First Competition in March, Another in April. Advice?

I’m doing my first bodybuilding competition in march and another in April. I planned on doing a 12 week cut going into the first one then countiueing it till the one in April leaving me 14 weeks for the 2nd. Just wondering if you guys think 12 weeks will be enough time from what I look like now. Btw in these pics I took today I felt kinda bloated and watery today so I will post more tomorrow if I feel I lose some of the water.

anyone wanna help please?:frowning:

You have some crazy delts man!

@robstein @The_Mighty_Stu @BrickHead @EyeDentist

That’s all the help I can give!

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Damn man you’re massive.

Certain parts appear lean while others don’t. I had a similar situation in that my arms and back would appear pretty detailed even when I was 25 lbs above my stage weight.

My advice is to always plan more time than you honestly think you need. One, because stage level conditioning is so far beyond what most people realize, and two; you will always experience what i call “hiccups” during a prep.

Your body doesn’t care one bit about how well you do in a bodybuilding contest it just sees that you’re giving it less food than it’s used to and asking it to do more work than it’s used to. Couple that with the range of individuality among different people, and That’s a recipe for a less than exact science no matter how bright or experienced you may be (and I like to think that I’m pretty bright and experienced! -lol)

I can’t answer exact details here because that’s something that any good coach will tell you can only be done on a weekly basis as you see how the body responds, but I hope what I wrote helps.


Agreed, everyone is different here. Personally my abs and delts looked ready 4 weeks out while my quads still had a way to go.

Based on the pics, I agree with @The_Mighty_Stu, you definitely want to give more time than you think is necessary, especially if it’s your first contest. Losing the first bit of weight is pretty universal in terms of how to go about it, but once you need to get down to stage level lean, then it really becomes a game of learning what works best for you as an individual. If this were your third competitive season and you were starting leaner, you might be able to get away with 12 weeks. While you’ve certainly got some solid mass, looking at your abs, hams, quads and lats, 16-20 would be better. I can’t imagine at your current condition that you’d be ready in 12 weeks. Keep in mind the last week, “peak week,” you’re not losing body fat there, you’re just getting your body ready to be on stage, practicing posing and following your coach’s advice. So, really, it’s 11 weeks. Coupled with the fact that you want to look ready early and want to avoid a “photo finish”, and your first show, 16-20 weeks is pretty standard. I’ve never seen anyone who kicked ass on stage on a 12 week prep.

It’s important to be honest with yourself. At your level of body fat, holding on to an extra pound of water or whatever won’t make an appreciable difference. I told myself that same thing when I did my first show, I was holding on to too much water. Reality, I wasn’t lean enough. Holding water really only comes into play when you’re like 4-6%BF. I’d guess you have at least 20lbs to lose to get ready to be on stage, possibly a little more. Not talking about “leanest guy in the gym” lean, I’m talking about getting on stage and turning heads lean. Again you’ve got some solid LBM, but plan for 16-20 weeks to give yourself the best chance of success.

I agree with my more experienced colleagues above. While you have an excellent foundation of muscle, it would be difficult to get yourself stage ready in 12 weeks.

I infer that your plan is to start prepping after Christmas/New Year’s. Note that if you were willing to sacrifice the gastronomical indulgence of the holiday season and start prepping now, you could add 2 weeks to your prep, which would make a huge difference. So, how bad do you really want to compete in these particular shows?

Thanks a lot for the replies and complements! I honestly thought I was gonna get told I look like shit tbh😂 But yeah I was thinking I was gonna have to drop about 25lbs, and yeah I’ve never understood how I can have veins in my arms, shoulders, chest, quads and even a little in my back and still have no abs😪 Another thing is I’m trying to figure how I should do my contest prep I was thinking of starting at a 500 deficit then taking another 50 each week then adding at least 1 refeed a week after the first 1. What are your guys thoughts on this?

I’m set on doing these shows, I will do what I have to

Vascularity is largely genetic and doesn’t necessarily correspond with conditioning. Granted as you get leaner you’ll see more veins, but you can easily have great vascularity and still be 25-30lbs over stage weight. When you’re on stage, judges don’t look at your vascularity, so try to separate yourself from that mentally.

Generally a 500cal daily deficit will lead to roughly 1lb per week of weight loss, so you may want to create a bigger deficit. Additionally, fat loss/scale loss/contest prep is not a linear process. Don’t assume that continuously creating a larger deficit will get you there, it won’t. There are many, MANY aspects involved with getting stage ready, cals are a small part, as are macros, cardio, carb intake, individual cortisol levels and tendencies, etc.

