Bodybuilding Competition Dos and Don’tsGetting ready for a bodybuilding competition is already difficult enough as it is, but it can take an even bigger toll on your mind and body if you are not properly prepared to handle the strain and strict conditions of the training process. Preparation is strenuous, and it can become overwhelming thinking about everything you need to consider, so we have compiled a list of basic dos and don’ts for your training and diet that will keep you on the track to success!
If this is your first crack at a competition, find someone who has participated in an event before you get started to help you get a better idea of what lies ahead. First-hand expertise is invaluable, and you will likely be able to get a lot more out of your experience.
DO reduce training when you’re dieting. When you’re cutting out certain aspects of your diet and manipulating the intake of nutrients, it can be difficult for your body to put up with the strain of certain exercises. When your body doesn’t recover like it should, you can do irreversible damage to it. Avoid movements that are overly complicated, and instead rely on basic exercises to build and maintain your muscle mass.
DO include cardio in your training regime. While bodybuilding may appear to be all about bulking up and toning, cardio is exceedingly important to give your body greater range of motion than what you get from basic weight training. Start out your training with a cardio session in the morning and then later introduce a second session in the evening following your weight-heavy workout.
DON’T over train! While it may be tempting to spend over an hour at the gym in hopes of getting cut a little faster, training for too long can actually send your body into a catabolic state where the body begins to fail and makes for a useless training session. Pushing your body to extreme limits can actually weaken your immune system and will make it difficult for you to handle your strenuous regime. Combat overtraining by limiting your workouts to around 45 minutes and by ensuring that you have a solid nutritional plan in place..
DO stay focused. It can be daunting to implement a new regime and abide by certain dietary restrictions, but keep your head up and know that it will pay off in the end! Even if you find yourself losing steam halfway through, don’t let all of your hard work go to waste and keep your end goal in mind.
DO keep protein intake high by eating protein-rich meals and supplementing with protein shakes. The metabolic cost of proteins is high, meaning the more proteins, the more calories the body must burn in order to digest them.
DO reduce fat consumption and rely on essential fatty acids as a source of fat and energy in your diet. Things like flaxseed oil and olive oil are a great supplement.
DO reduce carbohydrates, but be sure you are still consuming an adequate amount. Carbs give you energy, and you will likely find yourself feeling completely depleted if you cut them out of your diet. To ensure your body is using them in the best possible way, consume carbs for breakfast for a boost in the morning and also after a heavy training session when your body is burning through its resources.
DO take supplements to help keep your body’s nutrients in check while your diet is less than regular. This can be as simple as taking a multivitamin every day.
DON’T reduce too much too fast! Cutting down heavily on your caloric intake will cause you to drop weight at a rate that will also deplete your muscle mass. Ensure that you make steady progress by carefully manipulating your caloric intake to optimize weight loss at about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
DON’T be afraid of a cheat meal every now and then. Designate a day throughout the week where you allow yourself to give into your cravings. You’ll be satisfied with your decision and will also kick start your body’s metabolism, so everyone wins! Be warned that you will probably have to cut out your cheat day several weeks out from competition, so take advantage while you can.
Now go on and get training!