Training for your first bodybuilding competition of any age

Competition in the bodybuilding competition is an exciting, exciting and fulfilling experience. It takes determination, dedication and sheer hard work. And unless you plan on becoming a pro, all you can hope for is a trophy.

Ah, but what a trophy!

When you stand on stage, hold a rigid "relaxed" pose and hear the announcer call your champion name in your class or winner of the overall competition, that's brilliantly sweet. You enjoy the moment and forget everything you needed to get there.

Decide to compete

If you are in pretty good shape and work regularly, at least four times a week, you can be ready to apply for your first competition within a year. I trained five days a week for 10 months to prepare for my first competition.

You need so much time to gain the lean mass that your body needs to maintain it to enter the dietary fat burning / cutting phase, approximately 13 weeks before the competition. If you want to compete as a middleweight, for example, you may need about 195-200 pounds before you start the cutting phase. The reason is simple. When you enter the cutting phase, your body loses about one pound of muscle every three pounds of fat. I weighed 154 pounds for my first competition on January 1st. When I took the stage on March 19, I weighed a torn 136. I was the lightest Bantam Weight. I was actually too light. The Bantam weight limit is 143 pounds. Out of season, I will gain weight by about 165 pounds and try to get in at 142.5, near the top of the weight category for next year's competitions.

So the first thing you need to do after you decide to enter the competition is to choose a competition for the next 10 to 12 months and decide which weight class you want to compete in. Then look at where you are now and where you need to be on the day of the competition. You can plan your diet at that point.

To be sure that this is something you really want to do, you should attend a bodybuilding competition in your area. It is the best place to learn about sports. You can choose who is really ready to compete and who needs to do more work. Depending on whether you go to a drug test or an untested show, you will also see how huge men and even some women look, using steroids and other illegal muscle enhancers. You can decide whether or not you want to go in this direction.

Competitive diet

Once you decide you want to compete, you have to make a complete change in your lifestyle. Bodybuilding is a life sport, such as ice skating, running marathons, competitive snowboarding, etc. Bodybuilding takes a lot of time in the gym and a lot of time in the kitchen. Competitive bodybuilders build their lives around their workouts and meals, which average two and a half hours in daylight. It is also expensive, so large amounts of protein are ingested daily, at least one gram for every kilogram of body weight. Here's a typical diet for a bodybuilder trying to put on some weight loss a few months before the competition:

Breakfast: Three egg whites (protein) and one whole egg + one cup of oatmeal

Mid-morning: Shake protein (two teaspoons) in 8-12 oz of water

Lunch: 8 oz steak, chicken or fish + 8 oz sweet potatoes + cup of vegetables

Mid-afternoon: Shake protein (two teaspoons) in 8-12 oz of water

Dinner: 8 oz steak, chicken or fish + two cups of vegetables

During the day, you should drink between 1/2 and one liter of spring water.

This diet is designed to put on pounds of lean weight per week. Lots of protein, lots of carbs and some fat.

I’ll talk about how nutrition changes as soon as you get closer to your competition.


I said earlier, bodybuilding is an expensive sport. It's not as expensive as a Bass boat with all the accessories, but it's close.

To help your body use the fuel you bring into food (drinks and food) and use your muscle building exercises, you need a good supply of supplements. I've won brand names or taken you to any vendor, but here are some extras you should consider:

Protein Powder: Check labels. Some are thought of as a meal replacement, some for gaining lean muscle mass, others for general growth, some for fat loss, and some for strong muscle building. With one caution, check on the labels of the additives.

Glutamine: Increases muscle growth, offers muscle pump during training, helps to retain muscle tissue, reduces muscle pain, helps increase fat loss.

Creatine: Allows you to exercise faster with greater intensity and recover faster. Helps to increase the weight and repetition rate and reduce rest between sets. Excellent energy boost.

Linseed / fish oil: Fat is required in your daily diet to produce hormones, proper brain function and lubrication of joints. You completely lose fat and your muscles shrink dramatically, and with them your energy and strength levels go. Enter flaxseed and fish oil. Usually in capsule form. They act as solvents for removing hardened fats, supporting muscle growth and fat metabolism.

Multi-vitamins: All needed for the vitamin. Hard-working athletes need more vitamins and minerals. Getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals is important in terms of protein and carbohydrates.

