What Is The Best Pre-Contest Training Routine?

What is the best pre-contest training routine? Get the routines, exercises and more right here to help prepare for a contest. Our forum members were not lacking in ideas on this one. Try them out now!

TOPIC: What Is The Best Pre-contest Training Routine?

The Question:

The bodybuilding and fitness contest season is now in full swing. Many people are now in the middle of pre-contest training or soon will be.

What is the best pre-contest training routine? Be specific. List exercises, sets, reps, etc.

Do you keep a training journal that includes training, diet, supplementation? How is it organized?

At what point would you stop trying to build muscle and just maintain what you have?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

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      1. Aussie LTD

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      2. bitterplacebo

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1st Place - Aussie LTD

The bodybuilding and fitness contest season is now in full swing. Many people are now in the middle of pre-contest training or soon will be. Therefore, there's no better time than now to look deeper into contest training and preparation so when the date comes we are prepared.

In this article, I have provide a workout routine, information on dieting and cardio, as well as discussing the best time to start "maintaining." Please read on.

The Workout:
What is the best pre-contest training routine? Be specific. List exercises, sets, reps, etc.

Monday: Chest:

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Monday - Chest.

Tuesday: Back:

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Tuesday - Back.

Wednesday: Legs:

    • Medium-higher intensity running, 30-60 minutes.

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Wednesday - Legs.

Thursday: Delts:

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Thursday - Delts.

Friday: Biceps/Triceps/Forearms:

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Friday - Biceps/Triceps/Forearms.

Saturday: Abs:

    • Giant-set:
          Crunches: 2 sets, 20 reps

          Hanging Leg Raises: 2 sets, 10 reps

          Twisting Crunches: 2 sets, 20 reps

          Scissor Kicks: 2 sets, 15 reps

          Twisting Hanging Leg Raises: 2 sets, 10 reps

      Click Here For A Printable Log Of Saturday - Abs.

    • High intensity running, 30-60 minutes.


  • High intensity running, 30-60 minutes.

Program Notes:

Overall, this doesn't differ too much from your ordinary routine; a pre-competition routine should still have quality compounds for mass and use a medium rep-range, occasionally high, and occasionally low.

You can use this workout up to competition. As you get closer to competition, you can choose to change the ratio of compounds to isolation movements, adding in more exercises that will sculpt muscle. Otherwise, stick with rep-ranges and volume assigned until the day.

Cardio should gradually be increased in duration, until you have the fitness to reach 60-minute sessions, 4-6 days per week. How you decide you to increase to this amount is individual, but I recommend progressing quickly because time will run out.

Absence of weight training sessions on the weekend mean the intensity of cardio should be stepped up a notch here, however all cardio sessions should be done at a decent pace.

The Exercises:

During cutting, isolation exercises become highly important in order to sculpt some detail. Following are some exercises you'll find in the above routines. I have listed one exercise per body part, as well as its form and other useful pointers.


Cable Flyes: This is a "flye" movement, therefore focus on pulling the weight in and eliminate pushing. Aim for a deep straight, and cross arms over at the top to hit the inner chest. These are great for adding striations.


Bent-over Cable Raises: Although these are known as a rear delt exercise, they can also hit the muscles of the back, and can add some nice detail. Focus keeping your arm straight but locked, and to eliminate the rear delts, pull the weight inwards rather than to the front.

Delts: 45-degree Bent-over Cable Raises: A weakness in many competitors is having undeveloped rear delts. At comp time you need those wide delts to make your upper body look full, and side-raises done like this will help. At this angle, you eliminate the back muscles, and maximize the tension on the mid-rear delts.


Rope Cable Curls: These are a great exercise; one of the only exercises that allow you to supinate your wrists, as well as change grip width during the movement. But you have to do them correctly; focus on bringing your arms in while they come up, and rotating your wrists from hammer to palms up. Aim for a peak contraction.


Cable Kickbacks: These are great exercise that adds detail to the bulk of the tricep; or the long head. It can help sculpt that horse-shoe shape. You can use either a rope of a single-cable attachment; a single cable pulley will allow to hit the inner part of your triceps more.


Machine Leg Extensions: These are the only leg isolation exercise there is, and will allow you to focus exclusively on them, and as a result can add some nice cuts. Try not to use your body as momentum to get the weight up, and aim to hold it at the top of the movement for added burn.


Unilateral standing hamstring curls: Using one leg at a time allows you to further isolate each muscle. Try not to use too much weight; just focus on really contracting the hams and going for a full ROM.


