So I decided to do a show.
That’s a sentence I never thought I would be writing down, but I guess here we are. Getting into my health and fitness journey, it’s been clear that my life has been dominated by CrossFit as both a workout modality and a lifestyle. I still coach CrossFit at an affiliate and I love it.
So why on earth would I do a physique show?
Attending the Nutritional Coaching Institute certification in Washington D.C this past April, I got a far different perspective on health and fitness than I had ever expected. Going into it, I knew Jason Phillips and his team at iN3 worked mostly, although not exclusively, in the CrossFit realm but I came across tons of people that worked in all areas of the fitness industry. Olympic Weightlifting, powerlifting, boot camps—the whole nine yards were represented at the certification. Although I had been in those other camps before, it was an eye opener for what I would do if I ever had the chance to work with a client as a nutrition coach who was a weightlifter, bodybuilder or whatever athlete.
How would I handle their needs because ultimately that’s why I decided to become a nutrition coach to begin with—finding a way to help others achieve their aesthetics, performance and health goals for life.
That’s when it struck me that I needed to undergo this journey myself. That I would actually have to try something out in order to learn about it so that someday I could help someone in my position because if I wasn’t willing to cut calories to the extreme and lose as much fat as humanly possible, why should someone listen to me about that?
Here I go then. October 20, I will be in Edmonton for the INBF Natural Physique competition.
I can hardly believe I’m actually going to do it, but here it is. Along the way, I’m going to document anything and everything that I deem to be relevant when it comes to my preparation phase.
When I told some of my close friends around me that I would be doing a physique show, I definitely got some mixed reactions. One being, “don’t you think those people are kind of unhealthy?” And, “aren’t you worried about the relationship you’re going to have with your body?”
Both of these questions certainly have some validity. For the first, yes, when doing a prep phase to get ready for a show, there are no shortage of ways that you could go about doing it in an unhealthy way. Starting manipulating water intake, sodium levels, starving to poverty calories and screwing with your hormones are just some of the possible outcomes of getting ready for a physique show. But that’s why I decided to hire a nutrition coach myself in Ange Hauck who recently earned her Fitness Pro card so that I can not only do this in a healthy way but learn from her to help others do it healthy in the future.
Really, if I tried to avoid the fact that people are going to do physique shows and then not learn about it, I would be doing a disservice to all the people who need help. Let’s face it, there are plenty of people who are willing to try doing this alone and if done improperly, you really can do some damage to your metabolism, your self-esteem and maybe most importantly, your hormones.
When it comes to my expectations going forward, I know the prep phase is going to be incredibly difficult. Going from CrossFit workouts where I intentionally leave the gym dripping in sweat, it’s going to feel weird and different to leave with a ‘pump’ rather than a bucket of water.
Also, when it comes to my hormones, I can only expect those are going to take a hit because to get to that lean of a body, (sub eight per cent body fat), you’re going to have to leverage things such as cortisol, testosterone (yes that means a sex drive decline) along with energy and sleep quality (I’m already a pretty poor sleeper).
One of the things I’m going to analyze along the way is my relationship with the mirror and my body. For years I’ve been self-conscious of taking off my shirt in front of other people, particularly women. Even if you think I’m a “fit guy,” the memories of being 12 years old and hiding neck deep in water at the pool so as to not show my chest is still fresh in my mind. Is it going to be hard to stand on stage with just boardshorts on? Can I do that? Will I still have those memories? Will I be willing to return to a normal level of body fat post show?
This doesn’t even go into mentioning posing, which, after practicing to try and get a few photos done, seems like the most ludicrous practice in the world. I have zero concept on how to spread my lats in order to look big. My problem was usually trying to find a way to look small so that no one would notice me.
These are all things I’m looking to experience along the way. Will it be easy? No. But nothing worth doing ever was easy right.
Going into the first week, my maintenance calories (the amount of calories required to maintain my body weight each day) stood at 3,350 per day prior to my prep. If you’ve ever consistently ate that much food, it’s a lot.
When it came to my macronutrients for the start of my prep though, those calories were cut down to 2,762 with 174g of protein, 123g of fat and 242g of carbs. It certainly is a healthy amount of food but I honestly can’t remember the last time I ate so little. Along with this, I need to eat 40g of fiber per day.
This also fails to mention that I am going to be drinking 30g of BCAAs per day so to avoid distressing my gut with more protein (I may have overdone this in the past), meaning that I’m likely going to be less satiated than I would be if I was able to use those extra 30g of protein in chicken or lean beef. When it comes to my other two macronutrients, I know I won’t have any issues hitting those numbers as I’ve done both high carb and high fat in the past with ease.
So…..here we go. Let the science experiment begin.
A former journalist and sports blogger, I've turned my writing prowess and love of fitness and nutrition into a personal blog where you can find anything you are looking for on the world of health, nutrition and fitness.