So you want to compete in a strength sport? Here are some tips for contest day! I am by no means an expert, but I have competed a few times, made a few silly mistakes and want to make sure people don't do the same things.
Cardio Sucks: here's what you should do instead.
This article isn't for people who enjoy doing the usual steady state cardio (bike, treadmill, stair master, ect.)This article is for people like me. If your idea of cardio is like mine, which includes walking from your car to Dunkin Donuts and back, here are some things you can do.
1) Learn to love loaded carries. Pick something heavy up and walk with it. Set a distance and complete that distance as many times as you can in 10 minutes, every week do a little more weight or distance. For example, doing 30 yards of farmers walks with 50% of your body weight for 10 minutes is an excellent way to not only increase your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular health, but this will also work almost every muscle you have. It is a great way to increase overall strength.
2) Set a time limit. Anyone who tries this will no how great of a workout it is. Take a light weight, about 50% of your 1 rep max for squats or deadlifts, and do it as many times as you can in 10 minutes. If you work your hardest for those 10 minutes and give it all you've got, you will benefit from the short amount of time you put in.
3) Get outside and get moving. You don't have to do anything fancy. Get some friends together and play some basketball, go for a hike, take a trail walk. Even walk to Dunkin Donuts rather than taking your car. Cardio doesn't have to be miserable.
So you just went out and bought your first batch of supplements. Here are some things you should know.
1) There is no need to creatine load. Creatine loading is when you take 20 grams of creatine for one week when you first start using creatine, or when you haven't used it for a while. Loading is a popular thing I see and am asked about. In theory, it works by overloading the amount of creatine in you body causing your muscles to absorb more at the beginning of use; this practice, however, has been proven wrong in studies. The only people benefiting from creatine loading are the supplement companies who are convincing people to take 4 times the recommend amount for a week. Stick with 5 grams!
2) No need to take your pre workout on your day off. It always surprised me when pre workout supplements would say to take a scoop on your day off before breakfast. Why are you trying to get a massive "blood rushing" pump while you're sitting around and not working out? Similar to creatine loading, this is just a way to force you to finish your container faster. Think about this: If a pre workout supplement has 40 servings, and you work out 3 days on 1 day off, you would have taken 10 servings (25%) of your pre workout for no reason at all.
3) Stick to one scoop. This goes for almost all workout supplements. You'll be reading the directions on any given label and for serving size it will say for athletes take 1 scoop, but for BEAST"S take 2!! I know what your thinking... I've thought it 100 times "I want to be a beast I'll take 2 scoops!" All you're really doing here is increasing how fast you are going to build a tolerance to any given Stimulant filled pre workouts.
4) Don't fall for good advertising. This has been a theme in all of these points and if you haven't noticed, the supplement industries have some of the best marking strategies and advertisements around. A fancy name doesn't make a supplement better. The thing I have noticed this with the most is creatine is that time and time again companies are claiming they have this newly formed creatine that works so much faster, makes you so much bigger, makes you so much stronger. When placed against the cheapest most basic creatine monohydrate the fancy new creatine loses every time.