Firstly let’s discuss bodybuilding in its current form today, especially within the uk. It seems that now competitive bodybuilding has become more of a fashion than an actual niche activity. compare it to 5/10 years ago where you’d train a certain way for a prolonged period of time, maybe 4/5 years, and then showcase your hard work on stage to the judges.

Now it’s so much more accessible because of the vast number of available categories, coupled with the mindset or perception that its an easy process and after only maybe 5/6 months worth of training you feel that it’s time to hit the stage.

Social media makes every one forget the hard work, the process, even the science behind what should be a rewarding and developing hobby... it really feels like it's become a fashion, a quick fix to fame and fortune. In some ways it's lost some of its purity.

In my opinion, and this is just my opinion I feel a ground work of a solid regime of 3-5 years worth of training in a caloric surplus (bulking/adding tissue), is the only way to grow a physique worth showing, but with this comes mental challenges and more so from a female perspective. Being “fluffy” whilst in surplus will mean a certain amount of fat will be added (inevitable) and this to a women can feel very uncomfortable as the common thought is to lose weight and not feel so big.

Hard graft 100% OR NOTHING, from an early age should be endured before even thinking about hitting the stage, doing it this way will land you in great stead for a long lustrous career within the sport.

Lets look at the process and journey -

So typically a prep will range anywhere between 12 and 24 weeks, depending current body fat levels and various other bearing factors.

Traditionally calories will start off very high with minimal cardio to ensure 100% effort is given from the onset within your resistance training.

As the weeks pass by calories (predominantly carbohydrates) are lowered to ensure body fat levels reduce at a steady rate but also to preserve as much muscle as possible.

As the calories lower and the deeper you become within this process so many changes happen, not just aesthetically (this is person dependant) but mentally.

Normal rational decisions become crazy ass practice... I’ve put trainers in the microwave and peanut butter in the washing machine before now with a few weeks to go.. zoning out in traffic jams with cars beeping their horns behind me. it’s not only us that is affected, family and loved ones too have to deal with the snappiness, the tiredness, the lack of social outings or being in bed early, with libido often dwindling as we become fixated with this process.

With a few weeks to go and food is minimal the common and most normal thing is to slow down right ...!!? But we can’t, we have to dig deep and continue to push hard. We have to keep that intensity as high as possible right to the finish.

All the above sounds like hell right ???

To the average person it might just well be, but I believe if you truly do this process correctly and hold nothing back, the above is a by product, because when you come off that stage with 1st place there is no feeling like it. The feeling of self achievement is out of this world.

YES, others have gone through the ordeal with you, but nobody has done it for you this is what makes this sport special, YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN.

100% or nothing

Sean barber Personal Trainer