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Leaning Out/Contest Prep Thread


Best of luck man looking forward to seeing your progress! Just throwing in some cautionary thoughts, 7% is really, really low, like pretty much getting on stage. Not saying it’s not possible, but it’ll really take contest style strictness and such. There’s only so hard/fast you can push, 12 weeks is not a lot of time even if you’re already starting really lean. There’s no substitute for time. It’s not the kind of thing where “working harder”, digging more or cutting more cals or adding more cardio will get you there faster, and too many significant adjustments at once could cause more harm than good. Be sure to keep posting any questions man, gonna be awesome to watch your progress!


My friend stumbled upon this video of the physique division show, from the channel of the guy who won it.


Those quads were not meant to be hidden under board shorts!!!


arms and quads massive!


Hey brick, when did you incorporate sprints into your lifting week? I’m looking to add them in on one of my cardio days and was going to put them the day after leg day but I’m worried about leg soreness being a problem and possibly increasing the chance for injury due to fatigue. Was curious when you fit them in and why.


At first I was just putting them into my two off days in my two-on, one-off schedule. I NEVER did sprints all out. Anyway, after a few weeks into my prep, perhaps about a month, I gave up actual sprints and just did HIIT sessions on a stationary bike or elliptical machine or with actual running outside. Eventually I got the feeling that perhaps running was not the best thing for a well muscled bodybuilder on a prep and just stuck with the HIIT on the cardio machines. I really do enjoy jogging/running, and although I do not see it being necessarily bad for all BBers, I just at the time started not feeling well from it.

I’m here to answer any questions still, from you or anyone else, considering I see this thread has 100 new visitors every few days.


Following up on that, how did you structure your HIIT sessions? I know most normally do something like a fast run or walk for 15-30 seconds, rest for 30-60. repeat ten or more times.

Which did you find most effective?


I did 30 secs hard, 2 min moderate for 25 min followed by LISS.


Sounds familiar :slight_smile:


You’ll find that plenty of sucessful people share beliefs of approaches. This is usually because they work -lol



Any specific reasoning for going 25 minutes? Everywhere I read about HIIT makes it seem like if you’re going over 15 minutes you’re not going hard enough/taking too long of breaks. Curious as to your guys reasoning behind having the longer rest periods and making the HIIT session longer overall.


Twenty-five minutes makes ten rounds of 30 seconds hard, two minutes easy to moderate, which I don’t think is excessive. Of course if you go for fifteen minutes you can use a higher RPE for the intervals, and of course the shorter the difficult intervals are the harder one can go. So it can go either way. I think 25 minutes is happy medium for the amount of time doing exercise overall. And to be honest here, I followed Stu’s orders and that’s what he gave me. Towards the end I had to give up some interval sessions because of fatigue and sciatic pain which I later found out was being caused by my two herniated discs which were shown in an MRI after the contest for which I am now doing PT as explained in some posts above.


I’m doing 8 rounds of 15sec on, 45 seconds rest 4 times a week currently. I’ll probably up that to 10 rounds here shortly. It’s a nice little add on to my workouts at this point. Keeping them this short is mainly in the interest of time.

Adding more sessions would seem counterproductive as I can feel the fatigue from them now, so adding too many more would start to have drawbacks I feel. I will just add some casual pace stuff for 30 minutes if I want a calorie stain that day beyond the four 10minute sessions

I have done them for 16-20 minutes in the past in the 30sec/90sec fashion.

I think Stu likes them on their own day, which might make the longer time make more sense. Also more total cals burned that way. Who would make a trip to the gym me for an 8 minute bike session?


I’ll say this: despite all the talk about LISS done for a long period of time, say 45 to 60 minutes at a shot, having the same effect as HIIT, I don’t buy it. When I started attacking the intervals my fat loss greatly sped up.


Absolutely. I would only use LISS as an add on to an already effective fat loss program that can’t really afford to tap into reserves too much. The end of a long cut where you are already red lining and can’t just add another intense activity

I view LISS as a simple “calorie drain” whereas HIIT I consider a training session in and of itself, something that needs to be programmed intelligently and recovery has to be factored in.


Agreed. That’s why I usually throw in core or incidental work on those days.

