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First Bodybuilding Contest, New to Forum!

What’s up guys, I’m new here. Quick introduction:

I’m 30, I live in Okinawa, Japan, and I’ve been seriously training for about 5-6yrs. Since last August, my brother and I (he’s younger, only been training like 3 years but had made solid progress) have been tossing around the idea of competing in the classic physique division, and we finally committed to it last December and started training early January. At that time I was about 280, pretty fat with a 45” waist, prolly 25-26%bfi. I’m 6’0 btw, in case you wanna know.

So I hired a coach, started my diet, currently about to wrap up week 6, I’m down about 12lbs, and 3” from the waist. My question is this:

I need to get to a max weight of 212 to compete in classic physique. The contest is in July. Now come hell or high water I’m gona fight hard to be there, but is that a realistic goal, assuming I lose like maybe 1lb of muscle for every 3lbs of fat?

I’m currently taking in 2500 or so calories a day on training days, my p/c/f ratios are P52%/C36%/F12%, I’m at about 2100 or less on rest day. Cardio 5x a week, not including kendo practice 1-2x a week… no cheat meals, if I don’t cook it I don’t eat it, period.

If you need any other info to give a good answer or suggestions lemme know. Thanks!!

I would say pictures would be much more helpful to judge where your at.

It would be advisable to write down your training program where may be a lot of mistakes.

Unfortunately, most people think that hiring a coach automatically means good training.


Roger that, I had to work today (it’s saturday here) and I just finished training. I’ll send my first pics then my current ones. Thanks!

I’ll write out the details when I get home, but it’s basically lower volume, higher weight, 4-6 rep range. 5 day split, high intensity cardio 5x a week… I’ll get you more details when I get home. Thanks!

Curious to see where you’re at and what your current plan is as well.


These are from about 01/14

These are from about 5min ago

I don’t know where you got the idea of losing a lb of muscle for every 3 lbs of fat, but if your contest is in July you need to focus on leaning out and if a few lbs of lbm gets lost so be it. Assuming 4-5 months, and a very rough guestimate of how much you still need to lose, you’ve got a serious task ahead. I’ve had competitors have to drop 40-50 lbs in 20 Weeks and it can be a pretty awful experience.


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Here’s a breakdown of my training routine:

Day 1: Back
Barbell rows or deadlifts (alternate every week)
-3 working sets of 4-6 (I do warm ups until I feel ready)
Cable rows

  • 3 working sets of 4-6
    Pulldowns Or pull ups if the machines are taken
    -3 working sets 4-6 reps, or 3 sets to failure for pull-ups

Day 2: chest
Bench press
Warm up with 20/40/60% (20/12/8 reps)
-1 set at 80% to failure, drop to 50% and do 2 sets to failure
Incline (I use the plate loaded machine)
-2 working sets of 4-6
Weighted dips

  • one set to failure

Day 3: legs
-5 working sets of 4-6
-5 working sets of 4-6
Calf raises
-3 sets to failure

Day 4: shoulders/abs
Shoulder press
-4 working sets of 4-6 reps
Cable crunch
-3 sets to failure
BOSU ball crunch w weight
-3 sets to failure

Day 5: arms
Scott curl
Push down
Alternating Dumbbell curl
Cable push down (1-arm)

I do HIIT cardio 5x a week right now, and I do kendo 1x a week.

I can imagine!! I mean, I’ve done a “cut” before, but not a bodybuilding prep, and the first few weeks were difficult enough. Even though I’m 6 weeks into it, I get really irritated after lunch and by the end of the day I’m straight up exhausted. I’ve been sleeping like a baby though and i feel pretty fresh in the mornings lol. So the show I’m aiming to compete in is in my hometown, Corpus Christi, Texas, and it’s in mid July I think. I planned for a 26 week prep.

Are there any other variables I should consider?

lol, if you’re uncomfortable now, it’s not going to get any better :wink:


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So I’ve heard lol! I’m kinda looking forward to that…

Hey man, great job on the progress so far. Already lookin better. I’d definitely add in some calf work if some kind. Seeing signs of chicken leg syndrome :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

You could knock out two birds with one stone and do farmers carries. Conditioning and calf work

It’s a good thing you are sharing your endeavor on this board, because there are some truly caring and experienced people on here. However, think of this: you have a coach, but you are asking questions related to the prep on here. If your coach is good enough, he should have an idea of what’s possible in a specified time frame. My coach and good friend Stu @The_Mighty_Stu is so experienced that he had a very good hunch that I’d have to be in the low 170’s to be in stage shape, meaning five to seven percent body fat, and I wound up weighing 171# on the morning of my show after a five and a half month prep.

