My First Photoshoot

Six weeks ago, I nervously and anxiously booked my first photoshoot.

Although I had gained back a lot of the muscle I lost from ACL surgery back in January, my physique was nowhere near ready to get behind the camera. Here is a breakdown of all the diet and training changes I made from that point on to prepare for the big day.

 

*Note:

My standard diet prior to preparing for this shoot was a form of intermittent fasting called Anabolic Fasting by Cory Gregory. I used the principles of Anabolic Fasting throughout this process with a few minor tweaks. You can learn more about it here.

My typical style of training is very high volume using moderate weight and moderate-high reps. I train in the gym 5-6 days a week minimum with bodyweight workouts on the weekend. No days off.

 

Six Weeks Out (Weight: 171 lbs.)

Diet

  • No Cheat Meals
    • No sweets, no fast food, and no unhealthy snacks. 100% clean, healthy, real food.
  • No Alcohol
    • Not a single drop for six weeks.
  • Slightly Reduced Carbs
    • When I began this process, I was already on a moderate-carb diet (less than 200 g per day). At this point, I just reduced that by about 30 grams (the equivalent of ½ cup of uncooked oatmeal).
  • Added Carb Refeed
    • I added a minor “carb refeed” (approx. 50-75 g) on Saturday nights to refuel my body for the coming week. This consisted of some sweet potatoes or oatmeal.

Training

  • Began Training at Paradigm
    • Prior to working and training at Paradigm, I was at LA Fitness. Paradigm is a warehouse-style gym with less equipment and no air conditioning. The environment and culture is much more intense and competitive than a posh commercial gym. I love it. I started taking strength & conditioning classes two times per week and coaching it once per week in addition to my typical workouts.

Thoughts and Feelings

  • No noticeable changes to my mood or energy by slightly reducing the carbs.
  • No temptation to cheat on my diet or drink alcohol.
  • My workouts were a bit scattered, as I was adjusting to having less equipment available to work with.

 

Five Weeks Out (Weight: 168 lbs.)

Diet

  • Slightly Reduced Carbs
    • Reduced my carbs further (approx. 25 g) by cutting my vegetable intake in half.

Training

  • Started 6 Day Training Split
    • I started a 3 day training split (chest/back, shoulders/legs, biceps/triceps) repeated twice per week with a bodyweight workout on Sunday.

Thoughts and Feelings

  • I could use a burger and fries, but other than that I’m good.

 

Four Weeks Out (Weight: 167 lbs.)

Diet

  • No Changes

Training

  • 20 Minutes of Walking Lunges 4-5 Times per Week
    • Walking lunges are my preferred form of cardio, and prior to this I was doing them for 10-15 minutes (no weight added) about 3 times per week. I upped that to 20 minutes every day that I didn’t have strength & conditioning class.
  • Nightly Abbing

Thoughts and Feelings

  • Went to an Astros game and only ate peanuts and drank water. Even I was impressed with myself for that.

 

Three Weeks Out (Weight: 163 lbs.)

Diet

  • Slightly Reduced Carbs
    • Reduced my carbs by about 30 more grams (equivalent of one banana).
  • No Condiments
    • To further reduce my sugar and sodium intake, I stopped using all condiments.

Training

  • More Nightly Abbing
  • Started Coaching 4 Strength & Conditioning Classes per Week
    • I began coaching classes on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I often participate in the classes with my athletes, so I was doing my normal workouts plus the classes (and sometimes a 20 minute lunge session as well).

Thoughts and Feelings

  • Dropping weight and feeling lean. Sweating it out for at least 2 hours at Paradigm almost every day is making a difference. Also, my food is dry.

 

Two Weeks Out (Weight: 161 lbs.)

Diet

  • Significantly Reduced Carbs
    • Reduced my carbs by about another 50 grams. At this point I’m getting close to entering low carb territory (<50 g). I started eating a bit more meat here to make up for the calories lost from fewer carbs.
  • No Protein Shakes
    • Again, in an effort to continue to reduce my sodium intake, I stopped having a scoop of whey protein at night.
  • No Carb Refeeds
    • No Saturday refuel. It’s low carb from here on out.

Training

  • No Changes

Thoughts and Feelings

  • I got extremely sick on Tuesday of this week. I don’t know if it was something I ate or just under-nourishment, but I had to leave work early and spend the day hugging a toilet. I still went to the gym though. I definitely started feeling the effects of going low carb as the week wore on. I was more tired, irritable, and impatient. My workouts were still intense, but I felt weaker than normal.

 

5 Days Out (Weight: 162 lbs.)

Diet

  • Slightly Reduced Carbs (More)
    • I'm officially low carb now. I increased my meat intake again to maintain enough calories.
  • Water Load
    • On a typical day, I drink somewhere around 2 gallons of water. I increased that to about 3 gallons Monday-Wednesday of this week. The idea is to put the body in “flushing mode” so it gets used to cycling through a lot of water throughout the day. Then, when you cut water before the shoot/show, the body is tricked to continue flushing. Bodybuilders have used this method for years as a way to shed a significant amount of water weight in a short period of time.

Training

  • No Changes

Thoughts and Feelings

  • Energy and motivation are really low. Even at the gym, where I usually always find a spark to power through the toughest workouts, I’m dead. I’m able to get through everything, but it’s not pretty. I had to REALLY force myself to do nightly abs.

 

2 Days Out (Weight: 161 lbs.)

Diet

  • Dandelion Root
    • I started taking 5,000 mg of dandelion root, a natural diuretic, per day to continue to flush water.
  • Deplete Water
    • I drank a TOTAL of one gallon of distilled water Thursday and Friday.

Training

  • Glycogen Depletion Workouts
    • I lightened the load during my workouts a bit and focused on doing some fast paced, high rep circuits to further deplete glycogen stores. These workouts were only about 30 minutes long, and they were pretty pathetic. I did do my strength & conditioning classes both days which forced me to get a decent workout and a great sweat.

Thoughts and Feelings

  • I’m a skeleton. My pants don't fit. It's 100 degrees outside but I'm freezing cold.

 

Morning of the Shoot (Weight: 155 lbs.)

Diet

  • Carbs!
    • I woke up early, around 5:00 AM, and started knocking down Pixy Stix. That’s right, Pixy Stix. The idea behind this is that consuming dry carbs will pull the remaining subcutaneous water from beneath the skin and into the muscle, resulting in a fuller and more “pumped” look. In addition to the Pixy Stix, I had a couple rice cakes with peanut butter for some actual nourishment to ensure I didn’t O.D. on sugar and pass out.
  • No Water
    • None. Not even a sip until after the shoot.

Training

  • Quick Pump
    • While we were setting up the equipment, I just got a quick 10 minute pump session in. Some curls, presses, and crunches. Nothing tough, just enough to get some quick size and vascularity.

Thoughts and Feelings

  • I DID IT!!!