Irish champion bodybuilder reveals what he eats during a typical pre-competition training day
Eat, sleep, workout, repeat.
The Natural Bodybuilding Championships of Ireland (NBFI) took place at the start of September in the Everyman Theatre in Cork and it was a man from the west of Ireland who made all the headlines at the event.
23-year-old Cian Brennan from Claremorris in Mayo took home the overall prize as well as the u24 junior category at the competition, having finished second and third respectively over the last two years.
For Cian, it was the culmination of about seven years of work in an area he fell into while trying to put on a little bit of bulk to succeed at soccer.
At 16, he was told by Irish underage coaches that he wasn't quite big enough to make the team. He missed the cut for the youth squads and decided to go to the gym. By the age of 19 he was playing semi-professional football with Sligo Rovers, but he'd fallen out of love with the game and his attention had turned to bodybuilding.
His win last weekend has earned him a spot at the European Championships in Coventry in October and the World Championships in Los Angeles in November.
An amateur competitor, Cian has had to fund all of his expenses himself and will have to pay his way to Coventry, although he is hopeful that some funding from the NBFI will be available for him to help him pay for the trip to LA a month later.
"I'm self-sufficient," Cian tells JOE, almost apologetically. "I almost feel bad going out asking people for money."
With JOE being somewhat ignorant of the nuances of the art of bodybuilding, Cian helpfully explains that he goes through two different phases each year.
One of them is his 'off-season', which last year lasted from October to mid-March. Now, this isn't exactly an off-season in the way that many people would define the word 'off'. It involves training 5-6 times a week, eating a lot of calories, and in Cian's words: "Getting as big as you can and putting on mass and muscle."
Then comes the less fun part, as the dieting starts so he can get into peak shape for competition. For his latest competition, he dieted for 22 weeks.
"You do not want to lose muscle, so it involves gradually decreasing calories and upping cardio," Cian said.
At the schedule's peak during the off-season, Cian could be consuming in excess of 4,000 calories each day, but during his dieting, he averages around 2,400 calories each day. Some days, his intake drops as low as 1,800 per day.
This is what a typical day in competition prep looks like for Cian... (Note: Some of Cian's meals may be adjusted in accordance with his workout each day),
5am - Wake up. Have a coffee.
6am - 9am - Work as a personal trainer one-on-one with clients.
10.30am - Breakfast: 175g of beef mince (uncooked weight) with green beans and asparagus.
11.15am - Workout consisting of either push, pull, or leg exercises. Followed by some cardio and posing exercises for competition.
1.30pm - Snack: Gluten free porridge oats, 30g of beef protein, and 20g of white and dark chocolate.
4.30pm - Dinner: 175g of beef mince with green beans and asparagus.
5pm to 9pm - Work as PT.
9.30pm - One and a half beef burgers, green veg and 500g of poatoes.
10pm - Bed
You can check out his video diary from the competition below...
Clip via 100% Personal Training