We live in a world where with the right filter and editing, anyone can be a model and with the constant stream of #transformationtuesday #fitspo and #instafit posts constantly flooding phone screens, it is no wonder more and more women are taking steps to achieve their dream bodies.
Competing in physique shows is quickly growing in popularity, and with the growth of interested clients has created an influx in coaches and personal trainers promising prize-winning results.
The rise of the Instagram trainer is more prominent than ever.
While they may post all of the right content and seem to know what they are doing, more often than not these Instagram trainers are probably some mildly clued up PT graduate who is willing to take your money before they have even coached someone on an actual gym floor.
There are several serious physical and mental health risks that you can experience if you complete your first competition with a ‘professional’ trainer instead of an amateur trainer. Between metabolic damage, post comp blowout and body or eating disorders, this is not a risk you should ever be willing to take.
Google can provide anyone with the right information given the key search words are correct, which unfortunately means that dangerous, misleading and contradicting information is too easily accessible. We hate ‘bro science’ and we don’t want to starve you to death or make you feel like crap in order to look good.
Superior coaching is not just about winning a plastic trophy and looking hot on stage. It is about developing and nurturing an athlete body to perform at its optimal capability while preserving both physical and mental health. It’s not uncommon for our clients to hit PB’s in the major lifts 2-4 weeks out from a show.
Nothing about your results or relationship with exercise should be short term. We are in the health and strength game for life.
Can a Healthy Contest Prep Actually be Achieved?
There is such a thing as healthy contest prep. It’s the only type of contest prep we know.
Read the following statement:
“The worse you feel, the better you look”
Now, remember to walk away from any trainer who says it.
Horrendously outdated, I heard this statement everywhere when I first broke into the industry.
I decided to take it upon myself to better my knowledge and understanding on the complexities of nutrition and competition prep to ensure my clients always look good and feel good too.
There IS a right way, and a healthy way to approach contest prep. Being healthy is more than just about your physical appearance. It is a lifestyle, a mindset and something to work on every day of your life.
And what is my go-to approach? I believe in ‘Prepping to Prep’.
By preparing and nurturing your body pre-competition, you start your comp prep the healthiest, safest and most professional way possible.
So what is “Prepping to Prep”?
It’s simple. Prepping to prep is a responsible, professional, health first way of approaching competition preparation, whilst still training you to present that absolute best version of yourself on stage.
The first time I heard the term ‘prepping to pre’ was from my mentor and world respected industry leader Luke Leaman of Muscle Nerds.
“When a client approaches you for a contest prep, you have the ability to say NO. In the best interest of the client you have the ability to say no, you won’t be ready in time for this upcoming comp, we need more time to get you there in a healthy and safe manner but also be able to present a physique that allows you the greatest chance to place or win.” — Luke Leaman of Muscle Nerds
Bodyseek no longer takes clients on if they come to us from 12 weeks and later before a show.
As coaches, a business and responsible trainers we do not believe in placing an unnecessary and often dangerous strain on your body, mind and spirit for the sake of a quick win.
It’s no coincidence that we have athletes who are from local contest winners, to state, national and holding Pro Card Status.
All of our most successful athletes have gone through at least 6 months of preparation before competing.
Those who thoroughly prep for prep tend to place in top 5 of their division.
So what is a healthy content prep?
Healthy contest prep means that we consider YOUR overall health and wellbeing every single step of the way continuing through to post-show.
We will challenge you in ways you have never been challenged, but never at the expense of your long-term health.
Our top priorities and considerations when designing your program are:
- Training Volume (Current and previous)
- Stress Load (work, training, relationship, lifestyle)
- Digestion / Gut health
- Nutrition History and Current intake (also profiling whether the client has any history of disordered eating)
- Mental health (does the client have a history of anxiety, depression or body dysmorphia)
- Training Experience level
- Symmetry & Structural Balance
During our initial consultation, we will discuss your fitness and health history, goals and current fitness situation. Together we will work on achievable results in the most optimal time frame while keeping your short and long-term health at the forefront of our mind.
Let’s talk about Nutrition
Nutrition will always be individualised according to your body and goals. Aside from sleep and recovery, nutrition is the most important part of your preparation and ensuring your body is getting all of the right nutrients the whole way through. And no, we don’t mean broccoli and chicken every single day for 6 months.
Without the proper nutrition plan set up individually for you, your diet will not be reflected in a physical change. There are ways to cut cardio, balance your calories and still live a balanced lifestyle by gaining the results you want without crashing post competition.
HEALTH —> CALORIES IN vs CALORIES OUT —> MACRONUTRIENT DISTRIBUTION —> MICRONUTRIENT INTAKE —> NUTRIENT TIMING
Balancing Nutrition and Coaching is a Skilful Art.
Successful contest prep diets are those that are tailored to the individual body and then tweaked and changed in accordance with the body’s response to the program. A proper nutritionist and coach understand when to lower or raise calories, when to increase activity and when to encourage eating carbohydrates.
Because we don’t believe all calories are made equal and see how imperative individualising nutrition is, all our clients are at optimal health, have better cognition function and training drive..
No Two Bodies Are the Same
Seriously, no Contest Prep is the same, the body is an adaptive machine. Much like your nutrition, training and Cardio all factor in how successful your prep is. This especially applies when it comes to cardio, we do what is necessary, when necessary:
IF you aren’t aerobically fit enough, you can’t recover from your workouts or intensity techniques adequately so for this, Cardio has a purpose.
IF you do cardio too much too early, you’ve exhausted an ace card too early
IF you ramp it up and do it excessively closer to comp you will lose muscle
IF you don’t do it early enough or when required, you might not come in as lean as you like.
Most competitors run into is this notion that doing hours of cardio a day is what drives fat loss from the start when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here is something you should think about when it comes to your training during prep. What builds muscle and keeps it, in the face of fat loss and hard dieting?
LIFTING!!! Especially heavy lifting on the Primary lifts!
Want to learn more?
If you’re thinking about competing, The bodyseek team are united in this approach and are taking applications for Season A (closing soon) and Season B for 2019, we prep for ICN, ANB, IFBB and WBFF sanctioned shows.
Click here to contact us and find out more.
Stay posted to see part 2 of this article: A Prepping to Prep Case study with Bikini Contest Winner Kristina Tarle.
Article Written by
Bodyseek Owner and Master Coach
Coach of UFE/ANB PRO Card Winners
State, National & Local level Champions