Akash Vaghela’s 2017 Bodybuilding 21 Week Prep Write Up

Akash Vaghela’s 2017 Bodybuilding 21 Week Prep Write Up

Here I delve into every last detail of my 21 week prep in the lead up to my third bodybuilding contest.

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · Sep 4th, 2017

Akash’s Blog Advanced
38 Mins


    In this case study I delve into every last detail of my 21 week prep in the lead up to my third bodybuilding contest, where I finished 2nd in the Men’s Middleweight’s at the BNBF Central.

    It’s been nearly three years since my first competitive bodybuilding season in 2014 where I competed twice and won my class to qualify for the British finals.
    The finals were 8 weeks after the qualifier, and to be honest, the 17 weeks of dieting took everything out of me that the thought of another 8 weeks of staying at 5-6% body fat didn’t sound appealing.

    I also had the opportunity to go to Marbella for two weeks of educational courses which coincided with the finals so naturally I wasn’t going to turn this offer down.

    At some point I’ll post the 2014 blog too, as it’ll be interesting at the end of this to compare how the two preps differed.

    The ‘off season’ since has been mixed.

    For the first 12-14 months, I made zero progress and went backwards.

    What I really struggled with after the show was controlling my eating, and for a period I probably had a borderline eating disorder.

    Doing weird shit like spreading cooked oats onto dark chocolate rice cakes, mixing chocolate into rice and still using teaspoons and baby forks to make my meals last longer.

    I had no idea this would happen, and it took probably the best part of a year to get over this. I wish I’d had read this article in the last few weeks before competing so I was ready!

    In that year I was on what seemed like an endless cycle gaining body fat and ‘mini-cuts’.

    This period of eating junk food consistently was when I started to draw the connection between quality of food intake and susceptibility to injury.

    I was constantly picking up injuries in my shoulders and low back, and when looking over my logbook, I always tracked it down to the Monday after a heavy weekend.

    Once I regained control, I first worked on regaining my strength and muscle mass and by December 2015 I was finally in a position to start improving on my previous stage appearance.

    I can write a programme for a client no problem. But when it comes to my own training or diet, I start overthinking so much that the stress isn’t worth the cause. So I always hire someone. It’s a great learning tool, and gives me perspective of being the client for once. It’s also something I feel every quality coach should be doing. After all, if you don’t believe in the power of coaching, should you be selling it?

    At the start of 2016 I started working with Derek Natcher, a bodybuilding coach based in Florida who’s turned pro in the IFPA and recently made the switch to the NPC and won the Mike Francois Overall. I came across Derek as a referral through David Johnston, who at the time was co-hosting the Gear’d Up Bodybuilding Podcast, and have continued to work with him since – a testament to his quality of coaching (I can be hard to please!)

    Since working with him, I’ve been on the same training split with the only changes being a few exercises here and there when plateaus hit. Four days is my preferred for growth, and I find with any more days I can’t recover.

    This is how it’s looked:

    Monday: Lower Body Strength
    Wednesday: Upper Body Strength
    Friday: Back and Legs Hypertrophy
    Saturday: Chest, Shoulders and Arms Hypertrophy

    As you can see, it’s a fairly balanced split, with perhaps a slight more emphasis on legs.

    The judges’ feedback from the last show was to work on building overall muscle thickness, with a focus especially on bringing up my legs.

    With my diet, we started around 3000kcal, and gradually worked our way up to the 4000-4500kcal mark over the course of the year, which led to a bodyweight increase from about 84kg to 90kg at only a slightly higher bodyfat.

    The biggest lesson I learnt through this year was just how slow natural bodybuilding can be. Once you pass your honeymoon beginner and early intermediate stage, gains come slow. It’s important you’re prepared for this or it can make for one frustrating journey. This is something I try to relay onto my muscle-building personal training clients who are pushing to get to the next level on a regular basis.

    Initial Set Up – 5th March

    Starting bodyweight: 90.2kg

    With some background out the way, let’s get into week 1 of prep.

    To start with, we dropped about a 1000 kcals coming predominantly from fats.

