Bodybuilding Contest Preparation

Contest Countdown.. 8 Weeks Out

By: Roger and Sandy Riedinger
Beverly International Nutrition
Winter 1997

We covered the first eight weeks of your contest preparation in the previous issue of the No Nonsense Magazine (FALL, 1997). Now we are ready to start the final eight weeks. By the end of these eight weeks you will be totally prepared for your contest, in top condition and feeling healthy.

Phase Two Diet

Starting at 8 weeks out you should really kick your diet into high gear. Your main goal should now be to lose all subcutaneous bodyfat. Unless you are losing at least one pound bodyweight per week it’s time for another calorie adjustment in the neighborhood of a 200 – 300 reduction. Keep your protein intake high at this point and reduce the amount of fat, which we have kept fairly high to this point, and a small amount of carbohydrate. (One note of caution: if you’ve mistimed your diet totally up to this point and are not already in fairly good condition, jump to the Four Weeks Out recommendations.)

Jeff Storch, 1996 NPC Ohio LH Champion followed this meal plan at 8 weeks. This meal plan would be the next step if you are following Bill Hooks’ diet at twelve weeks from last issue.

Supplements: Super Pack, Mass 6 / meal, Ultra 40 Liver 6 / meal, Energy Reserve 2 tablets – 3 times / daily on an empty stomach along with thermogenics for first three weeks, then two weeks off.
Meal #1
6 egg whites + 5 oz. lean beef
½ grapefruit, ½ cantaloupe, or 8 strawberries (choose one)
Meal #2
10 – 12 ounces lean meat
(chicken / turkey / fish, lean ground beef, at least 91%, or lean steak)
1 – 6 oz. sweet potato
2 cups vegetables
Meal #3
10 – 12 ounces lean meat (chicken, etc.)
2 cup vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
Meal #4
Protein Drink
10 oz. water, 1 egg, 8 strawberries, 3 scoops Muscle Provider
Meal #5
9 ounces lean meat (strip sirloin, lean beef, etc.)
3 – 4 egg whites (optional)
4 cups salad
2 tablespoons Vinegar & Oil

* oz. = ounces

James Johnson, whose diet we featured in the last issue, needed to make weight for the Jr. Nationals so we had to change our strategy somewhat. James followed a lower protein intake than we normally recommend so that he could lose enough weight to compete as a bantamweight. This is James’ exact meal plan eight weeks out from his victory in his first national competition.

Supplements: Super Pak, Lean Out 2 / meal, Muscularity 3 / meal

Ratio of Food Groups: Carbohydrates = 58% Protein = 30% Fat = 8%
Meal # 1
6 egg whites
2 servings of cream of rice
Meal # 2
4 ounces of chicken
1 cup of rice
1 cup vegetables
Meal #3
4 ounces of lean meat
1 six oz. baked potato or yam
1 cup vegetables
Meal # 4
4 ounces of lean meat
1 cup of rice
1 cup of vegetables
Meal # 5
4 ounces of lean meat
1 cup vegetables
1 six oz. baked potato
Meal # 6
6 egg whites

Final Phase – Male

At four weeks we have a special competition diet that works great for almost everyone. The list of successful competitors who have used this plan with slight modifications is nearly endless. Here’s our special competition diet for men at four weeks out:

Supplements: Super Pak, Energy Reserve 9 per day, Mass 4 / meal, Ultra 40 6 / meal, Muscularity 4 / meal

Final Phase meal plan
Meal #1
5 egg whites – 2 yolks
5 oz. chicken, turkey, or tuna
½ grapefruit, ½ cantaloupe, or 8 strawberries
Meal #2
6 oz. chicken, turkey or tuna
1 cup vegetables
Meal #3
2 cups salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ 1 tablespoon oil + 1 tablespoon vinegar
8 ounces tuna or other lean protein
1 carrot
Meal #4
4 oz. lean beef or 6 –8 oz. chicken breast, turkey, or fish
2 egg whites
Meal #5
8 oz. chicken, turkey breast, or fish
1 ½ cup vegetables
1 tablespoon Flax Oil

*Every Monday and Thursday eat the following meal in place of one regular meal: 1 ½ cups rice, 1 large sweet potato, 1 banana, 1 cup vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil, butter, or margarine.

Many of our clients substitute up to 3 scoops of our special protein formulation, Muscle Provider, mixed with a whole egg and frozen fruit for meal #2, #4 or both. Muscle Provider is the only powder formulation we have found that can be taken right up to the contest.

