Tag Archives: contest prep

3 Types of Bulking

Now that the shows are winding down for the year, many competitors are beginning what’s called “the bulking season.”

Bulking is the period of time when a competitor strategically eats more food, lifts heavier, and puts on weight for a cut closer to show.

For new Figure, Bikini, or Wellness competitors, this process can go extremely wrong.

Before I tell you how it can be a disaster, here are the 3 types of bulking:

Clean Bulk

A clean bulk is where you methodically increase calories over the prep season to steadily gain about .5 to 1 pound per week. You need these additional calories to build muscle. These additional calories should come from clean whole foods.

Dirty Bulk

A dirty bulk is where you eat whatever, whenever, and without tracking macros or calorie intake. Even though this method will bring in the amount of calories needed to put on muscle…

You could end up packing on way more fat and increase water weight due to inflammation. One thing to note, it’s hard to lose body fat!

Ideally, you want to be between 18-20% body fat before starting your prep.

Lean Bulk

Wait, how do you get lean and bulk at the same time? If this process is done right, you’ll be able to increase calories and ditch the fluffy weight gain.

Here is an example of what happens during 8 weeks of lean bulking…

My client Jo, went from 151 to 140 pounds and GAINED muscle in her glutes & hamstrings!


You need to understand the lean bulk if you don’t want to add unnecessary weeks to your prep. I’ll be talking more about this and the whole stage process during my upcoming 3-Day Virtual Contest Prep Workshop, December 11-13, 2020.

Click here to register. <<< Pre-Sale Save 75%

5 Competition Myths Debunked

Will you gain a ton of weight after a competition? Is Peak Week really that horrible? To lose weight, do competitors eat 1200 calories a day? Get the real deal on these common misconceptions newbies have about preparing for a competition.

Myth 1: After a competition, you gain back all the weight you lost.

Part of this is true. You should expect to gain some weight after your show. This is usually all the water that you shed right before your show. It is important to get back to a pre-contest level of health, fitness, and weight.  Your coach or online program should include a 4-Week post contest transition to avoid unnecessary weight gain.

Myth 2: The more cardio you do, the leaner you get.

Cardio plays a part in fat loss if done in the right heart rate zones. Just doing more cardio will not guarantee your body fat or weight will go down. How much cardio depends on your actual body fat & water level (you can find this out with an Inbody or BodPod test), how much you need to lose, and how many weeks you have until your show. There are 2 basic types of cardio competitors need to reach the right level of conditioning–high intensity interval training (HIIT) and low intensity steady state (LISS).  An experienced coach or trusted fitness professional can help you map out a realistic weight, cardio, and nutrition program to get the best results on stage.

Myth 3: Competitors eat about 1200 calories (or less) for most of their prep.

Yes, there are many new competitors out  there eating 1200-ish calories everyday. Unless you weigh 90 pounds that is not enough food to put on (and maintain) muscle, reduce body fat, and have enough energy to get through your workouts. How many calories you consume are based on your actual basal metabolic rate (BMR), exercise calorie expenditure, and phase of training (growth, maintenance, conditioning, etc). Calorie count is only part of the puzzle. Mastering your macros and knowing how to adjust them throughout your prep will yield over 70% of the results you achieve on stage.

Myth 4: Peak Week is horrible for all competitors.

I’m not going to lie, the final week or so of any contest prep is a challenge. The only way it will be horrible is if you are following a cookie cutter peak plan. The kind of program that cuts your calories and water extremely low that you get weak, cranky, and too tired to reach the finish line. If you have had a solid prep, the final week should be exciting and fun.

Myth 5: Eating carbs will make you gain weight and increase body fat.

For some reason, carbs have gotten a bad rap with new competitors. The truth is, you need carbs to provide the energy necessary to train at a competitive level. You don’t want to totally cut carbs from your diet during prep. There are many ways to structure your carb intake to support your training needs. For the most optimal level of conditioning, a combination of carb cycling, re-feeding, and restriction will be most effective.

Do you have more questions about the process of competing? Or do you want to learn how to build a competitive physique without stepping on stage?

Contact me for competitor or non-competitor coaching or check out my self-directed contest prep course here.