T Nation

Countdown to 1st Contest


OKay guys, I think I've found a show I'm going to do, in NJ on May 2, and I guess next week I have to stop half-assing my diet (although I have come down considerably in the last 4 months or so).

I need a little input on how I'm going to structure my food intake. I've got two methods I'm considering.

1- This approach seems quite popular with many of Beverly Intl's athletes, you essentially go on a progression where each week, you slightly lower your carbs and cals (which are already lower than a typical offseason amount), and then as you get closer, add in 1 refeed meal on 2 days (mondays and thursdays).

2- I got this from Brian Whitacre's site, and if any of you are familiar with him, his conditioning gives new definition to the word 'peeled'. He sets up 3 rotating days, all with submaintenence calories, and submaintenence carbs. Day 1 would be the lowest, ~60 carbs, and ~2000 cals. Day 2 would be ~150 carbs, and ~2400 cals. Day 3 would be ~200 carbs, and ~2800 cals.

Now I gotta say that I'm thinking Whitacre's approach sounds pretty good. For the most part, as I've been slowly dropping the last few months, I've been ingesting about 3000 a day, with absolutely zero cardio in the mix.

Of course if I needed to veer off my diet for a family dinner, or a date, I didn't really sweat it.

My carbs during this time ranged from about 100-150g on most days, so I'm thinking if I were to do option #2, it wouldn't be so far off from what I've been doing (aside from that one really low day each cycle), and hopefully I wouldn't even have to add in much cardio at the onset, maybe waiting until 8 weeks out or so in an attempt to preserve as much lbm as I can.

All opinions are totally welcome, whether natty or not (I'll be doing the USBF NJ Pro/AM if all goes well -lol)



I've yet to diet down, so I can't really offer good input. Just wanted to say good luck!

I do think that you should keep in mind, though, that you've already dropped 20lbs (if I'm not mistaken) and that you don't want to peak too early.

Also, Thib is going to do a show sometime around then. You might want to check out the locker rooms so you can see what he'll be doing.


Wow man, I hate to sound like an idiot, but that's a pretty complicated setup Thibs has outlined,... a 10 day cycle... I was hoping to keep my plan as simple as possible, hell, that why I was wondering if the 3 day cycle Whitacre uses would be too much to worry about it the 1st place -lol.

Of course I know Thibs would echo the notion that a carb cycling approach would certainly ensure more maintenence of muscle mass, and yet Whitacre doesn't actually progressively lower his cals as the contest dates gets closer. He maintains his 3 day rotation of cals and carbs all the way through (12 weeks I assume).

And I don;t know if I mentioned it before, but I haven't done any cardio at all so far in getting myself under 200, so I imagine throwing in 2 days per week of intervals will have some sort of effect (I'm thinking of doing them after my short session, delts/traps, and arms)



Hmm. Dieting down for your first show... How about contacting Skip or Troponin...

I mean, if you want to take the guessing uncertainty part out of it and have somewhere to start from... Next show you can then either do your own thing based on what you've learned...
Or stay with one of those guys (as they obviously also learn more about how your body responds the longer you stay with them).

Skip and Trop have track-records like few others, but of course it would also cost you money...

Edit: Shelby Starnes is another option, but I'd go with Skip or Trop personally...

Whatever you do, good luck Stu! (fuck, that rhymes!)


I like any form of carb cycle but I think those type of diets are best for my body type.

I know some people who still go the taper to no carb route, but then their carb load is tricky moreso than mine. I just time it to have my high carb day be around my carb load and my body seems to do well with it.

I wish I could be of more help but i'm that bastard that walks around with abs year round...so my dieting advice is usually no good for the average metabolism lol

Good luck Stu...we will be talking as you get closer to the show as there are a few tricks I have that may help you, my secrets LOL jk...



Thanks guys. I've had several people suggest getting a prep advisor, but I gotta think that doing it on your own is probably a better learning experience (Whitacre actually wrote me last night and echoed the aame feeling). He also clarified that his approach isn't so much a 3 day cycle, but that he merely has some low, some high, and some moderate intake dyas throughout the week based upon what he's training, or if it's an off day or not.

