What to EAT to COMPETE...

Things you need to know

Before you start to think about what type of training you need to be doing to get lean and shredded, you should first start to look at your nutrition.

But where do you start? 

Here are some tips and guidance for you, that worked for me. 

  1. Count how many calories you are having each day
  2. Know what your BMR is (Basal Metabolic Rate)
  3. Know how many calories you burn when you are exercising
  4. Measure your Macronutrients to stay within your daily BMR

Simple but effective if done consistently.

How can you record or keep track?

MyFitnessPal is an app which basically does all this for you. I used it religiously during my time on prep. 

How does it work? 

You basically use it to record your food and drink. You can scan bar codes to get strong estimates and you can input your activity levels when you exercise. You can also set your BMR which will give you your Macronutrient split of Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.

Each individual is different so it's about finding what works for you. I did a Genetic test with Genestore which analysed my DNA. From this I was able to get my food intolerances which helped me understand my Macronutrients a lot better.

The Preparation phase


Leading up to the show

12 Weeks leading up to the show, I started to really focus on my Nutrition.

I have always stayed in relatively good shape all year round so 3 months was enough for me to adjust.

MyFitness Pal became a daily addiction just like checking your social media such as Facebook and Instagram. 

I was eating a lot of the same foods and once I had inputted or scanned the food label, it would save on the app for me so I could easily locate it next time.


Calorie deficit

My metabolism is quite fast and my BMR is around 3000 kcal.

This means that to retain my muscle mass and size, I would need to eat this amount because my body would burn 3000 kcal at rest. 

In September, 8 weeks out from the competition which was in December, I set my BMR at 2800 kcal. This was the same on my training days and non training days. I was training 6 out of 7 days a week. Each session was at a different intensity but I only had one day off.   

I continued to play football on a Monday and Wednesday which was hard on low calories days but the stubborn side of me wouldn't give up and I knew I could fit in both.

Leading up to the Show


4 weeks out

I had started to see some really good results from analysing my Nutrition. I had never done this before and always focussed on my training, as I had never needed to.

With a month to go, I made sure that I was clean with my food. This was a big test of discipline, especially when your friends were out every weekend on a brunch eating and drinking.

I split my last 4 weeks into 3 weeks then a Peak Week.


Peak Week

This was my first 'Peak Week' and despite seeing and hearing people talk about it, I didn't really know what to expect.

One thing I learnt after is that all the hard work is pretty much done. The Peak Week is used to maintain your physique.

Too much Carbs and Water, can leave you looking bloated and full, taking away the striation lean muscle look.

Too little Carbs and Water, can leave you looking depleted and skinny, taking away the muscle mass and size which has an impact on your frame and overall shape.

This was tricky. It was all about balance


Show Day

Again, a little unsure what to expect, I had done a lot of research into 'Show Day' and what to eat.

48 hours before I did a Water Drop. This is basically, increasing your fluid intake in Peak Week. I increased to drinking around 7L of water a day. 

Then on the Wednesday, with the show on the Friday, I drastically reduced the amount to barely 1L of water a day.

To be honest, it felt horrible. Living in a hot climate desert like Dubai and not drinking water when you are thirsty is a mentally tough challenge. 

The aim of this was to dehydrate the body so that it drained the water and I looked leaner and more vascular. I had veins coming out of my abs which I had never seen before.

The End product



I achieved the best physique I've ever had. Looking back it was worth the dedication, commitment, discipline and hard work just to see the progress and end product.

I had changed my Physique from -

Weight (BEFORE - 90KG) to 83kg

Body Fat % (BEFORE 10.2%) to 4.6%

It isn't healthy or sustainable to stay at these values for me which is why you should dip in and out of training...it's all about getting the balance.


What did I learn?

Firstly, it was a great experience to take part in a competition like this, with so many athletes who had dedicated their time to training and nutrition like I did. The Dubai Muscle Show is growing bigger and bigger.

Secondly, it made me understand my body a lot more. I am a lot more aware of the foods I eat along with the impact they have on my body, which has put me in good stead to live a fit and healthy lifestyle.

And third, posing is an art. The way in which you can flex whilst looking relaxed can really impact your stage presence and performance.

Will I do another show?

That is yet to be decided...

For more information about specifics, get in touch and see how I can help you.

Instagram @nicky__fitness

Email nicky-fitness@mail.com