A Pre Contest Bodybuilding Back Day

Culler The CaledonianJune 14, 2002 Its competition time! Get ready for a killer back routine day in the life of a pre-contest bodybuilder.

“As you know better, you do better”. Here is a story from the old hardcore days…

A tale of stacks and carbs – Two weeks out from competition:

4:30AM-Kick-in-the-chest! I rip the covers off and swing my arm over to turn off the fan that has been sucking the moisture out of my brain all night. There’s got to be an alarm tone that won’t induce a mild heart attack every morning. It takes a minute of clutching my chest to make sure my heart doesn’t make a run for it. I can never figure out if I am going to sleep in a pool of sweat or have cold chills all night, I usually know half way through the night if I have to flip my soaked pillow. It has become an adventure to make it to the bathroom with my eyes glued shut from dehydration.

In truth I cant wait to wake up because between the crazy dreams from the stack and my growling stomach. Wake up time is an end to the 360 flips I do all night. I get to have breakfast. The thought of three shredded wheat biscuits and 4.6 oz of chicken is a touch of heaven in this cruel land of depletion. I just need to make it through morning cardio first. That means a stack to get rid of the jitters and a liter of water to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth. I enjoy feeling full for about ten minutes after breakfast, and waiting another two and half-hours to calm the gremlins again.

I can tell this is going to be one of those days where I get to spend 45 minutes of treadmill time watching leg press lockouts and coffee pot seminars at the water fountain. Wow, these people really enjoy their social outings. Shmucks.

Isn’t this special? I hope someone decides to do stretches on the back hyper machine again, just so I cant bring in my lower back in time for the contest. Nice, now that Mr.Buttercup in the corner is all loosened up on the back hyper, I can warm-up myself.

9:00 finishes off my first client of the day and now its home to eat and take a nap before I phone Jay “the freak” Riddell to make sure we are still on for back today. He’s six weeks out from provincials and we’re pushing hard. The phone call confirms it, 11:30, parking lot of Mac’s by the L.R.T. in downtown Calgary. Sounds like the callout for S.W.A.T. Time to drop my second stack of the day and put a liter of distilled water down range.

Doesn’t seem to matter how much of this stuff I drink, it feels like I got sand in my eyes every time I blink. The training pace has picked up so much that we don’t have time to grab water any more. It’s almost tempting to lick the sweat off the bench so I can swallow.

“Hey Ray”, huh? There’s that little evil voice again. Keeps saying I need extra carbs today because I’m looking flat. I hate that guy. Every time I start to lean out this voice decides to put up residence in my head. He gets really loud and annoying about 11:00 at night when I want to sleep. Usually something like, “Don’t you need an extra ounce of beef with those veggies so you don’t go catabolic during sleep?” Like I said: I hate that guy.

Heading down town now to get Jay, that is if this creeping pedestrian will ever get his sluggish, overweight butt off the cross walk. Bet you he enjoys his donut every morning, just two more weeks Ray and I get all the treats I want. I think the diet is kicking in nice now; I sit at stop signs, not just lights, waiting for them to turn green, hmmmm. Every day of crankiness is another percentage of body fat though, so it’s worth it. There’s Jay now. This is hilarious; I don’t think he even knows where he is. He looks like a drunk trying to act sober. Better honk the horn or he will walk right by. Braaaaamp! Yeah! ” Hey there! Good morning sunshine!” Life is always much more fun when someone is suffering as much as you are.

I guess all us meatheads are all a little jaded and off some way. Misery loves company. I should be pumping up mentally for the workout, but all I can think about is the half a deck of tomato and basil rice cakes I get after back. My “bad” for the day. Jay jumps (well more of a climb, crawl combo) into the truck. We exchange a couple grunts and other one syllable greetings and we’re off to do some damage.

We opt for our home gym today, it’s our cave so we can be a little more ourselves and get the shiznit done. The doors are open now and we’re on autopilot. Jay changes from “Mr. professional work guy” to ” The incredible human forklift”. I’m feeling a little small today so I suggest we start off with dead lifts in our back routine to try and boost some self-esteem. Just have to check to see if I have slid into the pencil neck strength zone yet. Nope, I’m still good. I hate looking average with my sweater on, but I can’t strip off till I get my pump. Funny how that works. We warm up with one, two, three and stop at four plates off the box. Now I can rip off the shirt. Felt kind of heavy till Jay said I had veins in my back. Now I’m ready to go. This feels like a good weight to work at. So we stay here. We pop off three sets of ten, eight and six and then drop back to three wheels for a back off set.

I don’t usually feel sweat running down my lower legs though, what’s up with that? Oh aren’t those pretty! I got nice red highlights on my sweats, both our shins are goo. That’s great, two weeks till I step on stage and I’ll have these monkey butt scabs on my shins. That should make the pro-tan look freaking great. Oh well, at least I know I still got some power, the diet can’t be eating away at me too much.

Back routine, phase two; I’m hoping its some kind of pull down because my lumbars are fried. Yeah, triangle grip pull downs, my little voice says “break time!” about a milli-second before jay goes “O.K., three or four strip sets sounds good!” Yeah, terrific. O.k., those are done, still getting good pumps at two weeks out, glad I read that Scott Abel stuff about sodium. Feels wrong to be using mustard on my chicken this close in though.

Phase three, v-grip t-bar rows. I used to think Jay was all right, now I think he sucks. Since its two weeks out I’ll nail off a couple sets of 20 reps, 10 strict and 10 squat, jerk, hernia reps. Just for the remote chance it will bring with it some back vascularity. Ahh, that’s what I was looking for. The feeling that my lat is going to rip off my armpit and whip around and slap me in my left eye. I must really be having a good back workout. What’s next forlift? I hope you said super sex. I like super sex. No super sex? Oh, you said “Supersets”, crap. So its going to be v-grip rows and behind the back pull downs, lets go then.

Ooooh, what’s that? Yup, I seen it Jay. That look. Jays getting wupped too! Now we’re in the same place. The place of champions, winners and the alpha male. The place that the wanna -be’s pretend doesn’t exist. The land that’s only seen from afar by the second place finishers. The zone that causes mister average to take water breaks or admire his pipe (cleaners) in the mirror.

But then it’s gone. With a snort and a grunt of disapproval, we break on through to the other side of focus and loose it. It’s the only place left for the barbaric males in us to vent our frustration and engage in rage fed activity. Form is the second priority. Common sense and reason has been dominated by something primal and pure. (Flashes of bringing a fitness babe back to my cave on my shoulder grow stronger with each passing of the spandex clad blonde.) And then that’s it; final set, final rep of our back routine. Release and accomplishment fill what used to be a tired and worn out body.

I’m going to feel like a million bucks for the next hour or so, thanks to my endorphin pusher in my melon. I slap Jay on the back and give him a “Good one buddy, looking large.” After my glorious rice cakes and chicken, I drop him off back to his corporate cappuccino and espresso co-workers. All of whom wonder why the cranky lumpy guy in the corner eats so much. Someone had to put the beast back in the cage. Until tomorrow…


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