When bodybuilders go out into the world, they are usually met with people laughing at them or people who are shocked that someone could get so big. I’m talking the guy who lives in the gym and is likely on steroids. These guys look like freaks. If you go to the gym, you probably have seen at least a few. Then there are competitive bodybuilders; the ones who compete and wear speedos so that they can be judged next to other dudes. Everyone jokes at photos of these guys. We really need to learn from bodybuilders. This is very good motivation for the gym.
One thing that people are immediately overlooking is the amount of hard work that these guys and girls are putting in. It might seem like a shameless display of vanity. It might seem like a huge ego boost.
I am a huge fan of competitive bodybuilding. As a gymgoer, I can appreciate how hard it is to look like that. Granted, they are probably on steroids, but its not like you can take steroids and magically become 250 pounds and lean.
What are they doing to look like that?
- Careful meal planning. Most bodybuilders will eat at least 6 meals a day so that they can keep on that size; staying 250 pounds requiring eating a lot of calories. Many will eat at least 4000 calories a day of meat, rice, and vegetables.Staying lean requires the food to be healthy food. This translates into a huge amount of cooking time and preparing meals so that they can be ready. You also have to eat all this food which, trust me, gets really boring really fast. Especially if its clean food. All this stuff alone is several hours a day and requires a strict regiment. Don’t forget that this comes with a massive food bill. Phil Heath, 5-time Mr. Olympia, worked two jobs when he was first starting out in bodybuilding so that he could afford food and supplements.
- One hour of cardio a day. Believe it or not, the top bodybuilders are in very good shape. They do an hour or more of cardio every day. This is so they boost their performance during weightlifting and to burn any fat that they accumulate. It is also for overall health since with the amount of food they eat and the amount of steroids they take, their overall health does take a bit of a hit. This balances that out. Its common for the amount of cardio to be radically increased as a show draws close. The bodybuilder needs to burn any remaining fat on a restricted calorie diet, which is absolutely brutal. Bodybuilders tend to burn out as a show draws close.
- Weightlifting. Obviously, bodybuilders need to spend hours a day lifting heavy-ass weights. Many would say this is the easy part. It is probably the part that bodybuilders like the most. They have a love for the gym and feel at home. Nonetheless, it is hard work. You have to stay hungry. You have to stay motivated. They also need to train very, very smart to avoid getting injured. Its a catch-22 since they have to lift heavy to reach/stay that size but they also can’t get injured.
- Sleeping. Sleep is of utmost important to bodybuilders. Why is this listed here? Imagine this: you’re 3 weeks away from the biggest show of your life. You have no money in your bank account, if you don’t place well in this show and land one of the prizes. You’re f***ed. Are the other competitors better than me? Am I preparing the right way? These are questions that WILL keep you up at night. You will be extremely stressed leading up to the show, and those who can’t keep it together will fall apart.
- Supplements and Gear. Bodybuilders are usually taking a lot of stuff. And that stuff ain’t cheap. Most, when they are first starting out, have no contracts to get free products. Bodybuilding is very expensive. It is common for these guys to be working a full-time job while doing all of the above. It is not an easy life.
We need to take a lesson from bodybuilders and admire the amount of work that goes into the sport. It takes an insane amount of drive and stringency to bring a great package to a show.