It’s Sunday, about four weeks out from the show and what am I going through? Well after missing out on Christmas and New Years I was okay, but today is the AFC and NFC championships….I’m not doing so good. I always love celebrating Christmas with friends and my girlfriend but nothing beats NFL playoff time.

There is just so much hype and so much enthusiasm from everyone at the gym, the grocery store, it doesn't matter. I walk through the gym and people there are talking about whose going to beat who, I'm waiting in line at the grocery store and the guy in front of me has a cart full of sausages, chips, salsa and wings! It seems like everyone, everywhere is in football mode and it’s my favorite time of year!

So I have two choices: Do I ignore all the people at the gym and the grocery store, asking me about the games and be a grumpy ass bodybuilder or do I suck it up and decide that just because I can't eat and let loose doesn't mean I have to miss out on the fun? This has definitely been the hardest prep I have gone through in all my years of bodybuilding. Not in terms of how hard the diet is, more in terms of social outings.

The time of year from November thru March seems to be the busiest with holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and all the football, not to mention Valentine’s Day. All of these are a pass when the task at hand is getting shredded. They all take a backseat normally and I would just stay home and not go anywhere. This year is different, I have decided to do the second of the two options and try and take part as much as possible. I shoot the shit with the guy at the grocery store instead of being grumpy about it, I sit around and talk about the games at the gym and decide that just because I can't eat pizza and wings doesn't mean I can't enjoy life.

It’s hard to be part of things but having a great support system of friends around you always makes it easier. The support system is not important because they're going to sit around and eat fish and broccoli with me but for the fact that they aren't going to bug me about it. They all know my main focus right now is bringing my best to this show and making sure I give it the best I got. People always talk about training partners and how great they are because they show up all the time, but I guess I'm just that much luckier. At four weeks out not only do my partners show up, but they pick me up when I'm slacking.

If I think I'm too tired to pose that night after training I might not say anything I might just start heading for the door, my partners will stop me and say, “Hey are we posing tonight or what?” They don't only support me but they make me accountable, almost like they aren't going through all this shit with me just so I can slack and not go the extra mile.  So at the end of the day when you see the guys at the top, it’s usually someone or maybe more than one person who keeps them going in one way or another.

It’s the girlfriend that listens to your bullshit day in and day out, or she keeps your head up when you’re feeling down. It’s the guy that comes with you to do cardio in the morning even though he's in the middle of the offseason and not only does he show up but even makes sure you do abs and stretch after. It’s the other partner that comes with you to the gym and when you say, “four sets is enough here,” he says, “I don't think five would hurt.” The trainer that calls you every single day, sometimes twice to ask what your weight is and make sure your still on track or the physiotherapist that beats the hell out of you week in and week out just so you can keep training injury free.

Last but not ever least are the fans that send me numerous emails, FB messages or PM me on forums about how much they are rooting for me! All these people are part of the team and all of these people are in this with me. Sure I'm the one that has to miss out on the eating and parties and whatever else but at the end of the day they are all invested somehow in what I am doing. For that reason alone, I will not fail to do the things I am supposed to do that make me the best I can be. I owe it to the people that believe in me to bring the best I can possibly bring to the stage.

Okay, I gotta go, the Steelers are about to shutdown Rex Ryan and the Jets….. (so I think anyway). Oh, if you’re wondering why the one guy in the pic is wearing a pair of coveralls, it’s because he lost a Sacrifice Without Regret, Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad