Saturday, May 5, 2012

Contest Preparation Part 4: Mental Obstacles

No matter how well your contest preparation is moving along, the one obstacle that will continuously stand in your way is your mind. Just like when you are bulking and everyone around you seems to think you are making tremendous progress but you still feel small, dieting for a competition brings along whole set of mind games of its own. You are bound to run into the following feelings at some point and this is where having a close friend to keep an eye on you is important. If you don't have anyone, make a thread in the Contest Preparation section on It truly helps to have second opinions to ease the tricks your mind plays on you.

Feeling Smaller

Whether you are trying to drop 10 pounds before summer or diet for a competition, you are going to begin to feel smaller. Shirt sleeves will fit a bit looser and pants won't be as snug. You aren't losing muscle. You are just losing fat and glycogen. As your carbohydrates get lower, your glycogen stores will become depleted which causes you to get flat. Flat just means that your muscles are depleted of glycogen which causes your muscles to look a bit smaller and stringy. They don't pop as much as they used to. This further compounds the problem of making you feel smaller. You need to accept this and realize you have the same amount of muscle you have always had. You may look smaller but it's not because you have less muscle, it's because you have less fat. You may look smaller in a shirt but you look much better without one and that's really what is important.

Losing Strength

As the diet progresses and your body weight and calories begin to dip to all time low numbers, it's normal for strength to decline. You can't expect to lift the same weight when you weigh 30 pounds less, are eating half the amount of calories you used to, and doing a lot of cardio. Keep reminding yourself that you are training for a bodybuilding competition and not a power lifting one. The judges won't ask you how much you bench on stage. It's about who looks the best. Continue to lift as heavy as your body allows you to and when the show is over you can focus on building your strength back up to where is was before and even higher.

Constant Hunger

When dieting for a competition, you are going to be hungry all the time. It may not be too bad in the beginning but by the end you will go to sleep at night and dream about food. You will wake up extremely early and lay in bed wishing it was time to eat breakfast. This is all part of the process and there isn't much you can do about it. Keep your eyes on your goal and let that be your motivating factor to push through. When the hunger gets unbearable, you can try to ease the pain by drinking diet soda or another diet drink without calories. You can also try chewing gum or drinking some flavored BCAA's. Just remember that these have calories so keep track of them and don't let it get out of hand. The best thing you can do is to stay busy. When you are sitting home doing nothing, you will stare at the clock waiting for your next meal. If you are out, time will go faster and you won't even realize how hungry you are.

Feeling Irritable

As you get deeper into your preparation and your calories get lower, you will begin to feel drained and you will find yourself getting annoyed more easily. Something that never used to bother you before suddenly becomes the most annoying thing in the world. The lack of carbohydrates effects your brain and mood. You are bound have a few outbursts along the way. Your best bet is to explain what you are doing to the people around you and apologize in advance if you do anything to offend them. It also helps to take a step back for a moment and think about the situation. Ask yourself "would I be this upset over this if I wasn't dieting?" If the answer is no, try to restrain yourself if it's not too late.

Won't Be Ready on Time 

Even if you have striated glutes 8 weeks out from your show, you still probably won't feel like you will be ready. While everyone else sees your veins and striations popping out, all you will see is the little bit of fat on your hamstrings. The worst thing you can do is panic and ramp up your cardio and drastically reduce your calories. This will just cause you to lose muscle and put you in a bad situation. Instead, take progress pictures every 2 weeks and examine them. Make sure you are making noticeable progress. Post them on a forum where knowledgeable people can give you an honest critique. If they tell you that you are in good shape, then you don't need to worry. If they tell you that you are a few weeks behind, then it is a good idea to bump up cardio or reduce calories more. Facebook is the worst place to post your pictures for advice. All your friends will say that you look amazing and tell you that you will win no matter what you look like because chances are you are still in much better shape than anyone else they know.

Other Competitors

It's common to worry about the people you will be going up against on stage. Unlike other sports, it doesn't matter what your competitor is doing. It's not like football where you can watch videos to study what your opponent does so you have a better chance to beat them. With bodybuilding, although you are technically competing against other competitors, you are truly only competing against yourself. For this reason, there is no point in worrying about who will show up. You need to just show up in the best shape you can because that is all you can control. Personally, I have psyched myself out a few times by looking at pictures of competitors before the show. I later realized that what someone looks like in their own bathroom mirror pictures is completely different than what they look like on stage anyway. Just focus on the controllable factors and hope for the best on show day.

Check back next week for part 5 which will cover peak week.


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Advanced tips to lose inches from your waist

I spend a lot of time in airports, including 4 hours Sunday in
St. Louis. But I always look on the positive side and try to get as
much magazine reading or article writing done as possible.

Heck, I even wrote this email to you from Gate A18 while waiting for
my flight and watching the Patriots-Colts game.

This reminds me of a time about a year ago when I was stuck in the
Newark Airport, and I was reading a copy of Men's Fitness that
contained the legendary TT success story of the Kuhn Triplets (you
can see the fat loss story on my site at

Here's some of the tips we used in our plan to help the 3 brothers
lose that last 5 pounds of fat in the last 10 days of the

NOTE: These advanced tips were only used for 10-14 days. That's the
maximum time for this advanced plan.

1) Start your day with water and fiber. I truly believe drinking
12 cups of water over the course of the day helps you stay alert and
stops you from feeling too hungry. As for the fiber, you can get it
from fruit or nuts. Research shows starting your day with fiber
helps control your blood sugar until the afternoon.

2) Eat 1 cup of raw vegetables prior to eating your regular lunch
and dinner. This will help control your appetite.

3) Eat only almonds, raw vegetables, & fruit between meals.

4) Don't eat more than 40g of carbohydrates at any meal.

5) Don't go to bed full. Eat only a small protein snack in the
evening to control calorie intake.

6) Drink 6 cups of green tea per day (3 in AM, 3 after lunch)

Advanced Exercise Tips

1) Add 10 seconds to each work interval.

2) Add in some bodyweight circuits (10-20 minutes per day) done in
the morning or evening.

If you do your regular TT workout in the morning, then do your
bodyweight circuits after dinner. Alternatively, do the bodyweight
circuits first thing in the morning, and then do your regular
workout at lunch or later in the afternoon or evening.

3) Add one set to the first superset you do in each workout.

Use these strict tips for no more than 2 weeks before returning to
normal exercise guidelines and carbohydrate intake.

Go here to get started: ===> Advanced tips to lose inches from your waist <=====

Train hard but safe,


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