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10 Tips For Contest Prep

Eric Morrison

Contest Prep Tip #1: Do Not Deviate

Once you start with your plan, the very fi rst unplanned item will be the top of the slippery slope to the bottom, where you collect your participation medal instead of the real hardware. Yes, you have freaky genetics, no missing bodyparts and the best damned X frame on the planet, but that won’t stop Joe Blocky Waist from wiping up the stage with your fat ass because you failed to follow your plan. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Contest Prep Tip #2: Don’t Pick Your Contest Weight.

Unless you have a few contests under your belt, you’re setting the stage for disaster. You may be at 250 and feeling pretty solid, but you have no idea what’s really under the hood until you take a look. Have a general idea of what you want, but don’t be the fool who says, “I’m competing light-heavy at 198.” I’ve seen 270-pounders go down to 220 and still not be ready. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Contest Prep Tip #3: Say No To “Other Help”

Don’t listen to others once you’ve settled on a trainer (if any) you’re going to work with. If you hired trainer A, don’t sneak over and ask trainer B what he thinks. You’ll only set yourself up to be bent over and given a good rodgering by competitors who didn’t deviate from their plans. Even if he did help Mr. X get ready last year, one week out is not the time for experimenting with Larry the Carbup Guy’s cookie-cutter theories. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Contest Prep Tip #4: Be Patient

Give it a week. Your body is a living organism, not a machine. Although most bodybuilders like to imagine that they can force the fat off their body, it’s more akin to coaxing it off. Panic techniques and brainless deviations (there’s that word again) will throw a monkey wrench into any precontest plan. Just because you don’t lose weight for a week means absolutely nothing. So many guys get caught up in a slew of details that really mean nothing. Come on: Gaining an inch on your waist over two days is not a catastrophe that needs to be remedied with extra cardio and cutting carbs to zero. Stick to the plan. In most cases, sudden changes in measurements are more likely the result of stress and anxiety or some other easy-to-explain reason.

Contest Prep Tip #5: Keep It Simple, Stupid

Most guys who win will be more than happy to share what they did. “Nothing special” will be the answer in most cases. They planned, stuck to the plan and kept it simple. Most of the bodybuilders who are never out of shape keep it straightforward and stick to a plan all the way.

Contest Prep Tip #6: Give Yourself Time

Give yourself four to five weeks more than you think you need. That way you can get to know how your body reacts to diet changes.

Contest Prep Tip #7: Multitasking Is A Crime

Don’t change more than one variable at a time. If you’re five weeks in and (insert any problem with weight loss, stagnation, etc., here), wait for at least a week before you change anything. If after a week there’s still no change, then change one thing. A good example would be to decide to lower your carb intake to get past a sticking point. Just lower your carbs by the amount you planned and leave everything else as is. Putting in extra sets plus increasing your cardio and dropping carbs means you and/or your trainer don’t have a clue what the problem was or what fixed it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Contest Prep Tip #8: Don’t Pull Out The Big Guns Till Later On

While even the almighty clen won’t fix a crummy diet plan, dropping in a quality fat burner for the last six to eight weeks will help torch those last stubborn fat pockets. Treat supplements like the icing on the cake. Just don’t forget to put the icing on, as it could be the difference between first and fifth place.

Contest Prep Tip #9: Plan To Cheat

Cheating isn’t a bad word in contest prep. It’s a necessity. Constant calorie restriction will lead to fat-loss stagnation. Call it what you will, but having a planned junk-out will keep your metabolism revved up and your fat loss constant. Plan at least one day each week to stack some extra junk food on top of your normal meals.

Contest Prep Tip #10: Have Everything On Hand

Don’t buy half of what you need and risk running out. Your supplier may say he’s always fully stocked, but two weeks out is not the time to find that your contest weapon is on order. Have indispensable items you need for your contest ready, bought and paid for. Here’s the short list:

Indispensible Items:

  • Tanning dye. It will be out of stock a week out. Trust me.
  • Posing trunks. Buy two pairs one that you think will fit and the next two sizes smaller. You don’t want to be “Mr. Droopy Drawers” onstage.
  • Towels: Just some old rags that will be good for mopping up excess oil, sweat and the tears of the losers when you stick to the plan.
  • Pam (check with your federation to see if it’s allowed) or posing oil. Some oils that contain vasodilators are banned because of the allergic reactions they can cause in other competitors.
  • Big gym bag (to hold all your stuff). Nothing is worse than sitting backstage in a pile of rubble and not knowing where anything is.
  • Ziploc bags to put all supplements and similar items in and keep everything clean.
  • Slippers. Ever wonder why the pros don’t have pro-tan on their feet? ‘Nuff said.
  • If I have to say music, take up swimming.

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