i spent a month trying a pre-contest diet. i'm vainly trying to get a six pack (no plans to actually compete). as a programmer, i consider it 'hacking my body'. or the brains-n-brawn spin is 'mind over matter'. overall, i didn't lose any weight, but did lower my fat percentage. specifically, i attempted the gaspari nutrition pre-contest plan that comes with the mitotropin supplement. after about a week, my body began to shut down. the mistake was that i wasnt getting enough total calories. 1) i wasnt getting enough fat. to fix this, i got a shot glass to measure how much flaxseed oil i was taking in the morning and evening. also made sure to have 100 calorie almond packs on low carb days. had to use packs, because i was cheating with a larger container of raw almonds. 2) i wasnt getting enough protein. so i increased my portion size from 4oz per serving to 6oz servings. also added an afternoon protein shake during/after my 2nd cardio session. 3) i wasnt getting enough carbs on the low carb days. so i stopped counting carbs from fibrous veggies. on low carb days (50 grams carbs) i would have 1/2 cup of oats before a workout, and 1/2 a sweet potato after. even after making these changes i was still a zombie during workouts. so i modified the plan. instead of a high, medium, low, low carb days; i switched to high, low, low, low. the real modification was to allow some fruits. i would have a small grapefruit before a workout and blueberries afterwards with a protein shake. on high carb days, i might also have some blueberries in the evening, depending on how low my energy levels were. with those changes, i still felt like a zombie, so i also started taking a level Tbsp of waximaize post workout.
working out was tough. again, 'zombie' is the word. because it was mostly core lifts to burn more calories, but getting through those core lifts on low carbs took serious willpower. ultimately, i entirely stopped caring how much (namely how little) weight i was lifting. i would say that vanity is slowly switching from strength and being directed to seeing more muscle separation ... but that's not the case. instead, lifting on low carbs was entirely humbling, and i was just trying to survive the lifts. and then i'd go do cardio after lifting, and it was just pitiful. i'm quite certain that the people giving tours to potential new members would avoid walking past me because if they saw how sad i looked, that there is no way they'd join the gym. anyway, i mostly followed the gaspari lifting plan too; except i dropped the 'shoulder and traps' day. 1) i genetically have good shoulders and traps, so they dont really need the work. 2) i didnt burn many calories those days. dropping that upper body day, meant less days between leg days ... which burns the calories. 3) it made a 4 day lifting cycle (chest/tris/calves, legs/abs, back/bis/calves, cardio/abs) to sync up with the 4 day nutrition cycle (high, low, low, low). so i'd have a high carb day on the chest/tri day and load up for legs the following day.
visibly, i still have some fat covering my low abs, but that midsection bodyfat percentage measurement dropped the most. my love handles have shrinked quite a bit, along with lower back fat ... although these 2 areas still have some 'jiggle' to them. i am starting to see more seperation of upper (and side) ab muscles and my ribs are starting to become visible. plus my waist shrunk and is close to 34 inches. now that i've shed enough fat to physically feel my ab muscles, i can 'see' that my abs dont seem particularly well developed. i'm hoping that lifting abs every other day will help fix this. at least its more ab work than i've ever done before and i am definitely gaining more awareness of my core muscles, to target the proper muscles and avoid cheating.
the gaspari pre-contest diet was only supposed to be followed for a month. so now i'm taking at least a week off to fuel up, give my metabolism a kickstart, and switch things up by lifting for strength. that means more calories from good fats and carbs. plus i get to eat the foods that i missed : red meat, dairy, more fruits, fatty fish ... redi whip! and i'm going to avoid : flaxseed oil (yuck), spinach, and cracking/splitting eggs for egg whites. next month, i'm going to try the pre-contest diet from scivation. with the modifications, i'm relatively happy with the gaspari plan, but i want to try the scivation plan as well; because i'm still trying to figure out what works best for my body.