How to Start a Contest Diet

Fouad Abiad's plan to start shredding season
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Fellow competitors often ask me how I start my pre-contest diet. Do I flip a switch and start peelin away layers of fat? Or do I gradually remove things from my diet? 

There are two parts to this answer and it includes both scenarios.  The first stage is just slowing down on eating so much crap, but not really removing things from my diet.  This usually happens around the 16 week out mark, (which is where I’m at as I write this).

My bodybuilding off-season diet might not be considered perfect.  It's perfect in the sense that I get in my six meals a day and make sure they are high in quality and quantity.  But on top of those six meals, I may have another cheat meal and in between meals I like to snack.  I’ll tell you guys one thing I found out about my body: It didn’t wanna push the limit weight wise while eating super clean.  It took a little garbage to get my body comfortable at over 300lbs.

So what kinds of things do I eat?  I like to have Subway as a cheat (2ft of sub is standard), Five Guys Burgers & Fries, sushi and some other burger joints.  Pizza is a part of my diet but only once every couple weeks.  I know what you guys are thinking: ‘this is nuts and that’s not how to build muscle,’ but it is my process and kinda always has been.  I feel like if I get in the quality meals, then the extra is support and keeps me mentally sane.

So anyway, now at 16 weeks this is what will happen:  I’ll slow down the cheats, maybe every other day or every third day.  I’ll drop the really shitty stuff and keep it to only quality cheats like sushi or real burgers.  What I will cut out for sure is all the little bullshit that goes in between the meals.  Things like, cheese, cookies or any other dessert, and any more than one piece of fruit daily.

At 14 weeks out I will cut out the cheats and drop them to once a week, but all my other calories will stay high.  All the quality foods I’m eating like rice pasta, grass fed ground beef, raw honey, all of these things will stay in the diet for a couple more weeks.

At 12 weeks out my brain goes into overdrive and its time to get down to the business of being shredded and nothing can get in my way.  This is the point where I flip the switch and from here on in I eat whatever it is my trainer says.  If he says eat ½ cup of rice, half a cup it is and not a piece of rice more.  Everything else goes out the window at this point including my social life.  I have to completely shutdown and focus on the goal at hand to become successful.

I’ve been a pro now for 7 years and I don’t feel I’ve accomplished all I’ve set out to do or what I am fully capable of.  I feel I’ve had a good career, most of my placings have been in the top five - if not the top three - but it’s not good enough for me.  This year I am cracking down on myself even further in an effort to do the thing I’ve set out to do since 2007: Win an IFBB show.

Sacrifice Without Regret,

Fouad ‘Hoss’ Abiad

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