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Articles > Other Resources > Preparing for a Bodybuilding Contest
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You most likely would have considered competing in a bodybuilding show if you are like most bodybuilding fans. Essentially, you have to be realistic. You need a good muscle base to look good on stage, so you must have enough time to prepare. You should be able to decide how much cardio needs to be done judging from body fat levels. 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 are one of the very few bodybuilders who maintain around 7% body fat all year round. 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 tend to 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.

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.

If you do not set an exact date as to when you will enter your first show, 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. The sense of urgency created by a specific goal date will compel you to train, eat, and breathe like a dedicated bodybuilder.

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?
• Are you disciplined enough to stick to the rigorous training and dietary requirements involved?
• Are you humble and teachable?
• Can you afford it?

The Pre-Contest 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, as a general rule of thumb.

One of the main problems with contestants is that they start preparing too late. The pre-contest diet should be done in such a way that the participant is no more than 5 to 10 pounds over his 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 by moderating carbohydrate ingestion until it covers 50 per cent of the diet about four weeks before the show. Carbohydrate levels should never fall below this point.

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.

Cardio
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.

The Ideal Sunless Tan
When it's time for 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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