Preparing For A Bodybuilding Contest

Thinking Man

Preparing for a bodybuilding contest! Most likely, you’ve considered competing in a bodybuilding show, right? Essentially, you have to be realistic. You need a good foundation of muscle to look good on stage. That means you need enough time to prepare. You should be able to decide how much cardio needs to be done judging from body fat levels.

Preparing For A Bodybuilding Contest – Frequency

Exercise frequency can be once every five to seven days per body part:

  • Monday: quads and calves
  • Tuesday: chest and biceps
  • Wednesday: cardio only
  • Thursday: hamstrings and shoulders
  • Friday: back and biceps

You should be ready to diet, and diet for many weeks. Except you should be one of the very few bodybuilders who maintain around 7% body fat all year round.

The Poses

Learning how to pose and to pose correctly is a must. The mandatory poses include Front Double Bicep, Front Lat Spread, Side Chest, Side Tricep, Front Abdominal-Thigh Isolation, Rear Double Bicep, and Rear Lat Spread.

One of the benefits of competing is enhanced growth. This is because competitive bodybuilders make a great effort to learn as much as possible about the sport. There is nothing like competition to bring out the best in someone.

Preparing For A Bodybuilding Contest – Start In The Audience

The best position for your first bodybuilding contest is in the audience. While you watch your first contest, take in the big picture. Anybody who has ever gone to a bodybuilding contest may wonder why there are hardly any contestants. This could be because not a lot of people want to do what it takes to get onstage.

Set an exact date as to when you will enter your first show. Otherwise, that day will NEVER come. You might be telling yourself, “I’m waiting until I get more information,” or “I’m waiting until I pack on more size.” It just doesn’t work that way. There’s a sense of urgency created by a specific goal date. It will compel you to train, eat, and breathe like a dedicated bodybuilder.

Preparing For A Bodybuilding Contest – Questions

Posing suits, posing routines, music, tanning … these all come after you have committed yourself to preparing for the contest. Some even take gymnastics and dance classes so they will be more balanced during their minute and a half posing routine on stage. Mental preparation could also be regarded as part of your contest prep, except that bodybuilding is a state of mind and a lifestyle.

There are quite a few things that you have to be prepared to assess in order to make the decision to compete:

Are you

  • Contented with your body?
  • Disciplined enough to stick to the rigorous training and dietary requirements involved?
  • Humble and teachable?
  • Can you afford it?

The Pre-Contest Diet

Preparing for a bodybuilding contest has everything to do with diet. Clearly the most relevant matter concerning pre-contest preparation is the diet aspect. Dropping 1 lb of body weight per week will permit you to keep most of your muscle mass. This is a general rule of thumb.

One of the main problems with contestants is that they start preparing too late. The goal of the pre-contest diet is simple. You should be no more than 5 to 10 pounds over your contest weight at least 16 weeks before the show. The diet should then be geared so that you arrive at your contest weight two weeks prior to the show. As competition time draws near, gradually step down the calories. Do this by moderating carbohydrate ingestion until it covers 50% of the diet about four weeks before the show. Carbohydrate levels should never fall below this point.

Preparing For A Bodybuilding Contest – Carbs

Consider this case report from the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness; which documented the effects of a 10-week pre-competition bodybuilding diet and training routine on body composition and blood chemistry. The subject was an adult male bodybuilder, who consumed a daily average of 2263 calories, with 71% of calories from protein, 16% from carbohydrate and 13% from fat. During his diet his initial weight of 168 lbs dropped to 139 lbs, about 7.7 lbs of which was lean tissue. Blood analysis also showed that the subject had low levels of blood glucose, likely due to his carbohydrate-restricted diet.

Still, if you’re not getting cut enough, you’ll want to reduce calories. The best place to start is carbs. I said above that your diet should not fall below 50% carbs. If you find you have to drop carbs a little more, do it slowly. Try cutting only 5-10% at a time. Monitor how your body responds. Once you begin to see good definition, stop cutting carbs. One of the reasons they are important is cognitive function. They help your brain function normally. The other reason is they help create muscle fullness. In other words, you’ll look bigger on stage.

Don’t cut protein, but make sure your food sources are lean proteins.


Two things are required to get lean enough to participate in a bodybuilding contest. One, you have to slash your calories, and two; you must increase your cardio. However, one of the main errors both beginner and veteran bodybuilders make is the introduction of both high volume cardio and very low calories at the same time. This creates a great burden on the system, eventually leading to major losses of both size and strength.

Preparing For A Bodybuilding Contest – The Ideal Sunless Tan

When it’s time for the contest you want every muscular feature to be plainly visible to the judges. Here are five easy steps to applying the perfect sunless tan:

  1. Hair removal: if you want the tan to apply properly and uniformly you need to get rid of the hair from the area you are tanning.
  2. Exfoliate your skin: this step is frequently ignored and typically leads to dark and light spots if not done.
  3. Apply sunless tanner: put a quarter size amount of self tanner in your hand, and apply to your feet first, work your way up your legs to your abdomen, chest, arms and neck, being sure not to miss any spots.
  4. The joints: thin the tanner with some moisturizing lotion to make the application to joints smoother and lighter.
  5. Drying: the drying process usually takes about 15-20 minutes.


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