Mens Classic Physique Ultimate Guide

You finally found it...

The Ultimate Guide on everything about men's classic physique.

This is a BEAST of a project that took me A LONG time to put together!  

So, why did I do it? 

Because when I started competing...

I could not find any good concise information about

what it takes to compete,

what to expect,

how to pose for classic physique,

how to tan,

how to train,

how to perform cardio,

when to make hotel reservations... and the list goes on.

 If you're looking to compete in men's classic physique, you'll find this guide very helpful! 

Grab a protein shake and take notes!

You ready?! Let's Dive In!!

I'm positive you'll extract several nuggets to use during your competition journey.

Quick Note

I'm sharing what has worked for ME and the athletes I've had the pleasure of working with. There are hundreds of ways to get dialed in for a show. So, find out what works best for you.


The fact that you are seeking out information sets you apart from the majority of physique competitors.

By choosing to seek advice and instruction, you’ve made the choice of improving yourself and taking your physique to a higher level. 

Congratulations on being an “Action Taker” and not just talking about it.

If you’ve never competed before, I have to be transparent with you. 

This will be “the” most challenging thing you’ve ever done in your entire life.

I have played all types of sports on several different platforms, competed as a power lifter, and served in the U.S. Air Force in some less desirable conditions. 

Nothing exceeds the challenge that competing brings to the table. I also want to add, nothing delivers the most rewarding feeling that competing brings as well.

I’m not trying to discourage you; I want to shoot it to you straight so that you’re not walking into this thing blindly.

It’s not just about throwing on some classic posing trunks and jumping on stage to strike a pose.

You, my friend, are going into battle and guess who your enemy is….YOU!

If you’ve competed before, the information in this ultimate guide will expand your knowledge about contest prep and posing so that you will dominate the stage and place higher.


It’s only appropriate that we first discuss the mental component of competing.

When the diet begins, you’ll face all kinds of temptations, doubt, environmental traps, and other negativity along the way.

This is when you have to remind yourself to stay the course and know that you will be rewarded greatly for your mental focus and efforts.

Armed with the advice in the upcoming paragraphs, you will be prepared for the battle that awaits you.

The unique thing about this battle – the muscle between your ears (your mind) determines who wins.

I’ve seen it too many times where competitors diet and train all the way up until 2 weeks out from the show and bail out.

Trust me, “life” will happen.

You may have a family member that gets very ill, a significant other that leaves you, issues at work with your boss, final exams at school, and the list goes on.

You have to be able to overcome these obstacles and remain focused on your contest prep.

That’s the main reason why I chose to address this first.

I want you to come out of the battle with your hand raised, trophy placed in front of you, and respected by your peers.

I challenge you to consider and apply the knowledge in the upcoming paragraphs and victory shall be yours, buddy.


The moment passion is put into action, you become an unstoppable force.

You’re like an eighteen wheeler with no brakes.

If something gets in the way, it will be destroyed. Passion is the fuel that keeps the eighteen-wheeler in motion.

Once the fuel runs out, the eighteen-wheeler is no longer moving. The same thing happens when your passion dies out.

You become less productive, you start to self-sabotage, and you consider failure as an option.

Keeping the passion is vital to your success.

Passion forces you to train with more intensity, prevents slip-ups in your diet, provides energy on the days when you know you should feel drained, and lastly, passion is the pulse of a successful bodybuilder.

Doubt or failure should not be in your vocabulary.

Once you’ve made up your mind, it’s time to dwell on the positives and delete the negatives.

Doubt is the number one killer of potential. When passion inhabits the mind, fear has to look for another address.

Believe in yourself and your efforts and you will catapult your way to success.

Just like the saying goes, “You get out of it, What you put into it.”

That is so true when it comes to competing.

On contest day, when everyone graces the stage, it’s obvious which physique competitors put in more effort than others.

If your macronutrients are as follows: 410g carbs, 220g protein, and 70g fat.

Make sure you go the extra mile and keep accurate counts even if it involves using an app and food scales.

Tear down your rear view mirror and don’t pay someone to read your palm to tell you what your future may look like.

What I mean by this is, operate in the “NOW.”

What you do in the present will determine your destiny.

Forget about past failures and find out what you can do at this very moment that will paint a better and brighter future.

Speak with confidence.

Your language should be that of a winner.

Be careful who you hang around, your company can be a bad influence on you.

If your friend, training partner, family member, or any other close proximity person is depositing negative energy into you, everything you’re shooting for will seem out of reach. 

Surround yourself with people who will get behind you and help push you in the direction that you want to go.

Before you get others to embrace your dream, you have to believe in yourself.

Rid your mind of limitations so that your belief system will be strengthened.

The more you believe in yourself, the more passion you attach to all of your efforts.

I want you to spend a couple of minutes defining what you want to accomplish.

Goal setting is paramount in bodybuilding.

This is no time to be vague about what you want.

You should be as precise with your goals as a navigation system is when you give it a destination address.

Simply saying that you want to be more cut, or get bigger, is not concrete enough.

That’s just like telling the navigation system only the city of your destination.

Saying you are going to lose 2 pounds each week or add 1 inch to your arms in 3 months is more precise.

That’s like telling your navigation system the State, City, Street Address, and building # of your destination.

See the difference? 

Clearly defined goals give your contest prep a sense of purpose and meaning.

Goals are a compass that directs your passion.

Now it’s time to write those goals on paper.

Yes, I’m talking to you!

Go ahead and pull out a sheet of paper so we can carry on.

When doing this exercise you’re not only writing it on paper but it is being sketched in your mind.

Because you wrote it down, you’re more obligated to follow through.

Please don’t overlook this simple but profound exercise.

Now you’re going to think I’m crazy when I tell you to do what’s next.

Before you start your day,

I want you to look in the mirror and say out loud,

“This is what a World Class Classic Physique Competitor looks like” and don’t stop there.

I also want you to say, “I’m going to be the best poser at my next competition.”

This continues to reinforce your subconscious.

To complete the process, visualize the way you want to look.

Do this at night when you’re lying in bed before falling asleep.

