Team NXT and veteran competitive bodybuilder Brian Ward shares his 3 pre-contest diet tips for killer conditioning on stage.

1: Be Prepared


Contest prep will require a certain physical and mental strength which will test you more than you can ever imagine - that is if you want to get into proper contest conditon.

Before anyone commits to a pre-contest diet, always ensure you’re prepared for the sacrifice it entails & give the prep the attention and dedication it requires, otherwise, the outcome will never be forgiving.


If you can dedicate yourself 100%, your hard work won't go unnoticed!


Another important factor to consider is “Am I ready for the stage?” This is where you need to be brutally honest with yourself and make sure you will fit into the class you’re prepping for nicely, otherwise, you will be setting urself up for a big disappointment.


Time and time again people stand on stage who haven't checked the criteria and look completely out of place. You want your contest prep to be enjoyable so the key is 'Be Prepared'.

2: Diet


A lot of people fall short in this area which basically is key to getting into contest shape.


The key to a successful prep is to transition nicely from 'offseason' into 'contest prep'. By this I would recommend having your diet in place months before the contest prep will begin, at this stage the diet doesn't need to be extremely strict but macros are calculated and you have basic feedback of how your body is looking with your current steady diet. This makes the transition into prep so easy, week 1 of prep cut out all treats... week 2-3 start to slightly taper carbs/calories.

Everything is done in moderation. Your body will respond to the small changes and start to move in the direction you want.

A big mistake most people make is “oh, I'm starting contest prep” and starve themselves from 12 weeks out with little to no carbs.

Yes, you will lose a lot of weight fast but believe me it will soon stall and then more extreme measures will be required which won't favour your muscle tissue.


So, be smart when running into a prep phase and plan it wisely.


3: If you can pinch it, it’s fat, not water


Some people like to believe in the final weeks that they are just holding water and think a peak week will have them shredded.

The truth is most people are still holding bodyfat.

If you are still holding bodyfat trying to drop water in the final week is not only dangerous but it will simply make you look worse. Remember, your muscle is made up of 70% water - that's a huge %. If you cut water, your body will always try to normalise back to its 70/30 ratio, which is 70% water in the muscle and 30% water under the skin.

Therefore, if you drop water and try to flush too much water your muscles will also deflate. This is not a good look!


Most bodybuilders have been in this situation at some point in their career. In the final weeks as the contest gets closer your mind can play a lot of tricks. No matter how smart or how well you know your body, your mind will tell you different things every hour of every day.


This is where it’s good to have 1 person in your corner who you can trust. This ensures you have a second opinion and will help to see you at your best.

Hopefully, these 3 tips can help you have a more successful contest prep. Keep working hard & consistent and the results will show.