    The initial macros were:

    High/Training Days (x4):

    Protein: 260g
    Fats: 60g
    Carbs: 490g

    Normal/Rest Days (x3):

    Protein: 260g
    Fats: 60g
    Carbs: 360g

    Here’s how these macros translate into my diet:

    High/Training Days (x4)

    M1: 2 Salmon Fillets, 100g Oats with Almond Milk and a drizzle of honey
    M2 (pre workout): 30g Whey, 120g Oats (blended as shake)
    Intra Workout: 30g Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrins, 10g EAA
    M3 (post workout): 40g Whey, 130g Coco Pops
    M4: 150g Chicken, Veggies, 75g Rice, 1tsp E-V Olive Oil
    M5: 150g Chicken, Veggies, 75g Rice, 1tsp E-V Olive Oil
    M6: 150g Chicken, Veggies, 75g Rice, 1tsp E-V Olive Oil

    Normal/Rest Days (x3)

    M1: 2 Whole Eggs, 100ml Egg white, 80g Oats with Almond Milk and a drizzle of honey
    M2: 150g Chicken, Veggies, 75g Rice, 1tsp E-V Olive Oil
    M3: 150g Chicken, Veggies, 75g Rice, 1tsp E-V Olive Oil
    M4: 30g Whey, 30g Peanut Butter, 80g Oats
    M5: 150g Lean Lamb Mince, Veggies, 75g Rice

    The diet outlined above is exactly how I structured my off-season diet, only with more fats and a little more carbs.

    The only difference now is there’s no little bits on top like my daily dark chocolate (my fat allowance doesn’t warrant sneaking some in!), and of course the usual few meals out on the weekend.

    This structure works really well for me as I find eating the same thing day in, day out is a lot less stressful and means I can just execute, rather than worry about manipulating macros etc.

    If you’re busy and/or prep your meals well in advance, this makes dieting ten times easier.

    Initial Supplements:
    • Whey Isolate (Reflex Micro Whey): as per above
    • Fish Oil (Aliment): 1 TBSP a day
    • Probiotic (Aliment): 6-10bn a day
    • Vitamin D3 (Reflex): 2-5K IU a day
    • Creatine Monohydrate (Reflex): 5g a day
    For my training, we’ve kept it at 4 days, using the same split as we did through the off season.

    One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is changing their training style when they start dieting. What you need to remember is what built your muscle is what’ll keep your muscle.

    The only thing I have to change at this stage was my quad work. I picked up an adductor strain a few weeks before prep so any deep, heavy quad work is out for now. Instead, it’s mainly 15-20+ reps on leg presses with a close stance and occluded leg extensions. Brutal stuff.

    For cardio, we’re starting with three 30-minute low intensity sessions to be done on the three off days.

    My method of preference here is to head outside for a power walk before breakfast.

    On these days I’m also training my abs for 10-15 minutes at home.

    All in all, this is my starting schedule:

    Monday: Lower Body Strength
    Tuesday:30 min LISS AM, 15 min Abs PM
    Wednesday: Upper Body Strength
    Thursday: 30 min LISS AM, 15 min Abs PM
    Friday: Back and Legs Hypertrophy
    Saturday: Chest, Shoulders and Arms Hypertrophy
    Sunday: 30 min LISS AM, 15 min Abs PM

    Over the next 20 weeks, I’ll be documenting all the changes we make, why we made them, and hopefully give you all an insight into the process of taking your body composition to extreme levels.

    If there’s anything you’d like to learn more about, don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

    Week 1 – 12th March

    Bodyweight: 88.7kg

    So a few days into the diet and weighing meat again made me realise I’d been under eating protein before.

    After about 10-12 days on the diet we dropped protein about 20-30g, which helped a lot.

    The other change this week was to reduce high carb days from four days to two, falling only on leg days.

    The macros were now:

    High/Leg Days (x2)

    Protein: 240g (-20)
    Fats: 60g
    Carbs: 490g

    Upper/Rest Days (x5)

    Protein: 240g (-20)
    Fats: 60g
    Carbs: 360g

    Week 2 – 19th March

    Bodyweight: 88.2kg

    Felt strong this week. Hit volume PBs on the RDL (140kg for 3 sets of 6) and floor press (110kg for 3 sets of 4), which was good!

    Also visited Paul Jarman of Back to Basics Therapy for some soft tissue / Tuina massage work, focusing especially on the adductors, glutes and lower back.

    As of 23rd March, we added yohimbine HCl in before cardio starting at 2.5mg, and titrating up to 12.5mg over the next few days. This was stacked with 200mg of caffeine.

