Nearly 4 months post contest, weighed in after vacation...179.
One week before the contest and I was 174. Here is a video from one week out:
I ask myself, if I dropped 5 pounds? Would I look like that?
I am not sure. To the untrained eye, I probably don't look much different. But I don't feel that I could look that dry and lean if I dropped 5 pounds.
So what does that mean? I am not sure to be honest. I've still trained hard, so it isn't likely I lost muscle. The weight I've gained (I was up to around 183) was slow, so it probably isn't much fat. Am I just depleted from losing 3-4 pounds over vacation week (not as many carbs plus tons of activity and not enough water)? Will I fill out after a week of eating more, drinking more and training hard? If I fill out, will my confidence return as I look more crisp and bigger? Only time will tell.
I will say that with another bodybuilding competition possibly years away, my motivation is low. Now, I am normally very internally motivated and for years I didn't need external cues to motivate me. However, my life may be taking an interesting twist soon which is impacting my motivation. More details on that in the near future.
To win an overall title I need to gain at least 15 pounds of muscle does help me stay motivated to some extent. 15 QUALITY pounds will take a LONG time to put on, I need to plug away consistently to put that on my frame.
Other issue...nagging knees:
Leading up to the contest and even a couple months after, was probably some of the best squatting I have done in terms of frequency, consistency in form, depth, explosiveness, etc.
However, then I decided to add in a bunch of partials as an intensity technique. The partials ended up killing my knees. I think with full ROM I can stay in the proper groove very well, but when I started doing the partials, my knee joints just weren't tracking properly. After one month of partials, my quads looked great, but my knees were banged up to the point where bodyweight squats hurt.
I rested a little bit, but eventually I decided to experiment and found I could do front box squats nearly pain free. Well, I did too much of a good thing. Doing tons of front box squats hurt my knees in a different way. I think my tendon got used to not being stretched under load at the bottom ROM due to the point in a box squat where you relax onto the box. Additionally, I think the start of a box squats can be a bit tough on the knees. So after a few weeks of front box squats, it again hurt to do full ROM of squats with just bodyweight. The top of the ROM was OK, but trying to go to parrallel or deeper it just felt as if my knees were super tight, it was a deep ache feeling. Additionally, my wrists were starting to hurt from holding the bar in the front squat position.
Lessons? I do best with regular ROM back squats.
My plan to get back to back squats pain free:
1. Avoid painful activities
2. Thoroughly warmup my knees
3. More deadlift volume until I can squat again
4. Isolate (leg extensions) until I can do compound pain free
5. Higher reps for now as this helps the tendons
6. Stretching the quad
7. Maybe when I have a few dollars to spare - knee sleeves
Deadlift Day - Leg Extensions to hit quads
308.5x5, 8 sets ss w/ Leg Extension - began with 60x8, working up to 75x8
Circuit: 4 times through
a) Box Jump x 1
b) Deadlift 328.5x3
c) Box Jump x 2
d) Tricep Pump Work
BWx10, 3 sets ss w/ Quadricep Stretching