There are many other accessories on the market today. But if you use these five, with good exercise and proper nutrition, you will achieve the desired growth.


Your competitive training regimen will have three stages. First, as you add lean mass to build muscle, you will exercise with heavier weights and lower reps. During the second or gradual (13 weeks) fat burning / cutting phase, you will exercise with lighter weights and higher reps. And during the last two weeks of pre-workout training, you will use light weights and will only "pump" your muscles during training. During the buildup phase, you do medium cardio. During the cutting for the competition phase, you are doing max cardio and in the last two weeks moderate to no cardio. I'll talk more about the last two weeks later.

During my ten months of schooling for my first two competitions, I used the following exercise plan:

Monday (45 minutes) – Back & Biceps + 20 minutes Cardio
Tuesday (45 minutes) – Feet and calves + 20 minutes of posing
Wednesday (45 minutes) – Chest and triceps + 20 minutes of cardio
Thursday (45 minutes) – Feet and calves + 20 minutes of posing
Friday (45 minutes) – Shoulders & biceps + 20 minutes of cardio
Saturday (45 minutes) – Posing (video session)

Each week I tried to mix my workout routine so that my muscle groups remained "surprised" and didn't let the muscles get used to the established routine. I mixed dumbbell machines and never did the same thing twice in a row.

I had great results with this training regimen. When I started, I weighed about 158 ​​pounds. with about 14% body fat. Ten months later, when I took the stage at my first competition, I was 136 pounds. with 4.5% body fat. In my second competition, two weeks later, I was about 136 with 4% body fat. One shabby, competitive student!


Posing is one of the most important elements of bodybuilding and one that is in many cases neglected. A competitor with a well muscled and cut body may lose from a competitor with less muscle who can better show the judges what he has.

I will not go into the individual poses in this article. There are many sources available on the Internet, in books, magazines and videos showing different poses. Instead, I will talk about the "psychology" of posing and the importance of the practice of posing.

As you hear the Referee constantly shout "Relax!" in between poses, there is no "relaxed" thing during the competition. From the moment you take the stage, you are judged and every muscle in your body must remain flexed. Each pose is built from the legs up. If you are doing a side chest and your legs are not bent, your upper body will look great while your legs and calves will look straight. You will lose points. In bodybuilding, judges look for your flaws. As a bodybuilder, you want to hide these shortcomings. It's a game of cat and mouse. As a 67 year old competitor, I have a little extra layer around the middle. I can’t get rid of it no matter how much I diet or how many hundreds of crumbs I do. So, to hide my “extra skin”, I lean back during the pose to tighten the area. And when I do the last pose of the round, Most Muscular, I put my hands together, in front of my belly, which shows cuts to my upper body, while "hiding" part of my oral bone.

If you think about it, all the training you do to prepare for the competition is laid out on the table during the 10 minutes you are on stage for your class. It would be a shame to watch all the hard work fail because you didn't pose well. Exercise posing must become part of your workout schedule throughout the time you train. I work 45 minutes a day, five days a week. I do cardio for at least 20 minutes, three or four days a week. I posed for at least half an hour a night, two evenings a week, and for 45 minutes on a Saturday morning posed with a video recorder. For the last week before the competition, I practice posing every night.

Posing is hard work. If you are not exhausted after being on stage for six to 10 minutes going through your "relaxed" lap and obligatory lap, you are not posing hard enough. One helpful tip: Some competitors start taking potassium pills about a week before your competition. This will help prevent cramps, which if killed on stage, can be killers.

Each competitor, as part of the competition, must choreograph a 60 or 90 second routine for which you have music. Although most of the time a single pose routine is not counted in your total score, it is sometimes used as a tie breaker or to place a person in second or third place, if close. Still, your posing routine should be fun, lively, and should show the best body parts to the fullest. Try to choose the music you know. Make a CD and bring two copies with you to your competition. Never do anything rough or that tastes bad. Bodybuilding is a family sport of spectators. A vulgar appearance can exclude you from the competition. You don't have to show every pose in the book for 60 or 90 seconds. Work between eight and 10, graceful movements between poses. It's okay to move on stage while performing a routine. In some cases the use of props is allowed. Check with the organizer.

Posing in a competition is a lot of work and a lot of fun. If you exercise enough, you will pose well and look confident. You may shake a little more and you may get a case of dry mouth, but if you know your poses and are confident, you can handle it. An individual pose routine is your chance for the judges and the audience to see you best without being distracted by any other contestant.

