Warning: Despite the word Psychology in the title this is not an after school special message about how unique and precious you are. Its about how you’re crazy and you need to check yourself.
Without fail every day starts the same. I get texts from the good clients with their morning weights. At least one of these will be an exceptionally needy meltdown where the person wants reassurance. Why? Because the people in their family and immediate circle can’t understand them and can’t offer solace or comfort, try as they might.
“I know how hard it is”
Nothing burns my ass more than when a person says that sentence. No they don’t. Your loved one has no idea how hard it is unless they have done it. Now my current prep isn’t that hard, but in the beginning, when you’re doing your first show, you learn what hard work really is. In my, and most others, opinions contest prep is the hardest thing you can ever do with your life…the first time. It gets easier psychologically each time despite your body doesn’t respond as well in your mid thirties as it did in your early twenties.
Because the family and friends have no valuable input since their not coaches, judges, or even competitors, their kind words of “ you look great” are less than useless. When lay people spew out some nonsense like this is luls the novice athlete into a false state of confidence and that is a great way to lose. The only useful feedback is from knowledgeable people who are judges, coaches, or champions themselves. Even someone who loses like its their job will still have more useful feedback and can provide a better shoulder to cry on than any layperson. Of course the lay people don’t want to accept their opinions have no value, truth is most lay people and even novice competitors have no idea what they are looking at. They don’t know to look under the belly button for a vertical line on men, or to look at a woman ships to see if the widest part is at the greater trochanter of the femur and not lower.
Looking great to them isn’t hard, most of the last place competitors look way better than any Hollywood movie star or hip hop dancer that they see on their TVs. Their perfect 10s are like a NPC 6, or IFBB 2. simply put, the judges are trained to see flaws in seconds on up to 10 people at once. You have to compare posture, charisma, grace, body fat, symmetry, hair, eye shadow, nails on 5-10 women at once and predict what they would look like if they were better posers. And judging men is way harder. Do your lay cheerleaders even know where the lat begins and the teres major ends? Exactly.
A Note on Significant Others
Your boy/girl friend may say “baby you look great”. This has nothing to do with your chances of winning, this means they are sexually attracted to you. As you get closer and closer to your show you start to look athletically better and sexually more attractive… to a point. Once an athlete gets to a certain amount of body fat which is specific to their sig other (usually 6-9% for men to look ideal, 12-18% for women), then losing more fat is now less attractive. Yes there are some girls with a fetish for stage ready Bodybuilders bless their little hearts, but the majority of women think a shredded hard body (3% body fat by calipers) is less attractive than a softer more human form (6-9%).
DON’T ask your lay person girl/boy friend for help or a probable outcome. It will ruin your relationship. Its their place to keep track of when you look your best TO THEM not for them to predict how a judge will place you. And this info will let you know how you should stay after your show to give them the most fun possible.
Don’t whine to your man or woman about your diet or how hard it is. Whining is ugly. All you do is make yourself look weak and push away the person your whining to. Your spouse will grow to resent the sport because they have to listen to you be miserable. They may passively aggressively sabotage your prep now or in the future or even better, give you an ultimatum that its the sport or them.
Whining is insidious because if someone listens to you whining once it sets a precedence for you to whine in the future. Now every time this person sees you they have to listen to you whine about “how fat you are” when you’re thinner than them. They hate that.
You chose to inflict this misery on yourself so suck it up and drink your tears, don’t dump your pain on others. Take it out on the weights.
So who can you turn to for support?
Your coach is the person who decides how you lift, when you lift, how you eat, what you eat when you eat, when you wake up and on and on and on. So if your life is miserable, dump on them: They orchestrated it so they should have to deal with you. If you whine too much though they might just fire you so be careful.
Remember these key points:
1) Your problems are yours. No one really cares. They pretend to because its polite and they want the option of venting to you in the future.
2) You should be competing because you love lifting and competing motivates you to be the best you you can be, not because you want external validation of your worth. This is not a sport for emotionally vulnerable people. Its hard and most people crack.
3) Women and men pig out after their shows and gain enormous amount of body fat. I always laugh when someone says “I would compete but i don’t want to get fat after the show like my friend” I usually respond with “Then don’t get fat, they chose to do that and blamed the sport, but the truth is they are just weak.” Its like getting knocked up; 20 lbs is OK, any more is just using the situation for an excuse for rampant gluttony. Your skin will be damaged and you will have those stretch marks until the day you die, like little reminders of your sins that you have to carry around with you forever.
4) Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and body dysmorphic disorder are very common eating disorders people develop from competing. If you have body image issues the sport will make them worse, you will look at yourself like you’re on stage from now on, and you’re not going to like what you see.
