We are 8 weeks out!! I apologize for not getting any blogs up the last 2 weeks… Things have been very busy at work (which is a great thing!!!) Since I last blogged we have switched up a couple components in our prep. So, starting with diet since it  is the biggest component in preparation for a competition, we are now carb cycling. Basically this means we are consuming 3 days of low carbs (about 100g) and one day high (about 300g) keeping fat and protein the same each day. Our average  net calories come out to 1,700 cals for the day so that breaks down to 1,500 cals on low days and 2,300 calories on high days. By having such a huge jump in calories this keeps the metabolism running high and acts as a refeed keeping leptin levels high (see my previous blog about refeeds and leptin levels if you have not read it already). Before starting the carb cycling I was feeling a little unsure about where I would come in at for the competition and was starting to doubt myself that I would do as well as I wanted so we decided to kick it into high gear a week early just to be safe. This is a HUGE competition so I really want to place top 5 in open and novice categories 🙂 We took measurements before starting the carb cycling and I was 15.7% with a steady drop in body fat and keeping a consistent gain in lean muscle from the previous weeks. Now after 2 weeks of the cycling, I am feeling like I am close to where I was the week before my last competition except carrying more lean muscle and I’m 8 weeks out still, whoo hoo!! I will be looking forward to taking measurements next week to see exactly where I’m at now! One thing I will say about carb cycling is that I am starving on the high carb days!! I would have thought it would be the opposite…Goes to show you carbs make you crave more carbs even if they are “good carbs”! 
Now for cardio, I have switched It up to where if I am feeling good (let me rephrase that… If I am not feeling completely run down and sore) I am doing HIIT which stands for high intensity interval training. On the days that I am feeling  beat down I am doing 45-60min steady state cardio. I did a lot of research on the interval training verses the steady state and what I have found is that they are both good but for the purpose of doing cardio and my end goal in mind, the HIIT is going to be my best bet. Interval training is good because can be done in a shorter time frame, I do a  5-10 min warm up, then 20 minutes of 20-30 seconds all out as hard as I can go immediately followed by 40 to 60 seconds rest, then a 5 to 10 minute cool down. My favorite piece of equipment to do this on is the bike or step mill… The hardest is doing sprints on the woodway curve so that probably means thats where I need to be doing them the most 🙂 I can’t wait for the weather to finally get warm out so we can do this outside on a track! Anyways, HIIT training very beneficial for people, like myself, that have a greater amount of fast twitch muscle fibers verses slow twitch fibers. These types of fibers hypertrophy (grow bigger) greater than a slow twitch fiber and by doing the intervals at such a high intensity it stimulates these fast twitch fibers that the steady state cardio does not stimulate. By doing all steady state you can actually start to convert the fast twitch fibers in your body to more of an intermediate fiber type. Lastly, the statement that made switching my cardio to mainly HIIT a no brainer was ” why burn fat for 40 minutes when you can be burning fat ALL day?!”… I think that pretty much says it all! 
As for lifting, our intensity level is insane! We are going hard 6 days a week, still keeping our 2 leg days and 2 shoulder days. One of our shoulder days has been all Olympic (power) lifts that really bringing those fast twitch fibers in to play and the second shoulder day being more of our small joint movements like dumbbell shoulder presses, handstand pushups, lateral raises, etc. As for legs, we are going super heavy one day and more of a cardio/plyometric style the other day. On our heavy leg days we have set new records of 315lb top half barbell deadlift and also 495lb drop set leg press. I can really see huge changes in my shoulders and legs going into this competition so I am beyond excited about that! One thing here I will mention is how important it is to do corrective exercise and activation sets to prevent/avoid injuries to be able keep the intensity high! I’ll also give Dr. Lytle a shout out here… The Activation Release Techniques he performs at my visits have kept my body pain free and capable of lifting heavy loads 🙂