Books on Bodybuilding Contest Prep

books on bodybuilding contest prep

There are millions of articles, Youtube videos, and anecdotal advice on social media on bodybuilding contest prep.

Call us “old school,” but we prefer books on bodybuilding contest prep. Cold, hard pages to turn and reference when attempting an extreme mental and physical challenge that requires constant obsession, like prepping for a bodybuilding contest.

books on bodybuilding contest preperation

Lindy Health brings you the best books on bodybuilding prep available in-stores, on Amazon, and digital download ebooks! This article is for you if you are prepping and getting ready to step on stage. If you are to get even more old-school with your reading, check out our list of best vintage bodybuilding books.

Reviewed: Best Books on Bodybuilding Contest Prep

After putting these bodybuilding preps books to the test we were able to build a list of the best-reviewed books to ready before for your next contest.


Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook

Author: Mike Mentzer
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08/11/2022 03:32 pm GMT

If you asked us which book to buy on bodybuilding contest prep, this is the de-facto gold standard right here. Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook will have you ready to step on stage and bring home a medal.

“Great information and helped me a lot to prep for my first competition! Must have item to any natural bodybuilder!”

– Sanna

The author, Mike Mentzer, is considered by many to be one of the best bodybuilders and coaches of all time. His book is jam-packed with information on everything from diet to training to psychological preparation. Mentzer has coached over one hundred athletes to their bodybuilding pro card, meaning you better listen up if you want to be successful in the sport.

Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook will have you well on your way to success at any competition!

Runner Up

Prepped to Win: How to Contest Prep for Amateurs

Author: Carlos G Hurtado Jr
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08/11/2022 03:51 pm GMT

If you are a natural bodybuilder, a rarity these days, then Carlos Hurtado Jr’s book Prepped to Win is a top-notch resource for all your contest prep questions.

This book is a massive compilation of questions and answers for every imaginable thing you want to know before competing in your first contest.

“This book is by far the best of its kind to prepare you for competition, male or female. It is clear and informative, filling you with top tips, inspiration, and motivation to get out there and be the best you can be on that stage. It’s a must-read!”

Miss A.

Moving up the ranks from amateur to pro card bodybuilder is a tall order; Prepped to Win: How to Contest Prep for Amateurs is the ultimate resource for answering every question before your first show.

Another Great Option

Bikini: Ultimate Bikini Competition Prep Guide

Author: Samantha Christie
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08/11/2022 04:01 pm GMT

Ladies, we did not forget about you! 

We found an excellent guidebook to prep for bikini competitions. This book is essential if you are determined to achieve your fitness goals in the bikini division!

Bikini: Ultimate Bikini Competition Prep Guide includes a ton of information, including:

  • How you should adjust your training before show day
  • How you should prepare your meals and handle nutrition
  • How to grab judges’ attention so you can get a better score
  • What to do on the day of your competition

“Bestseller Samantha Christie shares trade secrets to get that dream bikini body and win first place”

Tanya S.

It’s a comprehensive book that features proven steps and strategies to bag you that first place trophy. It features a solid exercise regime that can benefit readers even after the competition. It also contains trade beauty tips and a variety of poses that will surely wow judges.” – Nicola F.

The sport of bodybuilding is growing and the woman’s division even more so. Add this book to your arsenal to get an edge in your next competition.

Another Great Option

Competition Prep Book: Journal

Author: Coach Dee
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12/05/2022 12:03 am GMT

When tracking your diet, supplements, and training sessions, there are 1000s of apps and websites to choose from these days.

It is easy to get overwhelmed, and you may find it challenging to learn a new app while also fitting in everything else required to prep for bodybuilding competitions.

This journal is designed specifically for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts who compete and don’t need to worry about a mobile app. This contest prep journal is old school and only requires a pen or pencil.

“Everything is covered!”

