By Juan Rojas
So I just finished 2 shows back to back. I had my eyes set on these shows for 2 years now and I cannot believe it is all over. Now it is time to continue improving and add a LARGE amount of muscle mass to compete with the big boys next time. The last 2 years have been fundamental in my bodybuilding career in the sense that it was the first time that I have been able to learn to understand my body and listen to it. Especially in the last 6 months I have learned to determine what my body needs (not wants), and how my body reacts to certain things. The portion of my preparation was about 6 months of hard, hard training and laser like focus. In this time frame I used a lot of supplements, did not have a wide selection of foods to interchange in my daily diet and I can definitely say it was one of the most stressful, busiest periods of my life. I have made some life changes in the last few weeks that have contributed to much less stress (quitting my full time day job and fully focusing on coaching clients; although I am still working as a nutritionist for a very successful gym a few times a week). Now I have gone from sleeping 4-6 hours a night to a solid 7-8 hours a night. After those 2 show weekends I also happened to eat a lot of very tasty foods but that are unfortunately very highly processed, acidic and that can cause a ton of inflammation in the body. The last 6 months compounded with years of being on a high protein diet and the use of many sports supplements really helped me make my decision to do a detox/cleanse.
Now before we go any further, I am not recommending you guys out there do this, this is just something personal that I feel will really benefit my body. Everybody is different and everybody’s body is different. I also want to say I am not doing an extreme juice cleanse or anything of the sort. Most cleanses involve you starving yourself, fasting for very long hours, have very little to no protein, and can be very low in fiber. This is not what I am doing at all. Many argue that you do not need to cleanse and detox your body as our major organs are made to do so, they act like filters in order to keep us healthy. I 100% AGREE WITH THE FACT THAT OUR MAJOR ORGANS ARE MADE TO DO THIS! That is why I wrote in the title “sort of.” Although I eat very healthy whole foods 95% of the time, being a competitive bodybuilder does put a heavy amount of stress on your organs through the sheer amount of food we eat. What I am more doing is having a small period(21 days) where I am looking to minimize the stress on my major organs by following certain principles and taking supplements that help regenerate the cells in these organs, that promote alkalinity in the body and that help fight inflammation in the body.
These major principles were created by one of the world’s top bodybuilding coaches named Dave Palumbo (The detox was created by him and I am following it to a tee as it is made exactly for a bodybuilder looking to give their body a slight break):
-You fast for 12 hours and eat for 12 hours (Which isn’t that hard if you do fasted cardio).
-4 meals a day of 40 grams of carbs, 40 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat are added in 3 of those meals.
-I am only eating chicken breast and/or white fish as my main protein sources.
-I am only eating brown rice or sweet potatoes as my main carb sources.
-I am using macadamia nut oil and olive oil as my main fat sources.
-Only dark leafy and cruciferous vegetables are eaten.
-No dairy, no red meat, no eggs, no stimulants (including caffeine), no alcohol or any sports supplements AT ALL (including protein powder), no sugary fruits and no wheat are used.
-Only supplements I am taking are made to promote lowering inflammation and improving health. Things like Ubiquinol, Curcumin, a probiotic, fiber, vitamin D, an Omega 3 supplement, a greens supplement, a liver cleanse and I am also running a herbal 30 day over the counter cleanse that helps flush out extra toxins.
-ALTHOUGH THE DIET DOES NOT STATE THIS, I am allowing myself one cheat meal a week. Could I get through 21 days without a cheat meal? Yes. But I also understand that if I overly restrict myself, especially post show by not even allowing myself 1 meal a week, I am opening up a door that may lead to binging in the future.
Although it may sound quite difficult and like not a lot of food, coming off a contest prep diet this is actually slightly higher calories than what I was having so it is not bad at all in that sense. In terms of energy levels it is not bad either. Again, coming off a contest prep you are a zombie for the last few weeks so I feel better overall just from not doing so much cardio and training. It is tough to not have even some BCAA’s that help sweeten up your day or a protein shake with some fruit but it is not the end of the world. I am experiencing much better sleep and fantastic bowel movements. My goal with this cleanse is to have more energy at the end and have my body primed for a state of maximum muscle growth right after. I want my organs to be functioning at 100% and my body to absorb the extra protein and supplements when I add them to maximize their value potential and my potential. I am realistic in knowing that over the next 3-4 weeks I will not be putting on a ton of muscle due to a lower calorie and protein intake. I also know that supplements can help a lot and without taking any I will not be progressing as much. But I see it as taking 1 step back to take 3 steps forward.
In terms of training over the next 4 weeks I am doing a strength phase. It has been a very long time since I have focused on doing straight sets of as low as 2-4 reps while focusing on the major barbell movements. I am focusing on heavy deadlifts, bench presses, squats and overhead presses. It is a 4 day a week Push, Pull, Legs routine. I think it is important doing a strength phase even if you are a bodybuilder at least 1-2 times a year. It is always good to shock the body with a different stimulus and focusing on strength and moving a weight as fast as possible can help in the long run. I am still doing 5 sessions a week of 45 minutes of cardio as I was doing 10 sessions a week the last few weeks of prep. It is important to knock it down gradually and I plan on brining this down to hopefully 2-3 30 minute sessions a week over the next 4 -5 weeks. I am very susceptible to gaining fat and I know that if I dramatically decrease my cardio from 10 sessions of 60 minutes a week to 2-3 sessions of 30 minutes I will put on fat and water weight like hippo in a buffet.
I won’t lie and say I am excited for the next 4 weeks. I just want to get them over with as I feel like I am not progressing; but I know that health is #1 and that I am priming my body to reach my goals. My main goal this offseason is to bring up my entire upper body and be able to be one of the best bodybuilders in Canada in the next 2 years. Right now my legs are far beyond my upper body. I have some major plans for my offseason beginning with doing a John Meadows program focused on higher frequency and bringing up your upper body. I really look up to John Meadows and it was so amazing meeting him a few weeks ago. This specific program involves things I have never done before that I am excited to see how they work for me!
This mixed with perhaps getting some guidance from different coaches I have been chatting with has me excited to see what the future holds. One thing I know is certain, I will never give up on this bodybuilding dream of mine and on the quest to inspire other to be their best. This competition season was very character building. I did not place as well as I wanted to, overall I did not make the progress I completely wanted to in the offseason either. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations, maybe I just didn’t quite nail what worked best for me, maybe I should have listened more to my body etc. But I cannot dwell on the past and I must make the future! At least now I know what things do not and DO work for me. I have decided to take this as something positive and I see it as gasoline to add to my fire of how passionate I am to sculpt my physique. Bodybuilding is a never ending quest of determining what works best for your body. But we learn from all our experiences and I have chosen to see it as an opportunity to grow and motivate me to be able to become the absolute best I can be!
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.