T Nation

Leaning Out/Contest Prep Thread


It’s been fun, I’ve been on family leave so I have way more free time.

Plus there was a long period where I just didn’t feel I had much to contribute to the forums. I’m not particularly big or super strong, so there is almost always someone else who can answer the question better than me.

During that period a lot of the old posters left, so my interest waned even further (in posting, I still visited and read a lot)

these recent BBing and contest threads have been great though. Kinda brought some of the long timers together it feels like. I am very excited about the upcoming “contest” next year


Yes, I did, but it was inexpensive, about 190 bucks total for all classes.

The NPC show was going to cost about 300 bucks, but that is not the reason why I am not doing the show. Ironically, I just got sick yesterday for the first time in a long time, so I wouldn’t be able to compete tomorrow anyway. It feels like I have strep throat. Several people at my job are ill right now too.

I want to do that show next year, because it is a pro-am show and I want to compete once per year, perhaps twice if there are shows within one or two weeks of each other (obviously not going on stage nine damn times and just doing the pro class). The ANBF has no minimum frequency of competing for maintenance for pro status, but for what I want to do with my aspiring “branding”, I want to do it once per year. Well, as much as my life and wife allows me to, or that my wife won’t near kill me for. :slight_smile: As I’ve said, when a kid arrives one day, there will be NO competing, or competing when life allows, certainly not when an infant is running around.

I REALLY do not want to get soft ever again. I don’t want to get over 200 pounds, maybe not even over 190 pounds. At this point, with correct bodybuilding training I feel I can gain 3 to 5 pounds of LBM, MAYBE over the long term. That’s what happens when someone fucks around with upper-lower splits for too long, I believe. There is untapped LBM to be gained in my upper body specifically, of which I am convinced because I made considerable changes in my chest, side and rear delts, and back on a caloric deficit. So now I think there can be better improvements eating a lifestyle diet.


Yes, because of the timing and specific stipulation of which organization I can compete in, a stipulation I no longer prefer to discuss on forums (by voice with people I trust is different).

No, I don’t think so, mainly because I was taught posing in person by Stu and Arash, and Stu came up with a simple routine for me. Now, there is not one judge who said my personal routine was spectacular, but they said nothing negatively either. As for mandatories though, I KNOW my posing was far better than my competitors! I saw various pictures and even a noob such as myself could point out what they are doing wrong. My mandatory posing was actually pretty good! Stu and Arash taught me how to do them. For example, the other competitors were not aware of what to do when judges called for showing of the right hamstring. NONE of them smiled, or rarely smiled, and Stu frequently reminded me that one should look as if there is no other place they’d rather be that day! And in an email and IG post, a judge complimented my smile (eg, “there’s that smile again!”) Of course your smile is not a pose, however, I think on a subconscious level, it can influence a judge. Grimaces make one look stiff and ungraceful. They just doesn’t look pleasant.

My package would have been the same, if… IF… someone else had the same attention to detail and, uh… (how should I say it?)… “babysitting” skills as Stu does! There’s no other way to put it. Dan Duchaine once said that being a contest prep coach is like being a babysitter for a 250 pound baby! Well, I am not 250 pounds, but I think he implied that it’s akin to babysitting an adult! A large part of this is mental and emotional, especially if one wants to get really shredded, I’ve come to learn. Being it was my first contest prep, I really had no idea how grueling it is in the last six weeks of prep or so. So I was speaking to Stu everyday, mostly about what I was experiencing, not what I had to eat or how to train. I ate whatever he prescribed. Considering I am pretty disciplined, that was not hard to do.

For me, the hardest part was dealing with the ugly side of contest prep, not the restrictive dieting itself, but what it was doing to me because I was worried about my well-being. My sleep was horrible, averaging three to five broken hours per night. I developed sciatic pain towards the end. My mind was depersonalized. And with the fatigue I would experience at the end of a day of awakening at 3:30 to 4:430, doing fasted LISS cardio before breakfast, attending work from 8 to 4, then gym sessions at night… AND… real life (wife, family events on weekends, errands and chores, all that stuff), I felt like a broken human being at times! If I did not have a close friend for a coach, and my other friends who went through the same thing (one of whom is in his mid fifties and has done 60 shows), I really don’t know how I could have done it! That’s why I don’t think it’s wise to be a competitor as an outsider, so to speak.

Despite all of what I say here, it was all it was all worth it! Pardon my French, but EVERY… FUCKING… DAY… of the prep, no matter how miserable I felt, was worth it! In some bizarre way, it was the most difficult but satisfying six months of my life.

