May 10, 2016( Comments: 0 )

An insight into Bodybuilding preparation!

Hello to the people of the Northern Beaches. Ritchie here, Personal Trainer and first time competitive bodybuilder. I wanted to give you a bit of an insight into the preparation that leads into a bodybuilding “comp day”. While people who compete take it to the absolute extreme, the disciplines used are not too different to that of a person with a weight loss, or muscle gain goal!! Hopefully you find it useful ;)

What exactly is competitive bodybuilding?

For years now, it has been an increasingly growing trend among people of the fitness industry – to push their bodies in search of the perfect physique and to match a certain criteria that would bring them into spotlight on stage. There are many divisions such as bodybuilding, physique, fitness, bikini, all of which require you to meet different criteria. I can’t speak for all divisions here as preparation varies greatly, but I will give you an insight as to what’s involved leading up to a competition as a bodybuilder…. Focusing on the 3 months prior to comp day!

So what’s involved?

Like most people competing, I did so with the help of an experienced coach who helped me with nutrition, cardio training, posing and on day preparation. In bodybuilding, it is essential to get down to a low, yet safe body fat percentage, and depending where you start, influences your training scheme.

Weight Training

The “bodybuilders” is the division where you’re required to hold the most muscle mass, so weight training is essential. Though I’m unlikely to put on much muscle mass in the 3 months leading up to a competition as I am in a calorie deficient phase, however it is important that I am maintaining all the muscle mass I have put on prior and that I keep my strength up.

Cardio Training

If you know me well, you would know that cardio is definitely not my favorite thing to do in a gym! But it is an essential part of preparation, and depending on your starting body composition, cardio may be implemented right away, or it may come in later down the track. Personally, I started my preparation on 11.5% Body fat so it wasn’t until the closer weeks that I needed to include cardio. (thank god haha). Cardio training is a great way to burn down fat and my coach and I managed to get me down to 8% for my first show.

Eating / Drinking

Eating and food preparation is the most important part of the whole equation. In order to lose fat, you have to be consuming less calories then what you are burning each day. Your daily macronutrients have to be met, going to the extent of weighing each and every part of your meal, every day…. to the gram, slowly decreasing portion size until a steady rate of fat loss is achieved.
During the course of the comp preparation, most people do not consume any alcohol!


Perfecting posing is vital. You can go on stage with the best physique there but if your posing isn’t perfected, it could cost you a placing on stage. Hours are spent in front of the mirror practicing transitions, flexing and of course a big smile.

Why is it thought of as so challenging?

In my opinion, it’s one of the hardest but most rewarding things I’ve done. To me, food was the hardest part as I LOVE food, and it really affected me….. I was told what I could eat, and at what time I could eat it. I was in a constant state of hunger. I’ve always had a healthy lifestyle, but like anyone I enjoyed things in moderation so removing all sugar, fast food and alcohol for 3 months definitely takes its toll on you and tests your will power! You would be surprised at the large part of your social life that revolves around drinking and eating. Always having to think ahead, bringing my pre weighed meals to BBQ’s and fighting the temptation to have an ice-cold beer or a nice hot dog with onion and cheese.

How I overcome challenges and temptation;

The challenges I face everyday are no different to that of the general person looking at weight loss. Struggling for that bit of motivation to go to the gym or fighting the temptation to eat that chocolate bar. I’ve implemented certain strategies to beating temptation, which everyone can find useful!

Remove opportunity – If you find you have weak will power like me, remove any sort of opportunity of cheating your self. Don’t walk down the chocolate aisle, only store healthy food at home, avoid situations where you are going to be overwhelmed by unhealthy options.

Don’t justify bad decisions – It is really common for people to justify their snacking. “I walked 30 mins extra today, I deserve a chocolate.” You are putting positive reinforcement of bad decisions that you always regret later.

Set goals – Set short and long-term goals and keep track of them. There’s nothing more rewarding than reaching the end of a week and being exactly where you planned to be or even ahead!

Planning – Meal prep can be done by everyone. Though you shouldn’t go to the extremes of weighing each portion of your meal, preparing your meals for the day the night before can drastically decrease the chance of spontaneous snacking. If you are having trouble with motivation to get to the gym, make a weekly plan. Write a weeks plan and mark off each day as you complete the day. Book in group classes or Personal training sessions. If you have a time booked in, you are more likely to stick to it.

Get creative – Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Check out healthy-recipes for some healthy tasty recipes. You are less likely to snack if your taste buds have been satisfied!
And if you’re struggling to stay on track and find that these strategies aren’t working for you. Feel free to come and see me in the gym and we can brainstorm a way that works for you!


By no means do I recommend this drastic lifestyle change for everyone. But if it’s something you have been considering doing, I highly recommend it as it so rewarding! On May 28th I will be competing in the Nationals where I hope to get my “pro status” and an invitation to compete in Bali in October. I have a further 3kg’s to lose in the 3 weeks leading up to competition day and have never been more motivated. Always keep your eyes on the prize and don’t let anything stand in your way!!

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