Great idea for a thread topic. I think a lot of people go back and forth about whether they want to compete, and even with those that do, there is a lot of differing opinions on what amount of suffering is acceptable, or even neccesary. With the current state of 'net affairs, every coach dismissing other coach’s approaches, it’s very easy to forget that preparing for a physique contest pretty much goes against what the human body actually wants to do in terms of survival -lol.
1- How much suffering is acceptable for you precontest? [/quote]
The ultimate answer will be depending on what sort of shape you’re staring out in, and if you’ve got a certain time frame. I’ve had people come to me for help with an easy 30+ lbs to lose, while telling me the show they already signed up for is in 10 weeks’ time.
Personally, the early stages of my preps were always pretty easy. I found that I dieted on much higher calories than a lot of other competitors I knew, and because I never really did much cardio in the off season, I was able to get away with very little the first several weeks.
Of course suffering also can entail how much your social life (and work, school etc) is negatively affected. I started dating my (now) wife during a prep, and I put a lot of effort into essentially hiding what I was doing. So if pretending you’re not hungry, not tired, definitely want to go hang out late with her friends instead of sleeping, and don’t have plans to go to the gym no matter how late it is when she finally goes home constitutes suffering,… then yeah, I dealt with a bit of that -lol.
2- Has precontest ever negatively affected your Work/School/professional life? [/quote]
With my career, it’s always been a very simple task to bring my meals, so in that respect, preps never really intruded in any way. Most of my co-workers had no clue that I was a competitive boybuilder at all, and in hindsight, it was a good move that I kept things to myself. I already dealt with enough ridiculous questions about training and dieting from people who I knew wouldn’t listen without having to explain mjy weekly changes and the rationalizations for them.
3- Care to share your worst precontest story? [/quote]
I don’t know if I have a “worst”, but there were definitely moments where I questioned what I was doing, and if anyone else would go to such lengths.
In 2011, my brother was doing a contest as well. It was in Jersey so we were going to have to stay in a hotel. I was mid-prep for the America at the time, so in addition to bringing two coolers worth of food for myself (Friday and Saturday), I found myself running on the beach at 5am for my morning cardio, had to find a gym nearby to get my training sessions in, and found myself eating cold fish, few day old omelets, cold previously cooked broccoli, tupperwares of cold oatmeal with protein powder mixed in… just really not fun days of eating. Then, of course, he won his class and we had a victory dinner while I gnawed on 3 day old chicken breasts from my cooler. Good times! -lol
4-What are some ways to mitigate these effects?[/quote]
Well, I think better food choices would have been much smarter in my case, but at the end of it all, I don’t think I experienced anything that any other serious competitor wouldn’t have gone through. The toll the entire process takes on your life outside the gym is the biggest issue IMO.
As far as learning from each prep, I think all competitors come to some basic conclusions:
-Don’t gain too much weight between contests
-Give yourself enough time, and the “suffering” will be less
-Expect ‘hiccups’ in progress
-Hope for understanding family and friends - my friends knew I wouldn’t be hanging out Friday nights when dieting.
-Don’t expect co-workers (or anyone else really) to accept your choice to compete as an excuse for anything. You chose to do this.