Competitive Bodybuilding isn’t for You. Here’s Why!
Standing under the lights of a bodybuilding stage is a unique experience that only those who have done so can truly grasp the magnitude of the moment. It is a time to showcase all of your hard work, the hours of dedicated iron service and the countless sacrifices made. To some it is a display of vanity, a time to show off in front of their peers and a chance to collect any and all accolades they can. To others is it the culmination of many years of struggle, a celebration of physique excellence, an opportunity to battle with other like-minded individuals and a time to relish in the fact that once on that stage, you have set yourself apart from the masses who have never taken this journey. Competitive bodybuilding isn’t for everyone; if it were you’d be doing your meal prep right now instead of reading this article, just kidding. All jokes aside though, this sport is tough and probably isn’t for you and here’s why.
You Lack Discipline
There’s no other sport in the world that requires the degree of discipline that bodybuilding warrants; there just isn’t. Being a competitive bodybuilder completely consumes your every thought, your every move and every future decision you’re going to make while you are in prep mode. The three to four months that you have decided will be your time to get in the best shape possible is going to take you to a place that is so regimented and so insanely strict that those around you will probably think you’ve gone crazy. The discipline you need to stick with your diet, stick with your training program, get up early in the morning to do your cardio, resist the temptation to socialize, remove yourself from situations that could alter your path to the stage and the time you need to invest in yourself is unlike anything you have ever experienced. The strong willed can and will complete this journey while others will simply start and never see it through to its end. Now, I’ve only described the time when you are prepping for a show and I haven’t even touched on the offseason which in my opinion is where a champion is made. Take what I just said and then apply it to the rest of your year and you have yourself a true bodybuilder; do you still think you have what it takes?
Can’t Stick with the Diet
There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the most difficult part of getting ready for a show is the diet. Try eating the same foods day in and day out with the only thing changing is the portion size of those foods which at some points in the diet will be lessened more and more to achieve the look you’re after. Or on the flip side, maybe you have to eat foods you can hardly stand in abundance to meet caloric needs a few times a day. Or perhaps you are someone who has little to no appetite and you have to stuff the food required for your prep down your throat. Or maybe you have a huge appetite and you are walking around starved all day because your metabolism is firing so fast now that as soon as you consume your meal it’s burned up upon re-entry. Want to have a cheat meal? Too bad, it’s not in your best interest right now. Looking for alternatives to make your food taste a little better? Maybe a little hot sauce, maybe a sugar free sweetener, sure go ahead but you’re only fooling yourself. There are no short cuts and that satisfaction of an extra pack of Splenda will last about as long as it took for you to scarf that meal down, then it’s gone and you’re left searching for more help. The diet is the determining factor in whether or not you can stick it out and not many can.
The sport of bodybuilding will empty your wallet and drain your bank account before you know it. Once you take on the mindset that you’ll do whatever it takes to win your show and nothing will stand in your way, you’ll be dishing out more cash than you can imagine. The money you spend on your food is going to be atrocious and of course you’re going to want to eat as much quality food as you can so that just made things even more expensive with all of your grass fed meats, free range eggs and organic everything else. Then you have your supplements and unless you are of the very select few who happen to have a supplement company backing you in this pursuit you’ll be looking at more additional costs. All of the vitamins and minerals your body requires to simply maintain optimal health while you are in a state of deficiency, the protein powders, the pre-workouts to get you amped up to train (or to simply start your day) and all of the other supplements you’ll consider and probably buy in order to hit your peak on that important day will all add up. Then you have the cost of travel, lodging at the venue, your registration fees, the cost of your tanning both at the tanning salon and the color you need for the stage which if done by professionals is very expensive and you’ll do this because color can mean everything on stage. Then you have the cost of buying your trunks (you’ll probably buy two, one for prejudging and one for the night show), you’ll put out some dough to have the professional photographer covering the show take some stage shots of you and then you’ll want the DVD of the show so you can watch yourself on the big screen. On top of all of that, there’s always additional fees somewhere that you didn’t anticipate which is also going to leave you broke; but hey it’s all worth it right?
You’re all Talk
How many times have you heard someone say, “If I ever got in shape I’d look amazing and probably win a show or two”? Or how about the guy who’s in the seats watching the competition that tells you he could probably win the show right now as he is because he thinks the competition is so poor? Or what about the guy you always see in the gym that’s in pretty decent shape and walks around expecting people to ask him when his next show is? Then there’s the guy in permabulk who is still waiting to gain the muscle mass he thinks he needs so that when he does compete he won’t make a fool of himself or that he’ll ensure a win for himself if he only gets to that magical offseason number on the scale prior to cutting down. We also can’t forget about the people who start and stop a prep and tell you some things came up that prevented them from carrying out the plan when in reality there was no chance in hell they were competing. Here is a little piece of advice to you if you find yourself in any of the above mentioned categories. If you want people to take you seriously about competing and give yourself something to live up to, prior to telling everyone you’re going to be doing a bodybuilding show, actually register for the event! You’re not doing any show until you’ve actually registered and when you do a feeling will come over you like, wow this is really happening now. It’s time to get things fired up and do this. Until that point, you’re still all talk.
They are called Posing Trunks
This is probably the silliest reason or excuse I’ve ever heard when it comes to not competing and it goes a little something like this, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that speedo/thong”. Well, here’s the good news; neither would anyone else! No one in a bodybuilding competition who knows what they’re doing (I say this because I have seen competitors in an actual speedo) is going to be wearing a thong! I think when people say this what they mean is that there’s no chance they would put themselves on display in such a revealing way. Yes posing trunks leave very little to the imagination but the whole point of them being so small is so that you can show off as much muscle and conditioning as possible without going on stage completely nude. It is a necessary component for competing and to be honest with you, the only person who cares is you. If your insecurities are that bad you got into the wrong sport brother. People are there to see a physique competition and not to check out what you’re packing. So stop making fun of people who put on a pair of posing trunks to show off all of their hard earned work and go do something else like fencing; I hear the mandatory dressing for those competitions is far less revealing.
If after reading this article you still believe competitive bodybuilding is for you, then that’s awesome. Get the work done that needs to be done and I’ll be looking forward to seeing you onstage. If not, that’s great too just make sure you aren’t kidding yourself about competing. It’s not for everyone and there’s no shame in that.
Author: Dana Bushell for BroScience
AST Sports Science sponsored writer/athlete, ENDEVR Athlete, SKECHERS Brand Ambassador, Sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.