"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalm 139:14

Contest Preparation

Many are called, but few are chosen. This is true when it comes to competitive bodybuilding. Changing your physique to make it better is one matter, but preparing to place yourself at the scrutiny of others (in a public setting) is another. Not only do you have to be physically ready, but you have to be mentally ready as well.

This article gives you all the ins-and-outs of contest preparation.

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Carbohydrate Cycling

Carbohydrate cycling is a 6 day program that will allow your body to burn bodyfat while still retaining muscle mass. It's a technique that is described in detail in the book SLICED by Bill Reynolds and Negrita Jayde, however I will summarize it here.

Over the last 10 years I've competed, I've used this technique each time and without fail I've been able to achieve exceptional definition while retaining the muscle mass that I gained during my bulking phase.

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Gaining Muscle Mass

Due to the complexity of muscle tissue, it often takes years to develop quality muscle mass. The key is to be consistent and be aware that bodybuilding & body shaping are built on three factors:  Nutrition,  Consistent/Intense Exercise and Rest.

This article goes into the details of each factor.

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Skip's 3 Stages of Shirtlessness Print E-mail
Written by Skip   
(A brief analysis of my personal journey from "under-confident-skinny-boy" to "narcissistic-gym-rat") Cool
  1. Ok, you've lifted weights for a while, and are starting to see some results. So you're now confident enough to be seen around the house (briefly) without a shirt on. After a few positive comments from roommates and/or relatives, you're no longer overly self-conscious about being seen shirtless and you're ready to move to stage #2.

  2. You now do things like mow the lawn, take out the garbage, and wash your car "sans camisa". If you have a home gym, you start working out shirtless.  A few more positive comments from friends and relatives push you to stage #3. You also find that you spend a majority of your time at home shirtless.

  3. ImageThis is essentially the final stage. Whenever it's warmer than 75 degrees outside, you don't even bother putting a shirt on. You'll drive places, get gas for the car, workout, do your laundry at the local 'laundro-mat', or even go jogging shirtless. Whenever you play a team sport where it's "Shirts vs Skins", guess what team YOU'RE on. You actually ENJOY warm weather; eagerly awaiting any opportunity to take your shirt off. When Halloween rolls around, your costume choices usually involve characters who don't wear shirts (e.g. Rambo, The Incredible Hulk, Tarzan, professional wrestlers, or even rappers (like LL Cool J, Lil Wayne, Lil' Zane, Nelly or Marky Mark).

    Every so often you'll be seen randomly posing in direct sunlight and glancing at your reflection in car windows. Oh... and of course, more than 80% of your Facebook profile photos are of you without a shirt on. Normal people define this trait as narcissism, but who cares? You're all that AND a bag of fat-free nachos!

  4. Image
    Me at 43 (October 2010)
    At this point, you never wear a shirt at home, except of course when important company comes over. Oh...and in rare cases such behavior leads you to a 4th Stage (which I like to call Brouwer-Todd Syndrome) where you find yourself entering bodybuilding or physique competitions, becoming a fashion or fitness model, posing for calendars, or possibly taking a job as an exotic dancer, but that's a topic for later discussion. Cool

    To demonstrate what I mean, examine the images below of what I "used" to look like at 16, and what I looked like at 36.

Oh, I almost forgot to talk about the Ned Flander's Effect. The Ned Flander's Effect is what happens when your bodyfat percentage is so low that when you wear sweaters or other bulky clothing, no one can tell that you workout at all.  Laughing
The Ned Flanders Effect (with shirt on)
The Ned Flanders Effect (with shirt off)
"Now all I need is my own magazine, and I'm set!"
- Skip (Age 22)"
If I only had my own Magazine!
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