Written by IFBB Pro Josh Wade
12 September 2020

 josh wade slider Sept 2020



Relentless Pursuit

By IFBB Pro Josh Wade

Presented by Allmax Nutrition


Dieting for Your First Show!


Q: I want to compete for the first time next year and was wondering how many weeks out do you start prep, and do you ever include cheat meals?


A:That answer can vary significantly from show to show, person to person and it also really depends if you’ve truly ever been shredded! If you carry more fat, then obviously you’ll need a longer prep. I’ll use my first show in 2006 as an example, as the first time you compete and have to get down to super low body fat levels is the hardest. I was 27 years old at my first show and started prep 16 weeks out at 220 pounds. For my first time dieting I was told by a national-level competitor that I had 27 years of baby fat to get rid of, and after the fat cells have been shrunk it would be easier in the future. In 2006 there was nowhere near the amount of information available as there is nowadays. For me that was better, as I learned a lot through trial and error. I didn’t follow what would be my normal protocol these days. I did two hours of cardio per day and ate super low calories, as most of my meals were deli meat turkey slices and celery sticks. I’ll lay out what my diet plan was below but let me say it was serious suffering. People say they suffer all the time, but I was eating under 2,000 calories a day for over 15 weeks while doing two hours of cardio per day on top of working 10 hours a day as a plumber, and had to find time for weight training as well!


Going into my first show the way I’ve described is what I feel made my mind as strong as it is today and why prep now is so much easier! I did not include any cheat meals or ever strayed from my diet as I ate the same thing at the same time every day religiously. In my opinion, if you don’t keep it that regimented, how are you going to know what’s working and when things need to be changed? I started at 220 pounds and in 16 weeks I dropped 47 pounds and weighed in as a middleweight at 173 pounds. I only attended one bodybuilding show prior to deciding to compete but had been looking at magazines for years, so I thought that’s what everyone did when preparing for a show. I thought everyone approached it the same way and dieted as hard as possible to get every bit of body fat off. But at weigh-ins, I noticed that I was in better condition than everyone else. Even though I was nervous, that helped raise my confidence. Back then there weren't open weigh-ins so everyone had to weigh in with their weight class and you got a sneak preview of your competition. I won the novice and open middleweight bodybuilding classes at that show, doubtless due to my condition. There were bigger guys in my class, but they lacked the shredded condition I brought. I feel especially at the local level, shows are won on conditioning!


Let me say that even though I lost 47 pounds for my first show, I didn’t gain weight fast in my early years of training, so I never stretched out my skin to the point that it had no elasticity. Loose skin can hurt your chances while competing, as it is a visual sport and it’s unsightly. Don’t try to gain weight too fast, as usually it will be mostly fat and stretch out your skin. Don’t try to lose too fast either, as crash dieting will cause you to lose muscle, slow your metabolism, and leave you with loose skin. A slower, longer dieting process should help the skin retract as you lose the weight and fat.


This was the diet I used for my first show in 2006; total calories were 1,913.


Meal 1: ½ cup dry measure oats, 2 scoops isolate protein powder.

Meal 2: 1 can (6 oz) solid white albacore tuna in water, ½ cup brown rice.

Meal 3: 4 slices turkey breast deli meat, 6 celery sticks.

Post-workout: 2 scoops isolate protein powder.

Meal 4: 6 oz chicken breast, ½ cup brown rice.

Meal 5: 4 slices turkey breast deli meat, 6 celery sticks.

Meal 6: 8 oz tilapia, 12 asparagus spears.


I wouldn’t recommend starting calories this low, but I didn’t really know what I was doing and went all in. Although the outcome was what I had hoped for, I think I came in too flat and sacrificed muscle in doing so. Now I always start a prep a lot leaner than I used to with calories way higher. As John Meadows says, “We have more wiggle room” and you can gradually reduce calories as needed to get the same outcome without sacrificing muscle tissue. It also makes the whole process more tolerable.


Most importantly take notes, pay attention, and adjust according to results and not just because you think you should do something at a certain point. Bodybuilding is such an individual sport and you need to learn how your body responds to have a successful career. Don’t be afraid of suffering as getting body fat down to minuscule levels is not always fun and enjoyable. Like they say, “Enjoy the suck” if you want to win!


Strengthening the Immune System


With the COVID-19 situation, I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries as to which supplements can strengthen the immune system and help prevent infection. These are the supplements that I take every day year-round for immune system function and antioxidants, but they are even more beneficial at times of stress or sickness.


Allmax Immune-Boosting stack


Glutamine: 10g 3x day, upon rising, post-workout, and before bed.

R+ALA: 2 caps (300mg) with first and last meal.

CytoGreens: 1 scoop upon rising. 

Vitastack: 1 multipack with first meal.

Omega 3: 2g with first and last meal.


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Website: www.teamwadefitness.com







For more information, visit allmaxnutrition.com