Contest Prep: Then vs. Now

In my last post on contest prep, I talked about why I competed again.

Today, I’ll go over the details of my prep.

Specifically, people have been wondering what differed this time around vs. the last time I went through a contest prep 3.5 years ago.

Below, I’ve broken it all down for you.



  • 12-week prep
  • bodyweight dropped from 119.0lbs to 106.8lbs (averaged out to a hair over 1.0lb/week weight loss)
  • waist measurement dropped from approximately 26.5 inches to 24.0 inches
  • experienced mild degree of strength loss throughout the duration of my prep
  • followed a meal plan
  • had no alcohol, did not attend any social events
  • secretly binged one day a week


  • 20-week prep
  • bodyweight dropped from 116.0lbs to 105.8lbs (averaged out to a loss of 0.51lb/week loss)
  • waist measurement dropped from 26.0 inches to 23.5 inches
  • zero loss of strength in the gym (actually gained strength the first 12 or so weeks, then strength stalled the last 8 weeks)
  • was prescribed macros to follow but otherwise ate (meal timing, food choice) how I wanted
  • enjoyed wine weekly and maintained a thriving social life
  • did not binge once, nor did I experience the urge to binge



  • 4 days a week of heavy lifting, each lasting anywhere between 45-60 minutes long
  • focused primarily on heavy, compound lifts with some accessory movements thrown in there
  • I also performed metabolic conditioning (metcon) sessions once or twice a week, depending on where I was in my prep
  • All in all, I was never in the gym more than once a day and never longer than 90 minutes per session


  • 5 days a week of heavy lifting a la Layne Norton’s PHAT protocol, each lasting anywhere between 45-60 minutes long
  • focused primarily on heavy, compound lifts with some accessory movements thrown in there
  • did no metcon whatsoever; when I was in the gym, it was all about the heavy work
  • all in all, I was never in the gym more than once a day and never longer than 90 minutes per session



  • start off with just metcon sessions, then towards the end, I had one 30-minute steady state session tossed in per week on top of the 2 metcon sessions I was doing
  • came out to 4 days of heavy lifting, 2 metcon sessions, and 1 day of steady-state every week
  • worked out 6 days a week and got one day of full rest


  • started off with 2 interval sessions each lasting 20 minutes from start to finish
  • the last 10 weeks of prep, an extra session was tossed in and time was increased to 25-minutes each.
  • came out to 5 days of heavy lifting and 3 days of 25-minute interval sessions every week
  • took 2 full days off every week



  • started out at around 1440 calories; ended prep at 1080 calories with a weekly refeed
  • dietary adherence was spot-on except for weekly binges, which probably consisted of around 4,000-5,000 Calories
  • confined to a meal plan, which increased my cravings for “forbidden” foods
  • ate 5 tiny meals a day
  • oftentimes would find myself done with all my food for the day by 4:00p.m. and had to white-knuckle my way through the rest of the evening
  • never ate out to eat once for fear of straying from my plan


For details on my macros and what all I ate during my prep, check out MyMacros+ and find me: SoheeFit 
For details on my macros and what all I ate during my prep, check out MyMacros+ and find me: SoheeFit
  • started out at around 1530 calories; ended prep at 1200 Calories on my off days, 1260 Calories on training days with a weekly refeed
  • dietary adherence was around 95% (last 8 weeks were 100%) with no binges whatsoever
  • followed the flexible dieting approach – most mornings, I ate grilled cheese or quesadillas for breakfast and would on occasion consume sugary cereal or ice cream as part of my PWO meal
  • ate my first meal at around 11a.m. and finished my last meal at 7 or 8p.m., which, looking back, was inadvertent intermittent fasting
  • consumed 3-4 meals a day depending on my schedule and my hunger levels
  • ate out once or twice a week (except for the last 2 weeks) and guestimated macros while eating out

Peak Week


  • training and lifting protocol did not change
  • sodium did not drop
  • drank 10L water a day leading up to the show; this made attending class and really doing anything extremely difficult as I was running to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes


  • bodypart split for peak week with intensity tapering off as the show got closer
  • all intervals switched out for moderate intensity steady-state cardio (20-35min sessions) consisting of power walking outdoors (modality was my choice)
  • sodium was manipulated only slightly
    water intake was at 4L/day at its highest



  • had no idea what to expect
  • would freak out over the mildest of weight fluctuations
  • was struggling with severe body dysmorphia
  • adopted the all-or-nothing mindset and refused to go out and have fun
  • was determined to compete on stage no matter the cost (binge eating, loss of social life, loss of relationships, etc.)


  • actively made sure that I maintained my quality of life throughout the duration of the prep
  • ensured that I was secure with my body image before even beginning prep
  • did not get discouraged by “slow” progress (because after all, I knew that slow progress was good progress)
  • made it a point to go out and do something fun (not fitness-related) at least once a week
  • did a mindset check every single day
  • promised myself that I would back out if my mental sanity/integrity was compromised
  • understood that this prep was not about winning or “becoming happy” or receiving any kind of external validation, but rather about proving that the sustainable, moderate approach works even when it comes to achieving extremes

All in all, this most recent prep was very different from my last prep.

I ended up coming in with a better physical package, better posing, and even better jewelry and makeup, but that’s not what I’m most proud of.

I intentionally took this very slow. I wanted to give myself ample time, to not feel pressured to speed up progress and panic over whether or not I’d be ready in time.

The first few months, I lost on average 2-3lbs/month, and the last month leading into the show, I actually only lost 1.5lbs.

But I was okay with that. Because I understood this:

Progress does not take place strictly in scale weight, but also in measurements, the fit of my clothes, and what I see in the mirror.

(And don’t forget about the whoosh effect.)

As well, I didn’t worry about my progress. I had hired a quality coach to help me, and I knew that my sole responsibility was to adhere to the program consistently, while his job was to engineer my macros and training. I knew that it was his job to do the worrying on my behalf, and I fully trusted that he’d get me to where I wanted to be.

With this longer prep, we didn’t feel rushed to drop my calories prematurely – and in fact, my calories didn’t change at all for the last 8 weeks leading into the show (whereas with my first prep, my calories dropped like clockwork every 2-4 weeks).

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

There’s nothing I would change about this prep to make it better. It was an incredible learning experience and I would definitely considering doing it again.

For now, my goal is to get more food into my system and slowly reverse diet for the next 6-8 months. I’m looking to build some muscle mass (specifically shoulders and glutes) and bring a better package next year.

The moderate approach may not be sexy, but it sure as hell works.





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