So, I think perhaps you don’t have faith in your coach and/or your coach isn’t competent or experienced enough. After all, would you want a critique of your routine or input on your time frame and what needs to be done if you had the utmost faith in your coach?

Last time I checked the weight limits for classic physique in the IFBB, which I’d expect to be the same for the NPC, has limits on weight according to height. Why do you need to get up to 212 pounds? I do expect you need to be pretty damn big to compete well at 6’ if entering a non-drug-tested show, likely shredded at above 212 pounds.

I lost about 37 pounds for my show, going from the upper 190’s to 171 on contest day. I can confidently say that I did not lose muscle during this prep, and actually added visually apparent mass to my chest and hamstrings. If someone loses one pound of muscle for every three pounds of fat, then he’s dieting far too aggressively and/or doing too much activity at a given time.

I am certainly not the be-all-end-all on bodybuilding prep, but I wouldn’t even think about a show at this body fat considering how much fat you need to lose. I’d actually not even see a need for overly restrictive, prep-style dieting in the near future, but would be solely focused on sound eating habits, having a modest caloric reduction, and having a decent amount of physical activity per week, and even one or two MODEST cheat meals per week. When you get down to say, an estimated 12-15% body fat, or look somewhat lean, THEN pick a show. At your high body fat, it’s hard to tell what needs to be brought or to even estimate how much you might need to weigh in a show, and a respective time frame to get into stage shape.

You shouldn’t feel like this if the diet isn’t overly restrictive to start, especially at a high body fat. Although this is only an observable or experienced phenomenon that can’t be proven, you MIGHT be experiencing such feelings because guys with high body fat tend to have a high body fat set point, making it so that that even the slightest and consistent caloric reduction makes them feel hungry and irritable.

I don’t think you should be exhausted at six weeks in. I felt very good six weeks into a 22 week prep, actually better then when I started. However, the last six weeks were very, VERY tough! As much as I don’t like saying it, if you don’t feel sick at the end of a prep well done, you’re likely not lean enough.

Your body won’t let you sleep like a baby towards the end of a prep of it’s done correctly.

There are flaws in this program for competitive bodybuilding. Routines with one or two exercises for each bodypart fall short for hardcore bodybuilding, despite what some gurus of the current day would have some believe.

Lol my brother said the same thing!! but my calves are 17.5/17.75” (left is bigger cuz of kendo). I am trying to get them above18” (my arms are 18”) but I keep having to up the intensity of training. Farmers walk sounds fun though, I’ll give that a try sometime. Also my thighs are like 28” in the pic so I gotta learn how to angle my calves to make them look bigger :sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile: :joy::joy::joy::joy:

Oh dang you’re really thourough! Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to help me out!

I was asking cuz my coach said off the bat i shouldn’t worry about the contest until a few weeks out, I thought maybe I might be too far out even w a 27wk prep, so I thought I’d ask an outside source for their opinion on if I’m too ambitious with my goal.

