5 Things I Learned From My First Bodybuilding Competition

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The following is a post from Chris Davis. Chris is an aspiring amateur bodybuilder and the newest member of the PhysiqueRescue.com team. Join us in welcoming Chris to the team and look for future updates from a bodybuilding perspective.


Chris Fresh off my first competition, I had some time to sit back and reflect on what I learned about competitive bodybuilding. Coming into my first show, I had no clue what to expect. I had never been to a bodybuilding show so competing was a nerve-racking experience. Needless to say, I had a great time and gained a lot of valuable experience I can use to come in better prepared for my next show.

  • It’s As Much Mental As Physical. As much as bodybuilding is a physical sport, it is also a mental sport. The amount of stress you are constantly under to maintain your diet and not indulge in all of the unhealthy, sugary treats is incredible. When it comes down to the last 4 weeks leading up to a show, it becomes increasingly important. Also, being boring and showing how worn down you are the day of the show can really hurt you. When you step on stage, you’re going to be critiqued the whole time, so you need to be pumped up and always showing off. Being on stage is the one time where there is not such thing as being too cocky.
  • Time Management Is Crucial. While time management is a crucial part in anyone’s life, it becomes even more important when you’re nearing PEAK WEEK. It was super important for me, as I’m a full-time student and work part-time, so I needed to have my meals planned out and packed for the day to make sure I was staying on track with my diet. Having everything planned out made it easier on me as I didn’t have to worry about when I was going to get my next meal, or what I was going to eat. As I mentioned earlier, this is a crucial part to anyone’s daily routine and can make an incredible difference in the amount of stress you incur daily.
  • You Can Never Be Too Dark. Before my first show, using a tanning bed (a note: tanning beds are VERY bad for you) was something I was never accustomed to. After researching the best way to tan for a competition and consulting with my coach, I realized I was going to have to step into not only a tanning bed (I’m looking for alternatives to this for the future, but due to time constraints I wasn’t able to find a better solution), but I was also going to have to spray tan. I used 2 coats of spray tan, a tanning bed, and about 7 coats of Pro Tan
    leading up to my show. The day of the competition, I also used a vascularity enhancer and posing oil to get the perfect color on stage. That was definitely a different experience for me because I was not used to being the color of a chocolate bar.
  • You Shouldn’t Be Competing if You’re Not Having Fun. Like any sport, bodybuilding needs to be taken serious. But the day of the show, you need to be relaxed. While it’s too late to make any major adjustments, you can still WOW the judges by your attitude on stage. You need to show them you enjoy what you’re doing. It’s also good to see all the hard work pay off on stage. While I went with a more serious routine in my first show, some of the other contestants had a good time with it. One I enjoyed the most included the contestant walking out in an outrageous suit and using it as a prop in his routine. Having fun goes hand in hand with competing because it’s also going to allow the judges and audience to be more entertained and pumped up about your routine.
  • Care Less About The Results And More About Yourself. One thing I had to learn the hard way after competing was dealing with the results. While I did not place as well as I would have liked, I realized that my placing shouldn’t affect me. Every federation judges differently, and it’s completely unpredictable to determine how well you will do. The thing you can take away from each show, is how well you looked. Each and every show gives you the chance to learn about what you did right and wrong for you body. It’s a gigantic learning curve that you WILL ALWAYS be able to expand upon. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you know you brought your best package to date to the stage.

While my first show experience did not go as well as planned, I was able to take a lot of information from my show. It was my first time ever cutting so it helped me better prepare myself for the next time I need to get show ready. It also gave me the chance to see what the judges liked and didn’t like about my body so I have specifics I can focus on during the off-season to hopefully improve my placing in the next show. It also gave me some more practice in time management which is something everyone can always use. All in all it was an incredible experience, and I cannot wait to step back on stage again, hopefully in the first half of the 2013 season.


Got any bodybuilding questions or feedback for Chris? Leave them in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to PhysiqueRescue.com to receive all the latest updates and your free gift below!



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  • http://www.facebook.com/rhiannon.young.79 Rhiannon Young

    This was great! I am preparing for my first figure competition in June 2013. I am pretty nervous already!

    • Chris Davis

      Rhiannon, that is great to hear. I’m sure competing will be a great learning experience for you. Just remember to have fun and good luck!

  • H1lt

    WELL DONE BROTHER. You have achvied something great and should be proud, now take it to the next level and use what you have learned to improve 🙂

    • Chris Davis

      Thanks for the positive comment. Improving is exactly what I plan to do being so young in a sport where you don’t peak until you’re older. Thanks again!