T Nation

1st Time on Stage


Hey all,

My very first bodybuilding competition is this Saturday along with a second one 5 weeks later. Since I got selected to be in the first batch of Indigo-3g users and plan on using it during my prep for the 2nd show, I figured I'll track my experience with this all, lol.

I know there are already some great threads on this topic (Stu's, Synergy's, etc.), but who knows if I may run into something they haven't already covered. Plus, any suggestions and advice you guys can offer me would be great.

Since I'm basically done with my first prep, let me give you a quick run down of it:
I'm down to about 190 (at 5'8") from 230 since January. I started my prep with Stu on January 30th and really enjoy working with him. I've been training on a 2 on 1 off body part split and have been carb cycling. If you follow Stu's thread, I basically do it all very similar (if it ain't broke, don't fix it :slightly_smiling: )

More info and plenty of pictures/videos to come!!!

Let me know if you have any questions or have any advice for me!


I already posted this pic in the T-Cell Alpha, but I'll post it here so everyone can see where I started from.

I've been training since January 2008 and reached a high of 240lbs last winter. Mostly, I was concerned with the numbers on the scale, but doing this prep and looking back at the pictures, I know I should have been more concerned with the mirror. Although, I don't look horrible, I wish I had started a bit leaner in order to come in better condition for this first show.


Here are the photos I took this past weekend. I update Stu with photos on a weekly basis and week to week you can see a slight difference. Looking at the very first ones to these most recent ones is a complete shock, lol.

Does anyone have any tips on posing, etc? I can post larger pictures if needed.


This quote was on my fridge for my 1st contest prep:
Satisfaction lies in the effort, not the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

Enjoy it. IMO, this is an exceptional accomplishment.
As far as questions, are you planning to hit MW for either this show or the one 5 wks out? Or are you just landing where you land as far as weight and just going with it?


I am definitely satisfied and happy with my effort and progress. I feel like I made the best absolute progress I could have during my prep. The plan was solid and I never missed a meal or a workout (so I'm definitely looking forward to my post contest binge, lol)

As far as weight, I'm just going to end up where ever I may. Luckily (or unluckily), the categories are by height, so I couldn't change what class I am going to either way.


Could you possibly go into your training routine, cardio, and nutrition (when bulking vs cutting)? You seemed to have a very respectable bulk, so congrats on that, and good luck on your competition!


Dude, you did an AMAZING job and no one can EVER take that away from you.

You've no doubt learned a great deal along the way, and always keep in mind, that the journey is what it's all about. You have a lot of "awakenings and epiphanies" during this time. Grab onto them, and cherish them. They will stay with you for life.

Trust me, EVERY competitive BB can find something "they wish they would have done better," but choose to focus on the things you accomplished and have fun competing. It's your first show!!! You learn the most from the first to the second, in my opinion. All good things.

Hold your chin high, be proud, and go into this show, being confident you did everything in your power to prepare.

Again, congratulations on a job, very well done. You're very fortunate to be working with someone of Stu's knowledge, support and all around impeccable character...he's a true class act.

Good luck on Saturday and enjoy the carb up and post show feeding frenzy :slightly_smiling:


Happily, lol.

Currently, I'm following the routine Stu has provided me which is a 2 on, 1 off body part split. The split is Chest, Back/Bis, Off/Cardio, Shoulders/Traps/Tris, Legs, Off/Cardio, repeat. I'm in the gym normally around 2 hours each day (oh no, overtraining, lol). I ramp up and then bang out a few sets at that top weight.

As far as cardio during the prep, I'm using a mix of steady state and intervals. I absolutely hate doing cardio, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Steady state is done on a treadmill at an easy pace but high incline, while intervals are done on a recumbent bike.

For nutrition, I've been following a carb cycling plan where I get 2 low days, 3 medium, and 1 high depending on what I'm training that day. Over the weeks we've slowly come down in carbs. The one thing that I can't recommend more than anything else as far as nutrition is to KEEP A LOG. It's helped me stay accountable and will give me something to look back at during future preps.

Whether cutting or bulking, I think not much should change. Just reduce calories and add in cardio (slowly, not all at once). You still should lift heavy in order to keep all the muscle you built as well...you need to give your body a reason to keep the muscle.

I don't know how much detail I can get into about the exact numbers and everything for this prep as you may need to hire Stu for that (trust me, it's worth it, lol), but in my next post, I'll go over what I've done in the past as far as all of the above.


