I often hear guys say they are going to compete, but can’t because of this reason or that reason…… However, I encourage anyone that is interested in competing to do so as soon as possible. Competing not only gives you a specific goal with additional motivation to train with, but you will also pick up a wealth of knowledge along the way. Each time your prepare for a contest you learn something new about your body. This in turn allows you to add something new to your toolbox, and if used properly, will give you great success in the long run. For those of you thinking about competing for the first time, here are a few tips you may benefit from:
Don’t Wait To Compete
Waiting to compete in the long run can short change you in many avenues. The biggest negative in waiting to compete is that you lose the knowledge you would gain from additional show preps. Another benefit of competing is that when you pull your body down into contest shape, you can prime it for a post show rebound effect. This rebound can earn you some additional muscle. If you are waiting to compete because you do not think you have enough size, use the feeder system. Most organizations now have men’s physique, which will allow you to compete as a small version of a bodybuilder.
Don’t Fixate On The Scale
The hardest thing to do for many bodybuilders is to watch the scale drop on a regular basis. The scale is a tool, and that is what it should be used for. Use it to ensure you are not making large weight drops, but more importantly watch the mirror. There is a good chance that you will step on stage lighter than you anticipate the first time. You cannot pick a weight at the beginning of a prep and work to hit that number and expect to be ready. Judges critique you based on your look, they don’t know what you weigh.
Give yourself extra time to get ready. The first time you diet it is impossible to say exactly how long it will take you to get ready. This is nothing you can calculate even if you know your body fat. Everyone progresses at different paces. For most 16-20 weeks for a prep is safe, and if you are lean, possibly shorter. You can always slow things down, but cranking things up at the end is a recipe for disaster.
Be Ready Early
Similar to the above, make sure your ready in advance. This will give you time to relax and know you are where you need to be. Being ahead of schedule also gives you time to pull things back a bit and let the depleted body fill back in. From experience, the longer you are leaner, the better you look.
Make Sure You Are Lean Enough
The first time you compete it is really hard to judge if you are in show shape. Just because you look great in the gym, doesn’t mean you are in contest condition. There is a big difference when you look at yourself in the mirror at the gym versus standing next to 10 other shredded guys under stage lights. If you think you have some spots that are just holding water, it’s probably not water. Keep going!
Use a Coach
If it is your first time competing it can be a long road. Find someone with experience to help you. Use a local trainer or hire a coach. There are excellent coaches available online that can help with this journey. Put your trust in one person and listen to only them. The input of more than one individual will be doing nothing but harm. You will hear from many people how great you look and how ready you are. Don’t trust them. Every competitor looks great compared to the other Joe’s in the gym. Only listen to the one person helping you with your prep.
Learn The Process
Do not waste the opportunity to learn as much as possible throughout the prep. Document the process including as much information as possible. Be sure to include weekly pictures and changes made. This will be invaluable information for your next prep.
Have Fun With It
No one is making you compete. You are competing because you can and you want to. It will be a long road, and it will have its tough spots. Enjoy the journey as it’s something you can cherish the rest of your life.
Realize your dream today, because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
About the Author
Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.
It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.
Please follow Marc on his journey of continued progress by following him on his website at SnyderAthletics.com , facebook at www.facebook.com/NPCMarcSnyder and twitter at www.twitter.com/SnyderMarcA. He post his daily lifestyle tips on these feeds for you to access and utilize in your health and fitness journey.