After doing my very first figure show prep on my own and placing poorly, I needed to do something different. I saw Shelby Starnes’ client photos, and I knew he was the answer to me reaching my competitive goals.

At first I was a little worried to have him do my diet since it would be strictly Internet based, but after the first few days with him I realized it was not going to be an issue at all. He was extremely attentive and always responded to my emails within 5 minutes of sending no matter what time of day it was.

He communicated exactly what he wanted me to do very clearly so it was easy to follow and understand. On the day of my show, he was right there for me making sure I looked absolutely on point. I ended up placing first overall which I was absolutely thrilled about! At the very last minute I decided to fly down to Miami for nationals the following weekend- And that’s when the unthinkable happened. I placed Overall Figure Champion and turned IFBB Figure Pro- a dream I never realized I was even remotely capable of reaching. My pro card seemed like a very far away dream that was unattainable.

I still feel like I am dreaming! Thank you so much for everything you have done (and will continue doing) for me! I will never do a prep without you again!

IFBB Figure Pro Samantha Smitchko

I had first heard about Shelby Starnes years ago, from an ex-boyfriend who rattled off a list of “gurus” when I asked him who the best in the biz was. This was back in 2010 and apparently, not much has changed. Shelby still is a great coach and is well-spoken about! Coincidentally, our paths didn’t cross until July of 2013, when I competed at the Wings of Strength in Chicago and I saw Jamie Pinder’s conditioning. I was sold. She said she was working with Shelby and that solidified my decision to finally seek working together.

I excitedly began working with Shelby shortly after that show. He was only given just about 4-6 weeks to prep me for both the Tampa Pro and Europa Dallas. His nutrition and diet plans worked fantastically and we were able to make significant changes in a small time. We continued making improvements in the offseason and I am extremely grateful to have him in my corner for the 2014 competition season.

Shelby, or “the omni-present man behind the computer” as I like to call him, is always there when I need him, always with a plan and always consistent and thorough in his instructions. His eyes know what needs to be done to my physique and he is quite the wizard at knowing what’s best for the execution of my contest prep. I can’t say I have had an easier prep – Shelby has taken the stress out of thinking and guessing and replaced worry and doubt with preparation and planning. It’s been great and I look forward to many more. Thanks Shelby! Next stop – Olympia!

IFBB Women's Physique Pro Jill Rudison


A few months ago I would have been too embarrassed to post this but I’ve come a long way as far as how I look, and more importantly how I look at myself. I’m someone that has struggled to lose weight all my life. With a combination of bad genetics and overall confusion as to how to get rid of body fat I continued to search for the answer.

I was spinning my wheels trying everything under the sun to make any sort of progress. Without sounding like a cheesy hydroxycrap infomercial I just want to shout out and thank Shelby Starnes for turning it all around for me. I’ve safely and healthfully lost about 45lbs and counting.

Shelby has completely changed my life. Anyone that knows me know I’ve been trying for years to lose weight with no success. I was out of ideas until I started working with Shelby. I didn’t have to starve myself or go to any extremes. He provides a well thought out plan with weekly changes and always an encouraging response. I am beyond grateful for everything he has done for me!

Kaycee Allyson


I purchased a 12 week diet and training plan to go along with it from Shelby. I’m extremely happy with my results. I lost about 10 pounds while putting on some additional muscle. I’m looking, feeling, and performing the best I ever have.

I’ve always thought I’ve had a decent understanding of nutrition and diet, but to be able to put it all together without having a case of analysis paralysis was always difficult for myself. The plan took all the 2nd guessing out and I had nothing to stress or over think about, which was a real relief. I could focus on the effort and the tasks at hand rather than trying to come up with something on my own and trying to come up with something through countless articles and forum tidbits.

Regarding the training, my lifting weight numbers increased although I was cutting for 12 weeks. Despite the training numbers increasing, I wasn’t training in a powerlifting manner that I had previously done which took it’s toll on my joints from time to time. I felt great through ought the program. I haven’t felt pumps like this in my previous training, and could really “feel” the muscles working. Any questions or missing equipment, Shelby was quick to provide me with a solution.

Regarding the diet, I ate more volume than I had before I started the plan, but was losing weight. I had no cravings or feelings of deprivation, in fact I felt more satisfied than when I wasn’t on an eating plan. Knowing exactly what to eat made getting into a routine pretty simple, and easy to stick with.

These 12 weeks set me up with a great foundation with tying nutrition and training. I plan to continue to practice the approaches I learned with Shelby. It was a very good experience, and I’d recommend it for any level of trainee. I’ve always worked hard in the gym, but working smart brings you to a whole new level. It doesn’t get any smarter than working with Shelby as a coach. I’m looking forward to my next chance to work with him in the future.

