The Prep Diary: Week 3

Welcome back to another edition of the Prep Diary! We’re mid-way through March and although the July competition seems a while off, I’m quickly learning that time evaporates and if you’re not careful, can escape you entirely. But, with the pseudo-philosophy out of the way, the crux is this; the stage is calling and it’s getting ever closer.

The big update this time is that, after last week’s escapades, I’m now back to a normalized routine, which includes training, nutrition plan and balancing work. Taking time off wasn’t something I had planned really, but I’ve been able to come back with a fresh outlook and motivation through the roof. For the first time in a while, I couldn’t wait to get back to the gym and hit my sessions, but not only that, return to a regulated meal plan.

 

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The love of training is back with a bang

 

 

As I’ve lamented in the past, nutrition is the most challenging aspect of prep for me and it’s certainly where I’ll really need to keep my focus and right now, a weekly “cheat meal” (typically pizza with wings, wedges and possibly ice cream) provides that sanctum. I’ve explained on my Instagram post how important this is for me, but for those of you who don’t follow (if so, why not?!) I’ll spell it out here. Apart from satisfying my cravings, which left unfed could result in a colossal collapse of discipline and an entire shop full of sweets decimated, it provides a real mental boost. If you’ve never dieted before, it’s much more mentally challenging than you might expect. Being on restricted calories is tough enough, but when you add the pressures of work into the mix and then on top of that, the necessity to continue training hard, suddenly it all adds up to why it can be such a grind.

Therefore, having a nice weekly treat to look forward to gives light at the end of the tunnel. So when the going gets tough, you can dig deeper and realize that it won’t be long until you can have a relaxing meal where you can “let go” a bit and feel free. Of course, once the meal is completed, it’s important to refocus and remember what you’re doing and not fall into the trap of continuing the binge. I won’t lie, this sometimes happens to me and the cheat meal turns into a cheat day. This is poor discipline and does nothing but cause setbacks, so avoiding this is key and something for me to now get a real grip on.

 

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I love pizza.

 

So let’s talk a little about training. As I mentioned, training on reduced calories can be difficult, but why? Well, the big change I’ve noticed is that for me, strength has drastically gone down on certain lifts. Case in point; chest pressing. I’ve never had the strongest incline bench press (85kg for 5 reps during the peak of my last bulk) but now, I’m struggling with 60kg. This can also be attributed to the fact I’m doing more reps (10-12 rep-range) and more sets (5 working sets) so it’s obvious that strength would be decreased slightly. The overall effect is that everything feels much more of a struggle, but I’ve never been one to focus on the numbers; to me as long as it’s difficult then it’s enough, I’m not interested in setting records for lifting, I just want to look and feel amazing.

As for cardio, that hasn’t been touched yet, but it’s soon going to be introduced. My cardiovascular fitness has always been an issue, which I could attribute to asthma, but that’s honestly just an excuse, it comes down to application; I need to work at it to improve, simple as that. Not only will cardio help to shed the pounds, it’s also vital for the stage. If I’m going to be holding poses for minutes on end, it’s not easy to stay tensed, yet look natural and relaxed. I need to avoid crumbling and suddenly exhaling a large amount of air and losing all tenseness, this will have an awful effect on my look and will, of course, mark me down.

 

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I don’t want this to happen when I run out of breath, mid-pose.

 

Continuing on, after completing a heavy leg session, I initially found my back to be sore (I injured it a few weeks back) so I’ll be making sure to hit the Yoga tonight (Sunday 18/3) to improve flexibility and get some stretching in. This again is something I’ve neglected as of late, so I’m looking forward to getting back onto this.

Well, that’s been my week in review, so let’s set some targets for next week that are attainable and realistic. Number one; complete more sessions. No excuse for this really, I need to up the amount of time spent in the gym. I’m aiming for five appearances at least. Yoga I’ve also been slacking on, so I’d like to increase this to three occasions next week, making this goal number two. Finally, the big one; nutrition. Stay strict, stay dedicated and be responsible. Only another week until a cheat meal, after all!

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