I had my good friend Rick Schaff come to the gym with me on Friday, July 1st, 2011 to shoot some footage of me training back and biceps. At this point in my training, I’m still staying really lean after doing a couple of photo shoots in May and June. I shot with Mike Neveux on May 12th and then with Ian Sitren in Palm Springs, California the following day. One month later, I did a photo shoot with my sponsor Optimum Nutrition on June 17th and then shot with Tony Mitchell from OAMG on the same day.
Since my last photo shoot, I have been allowing myself some cheat meals on the weekend (usually Saturday and/or Sunday) and then getting back on my regular diet on Monday and staying on the diet throughout the week. This is allowing me to have more energy and strength for my workouts without adding any fat to my waistline. I’m keeping my diet at about 225 grams of protein, 300 grams of carbs and 40 grams of fat during the week. Sometimes, I add a high carb day but this depends on how lean I am from the cheating on the weekend. Most of the weight gain I get from cheating is the sodium in restaurant foods. It’s amazing how much water I gain from just one meal in a restaurant. I know it’s water because the weight gain and waist increase are back to normal after only one day back on my normal diet.
When I was dieting for the photo shoots, especially in the last week leading up to the shoot, my strength would just drop dramatically. Using 225 pounds on Barbell Rows, for example, felt 50 pounds heavier than the actual weight. Although I want to stay lean throughout the year because I am contemplating competing again in the fall and I want to be ready for more photo shoots, I can’t stay that lean or diet that hard all the time because I will inevitably lose muscle if I have such low energy that I can’t even do an effective workout. Just one or two cheat meals on the weekend provide me with so much more energy and strength during the following week.
I have been training by myself for the last couple of months because my training partner has to have surgery on his neck soon. As a result, I can not do the the forced negatives form of training that I was using leading up to my photo shoot with IronMan in May. It was difficult at first getting used to training solo but I’m becoming accustomed to it now. When I train chest, I do barbell bench press or incline barbell bench press in the Smith Machine because I don’t want that damned barbell falling on my neck or sternum. I am still doing pause squats (holding the bottom position for 2 seconds) by myself and that’s been going good. I am gradually getting stronger each week since my last photo shoot. This is important because I want to train heavier in order to hold onto my muscle mass over the next couple of months.
I am planning on getting really ripped for the Mr. Olympia weekend in mid-September because I may have some photo shoots scheduled for that weekend and I’m going to shoot some video footage with Wayne Gallasch from GMV Productions. Wayne will be in town shooting the Mr. Olympia contest and he is going to do some video shoots on that Sunday. After that weekend, I will get off my diet for a few days and then think about possibly competing in early November.