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The competition diet is the most difficult part of contest preparation.

A workout may last an hour or two but dieting is 24 hours a day. You must have willpower if you intend to be successful at this. It is also expensive. Quality food, protein powders, MRP's (meal replacements) and supplements add up quickly so be prepared. The ultimate goal of the Competition Diet is to loose the maximum amount of body fat while maintaining the maximum amount of lean muscle mass. Be prepared however to loose some muscle during this process. Proper supplementation my decrease muscle loss and this will be addressed in another section.

When do you start the diet? This depends largely on your body composition and the date of the competition. It is always a good idea to have your body fat level checked, the most accurate results are obtained from water-immersion however fat-callipers are fairly accurate when done properly. Alternatively and post popularly, get someone who has competition experience to assess your physique and take guidance from them to ensure your diet is on course.

Most bodybuilders will begin dieting around 12 weeks out from the competition date. Others will find 8 weeks to be sufficient. It is important to monitor your progress daily, especially in the final weeks and to have someone whose judgement you can trust as towards the end your self appraisal abilities will disappear.

If you are not losing fat at an acceptable pace then increase your cardio. If possible, do your cardio in the morning on an empty stomach, as this will force your body to burn stored calories. This practice alone can yield dramatic results. As a rule however, try to let the diet do the cutting and do not rely too much on cardio.

The last week of the diet is a field of landmines and many competitors experiment at this stage. Fat loading, carb loading, sodium loading and depletion are all tricks of the trade. Each of these is intended to increase muscle density and fullness while offering maximum vascularity.

Peak condition can only be maintained for a very short period of time, therefore it is critical that peak condition be reached for the day of the competition (ideally the morning show, which is known as Pre-Judging). Any miscalculations and you may peak the day before or after the show. It is a tragic to see a bodybuilder who has trained and dieted consistently in a ripped and vascular condition on Friday only to have the same competitor come in flat and smooth on Saturday. You will need to experiment with what works for you.

Monday:
Food: A minimum of 6 small meals. All meals should contain protein from a variety of sources (chicken, steak, salmon, white fish, turkey). Complex, higher fibre carbs before 1pm (oats), protein and fibrous carbs from then on. . Absolutely no refined flour, rice, sugar, etc. Good sources of carbs at this stage are cucumber, mushroom, onion, beansprouts, red and green peppers, celery, carrots, leafy green lettuce and similar vegetables.
Try to eat every 2.5 hours.

Water: 1 to 2 gallons of low sodium water.

Supplement: 5 grams of L-Glutamine 4 times daily. Vitamin C 6 x 500mg throughout the day.

Tuesday: Same as above.

Wednesday
Food:
Meals should be 6 or 7 of protein and starchy carbs. I personally advise (subject to muscularity and sex) for men 700 grams of carbs today spread across your 6 or 7 meals. For a woman 400 – 500g.

Water: Take in up to 3 gallons of water.

Supplement: Potassium tablet 4 times daily. 5 grams of L-Glutamine 4 times daily. Vitamin C 6 x 500mg throughout the day.

Thursday
Food:
Any sodium should be cut dramatically. Read labels, nearly everything contains sodium. Do your shopping in advance to be ready for this time. It also is time to start carb loading, I personally advise (subject to muscularity and sex) 500 grams of carbs today spread across your 6 or 7 meals.

Water: Take in 2 gallons of water today.

Supplement: Potassium tablet 4 times daily. 5 grams of L-Glutamine 4 times daily. Vitamin C 10 x 500mg throughout the day.


Friday
Food:
Same as Thursday with extra careful attention to sodium and 300g of carbs, 75g with meals 1-3 then the other 75g should be oats eaten dry for supper, this acts like a diuretic in soaking up fluid so your body can process the oats, thus helping you dry out.

Water: Reduce water to 1.5 litres today mainly taken between morning and 6:00 PM. Sip sparingly and only as needed from 6:00 PM on.

Supplement: Potassium tablet 4 times daily. 5 grams of L-Glutamine 4 times daily. Vitamin C 10 x 500mg throughout the day.

Saturday (its show time!)
Food:
Protein only, fillet steak and eggs for breakfast. Take steak, chicken, turkey with you to eat as the day goes on. Many competitors will take chocolate, baby food, rice cakes and rice back stage with them for quick energy and muscle fullness.

