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6'1", 200 lbs, 39 Y/O. 15% BF Approx. Feedback?

I am 39 years young and turn 40 next summer. Have been lifting weights and training for years with different goals and motivations. Recently I had become stagnant in work outs and with goals and have thought about competing in a Men’s Physique competition. I honestly am not sure if I have enough muscle to do so however. I can judge other’s physiques, but it’s very difficult to assess myself. My goal would be to inspire others and myself in accomplishing something new. I don’t have a legs shot but will get one soon…I have always had small calves, but have decent size in legs and butt, if it matters.
My current PR lifts
BS - #360
Bench - #250 X 5
Deadlift - #425 X 3
Press - #185
PC - #265
Weighted chin up - #110
Would be curious to hear feedback. I just got serious again with my diet and first photo was taken Sept 28th right at about 200 lbs. Weight dropped down to about 195, but I’m back up to 201-202 lbs as of this morning. Haven’t trained body building style in over 5 years and haven’t done arms really in that time either, but did start training this way these past 6 weeks or so. If I were to get down to 6-7% body fat at around #185 or so, think I could enjoy the process of competing or get embarrassed? All the pictures are relaxed, except the back shot as its hard to take that shot solo…

Based on your height and musculature, I would guess your stage weight would be in the mid-170s, unless you’re sporting truly monstrous thighs. I’m 2 inches taller than you, probably have a little more muscle, and was 183# on stage (and wasn’t 6-7%–more like 9, 8 at best). But it’s important to recognize that stage weight is utterly irrelevant–all that matters is how you look. (The same goes for BF%.) My only point in guesstimating your stage weight is to let you know I think you’ll have to diet down a lot more than you’re expecting.

Feedback: Your delts and abs are lagging behind your chest and back. Because capped delts + a small, tight waist are the most important attributes of a Physique competitor, these areas need to be prioritized. The lion’s share of delt work should be devoted to the medial and rear heads. Also, stop working your lower pecs–they’re overdeveloped for your current physique, and will make you look narrower. Instead, devote all your pec work to the upper portion (aka clavicular/manubrial heads). The goal is to look wide, not thick.

Do all that, and if you can manage to endure the pain of a prep, you should do fine.


Great feedback! I really appreciate it. I understand your points about my delts and that the medial and rear heads are underdeveloped compared to my front delts. However, with respect to my abs, do you mean, you just think I need to be leaner or that my abs seems underdeveloped or smaller?

Thanks again…

You look great brother! Just work on your BF% keep as much muscle as you can. I’d suggest you to carb cycle to see how it goes.
Also you need to work more on your delt/trap (Upper Arms)
Other than that. Chest is great, good physique (waist/shoulder) ratio

Check out my post !

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Also for a tighter waist I’ve found that using a lifting belt really tight can help you develop a tighter core. THIS IS NOT a brotip, I’m telling you by experience as well as other competitors such as Artemus can vouch for that

You’re welcome. Re abs: What I meant was they need more development. That is, at your current level of BF, I feel like I should be able to see more detail than is currently visible. (The exception is your obliques–they’re already fairly prominent, so would advise you not work them directly. Overdeveloped obliques make the midsection appear ‘blocky.’) Focus on the rectus abdominus, aka the ‘6 pack.’

Best of luck, and post progress picks periodically so we can follow along.

Again, great feedback. I’ve never thought or heard that my obliques are prominent…so no more loaded side raises I guess. When I am leaner, I used to have decent looking seratus anterior, and hope those come back looking on point. I will definitely post more progress pics.

I started this by going on a Keto diet, but after one month blood work came back and my lipids where sky high. I have a family history of high cholesterol and decided to quit the Keto and go to a more traditional BB style lower fat diet. Currently trying to get about 50-60 grams of fat a day and about 300 grams of protein and about 220 grams of carbs on training days and about 160 grams of carbs on non training days. Kicking the sugar and processed foods using the keto diet helped as I haven’t had the same sorts of cravings. I have been really strict for about 2 weeks now and did my first carb re-feed day on Saturday.


I guess it’s also possible that I’m not 15% BF. I’ve measured somewhat recently and that was my Best Guess.
Since I’ve started the thread I might as well have some other before sort of pictures to help motivate. If anyone had any other further feedback let me know. There are 2 shots of my legs, another back shot, and two from the front - these are obviously flexed sort of poses.


Looks like one of my pics didn’t upload. Here is other leg shot.

Looking good. Can now tell that your Back is definitely lagging c/w your Chest.

