So You Want to Compete?
Date Posted: September 16, 2014
Throughout the past two years, being involved in NPC competitions, I have learned so much and have made countless changes to my contest preparation, exercise regime, and show presentation. It has been a road of trial and error. I wouldn't change my journey for the world but for the new competitors, or those contemplating entering the bodybuilding world, here are some bits of advice.
1. Hire a coach- I cannot stress this enough. For the amount of dedication you will put into this sport, it is vital to have a knowledgeable professional to guide you with your diet. Do your research to find someone who not only produces successful athletes, but also has a healthy program and is attentive and dedicated. You can train all the hours you want, but if your diet isn't on point you will not get the stage ready look that you want.
2. Get Organized- Preparing for a competition is a true commitment. It becomes a huge part of your life. This dedication is added to your daily routine which may include work, family, friends, and other responsibilities. Having everything organized and ready will make your life a lot easier and leave a lot less room for error. Prepare your meals ahead of time so you can just grab them and go. I can't even begin to count the number of times I have eaten meals driving in the car during my busy day to stay on track. Feeling stressed and like you don't have the time to prep your food? Companies such as Fuel Meals and Elite Lifestyle Cuisine, based in Northern NJ and available at Fairfield Nutrition Zone, allows customers to custom create clean meals to fit your nutritional requirements, measured and all.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice - Stage presentation is key. You have worked so hard it is your time to shine on stage. Your posing is also a huge component of the judging. I recommend working with a posing coach who will help you develop your individual routine as well as instructions for posing during the comparisons. Practice your posing until you can do it in your sleep. In regards to your overall presentation, select a suit that is flattering and fits well. Get your tan professionally done. Ladies, I suggest getting your makeup done also. Treat this like your wedding day. You have worked so hard in the gym and the kitchen there is no need to skimp when it comes to the other details. Most of all, when you are up on stage work it and smile!
4. Never Give Up- The popularity of this sport has increased tremendously over the past year and the number of competitors is growing. While you show up to your show looking ripped and your best, so does everyone else. Yes, there are competitors that will be competing for their first time and take first place or place within the top five, but in many other cases they may not. It took me over a year and five shows to become nationally qualified. It was hard and sometimes I was discouraged. However when it happened, the gratification couldn't have been sweeter. Remember, while technically you are competing with others, as cliché as it sounds, your biggest competition is with yourself. This sport is all about progress and becoming a better you on the inside and outside. Bodybuilding has become something I love and you fight for what you love. Always keep pushing. Earn your title and never give up.
5. Have Fun! - While this sport requires a lot of will power and dedication, it should be fun! Stick to your plan and training but also stay involved in social situations. Is it difficult to go out with friends or family when you can't eat or drink what they are? Sure. But it's a lot better then avoiding socializing and sitting home alone. To be honest it's not bad at all. I've discovered the busier I keep when I'm dieting for a show the easier it is for me to stay on track. Speaking of diet, this component shouldn't be miserable either which is something to keep in mind when selecting a coach. Yes it's tough, but you shouldn't be starving and drained either. Many people fear this sport because of the work and food restrictions involved but I promise that if you are working with good people, doing your part, and stay well rounded you will have a blast.
Recipe of the Week: Vanilla Peanut Butter Power Protein Shake
What You Need:
- 1 Scoop of Species Vanilla Butter Isolyze
- 1 tbsp of PB2
- Blend with ice and water or almond milk
- Calories: 133
- Protein: 29g
- Carbohydrates: .5g
- Fat: .75g
Always make sure to stretch! Stretching is often ignored or forgotten when it comes time to train. When incorporated into your strength training program, stretching can actually assist in muscle growth and help prevent injuries.