Why Are You Doing This?

2016 NPC John Sherman Muscle Beach Classic

I am about 6 weeks from competing this year. Lately, I get asked a lot about preparing for a show.  There isn’t much middle ground here: people either think getting in that kind of shape is cool/bad-ass or wonder what the f%ck you are thinking getting up there in a speedo and tanned up like an Oompa Loompa?  Truth is, it is a little bit of both.

Why I do it?

  • It is really, really hard.  It is not easy having the discipline to get up for early morning cardio at 4:30AM while most people are sleeping, stick will a strict diet when peanut butter and Dairy Queen Blizzards are calling for you, etc.  It is even harder on days when you don’t feel like doing it, but you still do it.
  • Because it is hard, few will ever do it.  A lot of people try; most give up along the way.  Those 300-600 competitors that show up the day of the competition represent another 300-600 others not there that started prepping for that show and quit or weren’t ready because they lacked the discipline to follow the plan to be ready.
  • Putting your heart into something gratifying is, well, gratifying.
  • We live in an instant-gratification, look-at-me-selfie world; you learn a lot about delayed gratification and the reward of doing something that takes a long time and sustained effort.  Really, most things in life worth something (education, relationships, nice job, etc.) require time and sustained effort.
  • Prove the doubters wrong.

When Not To Compete

There are always a lot of articles giving advice on how to get ready to compete for physique competition.  Competing is a difficult challenge that I like since it is something most people do not make it through, and because it really pushes this introvert outside his comfort zone to get up on stage.   I firmly believe in trying to accomplish difficult tasks because you really learn about yourself in the process.  I get asked often about advice on doing a show for the first time.  I generally love being able to help people achieve their goal, but there are some times when you have to advise people that they might not be ready for that first show.  These are the common red flags you are not ready to do this:

Good Vs Bad Coaches

In previous articles about contest prep, I have stressed why there is a need to get a really good prep coach.  Delving into that a little more, here are some guidelines to separate good vs bad coaches when considering which prep coach to use.

Leg Training Tip

Leg training tip: Warm up both the quads and hamstrings, even on workouts where you are training only one. Quads and hams are antagonist/opposing muscle groups. For the quads to fully contract, the hamstrings have to fully extend (and vice versa). Sometimes, that feeling of not being able to get a good squeeze or tight feeling in the quads, may be because the hamstrings are not warmed up and not able to fully extend (and vice versa, of course).