As of now, I’m 8 days out from competing on the Mr Kuala Lumpur 2013 stage. And I don’t want to just post updates of how I’m doing and make things all about myself. I want to share my experience so that others may learn from it too. 🙂 So here are 5 things I’ve learnt from this contest prep so far. I wish there were more, but hey, I’m on low carbs, so you’ll have to forgive me for not being able to think at 100% capacity.
#1 Research Everything!
Google is your best friend. Learn everything there is to know about pre-contest dieting from reliable sources. With the Internet, it’s so easy to obtain information nowadays. Don’t guess anything you’re not sure of. You don’t need to. During my contest prep, I Googled and read tonnes of articles about loads of stuff including carb cycling, protein requirements, HIIT (high intensity interval training) vs LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio, ketogenic diet, carb depletion and loading protocols, etc. If you’re too lazy to do this simple task of researching, then you’re missing out on an incredibly valuable FREE tool to help you win! Of course, the downside of this is that you will read many articles that will contradict each other. When you do, you’ll have to use your own experience and critical evaluation to decide which “expert” to listen to.
#2 Listen To Your Body
There can be many calculators that will tell you how many grams of protein/carbs/fat you should be taking, how many sets and reps you should be performing, but all these are general guidelines. To make it more effective and personalized to your body’s needs, observe how your body respond to it. There are many signs your body will give you throughout your prep. Be sensitive to these signs. They include energy levels, hunger levels, strength levels, fatigue, blood pressure, body weight and most importantly, how your body looks. When something doesn’t seem to be going the right way, change your diet/training/rest. What factor do you change and how do you change it? Refer to tip #1.
#3 Keep A Strong and Positive Mindset
When I was preparing for Mr Kuala Lumpur 2012, I wasn’t in the proper mindset, especially during the last two weeks. I honestly didn’t think I have a chance to win anything, or even place in the top 3. I actually screwed up my final week preparation and ate many things I shouldn’t have. And to my surprise, I actually placed runner-up in a category of 14 competitors, where I was the youngest! And I was like, “Shit! I could have won if I knew I was that good!”. No intentions to take any credit away from Ray, the winner of my category that day. He deserves it and he’s a really nice guy too! So, the lesson here is, give it your all. You never know what could happen. Even if you really REALLY think you can’t win, aim to look your best! The final days of contest prep are the hardest, but ENDURE. It’s going to be over soon and you can have all the food you desire with your loved ones. The pain will not last, but the pride of looking your best that day will. Endure.
#4 Have A Support Group
This year, I’m lucky to have my girl, Amanda and plenty of friends and gym-mates in the gym, on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter encouraging me and cheering me on to win this contest. And it helps, a lot! It motivates me and I want to make them proud too. So when you’re preparing for your contest, tell your friends and bros. Get them behind you to push through those difficult sets and low-carb days. You will be surprised by the difference it makes. Oh, and if you have friends who have contest experience, even better. They’ll give you tips and if you’re confused about something, you can just ask them.
#5 Arrange Photo Shoots While You’re Still In Shape
Seriously, if you’re going to work so hard to look this good, immortalize it in photos before you go back to bulking mode! This, of course, applies to those who don’t really bother to look ripped all year round (which I guess is most of us). Arrange a few photo shoots with some friends who are great photographers or hire professionals if needed. Then, upload them on your Facebook/Instagram… And go on with your bulking. 🙂
And there you go, my personal lessons from my contest prep. To those who are preparing for a contest, I wish you the best, especially if it’s your first time. It might be hard, but you’ll be proud you had the strength and courage to do it. Do like Fabodylous on Facebook for more fitness and bodybuilding articles, tips, memes and events.