Any idiot can get a figure or bikini competitor into stage shape. All the coach has to do is be willing to endanger the health and well-being of the client. The competitor will look great on stage, but it comes at a steep price. Want to hear the recipe that most of these trainer's use?

The Dumb Trainer's Recipe

Note: This is what the IDIOT coaches and competitors are doing. Don't do this!

  1. Take a girl who desperately needs attention and is willing to do anything to do well in a contest, mostly so she can post her pics on social media.
  2. Put her on a 800-calorie diet, mostly from protein.
  3. Have her do an hour or two of fasted cardio every day, plus some more after her weight training workouts.
  4. Have her do some crazy weight training workouts including stuff like a giant set of 20 squats, 20 leg presses, and 20 lunges... for 10 sets. Make sure the workouts are a couple of hours long and non-stop. It doesn't have to be a logical or smart training plan, it just needs to burn tons of fuel.
  5. Put her on the drug clenbuterol so that she'll burn fat more easily and will have the energy needed to function on her anorexic diet.
  6. Give her anabolics so that she won't lose muscle even with the starvation diet, excess cardio, and overtraining regimen. She may resist drug use at first, so be sure to remind her that everyone else is doing it and that she's just going to humiliate herself if she doesn't.
  7. Make sure she sticks with the diet. Use any psychological manipulation strategy you need to get it done. Belittle, berate, shame, intimidate. Whatever works.
  8. Optional: Make sure she doesn't actually learn anything about nutrition and training. You want her to become dependent on you so she'll keep paying you.
  9. Stir all the ingredients together and cook for 12-16 weeks.

(Again, don't do that!)

Cheap Trophies and Broken Bodies

The above recipe will not only drain every ounce of joy from that person's life, it could lead to devastating health problems like metabolic damage. Getting in competition shape a few times (at least when doing it the dumb way) might lead to her being chubby the rest of her life.

And the psychological distress from such a lifestyle? Enormous. Eating disorders aren't uncommon. I can't tell you how many women I've seen cry and become depressed. I've seen some lose their periods and others lose their hair. I even know of one woman who would eat toilet paper so she wouldn't feel as hungry. Whatever it takes, right?

And remember, competing doesn't pay 99.9% of figure and bikini competitors. They're spending a lot of money for these experiences... and consequences.

The Typical Coach

Sadly, I've been around a lot of coaches working with figure athletes and this is what 75% of them are doing. Why? Because if you get a girl that's hard-headed enough to stay the course, the dumb recipe above will get her in shape. So what if she loses some muscle? They'll just move her down from figure to bikini!

So what if her long-term health is ruined? So what if she's psychologically bruised or worse? You did exactly what she paid you to do. (That's pre-paid, no refunds, with some later additional costs thrown in, of course.) The typical trainer is using his clients to gain fame and get more clients. He's not coaching with the client's best interest in mind.

Listen, if you're working with a woman who's in reasonably good shape and you can't get her in contest shape for a figure or bikini contest without using the idiotic recipe above, you have no business being a trainer. Unless she's at the pro or national level in figure, she doesn't even need that much muscle to compete and look like she belongs on stage.

The human body is a complex machine. And the answer to the question "How do I become shredded?" should never be "Eat a starvation diet on which you can barely function while doing enough work to kill a plow horse."

And you know what the worst thing is? These coaches use the same approach with average female clients just wanting to lose some weight (minus the drug part).

Does This Offend You?

If you're already offended, it's because you're part of the problem. You might be one of those dumb, lazy trainers. Or maybe you're a competitor who just feels dumb for falling into this trap. Women tend to be better than men when it comes to forcing themselves not to eat. Sadly, that misplaced discipline means that's women are more likely to stick to some coach's idiotic plan.

Well, dumb coaches and hapless competitors, it might be time for you to learn how the body functions. No, this is not the only way to get ripped. There are plenty of very good bodybuilding and figure coaches who don't put their clients on starvation diets. (Most of them have articles here on T Nation.) Heck, I know several competitors who eat more carbs when dieting down than I do on my normal diet! Good coaches can get amazing results focusing on smart nutrition and training, not concentration-camp diets and lots of drugs.


If you're a coach, your clients are not there to serve you. They are not put on this earth to be your living billboard or a monument to your greatness. They are the client. By definition, that means you work for them. And it's your responsibility to not only give them results but also to avoid destroying their health while doing it.

If the only way you know to get results is by using the dangerous recipe above, it's your duty as an "expert" to learn from better coaches, change your mindset, and change your ways. Or just find another job.

There's a Better Way

If you're a woman wanting to get lean, there are many smart coaches that can help you. But if the first thing a coach tells you is to "get on clen," look for someone else!

Here's an example of a woman I worked with. She's 100% lifetime natural with a full-time physical job and a kid. She won both of her contests, mainly because she was the leanest.

She did this by training hard and smart and by eating an intelligent diet. Getting lean is hard work, no doubt. But you don't have to put your health and well-being at risk to achieve it.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.