My First Natural Bodybuilding Show - How I Did It!

Muscle and Strength member Nico Ferrara competes in his first every Natural Bodybuilding Show! See how he cut down and got prepared!

Article submitted by M&S member Nico Ferrara (AKA NicoSuave32)

Ever since I started pumping iron in the gym I dreamed of walking on stage in a posing suit in front of hundreds of people and showing off a body I could be proud of. And on June 27th 2009 I did just that! I competed in the 2009 Mr. Rochester Bodybuilding Championships presented by Jim Rockell and placed 2nd in the Heavy Weight Teen Class. But the road to the show wasn't easy at all.

First I created a routine based upon many things I had learned on Muscle and Strength and what exercises I felt gave me the best pump. As well as developing a workout routine I also developed a diet that was suitable for me to put on some lean muscle mass. I bulked for 25 weeks and then began my cut for the show on the second week in January by reducing my calorie intake for the day. I performed my normal workout routine Mon-Fri and then on weekends I would do cardio for an hour a day to help burn calories and shed off the excess fat.

To shock the body I would perform carb loads where I would go 3 or 4 days with a low carb intake and then on the 5th day I would spike the carb intake and take in an excess amount of carbs. I also used load days and cheat days to keep the body from getting use to my diet. When ever I been to plateau in weight I would either do a load day where I brought my calories back up to maintenance level or if it was Saturday or Sunday I would use a cheat meal, which was whatever I wanted to eat whether it be a pizza pie, a Big Mac etc, to help confuse the body and help me lose the pounds I needed.

As I got closer and closer to the show (about 12 weeks out) I began to mix up my training by doing a week where I did my normal routine of compounds like squats and isolations like preacher curl with no cardio except on weekends and then the next week I would do an isolation routine with no compounds and a half hour of cardio after. I felt this really help me lose the fat and sculpt the muscles. Then once I was about 4 weeks out I just stuck to isolations and a half hour of cardio so that I could really sculpt the muscles and limit injury as much as possible.

The week out from the show I picked 3 exercises for the major body parts and performed 3 sets of each and 3 exercises for the small body parts and performed 1 set of each just to get blood into the muscles. Finishing up my workout with an hour of cardio wearing about 2 sometimes 3 layers of sweat shirts and t-shirt to sweat out the excess water and salt.

Tanning And Show Prep

At about 2 weeks out I began to tan in a tanning bed or outside in the natural sun everyday for at least an hour a day. Then a week out I began to apply 2 coats of Faux Tan by Bare Essentials everyday to really get the color I required.

Throughout the whole cutting process I prepared my body for the dehydration process by overloading the body with 2-2 ½ gallons of water a day and then 2 days out from the show I drank no water at all so the body would flush all the water in my body. By taking in 2- 2 ½ gallons a day my body was constantly flushing water and my body got use to it so when I drank no water at all my body was use to the 2-2 ½ gallons and kept flushing, but there was no water to flush.

Finally 1 day out from the show and the day of the show I only consumed baby food every meal except for the 6th meal which I consumed cottage cheese to prevent a catabolic stage while I slept. I consumed baby food so it could be digested quickly leaving little to no food in my body for weigh in. I also drank 8 oz of dry red wine the day of ad before the show to help increase my vascularity. The day of the show I consumed banana baby food for the potassium, sweet potatoes baby food for the insulin spike and give me energy, green been baby food for the vitamins, and chicken, beef, veal, turkey, and pork chop baby food for the protein. After all my hard work, dieting, training and preparing I placed 2nd in my division and gained some experience for the next show. I couldn't have done any of this without the love and support from my parents, my sister, my cousin Zach and the rest of my family and friends. Now that I have gotten my feet wet I can't wait to compete in the next show!

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