I took a major leap this month, physically and mentally, by choosing to compete in a novice bodybuilding competition. I chose to do this in the spirit of the New Year and my new year’s resolution is to push myself out of my comfort zone. Here are 4 lessons I’ve learned after my first month of training.
Lesson 1: Meal Prepping is Key
Forget about eating out. When it comes to bodybuilding, your diet is extremely specific and is determined by a series of calculations such as:
- Your body fat percentage (BFP);
- Your body mass index (BMI);
- Lean muscle and;
- Caloric differentials
I personally need to bring my body fat percentage down from 24% to 10%. Crazy!
Dieting is truly a science and having a dedicated nutrition coach is recommended. You simply can’t do it without meal prepping. Pick a day to do all your grocery shopping for the week, set out a few hours to cook, and get your meal prep containers ready. Read more about my Go-To Recipe of Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli.
Luckily, with all that muscle growth you get to eat A LOT and bring food with you wherever you go. Yay for that!
Lesson 2: FOMO is Real
Be prepared to say “no” to social events during your bodybuilding training. FOMO “fear of missing out” is real and it hurts. This is a sacrifice you make when taking on a time-consuming commitment like this. Expect to spend 1-2 hours in the gym 5-6 days per week. Gym time plus the diet restrictions make allocating time for social activities extremely difficult.
Lesson 3: Have a Support System
Training for this bodybuilding competition is mentally and physically exhausting. The sting of FOMO and the challenges you’ll face will be more manageable with a strong support system. Share your journey with your friends and family! I was surprised by how many people want to see me compete. Create an Instagram account for your followers to see your progress. It will help hold you accountable and keep the positive energy flowing.
Lesson 4: Sleep
Don’t forget to sleep at least 8 hours every night. When you take your training to the next level sleep is highly important. Your muscles need time to recover and you need to build back your mental energy. This has been the biggest challenge for me, but bedtime reminders have been helpful.
Follow my progress on Instagram: @gingerwillingerFIT