Competitive Bodybuilding – Is it for you? What to expect during a Contest Prep

The familiar winner’s shot posing for the photographer and audience, in awesome shape looking similar to their sculpted trophy.

Sat in the audience, they’ll be those who’ve never competed who will be fired up and motivated to then step onstage and think ‘yes I want to compete next year’, but may not realise exactly behind that big smile what it takes and how it feels to prep for a show and achieve true contest condition.

This isn’t a post to put people off competing as I love the way the sport (especially drug free bodybuilding) is growing and I encourage those who want to do it.

However the reality is that competing isn’t for everyone who works out or is in the fitness industry, so with that being said here are a few insights on the highs and lows on what you may expect during contest prep.

Fluctuating Energy Levels

Especially when getting close to top condition some days you’ll feel great and other days you won’t want to physical do anything, never mind train and lift heavy!

This is when a positive mindset can very powerful in getting through these stages.


You may become irritable at times and have less patience, especially with loved ones and close friends.

Thinking before you speak will save you from
upsetting those around you.

Hormones & Libido

Lower levels of Oestrogen (females) and Testosterone (males) are common when reaching low bodyfat levels, which can mean little to no sex drive and missed periods for Females.

Comments from those who don’t understand

Most drug free competitors (there are exceptions i.e. some of the top Pro Natural Middle & Heavyweights) will look small in clothes when dieted down.

That combined with a drawn face may attract comments such as ‘You’re looking skinny’ ‘Are you still training’ or ‘You don’t need to lose any more weight’.

This can cause you to think that you’re losing muscle and can really mess with your head.

Trust your coach or trusted peers who are experienced and know what they are talking about.

On the plus side out of clothes you’ll appear more visually impressive and look ‘bigger and muscular’

Quite an illusion!

The Highs

Going backstage, then onstage and shortly following the contest, you will have feelings of euphoria, and hopefully really love the experience, soon forgetting all the tough times you had to dig deep during prep. It’s likely you’ll meet new friends within the sport who share the same passion as you do (unless you’re a complete @@*%% 😂).

Everyone handles prep their own way and some struggle more than others.
Most people who have competed for years will tell you though that it’s never easy, however you do develop a certain mental strength and tenacity the more experienced you become.

Whether you compete as a one off or get the bug do it regular you have my respect and I’m sure your peers.

I literally could write or talk for hours on this subject but I’ll leave it there for now.

As always if you have any questions please drop me a message.