The upcoming show is quickly approaching! I’m now just over four weeks out from the Midwest Battle of Champions bodybuilding show here in Indianapolis.
It honestly feels like just yesterday when I moved to Indianapolis. Leaving my entire life behind in Ohio and Making the Jump. It has now been 15 months since I made this move to Indy to work with my best bud Zach Homol.
Over the past 15 months my body has grown like crazy. I’ve put on approximately 20lbs of lean muscle mass. More than I had put on the previous five years combined. For more on how I did that check out ‘How I gained 20lbs of Muscle’ and ‘What I ate to Gain 20lbs of Muscle’
I haven’t written a ton of content on what my diet has looked like throughout my prep thus far so I figured I would take a break from writing the nutrition ebook (available March 31st) and give you guys an update on what my diet has looked like over the past few months.
In November I started getting more structured than ever with my diet. Following a specific plan broken down into specific macros. Weighing everything that goes into my body and tracking every single meal in an app (I use an app called Nutritionix).
Prior to this I had always kinda just wung my nutrition. Which clearly worked to a certain extent as I was growing like crazy prior to this, but I knew I could improve quite a bit. I had never consistently counted macros, weighed food or even followed a plan to a tee. Especially not during a bulk. I had an idea of what I was eating, but nothing quite like this. I was eating a lot of food, but I was not eating quality food nor was I being as consistent as I could’ve been with overall caloric intake.
I was about six months out from the show and was ready to really start taking my body to the next level and this meant I needed to really focus on eating like a professional. So I did just that. I hired a coach to keep me accountable. Everyone can use a coach. Even coaches. The accountability is priceless.
The goal was to continue packing on as much lean muscle mass as possible heading into prep. My starting plan was ~3,500 calories. It was a 40/30/30 split. Meaning that 40% of my total caloric intake came from carbs. While the other 60% came from fats and protein. It was approximately 350g carbs, 260g protein and 115g fats.
The macros weren’t all the much different from what I was doing. One of the biggest differences was my consistency, hitting these macros every single day without fail. Whereas before when I wasn’t tracking or following a plan some days I would be around 3,500 calories, but then I would go days around 2,000 to 2,500 calories. I wasn’t very consistent.
The other component that made the biggest difference along with consistency was the quality of food that I was taking in. Prior to making these changes I was relying heavily on chipotle and protein shakes full of milk, peanut butter and whey protein for a large portion of my daily calories.
I wasn’t eating nearly enough nutrient dense food. Specifically animal protein and fat. All of my protein was coming from a serving or two of chicken and pork at chipotle along with the two mass gaining protein shakes I was drinking throughout the day.
I was growing, but I didn’t feel optimal at all. My stomach was a wreck most of the time. Bloated and gassy. Energy was off.
So I went in to see Doctor Serrano whom i’ve mentioned in a number of previous articles. I wanted to get some blood work done before prep started. When he called me with the results he immediately said something to the extent of, “what the hell have you been eating you dumbass”.
I was deficient in a number of areas in the blood work. Due to my lack of diversity in my diet and whole foods in general. I was really lacking in my vegetable and animal protein intake.
From that point forward I was more dialed in than ever. Hitting my macros day after day. Focusing on eating as much diversity across the board. Rotating my protein sources (bison, elk, chicken, turkey, salmon etc) along with veggies, carbs and fats. Eating as many different types of foods as possible.
I also cut the whey protein out completely and added in a beef and collagen protein. Instead of drinking them every single day I focused on only drinking shakes a few days a week.
Within a month I began to notice a big difference in how I was feeling. My energy levels increased. Inside and outside of the gym. I could feel my sex drive increasing which usually means your hormones are improving. It felt like I was finally fueling my body with high grade fuel.
Between October (when I started all of this) and late January my nutrition stayed relatively the same. I was consuming around 3500 calories every single day. Rotating food sources.
When I started in October my weight was around 190-192lbs out of bed in the mornings. My weight stayed relatively the same for a few months. Very gradually decreasing. I kept getting quite a bit leaner though every month. Which meant I was building a lot of muscle.
My nutrition stayed relatively the same macro wise between October up until the beginning of February. I was constantly changing up the food sources though as we discussed. Keeping a wide variety of micronutrients coming in.
A few examples of foods I take in:
- Sweet potato
- White basmati
- Brown basmati
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Raw nuts
- Fatty dark meats
& much more.
Around the first week of February, eight weeks out from the show, I felt like my progress needed to be sped up a bit to peak into the show. I hadn’t plateaued necessarily, but just wasn’t moving quite as quickly as I needed to be. So we made some adjustments.
We started by dropping my carb intake a bit. Going from ~ 360g per day down to 275g per day. At the same time we increased my protein intake from 250g up to 275g. This came out to about 3,200 calories. Approximately a 300 calorie drop from where I had been the previous months.
Why did we increase protein intake? Usually when you drop your carbs (and calories as a whole) you’ll increase protein slightly. This helps maintain protein synthesis and muscle mass while you’re in a caloric deficit. It also keeps you more full as protein is very satiating.
