Entering a bodybuilding competition is a big and exciting decision. The preparation takes a lot of time and effort, and it requires 100% dedication. If you are still doubting, whether competing on the stage is for you, keep reading.
In this video, the owner of [ Hidden Gym], Greg McCoy is sharing 9 questions that you should ask yourself before deciding to compete in physique sports. These questions aim to help you decide when the right time for you is, and think through the pros and cons of such competitions.
Greg has been competing since 2006 and has been a personal trainer, and a contest prep coach for over 12 years. The top 9 questions he asks competitors to figure out whether they are ready for the stage, include:
- Are you consistent with your daily nutrition?
In a bodybuilding competition, you are judged by appearance, rather than performance. This means that your diet is just as important as your workout plan.
By the time you decide to start a competition preparation, your healthy daily nutrition must be a habit. You should already know your body well and be free from struggling, while dieting. Competition preparation is about being the best version of yourself, not about adopting new habits and learning.
- Are you consistent with your training?
This is similar to the previous one.
If you are still in a phase, where your workout is not your priority and it happens to miss a workout every once in a while, then you are still not ready to enter a contest preparation. You should have the consistent habits of going to the gym, so when it comes time to workout even harder, it will be easy for you to do it.
- Do you have the appropriate level of muscle mass to compete in the division that you want to compete in?
Muscle mass takes a lot of time to build. You cannot expect to workout for a few weeks and build 20 pounds of lean muscle mass.
While it is really important to choose the right division for yourself, you must have an adequate level of muscle mass for it. Contest preparation is all about getting the body fat off, shaping your muscles and looking ripped.
- Is your body fat in an appropriate spot to start a competition prep?
You don’t have to be at your leanest shape ever, when you decide to start a preparation but you should have a relatively low body fat percentage. For females, it would be good to have a body fat index below 25%, and for men it should be below 15%. If your body fat is not below these metrics, you would have to diet too hard, sacrifice muscle mass and have a hard time after the show.
There are a few tests you can do, including submerging body fat testing, dexa scan, inbody testing, etc. The most important thing is to use the same tool each time and measure yourself consistently.
- Are you able to maintain that body fat without doing tons of cardio?
This is just as important as reaching the metrics we discussed in the previous question. Being relatively lean is just one piece of the puzzle, your metabolism should work fast as well, so you can stay lean without doing an hour of cardio a day.
This is essential because if you are comfortable being in the sub 15% range (or sub 25% for females), you will drop fat much easier. If you are already putting an extreme amount of effort just to stay around these metrics, contest preparation would cost you building up on the long cardio you are doing now.
- Are your hormones in a healthy and optimal range to compete?
This is important for everyone, but is especially important for older athletes and people, who have had high swings in their weight.
The truth is that you cannot outrun a bad hormone panel. Do a blood test before starting a competition prep, in order to make sure everything is okay and you are not wasting your time and efforts.
- Do you have the budget to compete?
Not many people talk about this but it actually takes quite a bit of money to properly prepare for a show. You must think through all the costs before making a decision to compete.
These costs include:
- Federation membership fee (most federations require this)
- You should pay to enter the contest that you want to compete in (if you compete in multiple divisions, you pay for each one)
- Contest day expenses – tan, suit, hair style and make up (for females)
- Budget for the coach
- Posing coaching
- Food, supplements and gym membership
Take into account these costs and make sure you have the budget to compete in physique competition.
- Can you manage life events in the 12 to 16 weeks leading up to the competition?
Life would not stop just because you are preparing for the stage. Birthday parties, weddings, vacations, work trips, and all other life stuff would still happen during this time.
You should have a plan on how to manage these events. As you know, recovery is just as important as your diet and workout, which means that you cannot attend such events too often. If you have busy months ahead, maybe it is not the right time to compete and you should reconsider your decision.
- Do you have the support from your family and close friends?
One of the special things about bodybuilding is that, in this sport you are busy 24/7. While in other sports you can relax and have a beer with friends after practice, you cannot do that when you are getting ready for a show.
This is why it is very important that the people who are close to you support you, instead of making it harder for you to follow your routine strictly.
Are you from Allen, Plano, or Dallas? Do you want to be guided by professional contest prep coaches and compete in NPC Texas? Then come visit us at [Hidden Gym]!