Google pics from Physique contests–especially from last year’s event of the one you want to do, if you’ve already got it picked out. (Don’t bother looking at the IFBB pro Physique guys; it’ll just depress you, and leave you with unrealistic expectations. Remember, those guys are genetic freaks to start with–amazing bone structure and muscle bellies. When unicorn-genetics are combined with generous chemical enhancement, the resulting package is impossible for a natty to hope to achieve.) Take note of the way the top competitors stand, the way they hold their arms, the way they twist slightly at the waist to make it look smaller, etc. Note that you can’t see their thighs, but you can their legs (knees down; ie, calves). Note how ‘high’ their pecs look, and the shape of their delts. That’s what you’re aiming for.

Eventually, you’ll have to start watching videos of the way they move onstage–very different from how BBers move. But that’s down the road.

Well my phone blew up on me and lost all my photos. So glad I started a thread a here with a basic look at things. This was taken this morning after another carb refeed day. If anyone else has any feedback, I’m open to listening. But at least I can compare myself here on this thread as I continue to work toward getting to below 10% BF and potentially in shape to compete in men’s physique. This is completely relaxed photo.

Damn dude, idk if it’s the lighting or what, but you look to have already lost a good bit of belly fat in the last week and a half

Thanks. That’s good to hear. So hard to tell at times and easy to wonder if you have stalled in your progress. But seemingly going in the right direction in under 2 months.
Trying to take a photo every other day or so to measure progress. Here is another with perhaps different lighting. My chest and shouldets seems to have leaned out at least to me.

Looking good.

Definitely Delts, upper chest, wheels for mass.

And, lots of fat loss for stage ready. Check out @robstein for some idea about stage weight. I suspect 175 would be a target.

I think 15% is close, but I also think you need more developed abs - weighted ab exercises. Those obliques are prominent, and adding in the weighted abs would help develop the rectus abdominus - maybe some vacuums for the elusive linea alba.

I’m also 6’1" - or at least I used to be, maybe more 5’11" now, lol. You’re doing well.

Thanks again for feedback. Working overtime on the delts and upper chest. Honestly haven’t done any incline chest pressing in years, and only overhead pressing, push pressing for shoulders- so not surprised I’m lacking there. Also working on weighting my ab exercises for last few weeks. Never heard of being able to train the linea alba as I didn’t think it was a muscle but more of a tendon?
Funny you mention the wheels, they aren’t very big around the knees and my calves suck, but I’m not sure how you fit into pants if I were to get them any bigger. Already have to get stretchy pants with a big waist.

Here are some from this morning. Making progress…first one is posed and second relaxed. Just passed the 2 month mark of shifting goals and diet plan.

Your diet is doing you well. Also agree with weighted ab exercises to try and get them to pop a bit more

Thanks for the tag @The_Myth! @Whitebread_1, making some good improvements with your diet. Lots of great feedback already on here, so just to give some brief thoughts, I agree that abs need to be developed more. No magic to it, just takes time and training them similar to other muscle groups, but be sure to prioritize them if you want to step on stage. For a show, are you thinking physique or bodybuilding? For your size, if you were to step on stage in posing trunks I’d recommend prioritizing legs as well, maybe hit them twice a week if you’re not already. Back thickness and width could also continue improving, making sure you get a good shoulder to waiste look, and also get that thickness when you get leaner.

Judging by your very most recent pics, I’d guesstimate 15-16% at the lowest, original pics looked closer possibly to 20. If you were ~200 in your first pics, stage weight is probably between 170-175 on the high end. It’s amazing how much fat there is to lose and you never realize just how much until you try. As a gauge for stage readiness, feel your lower back, and the back of the upper arm above the tricep. Remember the goal is for everywhere to feel like the back of your hand or very close to it. A true 6% bodyfat means you’ve got a rock hard six pack in any lighting and a hard shoulder cap without flexing, basically walking around looking jacked without flexing at all, but feeling too terrible to enjoy it :joy:

@The_Mighty_Stu off season weight I believe was around 205 with a stage weight of around 176, and that was after over 15 years of training before stepping on stage. Based off your current pics IMO there’s still at least 25lbs to lose before approaching a stage ready look.

Good luck man, will be following along, be sure to post with updates and any questions, lots of great people on these forums to give input!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. I was thinking physique and not body building at this point. Crazy to hear that stage weight would be closer to 175-170, I’m sure everyone thinks they are the exception to the rule…I still no that I have quite a bit of body fat to lose to even think about this, but enjoying the progress so far. Honestly, my goal is to see how far I can get by end of January and then assess from there. As I stated, I don’t think that I absolutely have to get on stage, but if it seems like an achievable goal and one that I would be able to achieve and look like I belong, then I would like to pursue it.
Honestly, I have trained for many, many years, but in the last 5 it’s been more about strength development. As I am getting older though, it isn’t as fun to get under the super heavy weights on my joints and body. Getting lean and good asthetics now seems like a fun goal to go after. It was inspiring reading @truthandlife posts and what he was able to achieve.