As for the weight for competition, I checked the NPC website, the max weight for 5’11-6’0 is listed as 212. So for the time being, that’s my goal (212 in condition). Even if I can’t make the show in July, there’s other shows here in Japan I might be able to get ready for, so I’ll keep those in mind too.
That 3:1 ratio I mentioned earlier was something I read elsewhere, I thought it was a lil off myself, considering one of the best cuts I got considerably lean (not bodybuilder lean) and really only lost about 13-14 pounds total I think, so I agree with you there, I’m just thinking worst case scenario. I’m trying to preserve as much lean body mass as I can…
As far as mood, i think most of that amounts to my carb intake. It’s still pretty decent, but i really only get carbs at breakfast (7am and 9am) and pre and post workout until bedtime. During the day it’s all lean meats and veges. Sleep, on the other hand, that’s natural because of how busy I am during the day. I work in construction, so I’m constantly walking the site, going up and down stairs and scaffolds abs what not. Monday’s after work I practice kendo, each session is about 2.5hrs, and if I do sparring, those are not intensive 10-15min bouts… on tuesdays and Friday’s I have classes after the gym, Friday nights I go to a language exchange group, then the other days I usually study Japanese or do online training for work until it’s time to hit the hay, so yea, that’s the part that puts me to sleep, not necessarily the diet and training. Some of my coworkers see me get frustrated and say “don’t worry, it’ll get easier,” but i explain to them that it actually only gets harder week after week lol… I like reading other peoples expirences with dieting for competition though, it helps me understand the process better.
Finally, as for training routine, I’m not one to say this or that is a be all, end all, and over the course of my training I’ve tried lots of different methods, including high volume (20-30 sets a body part, heavy duty (mike mentzer’s method) and a few I had read about in flex, muscle mag, muscular development, etc. Id say that for the amount of time i spent in the gym, heavy duty was the most efficient; but I still loved high volume workouts, they just take too long for the same results. Doing this style feels more like a synthesis of the two, and it’s actually been pretty brutal, to the point where I get DOMS in body parts I never got DOMS in before (I used to only feel that after training legs). Everybody is gonna have their own opinion on what works and what doesn’t. I like to try different programs out first before I say it’s not effective.

Thanks bro! I really appreciate your advice, and I guess I’ll stick to what I got going and see where I am in a few months. I’ll keep y’all updated! :v:t3::smile:

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your coach is a fool, unless he really doesn’t believe you should actually compete, and plans to tell you that a couple months before the show.

If the show is a motivator for you to lose fat, that’s fine. Use it as that. But you aren’t losing fat at a rate that will get you there currently, and your fat loss will almost certainly slow down in the coming months, not speed up. You have NO IDEA what weight you need to be at to be at the bodyfat % you’ll need to be at to get on stage yet. You’re carrying too much fat to make that determination. There’s no way for you to know that you have enough muscle to be at 212 in June and look good. What happens if you hit your goal weight and you’re still carrying 20 lbs of extra fat? You should be aware that that COULD happen. very easily. I’m 5’11, and weighing in the 190’s in my picture on here, and it’s safe to say that based on that picture, I’d have to drop to the 180’s to actually be in contest shape. Just for reference, since we’re of similar height.

It’s a tough road ahead of you, and in my opinion, based on the workout you posted (it’s not good for your goals, at all. literally 20 reps per WEEK of shoulder work? nope.), the things you’ve said about your coach, and where you are now, I would say it isn’t happening. I think that if you put in a full 9 months to a year of dedicated, hard work, you can get there. July is just too soon to do this right. I think you run the risk of having to crash diet just to make weight, you still won’t look good, and you’ll have sacrificed too much muscle mass in the process.

Keep in mind, you should take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt, as I am not a competitive bodybuilder. Stu and Brick are, so their advice should be taken more seriously than mine. But I have a feeling they’re sugar coating things a bit for you, for one reason or another. I’m presenting a harsher opinion because I don’t want to see you set yourself up for failure. I think your goals are very much achievable, I just don’t think you’ve allowed yourself quite enough time to reach them. And I think you need to totally revamp your training template.


Any coach who tells a client not to worry about a contest isn’t being straight with you. I’ve not gotten clients because I was honest when they demanded I guarantee them a top three finish.

IMO too many first time competitors really don’t know what they’re getting into. When you realize that most competitors already have abs before they start their prep, the guy who is easily and visibly overweight fully clothed should understand what he’s gettibg into.

Additionally, too many people bill themselves as prep coaches and have no clue what they’re doing. They’re either weekend workshop certified personal trainers, or very often someone who competed once or twice and is just parroting what their own coach might have said to them without any real understanding or perspective on the individual nature of the science involved.



Hey bro, thanks for your reply. I do kind of think he might hold off on telling me whether or not I’ll make the show, but that could be because he wants to see where I am so many weeks out.
I think the style of training is very good. It blends my two favorite styles, volume and intensity. 20 reps isn’t bad if they’re all intense reps. This system goes off of muscle overload to induce growth, and so far I feel like it’s working.

If I don’t make the show then I don’t make the show. I personally don’t think it’s impossible in 7 months, but that’s not to say that it will be exceedingly difficult. At any rate, there are other shows later in the summer I can do here in Okinawa, and maybe some npcj shows in the mainland…