After winning the 2013 Mr Ohio I didn’t have any set plans to compete again anytime soon. In fact there were periods of time in which I was just enjoying the training and bodybuilding lifestyle so much that I didn’t have a desire to do another show. As time progressed I began to get the itch to once again bring back the competition look. For me, it is not so much about being on stage and competing, but more so in seeing what I have improved upon, and what I need to continue to improve on. I competed in the 2010 Jr Nationals and had a very poor placing, not top 15. I felt that going back to this show was a chance to redeem myself, and once again try the national level stage.
For the last year and half of off-season I had used an approach of weight gain followed by a mini-diet. This gave me a way to add additional muscle, while also keeping my body composition in check. At 26 weeks out from the show I was only about 5 pounds over contest weight, 203 pounds. At that point I wasn’t planning to do the show, but was beginning the stages of my next muscle gain phase. I pushed calories pretty hard for about 10 weeks and found myself in pretty good shape at 217 pounds. After sitting at that weight for a couple weeks, it was again time for a mini diet. I initially started pulling back calories and found myself getting much tighter without dropping much weight. After 4 weeks of tightening up, my calories were still pretty high and my weight was at 212 and I was within striking distance of competition shape.
Gain Phase Example
3 times 50g Iso LeanPro Shakes were added between meals
150 grams carbs was added
Mini Diet Example
50g increments of carbs were pulled based on weight drop
At 12 weeks out I sat down with my wife and discussed the possibility of doing the show. She agreed that it would be a good idea. At this point I got to work. Cardio was added as well as an additional weight training day.
Added 2nd back day
Added 5 35 minute cardio sessions
After using this approach for a couple weeks weight stayed pretty close to the same. Carbs were then dropped back a little further and fat burners were added.
Carbs dropped 35 in pre training meal
Labrada L-Carnitine 3g pre workout
Lean Body Fat Burner 3x Daily
2 more weeks went by, and again fat loss had stalled. After making diet and supplement changes last time I again changed the cardio. This time cardio was bumped to daily at 45 minutes. I was able to ride this change and get very good results. After 2 more weeks it was crunch time. This time I went back to making changes with the diet. This time 1 protein shake was removed and one replaced with fish. I also removed all carbs that was not directly before during or after training.
Cardio increase to 45minutes daily
Protein Shake removed
Protein Shake replaced with fish
Carbs cut to 170g total
This is where things get interesting. My weight would hold solid for a couple days and then plummet. After doing a couple days at normal carb levels I would have to bump carbs by about 200g to keep the weight from crashing. After a week of alternating low and high days I was still easily seeing a 2 pound per week loss. Each day after I got up I would evaluate current weight and progress pictures and decide the amount of carbs that were needed for the day. It would range between 150-400g. I was able to ride this all the way until 2 weeks out.
At 2 weeks out I was show ready. This allowed me to pull cardio, which is very important as it allows me to hold onto my leg size. Being ready 2 weeks early also allows you to play around with carbs to find out amounts that allow you to look your best. I strongly suggest all competitors try to be stage ready or very close 1-2 weeks ready.
Road to Junior nationals continued…
In my last article, I outlined my prep up through two weeks out from Junior nationals. Up to this point things were going very well and I was definitely on track to be my best.
At 2 weeks out, I also realized with the changing rules within the NPC, I was no longer qualified to compete in a national level show, and needed to requalify at a regional level show coming up in one week. The basic plan here, was to keep things exactly the same and go into to the show just as I would approach any other day. I started my week as normal. just like any other Sunday, with leg day. When Monday morning came I woke up extremely flat and had lost about 2 pounds overnight. This is where things get interesting.
When you’re trying to achieve maximum physique potential, there is never a set plan, and many times adjustments are needed daily. On Monday I removed cardio and added an additional 250 g of carbs to my diet spread throughout the entire day. By that evening I looked like i had put on 5 pounds of muscle. It looked as if i was a different body builder than from when I woke up. It was a physique that bigger, harder, and fuller. The following morning, on Tuesday I once again woke up flat and had lost an additional half of a pound. I again kept cardio out and added 200 additional carbs to the normal diet. At this point it was obvious the metabolism soaring. My previous diet was no longer enough food to maintain fullness and muscle mass. Cardio at this point was pulled for the duration of the prep and most days was kept at the normal diet but with the addition of 200 g additional carbs.
When Friday came, the day prior to my warm-up show, even with the additional carbohydrates and cardio removed, bodyweight had been consistently been dropping .25-.5 pounds per day. Due to this being a warm-up, I kept everything normal on Friday aside from slight water restriction from about 8 L of water down to 6 L of water. Carbohydrates on this day was bumped to about 250 g more than my baseline diet. By Friday night it was apparent this was all that would need to be manipulated to achieve a hard dry look on stage.
Saturday morning I woke up looking right on point. I knew I would be on stage about 10 AM and had one meal at 8 AM at consisted of fish, dry oatmeal and about 8 ounces of coffee. I wanted to have little food in my system as I thought this would keep my waist down, keep my body dry, but hold me over through prejudging.
At prejudging, when I started pumping up, I knew I was on the right track. Once on stage I made first call and was immediately moved to the center. I knew at this point I would be in the overall that evening. To stay dry and sharp throughout the remainder of the day I had only a small amount of water directly after prejudging, and then continued eating my normal baseline diet. I rotated between beef and lean fish meals with about 50g of dry carbs per meal. By the night show I was very dry, but was not nearly my full potential.
At the night show I won my light heavy weight class and overall. This created a very special moment for me as I was able to bring my 2 girls up on stage with me when I was presented the overall trophy. This in itself is the highlight of my bodybuilding career.
Although the package I brought that Saturday was good enough to win the overall, I knew there were some some mistakes I made that needed to be rectified to place well at the larger show coming up the following weekend. This leads me to one week out from Junior nationals. My next article I will let you know the full week of prep and changes to the mistakes that I made during this warm-up show. Mistakes are always the best education. You do not want to look down on your mistakes, but learn all you can from them so you can further yourself in the future. It’s part of life’s tuition and this will carry over into all aspects of your life. Watch for this article to hit shortly on the Labrada website so you can learn from my mishaps and be sure not to let them happen to yourself.
Until then, train to your fullest potential and leave stone unturned
About the Author
Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.
It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.
Please follow Marc on his journey of continued progress by following him on his website at SnyderAthletics.com , facebook at www.facebook.com/NPCMarcSnyder and twitter at www.twitter.com/SnyderMarcA. He post his daily lifestyle tips on these feeds for you to access and utilize in your health and fitness journey.