Here are my updates from my final hours of contest prep and the results. Shelby guided me through the final process of drying out, while still holding my size and fullness. I drove out to his house after work Friday night and he stayed by my side and monitored everything I eat, drink and did from then until the evening of the show.

Here's a quick breakdown of this last week and the process Shelby has put me through:


It was a water load with Monday and Tuesday being sodium loading as well. Wednesday and Thursday were both carb-loading days, which I loved. I ate 12 times on Wednesday and 11 times yesterday. After all of the calorie/carb restrictions as of late, this was like receiving manna directly from heaven. The last few days we've been tapering both the sodium and water. By mid-day Wednesday, the water will be done until after the show as well as the sodium.

It's time for my final shower and to begin painting on the tanning dye.

Training and Explanations

I've been super busy with simultaneously purchasing and selling a home, a full-time job with and 180-mile round-trip commute on top of it, and the incredible amount of time I'm spending with contest prep. But here's what my training looked like the week before the show:

Sunday: This was my final leg training session - six days out.

Leg presses: 600 x 25, 25
Leg extensions: 300 x 20, 20
Leg curls: 250 x 20, 20
Standing one leg curls: 170x20, 20
Standing calf raises: 300 x 25, 25

Monday: Chest/Delts/Tris

Bench: 135 x 10, 225 x 5, (drop set )315 x 8, 225 x 10, 135 x 17
Dumbbell inclines: 100 x 17, 13
Plate front raises: 45 x 20, 90 x 15
Cable laterals: 70 x 20, 20
Pushdowns: 200 x 25, 25
Reverse grip one arm pushdowns: 60 x 20, 20

Tuesday: Back and Biceps

Chins (warm-up on lat pull) alternating between wide overhand and medium neutral grip: 45 x 10, 10, 10, 10
Reverse grip pulldowns: 200 x 15, 250 x 15
Rope cable curls: 200 x 20, 20
Dumbbell concentration curls: 35 x 20, 20

Wednesday: light upper body session to facilitate glycogen storage with the beginning of the carb load

Dips: BW x 10, 54
Seated cable rows: 200 x 10, 250 x 10, 300 x 10
Hammer strength shoulder press: 135 x 20, 225 x 25
Pushdowns: 200 x 25, 25
Spider curls 35x20,20

Thursday - Friday: Off. My last cardio session was Tuesday morning, as was my last tanning session.

I basically trained normally until Wednesday, where I just performed a light overall upper-body session to facilitate glycogen storage in the muscles, as we initiated the carb load. The leg session was about a week out because training will often cause your legs to appear smoother and mask fine definition for several days after the session.

I honestly hate taking time off from the gym, but obviously I realize the necessity of foregoing these last few sessions to allow my body to peak for the show. However I'll be back in the gym squatting on Sunday morning after the show. This will be followed by a HUGE high carb breakfast before I fly out around noon for my post show photo shoot at MuscleTech. I'm going to do everything I can to take advantage of the post dieting rebound to gain as much size and strength as quickly as possible.

Final Hours

Friday 3 p.m.

This was taken around 3 p.m., and I'm still holding a fair amount of water from the carb-load, but expect that to change over the next 24 hours in a big way.

5 p.m.

We've been tapering my water off throughout the day and incrementally decreasing my carbs. In another 45 minutes, I'll be done taking in any water until after the show tomorrow, so I should really start hardening up the rest of tonight and into tomorrow. Shelby has some diet tricks up his sleeve that I can't share, but let's just say that I'll be up at 4 a.m. for a special meal that will really help pull more subcutaneous water out.

For the rest of the night, I'm eating every two hours until bed. Other than that, I'm going to work on my posing a little more and I have to apply about four additional coats of tanning dye.

I was 223 pounds around 2 p.m., and right now I'm sitting at 221 pounds. I'll probably drop close to ten additional pounds between now and the time I actually step onstage tomorrow. The goal is to shred every drop of water possible and make my skin look see-through, but also keep my muscles full and hard looking. That is where Shelby's advice is invaluable.

8 p.m.

Well, eating my last meal for the night...right now. Well, that is until the 4 a.m. top secret one. Shelby has pulled out all of my water and carbs. Right now, I'm just having a whole bunch of ground sirloin and a bunch of peanut butter - which I love.

I think I've developed a peanut butter addiction while on this diet. I've always loved peanut butter and ever since I was a kid, I've put it on everything from pancakes, waffles and French Toast to English Muffins...and of course the occasional PB&J with some homemade jam. However, during this diet, it has become like crack to me. I find myself doing things like cleaning off the lid and scraping any errant pieces from the inside of the rim of the jar - just to a get a bit more in. I wonder if that craving will remain after this is all said and done?

These were taken around 8 p.m., after my third coat of Pro Tan. I still have a long ways to go with cutting water, but by tomorrow I'll be ready.

9:30 p.m.

I took another picture after the fourth coat of Pro Tan and in the dim light, or normal light for that matter, it actually obscures all of the fine detail. However, under the bright stage lights, it keeps you from looking washed out and helps bring out the small crevices and vascularity.

Now, it's off to bed. That is except for some frequent trips to the rest room as my body continues to dump water due to the previous sodium and water loading. Hopefully, by mid-morning my skin will look much thinner and I have veins that look like a Jersey road map.

Crab shot taken at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday 5:30 a.m.

Wel,l I dropped about 5 pounds of water through the night and I can really see the difference everywhere, but it's most evident in my waist and upper thighs. I should continue to keep drying out until I get onstage for prejudging around 2 p.m. or so. Fortunately, things are continuing to go as planned.

