Setting the stage for contest Dieting
It seems to be, that most people are a little unsure how to prepare for their
contest diet (i.e.-losing body fat whilst retaining as much muscle as possible).
In simple terms setting the stage, hence the title of this article.
What I have found increasingly common is the amount of people who do not have a
consistent off-season diet. Ask yourself can you truly say off the top of head
what you eat, how many grams of carbs and protein you are on? If the answer is
�No� then you must address this. I�m not saying you cannot have treat meals I
look at it like this. If you consume 6-7 meals a day, that�s 42-49 meals a week,
so having a few treat meals will not do you any harm, so long as everything else
is spot on. This will then at least give you a platform to work from when you
start your contest diet.
One thing that seems to be a major downfall come contest time, the alarm bells
sound and people start to panic. First they don�t have a consistent off-season
diet as mentioned above and then decide, �I�d better start eating egg whites,
chicken/turkey/fish and low carbs�. As well as this people throw in every
conceivable thing they know or have been told that will help lose weight. Before
they have begun they have used up all their options at once, with nowhere to
turn when the sticking points arrive. All that happens is that you will lose
weight but a large percentage will be muscle tissue.
So what do we do to avoid this from happening and make dieting that bit easier,
well I�ll tell you what I believe and use, then you can decide if it makes sense
Firstly lets look at my current diet.
Breakfast: 120g oats, 1 Banana, 2 scoops Pro Peptide. (protein powder low in
Meal 2: 100g Brown rice, 1 apple, 2 pineapple rings, vegetables and 200g
Meal 3: 100g Brown rice, 1 apple, 2 pineapple rings, vegetables and 200g
Meal 4 (Post workout meal) - I have 2 scoops Pro-Recover (protein powder contain
high carbs) & 1 Apple.
Meal 5: 100g brown rice plus 100 sweet potato with 200g chicken and veggies.
Meal 6: 100g Oats with 2 scoops Pro-Peptide. (protein powder low in carbs)
This diet provides me with 1 � grams or slightly more, of protein per pound of
bodyweight (350g) and approx 500grams of carbohydrates and the fats what occur
naturally with the foods approximately 50g.
I take 10g Pro-Glutamine 30 minutes before breakfast and immediately before &
after my workout.
For my micronutrients Pro Vital covers everything, so I don�t have to worry
about vitamins/minerals also with the added benefits of antioxidants and the
testosterone booster ZMA.
aerobics is usually per week, 3 sessions of 30minutes fast pace walking on a
treadmill with a 5-7% incline at a speed of 6.4-7kph. My bodyweight is stable
with all this, so my stage is set and I have everything in place to work from.
So what do I do to start burning off body fat? Well most people cut back on
their carbohydrates and continue doing this until they hit a sticking point.
Next they cut back some more carbs and so on until the only option is to then
incorporate aerobic work. The reason people do this is because they are under
this stupid impression that aerobics will make them look stringy??? Nonsense,
absolute nonsense. What is bodybuilding about? It�s about building muscle and
come contest dieting, conserving all the muscle you have built whilst shedding
body fat. How on earth can anyone expect to keep muscle if they constantly keep
cutting back on their calories/food???
My belief is simply this, start off your contest preparation - diet where you
know your bodyweight is stable and increase your output of energy i.e. aerobics.
Doing this means you will start to lose body fat as you are using up more
calories than before and without dropping any of your valuable food and believe
me your food is valuable come contest dieting.
As mentioned above, my bodyweight is stable, so step one is to increase aerobics
from my 3 days to 7 days a week and keep everything else the same. Perform
aerobics Now I have got to lose body fat due to the simple fact I am now
expending (burning) more calories due to the increase in exercise. I aim to lose
between 1-3 pounds a week and I will weigh myself once a week, every Friday
morning before breakfast. The reason for weighing one�s self before breakfast is
that this gives your true bodyweight. If you weigh yourself later in the day you
will be heavier due to the meals and fluids you have consumed.
When I stop losing weight my next step to keep me on track is to look at
everything logically and work out what I need to do so I continue to lose body
My aerobics now are 30 minutes everyday, so logic tells me to increase this
slightly by doing aerobics twice a day on none training days, this being
Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. So now I am doing 10 aerobic sessions of
30minutes at a time. By this stage aerobics should be second nature and you
certainly will be fitter for it.
Once I lose less than my target weight, I look at my options again to keep me on
Now I could increase my aerobics, this time making each session between 40-45
minutes long. This logically will mean I have to start losing weight or I could
cut back on my carbohydrates (energy foods) SLIGHTLY. Remember we have not
touched our food intake yet, so we do things gradually. If I do cut back on my
food I drop my carbohydrates (oats) from my last meal (meal 6).
I set out so that I can consume as much as possible and by making simple small
logical adjustments this enables me to keep as much muscle as possible whilst
losing body fat. The main thing is to apply logic, sit back, think and work out
your plan of attack.
Lets summarize the stages required.
Start off your diet ensuring it all comes from clean foods, similar foods to
diet above (amounts will vary from person to person). If you are eating a fair
bit of junk, work out your calories etc and replace with quality foods so it
resembles the diet I mentioned previously. Do this about 4 weeks before you
start your contest run in i.e. if you do a 12 week diet, start the clean up
phase 16 weeks out. Come the 12-week stage you will have your stage set
aerobics - perform one 30minute session every day, before breakfast on an empty
When weight loss stops, increase aerobics on non-training days only to two
sessions. One before breakfast and one in the evening.
4. When weight loss stops dropping again simply increase
your aerobic sessions by another 15 minutes per session.
When weight loss stops dropping again increase aerobics to two sessions everyday
and or reduce your carbohydrates intake by 50-100g
6. If weight loss stops dropping again, repeat stage 5 above.
Aim to be in contest condition, around 1-2 weeks out from the show. This will
allow you eat up slightly into your show and at the very least level things off
so you can relax knowing that the hard work has been done.
Two weeks out from doing the Canadian & Night of the Champions in 2001, I was
told by Kerry & Dorian that I was bang on and I should cut out my aerobics and
add an extra meal, as my metabolism was in overdrive. Imagine being in this
position, my carbohydrate intake at this period was over 400g a day. How many of
you can say you have been in this position, believe me it is a fantastic
Before I sign off imagine this. A sculpture is stood in front of a large slab of
marble and is about to create his masterpiece. As he starts his creation, does
he take hold of a sledgehammer and start smashing all hell out of the marble or
does he take his hammer and chisel and slowly but surely chip away until his
work of art is created?
I think you know where I�m coming from.
So folks, the moral of the story is, throw away your sledgehammer and patiently
chip away with your hammer and chisel to reveal your masterpiece, that being
Good luck to you all.
John Hodgson IFBB Professional
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