T Nation

First Fitness Female Competition - PCOS (Body Fat Reduction)


I am a female in my mid 30’s preparing to do my first fitness competition in Oct 2018.

I train 5-6 days a week and I have PCOS which is slowing down my fat loss, it is frustrating. I have looked at my nutrition and tried intermittent fasting, I have tried no carb days on recovery days (I usually work 6-7 days per week, some days are 15 hour days).

Currently I am carb cycling and intermittent fasting at the same time. I am focusing on my Macros hitting my Protein, Fats and Carbs. I am having 2 high carb days usually Wednesdays as I train legs on a Thursday and Saturdays as I have date night with my boyfriend.

I have found that I can put on muscle relatively easy, the fat loss is slowing things which I can only put down to pcos. I am not taking any contraceptives to balance out my hormones. I do have the contraceptive implant for pregancy reasons.

I would love some advice on how to help get my body fat down so I can then get to work on muscle wise. I am currently 23% body fat. I am aiming in the next week to get down to 20%, to eventually get to 15-17% by June as the competition will be October.

Any advice on what can help me lose the body fat and what I should be aiming for body fat % for my first competition.

Hmmmm…interesting question. What is a good body fat for women competition. I’m at 12% but hoping to get higher. Just joined cuz I love my gainz but some think I should have other curves. Hmmmm, I’d post pics but I’m 38 and know better. I’ve had my slew of dick pics before. No offense but my username came from a group of guy friends.

Hi there!

Sorry to hear that you’re medical situation may be making this more difficult.

Just to let you know. I believe none of the active female posters here are currently training for figure or bikini. That may be why you aren’t getting a lot of response to your thread. We have several female PLers here. I generally train for aesthetics, and have experience with cutting for figure goals, but I don’t have any experience with PCOS so I’m not sure how to give you specific advice.

In general, there are some very good programs for women. Even in people without PCOS, be patient. Drastic calorie lowering or lots of cardio are common mistakes of people who want to speed up the process. Don’t go there.

Aside from talking to your doctor about trying to normalize your body as much as you can, I’m not sure what would be different for someone with PCOS.

@RampantBadger, you always have links to some of the women’s programming here.

I’ll just tag @The_Mighty_Stu so he’ll see your thread over in this forum. He has a lot of experience coaching women for figure. Stu, I don’t know if you have worked with anyone with PCOS. I don’t know anything about it, so I thought I’d tag you on the off chance that you’ve trained women with this before.

@EyeDentist is not an endocrinologist, but he’s likely to know more than the rest of us. He is a physician with experience training for physique goals, so maybe. I know none of you guys frequent this forum.

Best of luck to you with your goals. If you’re currently sitting at 23% BF? For a healthy female that is not a bad place to be. If fat distribution is more around your middle due to PCOS, I can understand why that might be really frustrating. In someone with an hourglass figure, who distributes fat fairly evenly, 20-22 % BF can look really pretty. Not figure contest lean, but certainly softly feminine, pretty in a bathing suit.



This thread from the beginner’s forum might be helpful. Another woman with PCOS.

Forums - T Nation 25 y/o Female Overweight

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Several points worth commenting upon.

First, re PCOS: Obviously, you should prioritize whatever advice your physician has given you. That said, women with PCOS get caught in a vicious cycle with respect to bodyfat–being overweight causes/worsens their PCOS, which makes them gain weight, which makes their PCOS worse, etc. So PCOS pts have to grind especially hard with respect to diet in order to break the cycle and lose weight (which can be curative in mild cases of PCOS). In this regard, generally speaking PCOS pts should eat as if they have diabetes–lots of lean protein, veggies, and modest amounts of low glycemic-index carbs. Unfortunately, your two high-carb days are likely sabatoging your weight-loss efforts, and may need to be put on hold until you near your goal bodyfat level.

Speaking of goal bodyfat levels, the next point worth making: Forget BF% (ie, the number). Literally. Remove the concept from your brain. As @The_Mighty_Stu will attest, a physique athlete’s BF% is utterly irrelevant when it comes to how they place in a contest. What matters–the only thing that matters–is what you look like. If you look shredded and muscular, with pleasing lines and proportions, you will place well whether your BF% is 10% or 25%. Likewise, it won’t matter one whit if your BF% is 5% if you look like hot garbage onstage. (As an aside, the same is true for bodyweight–it also is irrelevant, except insofar as it determines what division the athlete competes in.)

