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Advice For Building A Pre-Contest Diet!

Learn How To Manipulate Your Carbs & Water Intake To Be As SHREDDED As Possible!

Posted by AtilaOrhonFitness - November 20th, 2013

When it comes to giving advice everybody has something to say. The key thing in benefiting from the accumulation of information is to look for credibility of the source and customize the information as it fits your goals. My job today is to share my “pre” and “day of” contest dieting experience as a professional athlete and make you see what situations you might encounter in this period of overly disciplinary time.

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My Background
I'm an IFBB Mens Physique Competitor and entered the National Championships in 27 Sept 2013. Unlike many, I like to keep it clean year round so I didn't deal with losing 30 lbs of fat. I also regulate my water and sodium intake year round. This helps my body with minimal water retention and prevents a lot of major health issues. Even though I was already disciplinary, my coach gave me a strict diet plan 30 days out from the contest that would further define my muscles, minimize water retention and maybe lose 2-3 lbs of fat if there is any left to lose. To be honest, I can't say that Contest Prep Diets are healthy. The food content is fine but the extreme changes in body composition is not natural. My plan encompassed manipulating all my macros, micros and liquid intake. I will explain them separately then combine them for you to see the bigger picture.

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Carb Manipulation

First I slowly declined my calorie count, preferably 150-200 per day and only carbs were cut off. When I reached 0 carb, which is 5 days out from the show, I started doing “Carb Depletion” workouts. These workouts mainly consisted of 3 or more circuits each circuit consisting of 6 exercises (for each upper body part) and at least 20 reps. The idea is that you deplete your muscle glycogen stores and make your muscle crave carbs. When the muscle stores are depleted, carb storing enzymes are released in a much bigger quantity and expand the capacity of storage in muscles. After going 3 days of depletion, you start to backload the carb 2 days out from the show.

Backloading is, of course, done with high starch veggies such as potatoes and rice.

Water Manipulation

Water is a very powerful natural agent that can make your body dry out and look extra defined when used right. This is a proportional process so I will use my amounts of water intake while explaining.

Throughout the last month, my water intake was 4-5 liters a day (1-1.25 gallons). In the last week, when I start declining my carbs I slowly increase my water intake. When the carb hit zero, My water intake was 8 liters (2.5 gallons) a day. When water is drank in high quantities. Hormones regulate the removal of water through kidneys.

Lets say that you have double the amount of diuretic hormones(water excreting) while you drink 8 liters a day. Then you start to cut your water intake in half day by day but the hormone levels do not decline that fast so you drink less water while still excreting at higher levels and this will help you lose extra underskin water.

When you start backloading you probably will drink 1 liters first day and 0.5 liters the final day. This water will be sucked into your muscle by dry carbohydrates so they will make you look even rounder and bigger.

Contest Day

I still had high carb and low protein. For digestion issues I had some lettuce and half tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with every meal. I basically had two or three mouthfuls of rice every half hour. When I was 2 hours out, I started loading sugar. I had some bananas and chocolate bars and that really helped with the vascularity.

I shared my experience with you and you can take any part that you consider worthy and use it in your planning.

This diet got me into the best shape of my life!

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This is perfect @atilaorhonfitness, my first show this year!

Atila - When you were cutting your carbs, did you up your healthy fats? I am 176lbs and my macros are 250g protein, 80-100g of healthy fats, and 100-120g carbs. I do lifting and cardio 4 days a week. Cardio is 3-days HIIT and 1 day LISS done after lifting. At age 49, I am not sure how low I can get my BF. I think I am at 11% now. I have cut my carbs a lot and have done it slowly so as not to affect my workouts too much but I seem to be plateauing a bit. Any suggestions? John
AtilaOrhonFitness  Edit  Delete  Close
Hi John- First of all you seem to have control over your macros so I'm going to be specific while giving advice. If your current BFI% is constant for a period(you call it plateau), then you're in a balance of intake and output. Looking at your cardio schedule, increasing cardio wouldn't be right because over-cardio could lead to stunt in muscle growth. You could do a deficit diet, which means basically lowering the calorie intake (total count of calories) 150-200 calories/day. But then again this is not a maintainable diet, lack of carbs will lower your brain activity and cause the brain to seek alternative fuels (ketogenesis may occur). To answer your question, I didn't increase my healthy fats because fats have 9 cal/g where carbs have 4 cal/g. I was trying to make a deficit in my intake so increasing fats would really get in the way. However, I can suggest a diet that minimizes carbs and mainly consists of protein, healthy fats and veggies. You can email me :