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by Josh Halladay
After placing 3rd at Jr. Nationals, I was very curious as to what my trainer’s next plan of action would be. I had a feeling he would say one of two things: take a few weeks off, then get ready for Nationals in November, or take the rest of the year off and do USAs later. I had strong feelings toward both options for different reasons. Part of me wanted to take a few weeks off and do Nationals this year because I was already in prep mode—I could take a few weeks off then get right back to the grind, right back to the prep, and not lose any focus since I only had a few months to prepare for Nationals, a show that was around the corner.
The down side to this was the fact that I only had a few months to get ready for Nationals, and that wouldn’t really give me much time to bring up my weak spots to a point where I could put on a good showing at Nationals. The other option that I thought my trainer would be considering would be to wait until next July and do USAs. This would give me plenty of time to work on my weak areas, and really put a good show on in Vegas in the hope of earning my pro card. The down side to this was staying focused on a competition that was well over a year away.
Needless to say my trainer went with the second option, USAs. As much as I wanted to do Nationals this year, I think this was the best option for me. This year I weighed in at around 218 lb at both my shows, leaving me with 7 lb to the top of the weight class. Putting on those 7 lb by November would not have been possible. I am tall for a bodybuilder, and to have any chance at winning my pro card there is no doubt in my mind that I have to max out my weight class. With the amount of time I have to get ready for USAs, putting that extra weight should be very possible; still hard, but much more possible. I have plenty of time to put on the weight slowly and steadily throughout the year.
Many people ruin their physiques by putting on too much size too quickly, making it hard for them to control their stomachs, and quickly losing their lines, which really helps to separate people on stage from the rest of the pack. With 10 months to go I have all the time in the world to pack on some serious size in all the right areas.
As I just said I have 10 months to go. 10 months. That’s a very long time to stay focused. With a goal so far away it is easy to justify missing a meal or cheating on your diet or missing a workout, or two workouts, or cardio, or “half-assing” it in the gym. It is so easy to think, “I am a year away; I have lots of time to make up for it.” It’s human nature to think that way, but if I want to come out next July with a pro card, I cannot afford to fall into this thinking. I know that I have already fallen into this trap since I started my off-season. Just this last week I skipped prepping my meals on Sunday because I was too tired and ended up calling it a night and just going to sleep. This left me with no meals prepared for work on Monday, forcing me to order food the following day, and eating off my diet. I CANNOT afford to do this if I want to come out on top in July.
I went home Monday and cooked all my meals and got back on track the very next day, but that one day DOES matter. Will that one day ruin my entire prep? No it won’t, but if you let it happen once, you will let it happen again and again, and suddenly it’s July, you’re on stage placing second, and falling short of your goal because you didn’t do all you possibly could in the off season. It’s the snowball effect. One miss or one cheat turns into two, turns into three, and before you know it you didn’t make any of the gains that you needed to make in the off season. The key to a successful off-season is staying on course and staying focused. Make short term goals leading up to your show. This will make the long term goal seem much more feasible. Every meal counts, every rep counts, every day counts. So make it count.