My First Bodybuilding Contest
No Nonsense Magazine 2014 Collection
By: Marty Ozimek
At a Glance: Marty Ozimek
Occupation or Education:B.S., M.S., Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, currently a Space-craft Mission Design Engineer at the Applied Physics Laboratory
Residence: Columbia, MD
Years training: 15
Weight: 215-220 (off-season), 186 (contest)
Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Muscle Provider/peanut butter pudding
Favorite Supplements: Ultimate Muscle Protein, Muscle Provider, Glutamine Select, Density, Ultra 40
What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before: 1) Try Ultimate Muscle Protein Chocolate. If you’re not sold after 1), then proceed to step 2) Try any other protein powder in existence. You will quickly return to 1). In all seriousness, in 15 years of trying every protein powder under the sun, UMP ended up naturally finding its way as my personal favorite. It also cooks into many great recipes, such as vanilla/pumpkin UMP bread or pancakes.
Music: Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Armin Van Buuren, The Arcade Fire, Daft Punk
Most Inspiring Book: The Fountainhead
Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Working on a pilot’s license, getting an MBA, scuba diving, and improving my golf game.
Words to live by: "I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious." Vince Lombardi
I never thought that I would be the one sitting here writing an article for my favorite supplement company, Beverly International, following my first ever body-building competition. Until recently, I was unsure that I would ever gain the confidence to "take the plunge" from a recreational weight training enthusiast to the next level. I'm hoping that I may be a lot like some of you who read this article. I was the guy that read all of the bodybuilding magazines, had grown up idolizing the Arnold, Stallone, and Van Damme 80's flicks (including no less than 100 viewings of Rocky IV and Bloodsport a piece on cable TV), and had wanted to emulate those physiques myself at a competitive level.
Unfortunately, my lack of confidence in stepping on the bodybuilding stage was conveniently replaced with excuses for many years. I had many false justifications that I would feed myself throughout my 20's - "I'm too busy with my 9-10 hour workdays", "I don't have enough size yet", or the "my symmetry is not good enough", and oh wait, wait, let's not forget my personal favorite, "all of these bodybuilders are personal trainers in their day jobs, somebody with a sedentary desk job like me could never compete.”
Excuses, excuses, excuses. I even started to believe my own words after a while. The pattern persisted from my sophomore year of college at Penn State ("an engineering curriculum is too demanding!"), through grad school at Purdue ("I could never write a thesis and train for a show!"), all the way up to my job at the Applied Physics Laboratory.
I was on a fast-track to creating a lifetime of excuses until I started dating my girlfriend Sandy. Sandy was the anti-me. Sandy caught the weight training bug from me, and in October of 2011 she got her own itch to compete. She learned of an OCB contest being held in April of 2012, and promptly signed her name on the dotted registration line for the bikini division. A few days later she had begun her contest preparation. "What????" my inner-self said. "How could she??? She hasn't even been training close to as long as me!" This jealous internal rambling gradually changed to the self-realization that Sandy possessed all of the confidence that I didn't, and that it was time to find inspiration in her choice rather than jealousy. My competitive spirits that were previously buried six feet under for the past decade were finally unearthed to the point that I was ready to get off my excuse-happy high horse. I would prep right alongside Sandy for my first ever bodybuilding experience! In hindsight, it's really amazing how we fed off of each other and pushed each other to make this journey.
OK, Great! I've decided to compete, now what? As a lifetime bodybuilding fan, I knew that a rock solid diet plan was essential, and I needed to come up with one in a hurry. It was late November, and at 218 lbs. with a stage goal of roughly 190 lbs., I needed to diet for 15 weeks to be ready for the show. After analyzing my past attempts to “lean out” I decided that to successfully compete, my best bet would be to consult with a coach. Enter David Johnston. David was an amazing prep coach and immediately set me on a dietary path that yielded the results I desired.
If you've ever read the NNN, you'll find his first suggestion was obvious – I would rigorously weigh all food, log all macronutrients, and would not skip any meals! Although I thought I knew a thing or two about nutrition, I learned from David that part of the key to dieting is (1) conditioning the body to a known nutrient profile, (2) patiently tracking the changes, and (3) then introducing small reductions as needed to continue the gradual weight loss.
The hardest part for me as a first-timer was establishing a good baseline diet. It took about 4 weeks to get the food intake precisely "locked in" for optimal fat loss, so if you too are a first timer, whatever you plan for your prep timeframe, give yourself a few extra weeks of buffer time to account for errors like this! David recommended a carb-cycle diet. The carb days were strategically bracketed around my weight training routine (see the Training section) to give me enough energy to make it through the heavy power days and the high volume hypertrophy days. Another important note about my diet was that I customized it to my 8:30-6:00 work schedule. I consumed meals 2-4 at work. Meals 2 and 4 worked well as quick pre or post-lunch snacks, and meal 3 fit in nicely with lunch so that I could still eat with my friends like a normal person.
Here is a sample of my contest prep diet at roughly 6 weeks out. At this point, my body was responding really well and dropping 1-2 lbs./week, so I stayed very close to this plan all the way up until contest day.
Note: I began each day with fasted cardio and then started with meal 1. I trained with weights between meals 4 and 5. I was at home for meals 1, 5, and 6, and at work for meals 2-4. For fluids, I consumed 1.5-2 gallons of water over the course of every day.
HIGH CARB DAY: MON/WED/FRI
3/4c oats, 4 oz chicken, 1c egg whites
2 scoops of Muscle Provider (A quick and easy snack type meal at work.)
8 oz of chicken or tilapia, 1/2c oats
2 scoops of Muscle Provider, 1/2c oats (Easy to prepare at work like meal 2.)