So I'm thinking of having 2 high days for chest and legs, low days for mid week and weekends, and moderate days for the rest. Hopefully adding 2 sessions of HIIT combined with the fluctuating deficit and high protein inatke/hypertrophy based training will all come together nicely. I guess this is gonna be the real acid test of how much I really know about training and diet -lol.

Of course all thoughts and suggestions are always welcome, even if it's something silly I havent thought of, I need to consider everything. I started a very detailed log today which I will keep for the next 13 weeks, so Ill be able to reflect on what worked and what didn't. Also will be taking photos of various 'mandatories' and seeing how things are progressing (gotta say, this posing thing is pretty complicated!) Hopefully some folks on here will apprciate my putting up all my mistakes :slight_smile:




I'll second getting someone to help you with your diet. If you are a natural, I think you should hire a natural trainer as well. Take it from someone who is a lifetime natural and had both types of coaches--two different ballgames... For instance, during peak week, natural's primary concern won't be holding water.

Also, a good contest prep coach will experiment with various approaches and pick the one that works for YOU, not someone else. For instance, my genetic pool had me destined to be a fat bastard, so I gain weight just by walking by the Cheesecake Factory. Therefore, a low-carb, everyday cardio contest prep approach works for me. Something different may work for you, and a good coach will be able to figure it out.

Finally, just when you will think you are lean enough, an objective eye of the professional will give you the straight dope and spot your weaknesses or tell you that you are really ready.

Good luck to you--if you decide to do Hercules in NY in June, I may see you up there.


Hey Dj, I appreciate the input, and while part of me thinks it may be a good idea, the other part of me wants to see just how well I can figure things out with my own knowledge, and perseverence (I've also had some really good input from a couple of big name competitors). The guys I train with are totally looking foward to ripping me apart as far as what I need to focus on, and how terrible my weak areas truly are. Of course there'll be the progress pics every couple of weeks, and as always, I'll share with you t-folk so you can enjoy in the fun of watching my mind f-ck with me (Sh-t! I'm losing all my muscle!).

I hadn't planned on the Hercules in June, but I guess we'll see how things go in May, and if I truly want to prolong the lack of food I'll be enduring -lol.

Here are a few pics my training partner snapped earlier tonight. I figure it's not a horrible place to be at 13 weeks out.



Okay, so I'm officially in diet-mode now, and even though I will be having high and low days, I figured I'd start off with two low days just to get things going. I also threw in a little HIIT cardio on an eliptical machine last night after training shoulders, and man, despite what a badass I'd like to think I am, I was trashed! -lol

I did receive a little feedback from Derek Charlebois, who feels I'm in pretty good shape, even ahead of the game at 13 weeks out (but damn I need my waist to get smaller!). Apparently he's done a similar approach himself, so I feel a little better about what Im doing.

Hopefully the small amount of cardio twice a week will be all I need, as I will be counting on diet to cut most of the weight (and i also always lose lean mass when I do a lot of cardio).

Today feels a little better as I'm allowing myself a few more cals and carbs (had an extra bowl of oatmeal with my 11am meal), but then will go back to low again, until friday when I'll up things a bit (leg day gets 2800 cals and 200g carbs).



Hey if you want, shoot me a PM. I see a few mistakes and things where you might be doing a little more than you need to.

If you want i'll hook you up with my nutritionist. It seems like you are pretty serious and have a good build


Wait, WTF? You are already that lean? Dude, we need to talk

PS: Your waist isn't going to get smaller, its not the end of the world. It's similar to mine.

Dude, you are WAYYYYYYYYYY too far ahead. Very impressive but you might want to consider doing a show in like the next 4-5 weeks man, seriously.


Looking good, Stu!

If possible, get with someone who can adjust the posing for you. I am not an expert by any means, but I think you're leaning back a bit much in the triceps and side chest, maybe in the front double bi too. Play with the poses to create that optical illusion that maximizes your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses.