Water: Sip only as needed, not too much and never gulp. By now you should be dropping water like crazy. Your abs should be very defined, muscular definition and vascularity should be very high. This is a very delicate balance. Do not try anything new at this point to alter this condition.

SUPPLEMENTS:
If you are at competition level then you have been at this game long enough to know the truth about bodybuilding supplements. Many supplements are 90% hype and only 10% results. When you see an advertisement with a freakishly huge bodybuilder claiming that the supplement that he is holding in the ad packed 30 lbs of lean muscle on him in a short time the truth is that he has probably never even tried that supplement. The guy is on steroids plain and simple and he is being paid to lie. Therefore, never accept advertisements or supplement claims at face value.
There are however, a few supplements that are worth considering while in contest preparation.

PROTEIN POWDER:. The protein requirements of a bodybuilder vastly exceed those of the sedentary public. You are constantly taxing your muscles by diet and training and must insure that the proper nutrient balance is available for recovery and growth. Protein Powder is just that. Protein. No fillers, no carbs, no sugar, no bullshit. As a competitive bodybuilder I aim for 1 ½ to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Others will contend that it is per pound of "lean body weight" per day. I tend to stay fairly lean even during the bulking phase. It is not wise to get more than 15 lbs over what you expect to be your competition weight. Nevertheless, Protein Powder is a must for any bodybuilder, especially while in competition mode.

MMEAL REPLACEMENTS POWDERS (MRP): As the name implies, MRP's are taken instead of a meal, neither with or in between. A typical meal replacement drink is a balanced meal in itself. They are nutritionally balanced to meet the nutrient requirements of an entire meal with heavy emphasis on protein. An MRP is also a great thing to have immediately after working out. Many people complain about the cost of MRP's, which are typically bought in a box of 20 packets and will set you back £40.00 to £50.00. When you consider however that each packet replaces an entire meal for only £2.00 to £2.50 you see that they are actually cost effective. Price varies considerably so shop a little and do your homework. While dieting for competition, never leave home without a MRP near by. They offer a convenient, high protein/low fat alternative to fast food. The only exception to this is the last week of the competition diet, which is dealt with elsewhere on this page. PLEASE NOTEExtreme Performance Meal Replacement is only £39.95 for 30 servings, so only £1.50 per serving.

FAT BURNERS: Fat Burners are compounds, often plant derived, which effect metabolism by increasing thermogenesis (the production of body heat). Most fat burners on the market are no longer ephedrine based due to ephedrine being classed as a class C medication in Europe.

Ephedrine by itself is an effective thermogenic aid however when combined with caffeine and L-Tyrosine there is an increase in the effects of the ingredients compared to their use on their own. In other words, the combined effect is greater than the sum of the separate compounds. Taken together, these ingredients work synergistically to increase metabolism and accelerate fat loss at a substantially higher rate then when taken separately.

Many supplement manufacturers market ephedrine free products under a wide variety of names, some are good examples and work well when taken as directed. These products can be effective and may be more easily tolerated by some individuals than the ephedrine-based supplements. Regardless of the type of thermogenic used however, always get the advice of your physician. Contest preparation is difficult enough and the diet is brutal. An effective fat burner is a highly recommended weapon in the battle for muscular definition.

L-Glutamine: L-Glutamine is an essential amino acid which is very important to bodybuilders because it has a muscle sparing effect after intense physical stress. Roughly 60% of free-form amino acids floating in skeletal muscles is L-glutamine. After an intense workout, glutamine levels in the body are reduced by as much as 50%. Supplementing with L-Glutamine may help body builders reduce the amount of muscle deterioration that occurs because other tissues that need glutamine will not rob the glutamine stored in the muscle cells. While preparing for a competition, L-Glutamine may tip the balance of the fat/muscle loss ratio in your favour. Please Note – free form glutamine does not get to your muscles as it is absorbed in your gut prior to reaching your bloodstream, so never makes it to your muscles. Get peptide bonded glutamine or a blend of both to keep your gut, immune system and muscles happy.

Creatine: Creatine has long been a part of many bodybuilders supplementation but is not suitable for pre contest use – until now! Kre-Alkalyn is a newly patented form of Creatine which has been pH buffered to prevent any of the creatine being converted into creatinine, the bad cousin of creatine which causes water retention and bloating. This new creatine will be more effective at lower doses and it does not convert to creatinine, with no side effects you can use this up to contest day for its cell volumising effects.

