Getting ready for the physique show

Well, it’s 26 days until my first ever body building contest (i.e. Physique Show). I’m fired up about this show. A few highlights from the journey thus far…

Diet (if you don’t care about food skip down to the next section… but don’t underestimate how important diet has been on this journey! It’s been the deciding factor)

  • My diet since July has consisted of:
    • 5:30 a.m. 3 eggs w/olive oil and 1 banana or 3/4 cup of oatmeal with Truvia for sweetener and cinnamon. I also take a multivitamin along with water and coffee.
    • 8:30 a.m. 6 oz. of lean hamburger (96/4), 1 sweet potato (250 g), and 1 cup of vegetables (usually something green). Water to drink.
    • 12:30 p.m. 6-8 oz. of lean meat (usually chicken, sometimes fish), 1 cup of pasta (gluten free w/1 tbsp of olive oil), and 1 cup of vegetables. Water to drink.
    • 3:30 p.m. 1 cup of cottage cheese and one banana. Water to drink.
    • 6:30 p.m. (last meal of the day) 6-8 oz of lean meat (chicken or fish) and one cup of vegetables. Water to drink.
    • *** while these times have varied a bit due to proximity to food I have consistently eaten every 3-5 hours.
  • There have been some minor tweaks since July such as:
    • I began the diet able to drink liquids that had less than 5 calories per serving (e.g. Crysal Lite, Coke Zero, etc.). Beginning the end of August that changed. The only liquid intake has been water and coffee (and coffee’s going to go soon!)
    • I have been able to add things like 2 tbsp of salsa to my meal (3 g. of carbs and 10 calories per serving); Texas Pete’s hot sauce, and rice (as a replacement for my pasta if I wish to do so), a dressing for my green leafy vegetables consisting of 1 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tbsp of olive oil… throw a little black pepper in there and you’ve got yourself a good dressing!
    • Since the end of August I have had to drink at least 16 oz. of water right before going to bed… to wash fat out! That means at least once through the night I’m up peeing!
  • We have precooked our meals on Sunday nights: 8-10 pounds of meat and one pound of gluten free pasta! I put them in specially marked containers and when it’s time to eat I grab my vittles and throw ’em down! When I have not been close to my home office I have taken food with me.
  • Since July I have had six (if I recall correctly) “cheat meals.” That means I can eat anything I want within a one hour time span. That has always consisted of at least 1, and at least once 6, ice cream sandwhiches! Other than that I have stuck rigorously to this diet (the few times I have departed from it I have done something like eat eggs instead of meat as a protein source… but those times have been very rare and all approved by my trainer).


  • I have worked out five days a week and very rarely missed a workout session. My workouts last one hour. A long workout would be 1 1/2 hours.
  • Until last week I have done no cardio. Last week we added a 20 minute cardio session (interval training) to the end of each workout session.
  • My workouts have been as hard or harder than they have ever been. While losing 26 pounds (thus far) I have actually managed to maintain my strength, and in some cases add strength. I have worked to take all of my “working sets” to failure. That simply means I have moved the weight until my muscles refuse to move anymore. I seek to fail between 6-10 repetitions. I do 3-5 sets of repetitions per exercise. I shoot for 3-5 exercises per body part. For instance, today’s leg workout consisted of:
    • Squats – 3 warmup (30 reps, 15 reps, 10 reps with increasing weight at each set) sets and 5 working sets (failure happened between 6 and 10 reps).
    • Leg extensions – 2 warmup sets (12 reps, 9 reps with increasing weight at each set) and 5 working sets (failure between 6 and 9 reps)
    • Lying hamstring curls – 2 warmup sets (2 sets of 12 reps) and 5 working sets (failure happened between 8 and 9 reps).
    • 20 minutes of cardio (interval training) on the stairmaster.


  • I have not rested well during this training period. I have worked several jobs and many nights slept only 3-5 hours. (That’s a story for another blog post).
  • For a stretch of 2 weeks I did an experiment in which I got 8 hours of sleep per night. I did feel the positive benefit of that but for now that is an unrealistic expectation.
  • Food, exercise, and discipline have kept me going through this training.


  • Carbohydrates are a primary energy source for the body. When you deprive your body of them it impacts your mood. During the first part of this tranining I was emotional (I was close to tears once because I couldn’t eat pizza). I was sullen and moody. My family was awesome and understanding as I journeyed through that phase.
  • It has affected my sex drive… it has driven it into the ground! I asked my trainer about this and he said the body is preserving the little bit of energy it gets from carbs for the work it knows it has to do. It’s the craziest thing! I look better than I’ve ever looked and I have no desire to work the magic. Sigh.
  • Confidence! My confidence level is high. Learning to be the boss of yourself (e.g. saying “no” to food; telling yourself to “get your butt to the gym” or “you’re not done yet! You’ve got another 10 minutes on the stairmaster; etc.) is an incredibly empowering experience!
  • Determination. I have said, and I hope it’s not tested, that “only death will keep me from this contest.” I am working as hard at this as I have worked at anything. I am realizing, again, the power of a goal. It rivets your attention, eliminates distractions, makes it easy to say no anything that would distract and “yes” to everything (even harder work) that will move you closer to the goal.
  • A fresh appreciation for failure. I have come to appreciate the value of failure. Failure in the gym is you sending your body a message, “What you are currently capable of doing is not acceptable for where we are going. You are going to have to change… get stronger… get leaner… get tougher.” Without failure there is no reason to change.

I’ve written all of this because I want to look back on it someday and draw from it (because I expect I’ll do this again). I also write it to inspire and encourage you to take a leap! Do something hard so that you can do something big!

BTW, I want to give a shout out to eight really important people without whom I could not have made the journey thus far:

  1. Sherri! My awesome bride!
  2. Lexington, Reagan, Dallas, Ashton, Karis, and Riley (and Abby our dog)! They’ve put up with a lot… from grumpy daddy to weird diets! Thanks ladies!
  3. Rob Polenik. Rob is a friend, a mentor, and a hero. It was his idea that I do this but now that I own it he has done nothing but encourage, challenge, teach, and inspire me to work harder and harder to look the part on October 20th. Thank you Rob.

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