    Cardio also increased to 6 days a week of 30 minutes.

    Week 3 – 26th March

    Bodyweight: 87.4kg

    Forced to stop ab work this week due to the adductor issue.

    Week 4 – 2nd April

    Bodyweight: 87.7kg

    Carbs on normal days were reduced to 275g now, with high days remaining the same.

    The macros were now:

    High/Leg Days (x2)

    Protein: 240g
    Fats: 60g
    Carbs: 490g

    Upper/Rest Days (x5)

    Protein: 240g
    Fats: 60g
    Carbs: 275g

    Week 5: 9th April

    Bodyweight: 86kg

    Week 6: 16th April

    Bodyweight: 85.1kg

    Things are starting to kick into gear now.

    Everything is still the same. Feeling the strongest I’ve ever been now, PBing on almost everything every week.

    Week 7: 23rd April

    Bodyweight 84.5kg

    Only change this week was to drop one high day off the week. Most weeks now will be one high day, with the other used only on the fly when we need.

    Week 8: 30th April

    Bodyweight: 83.6kg

    After a month of pretty much no changes, we decided to step things up a little by dropping all macros down and increasing cardio.

    The macros were now:


    Protein: 220g (-20g)
    Fats: 50g (-10g)
    Carbs: 225g (-50g)

    This week the high day was combined with the first meal off plan for my birthday. To make sure we didn’t go too far off track, I dropped any additional fats on the day of, and the day after this meal.

    Here’s one of the courses I ate:
    After this meal, we decided to drop all high days out and stick to the above macros daily.

    Cardio now up to 40 minutes, 6 times a week.

    Still feeling strong, and managed to set an all time floor press PB of 120kg for 2. Given the tons of shoulder issues I’ve had in the past few years, it was good to finally get back up and surpass my old personal bests.

    Week 9: 7th May

    Bodyweight: 82.3kg

    No changes to food or cardio this week. The changes implemented last week gave a big drop in bodyweight and really tightened things up all over. What I did to this week was drop my meal frequency from 6 to 5 on training days as I’d rather have bigger meals now that the high days were gone on these days.

    This week marked the end of working at UP, and a short two week break from working full time before launching RNT.

    With more control of my schedule and lifestyle now, we decided to bump training up to 5 days a week now, with the following split:

    Monday: Lower Body Strength
    Tuesday: Upper Body Strength
    Wednesday: Off
    Thursday: Legs Hypertrophy
    Friday: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy
    Saturday: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy
    Sunday: Off

    As you can see, the principles of the programme are the same, it’s just the volume is now spread out a little more.

    The adductor’s almost 100% now, so my leg workouts are much better. Split squats, hack squats and lunges are all back in now, and my quads are sore for the first time in 4-5 months! Ab training is back too, but now with much lower volume. Instead of the circuits I was doing, it’s just one exercise tacked onto 2-3 training days a week. This was enough, and 3 sets of decline garhammer raises left my abs crippled for 4 days.

    Week 10: 14th May

    Bodyweight: 81.6kg

    Only change this week is to drop 25g of carbs every day, so my current macros are now:

    Protein: 220g
    Fats: 50g
    Carbs: 200g (-25g)

    I started this week with a short 3 day break in Nice. This marked the half way of point of prep, and as I’ve been training 10-12 weeks straight with no reduction in intensity, I thought this would be the perfect time to deload before ramping things up.

    In my previous prep in 2014, I shut myself out of a lot of social events in fear of messing anything up. This time I’ve lived completely normally, and made this prep fit around life, rather than the other way round.

    I’m still going for the win, and I still want shredded glutes on stage. So these three days aren’t a break from the diet at all. I’ve booked a self catered Air BnB, and I’ve got a lot of my food with me.
    It’s just I’ll be doing cardio on the beach in the sun, rather than in the rain back in London!

    After Nice, my training schedule was a little thrown off, so I trained in the following way this week:

    Sunday-Tuesday: deload
    Wednesday: Legs
    Thursday: Chest and Shoulders
    Friday: Back
    Saturday: Arms
    Sunday: Off

    After Saturday’s session, I decided to take my first progress pictures. After dropping 10 kilos, here’s the change so far:
    Granted that’s a bad before picture at the peak of my bulk, but you can see it’s come together a LOT in the 11 weeks so far. I’m really excited to see the final product in 10 weeks time 

    Week 11: 21st May

    Bodyweight: 80.4kg

    Normal week for training this week, training 5 days a week on the split outlined in week 10.

