The “Master Plan” For Bodybuilding Competition #2


Tuesday, October 18th, 2005. Here we go again! Two more weeks of training then it’s time for the next (and last) competition of the 2005 season – the NPC New Jersey Gold’s Classic on Saturday, October 29th. I’ve done three shows in a year/season before, but I think two competitions is plenty for me this year… Then again, I’ve been know to change my mind, and there are more shows on the contest calendar… But then again… I’m hungry! In fact, somebody send me food in mass quantities! (anything except chicken breast and green vegetables, please!)


A1 Incline Smith Machine
3 light warm up sets
1 set X 155 lbs X 15 reps
1 set X 175 lbs X 12 reps
1 set X 185 lbs X 12 reps
A2 Low Incline Dumbbell Flyes
3 sets X 40 lbs X 12-15 reps
no rest between supersetted exercises A1 & A2, 60 seconds rest between supersets
B1 Flat Bench cable Flyes
3 sets X 60 lbs X 15 reps
B2 Flat bench dumbbell Press, neutral grip (palms face each other)
3 sets X 60 lbs X 8-12 reps
no rest between supersetted exercises B1 & B2, 60 seconds rest between supersets


A1 Incline Dumbbell Curl
1 set X 30 lbs X 15 reps
1 set X 35 lbs X 12 reps
1 set X 40 lbs X 10 reps
1 set X 45 lbs X 7 reps, drop to 25 lbs X 12 more reps
B1 Icarian Curl Machine, One Arm At A Time
2 sets X 60, 50 lbs X 10, 8+2 forced reps
C1 Cross body alternating Hammer Curl
2 sets X 40 lbs X 12 reps


A1 Dumbbell Wrist Curl
3 sets X 60 lbs X 15-20 reps


A1 Swiss Ball crunches
3 sets X 40 lbs X 12-15 reps, very slow/strict
B1 Swiss Ball side crunches
3 sets X bodyweight X 20-25 reps per side

Workout commentary

In past years when I competed more than once in a season, I always, without exception, came in leaner, tighter and harder for the second (or third show). Because of the fact that most people will usually show up in better shape the second time around, I know a lot of bodybuilders who select a primary contest, and then choose a “warm up” show two or three weeks prior. It’s a little challenging to do two shows back to back one weekend after another, but spaced out two weeks, I consider it ideal.

As long as you don’t binge or otherwise fall off the wagon, additional time on your diet will only improve your conditioning. As a body builder, when I say “conditioning” I’m referring to low body fat first and foremost, but not just low body fat. Conditioning also means the appearance of muscle hardness, separation between muscle groups, striations, vascularity, the thin-skinned look and sharp, crisp muscle definition.

That’s the plan for these next two weeks – better conditioning… get even leaner, tighter and harder for this second show. I’ll probably be even lighter (body weight) for this second show as well.

I definitely came in very full last time in terms of carbing up. You can always tell when your carb up timing and when your quantity of carbs consumed was on the money by seeing how you look the day after the show. Its very common for a bodybuilder to pig out the night of the show on every type of junk food imaginable, and then actually look better on Sunday! It’s maddeningly frustrating, and usually means you under-carbed. On the other hand, if you are “washed out” (holding water, spilled over, even a little puffy looking) the day after the contest, (after eating your “cheat meal”), but you were sharp and full for the prejudging and the night show, then you got your carb up just right.

The latter is what happened to me last week. However, I do feel that I was just slightly water retentive and could have been dryer, resulting in more muscle definition and a crisper, sharper look. I may change my water and or carb intake slightly for the next show to see if I can come in just as full, but also dryer. Instead of increasing the carbs from Wednesday through Friday I may go back to the way I used to do it – front load the carbs and decrease them from Wednesday to Friday, or I may consume just slightly less carbs overall.

I’m not going to concern myself too much about my placing, because you just don’t know who is going to show up at these competitions (and what they’re “on”). I’m simply going to focus on what I can control, and that is improving my own conditioning. However, the way I see it, if I took 2nd in the novice middleweights looking the way I looked last week (99% of my best conditioning), and if the level of competition is similar in the novice middles at the Gold’s Classic on the 29th, then I’m confident that I can take 1st place if I improve my conditioning the rest of the way to 100%.

