The second month of my three-month contest prep was largely - and surprisingly - steady and uneventful. I heard stories of how "hangry" people got because they were starving and exhausted. Neither happened to me. I have zero hunger pains and my energy level pretty much settled at a good, stable level, despite the low #carbohydrate intake. As the first month was a success - and as I noted in my previous blog post - I decided to maintain my #macronutrient numbers and cardio and weightlifting schedule. However, as the month progressed, I made some adjustments as my fat loss exceeded my expectations!
Back in the beginning of July, my bodyfat was 21.31%, and #bodybuilding aficionados say you should be in the 4 - 6% range for a contest. So I conservatively set 6% as my target, especially since this was my first try at this and I wasn't sure how my 55-year-old body would react. My winning streak continued as I ended the second month with my bodyfat at 8.38%, far below my target of 11.58% and about 3 weeks ahead of schedule!
As the second month progressed and I saw how well my body was dropping the fat, I made slight changes to my macronutrients and cardio routine. And trust my when I say slight as I'm not ready to gamble too much as the thought of me on a stage wearing skimpy posing trunks with my butt cheeks hanging out has me erring on the side of caution. Regarding my nutrition, I made two changes: I increased my cashew consumption to just under an ounce - from my previous intake of 10 #cashews - and I added an ounce of protein to my dinner. Insane right? My macronutrients now stood at: 1711 calories; 90g carbs; 43g fat; 250g protein; and 17g sugar. Regarding cardio, I decreased my daily routine from 65 minutes to 45 minutes. And as the chart shows, both changes did not hinder my progress.
"Sugar, ah, honey, honey, you are my candy girl, and you got me wanting you."
- The Archies
The number one question I've gotten thus far was "how come you're not hungry?" The answer was simple - I conquered my addiction to sugar. In my first blog post, I discussed how I reinvented myself after I was diagnosed with a candida yeast infection that led to my bouts of #fibromyalgia, #migraines, #chronicfatigue, #depression, #rosacea, #eyepain, #insomnia, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In order to rid your body of the candida, you have to put yourself on a yeast-kill diet which means "no sugar." Sugar is highly addictive - and studies said even more addictive than cocaine. So all those years when I was #obese and I would beat myself for not having will-power, it was because I was addicted to sugar. That's why practically every Monday morning I would sabotage my diet by 10AM! And I can come to that conclusion without hesitation because once I cut sugar from my diet, my hunger pains disappeared and the weight fell off. So follow my advice and stop with the fad diets and just cut sugar if you want to lose the weight and - most importantly - keep the it off!
"When I pose out in front of five thousand people I get the same feeling, so I'm coming day and night."
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
As the competition date of October 6 approached, I started to panic because I needed to practice my poses and create a posing routine to music. Where do I begin? YouTube of course! As I began my due diligence I quickly became dismayed because all these bodybuilders were ripped and huge and my poses and muscles don't look anything like theirs. Fortunately I checked myself before I fell into a body dysmorphic abyss. These guys were the reason that bodybuilding got a bad rap all these years - and the reason I stayed away from it - and it's because of their abuse of #steroids. The Taylor Hooton Foundation is a great resource for those interested in learning about the dangers of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. Don Hooton created the organization after his son Taylor, a star high school pitcher, committed suicide after he couldn't deal with the onslaught of emotions that were unleashed upon him as a result of steroid abuse. In fact, 8% of the US male population between 18 - 25 have admitted to anabolic steroid use. A tour of that site was an eye-opener, especially when I learned that many bodybuilders who graced the covers of magazines like Muscle & Fitness, as well as famous professional wrestlers, either died early deaths or had their health greatly compromised because of steroid abuse.
It turns out that there are other people out there like me who want to do bodybuilding as a hobby and not as a life-threatening exercise. As a result, the bodybuilding world responded by allowing a new class of competition called "classic physique." People who compete in this class don't have huge muscle mass but, like the bodybuilders of the pre-steroid era, they have more symmetrical and aesthetically-pleasing physiques. And to my delight, they don't have to wear those tiny bodybuilding trunks onstage, but can wear larger, more conservative, trunks. Sign me up!
As I started practicing the mandatory poses - which number 5 for classic physique: front double bicep; side chest; back double bicep; abdominal and thighs; and favorite classic pose - I realized that I don't see much in the way of muscle definition. So now I have to start seriously tanning - which was tough this summer as the weather in the Northeast was nothing less than crappy! But every opportunity I had, I ran out to the pool to float under the sun - with my Santorini-chill playlist grooving in the background.
Although my tan looked amazing - thank you #Greek genes - my definition still didn't show as well as I'd like. Well bodybuilders also shave so I realized it was time to start that routine. And because I'm a hairy guy - again, thank you Greek genes - I now shaved my body a couple of times a week. I also can now sympathize with the opposite sex as I understand first hand that shaving is yet another chore added to the beauty regimen.
As the second month came to an end, I was happy with my overall look, my continued bodyfat decreases, and my grasp of the mandatory poses. (Besides the mandatory poses, I have to practice "relaxed" front, side and back poses which are anything but "relaxed," as well as quarter turns as I move my body 360 degrees.) Now, as the third month began, my next step was to choreograph a posing routine set to a 60-second clip of music. The thought of performing onstage does not frighten me - thanks to my overcoming stage fright a few years back as well as to my Masters degree in Theatre Arts and my subsequent #acting career. But the challenge was to find the right song that told my unique story to the audience in such a short time. I realized a posing routine was like a musical theatre performance - except I can't sing and I certainly can't dance. (Except after a few martinis, ahem)
- Diana Ross
So as I lay under the sun, I perused through my favorite playlists to try to find the perfect song. A song that not only tells a story about me at this point in my life, but also allows me to express myself in a fluid motion onstage. I made a playlist and listened to the songs while I worked out at the gym to see which ones inspired me. After many edits, my song finalists were:
"Xanadu" by Olivia Newton-John
"Father Figure" by George Michael
"You Make Me Feel So Young" by Frank Sinatra
"Unstoppable" by The Score
"Big Bad Handsome Man" by Imelda May
I will let you know my decision soon and thank you for all your messages of support! I hope you continue to follow my journey and that I inspire you to overcome your fears, follow your dreams and pursue new goals. Please visit my blog at ReinventionKing Magazine and post questions or comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. Soon I will be available for empowerment and wellness coaching sessions, in-person or via Skype. And remember, if I can do it, you can do it!