Female Competition Prep: What I Wish I’d Known – Written By Becs Cronshaw

Lesson Learned From Female Competition Prep - What I Wish I’d Known

More so than any other hobby or pastime, bodybuilding is all-consuming. What set out for me as a love of training hard, and something that I thought might be fun, to step up on stage, became a full time obsession that shaped everything else I did.

I have always been involved in competitive sport, which is one of the reasons I co-founded Salecca, and when I turned to bodybuilding I was looking for a new challenge. Everybody has his or her inspiration, and mine was Dana Linn Bailey – the first Miss Physique Olympia. Female bodybuilding should be about showing the world that you can have muscle, but still remaining feminine and sexy, and DLB demonstrates this better than anyone else. Even for the men, there is a beauty in the symmetry, fullness and balance.

Whilst there’s a lot of information out there for people new to the sport, here’s a few things that I wish I’ ‘d known right from the very get go.

There’s really no such thing as an ‘off’ season

Yes, you might need to put on some mass in your off season, but there’s never an excuse to pig out! As a female, you can’t be wildly off-course with your eating because you will gain body fat so much quicker than your male counterparts. Not only that, but preparing for your next show from poor foundations will not only be pretty miserable, but also incredibly challenging. Once you’ve chosen bodybuilding as your sport, you’re either all in or you’re all out, there’s no half way house.

Get used to being hungry

This title needs no explanation! You are not an exception to the rule and you do not have a faster metabolism than everyone else.! You will be hungry, you need to find a way to deal with it, and this will be the case for quite a few weeks before your show. At night, you will go to sleep hungry and lay awake because you haven’t eaten enough. For me, it makes me appreciate that some people have no choice but to be this hungry all year round.

The tiredness that can come from the lack of calories is tough; struggling to drag my legs up flights of stairs into work, legs so heavy they felt like lead. Then somehow, I’d pull myself together for a leg session in the gym. There always comes a point when the training just isn’t fun anymore, and that’s when you know you’re almost ready for the stage.

Respect the science but remember it’s an art

The science of strength training is quite rigid and incredibly complex, you only need to listen to a Louis Simmons seminar to realise that.

Bodybuilding is not about strength training, it’s much more fluid than that. Your max lifts are irrelevant, and your training is as much about feel and as it is look. Yes, you can pay a coach to write a program and nutrition plan for you, but you have be willing to adapt, to take responsibility for your own results and your own body. Not only that, it’s irrelevant what’s written on a piece of paper if you don’t know how to knuckle down and work – hard! You have to be able to push through the pain, hold onto the burn for as long as you can; you have to be willing to suffer more than any of your competitors.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works best for you when it comes to training and nutrition.

Lesson Learned From Female Competition Prep - What I Wish I’d Known

Athlete: Ashley Hoffmann

You will never be happy with the body you present

Ultimately you have to dream big to make it anywhere in this sport, but you will not get everything right first time. Your body should be constantly evolving. As you improve a lagging body part, you might then see something else that needs addressing as your body constantly changes in response to the demands of your training. You must have a vision of what you want your body to look like, and you must execute every step of your plan based on that vision.

We will always be striving for the perfect balance, the symmetry, the size. That’s the mark of a great physique athlete; someone who’s not willing to settle, who’s always willing to work that little bit harder, push that bit further in search of that last 0.1%.

To become a bodybuilder or physique athlete, you have to have a different attitude to most people in the world. I respect and admire all my fellow competitors, because I know what it takes to step on stage and bring the best package you can. You need to be incredibly motivated, driven, and willing to push on through when the going gets tough. If that’s you, you might just have found yourself in one of the most rewarding and satisfying sports of all time.

About the Author:
Becs Cronshaw co-founded Salecca, a London based personal training company, and regularly competes in bodybuilding contests.

Website: www.salecca.co.uk

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