Competing in a bodybuilding show can be an extremely exciting time as well as a stressful one. When you’re competing, you usually only have one thing in mind -- the first place trophy. Make sure you're not getting ahead of yourself. There are a lot of things you should be doing before you even step onto the stage. These seven tips will coach you up and help you finish with the medal.
Take Time to Get Lean
Conditioning often outperforms mass. The best way to make it look like you've gained 5kgs of muscle is to lose 5kgs of fat. The more conditioned you are, the more muscularity you will see. You can appear more muscular than someone who is 5-10kgs heavier than you. You never want to rush your contest diet. Usually diets that are 12 weeks or less are more calorically severe, meaning they will require you to be in a much bigger caloric deficit for a longer time causing you to lose more muscle. Someone who takes upward of 25 weeks to prepare for a contest has plenty of time to get lean and they will not have to be in such a big deficit. In fact these individuals who take their time dieting can be stage ready weeks in advance, then they can begin adding carbs and food back in. This helps the athlete to fill out and actually gain back some muscle fullness going into a show. When you rush dieting you run the risk of losing a lot of your hard earned muscle and you can end up looking stringy and flat on show day.
HIIT Up Your Cardio
The first thing I want you to keep in mind with your high intensity interval training is that cardio is catabolic. Cardio does not promote muscle building in any way and is counterproductive for your muscle building needs. HIIT burns more calories for a longer period of time than normal low-intensity cardio. Utilising HIIT cardio during your prep will allow you to burn more calories in less time while actually retaining a lot more muscle size. Let’s compare the different types of cardio athletes. You have long distance runners and short duration sprinters. Which one appears more muscular? The sprinter! The sprinter has a bigger more muscular physique while the long-distance runner has long stringy flat appearance. The goal for your bodybuilding show is to appear as big and as muscular as possible, so it makes sense to utilise this type of cardio to improve your metabolic capacity.
Don't Believe in Magic
There are so many last minute voodoo techniques that are supposed to make you more ripped and more conditioned. The fact of the matter is this, you are one week out of a contest, and if you drastically alter your nutrition or training protocols you are setting yourself up for failure. I have seen guys look absolutely amazing one week out of show day but then blow it by trying to alter everything. The first key is to be lean enough to where you are show ready one week before your contest. Stick to what has been working for you and do not make a drastic change so close to a contest.