HARRY'S BASIC GUIDE TO GETTING DICED
In March, fearless Directeur Sportif and resident Danque Lifteur Harry took to the stage in the Classic Physique category for the Victorian Arnold Classic qualifiers. Weeks and months of preparation went into it all, much of which is documented through his dedicated lifting Instagram, and his private training diary (notes app). He offers an insight into the process and journey he undertook along the way, a lot of which can be summarised on his cheat sheet reading: K.I.S.S. Interspersed with his retelling of the lead up period are photos from Don who accompanied him to the fabled Olympia gym on a number of occasions, shooting some straight fire through the lens as Harry himself morphed into a contemporary monument to the god most high, he the most blessed: Zyzz.
I: MEMORY LANE
This prep started in November, somewhere around the Soup Boys AGM. The plan was pretty simple; a 20 week prep split into the first chill 12 weeks of dieting, and the last 8 weeks of pure struggle town.
II: PLAN OF ACTION
I tried a different approach to dieting for the first few months, keeping carbs in my diet around my workouts. Being calorie depleted this worked to some extent but gains started to slow after about 8 weeks so I switched to a keto diet for the last part of the prep.
Over January I made no progress at all with a few family and work struggles. Through that, my diet was the ultimate loser, leaving me 8 weeks to get in proper shape.
The 8 week our diet was 1800-2200cal, 80% protein, 20% fats with a reseed every 5 days. Training was upped to AM cardio, about an hour of lifting every day and 2 hours of afternoon cardio.
FOODS OF CHOICE
I favour are Lean Turkey/Chicken mince and Tuna. All of these tend to make me hold less subcutaneous water when I’m super lean. I try not to eat red meat on the regular (quarter pounder refeeds don’t count) for a number of reasons. I stay away from protein isolates, dairy of plant based and most other supplements as they’re more a bandaid for a flawed diet, and they make losing the last tiny % of fat a bit harder.
in the last 8 weeks mainly come from nuts and macadamia oil used for cooking. I like cashews, macadamias and walnuts for the flavs, but a heap of others have just as many health benefits.
is important in the last weeks when your stomach is constantly empty. I like having massive leafy green salads with cucumber and pickled/fermented stuff. By this point in the prep your body is running at prime levels, and if your digestion turns to shit, your gains and fat loss will suffer. A healthy stomach fed lots of probiotics, vitamins and fiber is going to reflect on your physique.
Only introduced for 1 meal every 5 days which was more a cheat than a clean refeed. In the last 2 weeks I was doing a practice carb up once a week where I’d try a few different methods over 2 days.
This essentially makes living hell. You’re constantly depleted, with minimal energy to expend outside of gym and cardio times. The food channel was my best friend in-between meals every 3 hours.
IV: THE DAILY SESH
Training wise, the weights all drop as you get weaker. The pumps go away as your muscles have no glycogen stores at all. Afternoon walks fuelled by podcasts, hopes and dreams. Podcasts & aural doping are key in prep. With about 20 hours of your week dedicated to cardio you better be prepared.
Wide grip pulldown, Dorian Row, DB row, T bar row, post delt fly.
Lateral/Front raises, Machine press, Upright rows.
Preacher Curls, Tricep Pushdown, Dips, Overhead extensions, Cable extensions.
Same as above.
Incline Bench, Cable Crossover, Incline/Decline machine press, DB press, Dips.
Squats are king, Deadlifts, Stiff leg deads, Standing leg curls, Leg extensions, Hyperextensions, Shrugs.
REST & REPEAT
Calves get a work out every second day with some seated and standing raises.
Even when I'm cutting every session's goal is to build muscle. My training style is roughly based around Mike Mentzer's early 'Heavy Duty' work, with use of 1 or 2 working sets per movement, reps from 5-8 focusing on strict and purposeful form. The movements I use are pretty simple. The basics will always work if you constantly progress in weights and form.
V: ONE MONTH OUT
The last month everything got mega precise. My daily routines started to look identical and my body would shift and change by the hour. Weekends were time to test carb up protocols for the show. I decided a few weeks out that I’d stay no carbs until the day of the show, then add small amounts on the day. Even though being full of carbs feels nice my muscle bellies look denser and harder when they’re depleted.
VI: WEIGH INS
Weigh ins for the Melbourne’s were on the Friday before the show. I had been working for an 89.6kg weigh in for the whole prep, but I was told I’d have to be under 86.2kg when I got there. I used a makeshift sauna in my car to lose 3kg in an hour but it took a major toll and I knew I’d struggle to bounce back for the Arnolds the next week.
VII: THE VIC QUALIFIERS
I knew I’d have to change my carb up for the Melbourne’s. Because of the combo of no carbs and no water my muscles were looking ultra depleted. I decided to load carbs conventionally with a serving accompanying each meal and tracking how I looked throughout the day. I was tightening up really well. Veins started popping and striations were showing but I still didn’t have that “full” look, so I called in an emergency Double Cheeseburger and fries to fill me out about an hour before I got on stage.
Miraculously it worked and I peaked perfectly for prejudging. The placing wasn’t as I’d hoped for, just missing out on Top 10, but I made improvements everywhere over last year. Unfortunately the stresses of making weight were enough to break my immune system and instead of pushing for another week I decided to drop out of the Arnolds.
We keep eating big, we keep lifting bigger.
Editors note: you can keep track of Harry's progress via his dedicated lifting Instagram.