It seems like everyone in the fitness world nowadays is looking into fitness competitions. Whether it be Bikini, Figure, Physique, or Bodybuilding, each one of these divisions requires giving 110% every day in both your diet and your workouts. This is something that is much easier said than done.
So many times, I see people go into show prep unprepared, whether it be physically, mentally, or financially. Because of this, many become discouraged quickly and choose to quit, instead of pushing through the long months of prep. Trust me, I’ve been there. There are so many things I wish someone had told me before I made the decision to become an NPC Competitor, and these are a few of those things. Here are some truths about prep and the commitment that everyone needs to know before taking the plunge into competitive bodybuilding.
Prep is Expensive
Whether it be the meals, the coaching, the bikini, the tans, etc. competitive bodybuilding is a huge financial obligation. Some people can meal prep for around $70 a week, while others spend on average $200 on food alone. Protein is expensive! A good coach is arguably the most important part of prep, and many overlook this because of the hefty price tag that accompanies it. Some coaches can cost around $40 a session, while others can be as high as $100 or even more than that, depending on whether or not you will be posing, taking body fat percentages, etc. Also, female competitors dream about holding their sparkly bikini in their hands for the first time, and often spend months deciding on the right color, cut and rhinestone pattern for their suit. However, there is a price for glamour, and these suits can run anywhere from $150 for a plain one, to over $1000 for one completely covered in sparkles. This is not a cheap sport to be a part of, and competitors must take this into account before making the commitment.
Prep is Mentally Demanding
So many people have the mindset that prep is only physically demanding. They see the strain that is put on the body, and the physically taxing workouts that competitors must complete on a daily basis. However, until you experience it for yourself, you don’t realize how mentally draining prep is. You are tired, moody, out of energy and often lacking motivation. Having a strong support system is key to the success of any competitor, and without it, you might find yourself cheating on your diets, workouts, etc. While some do just fine relying on themselves, a strong support system can help you stay mentally in it to win it, and help you keep going when you want to do nothing but quit.
You Can Handle It
Prepping for a competition is physically exhausting, especially if your diet or workout plans are not right for you. My first round of prep crashed and burned because my body was not equipped to endure the physically demanding aspects of the Bikini division. My body shut down because the diet was not enough to sustain me, and I physically could not do it. However, after making the switch to Figure, I am finding that, while prep is physically demanding, it is not impossible, and our bodies are capable of amazing things. I spend long hours in the gym, and these workouts are extremely hard, but it’s nothing our bodies aren’t capable of.
Finally, You Have to Know Your Body
Like I said before, it might take a few tries to get it right. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your body just won’t react like you want it to, and you have to make adjustments. Sometimes you can’t fight your body, and you have to learn what is best for it, whether it be changing a diet, or even changing divisions. Knowing how you are going to react to certain factors is beyond crucial for any competition prep and often ensures success.
For anyone with ambitions to compete in the NPC, I hope you will take these four truths to heart. Prep is a long and winding road, but we are all fully capable of it. So keep pushing, even when you have no energy and feel like giving up. You won’t regret it.