T Nation

Leaning Out/Contest Prep Thread


without ever having gotten fully to contest condition, if I had to guess based on my photos and seeing prep threads on here I was still probably anywhere from 6-10 pounds away from thinking I had even a shot to be contest level lean. I could be very off on that but that’s my best guess from an untrained eye lol.

I’ve since came off the diet and my weight bounced up very quickly a few pounds, and I feel great mentally and physically and have even toyed around with starting back on the diet again but I still remember the daily struggle it got to be so that’s probably a no!

I have an interest in competing at some point, but I’m well aware I’m not developed enough to compete so it’s a couple years down the road. I can see how mentally chhallenging a real prep would be, and how it effects those around you. My girlfriend was sick of my diet by the end, and actually a couple days after the diet ended she was upset that I was still counting calories and restricting my food intake since I didn’t want to jump up 800-1000 calories overnight. I think I miscommunicated how the post diet weeks/months would look so she was definitely expecting a different experience and made sure I was aware lol. Poor job communicating on my part but did shed some light into just how much my diet restrictions and mood wore on her.

I hear ya on the avoiding conversations and interactions. There were days I felt fine and then a small thing would happen and I would be irritated out of nowhere. And many days I just started off knowing I felt run down and irritable and I was plenty happy to find excuses to sit lost in my own head rather than try and seek out or participate in conversations.

I’ve always been interested in bodybuilding and the like, didn’t follow the sport but was absolutely sure as a little kid I wanted to be big and strong like the running backs I idolized growing up. Thats shifted some to looking at and wanting to be big like a bodybuilder these days but I think I would have become obsessed with bodybuilding as a kid if I would have had any exposure at all to it when I was younger. I don’t think I saw one even online until I was a teenager. I can imagine the awestruck when seeing some of those guys up close for the first time, I would be interested in going to a big show and seeing the sheer size plans shape of some of these guys. Girlfriend thinks I’m crazy but idk it’s just cool.

I don’t ever think I saw the you and Shawn ray thing, but I would be interested!


That actually happened after my show. I was planning on doing the New England NPC Grand Prix two weeks later but I just couldn’t hang in there anymore and I thought that if I was going to visit Boston with my wife, that I didn’t want to go through another crazy peak week with it culminating in a hotel room with the tanning thing, restrictions on what we could do, and all that. Well, that and my neuropathy was becoming harder to deal with, which at the time I had no idea was caused by herniated discs, which I’m sure you have read about above.

I was actually counting some things after the show from sheer habit for a bit more than a week, after having counted everything for almost six months. One day I came home to my usual snack of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, measured a cup out, them measured some peanut butter for 35 grams and then said to myself in a low whisper, “What the hell am I doing?!” Even waking up like a normal person with no cardio to do before work had me feel sort of strange.

I did not do any of that planned reverse dieting shit. I simply went with the plain old notion of not overeating. Sure is simple, right? There was no damn way in which I was gonna do some silly shit like add a slice of bread or half cup of rice for a few days and then add this sparse portions of food as weeks went by. And I did not balloon up into a bloated mess in the slightest! I still had veins running through my legs and a good six pack like six weeks after.

As I’ve said, and as some T-nationn guys I’m close with have heard from my mom, she has said over and over and over again, “it’s retarded,” “a waste of time,” “grotesque”, and so on.

Yes, it’s amazing!

If you’re gonna compete, I suggest doing it as soon as your life allows.

Let me know if you have anymore questions.


Hence why I will not compete again. :frowning:


[quote=“staystrong, post:730, topic:217831”]
I don’t ever think I saw the you and Shawn ray thing, but I would be interested!


This whole thread was awesome, thanks. I specifically wanted to see your progress was great to see, you’re bodybuilding. Secondly, great remark about reverse dieting, what a joke this is. It’s do sad to see what the experts do when the basics don’t sell.


I see the views on this thread are still increasing by a hundred every few days. If you like this thread, feel free to ask me any questions you like regarding training and nutrition or comment on whatever else related to the thread. You don’t have to be a permalurker. :wink:


I have a question. After very long work hours I have usually 30-50 minutes to train before the kids get up for school. I’ve been training awhile, tried many things, but am curious how you might organize a split/session within that time limit. I have no machines as I workout in my garage. I usually hit the park on lunch breaks and do Pullups\dips, a couple hundred each per week. I know you might need more info, I just don’t want to ramble. For reference, 36 years old 183lbs currently. I’ve been leaning out for Disney, not sure on body fat at all but could post a pic if needed. Thanks so much.