At this point, that doesn’t necessarily mean stricter dieting or more/harder training, it just means more time dieting and training. In fact, I plan on actually eating a little more carbs on my low carb days – probably 175-200 grams, and keeping my cardio at one 45 minute session a day. To eat less carbs/calories or continue with double cardio at this point would risk muscle loss.

As for training, I will continue with my 4 day split, 3 days on 1 day off, one major, one minor muscle group per session. I will be training hard, but not with the fierce intensity I did over the first three months of my precontest training phase. As with overdieting, overtraining at this point could cost me precious muscle tissue. So, I will do as Lee Haney used to preach, “Stimulate, don’t annihilate.”

Actually I’m going to have to take it a little easy on pushing workouts. I’m not sure how or when it happened, but somehow I injured my left elbow/tricep. I first noticed it on Sunday when I was at Body Quest gym the day after the competition. I could tell I tweaked something even while just working out with light weights for photos. Today I could really feel it in my pressing exercises and I was forced to use fairly light weights for higher reps, and even then it hurt more at the end of the workout than at the beginning.

With the exception of on and off low back issues that kept me from heavy squatting this year, I’ve been pretty fortunate in the no-injuries department. You do have to be careful though, because when your body is this light, depleted, fatigued and overtrained in general, you are much more susceptible to all kinds of pulls, strains, or who knows what else.

Between now and the October 29th competition I only have two more workouts for each body part, so it’s really not that big of a deal. I’m not going to push it; I’m simply going to stimulate pump/blood flow and work high reps on tricep day, and also on my chest and shoulder pressing exercises (for shoulders, I’ll just do laterals and upright rows instead of presses, so I don’t even involve the triceps).

After the competition, I plan on taking a full week of total rest, then starting back up slowly with a couple weeks of less intense training before getting into the hard and heavy off season mass building training. This will give time for my body to recuperate completely and for the little aches and pains to heal up completely. Then it will be time to “KICK SOME MASS!”

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Comments on The “Master Plan” For Bodybuilding Competition #2 Leave a Comment

October 24, 2005

Mariela @ 3:56 pm #

I guess when you’re done with the contest and have the well deserved rest, you will tell us all about your training courses, right?

Tom Venuto @ 4:14 pm #

Most definitely. The table of contents, outline and many chapters of my entire first bodybuilding training course are already finished. Stay tuned to this blog for information on ‘BODYBUILDING SECRETS, VOLUME ONE!’
For this first course, I have catalogued over 100 specialized high intensity training techniques for packing on muscle mass, and believe me, this ain’t “the weider system” or the same old stuff you see in the muscle mags. This is cutting edge new stuff, and new and improved ways to use the “old stuff.”
As soon as the contest is over, I’m going to lock myself in a room somewhere (literally and figuratively) and finish off the rest of it. The whole thing is sitting there in my head ready to go on paper!
Also, Richie Smyth and I have been talking for a long time about putting some of these techniques on video as well. I will keep you posted about that as well!

October 25, 2005

simon @ 5:06 am #

just before your first comp you mentioned that you used a herbal diuretic, just wondered what that was and is it available in the uk ?

Tom Venuto @ 9:29 am #

RE: natural (herbal/botanical) diuretics. There are many, many companies that make these products. One of the most popular (due to heavy advertising) is Taraxatone. Others that are advertised in the bodybuilding and fitness market include Eclipse Shrink wrapped, MHP Expel, Absolute water shed and San Shredded.
The formulas vary a lot, but the most common ingredients in these products are Uva Ursi and Dandelion. Dandelion sometims goes by the name Taraxum officionale which contains taraxin (or “taraxsterol”) which is where the name of the product Taraxatone came from.
Some of the other ingredients you’re likely to find in these products include (not necessary all of them, but a combination of some of these): Green tea, guarana, Cornsilk, Buchu leaf, cubeb berries, Juniper berry, Couchgrass, parsley, celery seed, goldenrod, and almost always vitamin B6.
There are actually so many other herbals, botanicals or foods that are reputed to be natural diuretics, it would take too long to list them.
These products DO work, but it’s nothing more than a finishing touch to help rid of a little water retention for someone who is already ripped.

