I am still in a strength and muscle building phase and in five weeks will enter what is called the shredding stage, where muscle cuts and contours will begin to show and become more defined as the competition date nears.
At this time I am doing 30-45 minutes of cardio that may include cycling, running, stairs or elliptical. I like to switch up the cardio and not do the same thing every day. While training under Art, he focuses on a different set of muscles for each day. One session he will focus on back, another day he may have me work on shoulders and triceps and legs and gluteus muscles the next day. This schedule allows one set of muscles to recover while working another set of muscles. Since I began training with Art six months ago I have made weight gains but the good kind that can easily be re-racked. My strength has improved where I can leg press 520 pounds, squat 205 pounds and chest press over 100 pounds for 12-15 reps, where I did not have that strength back in September.
The meal plan at this time calls for lean proteins, complex healthy carbohydrates and fibrous carbs such as fish, chicken, turkey, egg whites, sweet potatoes, nixtamal (that is eaten in Mexican Chicken Pozole), oatmeal, rice, quinoa, broccoli, spinach, carrots and arugula. I do allow myself one cheat meal a week which could be a slice of pizza, chicken burrito or a maneeash wrap. I avoid sweets that are high in sugar and alcohol because it lowers my metabolism and weakens the immune system, which can sabotage training and undo invested results.
Eating clean is a prerequisite for reaching bodybuilding goals and critical to feed muscles for healthy growth and development; even if that means declining on eating out on a Friday or Saturday night with friends and saying no to all their “just once won’t hurt” because over time it adds up.
I prefer to not call the foods I eat a “diet” because it suggests images of social settings where a person can feel deprived and even ostracized when they are eating a wilted salad or tasteless overcooked vegetables while their friends are eating what they want to their heart’s desire. It’s about choice and it’s not an “All You Can Eat Buffet” so for a person like myself who has been cursed with a low metabolism, I have to decide whether I want a strong, muscular and healthy body or do I want to be a foodie and be overweight. Endorphins are released during workouts with longer happy effects than eating a piece of chocolate cake after a large meal where you don’t bask in any afterglow the next day.
My personal trainer Art Solorio of Muscle Fit is there for every step of the way, he regulates my meals, makes adjustments, he spots me during my sets, keeps me focused and doesn’t give me more weights or reps than I can handle.