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December 29, 2010

Preparation is the Name of the Game

So most people wonder what bodybuilders do all day and how they could possibly need all day just to work out and eat. Until you reach a level where eating is more important than breathing you wouldn't really understand. I have tried all different types of things: Cooking all my food at the beginning of the week, cooking my meals for a few days at a time, cooking weeks worth and vacuum sealing and the best one, cooking each meal hot and fresh.

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Yes I am one of those guys - I need my food fresh. I can't eat tupperware chicken or cold fish unless I absolutely have to and even then I make sure I wash it down with so much water it might as well be blended. Sorry for the nasty visual. I do cook some things ahead of time like potatoes (boiled) or chicken (baked) but even that’s only for a few days and when I have to eat it I actually cook it again in a frying pan to heat it up instead of microwaving it. Have you ever had boiled potato cut up into cubes and fried up in some pam? It is damn good when you are dieting!

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More important than cooking the food either ahead of time or on the spot is actually having the food on hand. More times than not I have had clients that tell me they missed such and such a meal or had to sub this meal or that because they ran out of fish, steak or chicken. One thing I always make sure of is I have tons of food in my house. I stock up; Costco is my home away from home, well actually the gym is but the people at Costco know me now so they would say it’s a close second. My freezer is stocked with bags of tilapia and Costco’s chicken breast is the freshest (where I live anyway). I go to the butcher (Mr. Meat) for my steak and usually have two different cuts: One for offseason (bottom sirloin) and one cut for precontest (round steak). He grinds it all up for me so it’s easier for cooking and eating and it doesn't do a number on my teeth when I'm eating 5lbs a day. He also packs it up for me in 12oz portions which is perfect so I don't have to waste my time measuring!

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Anyway, back to my original point. All of this takes time. In a day I have to get up and go to the gym for cardio, stretching, abs. Eat, then chiro, then grocery shopping, then tanning. I rest a little then back to the gym to train. I head back home to eat, cook and prepare more food. Do some more home therapy (foam roller, ect.), check fan emails, write this blog, and get some sleep. I love it and I wouldn't have it any other way but anyone who says its easy and we are lazy bodybuilders has no idea what this lifestyle really takes at this level.

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I am blessed to be able to train fulltime and I know if I wasn't I wouldn't be where I am today. I am thankful because I know the ride could end at anytime but that’s the excitement of life! Going for all of it and seeing where you land. Why play it safe when there is so much more you could be doing....

Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad

December 24, 2010

Visiting Santa and Sticking to the Plan!

Season's Greetings!

Well it’s that time of year again and everyone is going crazy shopping (cool for me, gives me an excuse to spend money), going to office parties, eating tons of good food and making New Year's resolutions. Somebody asked me the other day what my New Year's resolution was going to be for 2011? I told them I have been on top of my New Year's resolution for the last six weeks. Civilians don't understand how we do it. How can you go through the holidays and not drink, not eat, not party? How is that possible? I guess the average person doesn't understand that what we as competitors do is bigger than ourselves. We are able to get past the holiday cheer and see the bigger picture. We know that every meal, every rep, every set matters from day 1 until show time.

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The one thing I can participate in is shopping! I don't know what it is, I come from a lower-middle class upbringing and I was never taught to blow through cash but I think the diet makes me this way. I guess I'll put it to you this way, since I can't spend money at restaurants, I might as well spend it somewhere else. The one thing I did notice was walking through the mall two days before Xmas can be interesting for someone like me. There are a few different types of people: 1. The old woman or man who are totally in awe by what we do and usually the little old lady has to get a bicep feel...lol. 2. The average gym warrior who walks through the mall and looks at you and wants to take another look but wants to maintain his pride. 3. Then there are the women who are speed shopping and blow right through your shoulder only to realize it’s not easy to move bodybuilder of my size. From there I get a dirty look like its my fault I'm this size and I should be banned from the mall altogether. 4. Lastly, you have two types of kids; ones that stare at you like your a comic book character and want to reach out and start wrestling and two, the kinds that run for the nearest parent and scream in fear that such a human exists. Gotta love'em, all those people make for a pretty interesting shopping day.

The other thing I noticed in hitting the mall, since I haven't been in quite some time, is it’s not as easy as it once was to shop. I'm not talking about the fact that NOTHING on the racks fits and the food court is really just an exercise in complete discipline. I'm talking about the fact that after walking through the mall once or twice its pretty much time to go home. I did a couple laps and I was looking for the electrical wheel chairs to finish out the day!

