A Run Down On Competing With Boris Zivkovic

The ICN 2018 Hobart Muscle and Model Show has finally concluded, so we had a chat to Bioflex ambassador Boris Zivkovic in relation to the competing process and what others can expect if they're thinking about stepping on stage soon.


How long did you prep for?

I only decided to compete about 11 weeks out, but I had been doing a cut for another event about five weeks prior to that with three weeks off (at slightly higher than maintenance calories) before the official comp prep.

So in total, there were about 16 weeks of dieting. I was hovering at around 88kg before the cut started, and on show day I weighed in at 74.3kg.

Did you do anything different in the lead up to this comp as opposed to previous comps?

Yes! The dieting and nutrition side was the same as usual with gradual calorie deficits with varieties of foods, nothing was off-limits (apart from trans fats – hydrogenated vegetable oils – deep fried foods).

The main differences were in relation to cardio and peak week:

The Cardio

I introduced cardio into the plan at six weeks out. It was an option to either decrease calories more or implement cardio (a lager deficit was needed to keep losing body fat at this stage).

So, I went with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training – mixture of burpees, sprints, wall sits, sit ups and push-ups – 21 minutes) cardio to begin with (separated from weight training) while the calories were still relatively high, then introduced LISS (Low Intensity Steady State – walk on 15% incline – 40-50 minutes) when the calories dropped further (straight after training).

So, on re-feed days I did HIIT, and on low days I did LISS; this was just a way of energy conservation – I was not able to keep the intensity as high for HIIT on low days, hence dropping it in favour for LISS.

Peak Week

I went with a carb front load (five days out) as opposed to back load (night/day before the show) to make sure I wasn't bloated on show day. The water intake also stayed the same for the whole week, no water loading or cutting.

This allowed me to actually obtain a good pump for my divisions. In previous comps I played around with water/salt intakes during the peak week, only to look flat on the day that it mattered, and then 10 times better a day or two after the show.

So, the goal was to replicate how I looked/felt regularly at the gym: Four litres of water and regular sodium intake. The only salt manipulation was in my pre-stage meal.

The rest of the day, from breakfast onward, I chose low fibre/high carbohydrate foods, including powdered carbs (same reason as before, keeping the bloats to a minimum while keeping the muscles full with glycogen).

I did the same for my clients too.

Were you happy with what you brought to the stage?

Very much so! I won the Street-wear Model and Bodybuilding Under 75kg divisions, and came second in the Bodybuilding Open/Overall division!

I can always be a bit leaner and bigger though. My main improvements to my physique were chest, arms and shoulders. My legs still need to come up a bit to match the size of my back. So, that’s the goal for next comp: Legs, legs, and some more legs.


When are you intending to compete again?

University studies are going to take over next semester and next year. The last few third year units are pretty intense and I doubt I’d be able to keep up the training a study at the same time.

This time it was pretty hard to find time to do cardio with two assignments due four days before comp, so there have been a few all-nighters done in the lead up into comp.

I should be graduating at the end of 2019, so I’ll hopefully be making a stage comeback season A 2020.

Why did you compete in the first place?

Well, it’s pretty fun, so there’s that! I started competing in 2011 when the sports (now called fitness) divisions were introduced as I was nowhere near big enough to stand next to body-builders.

So, over the last seven years I grew my way into body-building. Now is the best time to compete, with so many divisions on offer, you can step on stage and represent a certain look that you prefer.

Some folks don’t want to be as big as body-builders and stick to fitness and physique; or don’t like the ‘hard’ look of figure and stick to bikini and sports model divisions.

Then, some people are like me and like being on stage so they enter a division that suits their physique best at that point in time, while they keep growing (or aim to keep growing and progressing through division requirements).

I’m also one of those people who needs a proper goal, with a real deadline, to progress. Other people can pick a goal, give themselves a deadline and keep themselves on track until they achieve it! I used to be one of those, but have become lazy in my old age!


Some tips for first timers

If you’ve ever thought about competing, but don’t think you are ready, check the division requirements, or ask someone who’s competed before!

Most people are a lot harder on themselves than they realise, so having a chat to someone who’s been there might help you make up your mind. I’m always happy to chat competing, so if you need anything or have questions about competing, feel free to give me a yell!

We all start somewhere, and you always get better with experience. So, even if you’re not 100% where you want to be before you hit the stage, I still urge you to think about competing! It will make you better in the long run! You’ll have an idea of what it takes: when it comes to dieting, when it comes to training, and especially when it comes to posing!

You can never be too good at posing!

The next ICN Tasmania Comp is on September 16th, so you will still have some time to decide. See you there!