It may take a couple of minutes to clear your mind of that days’ clutter but soon you’ll relax and start to visualize.

Also, think about how it will feel when you are awarded the first place trophy.

Visualization is very powerful.

When painting the picture of success on the canvas of your mind, it becomes reality.

Bodybuilding is a constant progress.

You are doing exactly what the word reads – building your body. You should always strive to look better each competition.

Truth be told, that’s the competitor you’re up against.

I know you want to win 1st place every time you put the trunks on but as long as you’re improving every competition, you’re considered a winner.

You can’t help who shows up to compete that day but you do have control over the way you will look.

If you pay attention to the successful classic physique competitor's in the sport, you will see them improving year after year. 

Those competitor's not only conquer their first goal but they also create new goals.

If a bodybuilder is lacking condition at a competition and places lower because of it, the competitor will have a goal of getting more conditioned for the next competition.

That’s the beauty of bodybuilding, you never run out of goals.

You can always bring up a lagging bodypart, improve conditioning, or work on your stage presence or posing.

The secret to success is to continuously update your goals.

Starting your diet will appear difficult and bothersome at first but within a few days it will become apart of your daily routine.

In order to make it habitual, you’ll have to exercise self-discipline.

Self-discipline isn’t something you get out of a book or something you purchase at your local nutrition store.

Self-discipline is something you acquire.

You acquire it by taking control of your mind when emotions and desires try to influence you to do something contrary to your contest prep.

Your mind will try to play some tricks on you that you’ve never experienced.

If self-discipline isn’t the gatekeeper of your mind, all kinds of stuff will try to enter.

Your mind will tell you that it’s okay to have that cookie because you need the extra carbs for your workout or, it’s okay to not workout today because it’s a holiday.

Have nothing to do with that type of nonsense.

There will be days when your parade will get rained on.

What I mean by that is you are not going to be 100% everyday.

You may even question yourself, “Why am I doing this?”

This behavior is totally normal.

This is when it is time to refocus on the prize and remind yourself that you made a commitment and you are going to follow through.

Remember, you are in control so grab the reigns and go dominate the stage.

When you control the most important muscle – your mind, you will be able to break the glass ceiling and expand your boundaries to become the best men's classic physique competitor you can be.


I would not be doing you any justice if I told you to grab your classic posing trunks and go register for the next competition.

Instead, grab a ticket and be a spectator at a local show.

You have the option to attend pre-judging or the evening show.

I would recommend both.

This will help prepare you a lot better.

It will give you an idea of what really goes on at a bodybuilding competition and what to expect when you compete.

When you arrive at the competition, try to purchase a seat close to the judges.

This is usually in the VIP section which is front and center of the auditorium.

You’re not going to the competition to simply have tunnel-vision towards the stage.

I want you to observe the judges as the competitors come out and also listen to the audience.

This will allow you to get a birds-eye view of what it’s like on contest day.

The better prepared you are, the more comfortable you’re going to be on stage.

The more comfortable you are on stage, the better placing you’ll have. I think you get the idea.

Now that you’ve witness a bodybuilding competition atmosphere, it’s time for you to register for your competition.

There are a couple of ways to find out about upcoming competitions.

Promoters of the competition usually place flyers at your local nutrition/vitamin store.

Ask around in your gym.

You may also find upcoming competitions by surfing the internet for bodybuilding organizations.

Some are “drug tested” and others are “untested.”

When on the website, you will find a calendar or schedule of events somewhere on the homepage.

When you find the show and date you’re interested in, contact the promoter of the show and verify the date and time of the competition.

Also, it’s a great idea to review their rules, regulations, and policies.

When I first competed, it was in the NPC.

I had some gym buddies convince me to compete in it, so I did.

After learning about the drug-free side of bodybuilding a couple of months later, I decided to compete in drug-tested show.

My point is, do your homework and know what you’re getting into.

It’s very important that you give yourself enough time to prepare for the competition.

Make sure you factor in how much you should weigh on contest day and ensure you practice your posing well in advance.

The last thing you want to do is get on stage out of shape and unprepared.

Unfortunately, it happens every bodybuilding show.

Some guy will come in thinking he only needed 4-8 weeks for prep and find out that he needed 12-15 weeks for contest prep.

That’s not going to happen to you because you’re preparing yourself by reading this ultimate men's classic physique guide.


Please take this very serious.

This is the area where a lot of competitors get it wrong.

The main reason why they get it wrong is they can’t fathom the thought of losing 25-30+ pounds to compete.

Guys think they can lose 10 -15 pounds and jump on stage.

Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that.

Having a beach body will get you nowhere on stage.

Maybe a modeling contest but not men's classic physique. 

You need to be shredded.

First order of business is to get your bodyfat tested.

You can do this by hydrostatic weighing (the most accurate – but very hard to find), which is submerging your body underneath water.

The second being skin-fold caliper (your best choice) testing and third but least reliable is bio-impedance (least accurate) through a handheld device or scale.

When performing a skin-fold caliper test, make sure you get someone who knows what they’re doing.

There are tons of formulas to go by so don’t get too caught up in the percentage and only worry about the skin-fold measurement decreasing every time you test.

Once you have your bodyfat percentage, let’s determine what your weight needs to be in order to compete and place well.

Let’s use simple math.
You tip the scales at - 200 lbs.
Your bodyfat percentage is - 10%
Your lean mass is approximately - 180
Number of pounds of bodyfat you have – 20 lbs.

So, by the time you go through “peak week” depleting carbs and water you will be weighing between 175 -180 lbs.

You will experience your clothes getting too big but when you get on stage you will appear 20 pounds bigger because of the illusion of bodybuilding.

Don’t let the idea of getting smaller get to you.

People will see you and make comments such as, “Dang, you’re getting small!”

Trust me I know, that’s the last thing you want to hear. 

Don’t let comments such as that penetrate your mind.

Remember, you are stripping away bodyfat in order to present your best package on stage so remain focused.

When you find out the competition you’re competing in, you will have to decide on which class or division you will enter.

Here are some questions for you to answer.

Is this your first competition?

If so, you may want to enter the novice division.

The novice division is a class designated for first time competitors.

