- 2004 N.P.C. Nevada State Superheavyweight Champion
- 2004 N.P.C. USA Bodybuilding Championships, SuperHeavyweight, 4th
Off Season Weight:
Starts preparing for a contest 16 weeks out
Rodney Davis has been around the sport of bodybuilding for a long time. In fact, if you go back and look at the photos from Paul Dillett’s first appearance at the 1991 North American Bodybuilding Championships (won that year by Ray McNeil), you’ll find a 225 pound Rodney standing right next to big Paul and holding his own. In all those years of competing, Rodney has learned a lot about contest preparation and developed a very systematic approach to getting into great shape for a show. Combine that with a very balanced physique, tiny waist and a strong will to succeed and you this month’s contest prep of rising NPC star, Rodney Davis.
Rodney trains 5 days per week when preparing for a contest on the following schedule for the first eight weeks of his preparations:
Monday: Chest, Delts
Tuesday: Light Legs
Saturday: Heavy Legs
Rodney trains six days per week for the final eight weeks as follows:
Wednesday: Light Legs
Saturday: Heavy Legs
- Rodney will do calves and abs on alternating days, hitting each three times per week.
- Rodney has been training and competing for twenty years, so he has learned that his bodyparts respond to different set and rep schemes. For chest and back, he will do 12-16 sets of 6-10 reps each. Delts get a similar number of sets, but the reps are a little higher at 10-12. Biceps and triceps each get 10-12 sets of 8-12 reps, while legs get a total of 20-22 sets of 15-25 reps.
“Part of improving your physique is learning your body and what different bodyparts respond to. My physique is very balanced and part of that has been learning that different bodyparts need different stimulation.”
- Rodney has outstanding chest. Let’s take a look at his precontest pec routine.
Flat Barbell Press 3-4 x 6-10
Incline Barbell Press 3-4 x 6-10
Incline Dumbbell Fly 3-4 x 6-10
Pec Deck 3-4 x 6-10
- Rodney’s differs slightly from his precontest approach. He will do a few less sets per bodypart, his rest between sets is little shorter and he will do less isolation exercises.
Rodney begins cardio 16 weeks out from his contest. He starts with three sessions per week, doing 20 minutes on the treadmill.
“I like the treadmill because I feel like moving your whole body helps you burn more calories.”
At 14 weeks out, he goes to three sessions of 30 minutes each. From weeks 12 to week 8, he will lengthen those three sessions to 45 minutes. At the 8-week point, Rodney does cardio four days per week, two sessions per day, for a total of 60-90 minutes. “
I will keep my cardio in this range until I am four weeks out. I do the first cardio session in the morning on an empty stomach and the second session after a workout. I never do cardio on a leg day, either. At this point, I also mix up the cardio machines I use. I’ll use the Stairmaster a lot because I find it helps me bring my legs and glutes in a bit. Plus, mixing up the machines keeps things a bit more interesting for me.”
At the four-week point, Rodney drops his cardio back to four sessions of 45-60 minutes each. The last two weeks will see him only doing three sessions of 20-30 minutes.
“I think that one of the reasons that a lot of guys end up coming in stringy is because they keep their cardio too high as they get closer. I believe in preparing for a longer time so that I can ease the cardio back at the end rather than be adding to it. That’s one of the key reasons why I start prepping 16 weeks out.”
PreContest Nutrition & Supplementation
Rodney has a very systematic approach to his precontest diet. At the sixteen-week point, he eliminates all junk food or other food that will not be part of the diet. He will eat any quantity of food he wants, but it is all “diet” food. He will do this for two weeks before he starts to measure his food. He will eat 300 grams of protein and 300 grams of carbs for two weeks. At the twelve-week point, he drops his carbs to 200 grams and raises his protein intake to 400 grams. He stays there for two weeks, which finds him ten weeks from the contest. Then things change quite a bit.
“For the next eight weeks (from ten weeks out to two weeks before the contest), I will rotate my carbs and protein on a three day, one-day rotation. For the first three days, I will eat between 100-150 grams of carbs and 400-450 grams of protein. Then, on the next day, I will eat between 400-500 grams of carbs and about 300 grams of protein. Then I start the rotation again.”
Rodney will determine how many carbs and protein to eat in the ranges outlined above based on how he feels his condition is coming along.
