What Exactly IS a Healthy Contest Prep?

There’s a little pink elephant in the room when it comes to the subject of how to prep for a physique competition. That pink elephant is the fact that for a number of years, coaches like me have found better ways to prep our clients for their shows. All while a greater majority seem to stick to Draconian old school ways of starving and cardio-ing a girl to death to get her on stage. And it leaves so many female competitors wondering if there is REALLY a such thing as a healthy contest prep? Are there better and smarter ways to go about doing things?

I definitely believe there are better ways to do things, and that a contest prep should be tailored to what that person specifically needs. However, the question still begs, what exactly IS a healthy contest prep? And that’s what I want to dig into for you today.

Can a Healthy Contest Prep Actually Be Done?

Let’s first breakdown what the hell a “healthy contest prep” even means. Now, before we do this, let’s get one thing straight. There’s absolutely NOTHING healthy about prepping for a show.

Your body wants absolutely NOTHING to do with being lean, hard, and shredded to the bone. It was never designed to live like that. It’s the reason why, physiologically speaking, it fights you tooth and nail at getting leaner. Why it simply doesn’t want to. And why you have to literally work your azz off to get lean.

Pushing the Limit is Sometimes Needed

Sometimes going to extreme measures is necessary. Especially when the women’s divisions are demanding a harder and leaner look.

That might mean double sessions of cardio. I know for my clients sometimes 60-70 mins per day (split 35 to 45 mins in the morning, and then 15-20 mins in the evening) is necessary in the final weeks to get that look. For others, it might mean taking calories a little low (never lower than 1200 calories for ANY client I work with) in the final 4 weeks or so just to get those final lines to come in.

But the difference with MY approach, and the responsibility I have as their coach, is to do it in a way that considers a client’s health first and foremost. If we have to move heaven and earth, simply to get a client on stage, we will choose another show.

How I Define a Healthy Contest Prep

In my book, a healthy contest prep is one that considers a client’s overall well being from start to finish. It’s one that will challenge a client in ways they may never have been, but not at the expense of the long term effects of the program.

When you push to your limits with training and nutrition, sometimes underlying problems can rear its ugly head. Compounding adrenal issues, sex hormone imbalances, thyroid issues… These can all be brought on by an improperly set up plan, or if they’ve always been there, made worse from said program.

If I have a competitor on a program, and their body simply isn’t responding no matter what we do, instead of pushing them to a point of no return, we STOP.

I ask that they have full panel blood tests done, and we check for any underlying issues that could be cause stalls or slow progress. This is usually done after we’ve taken calories down, increased cardio, and tweaked the plan to elicit some sort of physical change.

If nothing is working, then you have to look at the underlying cause.

So a healthy prep considers stuff like that, and keeps your overall long term well being in mind.

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Dieting in a Healthy Contest Prep

The dieting is the most crucial part of your prep. Without the proper diet set up, you simply won’t see physical change. You can eliminate all cardio, to a great degree, and still see progress – provided you’re eating in a big enough caloric deficit.

But where I see a lot of people go wrong is that they  cut out entire food groups, or relegate their entire plan to simply eating tilapia, chicken and asparagus for almost every meal. I’m not sure when this trend started, but really, it has to stop. It’s an unnecessary extreme, and in the long term can really lead to nutrient imbalances and more.

A healthy contest prep will have you in the right caloric deficit to continue to lose fat. It will include a variety of foods, within reason, that can still allow you to get to your goals. Now, I’m not talking about eating burgers and pizza every day.

What I am saying is that it will have various food items beyond (white) fish and asparagus that will not only get you to your goal, but keep other vital nutrients in the diet as well. And all of that DOES impact your body’s ability to function – and thus the results you see.

A healthy contest prep diet sometimes means knowing when to RAISE calories for a client. There have been multiple times when I have been faced with the choice to either lower calories further and increase activity in order for a client to get off of a stall… Or, take a step back and RAISE calories instead, all while increasing activity.

