Rule 3 Start the diet early enough

In addition to underestimating body fat levels, many bodybuilders start their diets too late giving themselves 8 weeks or less to get into contest-ready shape. Getting into contest shape 2 weeks early is preferable to getting into contest shape 2 weeks late.

Assuming a starting body fat of 10-12% for men (13-15% for women), beginning contest

preparation 10-12 weeks before a contest should be sufficient for most bodybuilders. If an individual knows that their body is slow to drop body fat, they may start their diet 16 weeks prior to a contest. If a trainee is unsure of how quickly they will drop fat (i.e. preparing for their first contest), they should start earlier rather than later. Starting early has an additional benefit: it allows the possibility of taking a week off of the diet. This strategy, along with others to break fat loss plateaus, is discussed in chapter 13.

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