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So You Want to Compete?

 I’ve been helping people compete since 1999. In that time I’ve helped a few hundred people step on stage. I enjoy it and consider myself very lucky to be able to make a living as a consultant in this industry.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot of lessons from both the great clients and the terrible ones. Hell, I’ve even learned some lessons twice!! (I can be a slow learner) Talk about the “hard way”. Now, I respect everyone who wants to get on stage and I think it can be a very positive pursuit if it’s for the right reasons. However, if it’s for the wrong reasons, it can be a really bad experience for everyone involved, and a waste of both our time.

I guess my dream scenario would be that every client was like me. I put 7 years into training before I seriously dieted down for my first show in 1997. I was 21. I was already a huge fan of bodybuilding and it was in my blood. I knew everything about Yates. So much it was creepy. I knew the top 5 finishers from every Pro contest no matter what year it was. I bought all the mags and studied all the different athletes and how they trained. I knew the signature poses of all my favorite bodybuilders, and could copy them accurately. I’d already squatted 500lbs and benched 400lbs. I’d trained until I puked MANY MANY times; it was a regular occurrence on leg day. I had a cooler, and a bunch of tupperware that went everywhere with me. I knew the macro nutrient breakdowns of all the foods I ate. I’d attended several bodybuilding shows, including the Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand Nationals. I have training partners that competed, so I’d seen the hard work and those days they felt like death. I’d been backstage at shows, helping friends with their color and pump ups, etc. I was ready to compete. I was a bodybuilder in every sense of the word.

Dorian Yates 2I’m often amazed at the number of people who come to me with wishes to compete, that are the complete opposite of that. Barely trained for more than a year, and if they have been training, they don’t have more than three straight months under their belts. Not fans in any real sense. Barely know who Jay Cutler is and don’t know Phil Heath is the current Mr Olympia. NO FUCKING IDEA who Dorian Yates is. Never squatted much because they don’t squat....because they have a bad back from some fucking boo-hoo story from that time they got hurt 10 years ago. No way have they ever puked in the gym, unless it was from a tragic mishap involving their pre-workout and their pump enhancer upsetting their stomach. NO IDEA what they are eating or what the macros are. Not the slightest idea how to pose, or what the mandatory poses are. Never been to a show, and no idea what happens at a show regarding pre-judging, call-outs, and finals. Last but not least, sometimes they have zero physique.

I had guy tell me about the 3000mg/wk of gear he was on, while I sat there in disbelief because I thought the guy was natural. A guy with ZERO foundation telling me he wants to be a “Pro”. I’ll never forget him. Literally delusional.



Or a woman who couldn’t even press a 10lb dumbbell, and had 25% bodyfat with zero genetics, telling me that she wanted to do bikini in 4 months, and “kick ass because she just got a great set of boobs”. In fact bikini has been a source of a lot of frustration in those ways. There are women who have such good genetics for it that they literally start training and win their IFBB pro card in the same year. So, it gives other girls this crazy fantasy that they can do it too. They just don’t get it. The genetic divide is so much more vast than that. Just look on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean.

When did people get the idea that this was so easy? Where did they get the sense that a competitive physique can be built in 4 mths?

Also, I will be very honest. Of all the competitors I’ve ever seen train in the gym, I would say that one in twenty has any kind of impressive training intensity. 1 IN 20. That is a huge problem if you are dreaming of a great physique. Dreaming is as far as you’re gonna get. Most people train like absolute pussies and have no business expecting a prep coach to be able to do anything with their physique.

DNANow, there are many great clients who come to mind that had some of these issues, and went on to make great competitors. For example, a client might know nothing about posing, but they can make up for it if they have a killer instinct in the gym, and are already aware of their nutritional basics. Or maybe they’ve never been to a show, but are huge fans of the physiques, understand how the competition runs, and have a clear idea what they want to look like. I’ve had my share of clients that I almost regretted taking, but they stepped up to the plate and drove home the most incredible preps. Even if they get last place, I’ll take that client over some whiny baby with awesome genetics any day.

I knew it was going to be about sacrifice and I was going to get very tired and hungry. I knew I would be saying no to parties, and birthday cake, and wouldn’t be shotgunning beers in the back of my buddies pickup at bush parties, trying to impress a drunk chick into fucking with me. None of that mattered because I wanted to compete as a bodybuilder.

I remember training at the gym in my hometown when I was prepping for that first show. Sometimes I would go train late Friday or Saturday night. There was a really popular Mexican pub across the road, and a lot of people I knew hung out there. Often, I’d see some of them walking past while I was working out. They would stop and stare in the window, and sometimes they’d knock on the glass and wave. I’d wave back and then do another set. It would make me proud to know that I was doing something that most people couldn’t comprehend.

Nowadays, I see too many people doing it for the opposite reason. They do it because it’s such a huge trend. Just go on social media and look around at the pics. Girls who’ve maybe done one bikini contest, posting nothing but ultra hardcore motivational quotes, along side their “fitness” pics, which happen to be of their side boob or bare ass.


Now I appreciate the side boob and the ass, but the Brach Warren quote seems a little out of place.

Let’s face facts. There are a LOT of people pretending to be hardcore competitors. They don’t really love it. They don’t really want to live the lifestyle. They want to be part of something. They love attention, and they love the IDEA of looking like a competitor. The reality is that they just don’t have enough passion for the actual dirty work involved in being a competitor.

pizzaThey aren’t ready to really stop drinking for several months. Or the possibility of not having pizza all summer long. They are the ones who text me a week into the diet telling me they “snapped” and ate some cake. Really? One fucking week? Since the average person couldn’t last a single day on a contest diet, I guess that makes them far more disciplined than most.....but that’s just not gonna cut it if you want ripped glutes.

I guess the point to this whole piece is that you should never expect to find a coach that will hold your hand and show you absolutely every little thing you need to know, while simultaneously transforming your physique into your dream body all over the course of one 16 week prep.

You have to bring way more than that to the table.

Talk amongst yourselves, Ron