Well well well…here I am with a swollen hand, a sore ass, and a couple hundred bucks lighter after an epic battle with a kitten, attempting to type about the least of my favorite aspects of the whole health and fitness industry. At least I know my tetanus is up to date now. Phew! Talk about an enjoyable experience.
Ok, where do I start? Let’s talk about the underwear. Ok ok, sorry, posing trunks. I understand their neccessity. I mean, you can’t just get on stage with regular gym shorts and pull ’em up everytime the judges need to see your quads, glutes or hammies. So how ’bout some compression shorts? Probably the best alternative, but I’d have to say it’s still pretty hard to see muscle definition through the shorts. I think it’s safe to say that the posing trunks are here to stay. But to make it a little less fruity (if possible), let’s try stay away from the sequined trunks, ok, guys? I think Figure Athletes can pull it off. Let’s leave it to them.
Next, let’s look at the ridiculous diet. I’ll admit, I know very very very little about the diet leading up to the competition. Ok, I know nothing. The little I know is from 1 day of hanging out with a Figure Athlete, seeing what she ate and listening to her stories about her bodybuilding friends. I think my favorite story was about the guy that was eating 70 cans of tuna per week. Surprisingly, or not, it was getting old. Each can of tuna was harder to choke down than the last. Well, during one outing of self-initiated torture, he had had enough. He threw up his precious protein in a can. Being a competing bodybuilder, he couldn’t afford to lose those precious calories. So, guess what? Yup, let’s open up another can and choke that sucker down (I really had to fight the urge to use one of my favorite curse words there; I’ll let you figure out which one that is). Gross. Wait, here’s another one. A Figure Athlete was so sick of eating chicken that she had to use her Magic Bullet* to grind up the chicken so that it was the same consistency and texture as the rice she had to eat with it. That way she couldn’t tell the difference and didn’t have to chew. Open mouth, insert food, swallow, don’t think about it. Those four steps are pretty representive of how most of these people have to go about eating. The lovely lady I got to hang out with did the same. For one meal, she had steamed fish, asparagus, and a roma tomato. For the other meal, hold on to your seats, she had steamed chicken and asparagus. I think she might have even had a delicious treat of steamed asparagus at some time in between. I didn’t even mention the whole dehydration process that starts a week before the show. And I thought I had it bad.
Reason #D: Physique. I won’t lie, I’m amazed at what these guys can do with their bodies naturally, i.e. opposite of using steroids, but that doesn’t mean that I want to look like that. There is a huge difference between a bodybuilder that weighs 185 and a football player that weighs 185. Also, I’d rather have the speed and explosion of a football player. Why? I don’t know (“IDK” for my younger readers). As I’ve said before, I’m about 99% sure I’ll never step foot on the field with pads on again, but it just seems more useful in everyday life. It’s also kind of fun to say that I’m a 5’9 white dude that can hang on the rim with both hands from a vertical leap. I’m not sayin a bodybuilder can’t, but their training routines aren’t very conducive to explosiveness.
And now we get to the last reason (that I can think of at the moment): Intensity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing “bodybuilding type” training right now: high reps, sub maximal weights, short rest periods; and these workouts are not lacking any intensity. In fact, they are probably more intense than strength training. The intensity I’m talking about is the intensity level when you’re in the spotlight and all eyes are on you. Bodybuilders have to be intense nearly all the time leading up to their show. Remember the 70 cans of tuna/week? However, when they get up on stage, they can go on autopilot. If all their preparation and effort was on point in the months leading up to the show, they will do well. But that’s the point. Everything needs to be done leading UP TO THE SHOW. It’s not WHILE the show is going on. They’re not going to place any better the harder they flex. Sorry, but that’s not one of the judging criteria. Now, take powerlifting for example. The preparation is equally intense leading up to the meet. The difference is though, you need to be MORE intense when your name’s called and it’s time to unrack 750 lbs. from the squat rack. If you go into a meet thinking, “well, I benched 450 the other day at the gym so I know that I’ll be able to do it now”, you are very very misinformed. You still need perform NOW. Doesn’t matter how you did 2 weeks ago; it matters how you do NOW. And that’s the kind of intensity I thrive on. I want all eyes on me, and I want everyone to see me triumph or fall flat on my face in failure during those 20 sec.
I think it’s fairly safe to say, I have no ambition to step foot on a bodybuilding stage….for now. LOL (that’s “laugh out loud” for my older readers). There is exactly one-and-a-half reasons as to why I MIGHT be enticed to do a show. The “1/2” reason is peer pressure. There’s a little birdie in my ear that continually tries to convince me to do a show coming up in October. My 15 lb. challenge is going pretty well (I’ll let you know how well in 3 weeks), but I think if I did compete, I’d have to cut down to the bantam weight division to be competitive enough to place. That’s around 155 lb. Yuck. Not only that, but I’d probably have to lose some muscle mass to get there. I wouldn’t be too thrilled about that. So, if I cut to competitive weight right now without sacraficing existing muscle mass, I’d be in the lightweight division. That’s also the most competitive. I know I can’t expect to win on my first time out there, but I also don’t want to set myself up to fail. So, the real reason it intrigues me is the challenge. It is unlike anything I have ever done before. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, I like to push myself to the limits. Why? I don’t know, I guess I’m kind of sadistic. I like putting myself through things that normal people don’t, or better yet, “can’t” due to lack of discipline. I don’t like to be normal in anything I do, but I have a whole rant planned for that later. Needless to say, you won’t see me on any bodybuilding platforms any time soon, but I don’t think I can say “never”. It will take a lot of convincing on somebody’s part, but who know’s?
* = This Magic Bullet, not the “other one”…..sinner.
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.
Why in the heeeeck was that guy eating so much damn tuna?!?!?! Did he not like any other protein sources or did he just do it because it was cheap/convenient?
I think you can do a competition without having to choke down food. I don’t get A LOT of food in my prep, but the food I eat, I looove it! 🙂 And I think some people get WAY to caught up in the sources of their food, rather than just meeting macros. <–One reason I really like working with Layne!
I have no doubt in my mind, you could do a show, but honestly, I have yet to meet a guy bodybuilder that I "click" with. They are usually way out there and VERY arrogant/self-obsessed. And I think you are smarter than most. They are also generally very narrow minded. They think there is ONE way to train, ONE way to eat, etc. No offense to male bodybuilders… just saying what I personally have observed and encountered. (Sorry if I offended anyone. Feel free to prove me wrong 🙂 )
Nice little Magic Bullet touch there. 🙂