Plants and hard work (part 5)
This blog will be my fifth update about my goal of stepping on stage as a physique competitor. If you haven’t already, be sure to read Plants and hard work (part 1), Plants and hard work (part 2), Plants and hard work (part 3), and Plants and hard work (part 4).
I am one week out from my first show
I am ready.
I have been training harder than I ever thought possible, I have followed my diet, and my results have been incredible. I reached a point during this phase of training where I looked at myself in the mirror and was extremely proud of what I saw. Now my body now serves as a constant reminder of my hard work and discipline.
During this phase of training, my workouts remained the same, and I continued doing sets with high reps up to 20-30. I focused on continually adding weight, and my strength gains were significant despite being consistently depleted.
For my diet, I cycled carbohydrates. I would have three days of low carbohydrates, one day of medium carbohydrates, and one day of high carbohydrates while keeping protein and fat constant. I repeated this process over and over again. This method was incredibly effective at shredding fat and preserving most of my hard earned muscle mass. The idea behind carbohydrate cycling is to deplete your body and burn fat, but then add carbohydrates to keep the metabolism from slowing down. When you consume a low carbohydrate diet for too long, your body will think it is starving and will hold onto the fat. By adding in high carbohydrate days you trick your body into giving up that excess fat. As I got closer to the show, I also minimized processed food and focused on a whole food diet with significant amounts of green leafy vegetables. This healthy amount of greens helped to keep me satisfied while dieting down.
Motivation from Korin
I thought I was training hard but had no idea how much more I could push myself.
During this last phase of training, my trainer Korin Sutton came to visit me in Jacksonville. We did a few workouts together, and he showed me how much harder I needed to work. He taught me that my mind was preventing me from reaching my full potential. Korin motivated me to lift harder and heavier than I ever thought possible and since his visit my workouts have been unbelievable. I am confident that if I continue to workout with the same amount of dedication, my results will be incredible. I am so grateful for him pushing me and giving me the motivation I needed to succeed.
(click to see more photos)
In addition to working out, it was incredible being able to spend time with another vegan interested in bodybuilding. We had so much in common and shared such similar views that there was an immediate connection that made his visit extremely rewarding. While he was here, we attended a vegan meetup at a local restaurant, had a group workout at the hangar where I work, and did a lot of sightseeing. Korin is a true role model and an excellent example of what is possible with a vegan lifestyle. Everywhere he went he connected with people and was so enthusiastic about veganism that he inspired everyone around him. I can’t wait to spend more time with him next week in preparation for my show.
Throughout my journey, I was constantly tracking data. My wife used a tape measure and calipers to do a seven site skin fold test for body fat. I also charted lean body mass and bodyweight. To calculate lean body mass, I subtracted fat mass from my bodyweight.
I learned an enormous amount from this data and regular progress photos. I cannot stress the importance of tracking progress to learn what works and how your body reacts to small changes. After the shows are complete, I will post all of the progress photos so you can see what I looked like at various stages along my transformation. You can see based on the graph that I initially put on a good amount of lean body mass. At one point I had even gained 7.4 pounds of lean muscle mass. The problem was that I was simultaneously gaining fat mass and once I started to lean out, I had to sacrifice some of that muscle I had gained. In the future, I am going to try and stay as lean as possible and slowly put on muscle over time because you can see despite that spike in lean muscle mass I ended up losing a good amount of it anyway. Looking at my most recent measurements, I only gained 1.15 pounds of muscle and lost 1.55 pounds of fat since I began training with Korin. It makes more sense to me to have a slow, steady bulk without adding excessive bodyfat. I also like looking lean and want to stay that way so I can easily be ready for any show in the future without excessive dieting or prep.
Peak week. I am already extremely happy with my body and know that I am ready for the NGA Abraham Fitness Championship on May 28th. Over the next week, Korin is going to have me do some small manipulations to make my body look it’s best on stage. This will include playing with water, salt, and carbohydrate intake in an attempt to make my muscles appear as full as possible on stage while shedding any excess water.
I am also going to continue to work on perfecting my posing with my posing coach Patrick Nezolosky. I have been working with him for about a month now, and he has done an amazing job teaching me how to show my body that I have worked so hard to attain. He has helped to boost my confidence and prepare me for the stage.
After the NGA show on May 28th, I have decided to compete in the OCB Sunshine State Natural the next weekend on June 4th in Jacksonville. I did not plan to do back to back shows, but when I learned there would be a show just a few minutes from my house, and I would already be stage lean, I had to commit to it!
I am so excited to compete. I have put everything I have into my training and diet, and I am so proud of what I have accomplished. I have said it before, but it does not matter where I place during these shows because I have already won in my mind. After always telling myself it wasn’t possible, making excuses, nearly giving up countless times, I finally built the physique I have always wanted.
It was never easy, but I did it, and this is just the beginning.
I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.