I guess I should have talked about my prep a little bit huh? Well I found out today that I wasn't getting a Xmas present from the IFBB - I did not get the Arnold Invite...YET. I understand though, I haven't competed in about 14 months and I'm sure they don't know that the person coming back is not at all the person that hit the stage then. Like everything else in my life, nothing comes easy and it’s all earned, not given. I have been dealing with adversity all throughout my career and I have no problem dealing with this. The one thing I do know is this, the top three at the FLEX Pro will most likely get an invite to the ASC. In my mind, if I can't place in the top three at the FLEX Pro, I shouldn't be on the ASC stage anyway. I want to bring the best package I can to both shows and make sure I am in the top spots. I'm not playing around no more and if I can't get into those top spots then it’s BACK TO THE SQUAT RACK!!

Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad

December 22, 2010

Grinding It Out!

I'm into the meat of the prep now and things are a little slower now. It’s almost like most of the fat is gone but it’s too soon to take it all off, so we wait. It has to be done and although it sounds like a nice thing, those of you who have competed before know that the waiting game can be the hardest part. Most people think the hard part is getting up and blasting cardio seven days a week or eating bland, shitty food, but that’s not the case. For most competitive bodybuilders the hard part is not being able to make gains.

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As I sit here typing my weight is still sitting at a lean 270lbs, it’s almost like a car sitting at a stop light revving its engine waiting to go. I can feel my body primed to go to the extreme level it has to go to for the win. After 12 years of competing I just know the feeling, I think after two years of working with me Hany knows it too. He is keeping my body at bay and at this point where one small change in the diet or cardio could get me even drier or in better condition. It’s definitely comforting knowing at any moment we could drop the hammer and in a few weeks I could hit the stage. I know for Hany it’s not as comforting though; dropping too fast is just as bad as not dropping at all.

On the business side of things I have decided to start training people in the gym. It wasn't something I really wanted to get into but I do a lot of online coaching and realized that I need to see how these people are training in the gym. Obviously I can't do this for all my clients since some are very far away but the ones around Toronto, Ontario or Windsor, Ontario do have that option. I have also finally gotten to work on a portion of my clothing line that should be done by the New Year, free for all clients and will be available for fans! For more info check out fouadhossabiad.com!

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It’s too close to the show to be pounding back lbs of food so you can keep growing and it’s too far from the show to stay on the stepmill for more than 35min a day. So what do I do to keep myself mentally stable you ask? Other than shop for stuff online, I do all the extras. I do the stuff most guys don't like to do: I do the therapy, the stretching, and the posing. I invest more time into my visualization of the show and learning about how I can make my mind stronger entering such a big show. When your goal is to beat a former Mr.O there is nothing that you should stop short at when thinking you can beat him. Everyday I go through in my mind the battle between me and Dexter. It may sound ludicrous to some of you for me to think that but without that thought being played out in my mind there is no way I can be ready for it on Feb.19th when it happens. I am preparing in every way possible: Conditioning, physically and mentally. I will be prepared and that’s the name of the game!


Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad

December 18, 2010

New Therapy to Stay Healthy

New Therapy

As most of you know that have followed my career or my personal blog, I am big into finding new therapies that can keep my body healthy and growing smoothly. About seven or eight months ago I started deadlifting (for the first time in my career). Each week I deadlift and when the legs are feeling good I also squat, as do most bodybuilders. Both these movements, along with a host of others that we perform, constantly are compressing our spines. This can lead to bulged discs, pinched nerves and many other issues, so I decided to do something about it.

Keep in mind this could be just part of my impulsive dieting attitude that comes to me every time I diet, but I'd like to think it’s because I was looking out for my health. About three weeks ago I was at Costco just wandering the isles (cuz I love that place!) and looking for things to buy. Ok, I confess, I was also looking at all the prepared foods and wondering if I could somehow convince Hany to work them into my diet. Anyway, after realizing there was no way in hell that was going to happen I moved on to sporting goods (don't worry, I already went through electronics..lol, I never miss it). In the sporting goods section I noticed they had an inversion table (allows you to hang upside down) and I realized this could really help me long-term.

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I was able to control myself and not buy the thing but I did go home and for the next week I researched inversion tables and their benefits. Since our spines are constantly being compressed the only way to fully decompress the spine is actually to hang upside down, taking all the pressure off your spine. This actually stretches out the spine and allows more blood flow and better hydration to the discs and muscles around the spine.

