So You Wanna Be a Bodybuilder…

All photos by Shaun Malinao

Bodybuilding.  When someone mentions the word “bodybuilding,” what comes to mind?  Giant men chugging raw eggs, spending hours staring at themselves in the mirror and posing on a stage wearing teeny tiny speedos?  It’s true, bodybuilding does involve a lot of egg whites and a whole lotta staring at yourself in the mirror, but the bodybuilding world has very recently exploded and transformed into something not only Arnold Schwarzenegger can do.  The fitness industry has completely blown up, with more and more people joining the “fitfam” and consequently deciding to compete in bodybuilding shows.  As I mentioned in my last post, bodybuilding is very new to me too; while I’ve been working out and meal prepping for years now, I’ve only been seriously training and in show prep for about a year.  Though a year is a drop in the well when you look at the grand scheme of things, I dove head first into the bodybuilding and discovered a world I really had no idea existed.  Bodybuilding has really adapted into its own culture.

Let the record show that I never played sports growing up.  I was a band kid.  Not very athletic.  I liked sports, but never really competed in anything seriously.  After I started taking working out seriously six years ago, I soon discovered it was something I loved.  Because even if you’ve never thrown a football in your whole life, or run a marathon, or hit a baseball, you can pick up heavy things and put them back down again.  And you can go back the next day and do the same thing, over and over, and watch your body transform.  And no matter how young or old you are, bodybuilding is the same – you are literally building up your body.  Shaping.  Sculpting.  You are in control.  And the playing field is as level as it gets.  While some people may be more genetically inclined to gaining muscle or getting lean, I truly believe that you can make your body look the way you want it.  No matter what.  Even if it seems impossible.  If you have the drive and are willing to invest the time necessary, you can do it.

All that being said, I feel like competing is a great way to keep you motivated and focused because you have a specific goal and deadline in mind.

If you’re thinking about competing and don’t know where to start, I wanna share five simple tips I wish someone had told me when I was getting started.

#1  Look at your schedule.  Are you in school?  Working part time?  Full time?  Bodybuilding is extremely time consuming.  It’s more than just going to the gym every day; you have to consider the time it takes to go to the gym (sometimes twice a day), prepare your meals, get enough sleep, etc.  This was a big one for me….I was already going to the gym every day, so I didn’t think the time commitment would be that much more. LOL. So much LOL.  If you don’t the time to commit to it, I’d say wait for a more opportune season.  Patience is hard, but if you can’t fully focus on your prep, it can be extremely frustrating and ultimately not lead to the best results.

#2  Your relationships are going to be tested.  Not everyone understands bodybuilding.  Not everyone understands nutrition.  Hell, not everyone understands why men are willing to get spray tans and shave their entire bodies.  A lot of people won’t understand the intense routine and why you’re doing what you’re doing, and some bridges will be burned.  Bodybuilding is a selfish sport in some ways.  It sucks, but it’s a reality that you have to be willing to face.

#3  Bodybuilding is frickin expensive.  Whether or not you choose to hire a personal trainer or coach, there’s still all the food you have to buy, competition entry fees, spray tans, your suit for the show, supplements, hotel expenses if you have to travel; it all adds up FAST.  So be sure that you can plan out how you can pay for everything and still make rent, because I’m pretty sure homeless people can’t bodybuild.

#4 While this may seem obvious, I think it’s worthwhile to say that bodybuilding leaves you extremely vulnerable.  You’re literally asking a group of judges to compare your body against others.  You really have to be honest with yourself and think about if you can handle that.  Your mental health has to be a priority.

#5  Read, read, read.  Learn as much as you can about the industry and muscle groups and your own body and nutrition.  People can get it shape following a meal plan or a diet, but I promise if you can learn why you’re doing what you’re doing and be aware of what seems like its working or not working, life will be so much easier.  There’s always something to learn, so stay humble!!!

The list could go on and on and on, but these were just the five that came to mind as most important.  I will expand on some of these topics more in the next posts, and I’m excited to share my personal experiences.  Hope this was helpful, or at least made you think just a little bit.  Happy Tuesday Fam!

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