T Nation

Rob's 2017 Contest Prep Thread


The PC answer is to start your own thread. You can do it in any of the forums, then tag the guys you want advice from.


Fair enough. Thanks.


It was awesome for you to come out for that! Biggest highlight, aside from the show itself of course, was the post show pizza :slight_smile:

@eric_reichelt thank you very much for taking the time to read through my log, I’m glad it’s been helpful and informative! As @The_Myth said, no doubt a lot of folks on the forums would be happy to provide some feedback. Start a thread, post pics, and tag away. You’ll receive honest feedback that’ll help you continue on your path. Looking forward to seeing them!


This past weekend was the INBF Northeast America, my favorite show. While I wasn’t competing this year, I did have a client in physique, and he looked awesome up there. His prep took 9 months and he lost about 45lbs, while working on bringing up his chest, lats and shoulders. We dieted for 8 weeks, then gave him a 2 week maintenance period before starting his “lockdown” prep for an additional 16 weeks. He placed 4th, judges feedback was that he was actually too conditioned and too lean for physique, and shouldn’t have flexed as much on stage. Little puzzling to me, I was thinking he’d be a solid 2nd place (dude on the far right won). I knew we still had leaner we could get for bodybuilding standards, and thought his level of conditioning was proper for physique, but live and learn. It was a great experience for him, and ultimately he’s ecstatic about the physique he’s achieved and is very motivated to maintain it. It was a great day, also saw @The_Mighty_Stu for the first time in a while and some other friends from shows over the years, and got to hand out bodybuilding medals and trophies at the end of the night.

Another pound down for me in my quest to cut for summer, 156.4 this morning, aiming to be 149-150 in 8 weeks, so still on track.

Unrelated, I got home late from the gym last night and didn’t feel like cooking, so made a shake in the Vitamix, and it was great! Super healthy and macro friendly on a low day. If you want to try it, it was:

-6oz 2% cottage cheese
-120g frozen blueberries
-1 scoop Chocolate Metabolic Drive Protein
-2 TBSP cocoa
-1/2 avocado (made the shake extra creamy)
-1 TBSP almond butter
-numerous handfuls of organic leafy greens

Friday high day today. I’ve been doing all low days this week, my low days are manageable and for now it’s a good way to keep the diet going, and earn my high day today. Might go prep style and get a chicken cheese steak night, the place I get it from makes the bread out of pizza dough :slight_smile:

Have a great weekend all!


Bro, dem veins.

Chocolate with blueberries?



@robstein , dude got into great shape, congrats to you both…

But god damn the poses they have the physique guys do are so freaking LAME. obviously just my opinion, but man they are so stupid looking to me.


Lol,… I don’t know a single competitor (even physique pros) who got into the sport thinking that they wanted to be a physique guy and not a bodybuilder. Sure, we’re not all given the genetics to develop a champion level bodybuilding physique, but I don’t argue when I hear others talking about how making certain divisions as a lowering of the standards.

(Obviously I think the Classic division doesn’t fall under what I just said, as no one ever dreams of building a gigantic gut to go with their 20" arms -lol)



Looking at that line up I really don’t understand 4th place but I don’t know much about what the judges are looking for.

Your man easily has the best physique up there, great work.


@Lonnie123 Thank you very much! I agree about the physique poses, although that could be coming from my bodybuilding perspective. They have quarter turns only with minimal flexing and muscle tension, where as bodybuilding is obviously the opposite with many poses to know and flexing hard throughout. So when he told me he was tired after posing practice, I did my best to keep it cool and not always whip out the “you have no idea how easy you have it” speech lol.

Agreed man! Totally!

Thank you very much @kd13! To be honest, I don’t understand 4th place either. I would have thought 1st or 2nd place, as the 1st place guy was also very tight but had better proportions and look for physique. I was surprised at 4th, as was he, but again, as I don’t judge and don’t have the experience of the judges, we’re taking it as a learning experience. He wants to do the same show next year, so our plan is to bring up his chest, lats and delts, and bring him in fuller and not quite as shredded. I’m trying to convince him to throw on the posing trunks, but he doesn’t identify as a bodybuilder and likes physique, although I also think he’s self conscious about his legs currently. They were lean enough to be respectable for bodybuilding, but not competitive. Granted as a physique guy and average “gym bro”, he didn’t start training legs properly, or consistently, until we started working together in September. So, after another year of hitting legs he may feel better about bodybuilding. Ultimately it’ll be up to him, and we’ll be more prepared!


My summer cut keeps trucking along slowly. As real life keeps rearing its head, I’ve had to make adjustments with my training and nutrition, but am still on track. This is the busiest time of year for my music business, and that is top priority. Combined with the new ventures with my real estate investments, there are some days I just can’t get to the gym for lack of time as I need to finish my writing projects. Some weeks I go 5-6 days a week, sometimes 3 days a week, and there was a week I didn’t go at all. As that’s the case, I play each day as it comes in regards to nutrition.

As I’m not training as frequently as planned, I do low days every day, and one refeed on the weekend. On a training day I’m getting about 1700 cals, under 100g carbs and raised fats. If I don’t go to the gym I’m about 1400-1500 cals a day. I go for a few walks with the dogs, but as I’m quite sedentary during my music writing season, I keep the BCAA water and coffee supply constant, eat lightly and am still losing fat. As I’m pretty aggressive with nutrition during the week, and knowing my body from previous years, I’ve found it extremely important to make sure I get my refeed in over the weekend with higher carbs, also including some fasted carbs. This past weekend my refeed was on Mother’s Day, which included French toast with fruit for breakfast, turkey and mashed potatoes for dinner and an assortment of deserts. Two days later had a new low!