Here’s what one of our Beverly users at the National Level, Leo Ingram has to say at three weeks out: “At this time my carbs are between zero to twenty grams max up to one week prior to the show.” The carbs consumed are of the low glycemic type. This is considered carb depletion by most people. This help to get the maximum glycogen compensation into those muscle cells which gives you that dense and full look on the day of the show. My protein is still high and my fats are down to a minimum. My training is still intense combining with cardio exercise to deplete my glycogen stores. Sodium is not really a bad thing at this time unless there isn’t a balance among the other minerals such as potassium, magnesium and zinc. "

Leo’s supplement program: Supplementation taken at this time include, branch chain amino acids (Muscularity) and free form as well, a high potency mutivitamin/mineral pack, growth hormone releaser, (GH Factor) and a combination fat burner (Lean Out). All of these supplements are purchased through Beverly International Nutrition."

"During these last weeks my cravings increase for sugar and starch. I usually satisfy myself by drinking a couple of glasses of crystal lite or a beverage containing no simple sugars. This helps me get through this diet. The last couple of weeks are usually the hardest for me. I think that this is where the discipline comes in at. Because what you do in these weeks can cause a drastic body change if you are not careful. So resist the temptation and keep focusing on what you are trying to accomplish. After all you didn’t come this far for nothing."

Phase Two – Female

At six to eight weeks out most women go right into the final phase of their pre competition diet Here’s a sample diet that we’ve used with great success at the Beverly Nutrition Center:

Supplements: Super Pak, Lean Out 9 per day, Ultra 40 4 / meal, Muscularity 3 / meal

Phase Two Female diet
Meal #1
4 egg whites – 1 yolk
3 oz. chicken, turkey, or tuna
1/4 grapefruit, 1/4 cantaloupe, or 6 strawberries Meal #2*
4 oz. chicken, turkey or tuna
1 cup vegetables Meal #3*
1.5 cups salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ 2 tsp. oil + 1 tablespoon vinegar
5 ounces tuna or other lean protein
1 small carrot Meal #4
1 egg + 2 egg whites Meal #5
5 oz. chicken, turkey breast, or fish
1 cup vegetables
1 tablespoon Flax Oil

*Every 3rd day eat the following meal in place of one regular meal: 1 cups rice, 1 small sweet potato, 1 small banana, 1 cup vegetables with 2 tsp. oil, butter, or margarine.

Final Phase – Female

The following meal plan the final three weeks to reduce body-fat on this meal plan. Adjusted calorie intake over a 3 day period as follows.

Supplements (each day): Ultra 4 – 2 in AM and 2 in PM, Muscularity – 9 between meals #1 and #2; and 9 more between meals #4 and #5, 3 L–Tyrosine and 4 Energy Reserve – 30 minutes prior to meals 1, 2, and 4, 3 – Evening Primrose Oil capsules, 3 – Bev C

Day One:
Meal #1
6 egg whites (can use onion, tomato and peppers)
Meal #2*
6.5 oz. tuna
Meal #3*
large salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ Flax Oil and
vinegar for a dressing
3 ounces tuna
Meal #4
6 egg whites (can use onion, tomato and peppers)
Meal #5
6.5 oz tuna
Day Two:
Meal #1
6 egg whites – 1 yolk
Meal #2*
6.5 oz. tuna
1 cup vegetables (usually green beans)
Meal #3* large salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ Flax Oil and vinegar for a dressing
3 oz tuna
Meal #4
6 egg whites + 1 yolk
Meal #5
6.5 oz. tuna
Day Three:
Meal #1
6 egg whites – 1 yolk
Meal #2*
6.5 oz. tuna
1 cup vegetables (usually green beans)
Meal #3* large salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ Flax Oil and vinegar for a dressing
3.25 oz tuna Meal #4
6 egg whites + 1 yolk
Meal #5
½ cup Cream of Rice (before cooking)
1 sweet potato
1 cup green beans with 1 tsp. butter

This is a very strict diet and you should definitely not use it without professional monitoring but we thought you’d like to see exactly what a professional did to achieve her all time best condition.

