Is Competing For You
By Michael A. Zappitelli, IDFA Head Judge & Pro Natural Bodybuilder
Deciding to compete can be an easy and difficult decision to make. There is much to learn and prepare for, including elements of nutritional habits, physical participation, time management, presentation, support systems, and coping with mental and emotional stresses. Close attention must be paid to all of these aspects and it is necessary that you seek the advice of a trained professional to become well educated in helping you to determine whether or not competing is for you.
This is a main focus of your regime during off-season and when preparing to compete. A healthy lifestyle keeps this area intact making it easier for you to cope and deal with any changes to your planning/scheduling when getting ready for an upcoming competition. Health should always be at the forefront of your goals to training and competing. This sport can be extreme in all elements, which can have a toll on those not prepared for such changes.
Physical exertion may seem most difficult, yet it actually has the least amount of time dedicated to it. Spending 1-2 hours per day in the gym to prepare equates to ~6% of your time per week. Your workouts are a stimulating physical stress for adaptation and reconstruction. Your body cannot get the necessary recovery from this stress when you are in the gym. Therefore, how you spend the other time, ~94%, during your week ultimately determines your outcomes attempting to attain the body you want.
The benefits of training the human body come with time and patience. Planning is essential, as results will not be obtained overnight. What is more of concern than workout attendance, is how you manage your time when not in the gym. Preparation is key to efficiency with any meal planning, training regimen, sleeping habits, and further scheduling when dealing with separate personal, family, and/or employment commitments.
When you feel that you can attain the body you want to compete, look into what competitions are scheduled in your area. Realize that organizations hosting competitions have certain mandatory criteria for posing and proper apparel to best display your physique. Therefore, it’s important to obtain the proper information and coaching to best display your physique to it’s fullest potential.
Training regimes and contest preparation can be met with ignorance, and resistance from those not sharing the same interests and aspirations. Not fully understanding or being fully educated as to what takes place and what is necessary, can lead to ignorance of your intentions with your program. Prepare on how to handle inquisitive minds and those with resistance to your cause. Have a solid and reliable support system in place that fully understands your goals and helps you to achieve them.
Mental and Emotional Stresses
Aside from the physical strain your body will go through, you may experience mental and emotional stress. This is not uncommon when facing new challenges and pressures not normally accustomed to. Addressing each of the previously mentioned elements can help you cope with these stresses. Competitions have been around for decades, maintained within a physically active sect. The past several years have seen a demographic grown both in popularity and participation with an emergence of highly skilled coaches/trainers with new information and educational workshops aiding in the preparation and know-how of what it takes to be your best and reach your full potential. Seek out these individuals and attend a local competition and/or workshop to learn more and to see if competing is for you. It can an invigorating challenge and experience. The choice in the end is really up to YOU!
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