Current weight is 155, I’ve been in the 155’s for the past few days which is a good sign. In addition to looking for new lows, I also pay attention to my highest weight of the week. If I haven’t achieved a new low, but my average weight is lower than it has been previously, I know I’m still losing fat. While I’m closer to a pound a week compared to the two pounds a week I was aiming for, I’m still making progress, and it’s in a way that works for my current schedule and lifestyle. Still quite hairy but have a visible 6 pack under there, looking forward to the “big reveal” in about a month. I’ll be sure to take before and afters.


WELL, it has been an interesting week here at team Stein.

I’ve been feeling prep-like symptoms for the past few months, obviously I’m not in a prep. On and off, but more consistently over the past month. I’ve also had some extreme cold sensitivity. Once in a blue moon I get these shivers if exposed to cold, they also about 3-4 minutes but are uncontrollable and pretty bad. I’ve had a few of those episodes over the past two months. Doing some reading online, I suspected it could be thyroid, low testosterone, or a combination of both.

Got blood work done late last week and got the results back. My thyroid TSH levels are 3.8, while “normal” for what the lab considers, are on the higher end of normal, meaning I’m not producing as much thyroid hormone as I should. Additionally, my T levels are lower than they should be. 383 for total, which is considered the low end of “normal” but are low, especially for a healthy male of my age, and my free was 6.4, which is low and out of the normal range.

My primary care doctor who did the blood work is great GP, but this is clearly out of his wheel house, and is hesitant to recommend treatment. While my knowledge of these levels and hormone aspects are not extensive, I know enough to know that I need to get these levels looked at further by someone more qualified, and these symptoms are real.

I have another appointment next week for a morning blood work test, after which time I’ll take those labs to an endocrinologist and see what’s going on.

This week I’ve been doing what I can to help both aspects of thyroid and testosterone naturally. For thyroid I’ve been taking an Iodine supplement, which has helped with energy a little bit. For testosterone I’ve increased healthy fats, broke out a bottle of Alpha Male from the cabinet. Also dialed back training volume and halted cardio for now. Not sure if it’s enough time to do anything significant but we’ll see what the labs bring next week.

One thing I have been wondering, is if competing can have any long term negative effects on hormones, and if these issues were underlying, and then exacerbated by prepping. No way to know unfortunately.

Gonna keep plugging away and taking it easy for now, will be sure to post an update with results next week.


The study participants were female, but competing in IFBB shows. I think the conclusions for males would be the same:

"[Post-prep, the competitors’] hormonal systems were wrecked. “Serum concentrations of leptin, T3, testosterone, and estradiol decreased,” researchers noted. […]

After their shows, the…subjects decreased their level of aerobic training and brought their overall calories and carbs back up to normal. In 3-4 months, hormone concentrations returned to baseline. Well, most of them. “T3 and testosterone were still slightly decreased compared to pre-diet, but not markedly in comparison to the controls,” researchers said." [emphasis mine]

This is why assisted BBers have such an enormous advantage over natties. T level plummeting? No problem–stick more in your deltoid. T3 crashing? Take some PO.


Sorry to hear you’re poorly, mate. Hopefully you’ll get to the bottom of it.

Bloodwork’s a funny thing. My thyroid levels are in the absolute gutter, to the point where the doctor said he would medicate me (and in the UK that’s a very unusual step - you really have to be seriously out of range) but I have absolutely no symptoms of being hypothyroid, so we’re not bothering.

Going by the numbers I should absolutely be on meds but so long as I stay symptomless I’m not going to bother.


Asymptomatic ya tard.



Potato, potato (pronouced “po-tah-toe”).

EDIT: and I’m laughing my ass off at your use of “tard.”

DOUBLE EDIT: and credit where it’s due - you definitely won that round.


@EyeDentist - thanks for posting this! Just gave it a read, interesting to see an actual study done on competitors. As you mentioned, in an IFBB show I have no doubt these ladies had some hormonal assistance along the way, as do the guys, but it’s still interesting to see the results. In 2013 I had testosterone checked, this was two years before I started prepping, and my levels were normal and much higher. A year out of the off season now, I would have thought things would be evened out.

Thanks @Yogi1, good to hear from you man and I really appreciate that!

@The_Myth and @Yogi1 - I’m sure we can all agree, have any of us ever heard these words pronounced “po-tah-toe” or “to-mah-toe?” Yogi, maybe in the UK y’all are sayin’ thangs funny huh!?


Nobody says “po-tah-toe” but everybody in the UK pronounces it “to-mah-toe.”


So I am only losing by eight rounds at this point - mounting a comeback.


Blood work, especially some of the hormonal ones, can vary pretty heavily even during a single day.

I would wait until the repeat stuff comes back until you draw any conclusions.

I had a similar thing a few years back, initial Test reading was low, started to look into TRT, then it went to like 680ish on recheck.


Good advice @Lonnie123, thank you very much for sharing that. Hopefully the next check will improve the numbers, although the symptoms are still concerning. There are also some numbers that weren’t checked, only free and total testosterone was looked at, and I know a more extensive panel might help reveal more info.