Hi again everyone,
Sorry I have been tardy with my blogging lately but this last semester at the school where I teach has been incredibly hectic and I have been teaching a more demanding group of upper secondary Mathematics subjects.
Luckily I have managed to maintain some good nutrition, training and cardio so as to stay in respectable condition all whilst trying to make some improvements during the offseason.
Anyway, here we go again with my next entry, I can't believe we are now up to my thirtieth blog!!!
With the advent of Contest Season B soon approaching I though I would share some of my pre-contest "Do's" and "Don'ts"...
CW's Pre-contest Do's and Don'ts Part I
1. Do keep your daily carbohydrate consumption in check by regulating your intake according to your needs.
2. Do have a scoop of WPI before performing cardio in a fasted state (eg: first thing in the morning).
3. Do sip on BCAA's (eg: Extend or Aminolast, etc) during cardio to help preserve lean tissue.
4. Do increase the intensity of your weight training sessions by reducing your rest time between sets.
5. Do drink plenty of water throughout the day.
6. Do consume plenty of fat metabolising cruciferous vegetables (eg: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, brussell sprouts, asparagus, etc).
7. Do consume quality protein sources every 3-4 hours to help speed up your metabolic rate as well as maintaining your positive nitrogen balance to keep you in a state of growth and repair.
8. Do consume good fats (eg: omega 3's) as they can help you better regulate the insulin response from consumed carbohydrates.
9. Do consider supplementing your diet with Alpha Lipoic Acid capsules as ALA can also assist with insulin management as well as being a potent antioxidant.
10. Do make 3 twenty minute sessions of post-workout HIIT cardio (per week on non-consecutive days) a priority in your cardio regime.
CW's Pre-Contest Do's and Don'ts Part II
1. Don't try and rely on diet alone to get in great shape, doing a sensible amount of cardio will allow you to eat more, help speed up your metabolic rate and can actually assist you in recovery from heavy weight training.
2. Don't eliminate all carbohydrates from your diet via a Ketogenic approach.
Quality low GI carbohydrates are important for brain function, energy levels and are great sources of fibre. And fibre is essential to assist with bowel function, protein digestion and assimilation.
3. Don't cheat on your nutrition plan, try to get in the "Groundhog Day" zone. And that way your designated weekly cheat meal will be even more satisfying.
4. Don't be afraid to deviate (as opposed to 'cheat') from your meal plan as long as the chosen food source contains similar macro nutrients. And carbohydate 'deviations' should again be quality low GI sources with ample dietary fibre.
5. Don't let negative people cloud your vision. Cast the naysayers to one side and stay focused. These people try to put you down usually out of jealousy and discontent of the way they themselves look.
6. Don't focus on the way others are looking, particularly if they are potential onstage rivals. Focus on yourself, your goals and achieving your all time best condition.
7. Don't leave your posing practice to the last minute. The more comfortable you are with your posing the more you will be able to relax onstage and enjoy the whole process. Trust me, the audience will pick up on this and be automatically drawn to watching YOU.
8. Don't look DOWN when performing your poses onstage. This doesn't any instil confidence in those observing your performance. Look straight ahead, smile as much as possible and try to engage with the audience.
9. Don't forget to practice your transitionary moves between poses. Robotically moving from one pose to the next can make you look awkward and again lacking in confidence.
10. Don't spend days applying base tan leading up to the big show.
Simply apply 1-2 coats of something like Contest Colour or Jan Tana Ultra One with a foam mitt (from Priceline, etc) on the morning of your contest. You can then apply the top coat (eg: SunTanon Supertan, Dream Tan or Body Shimmer) at the venue, about 45 minutes before your scheduled division.
11. Don't listen to all the experts and gurus out there who will try and tell you your approach is wrong. Stick to the advice of your consultant or personal trainer, trust the process and reap the rewards later on.
12. Don't change things too much, if at all, in that final week before your show. If you are happy with your progress then don't mess with the process.
13. Don't cut water and Sodium in those last few days before your contest.
The muscle is 80% water at a cellular level, so reducing water intake and removing electrolytes like Sodium could cause you to go flat on stage, lose vascularity and make it difficult for you to get that all-important pump.
14. Don't forget to keep records of what you did to transform your physique. This may include documentation of your nutrition plan including all the adjustments you made along the way, progress photos, body weight changes, body fat changes (via skin folds or Dexascans) and weight training/cardio programmes.
15. Finally, DON'T binge out after your contest is done and dusted. Allow yourself a few weeks of having some treats and then slowly and incrementally start increasing your daily calories whilst gradually reducing cardio levels.
A two day split when your work gets in the way of training!
Just recently my work has gotten in the way of my training forcing me to train only 2 measly days per week!!
Now we all know something is better than nothing so here is a two day split that should hopefully at least keep me in maintenance mode.
Day 1: Legs, Chest, Biceps & Forearms
1. Precor Supersquats or Leg Presses
2. Leg Extensions
3. Cybex Lying Leg Curls
4. Calf raises
5. Incline Dumbbell Presses
6. Heavy Flat Hybrid Fly/Presses
7. Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curls
8. Barbell Reverse Curls
Day 2: Back, Shoulders, Triceps
1. Stiff-legged Deadlifts
2. Bent-over Barbell Rows
3. Technogym plate-loaded Wide Pulldowns to the front
4. Heavy Dumbbell Shrugs
5. Smith Machine Military Presses
6. Larry Scott style side lat raises
7. Precor Seated Dips
8. Heavy Triceps pushdowns
Each workout includes approximately 2-4 sets per exercise with my same HIT approach of 15 reps and 12 reps (not to failure) with a final heavy set to positive failure (or close) of 6-8 reps.
