When you set a goal, the best way to accomplish it is to remove the barriers to success that you can control. In the case of a bodybuilding competition, that means getting as organized as possible so that you have no excuse not to follow your plan!
Here are some ways that I like to stay organized and therefore stay sane during competition prep season!
Prep and organize your meals
There’s no way around it – unless you’re going to be ordering your food from a meal prep service, you’re going to have to prep your meals. The easiest thing to do is to take one day per week to do as much as you can. If you search the hashtag #mealprepsunday, you’ll see tons of posts from people who like to do it on Sunday to get ready for the work week.
My friend Tess wrote a great in-depth post about meal prepping, so check that out for the basics, but here are some of my contest prep-specific tips.
Get enough containers for your needs. Do you have an office job? You’re going to need to bring your meals for the day with you. Don’t make it so that you have to wash containers at night and fill them up with new meals for the next day. Just suck it up, buy a ton of containers, and fill them with your prepped meals on Sunday.
If you work from home like me, you can put all of your prepped food in larger containers instead. All the chicken in one, all the rice in one, etc. When it’s time to eat, I just measure out my portions of each and pop it all on a plate to heat up.
Get a rice cooker. I would argue that having a rice cooker for prepping meals is a non-negotiable must-have. It will change your life. I have also used mine to cook not-rice (like lentils and quinoa), and with the steaming tray I’ve made fish as well as steamed veggies.
Keep your fridge organized. If possible, clear out your fridge and freezer before your first meal prep day. If you live with other people and don’t have complete control over the fridge, ask if one shelf can be designated just for you.
It makes a world of difference knowing that everything you need is in one spot. Trust me, all these little improvements can add up to a lot of stress relief!
Organize your supplements
Your body takes a beating during contest prep, so you’ll probably be taking at least a few different vitamins and supplements. You can read about the ones I take here!
I got this grandma-style pill chest (lots of options here) and used the separators to divide it into six sections since I take supplements at six different times during the day. I taped a little notecard to the lid to help me remember what goes where when I’m refilling it.
It might seem embarrassing to have a gigantic pill chest, but trust me, opening each separate pill bottle every time you need to take something gets old quickly. Not to mention that it’s unwieldy to carry all those space-wasting bad boys around.
When I worked in an office, there were times that I had to pull this guy out and take vitamins in the middle of meetings. I have to say, people are surprisingly non-judgmental – often they’re just curious!
Plan and track your workouts
Use a spreadsheet at the gym. When I first started lifting weights, I made spreadsheets to keep track of my sets and reps and brought a binder full of them with me to the gym. I’d diligently write down everything I did!
It worked great for me for about a year (until I got tired of carrying the damn thing around), but I still highly recommend this method to keep yourself focused.
Track your daily progress in a visual way. I do still like to keep track of my workouts on my whiteboard. I use post-it notes to list the days of the week, and next to each one I either write down what I did do, or what I plan to do. For example, if you know you for sure aren’t going to get to the gym one day, you can cross that day out and plan around it.
Consider having a set workout time each weekday. For example, if you work 9-5, you could go after work on weekdays and then maybe be more relaxed about it on weekends. The more routine you keep things, the less stress you will have.
I prefer not to prescribe which workouts I do on each day, because well, shit happens. You might have social plans come up suddenly that you need to use a rest day for. You might be really sore one day and can’t swing leg day but arm day seems doable. Don’t make unnecessary rules! Unnecessary rules = unnecessary stress.
So, do you feel more prepared yet? Do you have any other bodybuilding competition prep tips? Please share in the comments if you do!
And of course, here’s this week’s progress! I’m not noticing much of a change here. I reeeeally need to work on taking these pictures from the same angle every week. My bad.
Next week I’m talking about how much I struggled with the first week of this prep, and sharing a recipe that makes ground turkey 100x less disgusting!
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