Vincent @ 9:39 am #

Hi Tom,
Good to hear from you again (I check for news every day!)
I’m one of your BFFM trainees, still concerned with burning off the remaining fat and very far from competing (though I am doing very, very well). I am just so impressed by the precision in your training and nutrition. It sounds like changes that take several months for me take a few weeks for you! I guess once the basics are correct, then it’s the attention to details that makes the difference. (the discipline is a given). I also love to see the confidence you have of producing certain results by taking certain actions. It’s very inspiring for someone who is transforming for the first time.
I hope you do well in the second show. Do you know if the winner of the first show may also take part in this one? Do you think you can catch up with him even though you said he was more muscular than yourself only a week ago? Do you think he can maintain his peak or perhaps you expect he has to slip back?
I very much look forward to your bodybuilding course. I hope it can be used even by beginners, albeit with smaller weights of course. When I found BFFM I was just very fat and desperate to “lose weight”, I didn’t even imagine I might like to be a bodybuilder. Now I’m obsessed with it! LOL.
All the best Tom, I’m sure you’ll do well at the next show.

Tom Venuto @ 9:51 am #

Hi Vincent! Good to hear from you again.
You wrote:
It sounds like changes that take several months for me take a few weeks for you!
My philosophy is that if you want your body to change (more muscle or less fat), then you SHOULD see a change every week, or even every day. If not, then you must change your approach. Thing is, they are tiny changes when you’re talking about daily improvements. I have myself really tuned-in to noticing the smallest changes in my physique not only on a week by week basis but even on a day to day basis. But don’t forget, I have been dieting and training my butt off since late June just for these contests. It DID take months to ultimately get the results I wanted. I doesn’t happen over night, ever, for anyone.
I guess once the basics are correct, then it’s the attention to details that makes the difference.
Absolutely true. And the reverse is also true: If you don’t have your basics covered, it makes no sense to nit pick over the little details like supplements, etc.
Do you know if the winner of the first show may also take part in this one? Do you think you can catch up with him even though you said he was more muscular than yourself only a week ago? Do you think he can maintain his peak or perhaps you expect he has to slip back?
It’s very likely that many of the people who did the South Jersey competition are thinking the same thing I am: “I’m already in shape, so I might as well hit another show.” However, theres no way to know who is coming to these shows or what kind of shape they’ll be in. I’m not concerned about my competition, only about myself and coming in sharper than last time. If I come in better than last time, I improve my chances of placing higher.

Diablo Rojo @ 12:49 pm #

First of all I want to wish you good luck in your next competition and i am sure you will place high.
Secondly, you stated that in the second competition you almost always come with less body fat. How about your lean mass? Didn’t you lost some of it because you couldn’t(or could you?) have the 3 hour meals on the 15th October contest?

October 27, 2005

Jessica Britt @ 1:25 pm #

I’ve been checking in lately, and I’m so glad that you’ve kept updating your blog after your first show. I’m extremely looking forward to all your upcoming bodybuilding courses. Keep it up Tom!

October 28, 2005

Tom Venuto @ 4:18 pm #

Diablo, Losing lean mass is definitely a major concern during the entire final weeks of the contest prep, but not necessarily on contest day or the final few days. Since you don’t train for the last three days and you are actually eating more (carbs), you are not likely to lose muscle at that point. You may lose water weight, but you will actually look fuller on contest day due to the carb up. The critical time is in the final weeks leading up to the show when you are at your leanest, and most depleted and when your calories and or carbs are the lowest, and you have been on a diet for the longest period of time. Then you have to keep an eye on how you look and on your bodyweight and lean mass to make sure you are not losing too much too fast.

December 13, 2005

Kris @ 2:23 pm #

Great stuff! My work out partner and I are following your diet and workouts. we started at 18% BF and we are both down in the single digits, all while keeping almost the same weight. You are an insperation to people who want to train natural. I can’t wait till you blog your off season or mass building workouts. It is nice to read your blog and take your workout to the gym. It is an easy way to always get a good workout. Keep up the good work. People ask us what we are doing and want us to give them the secret….I tell them to “get tom’s burn the fat, feed the muscle e-book and you will see”.
Thanks again from Louisiana!!

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