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Contest prep tips for the first-time competitor
Anthrogeekuconn's Avatar
Posts: 47
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: New Haven, CT
Contest prep tips for the first-time competitor - 03-01-2013, 10:23 AM

Contest prep can be grueling. As somebody new to the sport, the whole process can be stressful, confusing, and can leave a competitor with a bad taste in her mouth if things are not done properly. Recently, I was speaking to a fellow female bodybuilding competitor who had just finished up with her first prep. To put it lightly, she hated it. Now, donít get me wrong, bodybuilding competitions are not for everyone, but there are a few things that seasoned competitors learn that can make a contest prep period less painful.

1. Meal Preparation
Picking one or two days per week to prepare most your meals is a must. By doing this, you are ensuring that no matter how busy you get during your work week, you will never have to worry about not having time for meal prep. Things like chicken breasts and ground beef can be cooked and individually packaged in the refrigerator or freezer for easy access during the week. Rice can be cooked and then kept in a gallon-size Zip-Lock bag or similar container in the refrigerator. It will easily stay good for most of the week this way. Things like eggs and vegetables are usually best when prepared immediately before eating, and since much of the other food is already prepared, youíll have plenty of time for this.

2. Whiteboard
Invest in an erasable white board. Put it somewhere you HAVE to look every day. I suggest using a white board rather than other computer or online schedulers for an important reason - itís right in front of you every day, and you don?t need to turn it on or log in to see it. So, even if the power is out or your phone is dead, youíre still in the clear because you have your handy, old fashioned whiteboard. Plan out your training sessions for the week, this way you've got a concrete plan for the week. Last season, once I get down to my last six weeks, I would sometimes forget which days I did cardio, and which type (at one point I was doing both HITT and low intensity). My whiteboard became my savior. After each session, before hopping in the shower, I would write down what type and the duration of cardio I completed. By the end of the month, you can take a step back and actually visualize all the work you've put into your prep, thus giving you an immense sense of accomplishment.

3. Donít cheat yourself out of your cheat meals
If cheat meals are in your meal plan, take them!! In most cases, your coach is putting them in your plan for a specic reason. It may be to boost your metabolism, or it may even be just to keep you sane, but they can be an important tool regardless. Donít go overboard and binge all night (unless your coach tells you to), but make sure you give into your cravings. The IFBB friend I spoke of earlier told me she ďcheatedĒ by having some grilled salmon. REALLY?! Go out and get yourself a burger and fries or pizza. Not only will it aid you in your fat loss by speeding up your metabolism, but it will make your prep less mentally challenging and it will give you something to look forward to after a long span of rigid dieting.

4. Flavored tea and calorie-free drinks Flavored green tea has a number of benefits that can help during a prep.
Green tea is a powerful antioxidant and the catechins in it can help speed up fat loss. On top of these beneficial properties, it can help with hunger and cravings. If youíre craving something sweet and fruity there are a number of green tea options at your local grocery store, drink them hot or cold. I feel itís a good replacement if youíre craving fruit juice or soda. And speaking of soda, calorie-free ďdietĒ soda can also be a useful tool in curbing cravings and keeping you mentally stable during a prep. They can generally be used up the last week or so before a competition, but check with your coach for specific recommendations.

5. Walden Farms
Walden Farms makes a number of zero-calorie condiments. The key to these products is MODERATION. They are only calorie-free when used in the recommended serving sizes. Walden Farms chocolate sauce is an absolute must have for me during my prep, especially when the dreaded PMS chocolate cravings kick in. I usually will make a bowl of oats and add the chocolate sauce, Splenda, and natural peanut butter. The company makes several products, and some are much better than others. Try them and see for yourself.

6. Melatonin
In most cases competitors are utilizing fat burners that contain a number of ingredients that can keep you wired all night. We all know that sleep is an important part of any athleteís plan, and without it, waking up for your 5 AM fasted cardio can be a real strain on your body and mind. During my rst two preps I didnít use any sleep aid and instead toughed out my sleepless nights with hours of tossing and turning. On occasion I would use Benadryl, but the grogginess in the morning was almost worse than not getting any sleep at all. Melatonin has the same ability to put and keep me asleep, while leaving me feeling refreshed when I get up. Getting a full-nights sleep made a world of dierence in my training and prep. My overall performance in the gym was improved along with my demeanor. For most people, 5mg taken 30 minutes or so before bed is enough to get a good nightís rest. Toward the end of prep when things get crazy, it may need to be bumped to 10-12mg.

In conclusion, prepping for a show can be challenging, but remember to enjoy the experience for what it is. It is an opportunity to push yourself and learn more about your body and mind than you ever have before. If you are completely miserable day in and day out, take a step back and evaluate your prep plan. Often, small changes can be made to make things more bearable. The more preps you do, the more youíll learn about your body, and the more little tricks youíll learn to make the experience more enjoyable for you
(and everyone around you).

Until next time! ~Jamie
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Joshmcz06's Avatar
Posts: 1
Join Date: Aug 2014
08-15-2014, 05:14 AM

Best advice is trail and error a lot!! Try everything and you will find what works best for you ��
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tri-terror's Avatar
Posts: 941
Join Date: Oct 2012
08-16-2014, 05:37 AM

Why is this in the female forum lol? Good advice for everybody here.

"all you have to do is look at someoneís shins and hands; do they look fucked up? Then listen to them.Ē- Jim Wendler
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Registered User
Posts: 754
Join Date: May 2013
08-16-2014, 08:07 AM

Originally Posted by tri-terror View Post
Why is this in the female forum lol? Good advice for everybody here.
You've got that right Tri.

Great info Jamie!
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chrisr116's Avatar
Posts: 3,788
Join Date: Nov 2012
08-16-2014, 01:42 PM

Yeah, I just saw it for the first time. It contains a lot of useful information on dieting. My wife is utilizing a trainer, not for competition, but just to cut weight and gain muscle. She is on a pretty damn strict diet. I'm going to let her read this and maybe pick up a tip or two.
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