A Rant About Figure Contest Prep Nonsense

December 27th, 2009 by

Disclaimer – apologies (only small ones) if this offends you.

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon (yes surgeon :lol:) – or a smart contest prep coach for that matter – to get fat off someone if they starve them enough and get them to do enough cardio. How does that make a trainer … awesome? 14 hours of cardio a week? 21 hours of cardio a week? 1200 calories while doing that amount of cardio? This isn’t the program recommendations of a great trainer, IMO – it’s the program directions of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing – who has one tool in his or her toolbox. Eventually everyone will get in shape if they eat few enough calories and do enough exercise for long enough. And people pay for this?

What? You’re not losing fat? Hmm, we’ll we’re already doing an hour of cardio a day. Let’s double it. Two hours a day now. We’ll also drop your calories to 9x BW too.

Two weeks later

Nothing? Alright then – 8x BW in calories and you get no carbs but vegetables and you get no fat either. And you only get nearly fat-free protein sources – egg whites and orange roughy for you. Wait, make it two-and-a-half hours of cardio a day. I also want you to do walking lunges – no weights – every day for 20 minutes – to spot reduce the fat off your glutes and legs of course.

Weight starts falling.

What? You’re hair is falling out? Suck it up, you’re a competitor. Hardcore!


I’m sorry but you have to diet extremely hard and do hours upon hours upon more hours of cardio per week to lose what? You better be getting Biggest Loser results and dropping pounds of it each week. I mean, a pound of fat has a whopping 3500 calories. Unless you’re crawling on the treadmill and you have the math skills of a 2-year old (subsequently adding up your 2500 calories and thinking it’s 1000), then it’s NOT working very well now is it? A pound a week? (Because you know you’re not dropping 3lbs per week and you’re not even dropping 2/week if you’re pretty lean), then that’s not success. You have to do ALL THAT for a pound of fat? Come on now. Your body is broken if that’s what it takes. Actually let me correct that – that’s not what it takes. For anyone. Do you really consider that a winning formula? Because you might have “won”?

And another thing – those that don’t do their prep this way? Those that get in shape with sane dieting and sane amounts of cardio? They aren’t just genetically lucky. They work just as hard as you do. They just work smarter. There’s nothing special about you that deems it absolutely mandatory to do 7, 14, 21 hours of cardio per week to drop a small amount of fat per week. I mean, if a pound of fat is 3500 calories and you’re doing all that cardio and you’re dieting hard, don’t you think something might be a tad wrong there?

Get ready for your rebound. I have been saying this for quite a while now – those who do the most cardio in their preps are invariably always the ones with the most horrendous post-contest rebounds. And I think this is separate from the psychologically influenced rebound triggered by retardedly restrictive contest diets where you get only 5 foods. Of course, you’re going to start eating after that. Sheesh.

But the cardio? It’s almost as if it’s programming you for fat storage when the calories become available again. Whether it has to do with an efficiency phenomenon or something else entirely, the bottom line is that cardio junkies rebound terribly, more often than not. I don’t really care why it happens – just that it’s happening. There is far too much empirical evidence in contest circles to deny this.

Why do you think 30 minutes of cardio stops working and becomes 45 minutes? And 45 minutes per day becomes 60 minutes? And 60 minutes becomes 90 minutes? Something is happening there for you to have to be continuously adding more and more cardio. So what happens the next time you diet? Do you have to do even more? I know of competitors who return a previously successful contest prep program (successful meaning they got in shape) and it doesn’t work for them – nothing happens. Hmmm

The prep methods of many competitors are in my mind, nothing short of downright silly. It’s sad really – to see what some people believe they have to do in order to compete. And it’s not even the competitor’s fault – it’s the people they entrust themselves to. I can’t believe some of the stuff I’ve read. Boiling chicken breast in distilled water? What? People still do that? Cutting sodium a full week out? I’m sorry, but what the heck? Fish and vegetables 6x a day? 3 hours of cardio? A day? And it’s not like competitors are coming up with this stuff on their own – they’re being instructed to do this and they’re paying for it!!

And never mind how silly and just beyond explanation it is; it’s downright damaging. I can’t tell you how many competitors I’ve worked with now that have come from the above and my first order of business is getting their bodies responsive to diet and training again and correcting the damage done by their previous trainer. Many times over now.

Listen, being a hamster on a treadmill is not the only way to get in contest shape. Hamsters aren’t even cute.

There IS an easier way. No, not easy – as getting in contest shape will never be easy, but it’s easiER. And it can be a far more enjoyable experience. Man, there’s some troopers out there. Girls who go through this every single contest season. You have to hand it to them – that’s seriously some hardcore dedication. Hey, if you like it – more power to you. But …

There IS another way.

Comments? Agree? Disagree?