Friday, June 21, 2013

Complete Contest Preparation, Part One - Bob Gallucci

*Note: Here is the first of a two-part an article from Peary Rader's IronMan magazine. The author, Bob Gallucci, also has a book out on his life in bodybuilding, The Last Drug Free Bodybuilder. An excellent read for the weight man.


PHASE I: 6 Months - 3 Months Preparation

All present and future physique competitors (or men who want to achieve peak condition) must set goals, make decisions, commitments, plan their weight training, nutrition and cardiovascular conditioning methods, as well as constantly evaluate the progress they hope to attain. This article deals with truths and suggestions which I have found to be helpful in my eleven years of bodybuilding competition. I believe it to be a complete program which the novice as well as the advanced man may learn from, or remember some points he may have forgotten.

Stage One - Planning

Each physique man should decide when he wants to reach a peak, what dates are important to him, and the length of time between the dates of these peaks. These factors are often overlooked by the novice who believes he can reach peak condition any number of times in one year. The physical strain of doing this is not to be recommended. As one becomes an intermediate, he should plan carefully when to begin training for muscularity and peak condition, and once you determine the date you wish to reach top condition, you should consider:

Stage Two - Cardiovascular Conditioning

Cardiovascular training is very important to all lifters, all the more so when they are older. As age comes up alongside us, our metabolic rate decreases and fatty tissue (adipose) forms, surrounding muscle fibers. Teenage lifters usually have a problem gaining weight because their metabolic rate and lifestyles are so fast. Gradually we learn that in order to reach a degree of muscularity and conditioning which we attained in our youth, we can no longer rely on high repetition training and diet alone. Cardio training is the answer.

Cardiovascular refers to the heart and lungs. Any form of exercise which causes the heart and lungs to work at a high rate for a long period of time is referred to as cardiovascular. I usually recommend that lifters try to do some form of cardio conditioning throughout the year. This will enhance the circulatory processes and capillary action which are both needed for muscle growth. This conditioning can be done in the form of bicycling for 5 miles, jog-run for 1.5 miles, handball, swimming, badminton, calisthenics, etc. Most lifters I've known seem to prefer the more stoic approach and run by themselves 2 or 3 mornings per week.

With four months to go before a contest the lifter should be running at least three times weekly. Within the next three weeks, this should be increased to four times weekly. With two months to go, 4-5 times per week is sufficient. During the last month, most men run once daily and sometimes twice per day. I believe that 1 to 1.5 miles is sufficient to run for the type of conditioning we are trying to achieve.

Stage Three - Diet & Nutrition

Nutrition is an area which is totally dependent upon the desire and motivation of the individual. A beginner can eat like a champion, while some advanced lifters eat like junk-food junkies. As a teenager, I drank 1.5 gallons of mild daily -- that's right, gallons! I was constantly eating. My motto then was, "If it doesn't move, eat it!" My sacrifice diet before a contest was to give up milk and cookies for two weeks prior to an event.

When I became 21 years old, I no longer could achieve my former peak condition without a strict diet for a much longer period of time. It has taken me years to formulate the following nutritional pattern:

A) Six Months before the event, I would carefully evaluate what condition I was in. How much fatty tissue did I have? How much definition would I need to achieve maximum muscularity? 

B) At Six Months before a contest, I will decrease (not cut out entirely) my intake of bread and I will switch from regular milk to non-fat powdered milk, mixing twice the recommended water ratio to one part of powder. I use this beverage for mixing my protein powder which I take about three or four times daily. I find this watered milk with added protein is better for one month and it is the beginning of losing notable subcutaneous fat. Theoretically, once fat cells have been created they are never completely broken down. Therefore some people feel that you should carry as little fatty tissue on the body as possible at all times. I agree with the theory, but not the application. Some extra fatty tissue is  usually carried on the body during periods of gaining more muscle as a result of extra food intake for increased energy. With some individuals this extra bulk is necessary and careful consideration must be taken to obtain maximum muscularity.