    No changes to food this week. Only change is that during my 40 minutes of cardio, 7-8 minutes needs to be done really fast. Derek told me to crank the intensity up during this. So what I did was to pick two songs, and walk like I’m competing in the Olympics’ power walking event. Look like an ass doing it but it definitely stepped it up a little.

    I’m also on the hunt for AD Shredabull to use pre cardio, but it’s out of stock. I’ve been giving this to clients to use 6-8 weeks out from transformation deadlines/photoshoots/competitions, and it’s probably the best legal fat burner/stimulant out there.

    Week 12: 28th May

    Bodyweight: 78.8kg

    Massive drops in bodyweight this week. Despite this, the past week has been easy as I’ve been completely distracted with launching RNT. So it’s been perfect timing.

    No changes this week with food or cardio, but I have got the Shredabull, so I’ve added that in pre cardio and removed the caffeine tablets.

    This lit a fire under me, and I beat my normal 40 minute cardio route by 3 minutes 38 seconds! This stuff is so potent I was left sweating with simultaneous chills for 3 hours after. I’m excited to see what this does to my physique over the next few weeks!

    Only thing I’ve noticed this week is my body is starting to feel pretty beat. Hips, knees, low back, the usual stuff. So I need to keep on top of this and get more regular soft tissue work in the lead up to the show.

    After legs on Monday I took some progress shots. Legs are pumped to the max so legs don’t have the lines they normally do, but you get the idea:

    Week 13: 4th June

    Bodyweight: 77.7kg

    Another big chunk of body fat off this week. The Shredabull has been brutal, and has really helped push my cardio to a new level. The 7-8 minutes ‘fast’ bit I was doing a few weeks ago is now my pace throughout. Listening to this playlist at the same time has been great, too.

    In the latter end of week 13, we dropped 25g carbs everyday to start stepping on the gas a little more, bringing the macros to:

    Protein: 220g
    Fats: 50g
    Carbs: 175g (-25g)

    This was an easy drop to make, and has already started to show in my legs, with separations starting to come out more prominently in the few days after. Glutes are also starting to come in a little, which is exciting.
    I’m still training 5 days a week on the same split, and while my leg training is going great, my upper body work is suffering. I injured my wrist/hand badly last week getting a dumbbell into position (!). The physio reckons a muscle or tendon tweaked, pulling a bone slightly out of place. After what I wrote last week about body feeling beat up, I should’ve seen something like this coming.

    Either way, I’m trying to stay positive and focus on ways I can still be progressive in my training. I’ve bought some cuffs to loop around my wrist to attach to cables so I can still do some flies and lateral type movements to maintain chest/shoulder size.

    8 weeks to go!

    Week 14: 11th June

    Bodyweight: 76.6kg

    Another kilo down. We introduced our first proper refeed on Friday 9th June, with the following macros:

    Refeed #1
    Protein: 220g
    Fats: 50g
    Carbs: 340g (+165g)

    I did this on leg day, and it just included more of the same with rice and oats, as well as some additional fruit, intra-workout carbs and Coco Pops post workout. On this Friday, I was also flying to the Algarve for 5 days, so I didn’t really notice much difference in the way I felt or performed after this refeed.
    In the Algarve, it was business as usual. One thing I wanted to do this time round on prep was to make sure I didn’t put life on hold. So while it was tough watching a friend drink and eat whatever he liked while I was eating out of tupperware, I was happy with how the trip went.

    Week 15: 18th June

    Bodyweight 75.5kg

    No changes this past week with diet. Still running off the same macros of:

    Protein: 220g
    Fats: 50g
    Carbs: 175g (-25g)
    After I came back from the Algarve, I decided to step on the gas with stims and general NEAT.

    I decided to bump Shredabull up to twice a day, once pre fasted cardio, and once pre workout. On some days, I’ve been adding a scoop of pre workout in too.

    With my daily steps, up till now I’ve been aiming from anywhere between 10 and 15K steps a day. From this week, I’ve decided to make it 20K everyday. The weather’s been great so this has been easy, and I’m generally getting the 20K from:
    • 45 mins cardio
    • 20 min to and from the gym
    • 20 min to and from the station
    • General walking / PT
    For my training, the wrist is definitely improving and this week was the first in a while I’ve managed to apply the intensity I usually like to bring.

