T Nation

Compete Now or Later?

While there are very valid points being discussed that in another case might need to be weighed carefully against each other, it seems to me for you it is simpler:

It makes sense to compete only if really WANTING to (for whatever reason the strong desire exists, including for example to get experience), or getting something out of it that will matter.

It’s not worth how hard it is to diet down that lean, not to mention time spent not gaining muscular size and strength due to the dieting, if not really WANTING it. Besides that, without that strong desire it would be psychologically a lot harder job.

It doesn’t sound to me as if you have that burning desire to compete right now.

On the other hand, at a later time when you know you’ll have more to show for it on contest day – not at all a criticism of where you are now but just a fact based on your being 20 and assuming you’ll continue to work hard – then likely you will have a strong enough desire at that time.

[quote]dpready wrote:
There is no way I want to diet down to under 160. I’m leaning more towards not competing now that I have heard some opinions. At 5’8" I beleive I need to compete at the very least in the light heavy’s to be satisfied with my physique. Total guess here, but I’m assuming I would need to be somewhere around 225 lbs. sub 10%bf before I deit down?[/quote]

You wouldn’t look good competing at that weight anyway. After a while, you’re losing muscle. Hussayn is shorter than you, and even though I think his end product looked great (and I don’t think we can applaud his efforts enough), I believe he was way too soft and heavy when he first began to accurately measure how much weight he really ‘needed’ to lose in order to get contest ready. You are starting out much leaner, and if you want to gauge by my own progress (same heights), I didn’t think I would go any lighter than light-heavies myself, but as you get nearer and nearer, you realize that it’s not the number on the scale, but the mirror. Sure I could have come in heavier if I had made some alterations (but you don’t realize that at the time, you just make your best educated guess), OR if I had forsaken conditioning for size (and then I wouldn’t have won all those really cool trophies! -lol).

S

My advice would be to compete now for ‘experience’ or compete later to win.

You could most likely stand a very competitive and fighting chance in the novice division, but to be honest nobody cares that much about the novice if your looking to be serious in this sport.

From my experience I competed 2x as a teen, once in the mens novice at 20…placed 2nd all three times there. Then I competed in the open men’s heavy (the toughest class) later on that same year and placed 8th out of 15. People where happy for me that I did so well at 20 yr old, but I took it as a lump and am now taking plenty of time off and not competing until I’m a candidate for the overall win at a local show and considered national level quality.

It really depends how far you want to take it. If you hope to someday be considered a ‘bodybuilder’ or even a shot at the pro’s then wait and pack on muscle.

If you don’t plan on building that much muscle and want to do it for fun…then go for it now. You have a pretty good base to work with.

my .02

Stu- your right, I woould not sacrifice conditioning for size. If I decided to compete now and needed to be 170 to look my absolute best then thats what I would shoot for. My overall goal is to compete at the very least the light heavy’s if not heavyweights though. So should I sacrifice this time that I could use in becoming bigger or should I just say fuck it and get as big as I can until I feel im ready to compete?

Dirty- thats what I have actually been told. “compete now cause you would do really good in your division”… I almost got talked in to doing the teen division this past march (I turned 20 in april), but decided against it because it didnt matter to me about being a novice teen winner at 160 lbs, even though I could have done well.

What it all comes down to is I want to achieve my overall goals of competing in the light heavy’s or heavys which would mean I need to add at least another 25-35 pounds of solid muscle. I just have these sudden urges to compete when people tell me I should compete now becuase I would do well, and I think to myself, yea I guess I could try. Plus I have never been super lean so the idea of seeing myself shredded is kind of appealing too.

No one even remembers the novice class.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
No one even remembers the novice class. [/quote]

Ha, exactly why I didn’t want to waste my time. I want to be competitive in national level shows, in good divisions.

What are the different classes? Novice being one of them…

You mean like Mens Open, Masters and Novice or like Bantam weight, light weight etc etc?

[quote]LilDaDDyDreW wrote:
What are the different classes? Novice being one of them…[/quote]

There are 3 types of shows, local (nothing but the trophy), regional (trophy + natl level qualifier), national (pro card)

Three divisions if they include teen.

Novice (4 wt groups)
Open (6 wt groups)

Then after each winner of the wt group is chosen there is a final judging where they compare the winners of each weight class and decide a novice and open overall.

The novice overall is no longer able to compete in novice…the open overall wins the show.

Most regional shows top 3 in the open class divisions qualify for nationals, but I think it depends on how many competitors, etc. 3 is the max…sometimes less.

*OP: If you want to get to national level quality before competing you have a LONG way to go bud…thats what I’m shooting for because I want to turn pro. If you just want to compete just build up a respectable physique for the regional shows and see what genetics you have and you’ll be able to tell from there.

at your height lt heavy would be great…heavyweight and you’ll be very impressive.

*damn forgot the masters lol they have age classes…

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:
LilDaDDyDreW wrote:
What are the different classes? Novice being one of them…

There are 3 types of shows, local (nothing but the trophy), regional (trophy + natl level qualifier), national (pro card)

Three divisions if they include teen.

Novice (4 wt groups)
Open (6 wt groups)

Then after each winner of the wt group is chosen there is a final judging where they compare the winners of each weight class and decide a novice and open overall.

The novice overall is no longer able to compete in novice…the open overall wins the show.

Most regional shows top 3 in the open class divisions qualify for nationals, but I think it depends on how many competitors, etc. 3 is the max…sometimes less.