One final tip. Laugh while posing. Do not create faces or show tension. You have control. Have fun.


There's old bodybuilding that says, "If you think your complexion is dark enough, apply two more coats."

Great advice. Solarizing for a bodybuilding competition is different from sunbathing for prom or before going to the beach or modeling job. While posing on stage during a bodybuilding competition, your cuts and muscularity must show well when compared to very bright stage lights. You look your best if you are very, very dark. You look flushed and straight if your complexion is not dark enough.

There are many ways to sunbathe. Some are cheap and some very expensive. Let's first talk about the least expensive way. Sun. It's free and easy to use. But there are drawbacks as well. First, you can always depend on the sun being "out" when you need it. Second, it takes longer to sunbathe in the sun than tanning by other means. Third, you can burn in the sun and cause scrubs, which would be a disaster on stage. And lastly, unless you know the bare beach or don't have access to a private deck, you will develop tanned lines that might appear on stage when wearing poses.

The most reliable complexion is achieved by visiting a good tanning salon. By good, I mean the one that changes their light bulbs often and is clean and well organized. I would not go to the tanning salon located in the back of the coin lingerie (there are). If you want to keep your complexion healthy throughout the year, you should buy a sunbathing package for a few minutes or unlimited sessions and try going twice a week. In doing so, you beat so many "whites" to cover how much you finish preparing for your competition. And to keep your skin healthy and smooth, apply a good sunblock and a good moisturizer after each tan, after each session. Both products can be purchased in showrooms.

After you get a decent base complexion, the one where people ask you in the middle of winter, "Where have you been?", Hold on to that color until it's time for your competition.

During the last week, while your body is being robbed of carbohydrates and your brain is mushrooming, you need to think about applying enough color to darken it to keep your stage attention.

Again, there are several ways to accomplish this impossible task while the rest of your world is ecstatic before the competition. One way to apply self-tanning products and the other is to use professional spray.

The bodybuilding industry has several products that guarantee a competitive quality complexion, applied in coats, two to three days before your appearance. And, they offer several "look" enhancement products, including competitive bronzers, finishes, hair removal products (we'll talk about that later), instant tan, etc. They all work, some better than others. One company is ProTan (, the other is Dream Tan, featured on many bodybuilding sites. Being oil-based, most self-care products never dry on your skin, and you leave a trail whenever you touch or rub.

The most expensive, but most effective way to sunbathe for a competition is to have a professional spray two or three times a week of your competition. Most larger tanning salons have a spray room where you lower yourself to your pose, pulling it toward how you will wear it on stage and letting the attendant order a generous spray of dark color. You will immediately notice that you are darker than you were when you entered the base. If you are really dark at first, you can get away with two coats over two days. Three coats over three days guarantee that you will be dark enough. The sprays dry on your skin and last up to four days before they start to fade, and can be washed in the shower on Saturday night after your competition. But during the competition, you won't have to worry about being dark enough.

Whether you choose to do it yourself or have done it professionally, just be aware that tanning will help you determine your competitive position. Give him the attention he deserves.


During the bodybuilding competition, the audience and the judges watch you while standing on stage, wearing nothing more than a frugal pose. Trying to show your physicality and care is a very important part of your appearance. If you are not groomed, it will take away your overall appearance. In the last part I covered the tanning. I will cover my hair here. In short, except for the hair on your head, you have to get rid of it. A male bodybuilder may not have hair on his chest, underarms or legs. Women need to get rid of all underarm and leg hair. If your hair is wrong, you will also need to get rid of hair on your hands, toes, and hair on your fingers and toes. And where is the hair under your pose, it should not be shown, period.

Start the last week of preparing for the competition by getting a good haircut or styling. You should do this before you start your last tanning preparation, as you will want to tan any area covered with hair before it is trimmed. For Saturday's competition, I recommend cutting your hair on Tuesday.

Removing the rest of the body hair can be tedious. There are several ways to remove hair. The most expensive and the oldest is laser hair removal. It can take several sessions and cost hundreds of dollars, but it is very effective if you want to have your hair permanently removed. It is temporary and far less expensive to use a hair removal product. They are usually found in the women's products section, the most popular being Nair and Sally Hansen. A bottle of lotion costs about $ 4.50 and is usually enough to get rid of your competition needs. It takes about five minutes, four minutes to wait, and then a shower to remove lotion and hair. After drying, you should apply a light coat of moisturizer to the area where you have removed the hair. Hair removal products usually keep your hair away for a week, a lot of time for your competition.