Phase Two Cardio

At eight weeks we usually step up the cardio to four days per week and thirty minutes per session. Now, instead of continually trying to go hard for your entire session, use the interval training approach at two of your sessions. Here’s how that might work on a Life-cycle: Set program to Manual. L1 – 3 minutes (warm–up), L2 – 1 minute (increasing intensity), back to L1 for one minute (active rest), L3 – 1 minute, L1 – 1 minute, L4 – 1 minute (now it is getting hard), L1 – 1 minute, try L5 for 1 minute (if you can complete the whole minute at 80 rpm’s go to L6 for your next interval),L1 – 1 minute. Continue to increase intensity on alternating sets until you cannot pedal the full minute at 80 rpm’s, your remaining work sets would be at the next lower level. In our example let’s suppose you could not complete your set at L5, the rest of the session would be as follows: L4 – 1 minute, L1 – 1 minute repeat until you complete eight additional sets at L4, then do three additional minutes at L1 to end the session.

The other two cardio days should be similar to your Phase One cardio. Do not increase intensity on these days but increase the time to 30 minutes instead of 15 or 20 as in phase one.

Six Weeks Out

At six weeks out add a third interval training day bringing your total cardio to five days at 30 minutes per day. Try to get to that next level on your interval days. If you could only get to Level 4 on week 7, try to complete your work sets at Level 5 this week.

Four Weeks Out: At four weeks you must decide for yourself whether to increase your cardio again. Usually an increase in cardio at this time will result in a decrease in lean muscle tissue. However, if you are trying to make weight or are still just too smooth, it’s a necessity. Add three more weekly sessions of 30 – 45 minutes each at moderate intensity. The addition of these sessions will necessitate your doing two cardio sessions per day on three days at this point.

Your final cardio sessions should take place at two weeks out. This is your last chance to burn any lingering fat so, if needed, increase your total time expenditure or caloric expenditure by 50%. At the maximum you would be doing three 45 minute high intensity interval sessions, two 45 minute high intensity sessions and three 60 minute moderate intensity sessions during this week. Do no cardio at one week out ... pose, pose, pose instead.

Phase Two Posing

At eight weeks out increase your posing sessions to three days per week. Increase the time you hold each mandatory pose by five seconds per week. Remember to spend most of your time practicing on your front facing pose. This is where the judging starts and first impressions are very important. Remember, start each pose from your feet up to make certain your legs are flexed.

Make a schedule at eight weeks to practice each facing and mandatory pose. Start week eight at 2 sets of each pose for 10 – 15 seconds. For the next four weeks add another set each week and hold each pose for an additional 3 – 5 seconds.

Here’s what Leo Ingram, 2nd place in the heavyweight class at the 1997 NPC USA, has to say: Prior to going to bed I usually set aside some time just for posing. I stand in front of the mirror and hit each pose from all different angles to see which one highlights my body the best. I then use that one as my best pose. I hit all the mandatory poses in this manner and hold each for at least 45 seconds. This helps to build up the endurance to stand on–stage for extended amounts of time while being compared to other competitors. Once I get the feel of the pose I then practice hitting the poses with my eyes closed and then opening them to see where I am. Because on stage you have no mirror.

Six Weeks Out: Start working on your individual posing routine at six weeks out if you haven’t started by this time. Remember, you need two individual posing routines. You’ll do one in the prejudging with no music and a sixty second time limit. Your evening presentation will be accompanied by music with a 90 second time limit. Don’t make the mistake of trying to cram your 90 second evening routine into sixty seconds during the prejudging. Work on a separate routine based solely on your strongest poses. Hold your poses longer during the prejudging so the judges have enough time to assess each pose. Don’t do any poses that do not enhance your physique. Show the judges only what you want them to see.

We are not trying to detract from your evening presentation, but are emphasizing the importance of your prejudging routine as well. We’ve seen too many competitors over the years do a routine during the prejudging that makes no sense whatsoever without the accompanying music. Start working on your evening routine at this time as well. Select your music well in advance and make a professional quality cassette. Record only the 90 seconds or less of music on which you will base your routine. Don’t record the entire song. It’s a good idea to record a posing practice cassette with your 90 second selection recorded over and over with a 30 second delay between cuts. You can practice our routine over and over without rewinding the cassette.

Four Weeks Out: At four weeks out you’ll be doing 6 sets of every facing and mandatory pose holding each for 15 – 30 seconds. Stay at this level for the mandatory poses but continue to increase the time you hold the front facing pose for fifteen seconds per week so that at two weeks out you’ll be holding it for 1 ½ minutes. You will often be asked to hold the front facing pose on stage much longer than the others. You should continue to hold this stance anytime you are on stage throughout the show when you are not being directly judged or as others are “called out”. Never completely relax and always keep your legs tensed.