Reverse Calf Raises: These hit the tibialis on the outer calf, and will add much needed width to the calves on stage. Make sure you stand on a block and aim for a full range of motion. I recommend using a smith-machine as it helps you keep your balance.

How Much Cardio?

From what I've seen and read, everyone has different approaches to pre-competition cardio, but one thing is common, duration is always high.

I recommend doing cardio for at least 30 minutes per day, preferably at a medium-high intensity. Cardio will help brings them together, so don't take your cardio sessions lightly.

You'll need to start off with less and build up the amount of cardio as the competition comes closer. How you progress with cardio is largely determined by your fitness level. If you did a lot of cardio during the off season, you'll find it a lot easier to accommodate to the demand.

Which type of cardio? Some prefer longer duration, low intensity cardio such as walking, other prefer to keep it slightly higher intensity at a medium duration, whereas others like it sky-high, balls-to-the-wall for short duration.

This last option I think is the most productive option for off-season training as it will reduce overall cardio time while maximizing benefit, but I find lower intensity, higher duration being the better option pre-competition as you want duration to stay high.

Overall, your goal should be to burn as many as calories you can through cardio, but not overdoing it for the sake of losing more weight. You also want to preserve energy for your workouts.

What It All Comes Down To!

When it comes to shedding weight, your diet is the ultimate. Cardio will help, but if you don't make the sufficient changes to your diet, you're not doing to get anywhere.

How you cut calories is the single most important factor. It will mean the difference between coming to the stage shredded and looking dry, and coming in smooth and un-conditioned.

With diet, your goal to get this condition is to lose the most fat you can without sacrificing any muscle. Therefore, finding the right balance in nutrients is vital.

As calorie control is of utmost importance, I'll start with this. I recommend you should start out at your current off season calories, and slowly reduce calories as the competition comes closer.

As a general rule, start 4,500 calories and reduce by 300 calories a week for the first 6 weeks, and maintain this amount until competition time. This means a baseline of around 2,700 calories. Ultimately though, these figures are highly individual, and this amount will not work for everyone. Therefore, I've outlined some factors in the next section that we as individuals need to take into consideration as well.

Of course, this daily amount doesn't consider the up and down changes when carb cycling, so some days will naturally be up and down.

Where the calories come from can be just as importance. You want to maintain your protein levels to keep as you anabolic as you can, and maintain fats for the same reason.

But you also don't want to completely rid carbohydrates as they will sustain you through workouts which are equally important for anabolism. The best option here is to maintain protein to what it was prior contest prep, say 300 grams a day, while focusing the cutting back on carbohydrates. I recommend around 140-150 grams, and only eating simple carbs at appropriate times such as breakfast, and pre and post-workout.

As fats are the highest concentrated in calories, cutting back on these is a smart idea, but ensure you aren't going too far as they are important for testosterone production.

I would opt to reduce consumption of highly concentrated fats such as oils, and reduce these with grains and a moderate portion of nuts and seeds. Fat is anabolic, so I'd still eat around 80-100 grams of fats daily. If you are sensitive to fats, you can continue to reduce this amount.

Stick to un-roasted nuts such as peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts, seeds such as sunflower, sesame and hemp, as well as grains, flaxseed oil and avocado.

For carbs, I recommend replacing any fast digesting carbs with more fibrous slow-digesting ones such as vegetables, legumes and whole grains, and eating around 15 grams per meals during the day, and 40 grams pre- and post-workout. Your protein sources should pretty stay the same as what they were off season, providing they were low in fat.

But calories can be affected by personal factors. Although the above are good guidelines, you need to also consider factors such as personal bodyweight goals.

Here are several things everyone should take into account when changing diet:

Your Desired Body Fat Goal:

Before starting a cutting phase, you should be clear on what body-fat or weight you are looking to come in with at show time. Planning is vital, not only so you peak at the right time, but so you avoid having the worry about last-minute stuff-ups and stresses.

My Opinion: Set pre-competition goals so you are prepared. Use a week-by-week eating and training journal to keep track of whether you are loosing weight at the speed you set. I will discuss this later on.

There are a lot of good pre-contests journals on this site if you are unsure with how you should plan meals, or if you just have those pre-competition jitters.

How Far Out From Competition You Start Reducing Calories:

If you decide to cut calories further out form the comp, you don't need to cut as many calories as quickly, whereas starting a cutting phase closer to a competition you'll need to reduce your calorie consumption more.