*OP: If you want to get to national level quality before competing you have a LONG way to go bud…thats what I’m shooting for because I want to turn pro. If you just want to compete just build up a respectable physique for the regional shows and see what genetics you have and you’ll be able to tell from there.

at your height lt heavy would be great…heavyweight and you’ll be very impressive.[/quote]

My overall goal is to definatly try to qualify to be a pro. Key word is “try”… I’m not delussional by any means, I realize the odds of obtaining that status. Training is a great passion of mine(my only passion really), I have no problem with working my ass off to achieve this.

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:
My advice would be to compete now for ‘experience’ or compete later to win.
[/quote]

Wise Words.

I’m pretty sure a lot of guys begin playing football before they are ready for the NFL. :slight_smile:

I’ve seen a lot of guys who had no place on a stage physique-wise, and basically short-side their development just to compete. Not good.

HOWEVER I have also seen (more than those from that first category actually) a lot of guys go onstage with great physiques, look diminished an not impressive at all simply because they were not good at showing off their body, posing properly, holding their pauses, having good stage presence.

To me, the second type of guys are even worse than the first ones. If they decided to gain some experience first, it would not have happened. Heck, didn’t Dexter Jackson start competing when he was a bantam weight of around 150lbs on his 5’6’’ frame?

Dirty Gerdy- Good breakdown of the way bodybuilding contests are formatted!
dpready- Follow your desires like Bill Roberts said, you seem like you want to get bigger before you compete, go for it. If you have that desire to compete you will and you will do good. You have a great physique especially for 20.

CT has a good comparison about people playing football before jumping straight to the NFL. Many people are in bodybuilding because they are extreme by nature. This is an extreme sport and lifestyle… With that mindset it’s understandable that people want to get up to 250+ pounds than lean up and compete.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
I’m pretty sure a lot of guys begin playing football before they are ready for the NFL. :slight_smile:

I’ve seen a lot of guys who had no place on a stage physique-wise, and basically short-side their development just to compete. Not good.

HOWEVER I have also seen (more than those from that first category actually) a lot of guys go onstage with great physiques, look diminished an not impressive at all simply because they were not good at showing off their body, posing properly, holding their pauses, having good stage presence.

To me, the second type of guys are even worse than the first ones. If they decided to gain some experience first, it would not have happened. Heck, didn’t Dexter Jackson start competing when he was a bantam weight of around 150lbs on his 5’6’’ frame?[/quote]

Nice analogy, but I think for most people it would be wiser to wait, actually do the “bodybuilding” part until they have the physique that makes jaws drop and then compete. While doing that, attend the local shows, eye-up the competition, and when ready to compete, get a competent coach to work on the presentation. Yes, the presentation part is extremely important, but that can be learned a hell of a lot faster than it takes to build a winning physique. And with time as a precious commodity, I believe getting huge has the edge over gaining experience.

[quote]Vanilla-Gorilla wrote:
Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
I’m pretty sure a lot of guys begin playing football before they are ready for the NFL. :slight_smile:

I’ve seen a lot of guys who had no place on a stage physique-wise, and basically short-side their development just to compete. Not good.

HOWEVER I have also seen (more than those from that first category actually) a lot of guys go onstage with great physiques, look diminished an not impressive at all simply because they were not good at showing off their body, posing properly, holding their pauses, having good stage presence.

To me, the second type of guys are even worse than the first ones. If they decided to gain some experience first, it would not have happened. Heck, didn’t Dexter Jackson start competing when he was a bantam weight of around 150lbs on his 5’6’’ frame?

Nice analogy, but I think for most people it would be wiser to wait, actually do the “bodybuilding” part until they have the physique that makes jaws drop and then compete. While doing that, attend the local shows, eye-up the competition, and when ready to compete, get a competent coach to work on the presentation. Yes, the presentation part is extremely important, but that can be learned a hell of a lot faster than it takes to build a winning physique. And with time as a precious commodity, I believe getting huge has the edge over gaining experience.[/quote]

Also, style and grace are somewhat innate. It doesn’t matter how much someone practices posing if they have zero coordination. I would blame that for why some of those guys never did well long before I blamed the fact that they waited to compete.

It makes no sense for the guy who isn’t big yet to compete. Why? Because no one even knows if he will EVER have what it takes to actually get big. You can’t judge the genetics of a flat out beginner and someone who is that ready to compete before they ever put the time in will be least likely to do so afterwards. It takes YEAS to build that kind of muscle. It takes weeks to months to learn how to do some poses in a full routine.

Though if one looks like Arnold did at 19 then it’s reasonable to compete at that age, despite not that many years of training. (Or I’m sure there are other pros of whom that could be said.)

Of course that is a different type of case than what you are talking about and doesn’t violate the principle you are saying.

People compete for different reasons. If someone who loves to lift wants to try and get lean enough (3-5%) and dry enough (drop about 5% in water weight) and is SUCCESSFUL at doing so and wants to compete at whatever class he wants to compete at, be it a 143lb bantamweight or a 200+ pound heavyweight then let him try.

It’s a matter of wanting to put forth the best physique you have at this moment right now. You don’t have to just build build build for 10 years and then find out you really don’t have to it takes to compete with the big boys…but maybe you DID have what it takes 10 years ago in a lighter weight class?

Hey, if nothing else at least you given it your best shot and and go from there as you’ll likely learn a lot from competing.

Then again you couldn’t even try at all, lose a bet, or something like that and end up this guy:

http://rochelle-hubs.smugmug.com/gallery/7636909_XTHQV#494243432_PPLDY

first photo