EFA’s: Essential Fatty Acids are a necessity for human life, they form the membranes round every cell in your body

POSING: (Its harder than it looks - get a good mirror and practice - a lot)
Posing is one of the most neglected elements in a bodybuilder's arsenal. A good poser will sometimes walk away with the trophy that would have normally been given to a superior physique. When the judges evaluate you on stage, they are looking for

1. Muscular size. Any person who diets properly can come in ripped however that does not make them a bodybuilder. By definition a bodybuilder should possess a greater degree of muscularity then the average person.
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2. Muscular definition. An obese person may have a 22-inch bicep however it will obviously lack definition. A properly prepared bodybuilder will be hard and tight and exhibit clear distinctions between adjoining muscle groups.
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3. Symmetry. A large and muscular chest will look out of proportion if the legs are not adequately developed as well. Similarly, large, well-defined triceps should be balanced by equally developed biceps. It is difficult to conceal a neglected body part when you are wearing nothing but posing trunks so give priority to your weak areas.
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4. Your ability to present it. This is where posing is critical. You may have the best physique on stage but if your posing lacks confidence and correctness you may be marked down.

Mandatory and optional poses vary somewhat with the sanctioning organization so do your homework in advance to know what will be required of you. It can be extremely embarrassing to have a judge call for a pose that you are not familiar with. Most competitions will use posing requirements which will be covered below.

MANDATORY POSES;
Front Double Biceps
Front Lat Spread
Side Chest
Side Triceps
Rear Double Biceps
Rear Lat Spread
Abdominal Pose
Most Muscular

The WPF also include;
Rear Double Triceps
Side Chest and Triceps from both sides
Side Twist Pose, which is with one arm overhead to show obliques and intercostals

Posing Guide.

1. I strongly advise you to first attend a competition as a spectator in order to know what will be expected of you. Pay particular attention to the length of time that each pose is held for.

2. A video guide is a great way to learn and practice various bodybuilding poses in the privacy of your own home. Getting some videos of contests will cover the mandatory as well as some the optional poses. Posing the Extraordinary way by Russ Testo is an excellent video with emphasis on the more artistic and aesthetic aspects of posing.

3. Practice, practice, practice. Posing requires a great deal of strength and endurance. It is extremely difficult to simultaneously flex everything from your ankles to your ears while trying to appear relaxed and confident. It is not uncommon to practice the various poses for ½ an hour a day.

4. Supplement with potassium. It is embarrassing, frustrating and painful to have muscle cramps while trying to hit a pose on stage. I have seen many bodybuilders grimace in pain, limp and unsuccessfully try to regain their composure. Additional potassium may help to avoid this.

Tips for your Individual Posing Routine:

You will be required to perform an individual posing routing to music for the evening show. Occasionally this routine will be preformed in the morning (Pre-Judging) as well. During this routine you will be allowed up to 90 seconds to emphasize what you consider to be your strong points.

1. In this portion of the competition there are no "required" poses. Therefore, put together a routine that emphasis's your strong points hides your weak areas. For instance, if you do not have a good lat-spread than leave the front and rear lat spread poses out of your routine. Similarly, if you lack calf development than I would not insert a double calf raise into the routine.

2. Add variety. Do not repeat the same poses over and over regardless of how good you are at it. I have seen competitors hit a most muscular at the left of the stage, again in the middle of the stage, again at the right and then repeat. The judges will not be impressed with this lack of variation.

3. Choose music that is tasteful and inspirational. Music that is too loud and offensive may impress your friends but will not find the same audience amongst the judges and the spectators. Give them something that will inspire and motivate them.

4. Work on transitions between poses. Try to add style and flair. To hit a pose, stop and then hit another without setting up the next pose may be boring and unimpressive. You don't have to be a dancer however it helps if your poses appear to flow seamlessly from one to the next.

5. Smile if it fits your music and attitude. If not, a blank or serious expression may be appropriate as well.

6. Be Confident. Know what you want and what you are doing. If you are unsure of yourself you will not portray an attitude of strength and confidence.

7. Always bring 2 copies of your music. It is important to have a backup. You only need to have a tape malfunction once to appreciate the backup copy. Check with the promoter to see if only tapes or CD are acceptable.