Your prejudging freestyle routine as well as your evening presentation to music should also be perfected by this time. At four weeks, your posing sessions should include six sets of the facings and comparison poses along with 6 repetitions of your prejudging freestyle presentation and 6 additional repetitions of your evening presentation with music. Pose at least five days per week. Each session will last approximately 45 minutes to an hour. It is not necessary to complete all of your posing “sets” at one session, but be sure to complete all six “sets” of each posing round – facings, mandatories, prejudging individual routine, and evening presentation with music – by the end of each day.

Phase Two Supplements

Phase two supplementation is primarily concerned with (1) utilizing stored body-fat to meet energy needs, (2) preserving lean muscle mass and (3) recovery.

(1) For maximizing the utilization of stored body-fat at the eight week point we add Beverly International’s Lean Out –12 capsules daily divided into equal doses fifteen minutes prior to each meal for four weeks. A more aggressive program is to use a combination of Energy Reserve for three weeks. Use 3 Energy Reserve tablets prior to cardio, 2 Energy Reserve and and 3 Energy Reserve prior to training. Take two weeks off the Energy Reserve. During the two weeks off we recommend using GH Factor – 6 capsules on arising and 6 capsules on retiring to burn fat through a different dietary mechanism. Then at three weeks out use the Energy Reserve. L–Tyrosine per dose for the final three weeks.

(2) To preserve lean muscle mass we continue using the Mass and Ultra 40 combination described in the previous issue. We increase the dosage to 6 of each per meal for weeks 8 – 5. However, at four weeks we often cut the Mass out and substitute Muscularity (BCAA’s). Muscularity is taken with meals in place of the Mass at a dosage of three per meal.

With two or sometimes three weeks to go, we pull out all the stops. We’ve found an even more effective way to preserve muscle and lose fat is to take Muscle Mass (BCAA’s, not the same as Mass, a broad spectrum amino) or Muscularity in rather large doses between meals. Using this method causes rapid increases of BCAA plasma concentrations in your blood which your body interprets as the breakdown of lean muscle tissue. In order to keep you from breaking down even more muscle tissue, your body stimulates the release of stored fat in order to spare nitrogen (from your muscle tissue). Therefore you’re not only sparing muscle tissue but accessing stored body-fat at the same time! Take 10 Muscle Mass twice daily between meals #1 and 2, and between meals #4 and 5 during the final two weeks.

(3) As the demands of your pre-contest diet, high intensity cardio and posing practice wreak havoc on your recovery system, the need for a high intake of anti stress vitamins and minerals, as well as anti oxidants becomes evident. For the final eight weeks use at least one Super Pak daily and 1 Beverly International Ultra-C or Anti Oxidant tablet with at least three of your meals.

The Final Week

There are a number of theories as to what you should do the final week before your competition. There is only one fail safe formula: If you keep looking better day by day as the contest gets nearer, do exactly the same things that you have been doing. Don’t carb up just stay on your diet. This is the best advice we can give you, and the advice that most of our champions follow. It’s tough not to try to do something different at the end, but unless you are not improving on a daily basis, don’t make radical changes. Our diets illustrated for the final four weeks have a built in carb up component that happens on Thursday before your contest.

This allows correction on Friday for any mistakes.

Here are ten things that you can do the final week:

  1. Drink plenty of water throughout your contest preparation, at least one to three gallons daily, the more the better.
  2. Cut out all leg training and cardio for the last week.
  3. Load Creatine Monohydrate (use Beverly, make sure there are no fillers or binders) one tablespoon prior to every meal starting Tuesday continuing up to prejudging unless you must make weight
  4. Use salt at every meal up until the Wednesday evening the week of your show.
  5. Cut your sodium intake by 50% on Thursday and Friday
  6. Cut out all fibrous vegetables Thursday and Friday
  7. Cut back water intake by 25% on Thursday (2 gallons to 1.5 gallons)
  8. Cut water an additional 25% on Friday (half of what you normally drink)
  9. Use Potassium 2 – 99 mg tablets per hour on Thursday and Friday (Females use 1 – 99 mg per hour)
  10. Eat one additional meal high in carbs, sugar, and fat 3 hours prior
    to taking the stage on Saturday

It really is this simple. If you visit the Beverly International Nutrition Center for your contest preparation, we will be able fine tune all the necessary diet and cardio phases for you so there’s no guesswork. Good luck in your competition. Please write us or call and tell us your success with our contest countdown plan. We’d love to feature you in the next No Nonsense Magazine.

★ For more contest prep articles, we suggest the following:

 Mark Domme
My Contest Prep for the NPC NPC Texas Shredder Classic

 Katie Craig
Advice to the First Time Figure Competitor