Thoughts On My Competition Days
By Vishwanthar on General
March 25, 2009
I have competed in four bodybuilding competitions. The first competition I participated was in 2003, which I regret, as my body fat percent was still around 12 %. Carrying around 12%body-fat onstage is miserable. Since there were not many competitors onstage with me, I was awarded the fourth place. How was my preparation for this competition? I was naïve to many of the bodybuilding techniques which are used to combat and reach extreme low body fat levels. As everybody commonly does during competitions, I used a fat burner, cut down my calories, and increased my cardio sessions. The fat burners did help with some amount of fat loss in the beginning, but not without their adverse effects on my body. OH YES! I had many sleepless nights, jitters, and profuse sweating because of the fat burner. I had to increase the dosage of the fat burner as I was plateauing soon. With all the wrong ideas–consuming a fat burner, under eating, and increasing slow paced cardio I did look pathetic onstage.
I competed again at 2005, and I was completely shredded this time around. I looked great onstage, but I had my pitfall: a serious injury to my shoulder. For the same reason, I couldn’t workout my shoulders, in the bodybuilding sense, for the last three months up to the competition. Todd helped me with a training regime which helped me tremendously to burn the fat. I believe the biggest blunder I committed was to reduce my caloric intake. I did use the zigzag method though. I was awarded the second place, and as usual the guy who won the first place was on steroids. I would not like to bore you to death by stating the facts again about the use of steroid, and I definitely don’t want to sound paternal, but anybody interested to know the adverse effects of steroids and how bodybuilding competitions are held here in my place can check my article Competition outing.
2006 was my next competition. I am happy to tell you that I was in the best shape of my life. You can compare the photos in my protrainer article and in my gallery section which has my pictures of 2006 competition. The gallery has also pictures taken just before the competition. I was lucky enough to push my body to the extreme, as I learnt it better to not reduce my caloric intake but increase my energy expenditure through working-out more for better results. This had a major difference, as I was not running short of energy more often, as I was encountering this problem in 2005. More importantly there were no injuries, as injuries to joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles usually occur when you reduce the calories to low levels. Another important factor is that your metabolic rate doesn’t decline, as it usually happens in low calorie diets. Research very well suggests that thyroid hormones which are helpful in fat burning are produced less during competition if we reduce our calorie consumption. A better bet would be, as stated earlier, to increase the energy expenditure.
My last competition was in the year 2007. The competition dates were announced at very short notice. My body fat was below 10 % before the competition, and the notice to compete was just given before 25 days. I took up this opportunity as a challenge and tried my best to reduce my body fat to extreme low levels. I was awarded the third place and had no regrets, as I was able to reach a body fat percent around 5 which I believe is not good enough for a bodybuilding competition. It requires lot of time to reach low body fat levels, and it, of course, was my take home message. But, I didn’t know that this competition would be my last competition. You will understand my reason of not competing anymore if you read my Competition Outing article.
Competitions were challenging. I wanted to compete as I didn’t want to beat any individual rather better myself. And it was lot of fun with pain. I believe if anyone is interested in bodybuilding he should compete at least once, as he will be a more matured being. Yes, of course, it will be more pleasurable if he does it through natural means that is without using any performance enhancing drugs.