Physique Competitor vs Bodybuilder Leanness

@The_Mighty_Stu What is the difference in leanness levels? For example at 8 weeks out of a bodybuilding contest would you be ready for physique? Is it farther out, closer?

More like four weeks.

What was the difference in attitude/feelings 4 weeks out vs bodybuilding show ready?

at 4 weeks out you feel like shit everyday. You have no energy at all most days. You pretty much are starving. Your hormone’s are a mess. You have totally ruined your social life and strained every relationship, family friends and otherwise you have. Your significant other may have left you at this point or is considering it. You hate life. You hate your body. You’ve developed a body image complex and an eating disorder. The drug cocktail you are on is worthy of an article in a science journal.

Yet you wake up and do it again, and again

and again.

Imagine a 4 month decent into hell. voluntarily.


You need to remember that bodybuilding means the most muscle and the most conditioning. Physique means a balanced, pleasing appearance with a good amount of muscle and a good amount of condioning.

I’ve sat on the judging panel of many shows where the biggest guy doesn’t win physique, nor does the most shredded either, and they both leave scratching their heads while the young kid who looks athletic and healthy while paling in both categories walks away with the top spot. The description I’ve always repeated about physique is that it’s designed to “sell magazines.”

With that said, if you’ve got good size, good taper (very important to the physique “look”), and very good conditioning (we don’t need to see your heart beating through your pecs), then it comes down to presentation and overall look. It’s a truth not everyone wants to hear, but the physique winners are usually decent looking dudes. Obviously that’s why I competed in bodybuilding… well, that and I had legs :wink:



Ah. Explains why I came in 2nd.

Does the AARP mag count? I could probably sell a few of those.


this is idiotic. This is certainly not a universal experience.

It’s a bit of an exaggerqation.

Have you ever prepped and done a bodybuilding show? I’m in prep and am surrounded by those who have shared similar experiences.

I’ve seen wives leave husbands, girlfriends leave. It’s a significant challenge daily and it’s a self chosen misery.

bodybuilding, at least in prep is a very selfish sport.

I have not, but my year-round conditioning reflects essentially being 6-7ish weeks out. I strongly doubt that dieting for 2-3 weeks would put me in the mental state that you described, but I could be wrong. This pic is pretty much what I always look like.


that’s what I walk around looking like too. Beach lean.

Try a 16 or 17 week prep to go from where you are to stage lean. Not 2-3 weeks.

You look good, and strong. Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way knocking your physique or the work you put in. But there is a huge difference in beach lean and stage lean. The speed of the process has a lot to do with muscle retention.

no way I’m buying that. I’ve talked to too many prep coaches to believe that’s the case. The longest I’ve been told is 10-11 weeks from an experienced prep coach who posts on this site regularly.

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You could do it faster, yes certainly.

My coach, who has her pro card (and her husband does as well) requires clients to do a 16 week prep. Yes, it can be done quicker. Doesn’t mean as effective. After going through the process there are many benefits to adding a little time to the prep both mentally and physically.

By the way, most people quit between 8-5 weeks out.

and yes, you look like 6-8 weeks out in that pic.

This is accurate, though minus the drugs for naturals.

At somewhere around four to six weeks, is when I started to feel very strange and unhealthy. I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else in a prep, but at one month out I started to feel tipsy, as if when I walked around it felt like I’d fall to the ground from the slightest shove, despite the fact that I was still decently strong and coordinated at the time.

I didn’t develop an eating disorder or body image problem but after the contest, though never having particular food cravings before, I developed odd cravings, not for junk foods, but for a few foods I ate during the prep! I’ve heard of people going nuts and eating total crap foods that were off the men during prep, but I craved those I did eat, namely cottage cheese, yogurt, apples, and egg whites. I was having some of them twice per day for several weeks, until the cravings wore off. At about 3 or 4 PM, I’d get strong craving for apples. Not kidding.

You’re right; the social life is ruined at the four-week mark.


I often have specific cravings, not always for junk either. Often for breakfast foods, most often just craving enough food not to feel hungry or weak. Re-feed days although scarce have been godlike.

I’m a very active and social person with many interests and pokers ion the fire.

I’m 3 weeks out and you can bet your ass I’ll be on that stage but I’ll never do this again. I’ll be headed back to my powerlifting career and the macros that go along with that. hopefully 40 brings me some new world record lifts.

This was certainly an experience of the bucket list type and a true test of my mental and physical strength. Much more so mental.

I have a new found respect for people who do this and a better understanding of the process.


Lol - plenty of respect for you brother. I’ve watched plenty of never-diet-down folks on this and other sites subtly dismiss how easy it is to cut up, all while making bold predictions about how much they’d weigh if they ever were to take the plunge.

I certainly never boasted about all the preps I did, because nothing can truly describe the experience other than truly going through it. Besides, if it’s not “your thing”, it’s certainly not a big deal anyway.



I follow a formal macro diet all year and I stay 6 pack lean for most of the year.

I’ve said it once and i’ll say it 1,000 times. Stage lean and beach lean are VERY different.

I’m currently at my lowest at 237lbs.

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4 weeks out. 244 pounds in this pic.


Looking solid,… I’m hoping your legs come in this last month. What’s the back look like? Usually you can get a good idea of conditioning and if you’re on track from the lower back.


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MY low back seems to be on par with my quads. They are coming in but not there yet.

Hitting 4/1 carb cycling at 1,900-2,000 cals and cardio 60min a day. Typically 30min fasted am and 30 PWO. training 7 days a week

Haven’t decided if I’m doing classic or bodybuilding or both yet. I joined the NPC by the deadline. I have until july 2nd to decide on classes

I’m not gonna throw everything out here, but if you message me off the site (just google me, I’m very easy to find), I might have a few suggestions your might not have considered.