Goals are pure body building or something else?


I would say bodybuilding in principle, but not in living the whole lifestyle. Family and work simply are priority.


After reading this whole thread, as well as robs, I’ve become more aware of what I was missing. I grew up with bodybuilding, my dad and his brother owned the original gym in our city. I have 2 original 79 and 81 Olympia t-shirts from the show. I’ve just never had the means, or time to bodybuilding. I haven’t been in a gym in 10 years. Just a barbell and bodyweight. Haven’t had any supplements since having our first girl, literally not even a vitamin or one protein drink. So, I do what I can. I’m just always open to new ideas from those that have/are living the lifestyle.


I am sure brick will chime in as well but if you have limited equipment and time like that I would consider checking out Waterburys stuff. Or something like Ben Bruno’s “power of three” program and modify it to your equipment and likes.


Thanks, I’ve read their stuff but it’s been awhile. I’ll look into them


Not to be rude, I appreciate the help, but I was more interested in ideas of sequencing movements in a shorter time frame. Ive done plenty of strength training and I’ve recently tried to use more bodybuilding principles to help my physique. My typical session Consists of 3 movements, that’s usually about the max I can do in my time frame. So, within those constraints how could I organize not only session, but my split also?


So the question is: what body building focused routine can I do in 45 minutes, 3 days a week, with “garage gym equipment” using only 3 exercises per workout?


I usually do 5 days and relax on the weekend.


Let me ask a different question. From a time efficacy standpoint, which methods have you found to be useful. Drop sets, rest pause, etc.


If you’re looking for quickest bang for the buck, you could try antagonistic supersets. Chest/back day, biceps/triceps day, etc. You can hit a chest exercise, then move quickly to a back exercise as the muscles for each movement aren’t really affected by each other. Regarding drop sets and such, those are typically finishers.

If you’re looking to build mass over time and develop your physique, the most important thing to focus on should be consistency in training, max intensity in training, and consistently eating to support your goals.

If you train for 5 days a week, you could easily do a standard bodybuilding type template and finish a workout in 40-45 minutes, including warm up sets.

  1. Chest
  2. Back
  3. Legs
  4. Shoulders
  5. Bis/tris

That’s just one example of a 5 day split that has only one muscle grouping per day, so if you pick 3-4 movements per muscle, 3-4 sets each, that shouldn’t take longer than 45 minutes at most.

I understand what you’re saying about having time constraints, family priorities, etc., and obviously you know how much time you have to dedicate to training. Just pointing out that if you’re serious about developing your physique in a bodybuilding fashion, it’ll take some equipment and time.

That being said, you can most definitely stay fit and develop an athletic physique in your garage with a pull up bar, a barbell set up, adjustable dumbbells and a bench, 30 minutes a day 5 times a week. I did the home gym set up for 2 years in my bedroom using only adjustable dumbbells and a pull up bar, lots of bodyweight exercises and plyometrics, before ever stepping foot in a gym, and was able to lose a ton of weight, and get a lean, athletic physique.


That’s pretty spot on to how I’m currently training, glad to hear it has merit. It’s odd, I spent so much time in other areas bodybuilding seems a bit foreign still. If I posted a pic could you maybe help me see we’re I could make the most significant change?



I’ll say that whenever I’ve had a real time issue, as much as I do enjoy relying on a certain amount of volume, and decent rest periods between sets, I find myself very reliant on drop sets to “get the job done”. Drops are straight forward, don’t require multiple pieces of equipment (ie. pre-exhaust or most super set set ups), and can even allow for staying within certain rep ranges if you combine the “dropped” weights together ( a la “giant sets”)

As Rob pointed out though, there’s a big difference between staying “in shape” and having an actual bodybuilding geared plan. Gunning for a bodybuilder style physique will require much more of a time commitment, no matter how hard you think you’re training with some of the abbreviated routines you might find. You can get by with SOME shorter routines if they’re going to be used in conjunction with longer, more encompassing routines (possibly on weekends?)

Also, sometimes even just planning your split differently can save you time as well. I love doing chest and shoulders on different days (Usually a chest/calves day and a delts/tris days), BUT, when I’m pushed for days I can get to the gym, pretty often I’ll find myself doing a chest/delts/tris day. When this happens I rely on the amount of overlap between muscle groups to allow me to only do a few movements for delts and tris than I would if I were hitting them on their own day.