Hey, everybody, welcome to Matters of Fitness 3.
As you learned last week, Fit Teamer Johanna Blume won the debut figure class and the open figure overall at the 2019 Mr/Ms. Natural Philadelphia Bodybuilding/Figure Championships.
You can read the recap here.
This edition will be all about bodybuilding so let’s get right into Matters of Fitness 3.
1) I want to compete in bodybuilding but I do not know what I should do to get started. What should my first move be?
Bodybuilding is a phenomenal process that develops your mind and body, but your journey could be derailed if you do not have a plan of action.
There are 3 steps you should take before you consider getting on stage.
The first thing you want to do is determine your weak areas. Everybody has them, but you need someone who will be objective with you and not blow hollow smoke up your arse.
The second thing you want to do after you determine what you need to work on is to choose a show. Selecting a competition will give you a concrete date to aim towards.
You cannot rush the process as you want to make sure you give yourself enough time to get stage ready. This is where having another set of objective eyes comes in.
The third thing you want to do is choose the proper training and nutrition protocol. The worst thing to do is to “train and diet” for a year, look in the mirror, and see absolutely no changes.
It happens all the time in bodybuilding and I’ve personally seen it time and time again.
Your training program should put the priority on progression and your diet should be one that allows your body to build/retain muscle and lose body fat.
2) How should I train to build a stage-ready physique?
After you determine your weak areas, you will know what areas on your body you have to put the most focus on.
In my first year on stage I had no upper body.
I did not use the 3 tips I provided for you above because at this point in my career I was a rookie who had no clue how to build a stage-ready physique.
After getting blasted in the show and assessing my weak areas, I spent the next 3 years focusing on improving my upper body.
In year 3, I was able to earn a top 5 placing in the open middleweight class at the 2014 Mr. Natural Philadelphia.
Your lifting program should focus on building your weak areas and developing a balanced, symmetrical physique.
If you have great arms and pipe cleaners for legs then it would be a disastrous mistake to continue to prioritize your arms all year and then show up at the competition on stilts.
Your conditioning program should focus on a combination of high and moderate intensity workouts.
You could make your life easier and just sprint for your conditioning but if you wanted more variety, you could include the Prowler or even bodyweight conditioning workouts.
I do not like machine “cardio” where folks spend 1-2 hours on a lame machine trying to burn calories.
I also do not like when competitors are performing so much “cardio” that they end up sacrificing muscle mass and ruining their physique.
I’d rather you take those extra calories out of your diet than waste time looking like an extra from the Walking Dead on that treadmill.
Conditioning is meant to be short, intense, and to the point. Real, honest conditioning also serves as a muscle builder too.
While conditioning will ultimately help you reach your peak-level leanness, it cannot and will not replace poor nutritional habits.
If you train like Rocky Balboa but eat like Homer Simpson you will get folded on stage.
3) How should I eat to build a stage-ready physique?
The main thing you have to learn how to do is count your calories/macronutrients and manage your energy intake.
Caloric intake is supremely important. You cannot lose body fat if you are in a caloric surplus as you have to be in a caloric deficit to get leaner.
Let it be known that you can lose weight in a caloric deficit while eating trash foods but your physique at the end of that journey will be horrendous.
You need to consume quality food to look and feel better and knowing how much you are eating makes getting ripped significantly easier than just winging it.
Counting and balancing your macros involves you keeping records of the carbs, protein, and fat you consume each day.
When you have the correct percentages of your macro pie chart it will lead you to develop a leaner and more muscular physique.
Managing your energy intake is of importance too. You cannot overload on energy (carbs, fats) all day and expect to get lean.
Let’s say you are training shoulders and arms. The energy you need to complete that workout will be far less than what is required to do a strenuous lower body session.
If you overeat, you will not be able to drop body fat. Knowing how to allocate your energy based on your workout is another skill the bodybuilder needs in order to develop their best physique.
4) What supplements should I take for bodybuilding?
Many supplements promise to get you ripped, but the truth of the matter is that unless your diet is on point, those supplements have no value.
This article is not the place to go into detail about every bodybuilding supplement, but a few supplements that I would recommend to an aspiring bodybuilder or figure competitor are:
• I recommend Vitamin B, C, D, and Omega 3 for general health.
• For muscle building and training performance, I recommend Creatine, Beta Alanine, and Caffeine.
• I recommend Carnitine and Caffeine for fat loss.
• For recovery and sleep, I recommend ZMA.
5) What type of mindset is needed to do bodybuilding?
Your mindset has to be one of commitment.
Creating a physique worthy of the stage cannot be developed without being committed.
I’ve seen halfway bodybuilders on stage and they always stand out in a bad way.
You have to be committed to your training, diet, and recovery.
Sacrifice is part of the game, but it is well worth it at the end of the journey when you have a new body and mindset.
6) What got you into bodybuilding?
My natural body type is an ectomorph (skinny bastard) and I knew for a fact that I did not want to spend my life looking like the Scarecrow from Batman.
With that being said I was the Scarecrow until my early 20’s.
When I was a boy I was into comic books and I wanted to develop a physique that resembled that of a comic book character.
The superheros I used to read about were fast, strong, and muscular. The most obtainable comic book physique for me to build based on my body type was Spider-Man.
I did not know how I would make that happen but I was determined.
My first exposure to consistent bodybuilding workouts was on an ESPN show known as Kiana’s Flex Appeal.
Everyday she and her bodybuilder crew would perform workouts that targeted certain bodyparts.
My brother and I spent the summer before I went into 10th grade doing these workouts every Monday-Friday at 11:30am.
Once I saw the effects that pumping some iron had on my rail-thin physique I was sold for life.
7) Fake Hustle
The importance of having a great team around you is critical.
Yes men are fake hustle of the highest order.
When you are developing your physique to compete, I would advise you to stay off of social media.
Likes, comments, and emojis regarding your progress can weaken your resolve to train hard when the adoration is sky high.
When everyone is telling you how good you look, you may actually start to believe it.
Meanwhile it is only January 7th, you are in week 1 of your prep, and you are very smooth.
I suggest you do it Clubber Lang style. Go dark and focus on making progress with your training, nailing your macros, making sure your recovery is on point.
You have to learn to enjoy the process.
This is what Jo did and when she showed up on stage, all of her hard work was evident.
I’d rather you win on stage then win on social media with some cheap likes.
Likes and comments do not win shows. Phenomenal physiques do.
Sidenote: If you would like to step on stage please fill out the application to join The Fit Team below.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer