Bodybuilding competitions, fitness competitions, figure competitions… Which one? How do I go about it? Have you thought about competing? Do you want to spend 12 grueling weeks working your butt off while taking in fewer calories than you burn? Would you not miss a workout or a meal for the 12 weeks prior to the contest? If you answered yes to these questions, competing is right for you!
Choosing An Organization
Once you make the choice to start competing, you then have to determine which organization(s) you are going to be a part of. Most organizations have you purchase a membership card, which usually lasts a year. Once you pay for this card, you are able to enter any of the contests that the organization is having throughout the year.
Keep in mind that these are amateur organizations and there are no cash prizes. In order to start receiving money for placing in competitions, you have to turn pro and enter the pro contests. You do so by winning a pro-qualifier or placing in the top three at a super qualifier.
When choosing which organization you want to be a part of, you should first look at what substances they allow. There are two kinds of organizations, tested and non-tested. An example of a non-tested organization would be the IFBB. This organization allows all substances because they don’t test their athletes.
The tested organizations can further be broken down into two categories: those that allow prohormones and all other products that are legal, and those who don’t allow any hormones altogether. An example of each would be MuscleMania and the INBF. MuscleMania allows prohormones and related products, while the INBF doesn’t allow them.
In order to find out which organization is right for you, you must think about the substances you take or have taken. If you have taken prohormones or related substances, you will most likely not be able to enter into organizations that don’t allow them.
The only way you would be able to do this is if the product wasn’t banned by the organization at the time that you took it or if you hadn’t taken the substance in 5-7 years (depending on the organization). If you have taken anabolic steroids within the last 5-7 years, your only choice would be to enter the non-tested shows.
Sometimes, people who do not use illegal substances enter into non-tested shows for more competition. If you do this and have hopes of turning pro, the chances of it happening may vary (depending on the organization), but for the most part, it is highly unlikely. I have competed in a tested bodybuilding competition and in a non-tested competition. The difference in physiques is mind blowing. The change in the athletes is like comparing Rome to the Dark Ages.
Picking A Contest
Once you have chosen your organization that you want to be a part of, you then have to choose a competition to enter. This will most likely revolve around your yearly schedule. Preparing 6-8 meals a day, weight training, cardio, and all the other activities that you have to do in order to prepare for the competition will be very time consuming.
You will want to choose a contest during a time period in which you have the most free time. If you haven’t researched pre-contest dieting at this time, it would be a good time to start. Learning all the tricks and tools of the trade take many hours of research to understand. Not all articles and opinions are accurate concerning pre-contest diet.
Looking at more than one source and keeping track of what remains constant is one of the best ways to find the best and most popular methods for your quest to get a trophy at the upcoming contest. The hardest part about this is determining which strategy to follow. There are numerous types of diets, cardio, instant tan products, water shedding strategies, etc.
My advice would be to ask people you could trust and pick the methods that you think would personally work best for yourself. Also, you will need to find out what things will be mandatory to have the day of the contest. Posing trunks are essential! At my first contest, someone just rolled up their shorts instead of wearing posing trunks.
Let’s just say that he was 16 years old and got beat by a 14 year old! Also, a thick tan is essential for on stage. The lights shining down on you make yourself appear much more pale than you really are. Some great tanning products include: Pro Tan, Jan Tana, and Dream Tan.
Now that you have made the decision to start competing, the hard part will be to follow the steps necessary to make yourself ready to get on stage. I would recommend reading motivation articles, renting movies such as Pumping Iron or Rocky, and getting family and friends to help you and make sure you are following your diet, etc.
The most important motivation must come from within. You must welcome the changes in your body, diet, and mind. Enjoy each progressing stage that you enter as you get nearer and nearer to your competition. Never feel sorry for yourself. If you are suffering, your opposition might be suffering twice as much. Think of it as a game. The harder you make the game, the more rewarding the finish will be.
Whether it be bodybuilding competitions, fitness competitions or figure competitions that you’re considering remember that competing is not for everyone. Not everyone has the will power to do what you are doing. Prove to yourself that you can do it! Prove that you can compete!
By: Shane Giese
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