3 Weeks Out from Physique Show, Diet Advice?

Hello all!

Just needed some advice, I have a mens physique show coming up in just under 3 weeks. Thus far, I’ve been doing a sort of IIFYM diet without any junk food or sugar fitting into those macros.

I have a few questions:

  1. Should I continue this type of dieting for the last 3 weeks or should I adopt a more conventional bland food and veg diet? I have no problem eating bland food if that is what will help me lose the extra fat, however if the calories and macros are the same, this shouldn’t matter right?

  2. My carbs are very low, max is 60g and lowest is 30g and my energy is very low. Should I slug it out or have a refeed with higher carbs keeping in mind I have lower belly fat to lose?

I follow a plant based diet and my food choices are the following:

  • Tofu
  • Quorn products
  • Soya protein products
  • Peanut butter
  • Mixed veggies
  • Protein powders

My current macros are 80f/30c/200p on rest days and 70f/60c/190p on weight training days.

I don’t want to turn this thread into a debate about a plant based diet vs meat etc, I have my reasons for eating this way. Just needed some direction.



IIFYM works great, IF you’re addressing all your actual nutritional needs, and not just eating junk. I used to include poptarts a lot, but my carb intake for the day wasn’t all poptarts -lol. Some people seem to miss the point of needing to function and train optimally as a result of what you’re putting in your tank.

1- If this has been working for you so far, no reason to change. Your body sees the macro and micro nutrients, not what the food choices looked like before you ate them. Bland food might add to your suffering, and you might feel like you’re working harder (I see this with a lot of competitors on social media, talking about how hard they’re working), but it won’t make a difference.

2- If you still have belly fat to lose (I’m saying this without seeing any pics minds you), I’d look at other things. If carbs are so low, but cals aren’t low enough, or if protein is too high (your body will break it down and MAKE it’s own carbs from it!), it won’t make a difference in terms of fat loss.

If you’ve been at this calorie level a while, you’re gonna slow down. Or, if your cardio has been at a steady level, you may have adapted to it as well. It’s all about the NET CALORIC EQUATION.

Everything works, BUT nothing works forever!



Sorry about the influx of pictures but this is where I am currently at. I’ve gradually dropped calories weekly by about 100 and I’m currently at 1650. I don’t want to drop anymore, I weigh 185lbs around 5’10 currently. I would say I’m around 9-10% BF and need to shift at least another 2% minimum.

What would you recommend? Im already on 1 hour LISS cardio a day and have been for a while. Cheers Stu.


My current diet is as follows:

Meal 1 - Tofu fried with peppers, brocolli, asparagus and tomatoes. (Fried using 1calorie spray)

Meal 2 - Same again.

Meal 3 - Protein shake with 50g peanut butter and 500ml sugar free soya milk with a low sugar gluten free protein bar.

Meal 4 and 5 - Quorn fillets baked with asparagus.

That puts me at around 200g protein, 85g fat and 30g of carbs.
On the days I train with weights, I add in 1 carb meal worth another 30g of carbs, mostly white rice or oats.


Hey brother, not going to question your vegan diet choices, but I’d really rather see you using almond milk rather than soy. Too estrogenic.


Yes thank you for your concern brother. To be honest, I think the soya oestrogen thing is a myth. I eat bucket loads of soya daily and have been for the past 2 or 3 years and I have no oestrogen issues and I dont even take anything to lower oestrogen.

From what i remember, the study, apparently sponsored by the meat industry showed that soy had phytoestrogens which do not act like estradiol in the human body. I havent done enough research on it but I can say from experience I have no issues.

Nevertheless, I still keep soy to 1 or 2 portions a day and the rest is from shakes containing pea protein and quorn mycoprotein.


Let me educate you, my young friend…

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Ive read this my brother. This article cites the study i was referring to. There are other studies that show the opposite, no effect on testosterone with soy.

But lets stick to the topic, I will take your opinions on board and reduce soy anyway.


Obviously you are doing great as is. I just have such an opposition to estrogenic foods I guess and since we surrounded by xenoestrogens and estrogens in our drinking water, etc… I figure why add more thru soy?