What is your age?

If you are a teenager, look to see if it is a teen division being offered. 

Some competitions will allow you to crossover.

Meaning, you may enter more than one division.

Example, if you are a novice men's classic physique competitor and you want to also compete in the novice bodybuilding class, you may do so if it is allowed. 

Again, always check with the organization about the details of registration because rules may change.

Majority of the time you will be able to download the registration form from the bodybuilding show website.

Note: I always tell my coaching clients not to worry about your weight but try to step on stage looking your best.

Ideally you want to be at the top of your weight class so you look bigger than your competition.

It’s better to concentrate on bringing the best package to the stage and not the worry about your weight.


Let’s use the same numbers that we used in the example above for the 200 lb. competitor. 

Just in case you’re too lazy to scroll back to the top, I’ll state the numbers here again.

If you have 20 lbs. of bodyfat to lose here’s how you would calculate how many weeks you need to prepare for the contest.

Typically, you can lose 1-2 lbs. of bodyfat a week.

The first week, you may experience more like 3 lbs. of weight loss.

Let’s go back to the chalk board and calculate to see how many weeks you need for preparation.

20 ÷ 1.5 = 13.3 weeks

20(lbs. of bodyfat) divided by 1.5(amount of bodyfat to lose per week) = 13.3 weeks to lose 20 lbs. of bodyfat.

Go ahead and round 13.3 up to 14 to be on the safe side.

You would start 14 weeks out from the date of the show.

Keep in mind; “life” happens so that’s why you rounded it up to 14. 

Give yourself a little bit of breathing room just in case.

Another good reason to go at a slow pace is so that your skin will tighten as you lose bodyfat.

If you lose bodyfat too fast your skin will not have time to tighten before the contest.

It’s also a great feeling when you’re looking like you’re ready to hit the stage and you have another week before the contest.

That’s when you know you did your homework.

You’re going to be less stressful and look a lot better come contest day.

Don’t drag your feet when it comes to this part of the contest preparation.

Now that you know you have 14 weeks until hitting the stage, this is what you would start to do 14 weeks out from contest.


This is the time to clean out the fridge. The only items that remain are:

  • Chicken - in the form of boneless skinless chicken breast.
  • Eggs - I like to use liquid eggs because it’s easier to measure.
  • Fish – Salmon will be my first choice of fish because of the healthy fats.
  • Lean Ground Bison – It's leaner than beef so I choose it over beef.
  • Lean Ground Turkey – It gives the diet variety. 
  • Grass-Fed Whey Protein - It's convenient and is a high grade of protein. 
  • Oatmeal – I use plain Quaker oats. No sugar or any other bad stuff added.
  • Sweet potatoes – great source for complex carbs.
  • Jasmine rice – it's easy for me to digest and easy to store in bulk for later. 
  • Veggies – Broccoli and green leafy vegetables are the choice. 
  • Natural Organic Almond Butter – This is a great source of healthy fats.

Usually before contest prep I try to drink close to a gallon of water a day. I’ll bring that up to drinking 1 ¼ gallons of water each day at 14 weeks out.

I may drink a cup of coffee, tea, or have a diet soda if I want one.

It doesn’t hurt anything as long as there’s no heavy creamer or sugar in the coffee.

I still season my food but sparingly. I do not use marinades, only shake on seasonings. 

I still eat fruit at this point, usually in the form of berries.

Start posing for 10 mins. a day. Holding each pose for 15 sec.

The training would pretty much stay the same as off-season training.

Stay with the compound movements and other exercises that built the muscle.

As I get closer to the show I change up the workout a little by incorporating supersets, giant sets, and movements to improve muscular detail.

I keep going heavy so that the muscle is preserved. 

If you don’t continue to go as heavy as you can you will end up looking stringy on contest day.

I’ve seen it happen too many times where competitors will stop lifting heavy and start doing extreme high reps with light weight.

Don’t let this be you!

Granted, your strength will decrease as you get closer to the show but that’s normal.

If you’re able to add that extra 5lbs. on each side then go right ahead.

It’s going to allow your muscles to stay looking full and dense.
At this point, you want to speed up the tempo of your workouts.

Only allow very short periods of rest between sets.

Prioritize your workouts to target your weak body parts first in the workout.

Keep this in mind, the more slowly you lose bodyfat, the more muscle you retain.

That’s why it’s very important to realize how much weight you need to lose and give yourself plenty of time.

Dropping bodyweight at a fast pace runs the risk of losing that hard earned muscle.

Usually, I start cardio at 20 min. after each workout. Some steady-state cardio. 

At first, you may feel really out of shape but you will build your aerobic capacity in a matter of days.

The cool thing about contest prep is if you’re doing what you’re suppose to be doing, you will see small changes occur on your body every 72 hours.


Here’s an example of workouts at 14 weeks out.

MONDAY: Post-Workout Cardio, Back and Abs: 
Cardio: 20 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 5.0, Speed 3.8

Back Workout:
Bent-Over Barbell Rows: 5 sets of 15, 15, 12, 6, 10 reps 
Lat Pulldown: 4 sets of 10 reps 
Machine Rows: 3 sets of 12, 6, 10 reps 
Seated Cable Rows: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Close-Grip Pulldowns: 3 sets of 8 reps 
Wide-Grip Pullups: 3 sets of failure

Superset Abs: 
Broomstick Twist: 3 sets of 30 sec 
Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps 

TUESDAY: Post-Workout Cardio, Chest and Calves: 
Cardio: 20 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 5.0, Speed 3.8

Chest Workout:
Barbell Incline Bench: 5 sets of 15, 15, 12, 6, 10 reps 
DB Incline Bench: 4 sets of 10 reps 
Barbell Flat Bench: 3 sets of 12, 6, 10 reps 
DB Decline Bench: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Weighted Dips: 3 sets of 10 reps 
DB Incline Flies: 3 sets of 15

Superset Calves: 
Standing Calve Raises: 3 sets of 30 reps 
Seated Calve Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps

WEDNESDAY: Just Cardio: 30 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 5.0, Speed 3.8

THURSDAY: Post-Workout Cardio and LEGS: 
Cardio: 20 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 5.0, Speed 3.8

Leg Workout:
Leg Extensions: 5 sets of 15, 15, 12, 12, 10 reps 
Barbell Squat: 4 sets of 12 reps 
Leg Press: 4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 10 reps 
Barbell Lunges: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps each leg
Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps 
Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 3 sets of 15, 12, 12 reps

FRIDAY:  Cardio, Shoulders and Abs: 
Cardio: 20 min. Post-Workout Cardio (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 5.0, Speed 3.8

Shoulder Workout:
Barbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 15, 15, 12, 10 reps 
DB Arnold Press: 4 sets of 10 reps 
DB Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps 
DB Front Raises: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Machine Rear Delt Flies: 3 sets of 20 reps 
EZ Bar Upright Rows: 3 sets of 15
Smith Machine Shrugs: 4 sets of 12

Superset Abs: 
Decline Bench Ab Crunch: 3 sets of 20 reps 
Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps

SATURDAY: Cardio, Arms and Calves: 
Cardio: 20 min. Post-Workout Cardio (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 5.0, Speed 3.8

Arm Workout:
Barbell Bicep Curls: 4 sets of 15, 15, 12, 10 reps 
Tricep Cable Pressdowns: 4 sets of 10 reps 
DB Incline Bench Curls: 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps 
EZ Bar Skullcrushes: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Machine Preacher Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps 
DB Tricep Kickbacks: 3 sets of 20 
DB Hammer Curls: 4 sets of 12
Tricep Bench Dips: 4 sets of 25

Superset Calves: 
Leg Press Calf Raises: 3 sets of 25 reps 
Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps

SUNDAY: OFF (NetFlix and Chill)

Example of Meals and Supplements at 14 weeks out:

Depending on my schedule, a typical day of eating will look like this...

Meal 1
1 cup of Oatmeal
40g of Whey Isolate
5g of Glutamine
5g of BCAA’s
Essential Fatty Acids(EFA’s)

Meal 2 - Pre-workout:
5g of Creatine
3g of Glutamine
30g of Waximaize/Vitargo(Carb Drink) 
20g of Whey Isolate

Meal 3 – Post workout:
5g of Creatine
5g of Glutamine
50g of Waximaize/Vitargo(Carb Drink)
40g Whey Isolate
5g of BCAA’s

Meal 4
6 oz Grilled Chicken
1 cup of steamed veggies
1 cup of steamed rice

Meal 5
6 oz Salmon
½ cup of steamed veggies
1 cup of steamed rice

Meal 6
6 oz Grilled Chicken
1 cup of steamed veggies


During this period, I stay with the same food list as stated above.

It’s time to bump up the cardio. I increase the incline to 8.0 on the treadmill.

During each stride on the treadmill, I try to flex glutes and hamstrings.

I do it for 1 min. and then walk normal for 9 min.

I repeat this cycle until I complete the session.

If weight starts to come off too rapidly, I bump up my calories by 150-200.

Taking in more food will prevent the onset of muscle catabolism.

Start posing for 15 mins. a day. Hold each pose for 20 sec. Pose preferably after workouts.

Training will consist of the same movements outlined above.

Try to decrease time between sets.

I’m talking about shaving off 15 sec. of rest time between sets to elevate the intensity.

Meals and Supplementation:
Meals and supplements will stay the same.

However, if you want to add a fat burner, now is the time to introduce it to your pre-contest prep. Take it as directed on the bottle. Water should stay the same.


You should start tanning at this point if you have really light skin. Start with maybe 10 min. in a tanning bed or out in the sun. I would start going 2 days a week.

Now is a good time to begin shaving.

There are a number of ways to remove body hair.

I’ve tried creams before and it irritated my skin.

It looked awful; thankfully I had enough time before the competition for my skin to heal.

Electric clippers have worked well for me and my coaching clients.

After you cut close enough with the electric clippers go back and use a new clean razor or electric razor to clean the surface.

You want to start shaving this far out from competition so that your skin gets accustom to the shaving.

Make sure you don’t shave your eyebrows! I've seen it happen!  

Continue shaving every four to five days.

Start posing for 15 mins. a day. Hold each pose for 20 sec. Pose preferably after workouts.

Training will consist of the same movements outlined earlier.

Try to decrease time between sets. Shave off 15 sec. of rest time between sets to elevate the intensity.

Meals and Supplementation:
Meals and supplements will stay the same. 

Hotel Reservations:
If the competition is out of town go ahead and make reservations.

Well, regardless of where the competition is, go ahead and reserve your room so that you have one less thing to worry about.

Also, send in your competitor’s registration form or submit your info online through the website for the competition.

Some shows have a late registration fee.

You can avoid this fee by submitting your form prior to the date established on the form or website.


Training is going to change at this point.

During this time into the prep, it's typical to see strength decrease in certain movements, especially compound movements, not much but noticeable. 

It’s time to dramatically increase the workout intensity.

Not only does the intensity increase but also the variety of exercises increase.

Time to train the muscles from all kinds of different angles.

Incorporate machines, cables, dumbbells, and utilize a variety of hand positions.

Compound movements are still present but other movements will be included to produce refinement in the muscles.

In order to keep the intensity at an elevated level, train push and pull muscles together.

This will allow the muscle group to rest while another muscle group is being worked.

Changing to this method revs up the intensity without wasting time between sets for muscle recovery.

Also, depending on how the body is responding, I may start to introduce some HIIT cardio on all days except leg day. While still performing a low-intensity session in the morning. 

I'll layout some HIIT cardio examples below. 

The rep range for the workouts will be no lower than 10 reps to emphasize more lean mass building and less ligament and tendon strength.

MONDAY: Cardio, Back/Chest, and Abs: 
Cardio AM: 30 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 4.0, Speed 3.6
Cardio Post-workout:

5 minutes of low intensity warm up 
HIIT cardio: 1 minute of running at 9.0 - 1 minute of walking at 3.5

Repeat 7 times 
2 - 3 minutes of cool down

Back and Chest Workout:
Bent-Over Overhand Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Barbell Incline Bench Press : 3 sets of 12,12, 10 reps 
Machine Rows Superset with DB Rows(Double Arm): 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps 
Barbell Flat Bench: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Close-Grip Pulldowns Superset with Wide-Grip Pullups: 3 sets of 10 reps 
DB Incline Flies Superset with Pec Dec Flies: 3 sets of 12 reps
Lower Back Extensions Superset with Push Ups: 3 sets of 15 reps

Superset Abs: 
Broomstick Twist: 3 sets of 30 sec 
Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps
Bicycle Crunches: 3 sets of 30 sec

TUESDAY: Cardio (AM only, No Post-workout) and Legs: 
Cardio AM: 30 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 4.0, Speed 3.6

Leg Workout:
Leg Extensions: 2 sets of 15, 12 reps 
Barbell Squat: 4 sets of 12 reps 
Leg Press: 4 sets of 25, 15, 12, 10 reps 
Barbell Lunges: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps each leg
Bench Step Ups holding DB’s: 3 sets of 20 reps each leg
Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 20 reps (heavy stack)
Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps 
Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 3 sets of 15, 12, 12 reps

NO Weight Training
Cardio AM: 30 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 4.0, Speed 3.6
Cardio PM: 5 minutes of low intensity warm up

HIIT cardio: 
1 minute of running at 9.0
1 minute of walking at 3.5
Repeat 7 times 
2 - 3 minutes of cool down 

THURSDAY: Cardio, Shoulders and Calves: 
Cardio AM: 30 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 4.0, Speed 3.6
Cardio Post-workout: 5 minutes of low intensity warm up 
HIIT cardio: 
1 minute of running at 9.0
1 minute of walking at 3.5
Repeat 7 times 
2 - 3 minutes of cool down

Shoulder Workout:
Barbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
DB Arnold Press: 3 sets of 12 reps 
Cable Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Barbell Plate Front Raises Superset Upright Rows: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Machine Rear Delt Flies Superset DB Rear Delt Flies: 3 sets of 15 reps 
DB Lateral Raise (Run the Rack): 35’s for 10, 30’s for 10, 25’s for 10, 20’s for 10 reps

Superset Calves: 
Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets of 25 reps 
Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps

FRIDAY: Cardio, Arms and Abs: 
Cardio AM: 30 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 4.0, Speed 3.6
Cardio Post-workout: 5 minutes of low intensity warm up

HIIT cardio: 
1 minute of running at 9.0
1 minute of walking at 3.5
Repeat 7 times 
2 - 3 minutes of cool down

Arm Workout:
Barbell Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Tricep Cable Pressdowns: 3 sets of 10 reps 
DB Incline Bench Curls: 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps 
EZ Bar Skullcrushes: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps 
Machine Preacher Curls Superset Concentrated Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps 
DB Tricep Kickbacks Superset Tricep Bench Dips: 3 sets of 20 
Cable Bicep Rope Curls Superset DB Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 12
Cable Overhead Tricep Extensions Superset EZ Bar Reverse Curls: 2 sets of 12

Superset Abs: 
Decline Bench Ab Crunch: 3 sets of 20 reps 
Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps
Bicycle Crunches: 3 sets of 30 secs

NO Weight Training
Cardio AM: 30 min. (Low Intensity) Treadmill Incline 4.0, Speed 3.6
Cardio PM: 5 minutes of low intensity warm up 
HIIT cardio: 
1 minute of running at 9.0
1 minute of walking at 3.5
Repeat 7 times 
2 - 3 minutes of cool down 

SUNDAY: OFF (Do Nothing)

Start posing for 20 mins. a day. Hold each pose for 20 sec. Continue to pose after your workouts.

Meals and Supplementation:
Here’s where I change the meals. 

This is going to help keep things moving along at the right pace.

Time to begin  carb-cycle.  

High carbs will only be on leg day.

Moderate carbs will be on other workout days.

Low carbs will be on non-training days.

This is how it looks:

Leg Day (High Carb):

Meal 1:
1 cup of Oatmeal
1 tbsp of almond butter
40g Whey Isolate

Meal 2:
6 oz Grilled Chicken Breast
1 cup steamed broccoli
Medium size sweet potato

Meal 3: 
6 oz Grilled Cod
1 cup of green beans
1 cup of steamed rice

Meal 4: Pre-Workout
3g of Creatine (Decreasing creatine to 3g each serving…next week I'll remove it from diet)
3g of Glutamine
30g of Waximaize/Vitargo(Carb Drink) 
20g of Whey Isolate

Meal 5: Post-Workout
3g of Creatine
5g of Glutamine
40g of Waximaize/Vitargo(Carb Drink)
30g Whey Isolate
5g of BCAA’s

Meal 6: 
6-8 oz Grilled Tilapia
1 cup of steamed veggies
1 cup of steamed rice

Other Training Days (Moderate Carb):

Meal 1:
1 cup of Oatmeal
40g Whey Isolate

Meal 2:
6 oz Grilled Chicken Breast
1 cup steamed broccoli

Meal 3: 
6 oz Grilled Cod
1 cup of green beans
1 cup of steamed rice

Meal 4: Pre-Workout
3g of Creatine 
3g of Glutamine
10g of Waximaize/Vitargo(Carb Drink) 
20g of Whey Isolate

Meal 5: Post-Workout
3g of Creatine
5g of Glutamine
40g of Waximaize/Vitargo(Carb Drink)
40g Whey Isolate
5g of BCAA’s

Meal 6: 
6 oz Grilled Cod
1 cup of steamed veggies

Non-Training Days (Low Carb):

Meal 1:
2 cup of egg beaters with veggies (omelet)
20g Whey Isolate

Meal 2:
6 oz Grilled Chicken Breast
1 cup steamed broccoli

Meal 3: 
6 oz Grilled Cod or Tuna
1 cup of green beans
​1 cup of rice

Meal 4: 
6 oz Grilled Chicken
10 spears of asparagus

Meal 5: 
6 oz Grilled Cod
1 cup of broccoli

Meal 6: 
40g Whey Protein
5g Glutamine


Training will stay the same.

