I fix a grin to my face, stride out and wave to the crowd and the judges from Natural Bodybuilding Australia. Finalize your decision for your suit design. I leave each training session feeling I’ve had a solid workout, but not so toasted I can barely walk for three days. These are the striations I’ve heard about but have never seen in the mirror. But how much weight, exactly, will I have to lose? At times he allows me refeed weekends, but even these require precise calculations: I can have 1200 kilojoules more on Saturdays and Sundays, but my fats can’t go above 60g. His voice booms out from the microphone as he reads out our names in reverse order. So I use the extra time to practise posing, sending videos of myself to Jeff. Even he sounds in awe of what I look like. Finally, the big day arrives. A published author. I know this vascularity is a sign my body fat is dropping to the desired levels. “Fair enough, your choice,” he said when I declined his offer of anabolic steroids. Continue to stay on your training, nutrition, and posing game. Is it downhill all the way from here? You should have a suit-fitting sometime within this window. A few weeks in, though, I’m loving this new way of doing things. The key points: leave 1-3 reps in the tank on every set; rest as needed between sets; use perfect form. More importantly, I don’t want to be that skinny-fat guy on stage who looks like he started his contest prep last week. I feel a bit paunchy, a bit man-booby. I try to deal with my advancing years with an attitude of amused resignation. Jeff drops my training days to four. He explains I’ll need more rest days to allow my body to recover because, well, I’m getting on a bit and the risk of injury is high. Many guys in the throes of a mid-life crisis take up running or cycling. It’s a massive ego boost to watch those abs and muscles pop in your super-lean state, but Alberts says it’s vital to up the kilojoules and get back to a normal weight pretty quickly after competing. I’ve long considered myself a healthy eater, but my portion sizes had gotten out of whack. They run across my shoulders and along the length of my arms. You don’t have to compete but bodybuilding will help you build your healthiest and best looking body ever! And I have to laugh one day when a twenty something colleague asks, “What colour was your hair before?” “Before what?” I reply, watching him redden and shift in his seat as he realises he may have hit a raw nerve. How wrong I am. https://3dmusclejourney.com/consistent-peaking-part-1/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLjq6Zn86w4. In reality, my partner’s just counting the weeks until our lives can return to normality. Each week I’ll need to send him a 10-15-minute video check-in from my home in Sydney, and he’ll reply by video from his home in California a day later. I feel like my world has tilted on its axis. “Wow,” he says, staring at my torso. “Don’t feel you’re not working hard enough if you’re not working to failure.”. I’m 54 and in the best shape of my life. “If you’re doing eight to ten reps, leaving one to three reps in reserve is sufficient to activate both fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibres,” he says. I feel like an extra in a girl-band video. Program Note: One minute rest between sets. “Sorry,” I mumble, embarrassed at being sprung. Just as I’m getting on track, Jeff drops my daily intake to 8950kJ, trimming back the carbs and fats. Is it really possible for an ordinary guy to turn himself into a beast? They pair me up with a coach who turns out to be ideal – the founder of 3DMJ himself.