What Goes Into Bodybuilding Shows?
Ronnie Coleman, Christopher Bumstead, Jay Cutler, Tom Platz, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are all people who helped define the sport called bodybuilding. But, have you ever wondered how they get into shape for their competitions? Or even how they work out to get that muscular?
Bodybuilding is a sport that involves extreme physical exercise to strengthen and enlarge muscles. The sport mainly involves male athletes, but there are women and wheelchair athletes who participate in the competitions as well.
Bodybuilders compete in smaller competitions, and if they win they can compete in the Olympia. The Olympia is the biggest bodybuilding show – and to be qualified a bodybuilder needs to win a pro show from that season, have been in the Top 5 for the Men’s Open division of the previous Olympia, Top 3 for one of the other 10 divisions in the previous Olympia, or if they have previously won 1st place in an Olympia, they have lifetime qualification.
The exercise is the part everyone thinks about when they think of the sport, but that isn’t the hardest. Many say eating is the most difficult part of bodybuilding. Athletes eat extreme amounts of protein to gain and maintain muscle mass. They also track their food intake to hit calorie goals, which depend on when it is in the season. For a couple of months, athletes eat in a calorie surplus to gain mass and strength; then as they get closer to their shows they eat in a calorie deficit (taking off a few 100 calories from your maintenance). In their calorie deficit, they try to lose as much body fat as they can and become as lean as they can. They cut out most carbs, especially in the last couple weeks before the show. Then, right before the competition they start to eat carbs to fill out their frame. They are “flat” without their carbs, and then become 3D ish with all the carbs filling them out. This deficit, however, is not sustainable. So, after their show they go back to eating a regular or above average amount of calories.
Eating right goes hand in hand with exercise for bodybuilders.. In their surplus’, bodybuilders gain strength and mass since they have so many extra calories that are giving them energy. They do lose strength in their deficits but the strength doesn’t matter on the stage. Bodybuilders use extreme workout regimens to gain as much muscle as possible. Many well known bodybuilders take steroids such as trenbolone acetate to help to enhance strength and muscle growth; but, not all bodybuilders take them (which is legal in most big competitions).
Bodybuilders lift extremely heavy weights and always push themselves to lift more or get a new personal record. Ronnie Coleman once leg pressed 2,300 pounds for 8 reps, showing the pure strength one can lift when they train for many years. During his leg press pr he was on performance enhancers (steroids), but while natural he was strong enough to deadlift 750 pounds, showing bodybuilders don’t always need steroids to exercise and be able to lift heavy weights. So, bodybuilding takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and it isn’t a sport for everyone.
Bodybuilders don’t get paid a lot unless they win first place, so having it as a job wouldn’t be the most beneficial. People who want bodybuilding as a main focus in their life can use it to create opportunities like sponsorships or even their own brand related to the sport in some way. For example, Christopher Bumstead also known as CBum is a 4-time Mr.Olympia winner and has a brand deal with YoungLA and multiple businesses. He has an athletic clothing, nutrition, supplement, and energy drink business. He also makes content on YouTube and Instagram that can get monetized and make him money.
Although the age to participate in a bodybuilding show is 13 for some shows and 18 for others; teens should not participate in bodybuilding. It is not recommended to bodybuild since it can strain muscles, tendons, and cartilage that haven’t turned to bone yet (growth plates). But, teens can start strength training, perhaps putting themselves on the road to a bodybuilding career down the line.