Bodybuilding Competition Checklist
What makes a successful bodybuilding competition prep….
The decision to take your body to a level of extreme conditioning while holding as much muscle as possible is not for the faint-hearted.
For anyone that has got properly shredded, I have a large amount of respect for. It takes a serious amount of effort and determination to put your body into this state.
But there are a lot of ways you can get lean, what I want to promote is a method in which you can maintain sanity and do this for the long haul without destroying all relationships and enjoyment.
What I want to cover in this article is the most important parts of prep that should be taken into consideration by anyone wishing to compete more than once. Or for the ones that have already competed but want to improve on their approach.
The obvious it that you want to come in leaner, harder and fuller. Which many are still trying to achieve by just throwing their health aside by cutting out essentials for body function such as salt and water completely in “peak week” which is done in a way that is ineffective let alone dangerous due to a lack of knowledge/guidance. But this is a whole other article all together.
What I want to really hit home about today is the mindset and thought process that will really make the difference if you want to have a successful run as a competitive bodybuilder.
The 4 key areas that I want to cover:
– Maintaining relationships with friends and loved ones
– Keep a healthy relationship with food and body image
– Learning from your prep for future improvement
– Overall health and enjoyment
One of the big lessons I learnt from my first bodybuilding prep while in Uni (first mistake) is that even though at the time it may seem easier to completely isolate yourself to get the job done. You NEED to make sure that you make an effort to still spend time with the people you care about. That seems obvious when you read it, but trust me, when you are one month out from your show, these things tend to slip big time and it will take you a long time to rebuild!!
So however you manage it, learn to still set aside times for the people you want to stick around. Bodybuilding is seen as a very individual sport, and for many they reinforce this by being fully self-absorbed. But to enjoy the process so you are not feeling like you are fighting the world, as it slowly pulls apart your life. I suggest you focus just as hard on keeping your support network intact.
Don’t get too attached to body perfection all year round and enjoy FOOD. This is not just an issue with the ladies! I see this with all ages/sexes big time, and no matter who you are, everyone gets somewhat obsessive about their physique during prep. Its what bodybuilders are being judged on! But when the show is over, you have to realise that you will put on body fat.
This needs to be controlled and gradually increased to stop a big rebound… but you also can’t hold your calories and output here forever, as your body will adjust to this level of input/output and then you are shit out of luck.
So keep it under control and allow yourself to enjoy food again. Have a meal with friends and let the body HEAL. You still need to have meals for the enjoyment not the macros! If you learn to take your foot off the gas pedal once in a while, you will always have more to give when it counts. Trust me, I learnt this the hard way a couple of times…
Learning from your prep in hindsight is where improvement is made. They can always improve, they can always run smoother or be done more efficiently. Your body and/or your environment will always come across obstacles when prepping for a show.
Learning how your body responds to training methods will be a constant experiment and will provide you with more cards to pull when you need to see change fast in your next prep. This is where I personally sought out the best coaches possible to guide me into my first 3 or so preps, and continue to work with them.
Having an outside EDUCATED opinion on your progress will be a massive asset to you when you start to really drag arse. You WILL start giving yourself credit and thinking you are on track, or keep pushing when your body is showing obvious signs you are just burning out.
This is where an outside view that knows the process and can still think straight (unlike you in the last months of prep) can have a clearer view on where you really are. So don’t trudge on alone, there is a reason the best in the world still have coaches and mentors. There is so much to learn about the body, every time I learn something new, I realize how much there still is to learn. What this will do for you, in the long run, is massive, as you won’t get bored, you won’t hit plateaus, and you will understand what information its substantial and what is bullshit.
#4 Biggest biggy
At the end of the day mental and physical health and overall enjoyment is why you decided to pick up weights in the first place! Don’t burn yourself out, bodybuilding will always be a marathon not a sprint. Putting your life on hold in order to become Mr Olympia while the rest of your life is on hold will be the surest track of failure.
Of course, sacrifices will be made, especially when prep rolls around, but learn to incorporate into an already fulfilling lifestyle as there is no prize for pushing through lack of enjoyment.
Just as they look for in many regional level sports, athletes must have something else going for them. This is so you don’t burn out or can’t support yourself while pushing for that dream! So don’t go balls to the wall, all year round, all day long. Remember not to kill the enjoyment of training and make it a passion that will last by having something else going to keep your mind and body fresh.
Long term consistent improvement that builds these elite level athletes will come from constantly chipping away, not hacking it as quickly as possible. So while chasing the dream, make sure that the day to day training is something acts as a mental release or some form of betterment to your mental health as well as the physical aspect and you will go far.
For all of you that have got properly shredded to the bone for a shoot or competition, I don’t want to take anything away from you as I have a huge amount of respect for you as I said earlier. But for the guys that maintain great relationships and a positive outlook through the process are the true champs.
As always I hope you found something to take away from reading this to improve your training and life in general. I will be publishing much more in coming months to fill the missing gap between training and mindset to find long-term motivation for your physical and mental progress.
If you’re ready to step up and take control of your training, lets book in a coaching call so we can talk 1on1 about what you’re struggling with and find the ultimate game plan for your physique.