Things you should know to have the slight edge in your first competition.
So we all lift, right? Even if you’re not lifting heavyweight – if you’re reading this you probably care about your body and spend more time in the gym than most of the population. Let’s face it, it’s a niche sport.
But does lifting alone mean you can be in a competition? Does having the right muscle mass, taking the right supplements, and eating the right diet give you the ability to step on stage? What many casual lifters don’t know is that there’s much more prep work to entering a competition than just time in the weight room. When you’re competing at a high level you not only have to bring out the best in your genetics but find new ways to set yourself apart. Here are 5 of the biggest nuances many lifters don’t know about entering a bodybuilding competition.
#1. You Need A Posing Coach
Having a training a coach makes a huge difference. We get it – it’s 2016 and all information is readily available on YouTube, but take it from people who have entered competitions with and without coaches – a posing coach is key.
You want to display your strengths and hide your weaknesses – a flick of the wrist one way or another can give you two different lines, and you want to put your best foot forward.
A posing coach can also help you with your nutrition. Yes you have supplements that you know and love but a coach can add new supps and routine that can take your from good to great.
And hey, maybe you don’t need a “professional posing coach” – what’s really important is to get experienced advice and coaching from someone who knows how to pose correctly. Posing is often overlooked when it comes to bodybuilding training. It’s not a simple routine that can be learned in one night. Just like anything else, it takes focus, discipline, and practice to take it to a pro level. Just ask Kai Greene – who recently talked about the realities of pro posing on his Generation Iron podcast.
#2. Timing and Breathing Is Everything
What most people don’t realize is that your time on stage is greatly limited. The average competitor gets about 10 seconds on stage – this breaks down to about 2 second per pose. You want to go through your routine so your timing is flawless and you expand and on contract right on cue. Make it pop and make it count, then smoothly transition to the next.
#3. Know The Judges
No, we’re not talking about handing out Franklin’s (Though we won’t tell if you do *wink wink*). What we are talking about is knowing the judges and what they’re looking for, especially the head judge.
Different judges are looking for different things, some are looking for bigger muscle mass, some place emphasis on striations, and some want a softer feminine look. Bodybuilding is a highly subjective sport, which you can find out very quickly when looking through forums after Mr. O, or any other competition for that matter. Look at the physiques of past winners from competitions with those particular judges.
#4. Sweat The Small Stuff
When it comes to competitions, planning is key and this means the small stuff too. You’d be surprised at how much havoc is caused by not being able to find a lucky pair of shorts or forgetting your favorite shade of mascara.
Remember to pack EVERYTHING you’ll need for the show! Board shorts, spray tan, wraps, music, music player, etc. In keeping your eyes on the prize you can often times have tunnel vision and not see the peripherals. Small overlooked things can be the crack that collapses your once bulletproof showing.
If you know that planning isn’t your cup a tea, hire an assistant or ask a responsible friend or family member for assistance.
#5. Trial Run
These is a reason why experience is so important. It’s because with a certain degree of life experience… you now know what to expect moving forward. Fighters that have been in the ring before know the feel of the tarmac, what the announcer’s going to say, that feeling before they yell “fight.” They’re at home in their place of competition – for bodybuilders it’s no different.
While this may be your first competition, you can still get the upper hand. Go the venue and watch the process, what does the venue smell like? what’s the crowds energy like? Is it quiet and concentrating or is it energetic and fun? If you’re really serious, you should know all these things before competition day.
With all that being said, your competition run will not be perfect. Things may still be forgotten and unforseen circumstances will arise. That’s why we’ve left possibly the most important for the bonus round…PATIENCE and POSITIVITY. No matter what happens be patient and know that not all your training sessions will go according to plan and your body won’t always react the way you want it to react. This is not a science, it’s an art. Stay positive and remember the reasons you’ve put in all this hard work. Focus on controlling the things you can and then let the chips fall where they may.
One day all of these small pointers will be muscle memory to you. Normal. Obvious. And maybe a few of these already are – that’s good. That means you are on the right path. Ultimately, first hand experience is the best teacher. So get out there – train, eat, lift, pose.
Have any other first hand pointers you can share with the masses? Let us know in our comments