Although you may NOT ever compete, most will find this helpful and take some information from it and incorporate it into your own diet when you decide to cut down for whatever reason.
This diet is not specifically designed for anyone in particular; This is not even the diet that I follow, but a variation of it. Its simply a skeletal structure of a bodybuilding diet.
NOTE: This is for the natural competitor
Depending on your body fat percentage and your body type you generally want to give yourself about 10-15 weeks out to start your diet. I have been very blessed and only have to diet roughly 10 weeks out. Its not rare to see some competitors start dieting as far as 22 weeks out from a show, to help reserve muscle. Also a note on the sodium load, its a risky endeavor but I have found it to be a very beneficial tool if used properly, however I would NOT recommend a sodium load on your first couple shows.
For the sake of argument we'll do a 12 week diet.
You want to start your diet by eliminating all kinds of crappy foods and only take in clean foods, such as beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, protein shakes, rice, potatoes, pasta, fruit, vegetables, etc. Your water intake should also be increased to a gallon to gallon / half.
Cardio work should be started gradually, roughly about 20 minutes 3 times a week. Targeted heart rate should be between 150-170BPM for 20 minutes. Not jump on the bike for 20 minutes and realize your HR was only in the targeted zone for 11 minutes. Make sure its 20 minutes.
Supplementation: A good assistance in fat loss, as everyone knows is ECA stack or a good weight loss supplement on the market. I benefited nicely from the ephedra or Hydroxycut. I do not believe in appetite suppressants as you should be eating and anything that is going to cur your appetite is no good. Especially for a critical diet like this. So, a 200mg of caffeine and 25mg of Ephedrine and 300mg of aspirin 3-4 times a day on empty stomach is recommended.
Diet is starting to get a little tighter and you're now starting to play around with your ratio of c / p / f. A typical day will look something like this:
-Oatmeal (25-35 grams of carbs)
-Zero -low carb protein shake (40 grams)
-5 egg whites or can of tuna (I hate tuna so I have eggs)
-Any veggie, salad, broccoli, carrots, etc.
-2 chicken breasts
-1 plain baked potato
-Proteane shake (40 grams) low carb
-Pork, steak, chicken, beef, etc
-Veggies and / or rice (brown)
-Casein whey protein
Cardio: It's kicked up to 30 minutes 4 times a week and its done before breakfast. Target HR is the same as it was before.
Week 8-6: Tightening the diet
Diet: Start eliminating most of the starches. Start taking in more veggies. You are now taking in more lean meats, fish, etc.
Cardio: Is kicked up to 6 times a week for 30 minutes before breakfast or after workout.
Supplementation is same
You should definitely start seeing more definition and can start evaluating your diet based on how you look. If you're holding too much water, start upping the water and you may even want to start sodium loading at this point. Its still far enough out from a show to play around with sodium in your diet. If the carbs are too high or your body is not burning up the carbs as you thought, start cutting the carbs a little more.
What are some of the better types of carbs for me to eat? What Low GI and High GI? Well, the low GI carbs have nearly zero effect on your blood sugars. Foods like broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, etc will have low GI levels. For the high GI, It is more of an impact on your blood sugars obviously. I am not certain but there is a myth that the low and high GI foods had to do with digestion. I think that is false. Anyways any other foods high in GI are all that I had listed.
Diet: As strict as its going to get from here on out. Carbs are extremely low. I usually target about 20 per meal with about 6 meals in a day. Protein is still kept high about 1.5 for 1lb of BW. Fats are now at an all time low of 20-30 a day. How does one get only 20-30 grams of fats in a day. Well, if you're monitoring your meats, fish, etc and making sure they are near fat free you can control your fat intake by eating nuts (polyunsaturated); almonds are a fan favorite … about 5 or 6 almonds a meal should do the trick.
Different types of fats FYI:
Saturated fats: found primarily in foods coming from animals and some veggies as well, those are cooked veggie fats that are in bakery goods and nondairy milk or cream products. When you're doing your shopping you can see the saturated fats that are solid in room temp. This is the most harmful fat to any diet
Polyunsaturated Fats – these are the fats you want to take in for a contest. They are found in almonds, fish, and various oils.
Monounsaturated – pretty much the same as the poly as they both reduce cholesterol levels but they are not as effective as the poly's. This fat is found in olives, cashews, avocado and other various oils that stem from plants.
Trans Fats – This is the veggie want be butter shit they use to extend the life of a shelved food, these increase cholesterol levels.
Fats are important in a diet, during a critical diet such as these help to lube the joints during resistance training. You're going to find a lot of achy bones and ligaments and soreness you're not used to because of this diet. I know I did. So the fats help with the joints
Cardio: is now everyday for 30 minutes before breakfast or after workout.
Posing is also 3-4 times a week but you guys do not need to do that.
Supplementation: You want to start taking in potassium to prevent the cramping. Also along with your multi you should have more C and B6 as well. Glutamine is upped from 10 grams a day to 15-20.
Diet: Increased sodium, put it on everything … Even drop a little in your protein shake. Load load load. Water should be 1.5-2 gallons. Carbs are now under 100 a day, mostly taken in the morning and protein is still 1.5 to a pound. Fats are kept at 20-30.
Cardio is now 40 minutes 7 days a week.
Workout: should be light and reps should be high (10-15)
Posing: 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes
Diet: Carbs are now between 50-80. Protein is the same and water is 2 gallons a day. Sodium is still loading. Fats 20-30 grams
Supplementation: potassium, calcium, multi, C, B6, ECA, milk thistle.
Carbs are extremely low, preparing for the carb load the last 72 hours. Sodium is now cut out completely and water is increased to 2.5 gallons.
Cardio is the same:
Workout: very light, minimal. Your energy should be so low that you're doing 2 sets per isolated movement. No compound movements concentrate on pulling out muscles. Start to control the muscle … your primary workout should be posing anyways and controlling each muscle.
Supplementation: POTASSIUM! POTASSIUM! POTASSIUM! It's high because the cramping is a SOB!
Diet: 400-500 grams of Carbs, Clean clean clean. Rice, potato, rice cakes, etc. I eat baby food because of the vit. and potassium in them and I can eat them all day long. Water is cut completely. Fats are the same, protein is same..maybe drop it depending on how you're feeling.
Stay away from the gym
pose pose pose pose.
Supplementation: Diuretics, anything and everything. Get that water out of you !!!
Day of Show:
Moderate carbs, go on feeling. If you need energy for the pre-judge then eat some chocolate or rice cakes … sip some pedialyte to prevent complete dehydration and cramping.
For a first time competitor; the entire battle is against yourself. We all want to win the show or place decently, first over the battle of getting to know what your body is all about and how it can respond positively to a diet such as this first.
Again, most of you do not have the intentions of competitive, however maybe some have thought about it but never knew how to properly prepare. I hope that this will not only encourage you but at least help you diet for anything else. Keep in mind that this is a strict bodybuilding diet (although some are A LOT stricter) and you can take little info from here to construct a diet suitable for your own goals.