Disclaimer… I’m no expert and don’t claim to be one. As a blogger, with one competition under my belt, I’m getting lots of questions about how to get started.
When I decided to compete in my first figure competition (FC), I had no idea of how many people would be inspired my journey. Every day I’m asked about FC, so I’ve decided to dedicate a post to those pondering over taking the journey.
How to get started?
To start you must be committed and disciplined. Not half ass committed, but 200%. Your diet, fitness routine, and lifestyle will change… forever.
Are you willing to workout (hard) everyday, twice a day, or whatever is necessary to accomplish your goal?
Are you a social drinking who occasionally indulges in an ice-cold beer, martini, margarita, or something else? Well… are you willing to give up your happy hour?
Do you have the determination to go out to dinner with family and friends but can say no to your favorite cheese cake, chocolate cake, or Alfredo creamed dish?
Seriously, I’m just saying. If you’re going to struggle with my three questions, you’re not ready, because that’s just the beginning.
I recommend you begin by reading everything you can about bodybuilding and figure competing. YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, has a plethora of information. Quite often, bodybuilder’s are eager to share their knowledge.
Check out bodybuilding.com This site has articles on just about anything related to bodybuilding. Nutrition, workouts, motivation, and more. Here is an article about getting started in figure competition.
There are also plenty of websites and bodybuilders’ who charge for their “expert” advice; however, I have yet to pay for any “how to” books. Before buying any “expert” advice, make certain that the source is credible.
If you cannot shake the desire to compete, you should consider the following:
I recommend you find a good trainer to help guide you. Unless you have a solid knowledge base on weight training and nutrition, you’re going to waste time through trial and error in trying to get it right. The “it” is methodical weight training and a proper nutrition plan that is effective for you.
No two bodies are the same. What works for someone else’s body may not work for your body.
As far as selecting a trainer, the choice is personal. Just like a good shoe; it has to be a good fit because you are going to spend a lot of time with your trainer.
There will be days when you love your trainer and there will be days when, well you know… when you may not feel so fond of him/her.
I’m a fitness enthusiast and I get high off of intense workouts. Most people aren’t like me. I performed every exercise and did so without complaining or hating my trainer. Lol! I’m just keeping it real with you. Before I selected my trainer, I considered the following:
- Experience/Credentials – She competed for many years and is knowledgeable. You don’t want a fly-by-night trainer with a certification but who lacks the depth of knowledge required to sculpt your body to perfection.
- Gender/Age – Not that I have anything against a young man or woman, but I wanted a trainer who understood an older female body. Lol! No, I’m no dinosaur but I’m not 25 either. Training over age 40 differs from someone in their 20’s and 30’s. The needs are different. I wanted an experienced trainer who understood a female body over age 40. It was that simple for me.
- Personality – I wanted a trainer who was serious-minded but also, someone who told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. My trainer was just that and more! I worked hard, laughed every session and, learned a lot and had a blast during the process.
I remember when she told me that I couldn’t listen to my music while training with her. I didn’t like it and was disappointed. I didn’t make the mind-body connection until after I worked out a few sessions without the music. She was right.
- Budget – The costs for personal trainer sessions vary greatly. Shop around before deciding. If you belong to a gym or fitness club, observe the trainer’s there. Are they attentive to their clients or are they on their cell phone and talking to other members?
Discuss your fitness goals with the trainer and ask for one or two trial sessions. Remember the preparation period for your first competition could range from six to 12 months or even longer. Do the math to make sure that you can afford your trainer. You don’t want to waste you or your trainer’s time.
Expenses – So you know that a trainer cost money, but what else? Well, if you’re going to bother getting your butt on stage, you darn well better show your stuff in a quality suit. I’ve seen both suits of quality and of less standard. You want quality. If you cannot afford new, you can always buy a used competition suit. A new suit can cost about $400 or more. Remember quality!
You will see an increase in your weekly/monthly food budget. It stinks but the reality is healthy foods costs more than processed junk foods. For example, you’re going to eat more foods like:
- Leafy vegetables
- Fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries & apples)
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast (I figured out when it’s on sale at my grocery store)
- Seafood (depends on you; I ate more shrimp and salmon)
- Center cut pork loins
- Protein shakes
- Supplements (depends on your needs)
Training Schedule – You must be willing to commit to a consistent weekly training schedule, at least four days per week. If you’re busy like me with a child in sports, a steady training schedule is possible but requires planning and a little creativity. If you want it bad enough, you’ll work it out.
Patience – Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a good physique. If you maintain consistency on the gym floor, in the kitchen, and at the table, you will be amazed by how your body changes.
Nearly two years passed before I decided to go for it. I hope it doesn’t take you two years to decide because I wish I had competed sooner! If you decide to compete, please come back to and tell; I want to hear all about it!
What are you afraid of?
Make it a great day and remember to keep it movin’!