In the final moments before you step out from backstage and into the lights it dawns on you that you are finally here. All the years of weight training, the months of dieting and cardio, the days of planning your posing, color and who to thank are all done. Now there is nothing left to do but step out under the hot stage lights and hit the poses you have worked so hard to perfect. These are the final moments before you will share the brotherhood with the rare breed of competitive bodybuilders. Often times the journey to the competitive stage is paved with questions of why you are doing it. Many people you call friends and family will question your desire to get to levels of body fat that they can’t comprehend. Not only do you have to battle the diet, cardio and weights on a daily basis, you will also have to deal with a staggering amount of resistance.
So how do you take the steps from becoming a member of a gym to a member of the elite club of physique athletes? Here’s how to get started.
#1: ATTEND A COMPETITION
Pictures in magazines, videos on YouTube and stories from friends can’t describe what a physique contest is. To truly know if competing on stage is for you, attending a show is mandatory. The motivation will serve you well during your impending journey. When you see the difference that a few pounds or even ounces of fat can have on a physique it will drive home the work ahead.
While in attendance also be sure to notice the nuances of a show. Why are those board shorts so bright? Why is everyone orange? Why do some people look so lean while others appear pedestrian? Physique contests are a strange environment when first discovered. This small group of people all has an obsession and these contests are the outlet for that madness. If competing on stage is an adventure you intend to take then these people will become your family. No other place will you find people who share your drive, motivation and passion for attaining the physique that only you can see in your mind. After attending a contest you will know if competing is for you, if so then it’s time to take the next step.
#2: HIRE A COACH
How do you take your physique from gym patron to stage ready? Many people have preconceived notions about competing that stem from rumors, magazines and the bros in the gyms who like to talk the talk but have never actually done the walk. Separating fact from fiction can be difficult.
Do you need to eat fish and broccoli seven times a day and do two ours of cardio? How about not drinking water for two days before a contest? Sure, there is plenty of information out there available for free. But there is really one way to avoid all of this uncertainty and that is through research and finding a coach. Entering your first contest without a coach is absolutely possible, but there are far more positives to having a coach. When researching a coach make sure you speak to a past client and don’t be afraid to work with someone because they are based on the internet. With technology allowing for instant emails, text, video chatting and more the nearest option may not be the best. A coach will be your one stop location for all answers and insecurities.
You will be working with someone who has guided many athletes to the stage and is familiar with the fragile psyche of a competitive athlete. In most cases the coach will also be a competitor as well. Working with a seasoned competition coach is like taking a Master’s Class in Physique Competition. All of the information and strategies you learn over the course of your preparation are lessons you will take with you forever. Don’t hire someone who can’t explain the process or reasoning behind what they are doing. The answer to a question should never be “because everyone does it”. If you do decide to go into the contest with no coach by using the tools available to you, more power to you. Either way you will have a plan and be ready to being the journey to the bodybuilding stage. So when does that journey begin?
In part two of this article the discussion will shift into choosing a contest and deciding when to begin the preparation diet.