One guy I know who was in the show with me, from talking to him, I found out he was doing this all alone. He doesn’t hang with bodybuilders, and doesn’t know many bodybuilders.

I understand this, but this was a team effort and I could not have gotten in the shape I did alone. Very few people can do their first prep alone, and with all my credentials in nutrition, I still couldn’t. No one learns contest prep decision making or poses in a classroom. That’s why, with all the credentials, I can’t give a rat’s ass about most studies and “data”. Even my wife helped out with food prep and made concessions in our life so that this could be done.

I understand why you are hesitant. Maybe I am not as tough as I thought I was, or maybe some just don’t have to “go the distance” to get shredded, but I think contest prep is excruciating for those with normal adult lives, a full-time job, and a wife or family.


Brick why did you suffer so much when you could have just used one of these?


If they make one of those for calves I am SO getting it…


Or did the Eight Minute Workout, or whatever the heck the name is.


New video I put up today.


Brick, I think the apprehension, or perhaps a better word might be just Delay, is because we all have been fed this image of Arnold, Yates, Coleman, Cutler, etc… AKA roided up BBers since forever that no natural trainee has a realistic expectation of what a good, natural, stage worthy physique is.

So you and Stu won your shows at ~170 pounds, which means a very lean 180, and a relatively lean 190ish (this is likely your “walking around weight”), and maybe even a slightly soft 200. But everyone expects to be 200 on stage because that’s what has been out there for years. “Your average 200 pounds BBer” … Well shit I’m “only” 190 and a bit soft… I have 30 more pounds of muscle to gain before I get on stage!

So for me it was always “Well, I will just keep going until I can cut down to at least 200 lean” instead of realizing that in reality 200 should be the top weight for almost all natural trainees, and I highly suspect it might even be 190 for the honest ones :wink:

But yes, your advice is good. If you have been at it 5+ years (and I mean AT IT, no on-again-off-again or just lazy training, but balls-to-the-wall, can-barely-walk-for-days training) then you very likely have built almost all of what you are going to build.


i would really love to compete once, hang a picture from the show on my living room and show it to my grandkids in the future BUT i just cant motivate myself to lose another 10 kgs to get into contest shape, buy a lot of new clothes one more time ( i spent thousand of liras on clothes after my transformation ) and deal with people’s comments about how ’ sick ’ i look. so i think i will stay in this condition forever.



You don’t have to buy new clothes. You simply wear the clothes you have, as baggy as they may be while you are in the last four to six weeks of a prep, and then continue wearing them after. In my opinion, buying new clothing because the then-current clothes are baggy for a measly two or so months is not worth it. I’m near a month after my prep and my clothing is starting to fit right again, partly because of water and glycogen gain alone (of course fat gain too).

People’s comments are not insulting. They just are shocked at how different one can look when approaching stage weight.

Contest prep is mostly a temporary transformation. It can’t be held for long.

I think you might be less than 10 kg’s away from being shredded. I’d have to check your photos again to make an assessment. I understand competing is not everyone’s cup of tea though.


Man, kids in my classes in the Fall vs kids I taught in the Spring (when I would usually compete) must have thought there were two different teachers with the same name. I looked so different (dropping 25-30 lbs for a show), I’m sure some people thought I had some horrible disease. Still, there’s something so damn motivating about pushing yourself to accomplish what most people could never even hope to.

Brad and I talked a lot about all of the “experts” online who would predict how big they’d be in contest condition, but were never mentally tough enough to actually do it. It’s one hell of a feeling, and - as Brad will attest-, it’s all worth it when you’re standing up there under those lights!



So, thinking about doing it just for shits and giggles, a few pics if I decide to do the PT thing (CSCS). Is it still worth it?


It’s totally worth it. Of course the value comes from the personal journey in most cases. Sure, I’d be lying i I didnt fess up that it’s always a cool feeling to beat other competitors who you know worked their tails off too, but the true pride in holding your head up high after a grueling 3-5 month stretch of time, during which you were faced with self doubt,weariness, possible injuries, and who knows what else, and managed to push through because you made a comittment to yourself… it’s invaluable.



i think your last sentence explains my situation well. probably im making excuses because i am not willing to suffer :slight_smile:


is there an instagram page or a website where i can see your contest photos?


I’m sure you can find a few on my IG, as well as my personal web page (I won’t link it bc I know that’s sometimes an issue here, but it’s seriously easy to google)



most muscular shot from your very first contest is really impressive.

very dense and thick.


One day I hope to achieve the level of “Oh, just Google me…I’m super easy to find.” :grin:


Yes, it’s worth it! If you come in shape you won’t want to leave the stage!