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"30 years of helping clients reach their goals." - FAKHRI MUBARAK "The Coaches Coach"

Mistakes Competitors Make During Contest Prep

Posted on January 08 2018

By Coach Fakhri Mubarak

IFBB Pro and Contest-Prep Specialist  


Mistakes Competitors Make During Contest Prep


1)    Food – Nutrition is 70% to 80% of being a successful competitor. Each macronutrient (the body needs a large amount of macronutrients to function, hence the word macro) plays a specific role in your muscle tissue development and maintaining your size during a contest prep.

A) Protein is used by the body to not only build muscle but also to repair tissues while the stress of the prep. Protein is the building block to muscle during the offseason as well as during the prep. Protein also helps prevent the breakdown of muscle during prep. When incorporated with a high intensity work out protein builds extra lean muscle tissue while you are dieting for a show.  I recommend 2 grams of protein per lb of body weight while dieting.
 B) Carbs are used to provide energy to your muscles. Carbohydrates are stored in your muscles and the liver. When you work out your body coverts these stored carbohydrates into ATP and uses it as energy. Carbs also help keep your muscles full and hydrated. They increase insulin level in a positive manner in which they ascend other growth promoting hormones and enzymes needed to keep your muscles full of glycogen while dieting. Yes, lowering your carbs is sometimes necessary to burn off extra body fat but when you drop your carbs to low it increases your insulin levels in a negative fashion (opposite of above with more carbs). The body then uses any source of energy it takes in and stores it in the fat cells. Don’t lower your carbs too low. You can put your body in a catabolic state if your carbs are too low.
C) Healthy dietary fats play a big role in the production of hormones that are responsible for growth and strength increases, like testosterone production. These hormones are vital while dieting. They help keep your body in an anabolic state. Examples of healthy fats are MCT oils, Flax seed oils, omega 3 – 6 – 9 oils, fish oils and CLA among a few others. Healthy fats help spare protein from being used as an energy source.


2)    Excessive cardio – To much cardio leads to cortisol <> (stress hormone) which makes you retain water. So now your body is burning muscle and retaining water by inducing cortisol levels. The correct function of cardiovascular exercise is to burn calories/burn body fat, strengthens your heart and lungs, improves bone density, lowers blood pressure, keeps cholesterol in check and improves overall stamina, not to breakdown muscle! During cardiovascular exercise, your body turns to glycogen that it obtains from carbohydrates for energy. If there isn't enough glycogen available, your body may turn to fat stores or muscle for fuel. Cardio is used to condition the body. I recommend offseason cardio even while trying to put on muscle. It won’t restrict building muscle if your food is correctly planned. Offseason cardio should be 3 days a week and 30 mins a day. Don’t come in fat for a prep.


3)    Sodium manipulation and “dehydrating” the body - If you are already having sodium in your diet and its keeping you full and you’re getting harder each day just keep it in the same. You don’t want to mess with your aldosterone levels playing with your sodium intake. Aldosterone is a hormone that increases the re-absorption of sodium ions and water and the release (secretion) of potassium ions in the distal convoluted tubules <>  of the kidneys. Sodium manipulation is very risky. Don’t do it until you know your body with more experience.  Your muscle tissue is 70% water. When you “dehydrate”/restrict your body from water you are in danger of losing muscle fullness and actually looking watery. You want to hold and be hydrated with intracellular water to make the muscles look fuller and harder. Lastly water is a natural diuretic. You want to increase your water intake to 1.5 to 2 gallons per day while contest prepping. The more water you drink the more water your body will let out


4) Rest - When you rest you increase your body’s anabolism and allow it to restore glycogen to repair and recover from the stress of prepping. Resting is the most overlooked contest prep factor. During contest prep many competitors increase their amount of weight training. Some even do double splits daily. They also as we said above do excessive cardio and jeopardize muscle tissue breakdown. Resting also helps reduce cortisol (is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands that could lead to catabolism). More (excessive training and cardio) is not better when it comes to contest prepping).


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IFBB Pro Fakhri Mubarak Contest Prep Specialist