No other sport confirms more that nothing great comes without sacrifice. There is a lot of preparation and commitment involved, and I believe that physique athletes compete in the most disciplined sport in the world. They also don’t get the recognition they deserve.
THINK LIKE AN ATHLETE
Many of us have heard the mantra, “Train, eat, sleep and repeat.” The basics of this may be true, but there’s a little more to it than that. Contest prep requires you to devote a lot of your day toward working out, meal prep and practicing your stage routine. This can consist of strength training for an hour a day, preparing — and eating— five to six small meals a day, avoiding junk food and drinking enough water to stay hydrated. The importance of regular and quality sleep can’t be ignored, either. You’ll have days when you’re hungry or you’ll be extremely tired. Dieting and training can take a lot of out of you, but the discipline of sticking with it will make you stronger.
Being a fitness competitor is a solo sport. The only person you can rely on is yourself. Every hour you are either considering your next meal, fitting your life around training, constantly staying hydrated drinking literally gallons of water per day. That’s why mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation. Your mindset can either make you or break you as a competitor. Hard work, enthusiasm and attention to the little details will play a huge role in the outcome.
THE BENEFITS OUTWEIGH THE WORK
Although the process is tough, the rewards you can reap are incredible. As your dream body starts to become a reality after hours of hard work in the gym, you become much more comfortable with yourself and proud of who you are. Your struggles and sacrifices have made you stronger (literally!), the success becomes addictive and before you know it, you’re more disciplined in every area of your life.
It’s important to remember that to be a competitor you need a thick skin, because a major part of the sport is receiving criticism on your physique by judges. Stay humble and understand that you can always improve, no matter how good you get.
Having the mind of a competitor is the first step to competing onstage!