Is there even such a thing as a show being the wrong show for you? Can the show you select before starting prep end up also being the first ingredient in your recipe for disaster on show day? Positively, yes ma’am, the show that you pick can be the difference between feeling like a rising star or falling flat on your face.
You know you’ve either heard of, used, purchased, sold, or at least seen a “prep” plan where the person was informed on day one that “their plan” will be 12 weeks. Or 16 weeks. In this industry, most competitors, especially new ones, have been told that a 12 or 16 week prep “is the norm” or “is standard”. The best years of my life were in the 1980’s too, but that “norm” or “standard” is as scientifically current as my parachute pants and Michael Jackson glove are in fashion today. We learn and we grow and we learn some more and we APPLY the new knowledge AND ADJUST any old “norms” once science outdates that practice. Here in 2022, there should never be a one-size-fits-all (commonly called cookie cutter or pre-written standalone prep package) approach to the right length of prep…for you.
Your current situation is going to determine how long you need to allow in order to effectively and efficiently reach the stage with your desired look. That includes several factors, only some of which are your current muscular base, how your body fat is distributed, how much weight you have to lose, how your metabolism responds, how many stalls you have, and how long you take to blast through your set point.
You will ONLY be losing 0.5-1.0% of body weight per week…if you’re following current science and plan to retain the muscle mass you worked so hard for. So if you picked a show and registered for a show that is 12-16 weeks from the date of the beginning of prep, you’ve missed a step. Now you need to go look at those dates and see if they’re even mathematically possible. How do you do that?
First you need a starting weight. So if you were starting prep today, your weight this morning is that vital bit of info which will be concrete. Your current weight. Next you’ve got to guesstimate based on the way you look today, how much muscle mass you have, and how much body fat you’ve got, approximately how many pounds do you need to lose for that desired look? It’s a guesstimate because you will lose some muscle along with the body fat (though an appropriate rate of loss will help minimize this), especially if you’ve never actually been stage lean, you may or may not actually have the “look” you want at the weight you guesstimated. You might look great slightly higher or even quite a bit lower than anticipated. Seasoned competitors have a much better time targeting what their next stage weight should be.
Ok we have our current weight and our “goal weight”. Obviously your predicted show weight (you’ll be asked this when ordering suits etc) is your current weight minus the number of pounds you need to lose. Since you picked a show in advance and hired someone to get you ready for that show, 12 weeks from today, you would then divide the number of pounds you plan to lose by the number of weeks (12 in this case) and that is how you get the required Rate of Loss you need to keep, in order to be ready by your show day. Same goes with a 16 week prep (or any number of weeks) just replace the 12 with 16 or whatever number of weeks until the show you’ve already registered for.
If you did the math and it went something like this:
Current weight 145, desired stage weight 115, so I need to lose 30 lbs in 12 weeks “which is standard for prep so that means it is totally doable because this is how everyone who looks great on stage preps because it is the norm”. So 30 divided by 12 = 2.5 ROL. Meaning each of the 12 weeks I need to lose 2.5 lbs to reach 115 for stage. My current weight is 145 so the high end of an appropriate rate of loss (1% of body weight weekly) is only 1.45 lbs per week.
Guess what?!? You picked the WRONG show. Continuing to prep for this specific show will cause you harm. You (this imaginary 145 lb competitor with 30 lbs to lose) need to pick a show that does not require you to lose any more than 1.45 lbs per week. You SHOULD pick a show that allows you to lose quite a bit less than that per week so that you have time for stalls, illness, injury, work/family emergencies/projects, and the unforeseen. Plus you want to be able to throw in some diet breaks and do mock peak weeks so that you’re not learning how your body responds when it’s too late. But BARE MINIMUM, you need the amount of time it will take to not have to lose more than 1% of your body weight per week for a successful prep.
If the show you have chosen has you having to amp that number up, DO NOT REGISTER YET. If you have already registered and paid, you can always contact the promoter and see if they will transfer those funds to one of their later shows that allows you an appropriate rate of loss. Most won’t do refunds, but most have been willing to transfer your funds to the registration for one of the same production company’s shows at a later date. Don’t let making an uninformed initial rushed registration paint you into a corner. Your health is more important than that arbitrary timeline and your physique will look better when you aren’t trying to outsmart your bodily functions.