T Nation

Thinking About Competing in Physique

Hi folks,

I’m interested in competing in the physique division at the ECC (East coast classic) in Nova Scotia, Nov 15th (roughly 15 weeks from now).

I’m a 33 years old engineering student (went back to school), I’ve been lifting for 15+ years but I never competed or was never interested in doing so until recently. I’ve been mostly training for performance rather than aesthetics for the better part of my life. I’m a rugby player and I train Muay Thai. I’m just looking for a new challenge and I’m not hoping to win the show, I just wanna do as good as I can, and move on with my life.

My info:
age: 33
weight: 200 lbs
height: 6 ft
%BF: ?

Bench: 315
Squat: 335
Deadlift: 425

Diet: I eat a fairly clean diet but not a “physique” diet. I eat lots of veggies and lean meat, eggs, oatmeal, barely any process food or junk food, but I eat a lot. I eat about 4000 cal/day. I know I am a little “pudgy” in these pictures, but I believe I can get pretty damn lean if i pay close attention to my diet. I have been drinking wine and eating BBQ all summer. I drink wine about 3-4 times a week, I know that just cutting that is going make a big difference.

Training: Right now I’m doing 5/3/1 boring but big (I know, I wasn’t contemplating competing until now)

Cardio: I play rugby 2-3 times a week, and train Muay Thai 1-2 a week, with sometime a little sparring on Sunday, my wife started running, so sometimes I got with her for a little 4-5k.

Pictures: I believe my strong points are my upper chest and my traps.
I know my weak points are my lower abs, but I understand I’m gonna have to get leaner in order to get a good assessment at my weak/strong points. I know I’m not symmetrical (I got a dislocated shoulder playing hockey when I was a little).
How much do the legs matter in physique?

-So I’m wondering if 15 weeks is enough time to even consider it.

-I don’t know anything about training for physique so please let me know if I’m in the left field. I don’t even know where to start. I have made some research but there isn’t too much info online on physique (I believe it is a fairly new event). I am not asking for all the answers but more a guidance in the right direction.

-So where can I get the best nutritional plan?
What kind of workout should I do? I, bodybuilder? Reactive pump?
I am not planning on hiring a coach, but if I did, how much (ball park) and for how long are we talking?

-I’m natty, and I am not planning on being on the “gear”. However, I need some advice on supplementation, right now, I take whey protein, creatine, and pre-workout from time to time. I don’t know when to start using fat burner and what to use. Any advice will be appreciated.

I am sure (if I decide to do it) that I’m gonna have all kinds of other questions. Any constructive critique or advice will be appreciated.

English is not my first language so if you also want to critique my grammar, feel free to do so…

P.S. How can I edit that picture so that it’s not that goddamn big?

Not sure how to post more than one picture per post so here’s the rest of me.

Hello, I am from eastern Canada and familiar with the ECC show.

to diet you to physique shape in 15 weeks is going to be a bit of a rush job, but it could be done. with your current level of muscularity and conditioning, I wouldn’t expect you to place well

I would think you’d have to lose about 30 lbs (possibly less, but not sure) to get in good enough shape for the stage.at 4000 calories a day (if you are actually serious about that number and have been tracking it aggressively for months and not just completely guessing. (you sound like you’re just guessing that number) ) you’re in a good metabolic position to diet though.

So in my opinion, if having to lose over 2 lbs a week for a next 13-14 weeks (you want to be ready 2 weeks out) sounds good to you, and you don’t care how you place, and kind of just want a goal to work at, I could see it being a worthwhile venture.

the diet and training youll have to figure out on your own, if you are confused you should hire a coach, but know that 15 weeks isn’t a lot of time for them to work with you to get favorable results.

Thanks for the quick reply sir.
You are right, 4000 calories is more of a guestimated number than anything. I do I have a fast metabolism though, at least for my age.
I don’t really care how I score, as long as I don’t look like a tool.

where should I start my research? I know T-Nation has a lot of good articles, anything specific to my goals? or other legit website?

Thanks again.

[quote]TaxJeller wrote:
Thanks for the quick reply sir.
You are right, 4000 calories is more of a guestimated number than anything. I do I have a fast metabolism though, at least for my age.
I don’t really care how I score, as long as I don’t look like tool.

where should I start my research? I know T-Nation has a lot of good articles, anything specific to my goals? or other legit website?

