Chris’s 21 weeks of contest preparation starts today. His workout and meal planning spreadsheet has 4 tabs (see below). He will meticulously track everything on this spreadsheet for the next 147 days. Chris loves this stuff. I love observing him.
His major challenge today, at the start of the contest preparation period, is to figure out the practical aspects of his diet. His contest prep coach, Layne, has given him goals for daily fat, carbohydrate, and protein intake and now he’s got to figure out what foods to eat to hit these numbers (which we refer to as his “macros”). So far this morning, he has taken all the frozen vegetables out of the freezer to examine their food labels and has gone to the local grocery store (famous for its ice cream) to get disappointingly non ice cream products such as meat and fruit. As I write this, he is muttering to himself in the kitchen as he further examines the macronutrient details of the food products he just bought. It’s good to see him so happy.
This is Chris’s third time preparing for a bodybuilding competition. He feels like he knows what to expect by now which thus explains why he feels more excited than nervous today at the outset. I like when he competes and I think it’s a fun hobby for him. I agree that he knows what he’s doing and overall it’ll be good.
His challenge during this prep (and my challenge in living with my bodybuilder) will be doing the prep during this period of mild turmoil in our lives. Contest preparation meshes best with a highly structured and predictable lifestyle. During Chris’s previous two contest preparations, he had this. We were both graduate students, taking classes, teaching, and doing research in communities where the gym, grocery store, university, and our apartments (the key locations important for contest preparation and graduate school) were never more than 15 minutes apart. Chris’s current contest preparation begins a week after graduating with our PhD’s (in exercise physiology) and approximately two months before we pack up everything we own in Oklahoma and drive across the country in a U-Haul to Massachusetts to start new jobs. Oh, and we’re also planning our wedding in St. Louis next May.
How will Chris’s body react to his third round of dieting? Did he gain muscle compared to last time? Will he have the mental and physical energy to move across the country in two months and re-settle? Will the stress of finding a new gym (and grocery store!) in Massachusetts during the middle of contest preparation be too much to handle? Will he be able to fit wedding cake tasting into his macros? Like you, my readers, I await the answers to the above questions with baited breath. Stay tuned.