It sounds like you’re going to try to do this on your own, which I will highly advise against. Hire an experienced coach who has been there before and knows how to get people looking great on stage. I can guarantee you if you try this on your own, you won’t reach maximum potential, and there’s only so far people giving input on forums will get you. Hiring a coach that you have access to, that will learn and know your body, and has experience in the countless aspects involved, will ensure you show up looking like you belong, and don’t screw up your body during the process.

While he’s too modest to say so, @robstein is an experienced prep coach, as is @The_Mighty_Stu. (I am not a coach myself.) You would do well to consider hiring either of them to guide you through this, your first prep. (Disclosure: I have no financial relationship with either of them, other than having been a paying client of Stu’s back in the day. The point being, there’s nothing in it for me if you hire one of them, so I have no ulterior motives for recommending them.)

I would love to be able to hire a coach but sadly I just can’t afford to do so… and yes I understand The whole macros I would do my diet based on that but with the macros added up at a 500 deficit, the reason I was thinking 500 is because I’ve been told by many people if I start to heavy of a deficit early I kill my metabolism (metabolic adaptation) which this is happened to me before and that is what I’m afraid of.

Do you have a log or plan on starting one for this contest prep? I’m interested to see your progress as you move forward…@robstein has a great log I silently keep up with.


You mean like for me to post update pics along the way? And I have a overall like plan I just don’t know if it would get me to where I need to be

isnt the whole point is to keep your self in a caloric deficit? I planned on having a set protein intake 1.5xBW then a set Fat intake for function then fill the rest with carbs and the 50 cal drop a week would be coming from the carbs so about 12-13g drop per week. (But obviously you would have more knowledge on all this so I was just wondering what the thoughts are on this) also when it come to cardio should I start off doing it or add it in slowly?

Yes of course, what I’m saying is it’s much more complicated to get to stage level leanness than people are aware, and simply keeping yourself in a consistent caloric deficit will not yield linear results. Most folks think if they keep the same deficit, and make consistent adjustments, they should keep losing fat/weight at a consistent pace till the show, which never happens. Adjustments need to be made throughout to overall cals, carbs (and all macros really), cardio timing and intensity, etc., to ensure you can look good on stage. For example, my first season I was close to achieving the conditioning I wanted but was still just shy of looking pealed head to toe, so I figured adding more cardio and eating less would surely create a bigger deficit, thus I’d lose more fat, and get leaner. It didn’t work out that way, I dug myself into a hole, and wound up responding better to adding more carbs and dialing back cardio slightly, decreasing my overall deficit but got things moving again. You don’t want to start off crazy aggressive, but if you’re planning on losing 25lbs in 16 weeks, you’re going to need bigger than a 500cal daily deficit. If you lose a pound a week, you’ll still have 20lbs to go at 12 weeks out. Keep in mind a deficit can be achieved by combining both nutrition, training and cardio.

Not a bad way to start, you could probably get away with lowering protein more to leave more room for carbs, at least to start. Additionally, IMO, adjustments are best made as needed and you want to wait as long as possible to make them. If you’re losing weight at the desired pace, no need to make an adjustment until things start slowing down. What exactly that adjustment should be depends on numerous factors, and it’s not always going to be cutting carbs and/or adding cardio.

I like to do only as much as needed. Personally, I always wind up having to do a lot by the end as the show approaches, usually 45-60min in the morning, and 20-30min post weights. But, I was able to get through 2/3 of my last prep on 20-30 min a day, after weights, 5x a week to start, with one weekly HIIT workout. Some folks do HIIT 2x or 3x a week, again depends on what works best for the individual.

@The_Mighty_Stu, @BrickHead and myself all have very detailed prep logs on here, which detail every aspect of nutrition, training, etc., we went through to get on stage, feel free to check them out for some potential insights and guidance.

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Thanks a lot bro, I’ll be sure to take a look at it!

Keep us updated how things are going. When I kept my first contest log on here almost 10 years ago, there weren’t too many others to read, follow along, and study from. Amazing how in such a short time, things have changed so you can not only follow along with people you “know” on forums, but reach out to your favorite pro as well :slight_smile:


I know it’s been a while but here’s a update, just want to know your guys opinion