Thanks again.[/quote]

Doing a prep diet isn’t like following a cookie cutter routine. Individuals changes and initial diet setup need to be personalized and modified according to how the individual responds. There’s really no how to guide here. Probably best to hire a coach in your situation

You’re just starting your research, you’re still guestimating calories, and you have ~30 lbs to drop in 13 weeks. And you will need to retain every bit of muscle you have throughout that 13 weeks if you don’t want to ‘look like a tool’. That’s a tall order. Like Grind said, it’s not impossible, but I would suggest that it’s only technically possible. I don’t think you realize how far off you are, based on the questions you’ve already asked.

Best of luck anyway. I hope that if you do go through with this, you keep us updated. It should certainly be an interesting read.

^What they all said, but if you want to take a look at an example diet of someone preparing for a physique contest, you can check out my log. I’m not 15 weeks away, more like 19.

I am not aggressively cutting, though, so I’m at 3200 calories/day. 190lbs. I’m in a gaining phase, but in recent weeks I got up to a point where I was probably 6-ish weeks out. Ish.

Skip over all the text, you should be able to zero in on my macros and calories and weight for each day pretty easily.

Start tracking everything meticulously, because meaningful adjustments are only possible if you are hitting targets consistently.

One approach is to hire a coach and just do exactly what they say. On your own, you’ll just have to try what you think is the best approach and make adjustments.

Personally, I think you should go for it. Who knows if you will ever have whatever temporary spark has brought you this far right now. At worst, you will just look like an awkward pretty ripped slightly muscular guy. At best, you might look like a pretty ripped slightly muscular guy having shitloads of fun doing quarter turns and smiling. Good luck!

15 weeks isn’t really a short amount of time, provided you hit things hard out of the gate. Most amateur competitors start off with a 16 week prep simply because it’s what they always heard about in magazines or online forums (Most of my early preps were 16 weeks too)

You’re also not horribly soft, which is always a good thing. About what method of training to do, you have to understand that the “program” you follow is probably the least important thing about training when you’re cutting. So long as you’re hitting each muscle group with enough intensity and frequency to allow your body to nutritionally support them (and give the nutrients a reason to be put to use), you will be able to maintain, if not even gain a small amount, your muscle mass.

4000 calories is a serious high number. I used to hover around 205 lbs off season, and my maintenance amount was 3400 calories. This allowed me to diet on about 2800 cals, which is still a seriously respectable amount of food provided you’re not eating complete crap.

Nutritional plan?
-Figure your maintenance calories, and create a small deficit (300-500 cals).
— You can keep this as a daily intake #, or you can create a cyclical plan, where it’s a higher deficit on some days (training small bodyparts, just cardio, no training at all), or even no deficit on others (refeeds, leg day…)
-Calculate your protein amount needed each day (1-1.25g/lb)
-Set your good fat intake levels (10-20% of your total cals)
-Figure the remaining cals from carbs.
----You can decide for yourself if any type of nutrient timing actually helps you or not. Some people notice a big difference (I’m a fan myself), others will argue until they’re blue in the face that it has no effect on the average person.

Because you’ve got limited time, I’d start off with a couple of short, intense cardio sessions.right off the bat. Keep an eye on your strength levels in the gym, and energy levels out of the gym. It’s very easy to run yourself down trying to get everything done yesterday. Lots of small steps add up over time, and ideally, that’s how you maintain your muscle by the end of a cut, not just “lose weight” and end up looking like some skinny dude.


Thanks a lot guys for the support and the honesty. I am not 100% sure if I’m gonna do it but I am definitely making some changes in my diet. I’ll keep you posted.

I honestly think it would be much less yeah, maybe ~ 20lb? I mean what BF% are you now OP?

With 15 weeks of consistent dieting and HIIT, I’d say you’d be fairly ripped, definitely worth a try anyway.

Well , the show is this weekend! I hope the op shows up and dazzles us !

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
Well , the show is this weekend! I hope the op shows up and dazzles us ![/quote]

Now that would be cool :slight_smile: