That’s an interesting post!
You see, these two excerpts relate to the topic at hand, particularly that we are speaking about bodybuilding on a bodybuilding and fitness site.
The main reason is I am interested in this subject is because, well, as one can see from my icon and Leaning Out/Contest prep thread in the BB forum, I became a bodybuilder this past fall and entered and won the overall at my first show and received a natural pro card.
As I said in the thread and elsewhere numerous times, I had absolutely no expectation going into the show regarding placing. In fact, when some people told me, “I think you can do alright,” and even, “I think you might win,” I always responded, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t think so.” Upon being told several times, “Maybe you’ll get a pro card,” I always responded, “Highly unlikely.”
Now, although the organization I competed in is relatively small and newer than others, and I had no expectations upon myself, I had in no way intended to come in soft and out of shape. And when I say out of shape, I mean anything short of being cut to fucking ribbons! I said to myself and friends everyday, “I might not place but there is no goddamn way I am going to embarrass my close friend and coach @The_Mighty_Stu --especially considering his reputation–and other experienced bodybuilder friends who are in attendance for me. Even if I lose to a genetic phenom, this guy is going to look at me and know I did what I had to do given my genes! Everyone there is going to know that I was not happy for a long time! I don’t give a shit if I am not a famous bodybuilder!”
When I was preparing, whether in the gym or utterly miserable during my morning walks with feelings of hunger and fatigue and a constantly aching lower body, I was constantly saying to myself, “these fucking people are going to pay!”
I even became so obsessed that on top of my assigned cardio, I would take stairs at work rather than the elevator, became overly conscientious of my salad servings, and in the last six weeks or so, started becoming concerned over the size of the apples and bananas I bought.
I had sciatic pain and still did squats and bent over rows–albeit very cautiously-- when I shouldn’t have!
There were even times in which if reps in a set were not clean and smooth, I thought to myself, “that’s a set I won’t get back!” And here I was, an experienced lifter going into a show, asking people in the gym on advice on my form, like, “Hey, how did that set look? Was it smooth?”
I worked out in the evenings after morning cardio and a full work day and towards the end, on 60 to 100 grams of carbs and 1900 to 2100 cals per day!
When I was really losing my freaking mind from overwork, a caloric deficit, and over-leanness, I would think of the silliest shit. I once needed my car repaired and thought, “If this thing is not fixed today, I am borrowing someone’s car, walking there (it would be a long walk, lol), or renting a damn cab, no matter how expensive it will be for this one workout today. I am not missing it!”
I said no to several invitations. I brought a food scale and food with me on a road trip and went to a gym as a guest while out there. I under-ate at restaurants there because I couldn’t measure the food.
I even slacked off in something when I could without getting caught to reserve my mental and emotional energy for my workouts (think of a daily obligation most Americans hate tending to), even once not showing up for it (highly unlike me) because I wanted to fit my workout in for the day but was bogged down with another obligation.
My main thesis in all this discussion is that competitive bodybuilding, even natural bodybuilding amongst so-called “no-names” such as myself is inherently compulsive or obsessive or whatever term you prefer for it! If you want to come in shredded and full, and not lose muscle mass in the process of getting there, then prepare to be CONSTANTLY obsessed and stressed the hell out! Bodybuilding readiness is not like a skill. If you have the skill and continue to practice until you need to use it competitively, you should be good. In bodybuilding, if you fall behind, that contest date still holds, and you will never get the time back! So although a missed worked or a missed or botched meal will likely not impede on you, a few too many can have you falling behind. Now that is damn stressful, not to mention the stress the caloric deprivation and leanness does to your mind.
So I am unsure if you, OP, @marcosborne20, understand the nature of all this because your message is sort of incongruent with competitive bodybuilding, something that is inherently compulsive and obsessive. In fact, the whole damn thing is so stressful that I don’t know when I will next be able to fit it into my adult life!