Pre Contest Diet Changes 4 Weeks Out: The Final PUSH!
Monday, September 5th, 2005. Just two weeks ago (at six weeks out), I cut my calories down to 2900 from 3200. Now its time for the FINAL PUSH and yet another calorie and carb cut.
I’ve now dropped to about 2700 calories and 150 grams of carbs a day on the low days. In other words, I get to “suffer” for the next four weeks, LOL! When you consider how intensely I train and how much cardio I do, 150 grams a day might as well be zero. 150 grams a day is very low carbs for me. I’m also bumping up my cardio to double sessions every day for at least the next two weeks, and possibly the next three weeks.
Yeah, it sucks… but in my quest for that “walking anatomy chart” look, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. If I had more time, I would keep on with the slow and steady one pound per week fat loss that I’ve been able to achieve with 3200 calories and 200-220 grams of carbs a day (with one cardio session a day). It’s not that this stopped working, it’s simply that I ran out of time and have to pick up the pace.
I could have lost weight at a rate of 2 lbs (or even 3 lbs) per week right from the start, but the slower you lose the fat (and weight), the more lean body mass you can retain. Large and or fast weight loss always equals lean body mass loss.
Fat loss is not easy, but it’s very, very predictable. There’s no mystery, it just takes a calorie deficit. Increase the deficit without going to the degree that you slow your metabolism, and you increase the fat loss. I expect at these new calorie and carb levels, based on past experience, that I will harden up immediately, the skin on my lower abs will tighten up (last place to come in), the vascularity will really start to show and I will start losing two pounds per week and maintain that for the next three weeks. I weighed in at 189 today, so 6 lbs in the next 3 weeks would put me at 183 lbs a week before the show. Then I will undoubtedly drop a lot of water weight on top of that.
In the past, I’ve been pretty much shredded and dialed in at around 180 lbs by one week out (then I’ve cut water to make weight). The goal is to have ALL the fat off at least 7-8 days before the show. You should not be thinking about losing body fat the last week. The final week should only be about getting the water out and carbing up those last few days.
In nearly all of my previous competitions, I weighed somewhere between 170-176 lbs the day of the show, which made me a middleweight (I was actually a lightweight in my first two shows many moons ago… but don’t tell anyone I was ever that small!) I don’t have to make a weight class for the upcoming natural USA championships October 1st (it’s height classes). In most organizations, including the NPC, the middleweight cut off is 176 ½ lbs.
This year it looks possible that I may hit the stage heavier than I’ve ever been before while still being totally dialed in. We’ll see how it goes… sometimes its hard to say in advance what you’ll weigh on show day because it’s so easy to lose a lot of water weight in those final weeks since the low carbs tends to dry you out. If this were a contest with weight classes, I would have to make middleweight regardless, because I’m not big enough yet to be a light heavy, but if I end up onstage at 180 to 182 and in condition, then the height classes will turn out to be a real advantage to me, since I’ll be carrying 4-6 lbs more day of show muscle than ever before.
Anyway, back to my diet…
My menu is exactly as it was at 6 weeks out, but I’ve cut out some calories here and there including some fat and the starchy carbs in meal three. For the next 3 ½ weeks, until I start carbing up Wednesday before the show, its only starchy carbs in the first two meals; a little bit of oatmeal, and / or yam.
Fortunately, I am still carbing up every fourth day… Thank Gawd for that, because as it is, I’m already having thoughts of Pizza, Baked Ziti, and Domino’s Cheesy Bread pop into my mind with strangely increasing frequency.