My Opinion: Start cutting around 15-18 weeks out to avoid forcing your body to shed too much too quickly.

Your Current Weight:

If you have maintained a lower-body fat percentage during your off season, you needn't have to reduce calories as much as someone who packed on a lot of fat during their bulking phase. Reduce calories taking into account how much where you start out from.

My Opinion: If you are one of those types who is able to maintain low body fat during the off season, don't use this as an excuse to over-indulge in food. Cutting at competition can be a strenuous task, so maintaining a moderate body fat during the off season makes it all the more easier come competition.

Your Current Activity Level, Including Work, Weight Training & Cardio:

The more activity you are doing, the more calories you burn. When deciding an amount, take into consideration overall activity such as weight training, the amount of cardio you're doing, as well as the degree of physicality of your work.

How Well You Have Other Factors Covered:

Everything else you do can also have it's affect on your goals, and therefore can either speed up or reduce weight loss. These include how much sleep you are getting, which supplements you are taking and how you feel mentally. Take into consideration how these factors are affecting how fast you are loosing weight.

For example, insufficient sleep can impact on cardio performance, and if cardio is affected, so are the calories you burn. Stimulant fat-burners can also decrease body fat faster than you might think, so these things need to be considered.

Each factor works together to influence another, so it's important you don't skimp on any.


To conclude, take these things into consideration:

      • What is my weight goal for competition?
      • How long is my contest prep?
      • How much do I weight now?
      • How will my supplement regimen, sleep patterns and other factors affect how many calories I need?
      • And what is my current activity level?

Overall, when creating a pre-contest diet, take all of these factors into consideration, especially when working with calories. Some may be lucky and not need to change much in order to achieve their goals, whereas others may find it a tremendously painful experience, but one that should make you stronger after you see the transformation you can achieve.

Experience is the only thing that should override any of these factors. We are all different, so if something has worked for you in the past, stick with it.

The Other Areas:
Supplementation & Sleep.

Supplementation will enhance your body's ability to loose fat. And there is an array of effective fat-burners around to do this.

I recommend combining Supercuts, Man Vaporize and possibly a stimulant if you opt for one. On top of this, maintain high doses of B-vitamins, anti-oxidants, BCAA's, whey and any other supplements, but its an idea to go off creatine 3-5 weeks prior to competition to decrease water.

Sleep is equally important. Benefits of a good night sleep include:

  • Improved concentration, and muscle-mind connection.
  • Increased energy.
  • Increased GH levels, among other hormones.
  • A general healthier feeling.

As you can see, all of these factors can have their impact on workout intensity, and how you progress through competition. Aim for your conventional 8 hours per night, and if time permits, try and get a nap in here and there during the day to keep you fresh. Before workouts is a good idea.

Training Journal:
Do you keep a training journal that includes training, diet, supplementation? How is it organized?

Yes, both when I'm trying to cut, as well as during any bulking phase. They are especially useful during a competition because pre-competition relies heavily on meeting many goals, so tracking weekly progress is vital.

One of these goals is ensuring you peak at the right; so jotting down how much weight you are loosing weekly is a must if you want to hit the spot come competition time. You should also note down your diet. Having a journal avoids the stresses of having to count calories as you go, as you can pre-prepare this information earlier.

Also without jotting it down, you're more likely to cheat yourself, and definitely won't be as accurate, and when it comes to competition, that added detail in each area is what can get you over the line.

In my own journal I write down a plan of attack; with my goal, as well as everything I need to get there. When I cut weight down, I have all the information ready, so don't have to overthink, I just do.

I track down how much I'm loosing each week, my training sessions, weight lifted and intensity of cardio work. All together it gives you a scope of things from another source; sometimes you get caught up doing things your own way, but when you see it all on paper, you start to look at it differently.

At what point would you stop trying to build muscle and just maintain what you have?

It's important to first note that during a competition phase, your body isn't at its most anabolic state. This is because you're not getting enough calories to build quantity muscle, and it has its subsequent affect on energy and workout intensity. Therefore, it is said that before a competition you should set your body up for a "maintaining" state, rather than focus on growth.

"Maintaining" or "gaining" all comes down to calories. When the calories go down, so will your body's ability to build muscle rather maintain it. Therefore, it is my opinion to start focusing on "maintaining" the same moment you start cutting.

Everyone starts cutting down at different times, so when you do this, your new routine should, as well as a few other things such as cardio, should follow through at the same time.

