|Natural Bodybuilding, I can do that or can I?
BodybuildingPro.com Articles Database Articles by Writer Content From Shaun Campbell Natural Bodybuilding, I can do that or can I?
Natural Bodybuilding, I can do that or can I?
So you want to compete in a Natural Bodybuilding Show. Do you have any idea what that involves? Not going out with your friends for drinks at the local bar. Packing your meals in 'Tupperware' containers everywhere you go. Going to the gym 5 days a week. Eating every 2-3 hours. These are just a few of the sacrifices that you will have to make. If you feel that you can do this then continue to read on.
Now what you ask? You will need to know how to 'eat to compete.' The contest diet is crucial. If you don't do this right you will not look your best. I have seen many competitors go into their first show and get a wake up call. They think everything is going well and they look great then they realize, when it is too late, that you have to be ripped to compete at any competitive level. Many bodybuilders show up for shows and look like they still need 4-6 more weeks of planned out dieting to be ready. Don't let this happen to you.
That is just the diet. What should you do in the gym? Most people think this is the easy part. What a mistake. I am still improving on my training to this day. Maximize your gains and limit the risks of injury by getting the proper guidance. Train to add size in the offseason and 'train to maintain' during contest training. You build all the muscle you can and during the contest diet you need to maximize fat loss while holding on to most of the muscle you worked so damn hard for.
So you have a grasp on the diet and training and you are looking great. You will now need to display your physique the best way possible. Pose to win. Have you ever been at a show and said to yourself, 'If only he/she could pose their lats better.' Or "What the hell kind of pose is that?" Posing is a crucial aspect of competing. If you don't pose well you may not place well. This is no joke. I once stood on stage beside a guy that I thought was going to beat me onstage for sure. He looked great while pumping up. When I won, I was happy and shocked. Looking back on the photos it was clear he posed terribly. I may not be huge but I do know how to display myself in the best light. It is not how huge you are or how great you look backstage it is how you look on stage. After doing the mandatories it isn't over, you still need to put a routine together that suits your style and physique. A guy with my build would never come out and start hitting most muscular crab poses to heavy metal. I don't have the size to back it up and I understand that. Make sure the music you use suits your personality and you enjoy it. You will be more relaxed and your personality will come through. I haven't even touched on contest colour and posing oil. I will save that for another time.
I am a firm believer in making a game plan and following it out. I record everything I eat, all my workouts, how often I tan, etc… Without this journaling I would be lost come next show. By the time it comes around who remembers how they ate last show and what they did in getting ready. Not saying that you will eat exactly the same for the next show but you will have an idea where to start. In fact I have all my journals for all the shows I have ever competed in and you better believe I refer back to them.
A final piece of advice. Use the mirror in getting ready for the show. People always ask "What was your bodyfat percentage the day of the show?" To tell you the truth I have no idea. How much you weigh or how low your bodyfat percentage reading is doesn't mean shit if you don't look ready for the stage. If you weigh 205 lbs and you aren't looking ready don't get an ego and say I can't go below 200. Get your ass ripped and if you weigh 192 then so be it. 192 lbs in 'show shape' is better then 200 lbs in 'could of should of' shape. I can guarantee you one thing I will always be ripped and ready with no excuses. Do your homework.
If you decide to compete learn from experienced natural bodybuilders. Better yet hire a qualified trainer of natural bodybuilders to get you ready. This will be an expense that will be invaluable in the long run. Why go through the trial and error for the next 2-4 contests until you figure it out. I am not saying you can't do it on your own. Many can and do. But one thing is for sure you will learn what to do faster and more effectively with a qualified coach.
Canadian NGA Natural Pro
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