TANNING:
The darker you are the more defined you will appear on stage. It is very difficult to be too dark. The common expression is "apply several coats of tan, when you think that you are finally dark enough, apply another coat. A good natural base tan is recommended however you will need to be considerably darker. The most popular tan applications are:

This is one of the most popular products used by competitive bodybuilders to get a great, contest tan. Pro Tan’s not messy, but does stain the skin for days until it gradually washed off. Liable to make you look orange for days on end which isn’t the best in day to day life. Dream Tan is an easy to use emollient-based tanning cream designed specifically for use by competitive bodybuilders, must be well applied so you don’t end up patchy. CAUTION – this stuff gets everywhere! It will smear over clothes, bed sheets, walls, car seats, anything you can and WILL touch. An easy to use, water resistant, non-streaking mousse that goes on dry and provides a great day-of-the-show brown color, perfect for use on top of the Pro Tan Instant Competition Color Creates the darkest instant tan! JAN TANA'S dark bronzer gives an exaggerated deep, dark tan. Perfect for Stage use! For perfect contest color for any bodybuilding event. Does not smudge or make a mess of anything you come into contact with and looks most natural of all

1. Pro Tan Instant Competition Colour. This is a liquid tanning agent that you apply with a sponge applicator. Several coats are required to achieve maximum colour saturation however when done correctly, the colour will be very dark, even and remain fairly stable when applying oil or while sweating on stage. It does not wash off easily however and will wear off unevenly. Also it is messy when applying and has an unpleasant scent. Keep in mind however that your main concern is how you look on stage during the competition and not after. This is probably the most popular of all competitions tans.

NOTE: Pro Tan can be applied with the sponge applicator that comes with the bottle or a regular, small, household sponge. It is more easily applied if poured into a bowl rather than sprayed on.

2. Dream Tan. Dream Tan is a lotion that applies quickly and evenly. Typically this product is applied in the morning before going on stage. While one coat may be sufficient, most competitors will apply 2 coats for maximum darkness. Posing oil is not necessary as this product already contains oil. This product washes off completely and easily BUT it is very messy and smears with the slightest touch.


3. Pro Tan/Jan Tana Tanning Mousse. An easy to use, water resistant, non-streaking mousse that goes on dry and provides a great day-of-the-show brown colour on top of Pro Tan Instant Competition Colour.

4. Jan Tana Competition Tan. This is a quick and easy tan to apply product which smells fruity and pleasant. It is a lotion which applies evenly and will achieve a dark colour with just 2 or three coats. Jan Tana also washes off more quickly than Pro Tan however it is may to smear or run if used with oil or sweating. Jan Tana does produce a glaze to use in conjunction with this.
NOTE: Apply this product with your bare hands to get the most even application. Many people wear rubber gloves however this tends to drag the product and not allow for an even tan.

POSING OIL: good posing oil will dramatically enhance your muscularity while on stage. Most posing oils are acceptable as long as they are not overly applied. Some competitors go overboard and come on stage literally dripping oil. A thin, evenly applied coat is all that is required. Popular posing oils are Pro Tan Muscle Juice and Jan Tana Posing Oil. The Pro Tan offers more shine while the Jan Tana Posing Oil is glossier. Pro Tan Hot Stuff is a menthol-based oil that will warm your skin and enhance vascularity while on stage. This can be used in place of posing oil.

TANNING:
The darker you are the more defined you will appear on stage. It is very difficult to be too dark. The common expression is "apply several coats of tan, when you think that you are finally dark enough, apply another coat. A good natural base tan is recommended however you will need to be considerably darker. The most popular tan applications are:


This is one of the most popular products used by competitive bodybuilders to get a great, contest tan. Pro Tan’s not messy, but does stain the skin for days until it gradually washed off. Liable to make you look orange for days on end which isn’t the best in day to day life.

Dream Tan is an easy to use emollient-based tanning cream designed specifically for use by competitive bodybuilders, must be well applied so you don’t end up patchy. CAUTION – this stuff gets everywhere! It will smear over clothes, bed sheets, walls, car seats, anything you can and WILL touch.

An easy to use, water resistant, non-streaking mousse that goes on dry and provides a great day-of-the-show brown color, perfect for use on top of the Pro Tan Instant Competition Color.

Creates the darkest instant tan! JAN TANA'S dark bronzer gives an exaggerated deep, dark tan. Perfect for Stage use! For perfect contest color for any bodybuilding event. Does not smudge or make a mess of anything you come into contact with and looks most natural of all


1. Pro Tan Instant Competition Colour. This is a liquid tanning agent that you apply with a sponge applicator. Several coats are required to achieve maximum colour saturation however when done correctly, the colour will be very dark, even and remain fairly stable when applying oil or while sweating on stage. It does not wash off easily however and will wear off unevenly. Also it is messy when applying and has an unpleasant scent. Keep in mind however that your main concern is how you look on stage during the competition and not after. This is probably the most popular of all competitions tans.