However "maintaining" doesn't mean change your routine to mega high-reps cable work, because even though you're not in a muscle-growth position, you still want to maximize what you've already built. And following everything I've mentioned in this article will ensure you are able to "maintain" what you've built, while simultaneously losing fat.

Good luck competing!

2nd Place - bitterplacebo

Pre-contest training is all about switching gears. With mass goals hopefully having been accomplished, we now set our sights upon contest preparation. As we know, this contest will not be a battle of pure sizes, but also of aesthetics.

As such, a bodybuilder needs to look into lowering body fat, building symmetry and proportion, while promoting muscle separation.

In order to properly reach these goals without being set back, it's important to design a specific routine for pre-contest instead of dividing efforts among both contest preparation and mass gain. It is this pre-contest routine that will give those who use it the focus and organization to prevail in the end.

Best Pre-Contest Training Routine:
What is the best pre-contest training routine? Be specific. List exercises, sets, reps, etc.

There are three points of the bodybuilding routine that need to be properly organized in order to be ready for a contest. These areas are nutrition, rest/recovery, and lastly the exercise. Remembering our desire for diminishing fat, maintaining muscle size and producing pleasant symmetry, proportions and separations, each of these three bodybuilding areas needs be designed in ways that reflect upon the goals.


The precursor for proper muscle definition is low body fat, and the main way to get at these results is through the diet. Assuming that there was a bulking diet in place before a pre-contest routine is adopted, all that one need do is gradually start cutting back some of the calories and changing their nutrient intake ratio in order to facilitate fat loss.

To get an estimate of the amount of calories a body needs just to maintain its current composition, a basal or resting metabolic rate can be calculated. Allowing the caloric intake to drop too low, however, will bring about the road blocks of overtraining.

Another important factor is activity levels. A pre-contest training routine often involves extra cardiovascular activities which were not included in the bulking routine. These activities also require energy, and should be factored into the equation when determining how many calories need to be consumed.

In order to plan toward specific goals, it's necessary to have an estimate of how much of a caloric deficit to create. This deficit can come from the combination of both extra physical activity and lower food consumption. There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat, so if one created a deficit of 500 calories every day for a week, they would burn one pound of fat. This is a good way to plan accordingly.

Another trick besides gradually lowering the intake of calories is to change the ratio of carbohydrates taken in since they are more readily stored as fat than other nutrients. Simple sugars should be taken out of the diet except after a workout to help recovery.

It might be a good idea to still initially allow for at least 40% of all calories to come from quality, complex carbohydrates to fuel intense workouts and keep muscles packed and full. Then, as the routine progresses, this amount can be lowered further to meet demands.

Protein intake should still be considerably high, possibly around 40% of caloric intake, in order to help retain muscle recovery and synthesis rates. 1.5g to 2g of protein per pound of body weight is usually recommended.

The last important aspect of nutrition is to eventually reduce water retention. Mainly done through lowering both water and sodium consumption, lowering water retention ultimately makes the body look harder. This should be looked at more closely as the contest date draws nearer, otherwise water consumption should be quite liberal.


Obviously, if a rest and recovery routine was successful enough to allow for muscle gains, then the same basic foundation will work for muscle maintenance. The only change is that some extra effort should be directed into this area in order to balance the scales and avoid overtraining on our modified nutritional plan.

The best plan for optimal rest would ensure at least eight hours of sleep every night. It would also try to minimize any unnecessary stresses so that energy can be conserved. For those that have the means, supplementation is another good idea. Multivitamins, nitric oxide, branched-chain amino acids, creatine, and hormonal support supplements are all available and would be good to look into.


While both recovery and nutrition may change slightly when preparing for a contest, workouts do not have to change that drastically. The reason for not changing the workouts much is that we are not looking to build more mass, meaning we do not need to employ any new techniques or heavier weights to stimulate new muscle growth. We want to keep the same basic movements at the same weights so that the muscles have become accustomed to so that they do not atrophy.

The only slight modifications to make might be to focus more on certain angle and exercises in order to create better symmetry, definition, or proportion. The main muscles of concern which may require more focus are the abs, shoulders and legs.

Abdominal muscles should be worked at least twice a week to ensure muscle tone. It is also a good idea to focus effort on side deltoid exercises because those are the muscles that make the body look wider and the waist thinner. Another trick would be to emphasize exercises dealing with the thighs and outer sweep of the legs to further the illusion.

