PNBA Natural Olympia Classic Physique champ Derek Joe compares his onstage body with his off-season physique.
Bodybuilders don’t walk around with the same physique year-round. Most of the year, the shredded body they have when posing on stage during a show is much different from their off-season physique. Professional Natural Bodybuilding Associaton (PNBA) Natural Olympia Classic Physique champ Derek Joe shared a post on social media to compare his physique before a competition and when he’s bulking.
Derek Joe is a multi-media contract athlete who won the Classic Physique category at 2021 Natural Olympia. On April 16, 2022, Derek Joe shared photos of himself on Instagram, comparing his physique a couple of days before his first competition in 2021 to when he was at his heaviest weight this year after bulking. Derek Joe stated:
“The picture on the left is of me last year two days before the first show of the season at 162-164 lbs.
The picture on the right is while I was near the top of my bulk this year, around 204 lbs. I’ve been fluctuating between 199-202 lbs for the last six weeks.”
Joe is undergoing a 20-week prep for the INBA PNBA Natural Universe show in Tampa, Florida, September 2-3, 2022. Joe says that his ideal stage weight will be around 170-175 pounds, but he mentions that it will ultimately depend on how he looks as the competition approaches.
Below you can see Derek Joe’s complete statement and physique comparison.
View this post on Instagram
Bodybuilder’s Body Fat In-Season Vs. Off-Season Physique
Of course, bodybuilders have extremely low body fat levels as they compete onstage. It’s not sustainable to maintain these body fat percentages year-round, though. Bodybuilders must go through a bulking phase to build muscle during the off-season. Also, it’s not healthy to have too low body fat levels. 3x Natural Olympia Classic Physique champ Brandon Lirio says, “you need to be able to say goodbye to the abs and let your hormones rebalance and gain.”
According to ACE, essential body fat for men and women is 2-5% (men) and 10-13% (women). When bodybuilders are in-season, they have rigorous diet and training protocols to keep them hovering around these essential levels. That’s why their weight will fluctuate drastically throughout the year. For example, Derek Joe is 40 pounds lighter in the photo on the left compared to the image on the right above. And as you can see, his body fat percentage is drastically higher during the off-season.
Of course, bodybuilders’ diets play a crucial role in the low body fat levels they can get down to. Competitive bodybuilders maintain a pretty rigorous diet all year, but they’re more flexible during the offseason than during the season. On the other hand, their nutrition is extremely strict during the season, as you’d imagine.
For example, carb cycling is a popular dieting method some bodybuilders will utilize to shred fat. Carb cycling consists of low-carb days, which forces your body to burn fat as fuel.
Bodybuilders’ physique varies throughout the year depending on if they’re in-season or off-season. Competitors will have extremely low body fat percentages before a show. However, they’ll bulk during the off-season to build more muscle and balance their hormones.