If you do not want to use a hair removal product, another method of hair removal is hair removal. Use a fresh razor and plenty of soap or cream and go slowly to prevent cracks and cuts. Sometimes shaving will leave a rash or blemishes of hair that may appear under bright stage lights. If I'm going to shave, I do it on Wednesday mornings before Saturday's competition, and on other days, while I sunbathe, use electric razors to cross areas to prevent cuts. I also use an electric razor the morning of the competition, never a razor.

One of the best ways to remove hair is to apply tape-like strips to the desired area, then quickly remove the straps, remove the hair with a tape. I've never tried this method and I don't think I will. Although it works, it seems to last longer than lotion or shave. But, man, it really hurts!

You always want to look your best in the prejudice in the morning. If you take care of the little things at the beginning of preparation, you will be confident, you will look confident and show yourself well.

Final two weeks of competition

The plan for the last two weeks is to lose the remaining fat and water and to get cuts and definition in your muscles.

First you will behave a bit of a bother. Expect. This is due to a mixture of diets with a high percentage of protein and low carbohydrates. The body needs carbohydrates. When you take them down or down, you tend to lose your thought processes a bit. It is not enough to be dangerous to yourself or others. It's okay to ride, etc., but you might get a little forgettable.

The first week of two weeks is loaded with turkey and fish! After a breakfast of three egg whites and 4 ounces of 98% lean ground turkey, the rest of your solid meal is made up of fish. Fish and salad for lunch, fish and green vegetables for dinner. The other two meals are protein shake. On Monday and Thursday, add a sixth meal, carbohydrates, consisting of a cup of oatmeal, banana, a cup of broccoli, and ½ of sweet potatoes. This meal is designed to fill you up a bit so you no longer look straight on stage. You want to look like Bluto, not Popeye. Or if you're a girl, Betty Boop, not Olive Oyl. The other part of this diet is water. Lots of water. One to two gallons a day. It seems like a lot, but if you keep a jug nearby, drink from it and fill it when it's empty, you can easily bring it in the water you need. Try drinking filtered water or spring water. Don't be surprised if you visit the bathroom a lot. You are flushing your system and removing subcutaneous fluids while drinking this much fluid. Avoid too much coffee (one cup a day is fine) and stay away from alcohol during this training period. Not snacks. You will have a craving. Just focus on your competition. Wouldn't you hate to blame the loss on your chocolate cake slice contest?

Exercise should be moderate this week. Use lighter weights with 8-10 reps per set. Do not strain yourself. You are weak in diet and heavy lifting can cause injury. Be careful in the gym. Go slowly. Watch what you do. Stay focused. Don't be angry or impatient with others. Do not over 20 minutes easily cardio daily.

The second week is filled with ground turkey, fish, lean ground beef and grapefruit. On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, after breakfast three egg whites and 4 ounces of 98% lean turkey, like the first week, the rest of your solid meals consist of fish. Fish and salad for lunch and fish and green vegetables for dinner. And again, the other two meals are protein shakes. Drop a salad and vegetables on Wednesday and replace the grapefruit. Fish and grapefruit work fine. Also on Wednesday, add a sixth carb meal. Same schedule on Thursday. On Friday, the last day of cutting, all five meals consist of 6 – 8 ounces of lean minced beef and ½ grapefruit.

Exercise sessions this week should consist of pumping in the gym and then practicing posing. No heavy lifting. You did your last leg training last Saturday at the latest. Last Friday was even better. Do not do cardio after Tuesday.

On a Saturday morning, before you judge, cut off a steak and two whole eggs. Eat toast and hashish. Have a cup of coffee. Just drink water as needed. About 45 minutes before your competition, set up a Snickers bar. It will fill you up a little and give you the boost of energy you need to pre-empt. Check for about 20 minutes upright, pumping everything but your legs. Then have some fun on stage.

