After I competed in The Mr Ohio this past September I sat back one evening and began to recollect about many of the things that I had done since my last show to the current one. I had began working with a new coach, John Meadows, and we had changed things up a lot. I wanted to figure out what I had done to get better and also what I could do to continue to make progress. Here are a few of the items I came up with that made a big difference for me, and I hope you can utilize them as well.
1. Proper use of intra-workout nutrition –
In previous years I had found that my body did not tolerate carbs well. Every time I pushed my carbs much past 200g daily I found I would begin to store body fat. The other down side was pulling them back and I did not grow. This past year my carbs were pushed to nearly 400g a day, my body fat did go a bit, but not past what I feel is a suitable level.
So how did I do it?
Intra-workout nutrition was key. The bulk of my carbohydrates were taken in during the evening. Why would I do this? This is when I trained, making it the part of my day that I was utilizing the most energy and also sensitizing my muscle for uptake of glucose.
Through the earlier portion of the day I was fairly inactive, so it just did not make sense to fuel it then. What I did was to give my body little amounts of complex slow burning carbs at the earlier meals. Then about an hour before the workout take in about 50g of easily digestible carbs and a fast digesting protein like Iso LeanPro mixed with some white rice. This way I could go into the workout full of nutrients but without a full stomach.
I would then take a workout drink with me to the gym to utilize during the workout. I would make up a shake of 100g of Power Carb and 40g BCAA-Power and start sipping on it throughout my workout. This was any easy way to fuel my high intensity volume workouts. Utilizing a combination of these fast digesting nutrients allows you to push these into the muscle during the workout and aids in a speedy recovery. I would finish this drink by the end of my workout.
After the workout I would then drive home and have a sit down meal with my family. It would consist of a meal with about 40-50g of lean protein and about 70g carbs from something easily digestible like white rice. I would then repeat this meal again before bed often subbing in a shake in place of the meat to curb my sweet tooth.
So as you can see I was taking in about 300g of carbs in the window right before and after my workout. The other carbs were split pretty evenly at about 25 a meal for my first 3 meals. This system that John had created for me worked optimal in allowing me to gain lean muscle through intense training and keeping my body fat from accumulating.
2. Intra-workout nutrition –
Wait didn’t I just explain this? Here is another cool thing in the way it relates to training. Using the above intra-workout cocktail dramatically reduced any soreness from my workouts. Believe me there were some brutal workouts, and I hardly ever got sore. So with this ability for rapid recovery I was able to train more often and train body parts more than once a week. For most of the year I trained 5 days a week. I would do a 4 day split and then do a pump day on a weak body part. As I got into contest prep the last couple months I actually trained 7 days a week. I would repeat everything except arms. With the sound nutrition and influx of nutrients during the workout I was able to do this without overtraining.
3. Be smart in the gym –
For the most part of the year I had some nagging ailments. Initially I tried pushing through some of them, but it just wasn’t going to work. The great thing about being a bodybuilder rather than a power lifter is there are no certain exercises that we HAVE to do. We don’t have to bench press, we don’t have to squat. So over the course of the year I found what movements felt the best to me that were still similar to the program I was following and implemented those in place. As the year progressed the injuries gradually remedied.
The modification to the exercises often does not have to be substantial. I found implementing chains to my squats alleviated a lot of my knee pain at the bottom of the exercise. I also found that the chains worked excellent for bench press at taking stress off my shoulder joints. I also found relief when I would warm up a lot more thoroughly than in the past. I think even though this is time consuming it is a well invested proactive measure to help prevent injuries.
4. Don’t just start a plan and not make changes to it –
In the past working with coaches I would get a plan and follow it for a month or so, then we would make changes. This year I was under the eye of John Meadows. I was in constant contact with him. I would talk to him every few days, I would let him know what was going on and we would change things up or down. Sometimes we made changes every few days, some times once a month depending on how things were going. The other thing of importance here is that the changes we made were always small. We never flipped he program upped totally. Maybe double the rice here or cut it half there. I think that for best progress it is important that you listen to your body and pay close attention to what’s happening. If it is not headed in the right direction and you know it, stop it. Don’t let your body take you down a road you don’t want to go just because you have a program you want to follow.
5. Measure everything –
In the past I have always meticulously measured my foods and my bodyweight. A scale is easy to use, but this year I am stepping my game up. Over the years I have taken measurements via calipers and sometime with a tape measure just for an idea of where things are at. This year I am doing it on a weekly basis. Every Sunday morning I set down right after breakfast and measure some key areas of my body. I don’t take caliper readings of all areas, as I am unable to do this by myself, but I do hit my major weak points. For me I store around my abdomen and sides. I pick those 2 spots and caliper them. I also measure my legs, calves, waist and arms with a tape. I then enter them in my journal and compare. From these reading I can tell if the majority of what I am doing is headed in the right direction.
If my weight is going up, is it bodyfat? By taking these few measures I can tell. I also lacked in my leg and calf progress this year. I know that the legs was due to some severe knee tendonitis and this year it is a priority to get them back up. So I measure them with a tape to make sure I am progressing from what I doing as well.
The other form of measurement I had not previously done was journaling my workouts. I am not, nor have I ever been, an ego lifter just trying to move weight. But I do feel it is important that I make sure my strength is increasing in certain key lifts throughout the year. I also think it is important so that I can go back and compare what type of training I was doing at a certain time to my measurements and see if I was making progress with that type of program.
I can already tell a difference by using these methods. I actually get excited to do it every Sunday. I feel like a kid on Christmas opening a presents to see what kind of progress I have made of the last weeks.
So these are a few of the things I incorporated over the last year and have had great success with and also a couple items I am now implementing for continued progress. I hope they provide you with some good knowledge you can use as well.
Please follow me on my journey through 2013 and into the 2014 season.
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.