Competitor prep is like nothing else in life. Every person who has no clue says “I know how hard you worked for …” no you don’t. You have no idea.
Competition prep is harder than medical school. It is extremely hard on every part of your life. Dieting and lifting weights, the part people see, are easy compared to other parts of prep.
3 cardio sessions day with sweaty clothes, weights every day, posing every day….that’s just the start. 6-12 meals a day, food prep for those meals, grocery shopping for those meals, all this takes time. The laundry from the 4 workouts a day takes time. Time on toilet increases with all the food. 24 minute tanning beds take an hour with dressing/undressing and talking to the employees at the tanning salon. On top of that you have a job, possibly kids, and this all mounts up to mean a 20 hour work day many days a week.
On top of this not a single person in your life will help you (not even when you pay them in many cases) and most will try to sabotage you at every turn out of jealousy. Husbands will mess up your laundry so you have to stay in and spend time with him and the kids, your sister will try to tell you that you’re too muscular and look like a man. Your mother will tell you that you’re not eating right and your trainer doesn’t know nutrition.
All of this mounts up to stress. And the body responds to stress with…
Cortisol is the stress hormone that eats away muscle and causes fat and water to accumulate. Cortisol also raises your blood sugar and makes it hard to sleep.
Worst part is, the biggest cause of stress is lack of sleep. Thus you’re launched into a vicious cycle of losing your gains while you try to get thinner. What most inexperienced coachless people do is they cut their carbs, increase their cardio, increase their protein, and take more drugs and supplements in an attempt to counteract the fat gain and muscle loss.
This just makes you more stressed and you lose more sleep and then you wake up more stressed fatter and less muscular.
The Importance of Sleep
Simply put, the most important thing you can do for your prep is sleep. I am very well versed in the neurology of sleep. I was heavily into sleep science and medicine while i was in graduate school (before Medical School).
Why? Because I have had insomnia my whole life.
Why is Sleep Important in Bodybuilding?
Leptin is covered in its own article and thats why its in red, you can click it to read that article. To sum it up for those who don’t care, leptin is released after 6 hours of continuous sleep. Leptin stops Ghrelin from making you cheat on your diet. Want more details? Read the article:)
Growth Hormone is released after about 3 hours of sleep and is released every 3 hours of sleep. The more growth hormone, the more fat you lose while you sleep and the more it COMBATS CORTISOL. This means getting sleep isn’t arbitrary waste of precious time you could use for cardio or cooking. More sleep means you burn more fat, preserve more muscle, and cheat on your diet less if you sleep at least 6 hours. 8.2 is ideal.
Does this stuff apply to everyone? Of course!! This is a bodybuilding site so im addressing bodybuilders. But fat loss is fat loss, and your body doesn’t know you have a show or not, it only knows what’s happening to it and how to react.
Since you need sleep to live, not sleeping causes your body STRESS so it releases cortisol the stress hormone to fight this stress. It directly eats muscles and turns them into carbs so you have energy. If you’re sitting still you just store the carbs as fat. It literally eats your muscles and makes you fat. Its the opposite of GH or Testosterone. Shitty Doctors prescribe prednisone, a version of cortisol which is 3 times stronger at destroying your body. Why? if you stay sick you get more office visits and prescriptions. More money for the Hospital, pharmacy, and private practice groups. The rich get richer and the sick get sicker.
If you want the very best prep and the best body possible get at least 6 hours of sleep. To get the most out of your sleep take Nocturnus before bed, this will cause a much greater GH release and you will burn more fat and preserve more muscle. Assuming you have Rise and Swell when you wake up, the fat loss and GH from sleep continues all day until you end up having carbs (which you shouldn’t have until workout time).
Need help sleeping?
I have figured out some stuff about how to sleep by dealing with my own insomnia and in medical school I learned about all the prescription drugs that work and how.
There are basic Sleep Hygiene rules:
Melatonin is a natural solution to insomnia. It is the hormone released by your pineal gland when the lights go off. My ex wife was like a parakeet. When she was tired and cranky I would turn the lights out and put a blanket on her and she would pass out!
Melatonin is a supplement that works just like putting a blanket on a parakeet’s cage. It is the most natural way to induce sleep and it can keep you asleep the longest of the knockout mechanisms.
Start with 1 mg. As you use it over the span of days and weeks your body will adjust and you’ll need more. I think the most I have ever used was 40 mg a night. At this point you might as well put it away for a month and use the stack I list below to fill in that time gap before going back to melatonin.
Ambien is a prescription benzo that causes immediate loss of consciousness and anterograde amnesia. It means that it spikes so fast in your blood it will knock you unconscious, and you won’t remember anything that happens if you fight it and stay awake.
Many people eat tons of pasta, go driving, or have sex with strangers on this drug and don’t remember. For these reasons Ambien is not legal, you need a prescription. Like anything that spikes in your blood fast, it’s addictive and wears off fast. With Ambien you wake up a few hours later anxious, and you got nothing for GH or leptin.
Epic fail? Not quite. If you stack it with a long acting drug like Diphenhydramine (found in Benadryl and Tylenol PM) then you will sleep the whole night. Benadryl has a very long half life and you won’t fall asleep fast, but once you’re asleep you’re dead to the world. This deep sleep facilitates major GH release. BUT if you use the manufacturer’s recommended amount then your groggy half the next day since it’s still active. The solution is stacking Ambien with half serving (25 mg) of benadryl. Then you are knocked out, and stay out.
The best combination of all is Melatonin, 25 mg Diphenhydramine (benadryl) and 3 scoops Nocturnus.
I would keep typing but I just took those three and I’m falling asleep:)
Nothing in this article or on this site should be considered medical advice or as an endorsement to violate any law of the country in which you reside. The information given is for fun and entertainment purposes only. All claims are 100% dependent upon proper diet and exercise. Please consult a medical practitioner prior to any diet and exercise program.