T Nation

Count Down to First Natural Show


I've been inspired by some of the recent contest prep updates and particularly the journey of Mighty Stu into the world of natural comps. I've decided to aim for the next natural show here in October competing in the novice category.

Some background stats - 36 years old. 5'7, currently 165lbs, living in Australia. Biotest supplements are hard to come by in OZ, are expensive as hell, but I use what I can afford.

Been using the HP Mass program since January with a couple of deviations here and there. I've been using the Pulse Feast diet since January to gain mass but have recently started lowering calories to get into shape for the show.

Here are some progress pics from January - July. I'm 12 Weeks Out from these shots.


Rear Double Bis


Side Tricep


Front Double Biceps




Good Job. Looking pretty thick. Quads look good, good arms too....best of luck in your competition. : )


Looking very good, very balanced physique. And for 12 weeks out, I think you're on track.

Good luck.


Great progress this year! Best of luck with the prep and the show.


Awesome - same height and weight as me but look much better. Looks like you're on track for the show.


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how did you improved your calves?
keep rocking!


Couple of Q's:

How long have you been training? What kind of training have you been doing in that time?

Can you go into a little detail about your thoughts on the Pulse Feast?


Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. Although I've been a long time reader of T-Nation and following the threads from time to time, I havenâ??t posted much on the boards. I've learned so much through Stu's and other peoples' threads and I hope I can provide a different perspective on my own journey through natural competition. I donâ??t have a coach or trainer, so if you see that Iâ??m doing something stupid let me know please. :slight_smile:

Lonnie123, Iâ??ve been training for about 4 years, though only with any real consistency for the past year. Since Thib's recent HP Mass articles, I feel that all my previous efforts were just spinning my wheels. Iâ??m almost 37 and I did start training when I was 20, but at 24 I got sick with chronic fatigue and was out of the game for 10 years.

Pulse Feast Review

Reading the pulse feast article was the first time I had ever heard about Intermittent Fasting and it made so much logical sense to me. The eating six times a day approach was always a burden and I can remember many a time when an occasion would be ruined or fun times cut short because I had to go find some food. I always thought I was hypoglycaemic, but like Brad Pillon says in his book about IF, "Eat Stop Eat", hypoglycaemia is quite rare and is more often stress and anxiety provoked by the expectation of "needing" to eat rather than a real physical requirement. As an elementary school teacher, I'm on the go all day long, and I rarely get time to sit and eat. The Pulse Feast article mentioned how important it is to eat in a state of relaxation, and I felt that a lot of my digestive problems were associated with eating in a stressed state all the time.

Since starting the PF in January I've never looked back and am certain that this is the way I'll eat for life. My results in the gym have only been positive since starting to eat this way. My life is so much easier and happier. I get to eat what I want at night and still lose weight. At first I was unsure that this would be a good approach to use going into a contest, because conventional wisdom has always pointed to six-ten small meals a day combined with lots of pain, fatigue and suffering. Recently I've cut my calories from 5000 down to 2500 and havenâ??t missed a beat in terms of strength and performance. I feel even better NOW because I've made the cut and started eating Paleo in line with Chris Shugart and Nate Miyakiâ??s recent recommendations dumping the sugar and gluten.

My thinking is much clearer and I'm more productive because I've removed the hassle of endless food prep, food consumption and cleaning from my life. My bosses who previously never saw me without a chicken drumstick in hand now think I'm some kind of workhorse because I work all day long without any meal breaks.


Thanks. They're still very much a work in progress, but bringing them up was one of my main goals the last few months.

Hitting the sled hard a few days per week has been useful. When using weighted exercises, really pausing at the top of the movement for about 3 seconds and then again at the bottom for another 5 seconds. After each set of calves I then do body weight only calf raises for 30 reps squeezing as much as possible.


Great write up man... I was really intrigued with the Pulse Feasting because of its novelty,the results CT has gotten on it, and there does appear to be some science behind it. I am very interested in seeing how far it can take you in terms of contest prep.


I wasn't sure whether IF would be a good approach to use for contest dieting because the conventional method has always used multiple feedings throughout the day. I posted this same question previously on CT's forum before, but noone replied giving me even more doubt whether it would work. Researching a bit more I read Martin Berkhan's Leangains site which had a post about using Leangains for contest dieting. He has helped some natural guys get into great shape using I.F so I'm sold on the idea. I've done CKD, Velocity Diet, other traditional approaches and so far I.F has been the most painless approach to helping me lose fat and retain/gain muscle.



I've been a T-Nation reader since day one, and before that I read everything from Muscle Media 2000 and every other muscle comic book I could find. I love using myself as a guinea-pig and so I've literally tried everything and anything (yep, even HMB) to put on muscle, often wasting my time and money in the process.

The worst thing I ever did in my earlier years was follow the HIT approach to training. Dorian Yates was breaking new boundaries in terms of his approach, Mentzer was making a comeback in all the muscle-rags, McRobert had his platform and nearly every bodybuilding writer was advocating a low volume approach in fear of the spectre of over-training. Taking this on board, and not having access to forums to discuss and find out what works, I tried to make my workouts as brutal and infrequent as possible. I wasn't happy unless I was throwing up after training and my trained bodyparts were shaking.

Fucking stupid.

Eventually I got so burned out that I ended up laid up for years with chronic fatigue, unable to train, work, eat properly or even think straight (due to incessant brain fog) for close to ten years. Although I can't prove that my training was the cause, I can say that it was a big contributor.

I fucking love training. I love all this shit, and to be away from it for so many years was soul destroying to say the least. I never stopped reading this site and anything else I could get my hands on about training. I would lie in bed visualising the day I would one day open the gym doors and hear the sounds of the weights clinking and clanging. Eventually after a long road to recovery, I made it back.

In the time that I had off, the training pendulum had swung the other way to less intensity and more volume. Adding in more sets, training days and staying the hell away from failure was my ticket to being able to train again. Slowly over time I was able to build up my work capacity, energy levels and eventually my strength and size.

I don't know if the chronic fatigue ever goes away completely, because some days I get the horrible brain fog back just letting me know that if I'm doing wrong by my body, or eating the wrong thing, it could possibly return. CT's writings on recharging the neural system and Shugart's stuff on optimising health through nutrition has been invaluable to adopting a more healthy, balanced and sane approach to this process.


Wow man, great to hear you are able to get back into this. I'm a big fan of the higher intensity stuff myself, just goes to show that you really do have to experiment and find out what works for you personally. Great to hear that you are back doing what you love.


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Great story and work ethic! You have a balanced, impressive physique and it's really nice to see some calf improvements, most seem to neglect them, I know I do at times!