4 cup oatmeal

8-12 egg whites

1 whole egg

1/2 large grapefruit

Meal 2: 9:30 am
3/4 cup oatmeal
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (or 8-12 egg whites)
Meal 3: 12:30 pm
7 oz yam
6-8 oz chicken breast
8 oz broccoli
Meal 4: 3:00 pm
6- 8 oz lean sirloin, top round or flank steak
8 oz broccoli
Meal 5: 5:30 pm
6-8 oz chicken breast
8 oz asparagus
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
Meal 6: 8:00 pm
6-8 oz chicken breast or 1 can tuna or 8 oz Alaskan salmon

8 oz asparagus
1 tbsl udos oil or flaxseed oil

My high days are the same as before (LOVE those high days: 380 grams of carbs!)
the difference is the low days (posted above). I’ve decreased my oatmeal from 1 cup to 3/4 cup, and decreased the size of the yam (I weigh the yam before cooking to make sure it’s exact).I don’t weigh my food year-round, but before contests, I want to know my carb intake to the gram.

You’ll notice that the basic structure of my low carb days is that the first three meals are protein and starchy carb (high carb) meals, and the last three meals are protein, fibrous carb and fat meals (fat from beef, natural peanut butter or udos oil/flaxseed oil). It’s important to keep some fats in the diet as the carbs go lower. I’ve found that approx 25% of the calories from fat is more than enough. Higher fat diets don’t seem to do much else for me.

I was hungry a few weeks ago when I first shifted from the off season diet to lower carbs, but since I’ve cut the carbs and calories again, oddly enough, I haven’t really been hungry. So far, I’m actually eating more than in previous years and still getting leaner. I’m not concerned with getting lean enough; I can always come in shredded, no problem. The challenge is to come in shredded and FULL. I’ve been looking a little flat by the 3rd day of low carbs (even “medium” carbs), and the pumps haven’t been as good as they could be, but I suppose that’s to be expected. I’ll be keeping an eye on my condition and it I’m perpetually flat and I feel like I’m losing size after being on 200 grams for a while, I’ll probably take 2 high carb days rather than one, or pull back on the cardio a bit.

When I started several weeks ago, I immediately began with 30 minutes of cardio, 7 days a week at a moderate intensity. I’m now doing 45 minutes of cardio, 7 days a week, at moderate to moderately high intensity. I’ve been using the stairmaster for half of my cardio sessions and the lifecycle for the other half.

Two or three days a week, I have also added in a second session, and many of my sessions are now first thing in the morning (about 6:15 – 6:30 am) on an empty stomach before my 7:00 am meal. I’ve been hitting a lot of weight training sessions at 8 am – with Richie on weekdays and with Kostas on weekends, so on those days I do the cardio later because I don’t want to do cardio so close to my weights. In previous years I trained in the late morning so I did early morning cardio at 6 – 6:30 am, then got in TWO meals before training at around 10 or 10:30 am. My schedule has been a little different this year to accomodate my trainer or training partner(s).

If you want to know more about my nutrition methods, including carbohydrate cycling, check out my fat loss website at

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Comments on Pre Contest Diet Changes 10 Weeks Out Leave a Comment

August 30, 2005

Rosie Chee @ 8:19 pm #

Tom, I was wondering, does walking count as ‘cardio’ as I walk to and from the gym every day, which comes to about 30-40 mins, or do I need to do a SPECIFIC second cardio? And is runnig ok for that? And how do you feel about the Guerilla Cardio? Can you please reply to my e-mail, if it’s not too inconvenient. Thank you.

September 5, 2005

Tom Venuto @ 2:25 pm #

Rosie, walking is great for beginners, but as you become more fit, you will probably need to increase the intensity to get continued results in terms of improved body composition. If you really enjoy walking, you could do it on a treadmill pitched up at an incline, or even hold hand weights as you walk. You could also simply start running. If you’re a bodybuilder, be cautious with running as it tends to be more catabolic than other forms of cardio. Look at the physiques of endurance athletes who do high volumes of running. I’m not familiar with Guerilla cardio. If it is a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Im all for it, as long as it’s not one of those gimmicky programs which claim to have figured out the “secret” to getting ripped with a 7.4 minute workout… or something like that 🙂

September 27, 2005

simon @ 3:58 pm #

hi tom,
really enjoying following your progress up to comp day, i`ve recently purchased your book btfftm and i`m already benefitting from it, my only problem is that i sometimes work night shifts and on the last night when i finish and get home at 7am, i then sleep until sometimes 4pm, and struggle, as you can imagine to fit 6 meals in from then until i go to bed at midnight at the latest.there isn`t anything in the book to cover this,what would you suggest i do, try to eat 5 meals every 2 hours just for that day ?

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