My hat goes off to all the bodybuilders out there… this sport is not for the faint hearted.
To compete as a bodybuilder, meticulous planning and discipline are required in the areas of nutrition and training. The preparation for competition takes place over a number of months or even years and is completed in different phases across this time frame.
Typically, athletes will first complete a ‘bulking’ phase, where the focus is on building as much lean muscle as possible. This is achieved with the consumption of additional, appropriately timed calories, in combination with sufficient training; mostly heavy lifting. I call this the ‘fun stage’ and really encourage athletes to enjoy the extra food and energy to train.
The second ‘cutting’ phase involves reducing energy intake with the aim of reducing body fat while maintaining as much muscle mass as possible. The second part of that combination is critical to the success of a body builder and the maintenance of muscle mass is a key factor to consider in the nutrition side of a cutting diet. The outcome of this phase is increased leanness and definition and while that is the desired outcome, this phase can take a toll, both mentally and physically on the athlete, especially towards the end as the competition draws closer.
Finally, competitive body builders will go through a pre-competition phase, otherwise known as ‘peak-weak’. Nutrition wise, this period of time is critical for the competitor to look and feel stage ready and can take lots of detailed planning and discussion with the athlete to get it right.
I have been lucky enough to go this process with some fantastic (and extremely committed) athletes and had a the pleasure of interviewing one for today’s article.
I first met Trevor in 2016 when he came to me for some nutrition advice and plans for his cutting phase. Trevor had already competed in 4 competitions prior to this with both the ANB and the INBA federations. He reported though, that he had felt lethargic during his last competition preparation and felt he had possibly reduced his calories too low.
Here is little bit about what Trevor had to say in regarding to having his nutrition plans done up for him…
Why did you decide to seek nutrition support for your competition preparation this time around?
I wanted to be in the best condition possible for my competition and lacked the level of nutritional knowledge required for a 12 week preparation, so seeking nutritional assistance was a logical step.
What was your experience with following a structured nutrition program (compared to what you had followed in the past)?
The program was easy to follow and provided a breakdown of the key macro information. Following the diet over the 12 week period I was able to successfully reduce my body fat to the level required for my bodybuilding competitions. Previously my trainers took care of my diet but I found it was not to the level of detail provided by Nicola.
What was the biggest advantage to having your nutrition program developed for you?
The biggest advantage for me was the stress avoided and time saved by having a professional prepare and review my competition diets. This allowed me to increase the focus on my training instead. The process of nutrition planning was a breeze this time around!
Side note: Trevor placed 1st in the Open Height division and 2nd in the Masters (pictures above). Nutrition is only one piece of the puzzle to being ‘stage ready’, so a huge congratulations to this phenomenal athlete for bringing it all together and achieving these wonderful results.