by Cade Thomas Iron Magazine
Competing is all the rage these days. How it has become a trendy thing to do is beyond me, as it used to be saved for the truly dedicated and slightly twisted. With the addition of new divisions with much more attainable standards (on the local level at least) the world of competing is catching the eye of many more average folks. The explosion of social media fitness lifestyle post whoring has every dude with a gasp string tank and gal with a pair of yoga pants think hopping on stage is the right thing to do.
There are definitely some internal things you need to sort out before deciding if competing is right for you (at least in the near future). First of all, are you a fan of bodybuilding? Do you follow competitive physique sports or at least find them intruiging? The most disturbing trend I see today is people deciding to compete, or worse yet being convinced to compete, who aren’t even pre existing fans of the sport. I cannot wrap my head around it. Would you recommend someone who has never watched a game of football and doesn’t even know the rules to enter a tackle football league and just show up on day one? It’s bizarre to me, and I feel like you should feel a gravitation towards bodybuilding competition and attend a few shows before thinking you can compete in one.
If you enjoy training and looking better it doesn’t have to lead to being judged in your skimpies. Competition isn’t about your personal success but presenting the ideal physique and you are going to be judged on your most vulnerable weaknesses, not your success. The judges don’t (and shouldn’t) care if you lost 100lbs while working two jobs and raising a dozen kids on a farm. It’s becoming more and more common for competing to be a personal validation of a transformative experience and that is NOT it’s intent. If you are expecting a pat on the back for your struggles while still having love handles and a jiggly ass, think again. This is a harsh reality for a lot of people who rush into competing and it can have extreme mental consequences when they see the standard that is set by the winners and they are left in last callout and looking completely out of place. This is why you should do your homework before hand and be realistic with yourself…or like I previously said be a fan of the sport in the first place.
Even if you have the potential to place well in a show down the road and are blessed with decent genetics for bodybuilding, competing too early can be unnecessary. The dieting can take away precious growth time in the beginning stages when you should be developing a base of muscle and eating enough to support it. If you are 5’11 with good shape, why compete as a middleweight one year into training? It might be wise to get 4 or 5 years of grinding under your belt and show up and make some real noise.
Bodybuilding is extremely demanding but it can also reward you in many ways including personal development. Not everyones journey needs to center around posing in front of judges, and if you don’t day dream about bringing the best physique possible to a stage and follow others who do the same, maybe it’s an unnecessary part of the equation for you.
It’s not my goal to convince anyone who is passionate about the sport to not be involved, however I think right now there is a lot of pressure socially from the pop fringe culture of online fitness to nudge people into it. Asking yourself some of these questions previously presented might help you get a better.