C) At Five Months I limit the watered milk and protein drink and use orange juice in the morning and water throughout the day. One slice of bread is taken in the morning and two slices are used for a sandwich at lunch. More emphasis is given to fruits, cottage cheese, eggs, lean meat, fish, and my favorite, tuna. I usually take one meal per week and eat or drink anything I want. This is simply to keep my sanity. There are some foods which I consider taboo and simply never indulge in: soda, french fries, donuts, confectioneries, white bread, and white sugar products. Yearly I try to limit my macaroni, sauces, ice cream, breads, and dairy products as much as possible.

D) At Four Months I evaluate my physique and see what two months of dieting and controlling the intake of specific foods has done to my muscularity. It is then that I decide whether or not to drop that one large cheat meal per week, or to limit my intake of  specific fat-cholesterol foods (sausage, bacon). Although my energy level is still high I am  beginning to rely heavily on supplements.

Stage Four - Supplementation

Beginning lifters often have a misconception that supplements should be taken in place of a meal. About six years ago, a 19-year old bodybuilder overemphasized my suggestions concerning supplements and consumed nothing else for eight straight days. He lost 15 pounds and appeared to have lost a great deal of muscle along with fatty tissue. Supplements should be used to supplement the daily diet in order to satisfy the bodybuilder's needs.

During bulking periods, I rely very heavily on dessicated liver, wheat germ oil, B-Complex, multi-vitamin/mineral, and a good protein powder (3 times daily with milk).

At the six month period, I will continue using these supplements. At five months I start diluting the milk in  my protein drinks (described earlier), and I begin taking lecithin capsules. At the four month period I increase my intake of lecithin and add ginseng, B-15, and vitamins D and E. We are now ready to look into our final stage of Phase I.

Stage Five - Training

I have tried many different systems of training but I find that using two exercises per bodypart for five or six sets per exercise done twice weekly I get my best gains in overall size and strength. I believe that each individual bodybuilder should take a close look at his bone structure and physique. If you are capable of handling heavier training poundages, then do so. Too often we get carried away with the idea of 20-plus sets per bodypart and tri-sets etc. These methods do serve a distinct function but I don't believe they are always necessary to achieve what it is we desire.

I believe in theory of conventional barbell training to obtaining maximum muscle strength and size. I have great respect for men like Reg Park (after whom I pattern my physique) because of his honesty, strength, perseverance, physique and size which he developed without drugs. Followed with the proper consistency and intensity, conventional training can result in the creation of a phenomenal physique.

I am including an actual routine which I used for up to three months before a competition peak. This type of training will make you larger, stronger, improve your look it will create a look of power. However, it will only be effective if the following factors are satisfied:

A) Warmup - 2 sets of 15 reps with about 50% of the maximum weight I will use for that particular exercise. These two sets are warmups to be carried out through a full range of motion.

B) Intensity - Give everything you have on that day to each set. Use the heaviest weight you can while maintaining proper form. On days when I am feeling extra energy I sometimes keep my sets going until the bar cannot possibly be moved another inch.

Keep a record of each exercise daily. In a training log, record the heaviest weight you will use and  the number of reps you performed. You can use this as a marker in future, as a record to be beaten.

When I walk into the gym I am calm and talk easily with others. Once I start my workout I am a completely different person. I am totally concerned with one and only one objective: raising the bar one more time. To achieve results you must focus intensely.


Close grip bench press, 6 x 4-6 reps.
Incline EZ bar extension, 6 x 6-8.

Seated alternate dumbbell curl, 6 x 4-6.
Preacher EZ bar curl, 6 x 6.

EZ bar reverse curl, 5 x 6-8.
Palms up wrist curl, 5 x 10.

Standing raise, 5 x 12.
Seated raise, 5 x 20.


Magic Circle squat, 6 x  4-6.
Jefferson lift, 6 x 6-8.

Hamstrings/Low Back:
Stiff-legged deadlift, 6 x 6-8.
Leg curl, 6 x 6-8.

Leg press toe raise, 6 x 20.

Roman chair situp, 4 x 25.
Hanging leg raise, 4 x 25.
Ab roller wheel, 4 x 15.


Dips, 6 x 4-6.
Dumbbell bench press, 6 x 8.

One arm dumbbell row, 6 x 6.
Pulldown or Chinup, 6 x 8.

Shoulders and Traps:
Standing press behind neck, 6 x 4-6.
Upright row, 6 x 6.

Incline situp, 4 x 50.
Incline leg raise, 4 x 25.




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