What to expect—most new bodybuilders, regardless of age, get into it after seeing a picture of some current/past bodybuilder. Of course, you want to look like the person in the picture. Be realistic, and strive to be the best you that you can be. In terms of actual gains, depending on the factors listed above, maybe 12-15 lbs. of muscle, 15 lbs. being on the high end. This assumes you are natural, by the way.
Bodybuilding is at an all-time high right now for men and women. It has never been more popular than now. Hope this guide can help you prepare properly, so you can become a winner at your next show.
Competitive bodybuilding require a certain level of physical and mental discipline. Have you been to a show? Before you even begin the hard journey, find the nearest local show and check it out. Look around... in the audience alone should be a level of bodybuilders with great physiques. Watch the category you want to compete in.
One other note that is very, very important - there is always one constant, the individual who is on stage that everyone in the audience is laughing at. You should NOT get on stage just because you dieted - it is "crucial" that your physique actually be ready for stage presentation.
Before you begin, be realistic. For instance take your own physique and take a look in the mirror. Some individuals have what might be deemed as perfect genetics and fast metabolisms. Others carry more body fat than they would like. Some are tall and some are short. It's hard to find that perfect body, but that doesn't mean you cannot make yours into something that is close to perfect.
There is a lot of hard work, sweat, and pain that goes into those physiques you see in Bodybuilding & Fitness magazines. It will take practice and mistakes to get it right and even years to learn the politics of bodybuilding. Yes, there is politics in bodybuilding.
Have a realistic goal in mind, aim for top 5 or better, and not to get "cut" from the lineup. All of those are realistic and positive goals for any beginner and a few that are competing right now should take note on. Just doing that will generate enthusiasm and the drive needed to keep the competition fires burning.
Do You Have A Training Partner?
What about a support crew? First and foremost, get a support crew. This can be a group of individuals or one person. A support crew should help you achieve your bodybuilding goals. They serve as advisers telling you what strengths and weaknesses you have. Make sure they are telling you how it is, NOT what you want to hear. That's not good help at all. We've seen that to many competitors think they should have won because they're support crew said they looked great.
Develop A Plan
Lets say you do possess the physique and you have a good foundation of lifting under your belt, are you ready for the dedication needed for competition diet? Do you know what to do to get there? What will it take for you to be successful on the stage? That's easy. A plan!
Regardless of your level, a game plan is an absolute must and will make getting ready for that show so much easier. Some people can be ready in less time than a year and others take longer. Diet, weight training, and cardio are the most important pieces of your competition preparation. Your workouts should be tailored for growth, size and shape development. Since dieting will help refine your physique, make sure you prioritize your weak points during workouts.
Yes, you have weak points, everyone has one or two, and you will need to work overtime on them. Muscle proportion, separation and size should be your main priorities. To get the best definition possible you will need to concentrate on that diet and cardio too. If this is your first contest, you may have a ton of questions and consulting with a coach will help eliminate your fears and help you reach your goals.
Your First Routine
The classic 3-days a week, full-body routine, training Monday-Wednesday-Friday, is of little use beyond getting a feel for the exercises and working on form. Why? Because this type of routine allows for next to no recovery, once you start training hard.
Right at the beginning, is when you want to understand how critical proper recovery is. Growth cannot occur if you are not recovering from your workouts, regardless of your level of experience. Recovery does not happen from hitting the gym 6 days a week for hours on end.
One of the most misunderstood areas for new bodybuilders is nutrition. There are some, who have no idea of their daily calorie intake, their daily protein intake, or their carbohydrate intake. They have no idea of what types of foods they should be eating, or when they should be eating them. They don't know what supplements do what and what they should using.
Your protein intake should be 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Take this total and divide by 6, this is the number of meals you need to eat every day. By meals, I don't mean 6 five-course feasts. I mean smaller meals. You should be eating every 3 hours, 2-3 meals can be a protein shake and a low fat, low sugar sports or granola bar. A meal like this works great if you're in a hurry.
The cornerstone supplements are protein powder, a good multivitamin/mineral, and creatine. You can add a lot to this but these are the three most important.
Again, contest prep requires you to devote your day's making your meals, going to the gym, doing cardio sometimes twice a day, working on your mandatory poses, and your evening routine. All these elements will determine the outcome of your efforts.
Even though competing for bodybuilding may be tough, if you maintain your focus and put in the hard work then everything will pay off and soon you'll be holding that overall trophy high over your head. Good luck, have fun, and compete!