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Road to Provincials: Day 228/231

By Dave Leek | In Gym, Road to Provincials | on June 11, 2015

June 2, 2015

Road to Provincials: Day 228/231

Weight: 188.2lbs

 

It’s Tuesday morning at 6:39am and I’m sitting down to sip some BCAAs while I get ready mentally to go and put in some time with the treadmill. This is officially my last day of training before I step on stage this coming weekend to show off the work I’ve put in during the past year, and more specifically the last 10 weeks of dieting and dialed-in training.

For those of you who have competed in the past, you’ll understand me when I say my food cravings are at an all time high and I’m extremely excited for the fact that I can have a burger and some ice cream in only 4.5 days time!

There have been a handful of challenging times during the last couple months of prepping but the majority of those challenges lie around food. You don’t realize how much of a social activity it is to eat and drink with friends and family until you totally restrict yourself for a little while. It’s times like these that prove to be most difficult; parties, BBQs, birthdays, vacations, etc. You are able to attend these functions still but it’s just not quite the same when you aren’t able to eat and drink what the people around you are.

The rest of the equation (training, cardio, food prep, etc.) is actually the easier part. As long as you have your systems in place and you follow them, it’s a pretty straight forward process.

One other aspect about dieting, at least in low calorie settings, that I find difficult to avoid is extreme agitation and irritability… towards everything and everyone! The smallest things get under my skin in the closing stages of a diet and I almost have to apologize to people in advance and then just keep my distance to avoid being a dickhead. I’m sarcastic, lippy, angry and just not fun to be around – even to myself. Fortunately this is usually only apparent during the final couple weeks but still, it will be nice when this weekend is over and I can transform back into my ‘happier self’. And to those who have been forced to interact with me during this last little bit – I’m sorry and thank you for putting up with me!

For those of you who are interested in the steps I’ve taken over the past ten weeks to transform my body for contest prep, I will try to provide a quick overview of the system I’ve used and what’s worked well for me.

 

TRAINING

My training schedule has been pretty consistent at 5-7 days per week. Partially because my programs have called for it and secondly, I just love being in the gym and find it difficult to take days off, even when I know I should.

I have bounced around between different programs during the past year as well as the last 10-12 weeks too. So for those of you who were hoping for that perfect training program to whip you in shape and were thinking you could copy mine, sorry but that won’t be happening. I find I change programs every 6-8 weeks to keep my interest and motivation levels high, so I couldn’t pinpoint one specific program to give credit to for the physique I’ve achieved. There’s a saying floating around in the workout world that says ‘When it comes to training, everything works. But nothing works forever’. This is exactly true based on what I’ve seen and experienced over the years and for that reason, I like to stay on a program long enough to gain some benefit from it and then after a couple of months, I design a new program and start the process over again.

With that said, while my programs may have changed semi-frequently, I have maintained a few underlying principles and areas of focus to help achieve the look I was going for in the allotted period of time:

  • Variety of rep ranges. Most workouts included sets in the 3-6 rep range to begin with, the rest of the workout ranging roughly in the 12-25 rep range. I find this allows me to keep my strength up, work on explosiveness and it really gets my heart rate and body temperature up for the duration of my workouts.
  • Short rest periods. With the exception of some of the low rep sets, my rest periods for pretty much the entire prep has been between 30-60 seconds. The reason for this is simple – keep the heart rate up and burn more calories. Not to mention it’s a nice way to get through workouts a bit faster.
  • Train full body but emphasize personal esthetic weaknesses. I didn’t want to neglect any part of my body so I made sure to train everything but I also knew that my abs, chest, back, shoulders and arms were going to be the highlights so I put a little more attention into them in the form of additional sets or even extra workouts per week. This allowed me to keep everything up to par as well as bring up some lagging parts that will help me look more symmetrical on stage.

 

NUTRITION

As we all know, this is the department responsible for the majority of your body’s physical changes. Yes, training is important but without some specific focus in the kitchen, you’ll never make any lasting results.

I didn’t follow one specific meal plan these past ten weeks either so I won’t be able to give you a complete breakdown of my daily intake. What I can tell you is that I followed a few minor guidelines to ensure my body weight kept moving in the right direction:

  • Drink lots of water. And only drink water. With the exception of morning coffee/tea, protein shakes and BCAAs throughout the day, drink nothing but water and watch how well your body responds. Everything runs more smoothly when you’re well hydrated and if you stick to water only, you avoid excessive calories that are hiding in our drinks.
  • Consume 1-1.5g of protein/lb of target body weight each day. So if you weigh 200lbs, you would shoot for 200-300g of protein each day. This one is pretty easy to do if you mix up your protein choices (eggs, chicken, beef, fish, etc.) and spread out your daily intake evenly over your meals of the day.
  • Keep carbohydrates to a minimum and consume them around your workout. I personally found that 50g-150g of carbs each day was a nice sweet spot for me to continue to keep dropping fat without losing pumps in the gym and overall energy. I also consumed around 40% of my carbs before my workouts and then another 20% of carbs during my workout, followed by another 35% of carbs after my lift. This way, sugars are used predominantly to fuel your workout and replenish muscle glycogen for the workout to come, instead of being stored as fat. The leftover carbohydrate sources came from vegetable matter.
  • Consume lots of healthy fats. While a lot of people like to cut fat pretty low when dieting, I prefer to keep fats moderate to help with satiety and also to aid in extra fat loss. Eating no dietary fat makes it extra difficult to convince your body to let go of it’s stored fat for fuel. I prefer to keep my fat sources to coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nut butter and fish oil for the most part, obviously including saturated fats from animal sources as well. Don’t be scared to eat fat while trying to burn fat!
  • Maintain an overall calorie deficit. This one seems like common sense but is much easier said than done. The body needs to be eating less energy then it is expending through physical activity in order for it to start burning fat. Of course there are many other factors at play here but this is a good place to start. For the most part, if you are eating slightly less than what you are burning off throughout the day, you will continue to drop weight.

 

Well, just about three days left to go before it’s time to step on stage and show what I’ve been working towards. Time to go hit one of my last workouts, put a little time in with my posing and wrap up with a little visualizing in the sauna. The next time you hear from me will be post-competition so wish me luck!

 

DL

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