Personally, I found preparing for a bodybuilding competition incredibly exciting, during which time I learnt a huge amount about myself both physically and mentally. I can say with absolute conviction that it is not a challenge to be taken lightly, it is a hard process which requires full determination and commitment. Whilst prepping, you will be pushed well outside of your comfort zone.
For those of you who have dieted at some point, I am sure you will appreciate how tiring and demotivating it can feel. Prepping for a show is like that but amplified as you meticulously plan and weigh out ALL of your food. General diets allow for treat meals with friends and family whereas in the weeks leading up to a show, treats are not allowed because eating and drinking is so very restricted so it becomes near impossible to plan social events and dinners out. Trust me, my family have had to learn to be very patient and understanding!
Show dieting extremes
In order to maximise your physique to be as 'show ready' as possible it is necessary to make huge sacrifices in the weeks leading up to a show:
weighing out all of your food and following meal plans to 100% accuracy
no treats allowed
reducing your body fat to such a low level that is unhealthy
physically and mentally exhausting
feeling constantly hungry
continuing training whilst feeling hungry and exhausted
So you see, food plans for competition prep compared to general dieting are much more extreme. General dieting should be about avoiding excess, making good and healthy food choices and establishing sensible food patterns to ensure that your hard work is sustainable and aids good general health. I appreciate this also necessitates hard work and commitment but you don’t need to go to such extremes and sacrifices. General dieting is about making plans that you can stick to for the longer term and it is important to factor in treats such as eating out and socialising.
Having said that, I felt AMAZING competing on stage and for me, nothing compared to the feeling I got when my name was called out and I stepped into the middle of the stage with confidence because all of my hard work had paid off and I knew that I had given it EVERYTHING.
As they say…nothing worth having comes easy!