    I’ve found dips and push-ups to be pain-free, so I’ve been loading them up to maintain chest and arms size.

    This week I’ve also bumped my training up to 6 days a week, on the following split:

    Day 1: Legs
    Day 2: Chest and Arms
    Day 3: Back and Shoulders
    Day 4-6: Repeat
    Day 7: Off

    As usual, the first half of the week is slightly lower in reps, and the second half a little higher.

    And lastly… I’ve started posing properly this week, aiming for between 15-30 minutes a day holding poses for 10 seconds at a time. As the week’s go by, I’ll increase the time spent in each pose.

    Since coming back from Algarve, it’s probably been the first time I’ve felt like I’ve been on ‘prep’. Legs are getting heavier, fatigue is kicking in, and patience is definitely a lot shorter than normal!

    6 weeks out now.

    Week 16: 25th June

    Bodyweight: 74.8kg
    Towards the end of this week we decided to drop some carbs out of the daily diet and bump morning cardio a little from 40 minutes to 50 minutes.

    The goal is to come in nasty condition, so this change came out of the need to dig a little deeper to get the lines we want in the body.

    Training remained the same, and I’ve been surprising myself with how well strength has been holding, despite the increased frequency and decreased bodyweight.

    This past week I also booked a posing class with Leonard St Cyr, an IFBB pro who’s excellent in the art of posing and best presenting your body on stage.

    So the macros are now:

    Protein: 220g
    Fats: 50g
    Carbs: 150g (-25g)

    I’ve been eating the same thing pretty much everyday for the last few weeks, and plan to keep it this way till the end now. Here’s how it looks:
    M1: 140ml egg whites, 1 large egg, 50g smoked salmon, 40g oats
    M2: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 38g Rice, Green Veggies
    INTRA: 1 scoop Aminotaur
    PWO: 40g Whey
    M3: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 38g Rice, Green Veggies
    M4: 30g Whey, 40g Oats
    M5: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 38g Rice, Green Veggies

    (I just divide the rice total (115g) and chicken total (400g) into three – I don’t cook 133g chicken and 38g rice at a time!)

    5 weeks out now.

    Week 17: 2nd July

    Bodyweight: 74.3kg

    No changes with anything training, diet or cardio related. Prep is really kicking in now, and I’m now crossing the line between being lean and shredded.

    Legs constantly like lead, mood is all over the place and I’ve noticed I need to organise my energy and productivity for work carefully now.

    This week I did add an extra 400mg caffeine with my pre cardio stack, and have now kept pre-workout in before every session.

    Here’s my full supplement list right now:

    Upon Rising: 1 teaspoon Psyllium Husk, 1/4 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt, 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, Quarter Squeezed Lemon all mixed in water

    Pre Cardio: 1x Shredabull, 12.5mg Yohimbine, Put 400mg caffeine in today for an extra boost and will keep going forward (after a few days will swap this out for another shredabull cap)

    General Health with Breakfast: 2000IU D3, 1 Tsp Fish Oil

    Pre Workout: 1x Shredabull, 1 scoop AD Nitrox, 1 scoop Arc Reactor

    In one whey shake: 5g creatine

    Intra: AD Aminotaur

    Week 18: 9th July

    Bodyweight: 73.2kg

    Another kilo off, and I’m now seeing things I’ve never seen before. It’s a good feeling knowing I’ve already beat my previous stage condition at a higher bodyweight (I was 71kg last time on stage).

    Fatigue is constant, but the goal is driving me everyday. It’s a weird feeling, and confirmed the old bodybuilding mantra of ‘the worse you feel, the better you look’.

    I love the struggle of pushing my body to a place it’s never been before. And this prep has definitely confirmed to be that it’s not about discipline, it’s all about the love for the process.

    Cardio is getting real tough. The past 7 days my times on the same route have just gotten worse and worse.

    3/7 51.20
    4/7 52.49
    5/7 54.58
    6/7 53.0
    7/7 57.0
    8/7 55.57
    9/7 60.1

    I was talking about this with a friend and we were saying how even when ‘feels’ like you’re walking fast, your legs just aren’t carrying you.

    This past week there have been a few changes in the diet. On Monday 3rd and Friday 7th July, we added two higher carb days to coincide with the leg days. These days used the same diet template as normal, just with an added 135g carbs all coming from jasmine rice in the first four meals of the day.

