You may be ready to start making your way to the stage, you may have only lingered on the thought of it or it may be something that you would love to do but feel you never could (FYI you can!) But what does competitive body building actually take? What are the steps and processes and how does it feel? Let me share my opinion on what I feel it takes.
Yep you got it getting to that stage in good condition takes time! The whole journey will take a good, long bulk. This sounds like a scary thing for a female but it is very much needed. And in all honesty this is the fun part! There’s tons of food and minimal cardio, you get to lift heavy stuff and watch your body shape change. It’s quite amazing how many people thing they are in good shape and yes they are, but they prep and they are left thin and sinewy, no where near stage condition. Easily 90% of the time it’s because they didn’t have a good base when they started to cut. That’s exactly why you need a bulk.
I personal l bulked for nearly a year. I admit I wasn’t clean, I gained 40lb. That kind of weight gain could have been prevented but I enjoyed every single peanut butter and jam sandwich with added lashings of real salted butter (I drool thinking about that right now.) I wouldn’t advise being super dirty like I was however I would advise you to just enjoy that part of the journey.
I gave myself 2 years when I decided I really wanted to do it!
Decide your class, this will translate into how you bulk. For me picking my class was easy. I will never be small enough to be a bikini girl, I’m naturally stocky and gain muscle relatively easily. Body fitness or figure was the only way for me to start.
Dependant on your country and location federations can be confusing. Honestly research them. Pick one that best suits you and your status within bodybuilding ie, natural, assisted, routine, basic poses.
Can you afford to compete? Your food bill is going to increase, your supplements won’t come cheap. When it’s time to start prep things get even more expensive. Bikinis range from £100-600, posing shoes £30-90, coaching costs £250+ (this is coach dependent). Then there’s federation membership, competition registration, hotel costs, travel, tan, hair, makeup, nails…and more. It all adds up to a nice little sum!
Get a coach
I cannot emphasise this enough. If you are serious and going to compete then do it right. Talk to a few coaches, see what they are like, what their styles are. Most importantly do you get on with them and do you feel comfortable. I’m telling you during prep your coach will be your best friend and even at times your worst enemy. It’s so important to have someone who will be there to support you whenever you need and will be able to dig you out of those dark holes when prep has hit you deep. There will be times where you need someone to be accountable for your own actions.
A good coach will also be able to tell you and direct you on everything you need to know. They should also keep you healthy and stable. If you are completely new to this world then I would also suggest a coach during your bulk, this needn’t be full time. Just someone to watch over you.
Be mentally prepared
Your body is going to change. And when you start you think your going to be super lean and look amazing. That’s not 100% the case. As I said earlier bulking is scary. You WILL gain fat, you can’t build muscle without doing this…however that fat will be melted away when you prep and you have to remember it won’t be there forever. Your not getting fat your going through a process that will get you where you want to be.
On the flip side prep is hard…12-20 weeks of dieting is really tough. You will sacrifice and you will give up certain things. Again it’s not forever…it is temporary and you have the find the strength to get through it if you really want it. It will affect the people you love too. Be prepared to be grumpy, tired and constantly thinking about your next meal. You will say sorry a lot. Make sure you have a good support network, this will pull you up when you need it the most. There have been many times in the last 2 weeks as my time for the stage grows closer where I have been in shut down. Living on no carbs and heavy training will take its toll on the best of us.
I would have to say competing is not for the weak minded. You have to mentally build yourself just as much as you have to physically. The have been parts of this journey that I have hated, I’ve cried whilst doing my cardio for the second time in a day, I’ve cheated on my diet, I’ve lost my patience with people that mean the world to me and I’ve spent hours wasting my time looking at food on Instagram. However I am so proud of what I am achieving and on the whole I have enjoyed everyday of my competing timeline.
If you want to compete take your time, do your research, put in the work and go for it!!!!!!! This quote was sent to me a while ago, it sums it all up.