Jim Sweeny

Before working with Shelby Starnes I had gone through two competition preps and competed at three shows in the bikini division. Both preps were grueling, and by the end of both I had felt I’d cardioed away much of what I had gained in my off-season. To both my previous coaches my sluggish metabolism was an unprecedented obstacle for them.

I placed low in all three shows, only cracking the top five at a small local show. Once the Women’s Physique Division came around in 2011, I knew where I wanted to compete next. I made an outrageous goal to get there in one years time.

In the off-season I decided to bulk as hard as I could stand in order to build as much mass in as little time as possible. By December of 2011 my weight was around 190lbs! By that time I knew I needed to start researching whom I was going to hire to trim off all the excess body fat I had acquired over my hard off-season bulk. And, after two months of research Shelby Starnes was by far my first pick. I had read his articles on T nation, his commentary on various bodybuilding forums and had been following along on his stream of success stories he seemed to post on his Facebook week after week.

One of the things I liked best about Shelby was that he is continually learning more, he’s not one of these diet gurus that thinks they have found one formula that works for everyone. Shelby customises diets for EACH person, there is no cookie cutter formula here! I know this because my fiancé also used Shelby for his prep this year, and our diets and cardio plans were nothing alike.

I started with Shelby in February of 2012 at a hefty 176lbs. The diet was unlike any I’d been on before, and for the first time during a cutting phase I wasn’t feeling overly hungry. And, most importantly, the diet worked! At one point, I was actually AHEAD of schedule! I had NEVER been AHEAD of schedule in a contest prep! 
Shelby was more than attentive, and anytime I e-mailed him, I almost instantly had a response. He took the time to answer each one of my questions and even walked me off the ledge more than a couple times when I would start questioning which direction we were going in.

Most importantly, Shelby was a key player in making my dream of becoming a pro come true. Winning ones IFBB pro card is usually a task within itself, but working together, we were able to get there in one year. When I look at my pictures from Nationals I still can’t help thinking to myself, just how perfectly Shelby nailed my conditioning, there is no way I could have looked any better.

I can confidently say that without Shelby, I would not have been able to go pro in one year. Not only did he guide me with nutrition, but his confidence in me doing well on the national stage gave me the courage to actually register for nationals and GO!

I could never imagine going another prep without his guidance, and I look forward to working with him for many years to come in my professional career.

After I earned my IFBB pro card at Nationals in November 2012 I told Shelby I was setting my sights on qualifying for the first ever Women’s Physique Olympia. I knew the goal was huge but I  had faith in myself, and more importantly, I had faith in the team that supports me.  We decided on the Chicago Pro for my pro debut, as some improvements needed to be made to my physique and this show was far enough away to give us the time to make them.  Little did we know that the Chicago Pro would turn out the be the biggest show this year!

Sometime after the holidays Shelby informed that Chicago would also be his pro debut. I was ecstatic, because after working with Shelby over the computer for two years, I was finally going to meet my coach in person! I was also relieved that he’d be there to keep a close eye on me during the final days and even hours leading up to my debut.  After a long difficult prep, the weekend was finally here.  Not only did I step on stage with the best package I have ever presented, I impressed the judges enough to get a perfect score and win the show.  Here I qualified for the opportunity I had dreamt of from the very beginning – to stand among the best in the world on the Olympia stage.

Although I didn’t get to spend a great deal of time with Shelby, Gordon (my fiance) and I were able have a couple good talks with him before he headed back to work. There are a couple things I learned about him that I would like to share. First, those glasses are far more impressive looking in person than in pictures. Second, and more seriously, this man is all heart. Shelby is a coach that does this not for the money, but rather for the love of the sport and for the love of watching his clients succeed. Instead of celebrating after the show, Shelby was anxious to get back to his clients, because from what I gather, that was really what he wanted to be doing- helping his people.

Being part of the first ever Women’s Physique Olympia is a dream come true, and honestly, I’m not sure the reality of it has really sunk in yet. I am honored to be part of such a historic event. Of course I hope to place well, but just to share the world’s largest stage with the women I’ve admired and looked up to is just amazing to me. I’m so grateful to have an incredible team behind me. I could not have made it to the Olympia without Shelby’s help and guidance and I have complete faith that he once again will bring me in the best condition possible. There is no one else I’d rather have prepping me for this historic event.

IFBB Pro Jamie Pinder

Thank you for everything Shelby! I’m still amazed by the transformation of my physique over the last 5.5 months, since making the decision to hire you for my nutrition.

Your attention to detail, patience, and general meticulous nature have always astounded and inspired me (not to mention your ability to respond within like a 3.5 minute window).

IFBB Pro Heather Grace