No matter what federation or division you enter here are ten things to know to get ready for your first physique competition….
1. “Normal” will never be normal again…ever.
Be aware there seems to be some invisible line that you can never cross back over to. Ask any competitor & they’ll tell you it’s true. Your current idea of what “normal” lifting, cardio, food, body image & even what’s fun won’t ever be the same. You won’t bring your body to an elite level then turn backwards, you just won’t want to do it.
2. Time commitment
Prepping for a physique competition will require a large chunk of time, time, time. Think of it as a marathon not a sprint. You will have lifting, cardio, posing & the ever so important food prep. There aren’t any shortcuts. You will need to be creative with your time & to do list.
3. List your expenses
Consider the expense that goes into competing. Gym memberships, supplements, nutrition coach, posing lessons, suit, tanning, food, trainer, entry fee, & possible travel or drug testing. You don’t want to get half way into prep & realize your budget can’t cover the final expenses.
4. Get help
My personal view is do NOT skimp out on a prep coach, posing lessons or stage color. Get referrals & meet with them. Ask questions, you’ll want to discuss post show programs as well. You want the people involved in your prep to be a right fit for you. Once you have your coach realize you hired them so listen, do the plan & log it.
5. Everyone’s prep is different
Everyone’s body responds differently to proteins, carbs, lifting techniques, cardio, etc. So stick to your plan. As you meet other competitors you will share tips, recipes & exercises but do not expect to copy someone else & get the exact same results. Use the off season to experiment with what worked for someone else.
6. A melt down will happen
Your body & mind will get tired. From nowhere you will feel overwhelmed & doubt your outcome. Stay positive & regroup. Immediately take time to remind yourself why you want this & that you can do this. A melt down should not occur daily or even weekly but maybe once or twice through your entire prep. It is indeed crazy but it’ll most likely happen.
7. Be nice
Smile, say thank you and appreciate all the people that are involved in this with you. This means your family, friends, coaches, co-workers, the mail carrier, strangers, back stage expediters, competitors & the judges. You can be in the best shape of your life but if you act ugly there is no real achievement.
8. Get out
Go to family activities & hang out with friends. Do not be a hermit. Bring your food with you & enjoy being around others. It’s the time with others that make the memories not the food. And this may be difficult but try not talking solely about your upcoming competition. Your family & friends love you but they may not want to hear about food macros & lifting nonstop. If they ask then that’s great, maybe they’ll learn something new.
9. Good & Bad Comments
Expect comments about bringing a lunch box everywhere you go, how often you eat or the type of food you are eating. You will get complimented & you will have flat out rude remarks thrown your way, you’re too this you’re too that. Keep yourself surrounded with as many positive people as possible. You don’t need the approval of the one’s making foul comments so stay on point & keep doing you.
10. Enjoy it
Prep is challenging but I enjoy seeing how my body responds to different foods & training. I love all the amazing friends I’ve made along the way. And I’m down right mind blown when I think about the changes I’ve made to improve myself on a physical & mental level. You can make your journey as great or as miserable as you want, regardless you will spend the same amount of energy on it so you might as well enjoy it!