Since I have had some lower back issues I decided this was the way I wanted to go. After speaking to Alvin Brown (Therapist in Pickering, Ontario) and Dave Cowie (Therapist in Windsor, Ontario) and both telling me they work well in conjunction with other therapies, I bought it. That was the fun part because after I got home and took the box out of the trunk I realized, I have to put this thing together! Not only did that bother me because I hate putting things together, but it also bothered me because when completed I was actually going to have to get in and hang upside down in it! I don't know if I trust my building abilities that much.

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Regardless, I put it together and it went relatively smoothly. I did actually get in and hang all the way upside down to try it and all is well. As ordered by Alvin and Dave I was to begin on a slight incline and only for a few minutes a day. I am in my first week and am already noticing my back feels looser and not so stiff, especially in the morning when I wake up. Who knows maybe enough time upside down will make me taller??...lol.

Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad

December 14, 2010

Mental Changes During the Diet

Most of you who have followed my personal blog already know I can get kind of crazy when getting ready for a show. I tend to do things like impulsively buy things and obsessive compulsive things like sitting in the same place when eating or watching the same shows day in and day out. We all settle into these little crazy patterns when we're getting ready for a show and to top it off this year I get to do it in the Canadian cold...aaahhhh, I love it!! Nothing makes you feel more like a warrior than getting your ass out of bed when your freezing cold, going outside bundled up in a beanie and gloves and cleaning off your car covered in snow, just so you can get your ass in the gym and feel even more pain! Most of you know I'm a little bit of a car nut and my Mustang is my baby, but it had to be put away at the first sign of cold, so I got the Jeep out and 4X4 is a wonderful thing when the roads are covered in ice and snow. It adds to my feeling of, nothing can stop me from getting to the gym and bringing the best my physique has to offer!

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So on the physical side of things, my physique is coming along just the way Hany and I have things planned out. This morning I was sitting at a lean 269lbs and looking the best I ever have at this weight. Mentally though, I think my mind is starting to take me for a ride. I can't sleep anymore, can't eat my food during commercials and find myself buying my girlfriend food just so I can watch her eat it. How’s that for messed up? I've even started “cruising” the grocery store isles looking at food and I'm not even ten weeks out yet. There is something about being ahead of the game with your conditioning and cruising into the show that makes dieting harder. For me, it’s easier to feel the pressure of needing to get ready, but either way I will be shredded on Feb 19th!

As most of you saw, my upper body has gotten much thicker and I have been killing the legs forcing them to grow and catch up to my upper body. My goal when I started bodybuilding was not to have a few eye catching body parts, but more to have a complete physique from head to toe. I feel like I am close to my goal; a little more size in the calves and a little more size in the arms and I will be able to feel complete as a bodybuilder. Then I can let the judges do what they do. Here is a leg workout from yesterday, give it a shot!

1. Lying Leg Curls: 7 sets / 20 - 8 Reps (pyramid the reps down as the weight increases, try to
make your hams do all work for you even the light ones)
2. Leg Press: 5 sets / 20 Reps (very wide stance, feet low on the pad, increase weight on each set)
3. Hack Squat: 4 sets / 15-20 Reps (feet about 2" apart, increase weight on each set)
4. Single Leg Stiff Leg Deadlift: 4 sets / 10-12 Reps (use a heavy DB for this)
5. Single Leg Leg Press: 4 sets / 20 Reps (foot high and wide to hit adductors, quads and hamstring)

Some of you may not call this “'hardcore,” but if you see my legs you'll see that there is more than one way to skin a cat. For online coaching and December specials, go to www.fouadhossabiad.com.

Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad

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December 11, 2010

Is a Fast Metabolism a Good Thing?

Is a Fast Metabolism a Good Thing?


We're nearing the end of week eleven and things have been going great until now. I mentioned to a friend of mine that the fat was coming off fast and Hany and I were working on a solution. He said, “Oh poor you, you lose fat too fast, what a problem to have,” obviously being sarcastic. I told him it actually is a problem, believe it or not. You would think that getting shredded early is a good thing but in all honesty, when you’re going up against guys that tip the scale at 260-270lbs, losing too much weight is just as bad as not being able to lose weight.

Obviously Hany being the coach he is, he already knows this so we're taking steps to slow things down. When we started the diet I was doing cardio five times a week and that has seemed to slow down now to less and less. We started with six meals a day and now have increased them to seven. I have had cheat meals almost weekly since the start of the diet. Still, with all these changes the fat still seems to keep coming off, my strength is staying relatively high and the workout pumps are good. I really can't explain it but to say, maybe staying lean all year has really made my body extremely efficient so any extra physical activity (ie.cardio) really bumps my metabolism.