Certainly better than a doing bugger all and on a positive note with all the extra rest my shoulder niggle and overall back soreness has diminished.
So, if you are pushed for time during busy periods in your life then you may like to give this a shot, after all doing nothing for several weeks can easily result in detraining and loss of muscle mass.
CW's Posing Tips...
"The abdominals and thigh pose"
Here is a classic crowd pleasing pose that when performed correctly can really show off your whole physique in a very aesthetic way.
I like to put my front leg forward by firmly placing my foot onto the stage floor with a degree of authority.
You can either flare your quadriceps by lifting up through your knee whilst placing the ball of your front foot on the floor, or, you can clamp your heel down on the floor whilst locking out your knee to show off any striations.
Next form a fist with your hands, whilst tucking your thumbs away. Now dig from underneath, slowly raising your clenched fists behind your head so that both fists are adjacent to each other and touching the base of the back of your neck. Remember to flex your biceps at the top of the pose.
Your elbows should now be pointing to the ceiling.
Finally, crunch down on your abdominal wall whilst simultaneously breathing out.
Do NOT bend forward too much as this will shade your torso from the overhead lighting and will make it very hard for the judges and the audience to see your abs.
With a more upright torso this will then maximize the look of not only your abs but will also place emphasis on your pecs, biceps and lats.
When posing specific muscle groups we also need to be mindful of the whole physique in order create the optimum look.
CW's version of HIT training explained!...
Here is a recent HIT chest & bicep workout I did at the awesome Nonstop 24 Hour Fitness in Port Kennedy...
1. Incline Smith Machine press
2. Heavy bent arm flat flyes
3. Cross bench dumbbell pullovers
4. Cable crossovers from high to low
5. One arm dumbbell preacher curls
6. Barbell reverse curls
7. Seated barbell wrist curls
This is a great combination of exercises that hits the aforementioned muscle groups very intensely and from every angle.
Many people have asked about CW's version of High Intensity Training.
My own style of HIT training works on the premise of low volume in a short time frame with minimal rest between sets.
Early in the workout 3 sets are performed per exercise of 15/12 & 6-8 reps where the final set is the only set taken to positive failure.
Once warmed up, I will then simply do only the 12 rep set followed by the all out 6-8 rep set.
Sometimes towards the end of my workout I may just go straight to the heavy 6-8 rep set till failure.
If, during my workout, I am unhappy with the all out final set I may do an immediate drop set of 15-20 very strict reps with half the weight of the heavy set.
This style of training is very intense, grueling and certainly gets the heart rate up which in turn is great for fat burning.
Definitely worth trialling for a couple of months as a deviation from your regular training, particularly if your gains have come to a grinding halt.
Less can mean more!!
A nice young bloke at the gym, after giving me a good spot on the Precor Dipping Machine, politely asked me...
"So what's your training plan mate??"
My answer seemed to surprise him.
I gave him a brief synopsis of my HIT style training strategy as well as my 5 day body part split.
But, when I explained that during my offseason I had spread this over 10 days only actually training 3 days per week he replied...
"Wow that's different!!"
This young gent was doing multiple sets of the same exercise and was working out nearly every day of the week and wondered why his progress had plateaued.
I said to him that sometimes we get over zealous and think that more is better, I know I have been guilty of that many years ago. As you get stronger and train with increasing intensity, rest & recovery becomes your best buddy.
When you back the frequency off you really find that when you do train you make each and every rep count and have the energy, desire and motivation to grind out some awesome & intense workouts.
Sometimes we need to think outside the square and try other possibilities.
A HIT Back workout to emphasize overall mass building
Here's a great HIT back attack that I recently cranked out with Luscious Louise...
1. Underhand DY barbell rows
2. Seated close grip cable rows
3. Wide grip Technogym lat pulldowns
4. Precor unilateral close grip pulldowns withsupinating handles
5. Rear delt raises
6. Heavy dumbbell shrugs
Always a rude shock to the system performing the heavy rows first up but, by doing this, you can really move some heavy weights and then follow it up with stricter more isolating lat movements later on.
Next week I will alternate by starting my back session with wide grip chins and pulldowns with rowing movements after that.
As Lee Haney once said "If you want a great back,then you gotta ROW!!"
CW's progress update
Given my busy year to date and just how much I have been enjoying the offseason, it is looking increasingly likely that I may just take this year off competing.
By doing this I am really now focused on making some changes to my physique by improving some weak areas and generally allowing my body to rest and grow.
My competitive urge is still very strong and certainly lurking just below the surface, luckily for me I have several clients that I will be helping for this next run of shows and will enjoy living the experience and journey through them.
And hopefully I will be able to do some more work behind the scenes at these contests and perhaps again at the judging table.
I am also very keen to start doing some posing classes at the gym where I train.
So, in closing, I trust your own health and fitness lifestyle is motoring along nicely and your personal life is grand too.
All the very best till next time, CW.