Work out hard. Diet meticulously. Lather, rinse, repeat. If you do this long enough, one day you will look in the mirror and see a stage-ready physique.


Hi, yep this works very well…

Hot Rox as a pre workout on high carb days also something to consider


This is a very important take home message to anyone who trains to compete or not. As to your situation, I have worked with plenty of women, some with their own issues and medications to take into account. Still, the bottom line will always be the “what does your doctor day?”

When I do have women with “curve balls” to consider when planning and executing a program, I always consult Brad (@BrickHead) to ensure I’m not missing anything, and to get his expert opinion as an RD.

I’d be curious to hear what’s worked, what hasn’t, what created hiccups etc in your past experiences.



Thank you for responding, @EyeDentist, @RampantBadger Badger and @The_Mighty_Stu.

We seem to get a lot of threads like this one where someone makes an account to ask a question then never returns to press a like button or say thank you so people who attempted to answer know their response was read.

I don’t know how many times I’ve responded to threads like that in this forum and wondered about the outcome. I guess I’m still hopeful that it might help build more of a community of women here. If I started a thread and got zero response, I would certainly not stay.

So many people here at TN, both men and women, were really helpful to me when I started lifting. Anyway, thank you for taking the time, letting me call you over. It would be nice for ME if we had more active women’s forums.


Hi there. It that’s your shoulder in your avi pic, then nice work!
@unwanted nudes. There is no PM system here, so… no worries, unless someone knows you outside of TN. Apparently in the old days there was someone with naked pullup pictures. Haha.

@youngheartandsoul. I was remembering this thread. Not specific to figure comps, but maybe some other people with experience with your Dx.

Forums - T Nation Help / Advice for Teenage PCOS


Lol. Yep that’s me. Thanks for compliments.


Yeah, it is kinda quiet here. I appreciate all the responses I get. :grinning::muscle:

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It’s tough being a woman and being able to have friends with the same interests. I fell for the model look and it didn’t make me happy but had a bunch of let’s eat an apple for lunch friends. It’s gotten to the point I have more guy friends than girls. My best girlfriend is pregnant again and our worlds have really started to drift in different directions.

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Indeed. Especially true if you’re in a very small town. It seems like this has improved a lot over the past few years. My gym now has quite a few women who train, even the BB lifts or OLY. I think Crossfit has helped. And probably all the Instagram chicks.

A lot of people in the Training Logs section are very friendly, supportive. I believe there are 4 or 5 active women’s logs in that section now. There are two or three women who log in the Over 35 section now. And Brutiful who logs here in PW.

Yep. Amen to that.

Nice to “meet” you. Best of luck with your training.



Thanks for your input and support! I read and read cuz I’m an athlete by nature and was always told what to do and when and how much etc etc. growing up I wasn’t even allowed to drink coke cuz it was carbonated. Now I’m older and two a days aren’t practical and I’m having to figure out what my body responds, too lol. I adapt quickly so really mix things up to keep my body from plateauing or getting boring. I just get sick of all the weight loss stuff I have to sift through.


Thanks for the advice much appreciated. It makes it so hard to lose body fat when you have conditions that effect the hormones too

Thanks Puff. I have been unwell over the weekend so I haven’t been online much

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Thanks for the response. I have only incorporated 2 slightly higher carb days as I I work between 6-7 days a week an 5 days a week I work 14-15 hours a day. The only added calories on those days is a home made smoothie for breakfast. My meals are still weighed the same.

Thanks for the advice, we all need some support every now and again. As women we need to back each other rather than tear each other down what ever our fitness goals are. Guys have a lot more support and motivation when it comes to physique.

So the more I can learn from other women and experts I am willing to give it a go. My goals what I am planning is for me and no one else

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Rock on! Doing stuff for you is what makes you happy. It really is sad more women aren’t on here. I’m totally confused what my goals are except to accept myself and learn from others. I appreciate your post cuz it generated a lot of thinking. I just never want to be weak again. That’s my motivation and wherever it leads me, we will see. Good luck and hopefully you’ll continue to get good feedback.