Two weeks before the contest, Rodney will stop rotating his carbs and eat 250 grams of carbs per day and 450 grams of protein. (We’ll outline how Rodney manipulates his food the final week before the contest in the “Last Week” section below.)
Rodney relies on the following foods to meet his protein needs:
- Egg Whites
- Chicken Breast
- Turkey Breast
- Very Lean Ground Beef
- Meal Replacement Packs (discontinued the last four weeks)
Rodney relies on the following foods to meet his carbohydrate needs:
- Hot cereals like oatmeal, grits, cream of rice
- Fruit (on high carb days only)
- Carrots, broccoli and green beans
- Rodney will eat 5-6 meals per day and will eat the bulk of whatever carbs he is having that day in the first three meals.
- Rodney will have a scheduled cheat day every four weeks but will make it on a high carb day so that his body will more readily absorb the additional carbs and calories.
“I don’t go crazy on that day. I usually eat some protein bars and a few extra carbs, but that’s about it.”
- In terms of meal frequency, Rodney eats every three hours.
- He drinks somewhere between 1 and 1 ½ gallons of water per day until he is 3 weeks out. At that point, he will drink 2 ½ gallons of water per day until the day before the event.
- To make his food prep a bit easier, Rodney prepares a few days worth of food at one time so that he isn’t cooking all the time.
Precontest Supplement List
- Multi Vitamin/Multi Mineral, preferably time released
- Vitamin C
- Whey Protein and other protein powders with various types of mixed proteins
The Last Week
Assumes Friday Night prejudge
Rodney will take in 300 grams of protein and 400 grams of carbs.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
Rodney drops his carbs to less than 50 grams per day and raises his protein to 400 grams, coming mostly from turkey and lean steak.
Thursday and Friday (the day of the prejudging)
Rodney will eat a total of 500 grams of carbs on each of these days. His protein intake consists of three, eight-ounce servings of lean ground beef spaced throughout the day. He will also eat three, 3 ½ ounce servings of unsalted almonds each day as well.
Rodney will continue to drink 2 ½ gallons of water up to and including Wednesday. On Thursday he will drop his water to one gallon and cut it to ½ gallon on Friday. Given that his prejudging is later that night, he will make sure to consume all his water for that day before 2 PM.
Training and Cardio
Mark will stop doing cardio three days out and all leg training seven or eight days out. The last week, he will train every upper bodypart on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. He will do six sets of 15 reps per bodypart.
The Finishing Touches
Rodney tries to choose his music and have his routine prepared six weeks before the contest and will practice it for about 15 minutes, four times per week. He will practice his mandatories when he is training the bodypart relevant to that pose. For example, he will practice hitting his back while he is actually training back.
“I’m covered up when I do this, so I’m not doing to see what it looks like. I do it because I think that posing helps bring out more detail in the muscle.”
Rodney starts hitting the tanning bed twice per week for the last six weeks before the contest. He will apply one coat of Jan Tana tanning lotion on Friday morning for his final coloring.
Rodney will use almond oil for his final sheen before walking onstage. He will pump up and pose for about 25 minutes backstage.
“About 70% of that time I will be flexing back there. Otherwise, I will do some side and front laterals, pushups and arm stuff. That’s about it and I’m ready to go.”
Rodney believes in flying to a show while he is still depleting and drinking a lot of water. This way, he can consume a lot of water during the flight and not negatively affect his preparation. He will also try to arrive at the contest at least three days before the event to offset any effect the flight may have had on his condition.
Finish This Sentence…
The thing I like most about contest prep is…
“seeing the changes in my body from week to week. It’s exciting to watch it happen and know that I did it. That’s one of the things I like about bodybuilding. You are successful or you fail based on your own efforts.”
The thing I like least about contest prep is…
“the expense of time and money. Getting ready for a show takes time away from your relationships, kids. It affects everything.”
The first thing I want to eat after a show is…
“pancakes with real butter and real syrup.”
Another athlete whose conditioning I really admire is…
The best condition I’ve ever been in was at the…
“2004 USA Championships.”
What keeps you motivated, focused and disciplined?
“Guilt. I hate to even think about the feeling of giving in to an urge to deviate. I just can’t do it. I hate the idea of feeling like I quit or I couldn’t hang. Once I commit to something I finish it. No excuses.”