T Nation

Compete Now or Later?


Ok, so I just turned 20 years old and I wanna compete in bodybuilding. My long term goal is to compete over 200 pounds. So I would wanna weigh roughly 240-250 offseason.

I'm currently 200 pounds at 10%bf at 5'8". I just want some opinions on weather or not I should compete now to gain a little experience. Or should I hold off and just try to get closer to my overall goals??


If those stats are accurate, and you're not really more like 15-18% bodyfat, then you are most likely big enough to do well now, especially considering your age.

But if you want a more accurate assessment, you'd be best off posting a picture.

For clarity, I mean at local shows. Obviously you aren't gonna win NPC contests at that weight but its doubtful you'll be getting laughed off stage (again, assuming the stats you posted are accurate.)


Back needs work!




oh yes, cant forget legs...


First off great job so far man.

Looks like your biceps need a bit more size to be a complete package but personally, from those pics, if you want to compete now to get some experience, I think you are raady.

I gotta say you surprised me, wasn't expecting someone to actually post pics that matched up with what they claimed as their stats.

I say go for it man, if you want to now. You'll learn a lot and maybe have some fun competing, though you may hate the diet, and you can use that experience later on after you've gained for a few more years.

Good luck and again, good work.


Thanks man, I appreciate that. I agree my biceps suck! No peak at all.. I was 220 this past winter and have always been kinda "thicker". I basically lived on CT's keto diet for 3 months and dropped maybe 3-4%bf..I have never been real lean.


I agree with all of this....except for the do it now part. You have an impressive base right now...that will be even more impressive if you put another year or two into gaining more mass and then start dieting down. You will no doubt lose some muscle mass in the process of dieting.

In the end it is your decision. I just personally would want to hit the stage when I KNEW I was ready.


Wow I'm truly honored to have the professor in on this. That being said... That's how I feel I want to be absolutly satisfied with my mass before I compete. I don't think I really want to diet down to say 170 and then have to work my way back up. Granted the rebound would put me back to at least 185 right away I'm guessing..


But ready for what, though?

He has not stated he is determined to win - and if he does want to dominate, then I agree he needs more size.

However, if he is more concerned for the experience (as much as everyone hates hearing that) then he is ready - he is clearly not a clueless, delusional newb, nor does he have a cognitive defect (that I know of) that gives him a hard on for competing when he shouldn't.

He'll gain some valuable insight as to how to peak (or how not to peak) how much/little cardio to do, the effects of a particular dietary approach, basically all the details one learns in prep for a competition.

Not saying he'll PERFECT those, as people compete for years and employ new strategies all the time, but he will gain some insight.

At his level of leanness now, it will not take long for him to get into contest shape. Afterwards, he may even be able to take advantage of some post-contest rebound muscle gains.

In short, if he has the itch, then I think he has an appropriate amount of muscle mass to do it, and actually do somewhat well (at a local show) and learn a lot.

Afterwards, he's got all the time in the world, AND some experience, to prepare to dominate the next show. I agree with you, X, in that personally, I would want to feel confident in winning if I ever competed.


Oops, hadn't seen this before I posted.

If that's the case, and you want to be satisfied with your mass before you compete, then continue gaining man. You'll do well in a few years!


Nice to see what 5'8 200 lbs at 10% looks like. I'd like to get somewhere near that within the next year


Wow, damn solid foundation brother. I'm truly impressed. I didn't really expect this to be a worthwhile post, but maybe I'm just starting to get jaded in my old age -lol.

No matter how lean you think you are starting out, you will inevitably lose a good amount of 'size' while attaining contest conditioning. Even a best case scenario will be a 15-20% amount of lbm lost, so take a good hard look at yourself now, and ask if you'd be better off taking advantage of your age and natural hormone profile in order to keep putting on more size while it's a little easier than it will be in say 5 years.

I started my diet at 205 lbs, 5'8, and pretty damn lean myself (all 6 abs showing)... if you check my contest log thread, you'll see that I came in on the day of the show at 170 lbs. Now, I'm sure I probably could have held on to 5 or so lbs with a few alterations in my prep strategy, but even so, that's a 35 lb loss, with at least 10 lbs of muscle in the process. Of course I'm 36, not 20, and if you're this lean at 200 lbs, if I were you (and this is just what I would do, not necessarily the best thing to do), I would keep pushing for 215, hold onto that weight for about 6 months while cycling macros in a sort of recomposition attempt, and then start a gradual cut to see where I'm at. Just my two cents worth :slight_smile:



I just personally don't see the point in competing before you are ready to do WELL. I've put a lot of time into this and am just now at a level where I am pretty sure that with good conditioning I should be able to at least hold my own in the weight class I would be shooting for.

I have seen others relate to that as if every big guy they see who isn't single digit body fat simply CAN'T diet down...which is retarded. Some of us just knew the level we were shooting for from the beginning so dieting down before we reached it made little sense.

Also, there are very few guys out there who start competing early before they put significant size on who go on to get big enough to actually win a national show. Competing seems to hold more of those types back in the long run because they never take long enough to go ahead and pack that size on.


Knowing your ready is not an issue of weight but of conditioning. Check out Performance Photos arab guy Hussayn competed at what all of 155 pounds.. He was ready not because of weight/size but conditioning. You have a good physique lean it down and compete your 'weight' will come back shortly after your show your body won't let you stay at 3% bodyfat for to long.


No offense, but while Hussayn did get into shape, that is nowhere near the goal many of us have as far as how he looked as the end result.


Don't get me wrong, I agree - however, if someone, like the OP has a decent base and wants to do a competition, especially a young novice division, I see little harm for the future coming from the experience as long as one, once again, resumes gaining until they are at a more competitive level, and doesn't keep competing needlessly without progressing.

From the OP's later posts it sounds as if he DOES want to do well, and not simply compete for the sake of experience, and in that case I fully support more gaining.


Thank god I'm not the only one who thinks that!


I agree and told him that i'd like to see him compete at a heavier weight class. Point is being ready to compete especially on levels other than pro's (As pro's is you got to be dead on in regards to size/conditioning/symetry/tan/posing) is all about conditioning. You hold off competeing for to long you may never get the chance.


There is no way I want to diet down to under 160. I'm leaning more towards not competing now that I have heard some opinions. At 5'8" I beleive I need to compete at the very least in the light heavy's to be satisfied with my physique. Total guess here, but I'm assuming I would need to be somewhere around 225 lbs. sub 10%bf before I deit down?