T Nation

Mighty's Contest Updates & Q&A Thread


Okay, so in keeping with what seems to be an annual thing here, I will be detailing my contest preparations for this year in this thread. I will describe any changes I make to my training, my diet, and even my posing, and try to provide the rationale for everything. It's very important to stress that I DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. I MAKE MISTAKES. Yes, I have had very good fortune that after years of training, starting to compete just a few days before my 36th Birthday (waaay back in 2009), I have been what many would consider 'successful' in the shows that I have entered. This will not always be the case, but the goal is not to see how many competitors you can beat, but to see if you can make improvements with each successive outing.

I always try to answer any questions people have about what I'm doing, and as always, differing opinions are welcome (I know that I'm not the only guy on here to don a pair of posing briefs! -lol)

After my Spring 2010 contests, I was dealing with several injuries that I honestly believe hindered progress that I could have made during the rest of the year. Initially, my plan was to compete in an April contest, but decided that taking a few extra weeks, and picking a show in late May would enable me to really focus, albeit for a short duration, on remedying a bit of atrophy that set in on my left triceps (left elbow/forearm issues). The other physical 'issues' include my lower back, still from a pretty severe injury sustained in a strongman contest in 2007 (couldn't squat or leg press for a while, reason why I'm so concerned about my legs lagging behind my upper body). As well as some odd twinges in my rear left shoulder (supraspinatis?) that popped up towards the end of the summer, and definitely limited my rear delt work (as well as a few triceps exercises).

The plan at this moment (AT THIS MOMENT!) includes two shows for the Spring, and possibly one in the Fall (very up in the air though). Unlike last year, the two shows have much more time between them, and I am also starting in much better condition. Although my overall 'size' is arguable, my plan was to compete in a different federation this year, and knowing how important conditioning is to the judges I've seen at a few of their shows, made a very concerted effort to keep my weight under 200 lbs. Last Spring, I started my diet at 208 lbs, and in 16 weeks came down to about 173 lbs onstage. This morning, I weighed in at 197 lbs, and while my legs will always be an issue for me, there are most definitely looking a hell of a lot tighter than they were even a month into the diet last year.

Added to my usual pre-concerns, are work related issues that will have me working 2 hours later each day than I have been used to, a couple of training clients that I am going to do my absolute best to stay with on a weekly basis, as well as a decent number of people who work with me online in a coaching or contest prep manner, which certainly eats up time as I keep pretty detailed files on each of them. Somewhere in there, I will tend to my dog (who I plan to get a kitten to keep her company sometime this Spring), my neighbor's dog (who I care for quite a bit as she works 10 hour shifts as a Nurse, and spend as much time with my girlfriend as I can (really hoping to get her a ring if I can in the near future).

For now, the closest target is the Mr. America contest, which is owned, and being promoted by Bob Bonham, who has decided to run it through the INBF this year. I'm sure a hell of a lot of 'monsters' will come out of the woodwork, so I've definitely got my work cut out for me. I know I'm not the best bodybuilder out there. Yes, I was the 'best' guy onstage at a few shows, but you never know who will show up. Know this though, I intend, as always to bust my ass, and leave nothing to chance. Win, lose, or draw, I will walk off that stage with my head held high knowing I brought my best.


Trouble with Bulking while Dropping Fat Percentages?

will definitely be following this.

Tons of good info in here.

Good luck Stu! I'm sure you'll kick ass... like always


Good stuff as always Stu, great attitude and I really enjoy reading how methodically you plan. Good luck


Awesome. delts and traps are looking thick!




Very excited to follow this. I look forward to seeing your progress.

Do you think that starting out in better condition, as opposed to maybe a softer, offseason look will be much more helpful? Also, building on that question, do you stay relatively lean during the offseason, as to avoid the problem of starting prep less conditioned than you would like to?


Great work despite all the setbacks!
I'm sure you'll persevere.

I greatly enjoyed your 2010 prep thread, and it was one of the principle reasons I joined this forums.

Best of luck


Hey Stu

I'm very excited to follow your new prep-thread. Despite all the setbacks you kept fighting. I believe giving up has never been and will never be an option for you. How do they say? Fighters fight. Looking forward to reading your inspirational posts.

