To Compete or Not To Compete? That is the question

Are you thinking about participating in a bodybuilding competition this year?  Before committing yourself to competing, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration that may affect your decision.

1)     How is competing going to affect my health?

You have to be aware that competing will definitely affect your body from a physical aspect, but it will also affect your mental and emotional states.  Physically, your body will be drained and tired from the dieting process.  Many of you already know that when your body is physically exhausted, your mental state can waiver a bit as well.  So, it’s important to remind yourself that you have to be strong both in and out of the gym.  Even if your body is tired, you must remain positive and in a sound mental state.

2)     Will competing affect my job?

For most people, bodybuilding is not going to pay your bills nor is it going to be a long-term career path.  You cannot neglect your financial obligations while you are competing; the bills will keep coming in.  You must think about if your job is flexible enough for you to eat multiple times throughout the day and/or potentially rest for a while if needed.  Are there steps you can take to prepare your manager/co-workers of your competition and what it may require of you?

3)     Is competing going to impact my family life?

Whether you want to believe it or not, competing will affect all of those around you.  At times, you may receive praise from others because they see the hard-work and dedication that you are putting into your preparation.  However, it can be very challenging for family and close friends to “tolerate” your diet and training.  You must communicate and plan with your family to make things easier for everyone; you don’t want to lose the support of the people you care about and that care for you.

4)     Will my genetics limit my ability to perform well?

It may sound harsh, but YES, your genetic composition will affect your ability to do well.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many bodybuilders who are not “genetically gifted” – they know how to work around their short-comings.  However, there is an extent to which you can alter the appearance of your body – know your limits.  Be realistic with your expectations and goals, and try to find ways to improve your physique.

5)     Have I made significant improvements?

If you are someone who has competed multiple times, you must ask yourself, “Have I made significant improvements since the last time I competed?”  It is a great feeling to be up on stage and to compete in a show, but you must be honest with yourself.  What is the point in bringing the same exact physique every year?  You must be critical of yourself and honest with your progress or lack thereof.  Maybe it is best to take a year off from competing, or to rethink your position from a competitive stand-point.

6)     Do I have the time to give 100% effort to the contest preparation?

If you don’t have the time/energy/ability to dedicate yourself to your diet and training, you may want to consider competing at another point in time.  What would be worse than being up on stage and thinking, “Maybe I could have done better if I had dedicated more time to training?  What would have happened if I wouldn’t have cheated on my diet?”  If you give 100% effort and dedication to your contest preparation, you won’t have any regrets… and that’s an incredible feeling.

Overall, you must remember that it is your decision to compete.  It will affect many aspects of your life including those around you.  You have to be mentally strong to combat some of the obstacles that you will face, but if you can dedicate yourself to your preparation, the reward is unimaginable.  So, while you are making your decision about whether or not to compete this year, consider the factors that I mentioned.  If you are a first-time competitor, I encourage you to talk with those that have competed a lot in the past; they will open your eyes to many things you haven’t even considered.  If you are a seasoned competitor, make an honest evaluation of yourself; have you made the improvements necessary to be competitive?  Remember: Competing can be very fulfilling, but you have to be prepared for the challenges that come along with it.