Why Are You Competing?

It’s time to stop playing pretend physique competitor and get real.

I’m not a rant guy, but this needs to be said. Bring on the hate mail. I can handle it.

First, understand that I’ve trained many physique competitors over the years, from pro bodybuilders to figure and bikini competitors. I really admire those who are serious about it. I’ve also competed in bodybuilding myself.

But I’ve noticed an ugly trend that’s growing stronger every year.

More and more people are competing in physique contests. A few years back you had contests with ten competitors. And if you were competing you were an oddball in the gym. But today it seems like everybody is preparing for a contest. It’s now “in” to prepare for a show, and they all want to do it after only a few weeks in the gym.

People who have no business even thinking about doing a physique show… are thinking about doing a show.

People who are years away from having what it takes to think about maybe competing… are thinking about competing.

People who have as much genetics for physique contests as I do for basketball (I’m 5’8" with short arms)… start training for a show.

Don’t Compete If…

  1. You aren’t the best or close to the best in your gym (unless you train in a gym full of IFBB pros or national level competitors).
  2. You don’t really stand out when you go to the grocery store.
  3. People don’t turn around and stare when you walk down the street.
  4. Nobody has ever asked you, “When is your show?”
  5. You walk into a CrossFit gym and see 20 people who look better than you who aren’t even trying to.

This applies to guys who want to do bodybuilding and women wanting to do figure.

What pisses me off isn’t the fact that tons of people step on stage while having no business being there (although as a spectator it does make the competitions waaaay too long and boring), rather it’s the reason why so many people are “doing shows” now.


Narcissistic, Needy Wannabes

Social media is largely to blame. People want to be admired, they crave the attention, and they want to broadcast themselves. They want to be told how good they look. So they start to play “pretend physique competitor.”

They live for their daily picture on Facebook or Instagram to see how many “likes” and comments they’ll get.

I have some harsh truth for you: nobody really cares.

They’re hitting the like button because they’re your friends and it doesn’t take any effort. They actually couldn’t care less that you’re “Pumping chest 30 weeks out! Yeah, baby!”

Then these pretenders start to dress and act like the men and women they see in the pro videos: guys dress up in hoodies with the hood up in the gym – acting like tough guys, throwing the weights around, being asses to other gym members.

Hey, you are preparing for a contest! You have something really important to do, not like all these peasants, right?

Women start to dress for the gym like they’d dress for a sexy photo shoot, basically wearing a costume that screams, "Look at me, look at me! Tell me how great I look! I’m the real deal! I’m doing a show!"

Then they all start acting condescending to other people in the gym, as if the other members are a subclass because they aren’t competing.

I see it every day.

Love Your Selfie Less

I’ve dropped clients because they were “selfie lovers.” It’s not the act of posting a picture that I hate; it’s what it implies.

It implies that the person is not competing for the proper reason. They’re competing to receive attention. They’re competing so they can say they’re competing.

No one is ever going to be straight with you. Promoters want more competitors. Heck, with a $120 registration fees, who are they to squash your dreams? Of course they’ll tell you that you have what it takes.

Trainers and diet coaches love competitors. Competitors are so insecure that they make the best clients.

“I absolutely have to see you every week to see the progress. Yes, even 30 weeks out,” the coaches will say. “By the way, we need to change your diet every week and your training every three weeks. So it’s gonna be $150 a week. You wanna win, don’t you?”

Friends want to look supportive so they’ll always say positive things to you. “Yeah, you really look amazing! No, that’s not a belly, you’re just holding water.”

You May Not Have It. And That’s Okay!

Listen, not everybody has what it takes to be a good physique competitor. Everybody can improve and build a body they can be proud of, but competing should be left to the elite or those who have the potential to be elite.

People understand that someone who is 5’8" doesn’t have a great chance of becoming a pro basketball player, regardless of how hard he tries and how much he loves the game. But they don’t understand that the same can be true for bodybuilding and figure.

If you have narrow shoulders and wide hips you won’t do well in figure or bikini. Not everybody has the round muscle bellies that make for a good bodybuilding physique. And some people just can’t get super lean without losing a ton of muscle. That’s just the way it is.

“But I’m not doing it for a trophy! I’m doing it for me!”

Of course you are. You’re doing it so that “me” is receiving attention and being told that “me” looks great. That even if “me” placed 8th, “me” definitely deserved top three.

Anyway, tomorrow “me” can always post another Facebook picture with the caption, “Despite bad judging, I’m back at it hard, pumping chest 52 weeks out! Yeah, baby!”