Cheers, Para


Stu, couple of Q's you should be able to answer quickly:

1 - How tall are you?

2 - Do you change your training much when you diet down, or just diet/cardio manipulation?


Sweet, will follow this one as religeously as the others :smiley:
Looking good already


Looking forward to this one.

I've taken the liberty to compare your 2010 and 2011 front delts shots with each other, since your delts have become really prominent - and you're 11 lbs lighter.

Good job!

As to what you could do to speed up healing or to prevent reaggravation:
a few months ago, I've started applying (using massage and even deep transverse friction massage) a salve containing a high concentration of capsaicin (by way of spanish pepper) to overworked tendons and joints.
Burns a lot for a few minutes and will heat up the area of application. Reacts even more to sweat and is specifically designed for active recovery.
This leads to a stark increase in blood flow to the area which translates to faster healing.
Helps tremendously, most often within days (provided you work the muscles/joints in question):

  • got rid of a nagging quadriceps tendon issue within days
  • totally killed soreness and tightness that had been nagging my teres minor for months
  • my wrists got better (rubbed it into the scar I still have from reconstructive surgery 5 years back)

In Germany, the stuff's called 'Finalgon'. Don't know if they sell it (or something similar) in the US.

Good luck, have fun, kick some ass (as usual).


Good luck!


Can't believe you're UNDER 200.

Lookin' good, Stu.


go Stu,go.


This will be motivating.


Well, that's what I'm HOPING -lol. I don't know any top natural pros who get as heavy in the offseason as a lot of the IFBB competitors that you read about. Still, don't forget that I'm about 30 lbs heavier than my contest weight, so it's not like I didn't allow my body to grow, but I also didn't use it as an excuse to become a fat ass. Knowing that you're going to have to lose it anyway, and that most quick weight gain is fat anyway certainly keeps you honest.

Also, I don't need the false psychological feeling of "I'm a big guy" that a lot of softer lifters seem to have. My goal for training has never been to get the approval of others, so if they think I'm big or not is of no consequence to me. I'm sure this attitude has helped me remain somewhat objective about my progress. This past Saturday I was actually at a seminar in Jersey, and a fairly large NPC competitor who was there couldn't believe my current weight, especially when I told him that I competed as a middleweight. Apparently he thought I weighed quite a bit more -lol.



I'm about 5'8, and I still train as hard and heavy as I can, but I adjust my diet quite a bit depending on what I'll be doing in the gym that day. I prefer a 6 day split where every 3rd day is core work (abs and lower back), forearms, and intervals on a recumbent bike.



Very interesting to see the delts like that. My thinking the last few months is that people focus too much on the front delt, when their time would be better spent working on the illusion of actual width (medial and posterior heads). So I've been starting my shoulder day with the lateral machine (it bothered my left forearm less than if I was using heavy DB's). I would work up to the stack, and hit that for about 6-8 sets, and then follow it immediately with several sets of leaning away, one arm laterals. Really burned like hell. I'd usually follow this up with rear laterals (facing down on an incline bench), and then lastly, some pressing movement (usually just repping with the 100's, non-locking, explosive concentric, slow eccentric etc).

I've heard of products with capcasien (sp?! -lol) being helpful as well, I imagine that the irritation it causing to the skin can increase bloodflow to the area. I'll definitely look into that, see if my brother has heard of, or even ever prescribed anything of that nature.



Just got in from my first Low day, which involved abs, lower back and interval work at the gym (which I haven't done since last May). Wow,.. forgot just how much fun these days are -lol. I had to remind myself to ease into things, because even though my mind feels like I was doing this just last week, my body needs to be reminded somewhat. Only did about 20 mins, including a 3 min warm up, and 2 min cool down (not sure how many 'sprints' that actually involved). I very rarely go above 25 mins even later in preps, as I feel this sort of work can be very stressful, but the idea of doing only 15 mins the first week just seemed too wussy.



i'll be following this thread closely!

good luck stu, you look awesome. fatty is right, your delts look great.