Ten Ways to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Bodybuilding Competition

You have been training for a few years and the bug has bitten you. You want to get into the shape of your life and see how you stack-up against other top physiques.

Here are some tips on training, diet and supplements which I hope will be of valuable to those contemplating entering a body building competition.

Section I - ( Training )

Tip 1 - Get yourself a good, strong, reliable training partner - preferable someone you feel comfortable with.

Females who really want to be pushed to the limit may find it best with a strong male training partner.

Tip 2 - For Maximum muscular size and definition, it is necessary to "cycle" phases of Muscle building with "cycles" of fat reducing.

I will assume that you already have quite a bit of muscle density and you need to lose some body fat. For this reason, I will just deal with the training directly linked with the lead up to the contest, where the primary goal is to reduce body fat while retaining maximum muscle density (this fat reducing phase is known as a cutting cycle).

Tip 3 - Use the weights to maintain muscle, not to lose fat.

Weight training should be kept heavy right up to the contest. By heavy, I mean weights you can only do 6-10 reps before failure.

What we are trying to do is maintain the maximum amount of muscle density while the body fat is being burned off. To drop the weight to something lighter to allow higher reps (ie. 15+ Reps) in the belief that this will make you more "cut", is a myth.

Any extra calories burned from the extra work will be from Glycogen and not fat and the reduced intensity of training (light weights, high reps) will result in muscle loss. Not only does this make you smaller, it makes your metabolism slower and thus it becomes even harder to get rid off that last bit of adipose (fat).

Tip 4 - Use Aerobic exercise in conjunction with diet to burn your body fat.

The aerobic exercise should preferably be weight bearing because it burns more calories per hour than a non weight bearing activity such as swimming. A good time to start your aerobic workout is directly after your weight training (when Glycogen levels are low).

Be sure to keep the speed / intensity at of your aerobic workout at conversation pace. This means you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation with someone next to you and not be short of breath. This will indicate efficient fat burning.

Section II - ( DIET )

Tip 5 - The most effective and important weapon against fat is the diet. It is more important than the aerobic work for fat loss.

No one is perfect, and when it comes to diet, it is very easy to get off track and slip up from time - to - time. If you slip up while dieting and have a Mac attack, realise that just one Big Mac contains 25 grams of fat and 550 calories. You will have to walk for around two hours to burn off this indiscretion. In my opinion, it is much easier and a lot less effort not to eat the fatty high calorie food in the first place. When you know the pain / pleasure principle and how it relates to dieting(see tip 6 pain \ pleasure principle) you will find avoiding fatty foods a lot easier.

Tip 6 - For long-term successful maintenance of a "body-to-die for", this will require you to adopt some beliefs which are new to most people.

In a nutshell, we are attracted to what we perceive will cause pleasure and repelled from what we perceive will cause pain.

This is the pain / pleasure principle. All human behaviour is based on the principle of our perception of pleasure and pain. It is not actually pleasure and pain which is directing and driving us, but our thoughts and beliefs about pleasure and pain.

HOW DOES PAIN / PLEASURE RELATE TO DIETING?

You must start connecting pain to the foods you shouldn't be eating and pleasure to the foods that you should consume.

Connect immense pain to eating foods high in fat (eg; fast food). Look at some photos or specimens of heart by-pass surgery. Look at the fatty plaques clogging the arteries. See yourself being laughed at because you're voted "Mr. Smooth" compared to the other competitors. Imagine someone calling you Michellin man while you are on stage.

Now replace this picture with you eating the "right" foods and achieving your goal. Blow it up really BIG in your imagination. Visualise it in color up close, with sound and feeling. See yourself winning the contest. Hear the cheers. Feel the excitement. Run your hands over your razor sharp six-pack abs. Do not be a detached observer - get involved. Make it real.

Don't just do this exercise when you think you are about to break your diet. Do it at any time, especially upon awakening, before retiring and when in the trance state caused by aerobic training such as running.

Tip 7 - Choosing the best diet for fat loss and muscle maintenance.

Without doubt, maximum fat loss can be achieved through dietary means by:

• Cutting Calories

• Cutting Fats

• Restricting Certain Carbohydrates

• Increasing Fibre

• Increasing Water

What about Protein Requirements ?

Protein is necessary to maintain existing muscle tissue.

If you do not ingest enough protein, your body starts to break-down muscle tissue to get some. This is definitely not what you want your body to do (cannibalising your own muscle tissue) prior to the bodybuilding show.

What about Protein Powders?

Whey Protein concentrates and isolates have the highest biological value of all the proteins. The pre JYM pre-workout is very quickly digested and an ideal choice for your post workout meal, which should contain 25% of you total protein intake.

Caseinates are retained in your system for many more hours, for this reason, they are the best choice for supper. They can help reduce muscle breakdown occurring during sleep in the long fast between meals.

Tip 8 - Space your meals no further apart than 3 hours (you must eat at least every 3 hours).

e.g; Breakfast

Morning Tea