In the past couple of issues of Australian Natural Body, one of the hottest topics of discussion has been competition preparation. Vicki Arief has revealed some great tips to help get you into tiptop shape for the competitive stage. In this article, I would like to address what your expectations are for your upcoming competition.
| In most instances, the reasons for going from average gym goer to competitive bodybuilder are out of feelings of wanting more.
It might be that you want to become more dedicated to the fitness lifestyle, you might want to strive for bigger and better goals, or you simply like the look of the competitor and this is something for you to aspire to.
No matter what gets you to the stage, the fact that you ARE there is a reward in itself. Simply competing is an achievement. If you have the desire to be a successful competitor, then I believe you can be.
Look around - there are not many people who compete. There are many more that would like too, but for whatever reasons (insecurity, nervousness, stage fright etc) they stay seated in the crowd.
Now once most people decide to compete, things get interesting. No longer is it a matter of achieving greater goals, or to be able to share the competitive expierence with like-minded individuals. No. For some, it is WIN or nothing. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be number one (I do for one), but you cannot let this be the sole reason for competing in the first place. Focusing on winning and nothing else is the quickest way to end a career before it even gets started.
Let Me Tell You A Story...
In 2002, I travelled down to Melbourne for the INBA Australia, my first national expierence. The time between pre-judging and the evening show seemed like an eternity, so I caught a few z's out the back. When there, I was talking to a few guys there to support one of the guy's brothers, who competed in the juniors.
They were telling me that this junior wasn't too happy because the judges currently had him in 4th place after pre-judging. Here is a recall of what was told to me over a half-hour conversation - "He's not too happy now. I mean, this morning he was looking awesome, still is! He started training for the competition 6 months ago, seeing a personal trainer every week, dropped heaps of bodyfat and gained a lot of lean muscle, and this morning was looking unbelievable.
We all think he is going great, but he is stressed out. He cannot figure out what has gone wrong. He thought he would win hands down and is looking like he won't even place.
Just before, he even said that this is last show and he is calling it quits. We think he is mad, but you know, he thought he was going to clean up - that's what his trainer said".
Can anyone see the problem here? The young fella didn't do anything wrong. He didn't blow his diet at the last minute, nor do something to jeopardise his position. If anything, the posing during the pre-judging probably even improved his condition. He was simply beaten by 3 better competitors. Does this make his accomplishment mean anything less? He still lost heaps of fat, gained muscle and looked his absolute best - so what is his problem?
Now lets flip the scenario for a minute. If these 3 other gents didn't compete, how would he be feeling then? He would be coming first after the pre-judging and would be on top of the world. His physique wouldn't be any better, his presentation would be the same - the only difference is the absence of 3 better physiques.
Do You See Where I Am Going With This?
For some people, they feel as though their achievement means nothing unless they take home the first place trophy. I personally feel this is ridiculous. When competing, the only person (and physique) you have control over is your own. You cannot control who competes on the day, and nor should this effect your decision to compete.
To go into a competition expecting to win with no regard for your fellow competitor is just disrespectful to those you win compete against. Just because you are competing doesn't mean you are guaranteed a win. If you have the best physique on the day, then you will be rewarded with the gold, but don't expect it.
If you behave like this I believe you are going about the sport the whole wrong way. The first and only competition expectation you should have is to better your previous performance. Funny thing though, this has nothing to do with placing. For me personally, I would rather be at my best and come second, then to snag a win in anything less then my best. To some this will make no sense, but think about it for a second.
Why do you train so hard for a competition when you cannot guarantee first? The only thing you do have some control over is your own physique - that's it. Definitely not the outcome of the event! To me, to win at anything less then my best would be a shallow victory.
Whenever I take on new clients/athletes for contest preparation, I always ask this question:
| I Would Rather Win @ 80%.
I Would Rather Get 2nd @ 100%.
If their response is that they would rather win then anything else, I usually refuse to train them. I simply cannot guarantee a win for them, but I CAN get them into their best ever condition. I ask you, which is more important?
Hey, I'm just like you, and I like to come out on top. I know that no matter which shows I compete in, I know the quality of competitor I will be up against. I also know that if I have any chance of pulling off a win, I need to be at my absolute best.
| A Guaranted Win.
Getting Your Best Ever Condition.
Additionally, I like to focus on whom I will be competing against. Knowing my competition enables me to push myself harder in the gym each and every day. When you are up against quality athletes, you need to lead by example.
You can rest assured that from now until October 2nd I will be giving my absolute all to be my best ever on stage (I do want the win this year after finishing 2nd in 2003). But if I don't, I'll be the first one to offer a congratulatory handshake to the winner.
About The Author
Josh Dickinson is a Co-Founder of Physique Essentials - A Health & Fitness consultancy company determined to assist people reach their physique goals Naturally. He is an accomplished bodybuilding competitor and a certified personal trainer. If you have any questions that you would like answered by one of Australia's quickest rising competitors, send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org