I will say that my ex-wife was taking a product called “Estroven” which was pure soy based phyto-estrogens and it affected her period, and other things.

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You may look depleted for several days on such a cycle (3-4 or even more days low carb and then a refeed), but it’s a temporary situation. If doing so, helps your body keep moving forward, then don’t look to make changes.


Duly noted @studhammer many thanks.

@The_Mighty_Stu I can manage on the low carbs I’m on now so the only reason I would incorporate a refeed now would be to accelerate fatloss, with that in mind and judging by the pictures above (I’ll try to get some better ones), being 18 days out would you recommend to keep on with the low carbs until peak week or incorporate a refeed this weekend?


Plenty of competitors do the low carb thing, so if you don’t think your training is taking a hit, then by all means keep going. Just bear in mind that your body will get used to that to some degree, and it may influence how many carbs you’ll need to carb up pre-contest. I know one really great pro who does crazy low carb his whole prep, and then his “carb-up” is some carbs, but a decent amount of fats.

If you got a good result from your last refeed (carb up), I’d definitely keep relying on them a regular intervals. If you’re lucky, your metabolic rate will keep revving and you may even be able to push higher amounts in at each successive refeed.


Great thanks for the advice @The_Mighty_Stu

My last refeed I actually ended up having too much gluten (which I’m not usually used to) so I looked pretty bloated, before that it was around 10 days ago. I may incorporate one tomorrow.

How long do you think it takes to deplete carbs after a refeed and go back into fat burning mode?


Given how close you are to your contest, meaning the diet will be over soon and its not going to be months upon months in a severe deficit, why are you hesitant to drop calories further?

It looks like you have a bit more fat to lose in the 6-pack and lower back area… And unless your current numbers are providing enough of a deficit to do that (meaning you have just recently dropped them from an already fat-losing number of calories), you will have to either drop cals or up cardio in order to lose that fat.

You’re right @Lonnie123 . I guess I was just apprehensive about dropping calories even more and scared about losing muscle. I have dropped calories by another 100 today to 1550. I will reassess on the weekend and if needed, drop another 50-100 for the last week.

I guess cutting for show is a lot about the mental aspect and knowing how far you really are from stage condition, that’s where a coach comes in but at the moment I’m not in a position to hire one.

I did do a refeed yesterday after all, I went up to 250g of carbs and kept protein and fat the same, meaning my calories up to ~2300. I can safely say it worked and I am looking much more fuller. However, I feel as though I could possibly have filled out slightly more so, I may go up to 300g starting from the 5 days out mark and reassess daily.


The last few weeks camp be mental torture in terms of what your brain is telling you, but as you said not all of us can hire coaches.

You look great man, just gotta etch out those last few details to really hit that highly competitive level. Whatever you are doing is clearly working, you just need to do a little more of it and you’re golden.

If you’re already running on low carbs (and no crazy excess protein), it should be relatively easy to run through any newly ingested carbs from a refeed so long as you’re not crazy about it. Sometimes I might recommend someone to have a higher refeed which is spaced out through several meals, other times it’s just one meal (usually pre-bed), so we get the hormonal benefit but don’t risk fat storage or taking us out of using more fatty acid metabolism for more than a few hours at most.


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So I’m seriously considering not doing the show now.

I am almost 2 weeks out and I have almost no ab definition, 2 weeks is no where near enough to get a fully shredded midsection. I will see how I am this weekend and post some honest pics, then make the decision to compete or not.


I’m sorry to hear that. Why not try a pre-contest shave and oil up and check yourself out in some good lighting? You might surprise yourself. Also, drop your water intake for a day prior and avoid any kind of food that might cause even the slightest bloat.

Wont cost you anything and might help you decide.

Consider: You already put in a lot of work, seriously weeks (months) of time,… can you find another show in the near future? If you’ve been progressing so far, and have gotten to this point, I’d venture that some more time to play around a bit and let things keep going would serve you well, and you’d feel a lot better about stepping onstage (regardless of final placings).