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Muscle for life

Podcast #96: Eric Helms on the science of preparing for a natural bodybuilding show

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Podcast #96: Eric Helms on the science of preparing for a natural bodybuilding show

In this episode I interview Eric Helms, who’s one of the premier natural bodybuilding coaches in the game.

He’s a member of the 3DMJ coaching team and is himself a professional natural bodybuilder and strength athlete, as well as an author and credentialed scientist with several peer-reviewed publications under his belt.

I reference his work quite frequently in my writing, actually, so it was a real pleasure to get the chance to interview him.

And as you’ve gathered from the title, this interview is on how to prep for a natural bodybuilding show, and Eric covers everything ranging from caloric intake and macro breakdowns to weightlifting and cardio strategies, supplementation, and much more.

So if you’re getting ready to prep for a show or are considering doing one, you definitely need to listen to the interview. It can save you from all kinds of trials and tribulations.

And even if you’re like me and have no intention of competing but are just working on building your best body ever, you’re going to get a lot of out this interview too, because the principles Eric talks about apply to everyone looking to lose fat and not muscle–not just competitive bodybuilders.

So, I hope I’ve sufficiently whetted your appetite. Let’s get to the interview…

TIME STAMPS

YouTube:

2:39 – Eric’s background on contest prep and personal experience.

4:15 – What are the biggest contest prep mistakes and myths?

12:14 – Do you need to manipulate water, salt, and potassium?

15:05 – How do you contest prep correctly?

19:41 – What kind of cardio should someone do?

28:51 – Tips on how to recover faster.

33:06 – Tips to maximize your nutrition.

40:32 – What nutrition should someone have on a refeed?

42:56 – How do you determine someone’s maintenance?

50:26 – How do you go about reducing calories?

53:11 – Do you increase exercise throughout the prep?

56:32 – Is there any supplementation you recommend?

1:00:31 – What does peak week look like?

1:05:39 – Where can we find more of your stuff?

Audio:

5:16 – Eric’s background on contest prep and personal experience.

6:52 – What are the biggest contest prep mistakes and myths?

14:51 – Do you need to manipulate water, salt, and potassium?

17:42 – How do you contest prep correctly?

22:18 – What kind of cardio should someone do?

31:28 – Tips on how to recover faster.

35:43 – Tips to maximize your nutrition.

43:09 – What nutrition should someone have on a refeed?

45:33 – How do you determine someone’s maintenance?

53:03 – How do you go about reducing calories?

55:48 – Do you increase exercise throughout the prep?

59:09 – Is there any supplementation you recommend?

1:03:08 – What does peak week look like?

1:08:16 – Where can we find more of your stuff?

RELATED TO THIS PODCAST

How to Make Meal Plans That Work For Any Diet

The Refeed Day: When Dieting Should Include Overeating and Why

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What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

If you like what I have to say, sign up for my free newsletter and every week I'll send you awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious "diet-friendly" recipes, motivational musings, and more.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE USED MY BOOKS TO BUILD THEIR BEST BODIES EVER. WILL YOU BE NEXT?

If you want a "paint-by-numbers," step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body...faster than you ever thought possible...then you want to check out my bestselling books.

Here's a little sneak peek of what you'll learn inside...

  • The 7 biggest muscle building myths & mistakes that keep guys small, weak, and frustrated. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
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  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:

    http://www.muscleforlife.com/s

    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Finally! Well worth the wait. I really enjoyed the info in this episode.

    Particularly the sodium/potassium ratio and levels as it pertains to fat loss. I’ve found that keeping those in a balanced ratio most of the time has made it that eating out once or twice a week has negligible effects on weigh-ins or fluctuations. Even when bulking too, and that weigh-in consistency is mentally calming.

    The fancy manipulation shit sounds like a major in the minors type scenario anyway.

    I think Part Two with Eric and yourself talking all things bulking would dope!

    • Thanks, Derek! Glad to hear you got a lot out of it!

  • I LOVED this podcast. It was filled with good ideas. I’d be really, really interested to, like you suggested, have him back for part 2 of what he does in the off-season. Thanks Mike!

    • Happy to hear it! I definitely plan on having him back so stay tuned. 🙂

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:

    http://www.muscleforlife.com/signup/

    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • David Fulop

    Hi Mike,

    Awesome podcast!

    I have two questions.

    1) i get it that it is near impossible nor really desirable to be super leans and have fitness magazine six pack abs all year round. With that said what is a reasonably maintainable body fat percentage for someone who is 6 feet tall?

    2). One of my goals is to attain the same physique Chris Pratt has in guardians. In your opinion, is that a body that, once attained, is relatively manageable (ie as opposed to difficult bodies like Zac Efron or Hugh Jackman)

    Thanks

    David

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, David!

      You can have abs all year. What most guys are looking for is actually around 7-9% body fat, which you can maintain healthily. Check this out: https://www.muscleforlife.com/healthy-body-fat-percentages/

      I’d say Chris Pratt’s physique is definitely manageable. From what I can tell, he’s somewhere around 10% body fat, which you should have no trouble maintaining year round.

      I hope this helps!

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