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February 26, 2011

Who Are You at Showtime?

I’m actually on the plane home from LA as I write this and I have this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. Its not just because I qualified for the O at my first showing this year. Something else happened this time around; I have been doing a lot of mental work and mental preparation for this show and for life in general. I didn’t want to admit this to anyone at the time but a couple weeks out from this show I felt like I didn’t want to do this anymore, I don’t know if it was the starvation talking or if it was really a feeling of fear and nervousness about the outcome.

Regardless, I broke through my roadblock and it only took me a couple days and I was back on top mentally. It was weird, as I got closer to the show instead of becoming more nervous, anxious or stressed out, I actually became more and more calm as the big day approached. My girlfriend, trainer, brothers all noticed this change in me, they all kept saying, “you’re so calm!”

I decided about a week out from the show I would live in the “now.” No thinking ahead and no reliving the past. I decided that I was going to do everything I had to do for the day I was living the best I could and when the time came to get on stage I would be ready since everything leading up to it was 100% focused.

A weird thing happened when the day finally came though….there was still no nervous, anxious feeling. All I could feel was power. I know it sounds strange but its true, I woke up the day of the show calm and had this feeling overcoming my body that just said “you have done everything you have to do and are ready to take the placing you deserve.” As I got backstage it only got stronger, I felt more and more powerful in my body and mind as I started to pump up. Mentally I was on top of the world and nothing could break me.

I walked by guys pumping up and normally I would be the one looking around and feeling anxious but not on this day, I walked tall with authority and felt like I knew my place in the order and was ready to do battle. When they called my number I didn’t get shaky like normal, I popped up from my chair to get oiled and get in line. As I walked to the line I could feel my energy getting stronger and stronger, as I got closer to line up I became more powerful than I’ve ever felt in my life.

They called my name for the 60 second individual and before I walked out I pointed up at my father because I know he’s watching over me and said, “I know you’re with me.” When I walked I didn’t just waddle out like normal in fear, on this day I strutted out to the center of the stage trying to actually put a hole in the ground with each step I walked. When I finally got to center stage I turned to face the judges and the crowd and it was like there was a field of energy emitting from my body and everyone could see it!

You guys know how the rest of the story goes, Evan won, Dex to second and I landed in third. Although the placing wasn’t a win, that feeling of complete control over my mind and how things were going to play out was a victory for me. The mind can be destructive or it can make you more powerful than you could ever imagine.. Which person are you, do you run and hide from your fears or do you look them straight in the face and own them?

Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad ‘Hoss’ Abiad

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February 16, 2011

The Journey is the Fun Part!

Its 6:30am and this morning my flight is leaving for LA. Its been a long 16 weeks and Hany and I have worked very hard on this one, I have to give him credit where its due: I have never seen a trainer work as hard as he does. The guy calls me twice, sometimes three times a day to make sure I'm doing everything right and to check on weight, pictures and make changes. I have never sent so many pics in my life...lol. The journey is the fun part though; a lot of people get caught up in trying to reach the end and just wanting to see the next goal come to fruition without actually stopping to see what they are doing day to day.

I’ve been cooking 3lbs a fish a day, eating up to 9 meals a day some days, and had plenty of the nights like tonight where there is so much excitement and pent up energy (and starvation) I can't sleep. Everyone always asks me, "are you excited about the show?" I think to myself, I'm excited about my next meal, my next training session. I'm excited to pack all my stuff and fly to LA for work....that’s my job! The journey is the satisfying part, getting into the gym every morning at 8-9am and burning through cardio and destroying abs, the feeling isn't comparable to anything else.

At the end of it all comes the bonus; I get to stand proudly with the best in the world and display and compete to show what I’ve done with youry time off, like an artist who just kept painting the same painting over and over again until it was finally perfect. I know many of you know how I feel, but not all of you realize that the journey in painting that masterpiece is the most enjoyable part and the part. You should stop to realize what you are doing while you’re doing it.

You know I spoke to Hany last night and we start carb loading today, so we were going over some of the game plan. The one thing he said to me was we both killed ourselves getting ready for this prep and now it’s time to go out there and have some fun. I am about to prepare my food for the day of travel ahead of me and couldn't agree with him more. Usually there is a sense of stress that has filled my body and mind as I get closer to something like this and I'm not going to sit here and lie; there have been some anxious moments but never like before.

Today and for the next three days I will be calm and cool knowing that I did everything in my power to bring the best package I could to the stage on Feb.19th. I have never worked this hard and I am excited instead of scared to see the finished product. I drove countless hours back and forth to see my therapist Alvin Brown and to see my other therapist Dave Cowie. I have put my girlfriend through hell and my training partners have been there every step of the way to see me through this. I am ready, there is nothing more to do except enjoy life and watch it unfold. The one thing I always tell my girlfriend and this goes with her work usually the same as mine, "there is no way a person can work this hard and the universe can ignore them, at some point in your life the universe will reward you for all the giving you are doing. It’s just a matter of time; do you have the patience to keep pushing until that reward comes?”

Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad

February 11, 2011

FIGHT OR FLIGHT

Well it happened. Last night at about 3:30am I was eating a large fries with ketchup all over them from McDonald's and damn they were delicious. No, Hany didn't tell me to and I know the show is only a week and a half away but I just couldn't resist....then I woke up in a panic!!!!! I thought "OMG I just F**kin ruined my whole prep! What was I thinking!!" That’s right, I said I woke up, I can't believe it, I am dreaming of food to the point that I thought I was cheating and it was all just a dream.