The biggest change is the inclusion of cardiovascular sessions every day. Walking is recommended over more intense activities because it facilitates more calories to be burned directly from fat. During a walk where heart rate is elevated to about 50% of its maximum rate, about 85% of calories used for energy will be taken from fat.

With more intense exercise, the energy tends to come from more immediate sources. However, a single session does not require much energy, so it will take a longer term of dedication to see results from it. But in the end, perseverance pays off.

The following routine closely resembles a mass building routine I put together previously. It can be found at https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/wotw31.htm. The difference is that the emphasis is now off of shocking and stimulating muscles into growing.

Instead, maintenance and fat loss are of primary concern. Cardio sessions are new additions, with some being performed first thing in the mornings on an empty stomach. This allows for more energy to be drawn from fat instead of from food consumed during the day.

A good pace for a walking cardiovascular workout would allow for a mile to be traveled in about 15 minutes. Estimating that every mile takes around 100 calories of energy, a single session might burn about 200 calories. Some practicing of required poses is also helpful for performing confidently during the contest.

Day 1: Arms/Abs:

  • < 45 minute workouts
  • ~30 Minutes Morning Cardio (walking)
  • Recommended 4 hour wait before workout
Exercise Reps Sets Rest
Crunch 20 1 60 sec
Ab Ball 15-20 1 60 sec
Leg Raises 8-12 1 60 sec
V-Up 10+ to exhaustion 1 60 sec
Hammer Curl 8-12 2 60 sec
Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Ext. 8-12 2 60 sec
Preacher Curl w/ Barbell 8-12 2 60 sec
Palms-Down Grip Cable Pushdown 8-12 2 60 sec
Reverse Curls 8-12 2 60 sec
Palms-Up Grip Cable Pushdown 8-12 2 60 sec
One Arm Cable Curl 10+ to exhaustion 1 set each arm 60 sec
Palm-Up One Arm Cable Pushdown 10+ to exhaustion 1 set each arm Done

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Day 1: Arms/Abs.

I recommended 4 hour wait before cardio around ~30-40 Minutes Cardio (walking).

Day 2: Legs/Forearms:

  • < 45 minute workouts
  • ~30 Minutes Morning Cardio (walking)
  • Recommended 4 hour wait before workout
Exercise Reps Sets Rest
Feet Forward Smith Machine Squat 8-12 2 90 sec
Wide Foot Position Leg Press 8-12 2 90 sec
Barbell Lunges 8-12 2 90 sec
Seated Leg Curl 8-12 2 60 sec
Leg Extension 8-12 2 60 sec
Laying Leg Curl 8-12 2 60 sec
Hack Squats 10+ to exhaustion 1-2 60 sec
Standing Calf Raises 8-15 4-5 60 sec
Reverse Wrist Curls 8-12 2 60 sec
Wrist Curls 8-12 2 Done

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Day 2: Legs/Forearms.

I recommended 4 hour wait before cardio around ~30-40 Minutes Cardio (walking)

Day 3: Rest:

  • ~30 Minutes Morning Cardio (walking)
  • Schedule some time to practice poses

Day 4: Chest/Shoulders:

  • < 45 minute workouts
  • ~30 Minutes Morning Cardio (walking)
  • Recommended 4 hour wait before workout
Exercise Reps Sets Rest
Wide-Grip Incline Smith Bench 8-12 2 60 sec
Wide-Grip Flat Bench 8-12 2 60 sec
Wide Dips 8-12 2 60 sec
Narrow-Grip Flat Bench 8-12 2 60 sec
Cable Flyes 8-12 2 60 sec
Dumbbell Military Press 8-12 2 60 sec
Upright Row 8-12 2 60 sec
Front Deltoid Dumbbell Raise 8-12 2 90 sec
Front Deltoid Barbell Raise 8-12 2 60 sec
Incline Side Deltoid Dumbbell Raise 8-12 2 60 sec
Front Deltoid Cable Raise 8-12 2 60 sec
Side Deltoid 10+ to exhaustion 1-2 Done

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Day 4: Chest/Shoulders.

I recommended 4 hour wait before cardio around ~30-40 Minutes Cardio (walking)

Day 5: Abs/Back/Calves:

  • < 45 minute workouts
  • ~30 Minutes Morning Cardio (walking)
  • Recommended 4 hour wait before workout
Exercise Reps Sets Rest
Crunch 20 1 60 sec
Ab Ball 15-20 1 60 sec
Leg Raises 8-12 1 60 sec
V-Up 10+ to exhaustion 1 60 sec
Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows 8-12 2 90 sec
Wide-Grip Palm Forward Pulldown 8-12 2 90 sec
Pull Overs 8-12 2 90 sec
Wide-Grip Pulldown Reverse Grip 8-12 2 90 sec
Palms-down Seated Cable Row 8-12 2 90 sec
Narrow/Neutral Grip Seated Cable Row 8-12 2 60 sec
Seated Calf Raises 8-15 3 60 sec
Standing Calf Raises 8-15 3-4 Done

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Day 5: Abs/Back.