Selection of the competition and submission of the application

After you decide to train for the competition, before you start, you should think a lot about the type, size, location and powers of sanctioning your event. The largest amateur bodybuilding and fitness organization in the world is the National Physique Committee (NPC). They apply for competitions in the US and abroad and offer opportunities to compete in professional ranks (IFBB). The only downside to NPCs is their reputation for tolerating steroid use among their competitors. All of their competitions are untested events and you can expect many contestants to be "juicy" and massive, which will give them an unfair advantage.

Given the climate of negative steroid advertising today, many bodybuilders are turning to test events, where competitors are reviewing illegal muscle-building drugs such as andros, steroids, prescription diuretics, testosterone and growth hormones. These types of events give the athlete a level playing field and compete. There are several national and regional organizations that offer drug-free programs. One of the largest is the National High School Association (NGA). The second is International Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness (INBF) and Supernatural Bodybuilding and Fitness (SNBF). The first requires seven years of drug training and competition, and the second five years. The big international drug-free competition organization is the World Natural Sports Organization (WNSO), which includes regional competitions leading to the annual FAME World Championships in Toronto, Canada in June. All Natural Alliances offers the opportunity for natural bodybuilders and fitness competitors to turn Pro. All of these organizations have websites listing locations and competition requirements. Most allow you to download contest information and applications.

If you compete using steroids or other illegal drugs and have had no space for at least five years, there will be room for you in the natural arena. Before the competition, you must pass the polygraph exam and be tested on demand in any competition you enter.

If you are just starting out and want to enter a competition, the first thing you should do is attend one of these events in your area to see what it is all about. It is important for you to attend a pre-arranged early morning meetup and evening party and awards to get the full taste.

Then you should pre-check the sites for competitions in your area that are listed, select them, look for categories, weight, height and experience, make sure they are right for you and download the app. Read it carefully, making sure you have plenty of time to prepare (six to 12 months, depending on your condition and physical development). If you are under 18, your parent must sign your application together.

The last fee is the cost. Because these are amateur competitions, there are no cash prizes, only trophies and medals. Competition can be expensive. You have to pay for the ticket and the necessary drug tests, transportation, hotel, food and various other expenses, such as ordering photos of the contest or DVD. You can expect to spend about $ 200 for a local competition and double that if you have to travel and stay at a hotel and rent a car. If you can find a training partner to participate in the competition, you can half your expenses.

Once all is said and done, you can enter the competition and, win or lose, have the time of your life. There is nothing like standing on stage knowing that you are as ready as you can be and confronting other athletes by heart. It's really cool.

Family considerations

I last saved this section because if your family is not behind you and supports your efforts, you may also forget about competitive bodybuilding.

"Scott was so dedicated to his workout, and I said, 'Honey, you put so much time into this, maybe you should compete. His eyes lit up, like Mom just said, & # 39; 39; OK & # 39; and now he could do what he really wanted. & # 39; & # 39; Vivian Hults

The exact quote, which recently appeared in a story about me in Birmingham News, our local magazine, was what my wife told a journalist who interviewed her about my competitive bodybuilding. Without her "interest" in my sport, "we" would never have succeeded.

As I said at the beginning of this article, bodybuilding is a lifestyle, plain and simple. Preparing for the competition takes time and involves you in your daily life. You need to consider nutrition, and that means buying and preparing the special foods you need to achieve your competitive diets. Sometimes it’s a lean fat gain. Second time fat burning / cutting. Spend a lot of time in the kitchen in front of the stove and oven. Your family doesn't usually eat what you eat, so while your family enjoys pasta and meat sauce, you may "enjoy" fish and vegetables. And it was like that. You need to eat five or six times a day, while your family usually has three squares. Your food and accessories take up space in the kitchen and refrigerator. And, first of all, food and bodybuilding supplements are expensive.

A competitive bodybuilder spends at least an hour and a half, five or six days a week in the gym. They will also spend 20 or 30 minutes in front of the mirror each night, posing. This, maybe while drinking shakes. And, over the last two weeks of carb depletion, sometimes the bodybuilder will become moody and irritable. It's part of the "game" and the bodybuilder's family needs to be "understanding." Sometimes being a member of a bodybuilder family is no fun. And your children might be ashamed of their father or mother participating in this sport.

Bodybuilding is a waste sport. It's one of the few sports where the human body is the star of the show. It's all about the body. Hair removal, tanning, nurturing, putting on suits and muscles, muscles, muscles. That's all there is. Pretty simple, while very complex.

Now go out and win your Trophy!

By Scott "Old Navy" Hults

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