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PREP BRAIN: Me and my new lettuce

May 2, 2024

The sinister tooth fairy took my grey matter in the night

By Gary Chappell

THIS update has been in my head for a number of weeks now. It has been stuck there due to what is known as 'prep brain'.

This condition has hit me rather early this time around. I am four weeks out from the NABBA Britain. And prep brain has been with me for a lot longer. Perhaps it is better, then, to say that the NABBA Britain is four weeks away, rather than that I am four weeks out. You see, I'm pretty much ready now.

Anyway, you might have noticed that that was a light piece of waffle. And this is what leads me to the main thrust of this update: prep brain.

Prep brain is a little bit like the story of the tooth fairy, only slightly more sinister. What happens is, a creature that nobody on earth has ever seen, creeps into your bedroom at night and removes your actual brain. Then the creature replaces it with a lettuce.

Not just any lettuce, mind you. Oh no. One where the leaves have started to go brown slightly. One which is soggy to the touch, with a foul odour. You are then expected to process ordinary thoughts as though this lettuce was your real brain. This lettuce then acts as your real brain for the remainder of your bodybuilding prep.

For a few weeks now, the relationship between me and my lettuce has been a struggle. Suddenly, walking the dogs and talking to my 11-year-old daughter is one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced in my entire life. Imagine.

Then imagine my poor daughter saying: "Don't worry, it doesn't matter", whenever I ask here for the third time to explain what she was saying. Oh the glory of bodybuilding.

For me, it is not even hunger, although my prep brain might well be a by-product of that. I no longer feel hungry, or have the cravings I did when I first started competing. In fact, this past week there have been days where I have not been able to get all my meals in simply because I just don't want them. I often feel sick at the thought of eating. By rights, at this level of leanness, I should be starving and devouring each meal.

Still split into high, medium and low days, most of the time I am eating a medium-day diet. This consists of 35g carbs pre-workout, 75g carbs post workout, another 35g carbs in meal three and three further meals at just 10g carbs per meal. The fat in these are also set at 10g. I eat 40g of protein at each of these six meals. But this week, I have struggled to even eat these.

My prep brain is driven by a distinct lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of illness. Again, the glory of bodybuilding.

As we hit the five-week out mark, cardio was reduced from 45 minutes five times a week to just 30 minutes. And more carbs were pulled from low days – 25g at three meals down to 10g, but with 7g of fat at each meal increased to 10g.

Did that make sense? I'm only asking because I trust you more than I trust my lettuce.

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