Check out any EDM forum or facebook group, whether it be local or oriented towards a festival, and you’ll see a lot of one kind of post. Everybody always talks about wanting to get “festival ready“, and many people treat festival season as their spring body benchmark time. For those of you willing to admit this, I’m right there with you so I’m here to help you get there. Generally in fitness there are 2 phases people go through; bulking (getting bigger and softer) and cutting (getting smaller and leaner). Like many of you I like to get “festival ready” and will use a cutting regimen similar to what I would do before a physique competition or photoshoot. Depending on your current physical condition, it could be easier or harder for you to cut down in time, but generally it takes about 8-12 weeks of preparation for most people. In case you’re keeping track, Miami Music Week is only 7 weeks away so it’s time to get moving! Below, I will give you a general outline of the steps you should be taking to prepare.
Start doing cardio regularly, that’s the most sure fire way to burn fat. There are several types of cardio but the best for speeding up your metabolism and holding on to the most muscle possible would be HIIT (high intensity interval training) aka sprints. With HIIT you alternate between all out intensity and slow coasting. I prefer to do this on the stationary bike, sprinting for 20 seconds at maximum intensity and then coasting for 40 seconds on an easier intensity. I would say start at 2x a week and as you start to get in better shape you can add more, capping out at about 5x a week (which should be in your final week or two before the event).
Maintain regular weight training to hold on to optimal amounts of muscle mass because if you do a lot of cardio and dieting without hitting the weights, your muscle will wither away. The only changes I usually make for weight training during a cutting phase is that I keep things faster paced (less rest time between sets). I like to keep almost every exercise I do within the hypertrophic zone, which is 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps of pretty much everything. Hypertrophy I will also add in a lot of supersets (go directly from one exercise to another without taking a break) and drop sets (doing multiple sets in a row with no break, but slightly lowering the weight each time).
The most important aspect of fitness is your diet. Any professional in the world will agree with me on this, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stick with. A common phrase in the fitness world is “you can’t out train a bad diet”. Some simple steps to cleaning up your diet are to get rid of as much excess sugar and fat in your diet as possible. That means instead of drinking coke, drink a water and instead of eating pancakes with syrup for breakfast, aim for eggs and oatmeal. Instead of eating pizza for dinner, eat a chicken breast, broccoli, and rice. Try to think of yourself as a gatekeeper for your body and don’t let anything into your stomach without knowing its macronutrient makeup. An average macronutrient plan for dieting would be 40% carbs, 40% protein, and 20% fat. An easy way to figure out how many calories you should be eating to reach your goal would be to visit this handy tool I frequently use and it will calculate it for you. Then you can use something like MyFitnessPal to help you keep track. The most important thing is protein consumption, which should be at least 1g per lb of bodyweight during a cut. For example, a 200 lb guy should be eating at least 200g of protein, although I would still aim a bit higher than that.
The last thing to cover would be supplementation. A protein supplement is an absolute necessity for a guy who needs to eat over 200g of protein a day. Good luck getting all of that just from food, while maintaining lower carbs and fats. Its possible, but very difficult and you can drink a protein shake on the go. Another supplement you should be taking is Glutamine because of its ability to decrease time needed for your muscles to recover and decrease the muscle pain after your workouts. BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids) are a good idea as well, because when you’re dieting your body is essentially going into a catabolic state and breaking down your muscle. BCAA’s help to slow down the muscle break down by giving you a steady supply of amino acids through your workouts which will help build muscle. One more thing that can be beneficial, but not absolutely necessary, is a fat burner. They are often high in caffeine and have other ingredients such as green tea extract, yohimbine, and more, which all help to speed up your metabolism. Take care with stimulants to asses your tolerance because they can have you running up the walls if you’re not used to them.
If your cardio, weight training, diet, and supplementation are all on point for the next 7 weeks, you should be looking stellar and ready to turn heads at Miami Music Week. I hope that this guideline will be helpful, because I learned a lot of this through trial and error over the years. If have any questions about anything I’ve mentioned in this article, please ask away in the comments and feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer you as soon as possible. Stay tuned for my next piece, where I will discuss health concerns while you’re actually at your festival of choice.