NOTE: Pro Tan can be applied with the sponge applicator that comes with the bottle or a regular, small, household sponge. It is more easily applied if poured into a bowl rather than sprayed on.

2. Dream Tan. Dream Tan is a lotion that applies quickly and evenly. Typically this product is applied in the morning before going on stage. While one coat may be sufficient, most competitors will apply 2 coats for maximum darkness. Posing oil is not necessary as this product already contains oil. This product washes off completely and easily BUT it is very messy and smears with the slightest touch.


3. Pro Tan/Jan Tana Tanning Mousse. An easy to use, water resistant, non-streaking mousse that goes on dry and provides a great day-of-the-show brown colour on top of Pro Tan Instant Competition Colour.

4. Jan Tana Competition Tan. This is a quick and easy tan to apply product which smells fruity and pleasant. It is a lotion which applies evenly and will achieve a dark colour with just 2 or three coats. Jan Tana also washes off more quickly than Pro Tan however it is may to smear or run if used with oil or sweating. Jan Tana does produce a glaze to use in conjunction with this.
NOTE: Apply this product with your bare hands to get the most even application. Many people wear rubber gloves however this tends to drag the product and not allow for an even tan.

POSING OIL: good posing oil will dramatically enhance your muscularity while on stage. Most posing oils are acceptable as long as they are not overly applied. Some competitors go overboard and come on stage literally dripping oil. A thin, evenly applied coat is all that is required. Popular posing oils are Pro Tan Muscle Juice and Jan Tana Posing Oil. The Pro Tan offers more shine while the Jan Tana Posing Oil is glossier. Pro Tan Hot Stuff is a menthol-based oil that will warm your skin and enhance vascularity while on stage. This can be used in place of posing oil.


Jan Tana Posing Gel makes your body look bigger and more defined. It highlights your muscularity, vascularity and hardness, which is crucial for winning a competition.
The ultimate physique presentation and total muscular definition posing oil that will leave your competition in the pump-up room.
Buff your muscular appearance with a smooth, sleek, and sheen look that will blow your competition way. Muscle sheen is used by world class bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts around the world.
Tan anywhere, anytime with this dark immediate bronzer and sunless tanner in one!
 

Jan Tana Posing Gel makes your body look bigger and more defined. It highlights your muscularity, vascularity and hardness, which is crucial for winning a competition The ultimate physique presentation and total muscular definition posing oil that will leave your competition in the pump-up room. Buff your muscular appearance with a smooth, sleek, and sheen look that will blow your competition way. Muscle sheen is used by world class bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts around the world. Tan anywhere, anytime with this dark immediate bronzer and sunless tanner in one!



POSING TRUNKS: Be sure to get your posing trunks in advance because they can be very difficult to find at the last minuet. Most organizations require that the trunks be of a solid colour with no external markings. Thongs are not allowed for males. Choose a style and colour that complement your skin colour and physique. A backup pair is always recommended in case one pair gets misplaced or discoloured.

Pro Tan offers a product called Bikini Bite which acts as a glue to keep your posing trunks where you want them. This is not necessary but helpful at times.

LAST MINUTE REMINDERS:
The last thing that you want after literally months of preparation is to arrive at the show location on competition day unprepared. Below is a checklist of things that you will need to do in advance.

1. Be sure that you have submitted your application by the due date.

2. If you do not already have a membership card for the organization that you competing under, be sure to have the money to purchase one the morning of the show.

3. Bring additional money for any unexpected expenses that my occur.

4. Have a backup copy of the music for your individual posing.

5. Bring 2 pair of posing trunks.

6. Bring extra potassium as insurance against cramps while posing.

7. Bring extra competition tan lotion for last minute application and touch up.

8. Posing Oil. Often other competitors will allow you to use some of theirs but be safe and bring your own.

9. Low Sodium water to sip as needed.

10. Snacks. Raw honey, natural peanut butter and rice cakes are common snacks that you will see back stage.

11. Towel. After applying tan and oil you will want something to wipe your hands off on.

12. Bring a map. If you aren’t familiar with the venue of the show, you do not want to get lost on your way to the competition and miss the check in deadline.

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