I might change from close grip to wide grip on exercises that allow it but keep the rep range and sets the same.

Forget how much weight is on the bar and make the weight work for you.

Focus on the feel of the resistance along the full range of motion of every repetition.

You may experience some overtraining symptoms starting to surface.

If you get tenderness in the joints or sluggishness throughout your day simply increase your intake of Vitamin C and B vitamins for a few days and take one full day off of training.

This should help you bounce back 100%.

Start posing for 20 mins. a day. Hold each pose for 20 sec. Continue to pose after your workouts.

Meals and Supplementation:
The carb cycling continues. Creatine is removed so no excess water is being retained.


At this point, you start looking like a bodybuilder.

Clothes should start to get a little loser.

Don’t freak out, it’s normal.

You’re getting rid of body fat, not muscle.

The workouts are going to stay just like they are.

Depending on how the physique is looking, I might add an additional cardio session.

The cardio will be low intensity, incline treadmill at 12% grade, speed at 3.2 mph. 

Squeeze the glutes and hams each stride for 1 ½ min and walk normal for 1 ½ min. Repeat the cycle until the session is complete.

From this point on, posing for 25 mins. a day.

Hold each pose for 20 sec.

Continue to pose after  workouts if time permits.

If not, pose after cardio session.

The more you flex the harder you will get.

By this time, you should have your posing routine all set and ready to go.

From this day forward, practice your routine twice a day.

Meals and Supplementation:
Still carb cycling with meals. Everything statys the same up until peak week.


Depleting and Loading:
Start carb depleting Sun ( ½ carbs – ex, from 400g to 200g); Mon (deplete to ½ carbs from Sun- 200g to 100g); Tues(deplete to ½ carbs from Mon. 100g to 50g).

In addition to depleting these three days, I keep the body well hydrated by drinking 1 ½ - 2 gallons on each of those days. 

Wednesday thru Friday is when I carb load. VERY IMPORTANT!

Depending on how the physique is looking, I may not take any sodium from Wednesday to the contest.

The premise behind carb loading is to fill the muscles with as much glycogen as possible, and not have any water beneath the skin.

The key to doing this is balancing the water with amount of carbs ingested.

On Wednesday, slowly bring up the carbs to around the number of carbs I started with Sunday.

The carbs that are consumed on Wednesday can be a mixture of high/low glycemic carbs, but I make sure these are carbs my body is already familiar with and can digest easily.  

I bring the water intake back to 1 gallon (still need water but now it is shuttling carbs to the muscles in the form of glycogen).

Not as much protein at this point (only for digestive purposes).

Also, depending on how the body is looking, I might do a light pump circuit to pump up the muscles but nothing too intense.

The body needs to absorb the carbs.

Thursday, see how you look or have someone with a good eye critique your physique. 

I might carb load again only using white rice, rice cakes, or sweet potatoes, but cut water intake to ½ gal – ¾ gal. I still may do a little pump up for the muscles.

Friday, see how the physique looks (if still a little flat – might increase carb intake (low-glycemic) another 50 – 100g. Cut water intake in half again ( ¼ – ½ gal).

Do a light circuit training workout to get some of the carbs moving around.

If the body appears full, practice posing and back off of the carbs. 

On the other hand, if the body is holding water but feel hard to the touch, the body has spilled over.

Don't panic though, here's what I've done before and it worked miracles...

I put on some sweats and jumped in a vehicle with the heat turned up (a home-made sauna) or if I had access to a sauna, I'd go in for six minutes. 

Saturday, I only take sips of water to flush down food.

Still very little sodium, if any, and I eat low glycemic carbs like Thursday.

I don’t go splurging after pre-judging.

Make sure to eat the way you’ve been eating until after the evening show.

I’ve seen too many competitors go eat Big Mac’s and other junk only to find out that it did more harm than good.

You’ve stuck it out this long so eating clean for one more day won’t hurt you.


Now that you are pumped and registered for your competition, here is what you do next.

You have to gather some items to take with you to the show.

We will call this your contest survival kit.

All items are essential for you to do your very best on contest day.

I’m going to cover every little detail about what goes into this contest survival kit.

The last thing you want to do is show up on contest day and realize you forgot something.

You’re going to be stressed as it is so let’s not let this area be of concern.

The first item you need to pack is two or three pair of posing trunks.

At least bring two pair because you may spill posing oil or dye on your trunks so having a backup is critical.

You should have some tan applied before going to prejudging but bring some extra tanning lotion and posing oil just in case you need to apply more before going on stage.

It’s a good idea to throw a towel in the bag for cleaning up future messes or pumping up exercises.

Go ahead and pack some resistance bands to assist with your pumping up backstage.

Bring some slippers and other items such as: toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, small hand mirror, underwear, soap, and brush or comb.

It won’t hurt to bring a changing set of cloths either.

You will most likely arrive on the Friday before the show to weigh-in.

The weigh-in is conducted between a given time period so make sure you get there at the appropriate time. 

After the weigh-in you will be given further instructions about the competition.

Once the weigh-in is over and other documents completed, it is time to go to your room and relax.

Now isn’t the time for you to be running around and standing on your feet.

Stay in your room and elevate your feet on some pillows while trying to get some rest.

By elevating your legs, you will keep them rested for the competition on the next day.

It will be very hard to sleep because you may have butterflies as big as the state of Texas in your stomach.

But try to get some rest because you have a long day tomorrow.

When you wake up the day of the show make sure you have everything before heading to pre-judging.

Pre-judging is usually around 9 or 10 a.m.

The promoter will probably have you show up about an hour before the pre-judging starts.

Pre-judging is when every competitor is trying to peak and bring the best package to the stage because this is when the majority of the decisions of placing are made.

This is when you want to put your “game face” on.

When you arrive that morning before pre-judging, you will gather in the auditorium and be giving a competitor’s briefing.

If you haven’t turned in your music by now, this is the time to turn it in so the DJ will have your music for the evening show.

Once your number is giving to you and all announcements have been made, you will proceed backstage.

While backstage, you first want to look for a sheet of paper that has the order of the show.

It tells you what order the classes are going to be called out on stage.

This sheet of paper is usually in the dressing room.

