So you want to be a Bodybuilder…?

Posted by Sam Aldrich

You’ve seen the magazines and the videos: These guys are huge, shredded, and vascular. I’m sure you’ve thought to yourself, “I want that. I want to look like them.” Well, let’s discuss what those people actually go through and what it takes to be a bodybuilder.

Types of Bodybuilders

First off, in my opinion, there are two different types of bodybuilding. There is recreational bodybuilding and competitive bodybuilding. Recreational bodybuilding is the guy or girl who goes the gym lifts hard, eats fairly good but still goes out for drinks and just lives a normal life. Now let’s talk about competitive bodybuilding. The life of a competitive bodybuilder isn’t one of excitement or tons of fun. Instead, it is one of consistency, repetition and dedication.

The Off-Season

During this time, most competitive bodybuilders will be a little relaxed on their diet. Now don’t get me wrong: they still get all their macro nutrients and stay consistent. The off season might consist of just a few more cheat meals but overall, a good competitor will not want to put too much excess body fat on. This will only make their prep more difficult. The off season is the time to grow and put the most muscle tissue on that you can. That means lots of food and lots of heavy weight. You have to be willing to eat 6–10 times a day; no excuses. You won’t hear these guys saying, “I can’t eat that because I am too full”. Ever. They will just force that shit down and deal with being uncomfortable for the next hour and a half until their next meal. As for the training, the way these guys train is unreal. They push their bodies to the limit. Failure is not an option; when things start to hurt, that just drives them more. What these guys do becomes an obsession and they won’t stop no matter what. That’s what it takes to succeed in this sport.

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Contest Prep

This is when things become hard, and not only for you, but for anyone that’s around you as well. That means friends, family, significant others, everyone! This is when bodybuilding becomes a selfish sport. Even if you aren’t a selfish person, prep will make you selfish. During this time, your life will revolve around three things: food, gym, and sleep. Nothing else matters. Your friends, family, and loved ones may not understand why you would rather cook food than go out, or why you would rather go to bed an hour earlier instead of watching a TV show. This will put stress on every relationship in your life, but that won’t matter to you. Your diet is one, if not, the most important thing during this time. All of your food is measured out to the specific ounce or gram. There is no cheating unless instructed to by your coach. Many times, you go 10–12 weeks eating the same food at the same time of day. Many of you may think, “Oh, that can’t be that hard!” but I challenge you to try it yourself. Your macros are strategically altered for success and some days are easier than others. Still, that doesn’t give you an excuse to slack off. You still need to go 110% even when you feel like your body wants to shut down. You will have to do cardio one, two, and sometimes three times a day! Some of this cardio may be in the morning: this is called fasted cardio. Again you might think, “Oh, I already do cardio”… Well try doing cardio with low carbs and only three and a half hours of sleep. Because that is going to be everyday during prep. On top of the cardio and the strict diet, you still need to make time to go to the gym and lift. No matter how tired and exhausted you are, it is crucial during this time to not let up. You have to train just as hard as you did in the off season! As you become depleted, it will be hard to lift heavy weight. At this point, you need to mentally tell yourself that you are going to lift the weight even if it kills you. So between food prep, cardio, weights, and for most people, a full time job, you have to make it work. You may only get three and half to five hours of sleep a night. That is just part of it; you have to enjoy being miserable.

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Now you might be wondering why someone would want to do this to themselves. Like I said it is an obsession and a passion for these guys and girls. They have a dream and don’t care what it takes to get there. All the hard work and being miserable for weeks is all worth it when they call your name for first place. Nothing will ever feel better.

This was just a brief overview on what it takes to be a competitive bodybuilder. There are many more things we could discuss, and I will, in later blogs and videos. I encourage everyone to chase their dreams and don’t be afraid of hard work. At the end of all the hard work is a great reward. So stay motivated, stay positive, and let’s keep encouraging each other to be great.

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