How To Prepare For Your First Bodybuilding Show (My Experience)

     Wow. I never thought I would here, but here I am. I have started preparing for my first bodybuilding show, EVER! For those of you who know my history you know that I have been obese for a majority of my life. I’m an endomorph, and as an endomorph I store fat fairly easily. It’s always been a struggle for me to lose body fat. Even when dieting correctly, I’ve struggled to lose weight. Many of the guys that I talk to are coming from the other end of the spectrum. They are trying to put on size. They have been smaller for a majority of their life and they just can’t add any significant amount of muscle mass.
     Everyone has their own unique struggle, and we have to battle hard to become the best version of ourselves. And that’s what I plan to bring when I finally step on stage; the best version of myself. I can tell you that I am extremely nervous. While I have worked very hard to add serious muscle mass to my frame, I have never been extremely lean. For those of you who aren’t familiar with bodybuilding, when you step on stage you have to be very lean and very dry, in order to do well. Ideally, you’d like to be no more than 6% body fat. On top of that, you want to have very little subcontaneous water under your skin as it will mask the appearance of your muscle separation. Now, understand that this is not a condition that you hold onto for a long period of time, however, for at least 3-4 days you need to be the most shredded you’ve ever been.
     Why take on this challenge? For a lot of reasons. The first reason is that I always feel you should be working towards a goal. Once you get complacent you revert back to what you were. We never want to revert back to the person that we were before. Since November 2016, I have been working on losing body fat and building muscle. Now, my primary goal is muscle preservation and fat loss until the day of my contest. Second, I will not feel like I have truly completed my weight loss journey until I step on stage and compete. While I have lost a ton of weight, 202 lbs as of writing this, I’m not at my goal yet. Everyday, I wake up with my eyes on the prize, and my mind on a mission to become the best version of myself. A quote that I heard from the great Dorian Yates states: “There’s still work to do.” This means that until I step on that stage I will be working hard to bring out the best version of myself. Lastly, I want to compete because I want to show others out there who have backgrounds similar to mine that nothing is impossible if you are willing to put in the work. It’s never easy, but it’s worth it. I come in contact with men and women who have been obese since they were children. They have tried over and over again to lose weight, yet they have failed. I hope to show them that if you truly commit yourself and eliminate distractions you can achieve whatever you set your mind and heart on. So many of us are limited in our mind, therefore, we never unlock our full potential.

     What will be the most difficult part of this prep? Without a doubt it will be the limit on the amount of food that I can eat. My calories may drop as low as 1700 per day. That’s scary for me to even think about. Fighting the urge to over eat is a tough mental battle. After my workouts I’m usually ravaging with hunger. However, I will have to use my will power to prevent myself from eating too much food. For someone who has struggled with food, and at one point may have even been addicted to food, it’s safe to say that this will be my biggest challenge yet. However, here is how I stay focused. I imagine myself on stage presenting my hard work to the judges. I do not want to be an embarrassment to myself all because I had no discipline during prep. My weight training will stay the same. I highly doubt that I’ll be able to lift as heavy as I normally do, but I will still be able to train intensely. This means that I’ll have to focus more on muscle contraction and high reps, as that will be the only way to make sure that my muscle fibers are being somewhat stimulated and broken down.
     When it comes to cardio it will have to be done longer. I will have to do a minimum of 90 minutes each day, as I still have a great deal of fat to lose. The main pieces of cardio equipment that I will be using is the Stair Master, the Arc Trainer, and the Treadmill. Each of these machines, if used correctly, can increase the heart rate and help to burn a significant amount of calories. I plan to split my cardio up into 2 (45 minutes) sessions. 1 session in the morning and 1 session after my workout. There will not be a day that goes by where I am not doing cardio. Most importantly, the type of food that I will be eating is will be very strict. This means that sugar will be extremely limited. No candy, cake, sweets etc. The only carbs will come from plants and starches. The meat that I eat will vary week to week. This means that I will be eating red meat, chicken, fish, etc. As I get closer to the show I will be eating leaner meat such as chicken and turkey. My greens will either be broccoli or, green beans depending on what’s available. The show will be in late March, therefore, I have 24 weeks to prepare. I will post more blogs as time goes on, but consider this as day 0 zero for me. Here goes nothing!
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