I remember back in 2003 getting ready for my first nationals and having to diet for 22 weeks because I was on the “see-food” diet all year. I lost 80lbs that year and went on stage at 206lbs, luckily I was shredded and qualified for the following year but that 22 weeks really took its toll on me mentally. I remember feeling exactly the way I do now, I was dreaming of food. I'm at the point in this prep where everything taste great just because I'm so hungry, I hate fish but right now I look forward to it just so I can eat!! I have rerouted my trips to the gym to try to avoid as many fast food places as possible, I change the channel or turn my head and do something else when food commercials are on t.v. and today I made a friend of mine change the channel on the cardio theatre because someone left it on the FOOD NETWORK!

Ok, I think you all got the picture, I'm hungry…lol. Anyway, other than that I realize it doesn't matter if I'm hungry or not, there is only one task at hand here and that is showing up at the FLEX at my best ever. Once I have done that I can be satisfied with myself knowing I gave it my all and never wavered from the plan in any way. I have been working with Alvin Brown (look him up on FB) in the physiotherapy area of my prep as well as the mental focus of my prep. See, Alvin has a Psychology Degree as well as being an Osteopath so I can work body and mind. I know you laugh and say oh he's seeing a shrink but sports psychology is no joke, just ask my girlfriend. This prep I have been able to think clearer about the show and not let any other crap enter my mind, not letting myself get stressed out or taken off course.

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The reason I brought Alvin up is we had a good talk the other day about competing and how when things get tough you have to push through to be true to yourself. One thing I didn't realize was this show and this struggle is not just about the FLEX, but it’s about my life in general. We all have struggles in our lives and these are things we need to conquer if we're ever going to be successful in our lifetime. It really hit me as we were talking and I figured out that if I don't come in at my best or at least give it my best, I am not only letting myself down for this show but I am going to take the easy way out from here on in when it comes to anything. People either fight or flight when it comes to struggle, more often than not its flight. That’s why so many of us have meaningless jobs that we just plug away at because somewhere along the line we gave up on something somewhere. Giving up is not an option for m;, cheating, not training my hardest, not doing extras, these are all forms of giving up and I can't do it. I don't want to think the next time in my life something tough comes along that I can just half ass it. I want to know that I can dig deep, take it head on and as Alvin says "Go through the fire!"

It all comes down to this: I am almost a week out from the show. I'm starving, moody, isolated but continue to push through barriers. When my body says "oh just rest you look great your already in shape," my mind says "get off your ass and get in better shape!" See, one of the other things I realized in talking through this was this show isn't just about me. I have a support system that I talked about in a previous blog and they are all counting on me. Even bigger than that are the people I don't know. That’s right, the people I don't know, the people that send me numerous emails in support or the ones that are always on FB giving their time; they are all counting on me to do my best. Being from Canada, I know a lot of bodybuilders feel like it’s impossible to break into the IFBB and do well and I think I have shown a new crop of bodybuilders that it can be done. I hear more and more young guys in the gym talking about being pros one day because they know if I did it they can do it too! This show is not just about me. I need to come in at my best and I owe all the people who are my supporters and young guys looking up to me to bring my best package.

Thank you all for being there for me, without you who read my blogs, watch my videos, send your emails and even post little things on the boards here and there, this wouldn't be as satisfying as it is. I want to bring you all along for the ride and that’s why I write my blogs and that’s why I like to stay in touch. We are all going to the top one step at a time....ABIAD's ARMY is coming!

Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad

February 02, 2011

So Close, But Yet So Far...

18 days. It seems so far but in actuality its right around the corner and nervous energy has set in. Unlike other years, it’s not a stressed out feeling it’s more of a, “get me to that stage aleady,” kind of feeling. A little more craziness has set in as well. Every year before each show as it gets closer and my cravings get worse I usually make a list of foods or restaurants to eat at after the show. The goal is to finish the list within one month of the shows and somehow it never gets done. I told my girl yesterday though I promise this year I am going to eat all the food on the list; I feel like it’s something I have to accomplish because I never have before..lol. Anyway enough of that, I could talk about food all day at this point so I don't wanna ramble.
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Things with the prep are going good: Hany has just decided we're going to go up another level from where I am. I'm pretty sure I've never been here before while holding this much muscle. Some of you that have seen my pics in the past have seen me shredded and in good condition but I was much smaller, the goal this year is going to be to bring in a higher level of conditioning while keeping all the hard earned muscle I put on over the long time I had off.

Strength is up and down; some days I'm benching 405lbs and some days its 315lbs but I don't let that get to me at all because I know things like that happen as you get more depleted. The one thing I do try and do is always push as hard as I can. I always try and make sure I'm lifting as heavy as I can because I know my body and as soon as I start doing too many supersets or lifting too light my body gets stringy. Yesterday I trained legs and things felt really good, strong, endurance was good and separation is really coming in. Legs have always been a point for me to really improve on and I did have some quad injuries this year so the fact that I am squatting and staying full and round in the lower body means things are all positive going into the FLEX.

All in all this prep has been very good for me, the people in my life have noticed a change in me and I think it comes from experience. I think after years of training and competing I am finally starting to feel like a real professional in every sense of the word, not just in the physical sense. It’s important to me to go the extra mile and take care of fans needs and always give back. It’s important to be appreciative for the people in your life that are always there for you. Every last little detail of this prep has been thought of and nothing has been left to chance. Tanning, icing, physio, mental visualization, eating, sleeping, training, food prep, posing and all the extras like ab work, stretching are all being done for the first time in my career. I think I got by on whatever genetics I had and they got me to where I am today and I always thought I was working hard until I realized there is SO MUCH MORE that can be done. It’s not just doing but doing with 100% focus and intensity. In 18 days we're going to find out if putting all these pieces to the puzzle together will create the picture in my mind I have had for the last 14 months.

Sacrifice Without Regret,
Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad