T Nation

First Competition and What I Have Learned


Hey all, just finished competing in the OCB Circle City Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. All I have to say is what an experience! I ended up taking third in my class out of three, disappointing yes, but the feeling of accomplishment goes so much beyond a placing.

I am going to post my before and afters, reasons why I placed last/ plans to improve upon them, as well as general advice.


2 weeks into prep, 22 weeks ago


Night before the show






Last one


Alright now onto what I believe I have learned throughout the process, and plan to improve upon before stepping on stage again.

Issue #1: Didn't come in lean enough, too large of a waist.
I feel like my body hit a wall with how lean it wanted to be about 10 weeks ago, I have never been a lean guy, and got pretty sloppy with my diet before starting my contest prep.
- Solution: I plan on significantly leaner in the offseason than I did before starting this prep, I gave myself last night after the show and today to eat what I want, then tomorrow am going back to what my macros were about 4 weeks ago. I am going to gradually increase the macros, taper off cardio and stimulants, as well as keep things simpler (not counting trace macros, only using the scale for meat and potatoes) in order to stay sane.

Issue# 2: Not enough size
I feel like I have strong quads, but other than that everything needs to be brought up.
- Solution: Keep things simple, and bust ass in the gym. As my macros start coming back up, I am going to increase my frequency and hit calves and hams before quads on leg days. I touched on diet earlier, but I am going to try and stay leaner than I did previously, while making adequate muscular gains. Maybe that will mean a month or so of dieting down phase every few months, maybe not, I am just going to play it by ear. I have definitely learned that you can only plan so much.

Issue# 3: Posing was brutal
Posing out under the lights, with a judge that makes you hold poses for days is a completely different experience than at home under the lights and I made too big of a deal out of the finals routine.
- Solution: Practice under a heat lamp, and hold the poses for longer than I think I should. As far as the finals routine goes, I pushed it off until the very last minute and then stressed about it. In actuality the placing is already decided, so next time around I will make sure I get a routine started earlier so I dont have to stress about it and more importantly I will just have fun with the routine.

General Advice:
- Go see a show before you compete in one.
- If you are 100% set on competing, even if you aren't where you feel you should be development wise, find a show, hire a coach and compete. If every cell in your body doesn't want to put yourself through the entire process of preparing for a competition, I would suggest not doing it.

I believe that is all for now, and will probably add more throughout the day as things come to me.



Congratulations on competing in your contest, you are right, what you did is an amazing accomplishment and you have very right to be proud. Just from your pictures your waist looks fine compared to everything else, plus you have great overall leg development, even keeping most of the size in contest shape which can be a rarity. In terms of putting on more size I wouldnt be too worried about staying overly lean, eat plentiful but perhaps keep incorporating cardio 3 or 4 times a week moderate intensity for a half hour or so to help with conditioning but still being able to consume plenty of calories to gain more size. In regards to training your are right to go back to basics. I'm personally an advocate of high intesity workouts, less frequency but high intensity workouts.

20 plus weeks is a long time to be in contest prep, you mentioned that you hit a wall regarding getting leaner 10 weeks prior to your show, it could be that your body began losing muscle and retained a small bit of fat because of the long term calorie deficit which may have affected your overall conditiong onstage. Generally 12 weeks would suffice for contest prep also some high calorie days thrown in strategically during prep to keep you sane and perhaps prevent some muscle loss.

Again you have great potential and I look forward to seeing your progress.


Hey Hitkiller, thanks for all the advice and kind words! After talking to most of the guys back stage, it seemed like most of them find their bodies less reluctant to give up the stubborn fat(glutes, hams, lower back and abdominals) when they stayed a little leaner throughout the year. Now when I say I am going to stay leaner, I am not talking crazy lean by any means, just leaner relative to where I was at the beginning of the prep.


Sounds good dude, stick to your guns (pun intended LOL) and do what you got to do.


what weight class were you inn?


I competed in the Juniors(20-23) division, there were not any weight restrictions on it. The other 2 guys came in about 163-165, I was just a tad heavier, stepping on stage about 170.