8 oz of chicken or tilapia, 6 oz sweet potato
2c egg whites (at home)
LOW CARB DAY: SAT/SUN/TUES/THURS
2 whole eggs, 1c egg whites
2 scoops of Muscle Provider, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (mixed with barely enough water in a bowl to create the tastiest pud-ing in the world)
8 oz chicken or tilapia, 2/3 oz raw almonds
Same as Meal 2
Same as Meal 3
8 oz eye of round steak
One final note about my diet is worth mentioning. I did not cheat. Think about it: There are plenty of times in your life to give in and eat things that are a bit unhealthy, but a bodybuilding contest is not one of those times. Rather, this is the one time in your life that you are going to put yourself in the best condition of your life - why not bite the bullet, stick to the plan and do it right? It may be hard, but in terms of nutrition, at the end of the day you'll have the clear conscience of saying you gave it every-thing you had when standing on stage.
Having taken Beverly International's products since 2007 with great results, I knew I wanted to take my pre-contest supplementation seriously. I went to their website and found their supplement recommendation chart. Included, among other programs, was a full listing of supplements for the male pre-contest bodybuilder. The only other question was supplement timing. For this, I took advantage of the useful information from successful Beverly bodybuilders of the past who had posted their winning formulas in previous No Nonsense Newsletters. From there, I devised the following routine:
Super Pak: One every morning upon completion of fasted AM cardio.
Density: Three with each meal.
Ultra 40: Four with each meal.
Lean Out: Two with each meal.
7 Keto Musclean: Three upon waking before cardio. Sometimes I would take three before weight training if I felt like I needed the energy boost, but not always.
Quadracarn: Three with meals 1, 3, and 5.
Glutamine Select + BCAA's: 2 scoops following fasted AM cardio and 2 scoops following any weight workout.
Muscularity: Began taking at the 4 week out mark. Four caps following each meal.
Bev ZMA: Three at night before bed.
As a lifetime natural bodybuilder that had tried many different weight training programs, I took some time to reflect on what I felt had worked for me in the past. While everyone may be different, I came to the conclusion that for me, heavy compound powerlifting type exercises were my bread-and-butter movements for obtaining mass, while mid/high repetition hypertrophy exercises worked well to supplement the power movements. Interestingly enough, I found that IFPA professional bodybuilder Dr. Layne Norton had implemented both of these features into his training regimen known as Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training (PHAT). PHAT involves two days of essentially powerlifting of the entire upper and lower body, followed by three days of higher-repetition hypertrophy training of the entire body. Essentially you train your entire body twice per week, incorporating BOTH the "power-building" style and traditional bodybuilding. I believe that the low-rep, heavy compound weight that I moved during the Sunday and Monday power days helped me maximize my muscle preservation over the 14 week haul. In fact, I was even setting a few personal records until about week 10, where my strength actually held even for the most part. My weight training schedule was as follows:
Sunday: Lower Body Power
Monday: Upper Body Power
Wednesday: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy
Thursday: Lower Body Hypertrophy
Friday: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy
Sticking to a grueling weight training schedule while working 9-10 hours a day at a brain-exhausting job was mentally and physically draining. Sometimes I felt like my body was running on fumes, but I thankfully had a lot of support from my friends, family, and my girlfriend Sandy when things were tough.
PRESENTATION AND DAY OF THE SHOW
At the start of my prep, I participated in hour long weekly posing sessions with my coach, David. At the 10 week out mark, I was also posing on my own 3-4 days a week for about 20 minutes after work and documenting with pictures. Do not under-estimate the importance of this practice! Trust me, you will look at your pictures from week-to-week and be amazed at the presentation improvements that you'll continue to make. As the days drew closer and closer to the show, I felt that the most important strategy was to keep everything simple and stick to the plan. I didn't panic or make any drastic last minute changes, but I kept the training intense until the last week before the show. During this final "peak week", however, I did throttle back the training and circuit trained for 40-60 minutes on Monday-Wednesday, stopping each set 3-4 reps short of failure. Cardio was also cut to 20 minute sessions. On Thursday and Friday I stopped training altogether, aside from posing practice and visualization.
The day of the contest was like a celebration of all of my hard work rather than a stressful event. The hardest days were behind me. I was well prepared and competing "for the love of the game" rather than to beat other competitors. In the end, I was fortunate to walk away with four total trophies at the OCB Eastern Regional in Baltimore, MD, taking first place in Debut Heavyweight class, first place in Novice Heavyweight class, first place in the Novice Overall, and third place in the Open Middleweight class. Sandy also had a great first time showing and finished fifth place in the Open Bikini division. The highlights of the day were definitely sharing the experience with Sandy, the posedown that I had to do for the Novice Overall, and getting shouts of "Crab Most Muscular" from my friends in the audience! Standing there on the stage at your physical peak, surrounded by many of the people you care about in life, you realize that every minute of the preparation is truly worth it.
Today, I remain an interesting anomaly in my every day work place. My day job involves planning and designing robotic spacecraft missions to asteroids and planets like Mercury and Pluto. That said, it probably comes as no surprise when I tell you that most people in my field do not spend their time moving 500 pounds on deadlifts, or dieting on grilled chicken, oatmeal, and protein shakes for weeks on end. Nowadays, my novice overall trophy (a smily golden muscle-man flexing his biceps) that sits on my desk is an eyebrow raising, conversation piece when a co-worker walks into my office and asks me a question about orbital mechanics. Sandy remains committed to improving her physique to compete in figure competitions, and I hope to beef up my legs and compete for some open overall titles in the future. I hope you find some small pieces of useful information in my story that you may take with you in your own fitness journey someday because I'm sure I will continue to be inspired, amazed, and educated by the stories of others in the NNN in the future.