T Nation

Pre-Competition, Longest Prep Ever

Hi all. I’ve been reading articles here on T-Nation for almost a decade now, and this is the first place I come for anything training related. And now, I’m not just trolling, I NEED ADVICE…

I’m a figure competitor 11 weeks out from my show. In the past, I’ve been moderately successful (still working for that pro card though) using “standard” BB type diet programs pre-contest, where calories are gradually cut and macros manipulated more as D-day approached. Cardio, too was gradually increased as needed. I NEVER did excessive cardio(45 min-1 hr MAX), and most diets never took me lower than 1200 cal or so for peak week.

Typically, diets Ive tried before have been lower carb/high protein/mod fat type (standard). This has been pretty successful, but again, since there’s no Pro-card in my hot little mitt yet, I decided to try something new and different this time around, and hired a new, pricey coach. He’s very good, has a slew of successful and pro clients,and is very responsive to emails (my last coach disappeared for 3 weeks during a prep). He makes changes to things as I give him my daily checkins.

Here is my dilemma:
I have been consuming 1200-1000 cal/day,averaging 1000, everyday, with the exception of days I felt like sh** and had a cheat meal, SINCE THE BEGINNING OF DECEMBER. Currently, my macro breakdown is about 28% protein, 49% carbs, 23% fat. I am also instructed to do at least 1 hr of cardio daily. My total weight loss since December? About 4 lbs.

I am using a scale to gauge, simply because I dont have access to accurate BF analysis. Visual changes are, however, minimal. I am hungry, tired, cranky, foggy, and all of the other 7 dwarfs rolled into 1. My workouts are garbage. Fatigue is constant. I have spoken with my coach and the responses have been to cut more cals out(from 1200 to 1000 or so), or to change nutrient timing, not quantity or macro makeup.

I understand the theory behind the plan, which is to get me stage ready 3-4 weeks early, then work up from there for show day. I am starting to see and feel signs of depression, and definiately frustration. I am also afraid to mention my lack of progress to my coach truthfully, as I fear the cals will be scaled back even more. Very reluctant to go into triple digit calories, as Im sure to be useless at my job.

Call me crazy but my gut is telling me this is a very bad prep. :frowning: It’s not my first time at the prep rodeo, and this is by FAR the worst feeling ever, peak weeks included. I have thought about quitting (too far in it now) and/or just doing my own thing, but I paid this guy ALOT. The planning just seems to go against the grain SO much, I feel that it will either be evil, successful genius, or kill me. Should I ride it out and see what happens, risking misery for many more weeks? This could be a pro-card, or total metabolic collapse. Damn.

Any input or advice, especially from the pros, hinthint,winkwink, would be greatly appreciated…

It’s always a bad thing when you don’t feel confident in what you’re doing, especially when it’s a long term undertaking for something you’re really banking on.

I’m curious what your stats are currently. ~1000 cals a day is pretty low. I don’t think I’ve ever had any of my female clients that low. Since you’ve competed before, I’m assuming you have a good degree of muscle, which to me, would give a lot more leeway in terms of calculating #s, and getting away with higher figures all around.

My wife’s mid prep at the moment, and while she has her weekly day of being irritable, it’s due to her dealing with a day job, grad class, and part time night job in addition to the prep, rather than the actual prep itself (she’s actually damn bubbly 90% of the time!)

4 lbs dropped since Sept doesn’t sound like much, BUT, if we’re talking actual body composition changes, and you’ve put on a bit of lbm in the duration, then I wouldn’t focus on that. Of course if that’s been simply indicative of very very slow fat loss,… depending on when you’re target show date is, you may be in for a very unenjoyable time. Again, I’m throwing my thoughts out here without any real data, so take it all for what it’s worth, but if you’re cals are this low now, and you’re also already doing an hour of cardio daily, it doesn’t exactly sound ideal.

I’ve seen some horrible coaching though. One particular individual who works primarily with female clients. His typical approach seems to be to basically just drops carbs, drops the cals each week, throws in a ton of cardio, and then has the competitor just keep upping frequency and amounts of Yohimbine and Caffeine. The women then pack on a ton of weight immediately post contest (if they even compete, some just get disillusioned and quit). Real great representative for the sport huh? (not that he ever competed himself or has any real credentials though)


Jeez, I hate reading about people in situations like this :frowning: Sorry you are going through this!

You paid that guy to be YOUR coach which means he needs to adapt to what you need. Tell him that.

I can see him not wanting to switch things up if you werent truly trying his way ,but he must be able to see that things are not going along as predicted.

Good luck!

Hey all,
thanks for the replies. Background stats: 5’4", 134 lbs and about 16-18% bf at the outset of diet. Now about 130, prob 15% bf. Past diets were in the 1600 cal range, depending on response, with about 1-lb wt loss min weekly. Last comp got on stage at about 122, (maybe 10-11% bf?)
cals have NEVER been lower than 1200 during a prep before.

As i type, im at work,listening to my stomach growl and feeling sorta, well, dizzy. I get hungry to the point of shaking at least 4*/wk. i check my BG with an at home meter and its really not that low- wnl @ 80-90s (low normal, but normal(
Did 45 min cardio and legs yest, up 2.2 lbs tgis am after a mid afternoon lightly salted rice cake. wtf…

You should be feeling this way much closer to contest day, not 11 weeks out. I think that is a big sign that the coach is steering you in the wrong direction. Like Coyotegal said, he/she needs to COACH you for your unique situation, positively adjusting along the way for all the factors you mentioned.

It does sounds like you are in a sort of metabolic sabotage.

Did you talk to your coach?

This guy’s strategy obviously isn’t working for you. I’d tell him you’re not happy at all with this and ask for a program overhaul and if not then ask for some kind of refund.

Personally I’d try upping you calories quite a bit but cut way back on the percentage of carbs. If your budget allows for it I’d look into getting a consultation from Shelby Starnes or just ask him some questions over at elitefts

I sent (the OP) a PM a couple of days ago inquiring the specifics in case she didn’t feel like putting them all out here. Not sure if received or not, but curious as I’ve seen some really ‘damaged’ competitors due to poor prep advice.