At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you get shredded in three weeks or if it takes you all sixteen, bottom line is the day of the show. The nice thing about being lean early is it will allow me to keep my strength up since I can eat more. More strength means a fuller looking muscle. The other positive to this whole process is I can keep working on my waist and really bringing it down for the next ten weeks. Bigger shoulders, smaller waist, bigger legs, should make for a deadly combo come February or as I have dubbed it: Fouadruary, cuz its gonna be mine!!


Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad

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December 07, 2010

Building Into The Show

We're just shy of eleven weeks out and I'm normally feeling big, full and like a powerhouse! It’s my second year working with Hany Rambod and we have made some good gains this offseason and we also have a new game plan coming into this show. I'm not sure if Hany does this with some of his other clients, but given the way my body is when dieting I agree with his methods and think it may really pay off in February! Normally when a bodybuilder diets for a show there is a natural progression from offseason to diet to extreme diet. Basically most start their diet with lots of food, minimal cardio and work their way up from there: As they get closer they increase the cardio, decrease the calories and watch as their body reaches that perfect point.

We on the other hand have decided on a different plan. We're going to bring it in tight for the first six weeks and then as we get around the ten week mark actually start building into the show. I am excited about it because part of my issue when dieting is maintaining the fullness and volume in the muscle, mainly my legs. I think with this plan I will actually stay nice and full all the way into the show. We are just under eleven weeks out and I am sitting at 267lbs, leaner than I ever have been at this weight. I think when we start pounding the food back I am actually going to get more lean and more full!
I trained legs yesterday with Darren Oliver, one of Canada's top trainers. He was able to manipulate my body in certain ways to really hit certain areas of my legs. We're mainly working the outer, upper sweep which is a bitch for most guys to really learn how to hit properly - one of those guys being myself! I was honored to be able to learn some new techniques and new angles to take back and incorporate into my own leg training.

Whoever says you shouldn't hire someone to help you is really just close minded in my opinion. Lately I hear people stress how great it is that this guy and that guy are doing their own prep or not training with anyone. I don't get it. This is the only sport in the world where it’s ok to be close minded and make huge mistakes. There is always someone who knows more and there is always someone who can teach you something. An NFL quarterback has a coach, and MLB hitter has a coach, these guys are at the top of their game and they still have someone standing there saying: “No you can still do it better.” Why is it okay in major sports but not ours? Come on guys, think about it.

Here is a picture taken last Friday (as you can see I have the legs hidden, I guess they'll be unveiled in a few months)...
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December 03, 2010

Road to the FLEX PRO: Stepping Up My Game

What’s going on Flex Fans?

I am getting into the middle of this contest prep now and really shifting gears. I started getting ready for the Flex Pro at 16 weeks and we're now just under 11 weeks out. I have to say the last five weeks have breezed by and I'm sure before I know it we'll be at the four week mark and I'll be shifting gears once again. The last five week have been smooth in the gym: My strength continues to increase, my weight is slowly coming down and every day that passes I get a little more fired up about hitting the stage with Mr.Olympia, Dexter Jackson!

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When I heard Dexter was doing the show I think I stepped my game up about five levels! I know it’s going to be hard to beat Dexter but if we aren't trying to win why are we even competing? I can say this: I have all the respect in the world for Dexter but I am going to do everything in my power to make sure I get a good comparison with him and then let the cards fall where they may.

I just finished a back and ham workout tonight. I am actually hitting hams twice a week to try and bring them up so I like hitting them after back since a lot of the back exercises I do involve the hams as well. I like sticking to the free weight movements where I can, this was my workout tonight:

Close Grip Pulldowns 3 Sets / 8-10 Reps
One Arm DB Rows 3 Sets / 10-12 Reps
T-Bar Rows 3 Sets / 8-10 Reps
Barbell Rows 3 Sets / 8-10 Reps
Seated Leg Curl 4 Sets / 20-8 Reps Pyramiding
Standing Leg Curl 3 Sets / 8-10 Reps
Deadlifts (off the floor) 4 Sets / 10-15 Reps


That pretty much wore me out and then I came home to my favorite new meal: Tilapia, Rice, and Avocado. I know it sounds messed up because not many of us like eating fish and that includes me, but for some reason when I'm dieting....man its soooo good!

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Alright that does it for me, gotta go smash a meal, look for me on my personal blog as well www.fouadhossabiad.com.

Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad