Bodybuilding prep update (16 weeks out?)

Morning! I thought it was about time for a contest prep update 🙂

I had a face-to-face catch up with coach Vicky Bradley yesterday – she hadn’t seen me for a few weeks and was delighted with the changes. We speak (text/whatsapp/tweet/instagram/facebook – haha!) most days but of course seeing me in the flesh is different.

I’m currently either 16 or 18 weeks out from my first show, depending on which qualifier I do. I’ve had my wibbles and wobbles (of confidence, as well as glute-fat 😉 ) but I’m starting to think I’ll be in good shape for the earlier of the two.

Vicky calipered me again yesterday, and I do my measurements: in 12 weeks of working with her, I’m down approx:

We think about 7% body fat from Vicky’s calipering.
5.1cms hips
8.2cms waist
5.9cms chest/back

Here are comparison pics two weeks apart (although the most recent of these was taken three weeks ago now)

I’m still training the same split
Saturday – deadlifts, hamstrings, glutes, back and calves
Sunday – chest and triceps
Tuesday – back and shoulders
Wednesday – squats, quads and calves

And doing posing practice, stretching, foam rolling and postural/remedial work a couple of times a week at home. Still no cardio (other than two fast dog walks every day – which are getting longer now there are more daylight hours).

My training has changed (at least once) since I last blogged about prep – still low reps (or what I call low reps anyway!) but with a bit of a conditioning element in there now, supersets, walking lunges, weighted steps ups etc. Every time my programme changes, the specific exercises I do aim to correct an imbalance, fill out a slightly lacking area or bring an area up so the final “package” I reveal on stage is as complete and as “Physique category” as possible.

My shoulders seem to have taken on a life of their own 😉

Diet has changed a little bit: we are now carb cycling and we’re about to really go for it, with much more carbs than I’m used to on training days. This is partly as a result of a total diet-wobble I had a couple of weeks ago, where I careered off-piste without Vicky’s blessing (or knowledge). Not good, but (there’s always a positive!) we did discover than I’m pretty carb-tolerant. After two days of over-eating, one of which involved a family party, and undisclosed amounts of cake, brownies and mini-scones (very nice they were too), I put on…. 0.5kgs. So, we’re going to be playing with more carbs, and different sources of them. Now’s the time to do it – if it’s doesn’t work, we can change again.

As I said to Vicky today, I feel as if the next 2-3 weeks will see some exciting changes in both my fatloss and my shape. I don’t know why I feel that way but I do! It’s exciting. This period of prep – when there’s months and months to go, but you know you’ll wake up one day soon and only have 4 weeks left – is a funny time. But I’m definitely seeing very good changes and I’m really excited to get closer and closer to competition condition!

A couple of pics from a week ago: posing in the gym with Figure competitor Karen (right of the pic) and Physique competitor Kathy (left). I love this pic, we’re so smiley! We’d just had an awesome deadlift session together – I’d never met either lady before but have emailed and chatted to them both online for over a year now. Brilliant training partners!

And lastly, Karen and I did a bit of posing practice after training and I borrowed her Figure shoes for a bit. Once I’d got myself upright (and stayed there!), I tried out a few Figure poses. What do you think? Shall I switch divisions? 😉

Anything in particular you want to know? Let me know & I’ll attempt to answer!

Bodybuilding prep update (16 weeks out?) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


11 Responses to Bodybuilding prep update (16 weeks out?)

  1. Do you not have to wear the high heels in your division?


  2. Trish says:

    I love reading your updates and can’t wait to see you on stage. Keep up the good work xx


  3. Tara says:

    Great progress so far!! And yay for more carbs 🙂


  4. One Fit Mama says:

    You look amazing. I am 9 days out from my first competition (bikini) and I totally remember a couple months ago when it seemed forever away… and now its on my doorstep! Can’t wait to read all about your journey.


  5. louise ewers says:

    Hi Nicola, you look fab and love reading your updates. I’m currently on a 12wk mission to drop body fat and increase muscle mass on week 6. Making gains on each workout 4day split and adding in one hitt session and one fasted walking. My question is around carbs and cycling carbs. Have been on low carb diet for 6wks with any carbs coming from veg, just started to add dextrose to post workout shake but should I be eating more complex carbs to increase fat loss, not losing fat on my abs at the rate I want . Do have a treat meal once a week that keeps me sane. Am I being impatient? ??

    Many thanks


    • Nicola Joyce says:

      Hi Louise and thank you 🙂

      I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure, there are so many variables and i really only have experience of how my own body responds. I would day though that, as you get leaner, you could experiment with more carbs particularly after training. I’d always go for real food sources personally. If it helps, at the moment my meals look like this (training days):

      1) whey before first power walk (no fasted training for me, and walks are my only cardio)
      2) breakfast- red meat and nuts
      3) whey after training
      4) chicken, green veg, sweet pot
      5) as above incl the sweet pot
      After that no carbs other than from veg

      Treat/cheat meals are a contentious issue, some swear by them, some don’t use them. I don’t but I do carb cycle and we’re about to use an even more aggressive carb cycling, so my high carb days will function similarly to a cheat meal (just planned and more moderate/controlled)

      The other thing to think about re fatloss is stress and sleep….

      Hope that helps? I’ll post an update about my new carb cycling plan when I get it 🙂



  6. […] a lot of fellow competitors tomorrow, and then on Bank Holiday Monday I’m seeing a load of local bodybuilder girlfriends for a bit of posing and routine practice (and probably a good chat over a coffee, […]


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