How do I Approach Planning for Competition?


Question: I have been bulking up the last few weeks by increasing my calories to 4,000 per day, balancing carbs, protein and fats. I would like to compete in a bodybuilding competition but don’t know the next step. How do I approach planning for competition?

 Answer: Your plan for competition also works for anyone who has a desire to lose weight. You need to determine what percentage of your weight is body fat and what is your Lean Body Mass (LBM) muscle, bones and organs. A simple three-site skin fold test will get you in the ballpark. Most of the calculators that you hold in your hands are so inaccurate that the only purpose they serve is to tick you off. The nine-site skin fold provides a good overall snapshot of where you store fat and a much better calculation of your body fat and LBM. A water immersion test is most accurate but those are difficult to arrange and can be costly.

Once you get those two numbers, body fat% and LBM, you can choose a contest date. If you have 20 pounds to lose to reach your competition goal of 5% or less of body fat you’ll need 12 weeks, at least, of competition eating and training to lose the fat in time without losing too much muscle in the process. A good rule of thumb for slow fat loss while retaining muscle mass is to lose only 1.5 pounds a week. To do this cut your calories by 500 a day, initially, and pick up 20 minutes of cardio, as well. Recheck your body fat every two weeks for the first month to watch your fat loss, where it is coming off first and if your LBM remains stable. Add 10 minutes of cardio every two weeks and continue to clean up your diet by removing high glycemic index foods like rice, bread and pasta and replacing them with oatmeal, whole oats, and fresh vegetables. Switch your protein to lower fat protein sources like chicken, turkey and fish and eat beef only one or two times a week. Some people cut out most of the egg yolks for breakfast but they are a good source of fat calories and protein, so cutting them out is optional.

Determine where you are now, where you need to be and how long it will take you to get there. Set a date and goal and go for it.

God bless and keep training,