If you don’t find it right away, ask around until you do find it.

After you’ve located the sheet and understand the order of the show, start peeling off your sweats and get ready.

With physique posing trunks still intact, this is the time you apply some sheen or posing oil to your physique and start to pump up before hitting the stage.

You will see all the men's physique competitors sizing each other up.

It’s normal for you to look at the other competitors and think, “Man, he’s going to be tough to beat.”

You will feel like you’re the smallest person in the dressing room but don’t let your mind play games on you.

Remain focus and have fun. Introduce yourself and make friends backstage.

Granted, you will have some guys who stay to themselves but you will have others who are will to chat with you.

If you see someone needing help, don’t hesitate, give them a hand. 

Make sure you stay alert and listen for your class/division to line up and get ready to go on stage.

I’ve seen competitors get disqualified because they didn’t pay attention to the order of the show and missed out on their class.

You may be listening to your music but make sure you have one of the headphones out of your ears so that you can hear what’s going on.

When it’s time for your class to hit the stage you will lineup and be directed towards the stage.

Pre-Judging (Morning Show)

As you and the other physique competitors grace the stage, the judging starts immediately.

If you have a fairly large class, the head judge may ask a certain number of competitors to step forward.

In case of a small class, the entire group will start to pose.

When all competitors are in place, you will be giving a command from the head judge.

That command will be, “Quarter turn to the right.”

After going through the quarter turns you will then be ask to strike a compulsory pose usually starting with, “Front double bicep.”

Once all the compulsory poses have been completed and the judges are satisfied, you will be asked to leave the stage.

Please don’t think it’s that simple.

Depending on the quality of your class, you can be on stage for quite a while.

Pre-judging can be very intense and draining.

That’s why you must practice your posing months before you compete.

It’s a good idea to practice holding a pose for 20 - 30 seconds.

You most certainly want to spend more time practicing the front relaxed pose.

You will spend more time in that pose more than others.

Trust me; pre-judging will let the judges know if you’ve been practicing your posing.

It will become obvious very quickly.

You stick out like a sore thumb if you don’t put the time in to practice posing.

Every competition, it will be a physique competitor that shakes uncontrollably due to lack of posing practice.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

It’s not an option.

Before leaving pre-judging, make sure you check to see what time to show up in the evening.

You have some hours between pre-judging and the evening show so make sure you grab a small bite to eat and get some rest.

Now, let’s talk about the most popular part of bodybuilding competitions – “The Evening Show.”


Usually the evening show starts around 6 or 7 p.m.

You will most likely arrive an hour before it starts.

This is when everyone fills the auditorium and your family, friends, and other spectators are in attendance.

This is when - if you’ve spent time perfecting your posing routine and have some cool music to go along with it – you will start a fan base and following.

The evening show is all about entertaining the crowd.

There still will be some judging taking place but for the most part this is when the auditorium will erupt.

You may hear your family and friends calling your name or some total stranger yelling your competitor number and giving you props for posing great or bringing a nice package to the stage.

The evening show is when you are giving 60  seconds for your posing routine.

After everyone in your class has performed their routine, your class will be asked to come back out on stage.

This is when awards and placing will be given.

The majority of contests announce the top five with the fourth and fifth place receiving medals and first, second, and third receiving trophies and/or swords.

Once the winner of every class is announced, each competitor will be asked to come back out on stage to choose the overall winner.

This group will be judged "LIVE" on executing the mandatory poses will also have an additional round called the “posedown.”

After the posedown a winner will be chosen.

Standing there exhausted and as hungry as four grizzly bears you’re waiting for your name to be called.

When your name is called and projected through the auditorium as the winner,

You will tell yourself,

“The strict dieting, grueling workouts, and lack of energy was all well worth it.”

I want you to pause and think about how that would feel.

The feeling that you stuck it out to the end and got rewarded for your discipline, dedication, and consistency.

I can tell you from experience, it’s an awesome feeling!

After finding out which contest to enter and the different divisions, let’s dig a little deeper and see what goes on each round and how to execute each pose during Symmetry and Mandatory poses round.

Round 1: This is the Symmetry round.

When you enter the stage make sure your head is up, you’re looking and feeling confident, and your tensed.

You will face the judges with arms at your sides, chest elevated, abs tucked or flexed, and legs tensed.

This is called the relaxed pose but this isn’t the time when you want to relax and let it all hang out.

This is the first time the judges will see you so make a good first impression.

Depending on the depth and quality of the class, you can be holding poses for an extended amount of time.

This is why you should practice posing months in advance so that you’re prepared for battle.

The judges will be evaluating each physique from the front, both sides, and the rear.

When you’re on stage please understand you’re getting judged every second because you don’t know which judge is looking at you.

That’s why it’s best to never look slouchy or let your guard down.

Here's how it breaks down:

Once the head judge is satisfied, you will be instructed by the head judge to quarter turn to your right so that your left side is facing the judges.

Before turning, tense or flex the left tricep so that judges see it when you turn. Keep your abs tucked in, hamstrings and calves flexed.

Twist slightly toward the judges so that your serratus and chest is enhanced.

Make sure your feet are flat. Your second quarter turn will have your back in full view of the judges.

Before turning into the second quarter turn, flex and flare out your lats.

Flex calves, glutes, hamstrings, and tense arms.

Next will be the third quarter turn where your right side faces the judges.

Flex the right tricep before turning and showing the judges.

Your right arm should be slightly behind you and the left arm slightly forward. Twist slightly toward judges and keep calves flexed and abs tucked.

That’s why this is called the symmetry round because the judges are looking for the best balances and imbalances.

Now comes the mandatories.

Round 2: Five Mandatory Classic Physique Poses

You are giving the option of choosing your best side in the side chest but you want to practice both sides just in case.

This is the round where you want to really stand out from your opponents.

Now let’s break each pose down into greater detail so that not only do you master each pose but you will use a variation a pose that suits your classic physique.

Before starting any pose I want you to start from the ground up.

Here’s what I mean.

I want you to develop a mental checklist.

