Behind the lights, and the tans, and the posing, is a ton of hard work, dedication and discipline. Hundreds of men and women took to the stage a couple weeks back in Ohio to showcase it all for the world to see.
Nutrition is the most important part of getting ready for a show such as the Arnolds.
Posing practice, and conditioning are so key, because you could be holding the same pose for well over 20 minutes, especially if you are battling, it out for a top spot, you will be moved over and over again facing front, then back, repeatedly.
Here is a basic breakdown of what it takes to prepare for any show.
12 months out:
Pick your show.
Develop your off-season training program.
Eat quality foods in the off-season, eating every two to three hours and pounding down protein, lots of protein.
Do cardio two or three times a week for 20-30 minutes at a time.
Keep accurate records in your training journal (get a journal if you don't have one).
Find a few different songs you like.
6 MONTHS OUT
Start working on your mandatory poses.
Change your workout routine, with a focus on anything that might be lacking, but do not neglect the size exercises either.
Up your cardio to 30 minutes a day.
Continue to eat quality food and 1.5 - 2 kg of protein per pound of body weight.
Eat regular meals all week and have a cheat day on sundays
20 WEEKS OUT (COMPETITION DIET STARTS!)
Set-Up Competition Diet: This is different for many. I was taught and truly believe that starting 20 weeks out eases you into this process rather then many other contest prep people start doing things 12 weeks out from the show.
If possible have an experienced judge or experienced competitive bodybuilder assess your physique or someone who is close to the industry and knows what to look for.
Start working on your doing mandatory poses, holding each mandatory pose for 10 seconds. Do this after workout
The sooner you start working on your mandatory poses, the better. It is suggested to do each mandatory for 10-15 seconds to start. It is critical to practice these poses over and over again.
Every week or two take pictures. This is a great monitor for your progress.
8 WEEKS OUT
Register for competition and keep your receipts.
Make sure all fees and memberships are paid.
6 WEEKS OUT
Make travel arrangements if competition is not local
Choose hairstyle, accessories, and make-up
Purchase competition items such as lunch cooler, body lotion, tanning products, and (nail accessories, make-up, etc. for you ladies)
3 WEEKS OUT
Stick to your diet; practice, practice, practice those mandatory poses and your routine!
Practice mandatory poses and go over your routine in all your costumes
Make a competition checklist to ensure you have everything you need. For example, posing suits, tanning products, 2-copies of your music
DAY OF COMPETITION
Get to venue early and that doesn't mean an hour or two before check in, unless you live around the corner. So, get in a day early and check-in. After all the work you put into this competition, go out there and have fun-you've earned it!