7:30 a.m.

Ab and thigh shot after waking. I can see more detail in my upper thighs and my waist looks tighter than last night. This should continue as the day progresses.

8:30 a.m.

Well, I finished up my last morning meal before heading out to weigh in. The competitors meeting and then prejudging starts at noon, but I'm in the second-to-last class. That is the Men's Open Heavyweight, so I probably won't get onstage until around 2 p.m.

To help me achieve a good pump, I have some homemade jam, salted rice cakes and potato chips. I'll munch on these right before pumping up to go out on stage.

4 p.m.

Well, it definitely hasn't been a cake walk and I wasn't the only freak to show up today. There aren't a ton of competitors, but the quality is very good. There are two other tough guys in my class. One guy has monster wheels and the other is short, thick and freaky. Hopefully I'm more complete with better conditioning. When we turn around, my back is my ace in the hole, but then again it's you never know.

The guys that look like the winners in the middle and light heavy classes are super shredded with striated glutes and separated hamstrings. So, even if I win my class, I have my work cut out for me in the overall. I probably won't get home until well after midnight.


Lauren and I didn't make it home until 2 a.m.

I guess I should get right down to it. I ended up winning a very tough heavy weight class and qualifying for nationals, but I took a very controversial second to the light heavy winner for the overall. I was onstage and have only seen a few pics, so I won't pontificate on "would'a, could'a, should'as." All I can say is that the crowd erupted in "boos" when the overall was announced. The guy that won was totally shredded with deep lines running through his hams, glutes and everywhere else. My guess is that it was his superior lower body detail that gave him the edge over me.

First and foremost, I want to thank two people. Shelby Starnes for guiding me from a blocky, chunky powerlifter to a streamlined and proportionate bodybuilder. I've learned a ton from Shelby over the last 17 weeks. As I've mentioned before, I'm so impressed by his knowledge, that I've recruited him to help me gain size in the off-season. I'll most likely be working with him year-round from now on, as I attempt to accomplish all of my powerlifting and bodybuilding goals. Second, I want to thank my girlfriend Lauren for all of her help and support. This would have been so much more difficult without her. She basically prepared 90 percent or more of my meals and took care of so many other things for me, so I could concentrate more on preparing for the show. Not only did she often do things like get up at 5 a.m. to take pics of me for Shelby to evaluate, she did what was perhaps the hardest of all - she put up with my frequent mood swings and irritability. This is when she liked to refer to me as Mr. Crabs! Anyone that has gone through this process knows what I'm talking about and the burden it places on your significant other.

The morning started off well and things were going as planned as I weighed in at 214 pounds and I felt ready for battle. The scale was a little on the light side. Prior to us even beginning the diet, Shelby predicted that I'd weigh 215 pounds on stage. The dude is like the Nostradamus of the dieting world. At weigh-ins, it soon became apparent that I'd have a fight on my hands, as two other heavy weights showed up looking big and ready. I wasn't going to be the only freak here on this day.

Prejudging went well. After it was over, I was assured by many people that I'd be the heavyweight victor. However, I never count unhatched eggs...and this was bodybuilding, so I listened to what everyone had to say and waited to hear the official results at the night show. I did notice that the first time we turned our backs to the audience, there was a collective "oooohhh" from the crowd. I hoped was directed at me, since I knew my back was my strength. As it turned out, this was what probably won the heavies for me.

In between the night and day show, the general consensus seemed to be that whoever won the heavies would most likely take the overall, but again it's never over until it's over and in bodybuilding anything can happen. I didn't get my hopes up just because the rumors were prognosticating good things for me.

One very cool thing that did happen was that one of the judges pulled me aside and told me that he was very impressed with my physique, and that he felt I had all of the necessary tools to become a pro if I was willing to do what it would take. That was nice to hear.

Well, when it came time for the night routines, mine went off well in spite of the fact that I had only put it together two days prior, and practiced it very little. Shelby and I burned the CD only a few hours before prejudging. I've been so incredibly busy lately that there just wasn't time to squeeze that in, and I was confident that I could pull it off with minimal preparation - I did. Still, it didn't help that no one came to tell us I was getting close to being up for my routine when we were backstage. I almost missed it and had to go out without hardly pumping up at all.

Another positive was that I continued to shed water and harden up as the day went on and I was significantly drier at the evening portion of the show versus the prejudging. All of the pics  were taken at the prejudging - by the way.

So, when it came time to announce the class winners, I was relieved to hear my name called for first in the heavies and I felt pretty confident going into the overall comparisons and pose down. As soon as they gave us the word to free pose and cranked the music, I walked right to front center stage and began hitting all of my strongest poses. The middle weight winner that was very shredded as well and who many considered to be my biggest rival for the overall, jumped right up along side of me and we went at it pose for pose. The rest of the winners gathered around us and did their best to convince the judges that they were the deserving victor. I stayed front and center the entire time and I was the last guy there still hitting poses as the rest of the competitors dropped back to center stage to await the announcements. I felt I had done a good job asserting myself as the man to beat, and now I just hoped the judges would reward me for my efforts. Like I mentioned previously, I was onstage and not in the judging chairs, so I won't say anything about whether or not I deserved the overall. As far as the crowd was concerned, I was the favorite. I was extremely disappointed when my name wasn't called as the overall winner, but this was a very valuable experience none the less. I learned way more about dieting and nutrition than I expected to, gained new respect for Shelby...and most importantly this entire experience has motivated me to train even harder. I believe I'll become a much better powerlifter and bodybuilder because of it.