As of today I’m 10 weeks out from my first Men’s Physique show. I started my prep from 2nd January, after a solid 9 weeks of lean gains and working on my weak areas before Christmas using the Y3T program and adjusting my nutritional intake accordingly. The reason why I starting my prep so early (17 weeks out) was to slowly cut whilst maintaining as much muscle mass as possible, If I’d made the decision to cut from now at 10 weeks out it would be a much harsher cut on my body and would guaranteed result in a loss in muscle as well as body fat.
So what is Mens Physique?
Mens Physique is more about that fitness model/beach body look so too much muscle is marked down. Theres also not as many poses as a regular bodybuilding class and competitors wear board shorts as oppose to posing trunks or thong.
2012 is the first time a Mens Physique class will be introduced to the UK qualifiers for the UKBFF, it was first launched 2 years ago in America (think Steve Cook) and has grown so big its now featured in the 2013 Olympia. I'll be competing in the North West qualifier on Sunday 5th May, once all qualifiers have taken place both 1st and 2nd place from each qualifier compete in the National final at Sportex in October, where they'll have the chance to compete for an IFBB Pro card. The chances of the pro card being awarded to a Mens Physique competitor is highly unlikely though as they only hand out 1 pro card each year out of all the bodybuilding categories and always goes to a 'proper' bodybuilder.
I decided to compete this year as I love hitting the gym and seeing my body develop from the skinny kid I used to be, and thought rather than just going to the gym for the sake of going to the gym why not add that end goal so I have something to work towards and as you know from my previous article its made me more focused as a result of that. I also choose the Mens Physique class as my body type is an Ectomorph, so I naturally stay lean, have a high metabolism and struggle to add muscle mass.
I'm not going to lie I am nervous about stepping on stage for the first time and not knowing what to expect and yeah I could say that I'll be happy where ever I place but then whats the point in taking part at all with that mind set!? I've set this goal, I'm working harder than ever and I'm coming for that number one spot!!
Steve Cook #Swoldier
The last 7 Weeks
So over the last 7 weeks I’ve noticed a difference in my conditioning and that’s resulted firstly from my nutrition, I know there’s different protocols out there and different things work for different people but I find carb cycling works best for me. It’s something I’ve used in the past to get me in shape for photo shoots and holidays so it was always going to be the route I was going down. I originally started off with a split of low and high carb days and have recently introduced medium carb days into the mix as well. I have factored 2 refeed days during the cut and if you follow me on twitter you would have seen the X-Large dominos pizza I had and almond cheese cake after a ridiculous legs session!
And secondly from my training, having seeing such success on Neil Young’s Y3T program and considering I’m slowly dropping my calories my training split was week 1-Y3T, week 2 Y3T and week 3 DTP then repeat. The first two weeks were based on hitting different muscle switch fibres to try and maintain and even slightly increase strength, the third week was gruelling and added to really target body fat, if you haven’t heard of DTP before check it out on the bodybuilding.com web site and give it a try. It really does get your heart rate going, pouring in sweat, digging deeper than usual and feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus at the end of it.........but it’s all worth it!
I’ll talk more in depth about my nutrition and training in articles closer to my show, for now I just wanted to briefly touch on my progression so far. Here’s a comparison pic from the morning I started the cut until this morning, bang on 10 weeks out.
As my final weeks get closer I will be working with a coach that also competes so understands fully what I’m going through both physically and mentally. I’ve decided to do this not only because its my first show and I want to pick his brain about what to expect, tanning, posing etc but to also help make relevant tweaks in my final weeks as I felt I lost quite a bit of muscle when I experimented with fluid manipulation last year before my holiday.
I also have three photo shoots lined up around my show (with amazing photographers) so I’ll be posting the pics up as soon as I have them and I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone that’s tweeted me or sent me messages wishing me good luck in my show, I really do appreciate the support and look forward to sharing the rest of my prep with everyone!