Ok...so while I wait for the arrival of the pictures from my shoot I though I would share my personal experience of the last week with all those people that have been following my progress and anxiously waiting for the pics. I dieted for 5 months initially following something called the warrior diet then after a month progressed to something called I.F. diet based on Martin's method of 16hrs. fast, 8hrs. eat...something about the unconventional nature of it struck a nerve with me and I just had to try it (what can I say ?? I strive to be different) lol.... I got leaner than I have ever been in my entire life. I started out at about 3000-3200 cal./day and tapered down to about 1850 cal./day the week before the shoot...they key I found was to reduce calories slowly..(small changes over weeks)..my strength increased in the gym which was also cool since usually I got weaker as a "pre-contest" diet progressed, By about 2 weeks before the shoot I knew I was ready...it was just a matter of that last little carb depletion/water manipulation left to go...I knew at this point the body fat was as low as it was probably going to get and the idea was to maintain everything for the final push. With wonderful advice and guidance From Tamara and Erik I was able to accomplish the final week carb deplete/water load to a "T" I never imagined the science working so perfectly for me. It was such a cool experience... The photo shoot was an awesome experience onto itself..one which I recommend to anyone who trains hard to reach a goal and wants a nice momentum to look back on one day (when we are all old and gray) . So the shoot is over and I feel like "Mission Accomplished" reached my goal and felt like I just climbed the peak of a mountain.top of the world kind of feeling.. So..... I start having some "cheat meals" nothing crazy...but more than I have been accustomed to over the past several months. Next morning decide I will return to 6 meal a day style eating again after several months of I.F. diet....structured meals but with a little "extra"...little extra oatmeal with the eggs..blueberries on top..and....a hit of honey...lol potatoes with my steak )mmm cream and sugar in my coffee,...that kind of stuff...nothing too crazy though..(still haven't had many things that I thought I would by now).. Make it through Sunday at the beach..still looking shredded and full...kids are walking by going "WOW!!!" "you're ripped man!" lol stares from everyone...not all pleasant ones but I don't care cause I'm the leanest dude in the beach and possibly any beach at that point lol I'm totally digging being "peaked" physically. Finding myself in a state which I had never before experienced even in my previous competition days. A few more snacks,a double bison burger mmmmm some pasta when I got home finally.. (land lady was inviting me all summer long and I had to refuse), chocolate bar and several pieces of fruit ( Ok I went a little fruit crazy)...like half a watermelon ) lol what?? it's mostly water right?? ;-) So Monday I wake up and I'm feeling the bloat something fierce...still vascular but face is full and glutes are no longer cut...bottom abs are starting to fade fast!!!. Only positive is that I am feeling "FULL" like I have not felt in several months..my muscles appear rounder and a bit bigger looking .. workouts at the gym are nuts...massive volume training..new p.r,'s great pumps...the carbs continue(while still maintaining high levels of proteins) Massive bloat the next day..stomach feels like I am going to explode...mentally feeling like crap!!! never had such a downswing after such an emotional high in so few days before.....I felt like everything I worked for was nothing because it could so easily be wiped clear.. :-( Massive downer!! By last Thursday I was 195 lbs.. ( I estimated on the morning of the shoot I was 180lbs.) 15 pounds in 5 days!!! wtf? I went from being the leanest guy at my gym to just being ho-hum in one week..totally felt like crapolla!! ...then I decided no more of this..I would slowly reduce carbs over the weekend then start back to my I.F. style eating so that by Monday I would be back in full "diet mode". I hit the gym with a more ferocious drive than ever...I was not going to slip "out of shape" that fast....I mean come on..I worked too hard for too long Monday I was back on full diet mode...my coffees went back to black with stevia from (x-large double/double X 3 a day) the previous week...everything back to the calories I was eating about 4 weeks out from the shoot...after the first day I started to feel better...the extra carbs actually decreased my general emotional feelings after several days...I don't know it it was a case of too much too soon coupled with my return to "daytime eating" or something else but I started to miss the way I "felt" while dieting...almost makes me think of the "Stockholm Syndrome"..lol but within 24 hrs. I started losing the pounds and the inches...(my waist had gone from 28.5 inches on the morning of the shoot all the way up to 32 Monday).... by Tuesday I was 190 lbs and tonight(Sept. 9) I was 187 lbs...the vascularity is returning to its previous 24/7 state..and cuts are reappearing....my butt and stomach don't jiggle anymore and more importantly I am "feeling" so much better...stronger, more focused and today I broke more pr's in the gym... Moral of the story...I guess that temporary setbacks are just that..(temporary)..when they happen you have to just get back on the horse and push forward..become stronger, better and wiser....don't let it bring you down mentally because the effect it will have on your body will be ten-fold..Mind is everything....never quit!!! First pics is Thurs. Aug 26 (184ish lbs.) Second pic one week later 195 lbs Third pic Thur.Sept. 9 (tonight) 187 lbs.