    We also added an extra rest day just for this week, so instead of 6 on, 1 off, it became 3 on, 1 off, 3 on.

    Some pictures at 3 weeks out. As you’ll see glutes are coming in, and once we get the last few bits of the lower back / glutes and hams we should be ready.
    I’m also really happy with the improvements in my hamstrings in my side chest pose. The few years of training them at the start of every leg workout, twice a week, has paid off!
    3 weeks to go!

    Week 19: 16th July

    Bodyweight: 71.9kg

    We made a few changes on Wednesday 12th July that have peeled another layer of fat off, and dropped off 1.2kg since. Carbs were dropped to 100g, and cardio was bumped to 60 min fasted in the morning. Given the extra rest day last week, it meant I ended up training 9 days on the trot. Strength is holding strong though, so it’s all good.

    Macros everyday:

    Protein: 200g
    Fat: 35g
    Carbs: 100g

    I know this looks like a big drop, but when I sat and calculated everything I’m eating, it’s actually been less protein and fat than I thought. I think this happened by default as incidentals were dropped out etc.

    Diet now looks like this:

    M1: 140ml egg whites, 1 large egg, 50g smoked salmon, 40g oats
    M2: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 35g Rice, Green Veggies
    INTRA: 1 scoop Aminotaur
    PWO: 40g Whey
    M3: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 35g Rice, Green Veggies
    M4: 30g Whey, 30g Oats
    M5: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, Green Veggies
    Looking flat in front and side shots in particular, but this is fine by me. I don’t think people let themselves get flat enough when pushing for those extreme conditions in fear for how they look day to day, when ultimately all that matters is show day.

    14 days out now, and I can’t wait to see the end product now.

    Week 20: 23rd July

    Bodyweight: 71kg

    Knocked off another 2 pounds this past week, despite actually making a fair few increases in food this past week. My bodyweight in the past week has been as follows:

    Sun 16th: 71.9kg
    Mon 17th: 72.3kg
    Tues 18th: 71.7kg
    Wed 19th: 71.5kg
    Thurs 20th: 71.3kg
    Fri 21st: 71.3kg
    Sat 22nd: 71kg
    Sun 23rd: 71kg

    For Sun 16th to Tues 18th, we kept the macros at 200P/35F/100C, eating the diet written in the previous week’s post.

    From Wed 19th we started to slowly increase carbs, coming predominantly from rice. Here’s how it’s gone:

    Wed 19th: 200P/35F/150C (+50g from rice)

    No more carb cut offs – rice was spread throughout the day.

    Thurs 20th: 200P/35F/175C (+25g from rice)

    Fri 21st: 200P/35F/200C (+25g from rice)

    Sat 22nd: 200P/35F/250C (+25g from rice, +25g from oats)

    This was originally meant to be 225g, but half way through the day we made it 250g as I was looking flat and soaking up all the carbs, so we added some oats to meal 4.

    Sun 23rd: 200P/35F/275C (+25g from rice)

    The oats in meal 4 was replaced with rice here to reduce the addition of trace fats.

    Here’s Sunday’s diet as an example:

    M1: 140ml egg whites, 1 large egg, 50g smoked salmon, 60g oats
    M2: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 80g Rice, Green Veggies
    During Posing: 1 scoop Aminotaur, 40g Whey (no training today so just moving these into a 30 minute posing session)
    M3: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 80g Rice, Green Veggies
    M4: 30g Whey, 80g Rice (just going to pour the whey on top!)
    M5: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 60g Rice, Green Veggies

    Training and cardio has remained the same – 6 days a week on the legs, chest/arms, back/shoulders split, along with 60 minutes of daily fasted cardio. Sessions have been a drag and taken me a while to complete. Lost a few reps here or there on my main lifts, but I guess it’s to be expected at this stage.

    My cardio times have been good this past week though. I’ve been in full-on OCD mode with it – same hoodie, same music playlist, same route, etc. I think keeping a track of times and ‘check-points’ throughout the route have helped keep intensity and focus high during cardio. Here are the times:

    16/7 61.03
    17/7 60.44
    18/7 60.31
    19/7 61.33
    20/7 61.41
    21/7 60.21
    22/7 61.18
    23/7 61.28 (potentially last 60 min cardio session)
    No supplement changes during the week, but from Sun 23rd I dropped Yohimbine and Vasoburn to remove any risk of holding water.

