Getting into contest shape is no easy task. The time, energy, discipline, doubt and sacrifice one must go through to achieve the conditioning needed to make an impact on stage is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Through this journey, which usually lasts anywhere from 12 to 20 weeks, many highs and lows will be experienced. You’ll feel your best during your workout and after a pump has been achieved and you’ll be at your lowest in your quiet hours when it’s just you and no one else around. It is in those times of solitude that crazy questions will start creeping into your mind and you’ll find yourself dwelling upon thoughts that in the presence of carbs, would probably never happen. Here are 5 commonly pondered questions athletes ask themselves while in full prep mode.
#1 What is the meaning of life?
Oh yeah, you’ll get real philosophical to the point where you’ll start questioning everything you’re doing, have done and will possibly do in the future. You’ll wonder if the decisions you‘ve made in life up to that point were the right ones and you’ll promise to be a better version of yourself once this contest is over. Everything that has ever been important to you will either be highlighted or looked upon with disgust and you’ll wonder why you decided to go through with this prep in the first place.
#2 Will I even be ready?
This is self-doubt at its best. The muscle dysmorphia you have always suffered from will be magnified significantly and what you see in the mirror will be a far contrast to what you really look like. In the morning you’ll check out your physique and feel great about yourself and then by the evening you’ll be back to doubting yourself all over again.
#3 How did I get fat over the course of the day?
This is your body’s way of playing Jedi mind tricks with you. Every seasoned vet of the sport knows that when body fat levels are low enough, changes in your physique can be seen hourly and this is only due to the amount of water retention you experience at any given point in the day. You always seem to be drier and harder looking in the morning and as the day passes, you water out a bit giving your physique a blurry look to it which sends some competitors over the edge thinking they’ve gotten fat in only a few short hours.
#4 Did I do enough? Did I do everything right?
This is when you have to put your ear buds in and horse blinders on. You had a plan and you stuck with it. As long as you can say you never cheated on your diet, never missed workouts for no real reason, always did your cardio, your posing and did everything your plan had mapped out for you then there’s no need to even ask yourself this question. What does happen though is that you start paying attention to what other people are doing and wonder if you should have been doing some of the same things they did. You begin to doubt your approach and then the whole Jedi mind trick thing comes back into play.
#5 All I have left to lose is water, right?
This is by far the biggest misconception I see competitors experience and it’s too bad really. For whatever the reason, at a certain point closer to the actual show, they feel that all they have left to lose for the show is water weight when in reality they still have fat to lose. This has led many to step on stage out of shape and super flat as they were successful in releasing the water they were holding but unfortunately in doing so, pulled out all of the water from their muscles as well. The misconception that their blurred look was just more water they needed to shed kept them pulling water until they were dehydrated and still fat; a bad look on stage for sure.
If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions during your prep, no fear; you’re not alone. You will learn with each new prep that it’s just your mind trying to mess with you and you’ll quickly brush those thoughts away. It’s also a great idea to have someone with a trained eye and considerable experience with bodybuilding preps to talk to, reaffirm things for you and keep you on the straight and narrow. Getting ready for a show is as much mental as it is physical; be strong in both and try to enjoy the journey.
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, Endevr Athlete, SKECHERS Brand Ambassador, Sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.
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Author: James / Founder of BroScience
I started this site back in 2014 because I was tired of the fitness industry telling guys like me lies.
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