Thanks, Synergy. I'm definitely proud of what I've done and going into this first show just wanting to 'show off' my accomplishments to my friends and family that are coming.

Like you said, I've learned a lot along the way and have had some epiphanies and am going to take this all into my future training and preps.


Training Background:

I've been training for about 3.5 years now (started in Jan 2008) and before that had never touched a weight. In high school, I was naturally stocky and relatively lean although I never played any sports (except handball). Come college, I got lazy and blew up to a really bad 230lbs.

After graduating and hitting a breaking point (it would hurt my stomach to tie my shoes, lol), I ran into a friend who was in great shape and started hitting the gym with him. He was working with an old school style guy who heavily influenced me: body part split, ramping to top weight, always exploding, going heavy. At the time, I was more concerned with getting my abs back and losing weight.

Eventually, I did the V-Diet and after reaching a low of about 180 decided I was too small and worked my way back up. I basically found T-Nation and started incorporating a lot of things from here.

I've tried pretty much everything from 3x TBT, 2x a week training, I, Bodybuilder, and now back to a body part split.

Between everything I tried, I'm definitely a fan of hitting each body part from 1-2 times a week. I'll switch it up whenever I'm ready for a change.


Nutrition Background:

What can I say? I don't really have much of a background here until this prep.

When I first started training, I just did what I thought was a 'normal' diet: whole wheat bread, salads, chicken. Prob not the best for bodybuilding, but I didn't know better at the time.

When bulking up during the winters (like a bear I guess, lol), I would just try to make sure I was getting high protein: hard boiled eggs, tuna, chicken, beef. I definitely wasn't too strict about what I ate and definitely cheated more than I should have.

When dieting for the summers (gotta get beach ready :slight_smile: ), I would cut out carbs immediately. Thinking back and looking at my prep now, this prob wasn't the best thing. I would lose weight fast but also muscle at the same time and never got the look I was going for.

Keeping carbs in during this prep, I've been able to be much leaner at a higher weight than ever before.


Great progress! Good luck with your upcoming contests.

So is this going to be your log for Indigo? I'll definitely be following along. I've got myself on the first batch as well so I'll be on the ride with you.


Very cool, bro! Love to see another contest prep thread and I am very much looking forward to reading your updates on your I-3G experience.
I'll start my prep in 1.5 weeks and am happy I was selected for the first badge as well. Will write about the prep in great detail in my thread in the bb forum.

Great job, keep us posted!


Great progress, great pysique - triceps are really impressive!


I'll just add that this boy is a damn beast. I've rarely seen anyone who just carries so much muscle at his height (same height as me, 5'8 and I don't look half his size! -lol). Our goal was do ensure that he held onto as much muscle as he could, which as you can see, is a very considerable amount. Too many people crash down to make a certain weight, and in the process lose a ton of muscle, which essentially lowers their metabolic rate. Not only is Thoughts1053 going to kill at his 1st show, but imagine how much tighter he's going to be for his 2nd in 5 weeks!

I'm damn proud of the guy :slight_smile:



Thanks, larry. Yeah, I plan on tracking the differences between my first prep and the second one with Indigo. I'm hoping it'll allow me to come in even tighter and still retain all my muscle (possibly even adding a lb or so). If you start a log, I'll be sure to follow along.


I'm looking forward to reading your thread and following it as well.

Thanks. I'm really arm dominant so my triceps take over whenever I do any pressing...it's great for my tris, but now I'm trying to find ways to minimize that and get my chest to grow, lol.


Thanks, Stu. I have to admit I couldn't have done it without this guy. Like I said, in the past when I have dieted down, I never got the results I wanted. Stu worked out a great plan for me that has allowed me to accomplish what I have.

When I first was considering getting a prep coach, I was emailing a bunch of folks and Stu just seems like the right person. Besides the fact that he had already answered a ton of my questions in the past through PMs, he just seemed like a stand up guy and was really involved in the forums here.

He answers all my (silly) questions and has helped me with all the aspects of my first show. We've actually met in person a few times since we live close to each other just so he can explain things to me in person and help with my posing.

Overall, I'm happy I chose Stu and if you're considering getting a coach for nutritional/training help or contest prep, you wouldn't go wrong with The Mighty Stu :slightly_smiling:


Agree. Good job and good luck man


How about showing us your last day's training or today's eats?