Of course you don’t have to do interval work at a gym. We all remember Brad going to the little park near his place early on in his prep to knock out his sprints (to the delight, bewilderment and entertainment of local kids -lol)



Appreciate the responses! I have 1 day of strictly cardio so I’ll play around with the 30/2:00 ratio on that day and compare it to those days where I don’t have the time to do it and have to do a more 15/45 or something and see how it goes.

I also want to say after just finishing my own diet I gained even more respect for you guys who push through a contest prep. I’ve dieted a couple times (never for a show) and for whatever reason this last diet at the end I was just drained, like there isn’t any other way to describe it. Every cardio session was torture, doing LISS for any length of time became the most mentally challenging thing ever, and my legs were constantly sore and heavy. I ended my diet a tiny bit early because it just wasn’t worth it at that point, though I know if I was trying to compete I would have had to push through.

So congratulations again Brick on not only doing a contest, but giving it your all and coming in with that level of conditioning. That’s no easy task, and something I don’t think many people (myself included) truly understand how challenging it actually is.


Thank you very much. I am glad you can see what it takes because you went part of the distance. How lean did you get? Close to contest shape? To me, acceptable contest shape is 5 to 7%.

Having only done it once, but I think doing it correctly, I don’t blame people for not wanting to go the distance. It really does take away time from other activities and life and it is very uncomfortable.

Yes, that does happen to the legs! Towards the end, I constantly had a sense of uneasiness that is indescribable throughout my body and in my mind. But in some twisted way I liked it. For some, when they get that lean, me being one of them, there is a sense of depersonalization.

I feel funny saying this, but towards the end, I sort of hid at work, for lack of a better way of putting it. I mean, I got all my duties done, but I just made myself less available to people. I just simply was not my gregarious self, and if I could avoid conversations with people, I did. I had what I consider a senile or near-senile director that was near retirement during my prep (she retired shortly after it), and if I saw her anywhere on any of the floors and she didn’t see me in turn, I simply about faced, and went to another floor by elevator or the stairs. Seriously, if I got out of the stairwell and looked down the floor and saw her, I’d just turn around and go somewhere else.

You would have to push through for contest shape, as you said, After awhile, all that’s left is mental fortitude, not physical energy, not some super pre-workout meal, not a stimulant, not coffee, etc. Sure some stimulants can help, but that’s not really what is going to get someone through the prep towards the end.

And with all this, I’d do it again if I could! :slight_smile: That’s because the competitive side to this hobby is inherently insane and I loved it! Once you get on a stage in that condition, you don’t want to get off of it! And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the attention I got throughout the prep, even some attention at Bev’s gym! I mean, I am no Kai Greene, but if you speak to some heavy hitters and experienced people, and when you tell them you are prepping for a show and they don’t look at you as if you’re foolish, then you know you’re doing what needs to be done and that you have a great deal of muscle!

As I’ve said repeatedly (it does not get old with me, so I’m sorry for being a broken record), although I am not so gifted and have what I consider just decent genetics, I was struck by bodybuilding before I even went into a gym at just the age of somewhere around ten to twelve years after looking at a BB book at an uncle’s home. So to finally be a bodybuilder, even if just once, was VERY important to me, even though it’s just a recreational activity. This might sound corny as hell, but when I go to the New York Pro every year, and I feel that Spring breeze and smell in the air, and see all the freaks and fans making their way to the venue, it feels like I am 20 years old all over again, because that’s the age I went to the Night of Champions (which was renamed to NY Pro) for the first time. I don’t get starstruck like when I saw Paul Dillet and Shawn Ray up close for the first time, but the even is important for me to attend. Did you ever see the flick of me and Shawn Ray?


I’m leaning out again this year and I must have reached a tipping point because my wife says she noticed some changes in my behavior (not my self, less personable, etc…)

It’s intermittent so I’m willing to go a bit further but I wouldn’t want to do a full on prep if it meant putting her through that for months on end (with a child now too)


I just recently finished a three month session of leaning out. I went from 195 to 178…roughly 8-9%, I think. Near the end of it, I definitely started avoiding my co-workers and my family if I could. Meal prep and doing dishes (our dishwasher doesn’t work) were my havens – the lady typically doesn’t bother me when I’m prepping food or cleaning…so I even started doing those shitty activities more.