5) You will be Hungry. This is a special type of hunger that eats away at your soul. you eventually see others eating and want to kill them for getting to eat food you want, but can’t have. “I’d cut a bitch for a bowl of oatmeal” one of my exes used to say. Your vision gets blurry and you can’t think straight. Eventually people themselves start looking like food, small children can’t run very fast…
If you can diet on over 200 carbs this doesn’t really happen but if you’re below 150 or so then you’re going to go hypoglycemic and lose your executive decisions, judgment, and memory. Many people have lost their keys or put their cooler on top of their car and drove away etc.
To avoid this DON’T GET FAT IN BETWEEN SHOWS. There is NO reason for bikini competitors to gain 20-40 lbs after a show that they need to diet off. Just stay 10 lbs up from your wet show weight and then when you diet its not that hard, you don’t need insane measures like a lot of cardio or low carbs.
6) Never ask someone how you look unless they are your coach or a judge. Other coaches may trash your look and try to sell themselves to you. “Dont ask me, ask your coach” Is an honest persons response. “ I dont want to step on any toes but…” is an asshole response and if this person gets in your head and has you doubting your prep then you deserve it: you had no business asking another coach their opinion.
7) Coach whores are well known. If you tell 12 different people you’re “doing it on your own” and they help you and you pick and choose the elements you agree with from 6-12 different people then when the show comes and you lose don’t blame them, you misled them. And your dishonesty will follow you around like a social colostomy bag. No one will want to help you again.
8) Ignore the losers. Many people will blame their placing on the judges. They lost, thats why. If they won they wouldn’t be talking shit, they would be talking about how great they are and offering contest prep coaching. Winners don’t blame the judges. When they lose, they blame themselves for running a shitty prep and not listening to their coach.
9) Genetics and age play a factor. Young good looking people do better than older and not so good looking people. Its not the rules its just common sense. Humans are going to be visually attracted to visually attractive people. Thats why most of us got into lifting in the first place, to take attention away from our faces or personalities and put them on muscles we grew to compensate for being hit or being an asshole.
Now that there are the bikini and men’s physique divisions there are ultra attractive humans getting into lifting just to compete, not people who already lift competing. These 2 divisions resurrected the sport and are ushering it into the mainstream which makes competition more fierce and many things are genetically fixed and cannot be corrected with diet, exercise and smart supplementing.
10) Selfless are pretty annoying. Its basically saying “ Validate me im feeling insecure right now.” A progress pic would be you in the appropriate attire hitting a pose you would hit on stage. taking a picture of yourself in the gym bathroom with all your clothes on is just a cry for help, not a progress picture. Im sure you get copious amounts of ass you beautiful thing you, but that’s not what im saying. What im saying is why do you need to take a picture of your face? Its a Bodybuilding competition, so shots with “duck face” or “Blue steel” just seem to be an attempt to at best get exposure on instagram for your career of working a booth at an expo 2 days a year. At worst they feel the more likes they get the better looking they are. News flash: Hot girls with minimal clothes on will always get more likes than guys or girls with clothes on.
11) Last but not least, my personal favorite, HATERS! These guys are awesome. Nothing makes me feel as good as when some troll with a profile pic of their kid, or dog, or 4 cats has something nasty to say about a progress pic. Its always someone who isn’t on your friends list and is so hit they can’t even publish their face. Things like “your muscles are gross” or “ Why do you use drugs you deformed cheater”. This is them really saying “I’m so mortified by how horrible i feel about myself after looking at you i’m going to try to inflict my emotional state on you as retribution.” Winners don’t knock your trophies, only losers do. And hot people don’t care that you’re pulling your shit together and getting presentable, only ugly people do.
If someone hates on you its because their jealous. They wish they had what you have and envy and resent you for it. It warms my withered heart that my existence brings pain to these evil people. Its like they suffocate themselves with their own inadequacies.
I cant seem to understand why women are so vulnerable to this. Often women tell me in tears that someone told them they look like a man. I point out that it was either a less attractive woman or a puny excuse for a man. They always say “how did you know?!” Elementary dear Watson, elementary. You see, they are just a jealous hater. For a man to be insecure about a woman having more muscles than him makes him a little bitch, but to try to talk her into losing the muscles because it is threatening makes him a deplorable scumbag.
Often the assault from women comes from family. Women have their mothers, sisters, and daughters telling them they are “getting too skinny”. I always address it with these key points:
1) They don’t have a dick, what do they know about what’s attractive about a woman’s body?
2) They only do that after your dress size is less than their dress size. When you’re heavier than the woman in question they are supportive, but once your leaner than they are they quickly change their tune.
This by no means is an exhaustive list of the psychology of contest prep, It could be a whole PhD thesis, but in the end its all self inflicted.
All you have to do is listen to your coach and do what your told. Never talk to anyone but your coach about your prep, and never talk to anyone but your coach or a judge about your body and how it looks/needs to look for your incipient unveiling of your masterpiece.
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Nothing in this article or on this site should be considered medical advice or as an endorsement to violate any law of the country in which you reside. The information given is for fun and entertainment purposes only. All claims are 100% dependent upon proper diet and exercise. Please consult a medical practitioner prior to any diet and exercise program.