I recommended 4 hour wait before cardio around ~30-40 Minutes Cardio (walking)

Day 6: Rest:

  • ~30 Minutes Morning Cardio (walking)
  • Schedule some time to practice poses

Day 7:
     Start the cycle back at day 1.

Training Journal:
Do you keep a training journal that includes training, diet, supplementation? How is it organized?

Journals are a must for anyone serious about making progress in building their body. This is simply because journals allow for the monitoring of just that - progress. With a log of exercises, diet and supplementation the lifestyle embarked upon is much easier to understand and follow. It also makes changes easier to make along the way in order to correctly reach a set goal.

Diet should be planned based mainly on caloric intake of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Each day should include the same meals to make things simpler and more convenient. The only thing that may change depending on whether the day is a rest day or workout day is the inclusion of a post-workout recovery shake.

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The diet log kept in the journal should be designed to allow for balanced meals throughout the day—planned to be eaten at times where it would be most convenient. Supplementation should also be planned as a part of diet, recording when and what supplements to use for maximum results.

Training needs to be documented so it is easier to see areas that may be falling short of expectations, so that more effort may be applied to correct the situation. It's best to record all the sets, repetitions and weights done for each exercise. Additionally it might prove useful to write how each exercise felt.

Recording strong movements with proper forms lets you know that you are on target with achieving the goals. If a struggle is recorded for an exercise, then the next chance to do that exercise can be given more focus and determination.

The last part of the journal should be a documentation of weekly body weight progression. Weight can fluctuate moderately on a daily basis, but if weekly trends are analyzed, then modifications can be made. These alterations would be designed and adopted for better reaching the goal weight.

The journal lays the foundations for success. All that is needed from you is proper execution and awareness of possible changes needed along the way. At the very least, the journal will help you learn your body better for future endeavors.

At what point would you stop trying to build muscle and just maintain what you have?

There is a definite range of time that would be optimal for applying a pre-contest routine. Desired results may not be possible if the routine is started too close to the contest date. On the other hand, if the program is adopted for an extended period of time it may actually become detrimental.

Giving the body no less than 10 weeks to evolve is a good idea. It takes about a minimum of 12 weeks to build any significant mass, so it is around this point in time that the focus shift needs to occur. If weight is lost too quickly, skin may retain some of its elasticity presenting a softer look.

Trying to get in shape in a short amount of time can also be stressful. In order to avoid this and get the best cuts and separations possible it's necessary to allow about 12-16 weeks of time to gradually mold the winning physique.

It's best to know ahead of time how much fat loss is desired. This can be estimated easily by first calculating a body fat percentage. The easiest tool to use for making the measurement are skin fold calipers. The plan should be to get down to 2-4% body fat, which would leave only the essential fats. Going any lower than 2% could be dangerous and is not recommended.

Easy To Use Calculator

The following calculation will give the pounds of fat to lose in order to reach a desired body composition based upon knowledge of current weight and body fat percentage.

Amount of fat to lose = ((Current Body Fat Percentage - Desired Body Fat Percentage) x Current Weight)/(1 - Desired Body Fat Percentage)

Example: 200 pound bodybuilder with 10% body fat wants to get down to 3%. ((.10 - .03) x 200)/(1 - .03) = 14.4 pounds of fat to lose

Current Bodyweight:
Current Bodyfat %:
Desired Bodyfat %:
Prediction & Timetable
Pounds Of Fat To Lose
Weeks Required (~1 lb/wk)

Planning on losing a pound of fat per week would be a good idea. Then, using the above calculation will also give you the number of weeks required to reach a goal weight. Just make sure not to extend the pre-contest routine for more than 16 weeks as the extensive dieting and training could actually turn out to be rather unhealthy and exhaustive, leading to overtraining and even set backs.

Hopefully the explanation of how to set up a pre-contest routine is helpful. It requires organization of all areas of nutrition, recovery and exercise. Also remember to monitor progress through the use of a journal or log, and with planning and dedication any achievement is within reach.