T Nation

Planning for First Show

It started with my wife and a friend joking that I should do a bodybuilding show, because I enjoy working out so much. Immediately I thought of 50 different sack-lunch jokes and brushed it aside as something I will never do. Then, like a virus, it started to infect my puny brain and now I’m excited for the process.

I’ve always struggled with my body image and have never decided on whether to build muscle, lose fat, condition, run a marathon or anything specific in between. This if where the bodybuilding show comes in: I have to focus on 1 clear goal. I love to work out and could easily be in the gym 7 days a week for hours at a time.

But because I haven’t set any clear goals, I’m always trying to go from one extreme to the next, never really going anywhere. I’m looking for the show to provide some extreme motivation in that if I don’t focus 100% on this, I will fail miserably and feel like a complete waste. I should mention that I have no aspirations of placing, I just want to know what my potential will be if I really concentrate on the goal.

Again, while I’m very excited about the process, I can’t stand the thought of actually standing on stage in some plum smuggler briefs. Just sayin’.

Anyway, I want to start this thread because I want to have honest opinions about what I’ll be doing throughout this journey. My wife will not be 100% because she thinks she’ll hurt my feelings. My main source of knowledge (a Pro Card neighborhood buddy) thinks I’ll “be just fine” and “who knows, you’ll probably get a card right away.”

Since I just decided to do this, I’ll be doing a natural amateur show in May of next year. I think it’s too soon for me to prepare for something I’ve no clue how to even begin. I looked around for some other amateur shows, but couldn’t find any later in the year in NC or SC (I live in Asheville).


Carb-cycling, 4 days high carb (near 300gms), 3 days low carb (<100) and low cal.
I can post more details about exact macros tonight.

At the beginning of this year, the thought was to start and finish Dave Tate’s Strong(er) workout. It’s very detailed and structured, which I like. I’m not good with going to the gym with a few exercises and making up sets/reps on the spot; my brain just doesn’t function that way. I’m currently in the transition phase before the Westside phase. I’ll continue Tate’s program until I decide on what to do at this point to prep for the show next year.

I’ll post some pics tonight.

The first question I have (they’ll be easier to answer after posted pics) is: Knowing that I have so much time before my first show, what should I focus on now?

You plan on competing @ 166-170? What is your weight and BF% now.

Very cool that you’re taking the plunge. A few thoughts/questions…

-You’re 5’9, is your listed weight (166-170) your current pre-diet weight, or projected onstage weight?

-Pics are going to be a big help in doling out advice. I don’t know what you look like, but I’m shorter, and my stage weight is a hair under 176.

-After you get onstage in your nut-huggers, you pretty much forget the fact that you’re nearly naked in front of an auditorium full of strangers -lol


Wow, these are tough to look at, but I guess all part of the process.

Regarding the weight question, that’s what I’m here to find out. I obviously need to put on some serious muscle, so of course depending on that is what will determine what weight I will compete in.

Side shot.

Front bi

No idea what I’m doing, but I gotta start getting comfortable with these sometime.

And now we’re just getting silly.

One additional note regarding why I seem to bounce from fat loss to muscle gain:
For years I have had the dreaded skinny-fat syndrome. I have thin arms and lower legs, and plenty of fat around upper legs and hip area. I’ve recently started playing around with carb cycling and this has worked better than anything else I’ve tried so far.
I mention this because when somebody pops on here and says, “you just gotta eat!” Well, I really can’t just throw everything down the gullet and expect to gain muscle without a considerable amount of fat.

In addition to the question from my original post, where do I begin this journey? Do I try to put on more muscle in a few months or try to reduce the fat and start gaining muscle thereafter?

Thanks in advance for the input for those that have gone through this before.

I would wait at least a year to compete and focus on adding muscle.