When I headed down to the Arnold Sports Festival, I knew I was not going to let it be a free for all weekend. I had a plan and very meticulously laid out every aspect of that plan so that nothing was left to chance. If I were not going to the Arnold that weekend I would have had my meals planned out and prepped ahead of time, got in 2 workouts and one cardio session. Just because I would be driving 6 hours away, was no excuse to expect anything less than and so I was sticking to my plan to ensure nothing was different while I was there.
This wasn’t just a weekend thing. This is all part of a plan that started when I stepped off stage in Miami in 2014. I knew then I would return to Miami in 2016 improved and better than my best ever. The feedback I got then from the judges and others were invaluable and what shaped my plans that would lead me to this point. When I was packing for the Arnold, I was 34 weeks out from heading back to the stage in Miami to stand with some of the best natural pro bodybuilders in the world and fight for that World title.
I packed and prepped 24 meals – 6 for each day, including my protein powders and pre and post lifting shakes. I knew ahead of time that the hotel room would have a refrigerator and microwave – both would be a huge help while I was there. For the drive down I packed all my meals in a large cooler and then filled it with ice. While I was heading down there by myself, I did not know if the opportunity would arise to join friends and other people I met for dinner or a meal here and there. If that did occur I knew I could go out to eat and stay close to my macros, but I still packed every meal in case I did not go to any restaurants while I was there. For me, it is better to be prepared and flexible enough to make adjustments, rather than have to scramble last minute or be caught empty handed.
I eat on a schedule about every 3 hours or so. It works for me and so I knew I would continue to do that even while taking in all the sights and events of the Arnold. This too took some planning. I knew there were people I wanted to see, booths I wanted to visit, and events that I wanted to be at. I laid all of this out ahead of time and then blocked off the times for these things and made my meal times work within them. Like clockwork, I would end up back in my hotel room eating my meal, drinking another quart or two of water (to keep that on track too) and then would resume the next part of my day.
I packed my gym bag because I knew I needed to get in the back and biceps workout while I was there. To that end I researched gyms I could walk to from my hotel and found the Powerhouse Gym was about a 5 minute walk. However, I knew that if the gym was walking distance for me it was walking distance for many others and most likely would be packed. So I planned to go to the gym during the day on Friday when most people were in the fitness Expo and hopefully not in the gym. That strategy worked. After spending the morning at the Expo, I left there for a bit to go and get in a workout. The gym was fairly empty and just started to fill up as I was leaving. I got back to the hotel to change and clean up and then head back to the Expo to watch the Strongman competition. I didn’t miss a beat.
The hotel also had a small fitness room which would be good enough to get in my cardio workout on Saturday morning. I set the alarm and got down there early to get it done before starting another full day of events.
Over the course of the weekend I was able to hit every meal, meet my water intake for the day, get in my gym workout and also my cardio session and still do everything I set out to do at the Arnold Sports Festival.
Sunday was another well planned day as I was not only driving the 6 hours back home, but also driving right to the gym to get in a workout with Pete – our Sunday leg day workout! Again, I had to pack a few meals to eat on the way and had my workout shakes and clothes ready to go. It sounds a bit nuts but it all worked as smooth as can be and we got that workout in too. This level of discipline and attention to detail has been in place for quite some time and so a few days away was not enough to throw me off of my plan. My goals may be far off, but they are closer now than they were over a year ago. It is all part of the process. The weekend was a success and the journey continues.