    7 days to go! Loving the process, and taking each day at a time to see how my body responds to the additional food.

    Final Week: 30th July

    My body has been soaking up the extra carbs as we’ve slowly introduced more each day. In this final week the plan was to continue this, so here’s how my diet and bodyweight played out:

    Mon 24th: 71kg, 200P/40F/300C (+25g carbs from rice, +5g fat from whole egg)
    Monday night I realised I accomplished one of my goals of this prep – to bring shredded glutes!

    Tues 25th: 71kg, 200P/50F/325C (+25g carbs from rice, +5g fat from whole egg, +5g fat from peanut butter)

    I hadn’t used peanut butter in a while, but we wanted to trial a fat source that was ‘portable’ in case we needed it on show day. It was all fine digestion wise so we kept it in after as one of my fat sources. 

    Wed 26th: 71.2kg, 200P/50F/325C
    Thurs 27th: 71.1kg, 200P/50F/325C
    Fri 28th: 71kg, 200P/50F/325C
    Sat 29th: 71.4kg, 200P/55F/325C (+5g fat from peanut butter)
    Sun 30th, Show Day: 71.7kg (will cover below)

    Training was kept the same the whole week prior to the show. The only thing was that from Thursday, I dropped loads 20-30% and only performed 2 easy sets on everything. I spent these three workouts just focusing on contractions and shuttling carbs into the muscles – nothing that could potentially create any muscle damage or soreness.

    Cardio was tapered this week too, as follows:

    Mon 24th: 50 min LISS, 18K steps
    Tues 25th: 45 min LISS, 16K steps
    Wed 26th: 30 min LISS, 12K steps
    Thurs 27th: 15 min LISS, 12K steps
    Fri 28th: 15 min LISS, minimal steps
    Sat 29th: 15 min LISS, minimal steps
    Sun 30th: No cardio

    No water or sodium manipulations were made. I was eating and drinking exactly the same diet all the way up to show day. This felt good mentally!

    Here’s how I was looking one day before:

    Show Day

    Bodyweight: 71.7kg

    So I finished up on 71.7kg, making the total drop in bodyweight 18.5kg (40.7lbs) over the course of the 21 weeks.

    Show day wasn’t anything fancy. Here’s what I did:

    7am: 140ml egg whites, 2 large egg, 50g smoked salmon, 60g oats
    9.30am: 133g Chicken, 15g Peanut Butter, 80g Rice, Green Veggies
    12pm: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 80g Rice, Green Veggies

    After this meal, water was only drunk to quench thirst, no gulping

    20 min before pre-judging: 1 Rice Krispies Treat, 1/4 teaspoon salt, some water to wash it down
    2pm: Pre-Judging
    3.30pm: 133g Chicken, 1 tsp E-V Olive Oil, 80g Rice, Green Veggies
    20 min before evening show: 1 Rice Krispies Treat, 1/4 teaspoon salt, some water to wash it down
    6pm: Evening Show
    8pm: Steak & chips with a glass of a red and some dark chocolate!

    Here’s some shots from pre-judging:

    For my routine, I tried to hit some classical shots, which I think worked quite well!
    After the routines, we were called out for mandatories again to decide the winner.
    The day itself went well – I brought my best condition and couldn’t really have given the  contest prep much more. I came 2nd in a closely contested men’s open middleweight category, losing to the eventual overall champion for the day, Oladipupo Adeniji.

    The best part of the whole day was the incredible support I had from all my family and friends – we were the loudest and biggest group in the crowd!
    I’m going to follow this blog up with my plans for after, how I’ll be approaching the ‘transition’ phase and my goals for the off-season.

    If you’ve got any questions about any of the prep, please feel free to ask!

    Akash VaghelaAkash Vaghela

    Akash Vaghela has spent 10+ years transforming bodies and lives around the world, and in May 2017, founded RNT Fitness to serve this purpose. His vision is to see a world transformed, where ambitious high performers experience the power of the physical as the vehicle to unlock their real potential. He’s the author of the Amazon best-selling book Transform Your Body Transform Your Life, which explains his unique and proven five-phase methodology, is host of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, has been featured in the likes of Men’s Health and BBC, whilst regularly speaking across the world on all things transformation.

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