|Putting the Pieces in Place
by Vinny Galanti
|Up until the 2005 Nationals, I would start to prepare for a contest at 12 weeks out. But since I had not been competing consistently for the last few years, I decided that I would start my prep at 20 weeks out. It had been a while since I had actually trained in a gym. Since I own my own studio, I was training there. It had been a while since I had trained around anyone other than businessmen and housewives, and I thought that if I was going to compete in the Nationals, I had better get in a real gym and find myself a training partner that could train with me and get on the same schedule.
Our local gym, HealthStar, had been re-bought by one of its former owners, Mike Silva. Mike had revamped the gym, and had renamed it The Edge. I walked in one night back in May of '05, trying to get a feel for the new gym to see if it was a place in which I would feel comfortable training. Within five minutes I bumped into an old friend, Rich Schulman, who I used to see when I trained my personal training clientele a few years back at another gym. We both decided that we would train together that night and it actually was a great workout. Rich and I clicked right from the get go. Rich and I decided that since everybody does chest and biceps on Monday night, we would train shoulders and triceps on Monday, back and traps on Wednesday, chest and biceps on Friday, and leave legs for Saturday mornings.
Having a gym to train in and a training partner to train with, now I needed to get on my diet. At 20 weeks out, I was eating five meals a day all consisting of 80 grams of carbs and 40-60 grams of protein per meal, and I never counted how much fat I was taking in. I followed this until 12 weeks out. With an average of 400 grams of carbs a day, at 12 weeks out I started to slowly cut my carbs down, and kept my protein at a consistent 60 grams per meal. At 9 weeks out, my carb level was at a consistent 150 grams a day and whenever I would bring my carbs up higher, I would flatten out, look smooth and small. I couldn't understand what was going on. Why, when I would go past 150 grams of carbs, would I have a flat look and was not able to get a pump? At 38 years old, was my body working differently?
My old friend John recommended that I throw some fat into my diet, and at 8 weeks out I was eating six meals a day, all consisting of 60 grams of protein per meal--meals one, three, and five had one cup of rice for each meal with a protein, and meals two, four and six had either two tablespoons of natural peanut butter or a half a cup of raw natural almonds with a protein. It had been a while that I was this in tune with paying attention to my nutrition. It was enjoyable and tolerable, more so because I think I was really focused on the Nationals.
When Rich and I started training back in May, we clicked immediately. He knew exactly how and when to spot me. He knew when to force me to do a few extra reps, and he knew when to back off. We designed a workout that each month would be a completely different training style. In May, we just did basic old-fashioned training. In June, we added drop-sets. In July, we moved faster with supersets and sometimes giant sets. And, when August rolled around, we went back to the basics again, and stuck with heavy weight for eight to ten reps.
The four main supplements that I used throughout my training for the Nationals were all Universal products. They included Shock Therapy, (taken before each workout), Storm (taken after each workout), ZMA Pro (taken before bedtime each night), and Animal Pak (taken twice a day--one with meal one, and one with meal four).
At three weeks out, I warmed up at the NPC Gold's Classic in New Jersey. For this contest, I carb depleted Sunday through Wednesday, and on Thursday and Friday, I carbed up. On Wednesday night, I looked big, tight, and dry. And, when Saturday morning rolled around, I could not get a pump backstage. Although I looked decent, I didn't look as good as I did on Wednesday night. At this contest, I struck up a conversation with my buddy Dave about my diet and what I had been doing. Dave is a fellow NPC athlete who really knows his stuff. He recommended that I drop all of the carbs out of my diet and add fat to each meal with seven meals a day. He wanted me to try this and see how it would work for the upcoming East Coast Bodybuilding Championships the following week. Following this diet, in one week my body changed drastically. I entered the East Coast big, thick, ripped and very dry. I now learned what to do in order to peak for the Nationals. With Dave's advice, I continued his meal recommendations and was very happy with the outcome--a top five placing after not being consistent on the national level.
With my renewed interest in bodybuilding, and with a great training partner and training atmosphere plus Dave's advice on a mass program to add some quality size, I'm quite optimistic about my plans to enter the heavyweight class in the 2006.