Get Shredded with This Bodybuilding Pre-Contest Diet

Although this extreme diet won’t suit most people, for the competitive bodybuilder looking to lose virtually all noticeable body fat from the body, these tips will definitely help. A bodybuilding pre-contest diet is, by far, the toughest diet you could possibly imagine.

The main purpose of this diet is to strip all body fat, leaving the entire muscular frame of the physique with nothing but a covering layer of skin. Dieting on this level is not only physically demanding but also mentally and emotionally taxing as well.



Unlike most diets that involve trimming fat from the body over an extended period of time, a bodybuilding pre-contest diet takes usually around 3 to 4 months, depending on the condition of the bodybuilder at the start of the diet.

The immediate plan is to start losing fat at an accelerated rate from day one but keeping in mind that maintaining the muscle level on the physique is paramount. This is why during this diet process, the bodybuilder will still eat relatively high levels of protein throughout the day, say five to six protein-rich meals daily.


Since the human body can only digest around 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day, there’s no point eating any more protein than this to maintain the current level of muscle.

If you weighed 100kg, then your maximum necessary protein intake per day will be no more than 200 grams of protein. Any more than this will need to be burned off through exercise, so why bother eating it in the first place since you’re on a diet?

Thirty grams of protein in each meal spread over six meals is, in most cases, more than enough for most competitive bodybuilders at the beginner to intermediate level. Pro bodybuilders may consume a bit more depending on their size.

As for the protein sources, fish, chicken breast with no skin, of course, egg whites and perhaps some super lean cuts of beef are the ideal choices. These protein sources are low in fat, and that’s what you need. No high-fat protein sources in this diet. Spreading your protein meals over the day in five to six meals is ideal, say one meal every 3 hours.


Now the difficult part of this diet is not the protein intake; it is most definitely the lack of complex carbohydrates needed for this diet to work effectively. The more carbs you eat like rice, pasta, cereals, bread and so on, the more cardio you have to do to burn these carbs from your body. So, the key to a successful bodybuilder pre-contest diet is to minimise the carbs, down and down and down.

Ideally, for the best and fastest results, the fewer carbs you eat and the more cardio exercise you do, the quicker you’ll achieve that cut or ripped look needed to win a bodybuilding competition.

While it’s ok to eat some non-complex carbohydrates like most green vegetables or carrots, eating no more than 50 to 60 grams of complex carbohydrates per day will surely get your body to start burning fat for energy very quickly indeed.

Fifty to 60 grams of complex carbs will be, for example, just a half cup of uncooked oatmeal in the morning for breakfast and two slices of multi-grain bread with another meal during the day.

Now that’s a low-carb diet so low in complex carbs that you’ll feel tired most of the day. And it’ll be increasingly difficult to train hard in the gym during your weight training sessions, but this is what pre-contest bodybuilding diets are all about. Hard and strict dieting combined with consistent weight training, plus daily cardio exercise sessions to speed up the fat burning process.

Only a bodybuilder who has experienced a diet like this over a period of months without cheating on the diet really knows how difficult this diet really is. This is why it’s so difficult to get cut and shredded, and the main reason why winning a bodybuilding contest is easier said than done.

However, if you can maintain the diet without cheating, train to the failure point in the gym and keep up the cardio sessions throughout the diet, competing and doing well in a bodybuilding contest is extremely rewarding.

Staying true to your bodybuilding pre-contest diet all the way to the competition stage regardless of the result is a testimony to your strength of will and something that positively defines your character.


Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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