Bodybuilding is in a league of its own, one where people spend years or even decades building their bodies. If you have ever wondered what it takes or how to compete in bodybuilding, you’re in luck. In this article, we take a closer look at the world of bodybuilding competitions, as well as tips for preparing well in advance. Preparing for your first bodybuilding competition can be both exciting and stressful. Though that first-place trophy may be the one thing on your mind, it’s important to start slowly and listen to your body.

How to Compete in Bodybuilding: Before you even step out onto that stage, there are many things you can do to prepare yourself and your body for the tough months ahead. This guide will give you step-by-step instructions and insight into how to get started. By following our month-to-month schedule recommendations, you can reap the rewards of planning ahead and setting yourself up for success. Keep reading to learn more!

One Year Ahead

Start researching shows in your area. Once you pick a show, start developing an off-season training program and design a diet that incorporates quality foods with lots of protein. Many athletes make the mistake of overdoing it at first, but you can start simply by working out two to three times per week. Your exercise regimen should include cardio exercises for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Start keeping accurate records to track your progress.

Six Months Ahead

Plan your poses, because posing wins shows. Even athletes with the best bodies can strike a pose that doesn’t look very good on the stage. Upgrade your workout routine to 30 or more minutes per day, with a focus on muscle groups that might be lacking. Continue to eat quality food, with a focus on two kilograms of protein per pound of body weight.

Five to Four Months Ahead

Plan your “competition diet.” Your competition diet might consist of red meats, fish, chicken, and protein drinks. Some bodybuilders find it helpful to rotate carbs, and carb rotation can affect water retention or loss. You should also start working on your routine and practicing mandatory poses. Hold each mandatory pose for at least 10 seconds. Order your competition suits in an attainable size that will fit come competition day.

Two Months Ahead

Register for your competition and keep any receipts in a safe place. Some organizations require membership fees, and it’s important to pay them well in advance. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by forgetting to register.

One Month Ahead

Make any necessary travel arrangements. Start planning your hairstyle, accessories, and tanning needs. You might also purchase any competition essentials, such as body lotions, tanning products, or insulated cooler bags.

One Week Ahead

Stick to your diet. Should your weight loss slow down, you can drop your carbohydrate intake on any days when you aren’t scheduled to train. You should also practice your mandatory poses and continue to tan. Now’s a great time to start picking your music and practicing your entire routine in your costumes. Make a competition checklist to be safe.

Competition day will be here before you know it. With a proper diet, training schedule, and plenty of cardio exercises, you will be surprised at the development and potential of your body. Refining your physique may seem like the only thing that matters, but it’s important to have fun. After months of hard work, you deserve it.