People always ask me how I got my start in bodybuilding, and I always tell them that it’s really not that good of a story. One day I just started picking up heavy weights. That’s really all you need to do to call yourself a bodybuilder (weightlifter, powerlifter, etc.): train in the style of your chosen sport. You don’t need to buy fancy clothing, shoes, or supplements, or even sign up for a competition. Nope! All you have to do to be a bodybuilder is train like one.
If you’re training like a bodybuilder and you find yourself enjoying it, well, maybe then it’s time to take the next step and start to eat like one too, with five or six small, balanced meals a day. You could do some research into macro counting and start tracking your protein, fat, and carbs. Take baby steps like these and add little pieces to the bodybuilding puzzle.
I wish someone had told me all these “bodybuilding secrets” when I first started bodybuilding, because I jumped in with both feet. Why? I guess I thought I had to in order to call myself a bodybuilder. My meals were bland and boring every day for years when I could (and should) have been having fun with my diet! Even now I’m still learning how to be a bodybuilder who has a healthy and varied diet. So, in the interest of people doing as I say and not as I do, I’m sharing a list of…
Things No One Told Me About Bodybuilding
#1) If you do decide to compete, realize that competing is extremely expensive. Purchasing a competition suit and jewelry ($500+), booking a competition spray tan ($100+), having your hair and makeup done ($200+), not to mention the cost of travel and lodging – it all adds up in no time. The only feasible ways to do multiple competitions in a year are to a) have a good deal of disposable income or b) have competition sponsors who cover one or more of these costs in exchange for publicity.
I don’t have any sponsors (someone, sponsor me!) so I’m ashamed to say that I’ve racked up a balance on my credit card from all the competitions I did over the past few years. I hate the feeling of debt just sitting there, so I’m going to take my time building muscle for my next competition so I can pay it down at the same time.
#2) You cannot and should not look competition-ready all year. This is very hard to accept, because looking competition-ready is awesome. However fun it is to trounce around with the bare minimum of body fat, it’s not sustainable or healthy, so admire it while it lasts and enjoy a softer off-season witcha big booty self.
#3) It’s okay to “not feel like it” sometimes. Sometimes you’re not going to feel like going to the gym. Sometimes you’re not going to feel like eating a clean meal. There is nothing wrong with feeling those things. Sometimes you’ll need to push past those feelings and hit the gym and eat your clean meal. Sometimes you’ll be able to give yourself a break. You’re human, and anyone who claims to be on point 100% of the time is either lying or making some serious sacrifices in their life to do so.
#4) It’s hard to date “normal people” when you’re a bodybuilder. I have tried it, and it has either strained the relationship or strained my training and dieting, and neither of those things are good. It’s a lot easier to date someone who is also an athlete, whether a bodybuilder or not, because they will understand the way you prioritize things in your life and therefore your hobby won’t come between the two of you. I’m sure there are many exceptions out there, but so far, this has been my experience.
#5) There is almost as much fit-shaming as there is fat-shaming out there. What a time to be alive, right? You can’t win for losing! My best advice is to limit your social media usage and always remember that Dita Von Teese quote: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
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