– Amazon Customer

If you are bodybuilding, you know the only thing that matters is progress and results. You’ll be able to track your progress, supplement usage, training logs, food intake, and more, all in this easy-to-use contest prep book!

The Bodybuilder's Kitchen: 100 Muscle-Building, Fat Burning Recipes, with Meal Plans to Chisel Your Physique


The author of this book, Erin Stern, understands that what happens in the kitchen significantly impacts a bodybuilder's appearance.

Hence, she provides 100 recipes with key macronutrients and nutritional value. The book also includes a 5-week meal plan for a chiseled body.

  • Easy-to-understand and follow steps on nutrition.
  • Plans for ketogenic dieting, calorie cycling, and carb cycling are included.
  • The book has guidelines on when to eat, what, and how to manage nutrition
  • Wrong paging with the paperback copies
Buy Now
08/12/2022 01:37 am GMT

Preparing for a bodybuilding contest requires an almost relentless adherence to a strict diet.

You must ensure you are hitting your macro and micronutrients, find the perfect supplement balance, and train like your life depends on it.

“Erin Stern’s “Body Builder’s Kitchen” is full of quick, easy, and FLAVORFUL recipes! All of them are broken down into their macros, so you know what you’re getting. The book even tells you how to turn the recipes into Keto-friendly versions. If you’re looking to improve your eating habits but still want to enjoy a lot of flavors, then look no further than this cookbook.”

– John McCord

While this book is not specifically about contest prep, it does offer 100 muscle-building and fat-burning recipes that you can follow along to ensure your physique is ready to go come competition time.

This book also comes with meal plans for each week of the contest prep process, so you will have everything you need to hit your goals!

Dorian Yates is one of the most famous bodybuilders in the sport. Having won the Mr. Olympia six times, Dorian knows a thing or two about training and prepping for a contest.

He is a golden era legend that is known for his rigorous, some say crazy, bodybuilding contest prep regime.

This journal gives you the actual writings and personal thoughts of a bodybuilder at the top of the sport between 1985-1990. Getting into the mind of someone like Dorian can help you put together your contest prep plan.

The journal includes everything from workouts to diet and even has unfiltered thoughts of Mr. Yates as he dominated the bodybuilding scene.

This book is one of a kind and deserving of a spot on our list of best books on bodybuilding contest prep.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of eating food before a bodybuilding contest?

You must adequately fuel your body to maintain a stage-ready physique before a contest. Following all of the steps of the process, including eating food before bodybuilding contests, are crucial to success.

How many calories should I consume daily to gain weight and be able to compete at my desired weight class?

Giving you a strict number of exactly how many calories you need to eat to gain weight to be suitable for your desired weight class is a loaded question.

First, you will need to find your RMR or resting metabolic rate. This is the number of calories you burn in a day regardless of what physical activities you participate in. You must consider activities like walks, strength training, or even fidgeting.

Adding 300 – 500 calories to the amount of calories you burn in a day is most often ideal for increasing lean muscle mass.

What is the best way to prepare for a bodybuilding contest?

Pick up a copy of one of our suggested bodybuilding contest prep books! This may seem obvious, but information is power. You will need to learn as much as possible to succeed on stage, pack on pounds of lean muscle, and shred body fat.

The Verdict

Many books are out there to help you prepare for your first bodybuilding contest.

bodybuilding contest prep books and journals

These books include guides, answers to common questions, templates, and even personal journals if leading competitors prior to their competition day.

Pick up and read one of these books, and you will feel more prepared and ready to take home your bodybuilding pro card.

Do you have a favorite or maybe a book you read before contest day?

Let us know in the comments below!

Matt Mahony
Latest posts by Matt Mahony (see all)

Matt Mahony

Matt Mahony has been a personal trainer for over a decade, helping people from all walks of life get in shape and stay healthy. He is originally from Portland, ME but now resides in Colorado. A self-proclaimed "gym rat," Matt loves nothing more than spending time in the weight room or on the basketball court.

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