And that’s where having a skillful coach is most important. Because sometimes, taking calories even lower isn’t an option when a client’s overall health is a priority, and knowing how to get around things in a smart way is crucial to the process.

At the end of the day, a healthy contest prep diet is one that is tailored to the body in which it is given. And then tweaked and changed due to the body’s response to the program. Not because at X weeks out we drop all fats, eat only asparagus, eat only tilapia, and do 2 hours of cardio a day…

Training and Cardio is a Healthy Contest Prep

Much like your nutrition, training and cardio is a healthy contest prep is rooted in biofeedback. The number one thing that should be the foundation of your program is that the body dictates all changes.

And when you do that, you’ll truly see that each prep is a different beast. Simply because the body ebbs and flows, and what may have worked once isn’t what’s working now. Being fluid in your approach, and listening to your body is always the best course of action.

Here’s the one thing you want to think about when it comes to your training during prep… What builds muscle KEEPS IT, in the face of fat loss. Continuing to lift heavy, and push your body in the gym is paramount. Not only will you burn a ton of calories, but you will also ensure that muscle loss is kept to a minimum.

What builds muscle KEEPS IT, in the face of fat loss. Share on X

When it comes to cardio, my motto is to only do as much as absolutely necessary. You see, the number one problem that most competitors run into is this notion that doing HOURS of cardio a day is what drives fat loss. But nothing is further from the truth.


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And in a contest prep, your diet, training, and cardio MUST work together to get the best results.

YOUR DIET DRIVES FAT LOSS. During contest prep, your diet/training/cardio MUST work together to get the best results. Share on X

There isn’t much rocket science to all of this. It’s simply a more intuitive approach that considers the individual and their needs. It’s taking a program and doing the work, as opposed to the lazy way out and just popping cookie cutter programming on everyone.

Even in my Inner Circle VIP Coaching Program, I actually have a few pre-designed contest prep programs that clients use for prep. However, as we go along and work closely together towards their show goals, I will often make tweaks to the set program to ensure there is still a level of customization. What’s great is that it allows the client to work with me within a more affordable budget, but still get a smarter planning approach to their overall prep.

Don’t believe that a smarter approach can get you lean… Well I say the proof is in the pudding. Here are a few of my clients where the results of a healthy contest prep outperformed any methods they’ve used in the past…

This is a 52 year old client! Smarter prepping works for EVERYONE.

Are You Looking for a Smarter Way to Prep For Your Next Show?

Look, it’s hard enough trying to figure this game out on your own, and really… You DON’T HAVE TO!

I’ve worked with clients of all starting points, experienced to newbie, 20’s all the way up to 50+ years. So no matter where you are, you’re in good hands.

Stepping on stage should be an exciting moment. It should encourage you, make you feel like you’re on top of the world! Achieving a dream goal. With the WRONG coach… It can be an absolute NIGHTMARE.

Do NOT suffer through old school methods of training and dieting.

Do NOT set yourself up for metabolic damage or adrenal issues simply because your coach has no clue what they’re doing… Nor do they care about YOU or your overall health.

Become a Roxstar, and let me show you what it feels like to truly WIN at this game… From your off season, to your prep, to your show, and well beyond. This is a lifestyle, and one that should empower you along the way.

Become a RoxStar – I’m Taking on Clients for Off-Season Coaching and Contest Prep!

I currently have some openings for those looking to step up their game in contest prep! So don’t hesitate to get started on my customized training and nutrition program that will not only have you looking great on stage… But loving your body and what you’ve EARNED both in and out of the gym.

I have two options for us to work closely together, and one fit for any budget! Click here to give me your email so I can shoot over some more info about getting you up and started today.

Your health, your body, and your sanity all depend on choosing the right coach to guide you on the path to victory for your upcoming show.

Do not put that precious commodity in the hands of someone who lacks experience, or simply doesn’t care enough about your well being to put YOU first in this game.



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