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Prep begins at 200g carbs per meal on high day

March 9, 2024

How my contest prep for the NABBA Britain is shaping up at 13 weeks out and carbs sky high

By Gary Chappell

LAST Saturday marked 13 weeks out from the NABBA Britain on June 1. And with that, prep officially began. At 5ft 9in, I am roughy 16 stone 10lbs – 234lbs in old money – and arguably leaner than when I began prep for the NABBA UK last November.

In short, despite coming in roughly 14lbs bigger than last time when stepping on stage for that NABBA UK victory, I anticipate being bigger still for June's British Championships. When size was always my weak point, this is a massive step forward for me personally.

Another indicator that I am leaner at this heavier weight is that, last time, we – and when I say we I mean me and my coach Justin Harris of Troponin Nutrition – is the time required for prep.

For the NABBA UK, which marked our first contest working together, Justin and I used 16 weeks. For this, Justin believes we 'only' need about 12 or 13. So what does the first week of my prep look like?

Well, only very slight changes at the moment. Carbs are still very high for prep. We had been using three high days at 1100g carbs each and this has reduced to one. Aside from that, food remains the same – very high generally. In fact, the one high day has increased and now includes 200g of carbs per meal, with the sixth being a cheat meal. That is likely to run very deep into prep, as it did last time.

The only other change is the addition of 20 minutes low-intensity cardio, which I currently do on the treadmill post workout.

During the week, however, my appetite fell off a cliff. I don't have the most voracious appetite at the best of times. And coupled with a "crazy" metabolism [my coach's word, not mine], it makes the rebound and off-season phases very difficult indeed.

So it is something of a blessing that, as we approach the 12-weeks-out mark, I'm now dreading the next meal. Because this should make prep that much easier, as it did last time.

Food still high – especially with carbs

Food wise, protein has been kept fairly moderate. Medium and low days are 40g per meal over six meals. We have 10g protein from EAAs in an intra shake for a total of 250g and 240g respectively.

On high days, protein comes even lower – 30g per meal over six meals. The intra shake is fairly heavy, though, with 20g protein and 50g carbs. Protein totals 200g but carbs are now present in high amounts – 200g per meal over six meals. Including the 50g in the intra, that's 1200g carbs on that single high day. Not something you hear a lot of in prep.

Justin uses a cheat meal on the sixth and final meal that day. And I can tell you, once you down five meals at 200g carbs each, the last thing you want is a cheat meal. Still, let's see if I'm saying the same at four weeks out.

One meal suggestion if you're struggling with carbs in prep

One thing I cling to like a safety blanket is a liquid meal. It is a shake for all intents and purposes, but not just whey. For example, let's use a typical medium-day meal, which is 40g protein 75g carbs and 14g fat. I'd blend 200g egg whites, 30g whey with 95g cream of rice and 27g peanut butter. I'd add a few pinches of salt and some ice cubes too.

Training remains the same and, performance wise, things are positive. Progress continues to be made through reps and/or weight on the bar, with no let up in intensity.

In all honesty, this has been helped by the enthusiasm, drive and extravert personality of my current training partner Nathan Taylor. He is a powerful, rugged 31-year-old who will step on stage for the first time either later this year or early next.

I'm an introvert but we work well together; even though I do find it slightly amusing when he counts down reps and, once he reaches seven and below, his voice gets higher and louder. We train in S6 Gym in Tilbury, Essex, but I do wonder sometimes whether they can hear us in Kent.

Anyway, sleep is a slight issue. I find as I hit 230lbs and above, what appears to be apnea raises its ugly head. I can count on one knuckle how many times I have woken feeling refreshed. I'm either woken by my own choking or shouting for help, having had yet another nightmare.

Still, check-in on Monday which will be 11 weeks, four days. I will update how things go next week.

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