The following should be listed on your mental posing checklist:

  • Feet are positioned correctly – check!
  • Calves are flexed or tensed – check!
  • Quads or hamstrings are flexed or tensed – check!
  • Glutes are flexed or tensed – check!
  • Abs are tucked (vacuumed), or flexed – check!
  • Upper body flexed depending on the pose – check!
  • And don’t forget to SMILE….it’s all about having fun!
  • Winners Smile! – check!

If you can just remember one thing that I share with you, please remember this checklist.

I see way too many bodybuilders begin to pose the upper body and totally forget to flex their legs.

And because of that, they wind up placing much lower than what they would have if they would have posed correctly.

So, let’s go over each pose.

Front Double Biceps Pose

The front double bicep is usually the first pose that the head judge will call out.

It is also one of the most famous poses in bodybuilding.

You can have two variations when it comes to this pose. Remember the checklist above.

Make a somewhat V with your feet and toes should point outward.

Calves, Quads, and Abs should be tense. 

If you have a very nice V-taper or somewhat small waist, hit this pose straight on.

Your upper arms should be parallel are slightly above your shoulders and wrist turned inward to enhance the peak of the bicep.

Distribute your weight evenly through your legs.

While flexing the arms, bring elbows forward slightly to flare out your lats and this small adjustment enhances the chest to make it appear fuller.

The other variation to this pose is to bend and lean more on one leg while twisting the body.

Place one arm slightly than the other. This will make you appear more symmetrical and is perfect if you are up against a more massive opponent.

Side Chest Pose

Majority of the time, the head judge will allow you to choose your best side.

Turn your best side to the judges.

Start from the ground up.

Bend the knee that is facing the judges to flex the hamstring.

Elevate the heel of that same leg to flex calve.

Put the ball of the foot that is farthest from the judges inside the arch of the foot that is closest to the judges.

Keep the palm of the arm that is flexed turned upward and your other hand clasped on the wrist of the arm that is flexed.

Keep arms close to the upper torso.

Slightly arch your back so that your chest is elevated and appears full.

Remember, the judges are looking at your entire physique for keep everything tight.

Rear Double Bicep Pose

This is the pose that really shows the judges everything such as your delts, legs, back, and conditioning.

Many competitors look great from the front but when they turn around is when it truly shows who is king.

Executing this pose is very similar to the front double bicep except you will be asked to display one calve.

With your rear facing the judges, spike your best calve, tense your hamstrings, and flex your glutes.

Put a slight arch in your back and lean back toward the judges just a little while flexing the arms.

Remember, the judges are sometimes sitting below the stage.

By tilting back slightly, your lats will appear fuller and wider.

Ab and Thigh Pose

This is when you can tell who slipped in a twinkie during their contest prep.

The better abs you display the more attention you are more likely to get from the judges.

The leaner you are the better the midsection will be.

Begin this pose by placing your best quad forward and flex it.

Interlock fingers and place both hands behind the head.

To display your abs best, blow out all your air just before hitting this pose.

As you are flexing your abs, lean back slightly to bring out the lower abs.

Your Favorite Classic Physique Pose (No Most Muscular Poses)

There are a number of great classic poses to choose from.

Make sure the pose you choose compliments your physique and not the other way around.

For example, if you have nice arms, select a pose that highlights your arm development. 

Free Posing Round (Classic Posing Routine)

Here’s the chance to really express yourself through your posing routine.

Be the competitor that comes out on stage and the entire auditorium doesn’t want you to leave when your time expires.

That is how you establish a fan base in this sport.

Humans love to be entertained.​

If you come out and leave a lasting impression, you will all kinds of people approaching you after the show wanting to take pictures with you.

It’s a great feeling!

Besides, you have been dieting for an extended period of time and this your time to show all the hard work that you’ve put into it.

You will be giving 60 seconds to perform your individual routine.

To some that may seem long and to others it may seem not long enough.

Regardless of the time that is giving, make it fun, and memorable.

The first order of business is to find you some music for your routine unless you’re going to be singing the whole time, which, I don’t recommend.

Keep in mind; you will be listening to this song many times so make sure you like it.

Try not to pick a very popular song because I promise you and five other competitors will have it.

The whole purpose of your preparation is to stand out from your competition not blend in.

If you have a little extra cash, contact a local DJ or find someone who knows what they are doing and get a couple of songs mixed together.

The crowd and the judges will love it and see you went the extra mile.

Find the type of music that inspires you and compliments your physique. If you’re still in doubt, find something upbeat that will get the crowd going.

Make sure you create two or three copies of your music just in case something happens to one of the copies.

If you show up and your music doesn’t play or you lose your copy guess what….you pose to whatever music the DJ will play.

Avoid putting yourself in this situation by carrying two copies with you and have a friend or family member keep a copy.

Now that you have the music selected, let’s build you a posing routine.

Get someone to take a picture of you performing your mandatory poses.

After you have your pictures of each pose, spread the pictures out on a table top.

This is when you have to be truly honest with yourself and identify your weakness as well as your strengths.

Unless you just won the Mr. Olympia contest, you have weaknesses so don’t try to deny it.

Actually, every bodybuilder has weak areas that need improvement and you are no exception.

You need to highlight your strong points and hide your weaknesses.

Pick the first pose that you look the best.

This is the pose you will start your routine with and may even be considered for ending your routine.

You can either use these mandatory poses or variations of them.

As long as it highlights your strengths and you’re comfortable, throw it into your routine.

For instance, if you have great arms you want to display them as much as possible by using variations of arm poses.

Next, think about how you’re going to perform your transitions from one pose to the next.

You want to make your posing seem effortlessly and flow smoothly.

The best approach to this is to try to hit the poses in the same sequence as your mandatories.

Example, if you are performing a front double bicep, it is almost effortless to perform the ab and thigh pose because your feet are already close together. 

When you practice your posing you will appear more confident and move gracefully from one pose to another.

Take your posing routine very serious because it will show the judges you did your homework and may win you a best poser award.

Hope you found this men's classic physique contest prep guide helpful. Please let me know how you do in your next competition. I'd love to connect with you!


Talk soon,
CC Matthews

Transformation Coach/ Pizza Lover