by chip •
About a week ago, I was eating breakfast and going through my messages when I came across the following message sent to me:
“Heya, I have a question as u r a professional. I recently moved to <location redacted> & I got:
2x Deca 300mg
2x Propionate 100mg
2x Enanthate 250mg
What’s the best way to cycle them?”
I was a little flattered that after almost a decade trying to unskinny myself, someone came across me and thought I had built a physique worthy enough to be assumed to be an expert in this. Mostly, I was thinking what an idiot someone must be to acquire powerful prescription drugs – of any sort – and is asking some random person on the Internet how to use them. I debated about writing about it, but chances are that there are other people that do this. So, the advice I gave him is below.
I last competed in bodybuilding in October last year. Last year was the first time moving up to the open light heavyweight class. After that, I took a little time off to do a lot of traveling the last two months of the year and to enjoy the holidays. With the new year, it is time to get going again full force in the gym to make improvements. Plans often evolve as work and life intervene or progress is moving faster or slower. My thought for 2017 is to compete towards the end of the year (perhaps the 2017 NPC Texas State in November) in order to have a longer off-season to try to put on some additional mass. Moving up in class inevitably means being on the lower end of the weight boundary for the class. Additional weight would help get me closer to the middle of the weight range in the class. So, this blog positing will be updated periodically to see how the road to compete is progressing.
File this under: “honest answers you don’t really want to hear.” The answer is do not waste money on a coach until you decide you want to be serious. Extreme results in sports take a corresponding extreme amount of discipline and effort. Competing in any physique competition requires an extreme level of conditioning and hard work to attain it. If you really want that look, you would do what it takes to get there and not try to find ways around the required hard work and diet needed before you even start. Questions on fitness, diet, or even competing? Reach out to me by commenting below, DM on Instagram (@thejackedtraveler) or tweet me on Twitter (@jackedtraveler).
As I am no longer in my 20s, I have to deal with working around sore joints (elbows, knees). Some movements like overhead tricep extensions are hard on the elbow when the weight gets heavy. The easy answer is to not lift heavy or skip those movements. The better answer is to just be smart. To do those triceps extensions, I will alternate using a moderate dumbbell and superset immediately with using bands. The approach works for me since the combination fully works that muscle group (the DB version is hardest at the bottom when the tricep is extended and the banded version is hardest at the top of the movement when the tricep contracts).
Whatever the choice of activity to get fit is, whether running, biking, lifting, swimming, etc., a small population will be taken enough with their chosen sport to want to take the challenge on of competing. For runners, some will get the bug to prepare for and run a marathon. For the gym rats who love lifting heavy, some will get the bug to enter a powerlifting meet. Other gym rats will gravitate to physique competitions. Since I get asked about the latter pretty regularly, let me share some lessons learned and advice.
If you are both a gym and road warrior, you know the disappointing feeling of checking into a hotel and checking out what their on-site fitness center looks like. 99% of the time, it is a small, sad room with little equipment. Finding a serious training facility is not always easy since hardcore or old-school gyms are niche businesses typically independently owned that do not have large on-line visibility in on-line directories. Working out in a “fitness center” is tiring when having to avoiding the Snapchat crowd live-feeding their quarter rep squats and the oxygen deprivation-wearing “Bane” wannabes.
So, here is a map of gym rat-approved gyms I have found while traveling or sent to me by fellow powerlifters and bodybuilders. Running a gym is a tough business, especially an old school one. Let us support these independent owners where we can. If you see a gym missing that meets the criteria of being friendly to serious lifters, please message me (Instagram: @thejackedtraveler, Twitter: @jackedtraveler) or leave a comment below.