You are a brave soul to contest prep on your own!


Lol, thanks Dj. I know the posing needs a little work, I wasn't too sure if I was supposed to lean foward and flex my abs/chest etc on the side tricep shot, and a few months back, I had put up a shot of a side chest where I was tilted towards the viewer, but several folks suggested I puff out and angle my rib cage instead,....

Now I'm thinking maybe going back to making it a whole front torso shot. Certainly a lot to consider (who knew?! -lol)

I will say that I am somewhat pleased with the small improvements I think I've made in my hamstrings, and even my biceps the last few months, which I felt previously were a little overshadowed by my tris (I've partially torn both biceps, so I really don't do much heavy BB work these days).

One thing I didn't realize I would be doing though, is just filling up on Lettuce and Green Veggies so much. The other night I had a chicken breast, an entire package of frozen brocoli, and the largest bowl of lettuce I've ever eaten.

The funny thing will be tomorrow night, I'm cooking dinner for a girl I'm seeing, and even though it's a high carb day for me, I still need to keep my calories under maintenence, so I'm shuffling my diet around a bit during the day to allow for a little more 'normal' dinner. The cool part is that she's already expressed interest in coming to Jersey for the show, so I'm not thinking I'll come across as too much of a gym-rat/meathead here :slightly_smiling:

Hey man, even though everyone has their own prep team these days, it wasn't always like that. I'm certain a lot of older, and even present day BBers actually have enough knowledge on their own to prep for a show.

Of course I do realize that all objectivity will go out the window the last week, but I intend to rely on my training partners, and my brother for reality checks. (and of course I'll try to keep updating on here for you lovely folks in our studio audience)



I'd like to say thanks to the folks who have been PMing me, and certainly apprecite all the support I'm getting from folks on here. I do think, however, that the photos I put up may appear deceiving. I'm certainly nowhere near the type of contest-conditioning that I will need to sport at an actual contest.

Sure, I realize that if I'm dropping too quickly I will adjust my rotation to have less 'low' days, and more medium or high ones (albeit still submaintenence levels), but I have a hard time thinking thaat it will actually happen that way. Despite what I may look like now, I've always had a tendency to pudge up if I'm not careful.

Today is my 1st 'high' day all week, so I'll be putting down 4 servings of oatmeal throughout the day, long with a prot bar and fiber one poptart (a little treat I like after my leg session -lol)



Well, today my training partner and I treked into NJ for a seminar sponsored by Gaspari Nutrition. On hand were a few pro/top amateur BBers, as well as Rich himself. There were various topics of discussion for the day, but I went primarily to take advantage of the section on posing. As Rich is a current IFBB judge, I figure he'd be a great resourse. Long storyt short, I ended up being used as one of Rich's demos for a few groups of rotating attendees, which was damn cool, as I think I picked up little tricks and things to consider each time though. While some of my poses admitedly were atrocious (so hard to even think of what you're flexing when you're worrying about your balance -lol), Rich was overall very complimentary, especially for my back, and bicep shots.

On the subject of my diet, even though I outlined a 3 day random/rotating cal/carb intake (2100 cal, 2400 cal, and 2800 cal), I'm thinking that maybe I should have more of my moderate intake days now, at 12/13 weeks out, and then introduce more frequent low days as I get closer. My initial numbers were based on Brian Whitacre's numbers, but I'm hearing how skinny I look so frequently lately that I'm concerned. On the other hand, I certainly don;t want to be the guy having to eat 1500 cal a day and doing cardio 7x a week for the last 2 weeks either.

ANyway, here's a few pics from today.









Stu - that's awesome!

Good luck!


Hey, that's my gym! I couldn't make it to the seminar, but I'm sure it was cool

When I first read this thread, I was going to PM you the details of my gym since one of the owners (Rob Samborsky) promotes a lot of shows around NJ. He is also a NPC judge and contest prep advisor. He'd be another good avenue for advice if you so choose.