Resistance training while in a caloric deficit also promotes protein synthesis and maintenance of muscle mass while losing weight (aka in a caloric deficit). I’m sure most of you already weight train if you’re reading this article, but it’s good to know if you’re working with clients who wanna lose weight but aren’t weight training. There are many benefits of lifting weights for weight loss purposes, but this is just one of them.
I ran this for a few weeks and progress sped up. It still wasn’t moving quite as quickly as I would have liked though so we made further adjustments.
Late last week we went ahead and dropped total carbohydrate intake down to 200g on light training days and 250g on intense training days. Protein intake increased to 300g on all days. Therefore taking in around 3,000 calories on light training days and 3,200 on intense days.
This week training intensity really picked up being five weeks out. Volume has increased quite a bit. Introducing lunges back into training. Very short rest periods.
My body is really starting to tighten up. We did skin calipers this week to get a rough idea of where my body fat is at. According to the calipers i’m around 7.5% body fat. Which leads me to believe i’m probably around 10 to 10.5% body fat realistically.
We will be doing the skin calipers every five days to have an objective number to track progress. The goal is to drop around 1% body fat every week heading into the show. If we can do that i’ll end up around 6.5% body fat on stage.
Overall i’m feeling great though. Energy is through the roof even with training intensity going up and calories going down. Cortisol levels seem to be in check as my stress has been very minimal even with a million things going on with writing the ebook, prep, normal business etc etc. I’m feeling great!
Here are a few of the biggest differences I’ve noticed on this prep compared to past preps. Aside from being over 20lbs heavier.
I’ve had very minimal cravings throughout prep thus far. There have been some days here and there where i’ve thought about a pizza or Five Guys cheeseburger and milkshake, but overall hardly any cravings.
On past preps my cravings were through the roof. I thought about food all day. I would even dream about it. This was a result of being so malnourished. Eating such low calorie and not fueling my body properly. On top of overtraining and having my stress hormones through the roof. If you’re doing things the right way you shouldn’t have all that many cravings. If you do that’s a sign from your body that you need to make some adjustments.
Another big difference is the fact that I’ve actually built muscle throughout the process. On past preps I would crash diet essentially and go way too deep into a caloric deficit. While training way too much. This caused me to lose quite a bit of muscle throughout prep. It’s called bodybuilding for a reason.
Give yourself plenty of time so that you don’t have to crash diet like this and sacrifice muscle mass.
Something else that comes to mind is my hormones. I’ve spoke about this in depth a number of times. I even wrote about it in an article recently. Improving Natural Testosterone Levels. On past preps my testosterone levels would go through the ground by this point of prep. I would have pretty much zero sex drive.
I haven’t noticed any decrease in sex drive thus far. It feels better than ever. I’ll leave it there to avoid TMI.
Really excited about these next four weeks of prep. This is when it starts to get fun. As the body fat really starts to drop you begin seeing new striations. Posing becomes more fun as you can see exactly what you’re trying to flex. Muscles you haven’t seen in months or even years begin to reappear.
My diet is about to really change heading into the upcoming week. Carbs are dropping quite a bit. Overall calories are dropping as well. Expect another article or exclusive newsletter updating my diet in another two weeks as it’ll change a lot.
Can’t thank you guys enough for all of the support you show me. You guys mean the world to me. Thank you.
If you’re interested in learning more about nutrition and getting shredded (the right way) I will be releasing my Jays Guide to Summer Shreds ebook on Sunday, March 31st. Don’t let the title fool you though. This book is much more than just a guide to getting shredded the right way. It’s basically everything I’ve learned about nutrition, packing on muscle, being healthy & feeling good and much more packed into one book.
The book will include:
- Multiple diet plans for getting shredded along w/ a guide to adjusting this for yourself
- Hypertrophy training plan written by Zach Homol and myself
- Lots of intro nutrition science .. my goal is to not make it too complicated, but really help explain things like:
- what really is food?
- what is a carb/fat/protein? Why are each of these important
- What are micronutrients? Why are they important?
- Nutrient dense food vs energy dense food. How to still eat junk food and progress towards your goals
- Going very in depth on mistakes I’ve made in the past and how to avoid these
- What I’ve done to gain 20lbs of lean muscle over the past year
- Lessons I’ve learned coaching hundreds of clients
- & much more !!
I’ve also been sending out a lot of exclusive content to members of my newsletter. Totally FREE! As March 31st gets closer I’ll be sending out snippets of the ebook through the newsletter. Sign up HERE
Below are a few pics from the final week of December to the final week of February. I’m pretty much the same weight in these pics. Pretty crazy how different my body looks. The scale doesn’t always tell the whole story!!
That being said, my weight will start to drop at some point. I’m waking up between 185 to 186 right now. I assume i’ll probably get down to around 177’ish but then once I step on stage March 30th i’ll be weighing around 180 when I get refueled with carbs.
Appreciate you all!
Until next time,