What to expect during body building prep (it’s not what you think)

I wanted to post about all those little things you should expect when you embark on competition “prep” for a bodybuilding contest.


No, no… not about dieting, training, emotions or any of that stuff. The little details which are so peculiar, you wonder if anyone else does them. Then you venture to admit them to another bodybuilder, and they say “OMG, I do that too! I thought I was the only one!”

7 random things you are likely to do as a competitive bodybuilder

You’ll indulge in intense, often bizarre and very niche, online shopping
Perhaps it’s a displacement activity, but most bodybuilders I know end up obsessively buying and stockpiling… something during their contest prep. Of course for many it’s food. Food they can’t eat until after their show. By which point they no longer want it (because they never truly did in the first place). Thankfully, I’m past that stage. But… er… I did win 4 pairs of high top trainers on eBay last week. Yes, 4 pairs. I had employed uber-stealth mode and was stalking ones listed at 99p. I put a small bid on all of them, thinking I’d win maybe one or two pairs. Forgot about them all. And… well, you can predict the outcome. No doubt by next week it will be something else.

Top tip! If you find yourself spending too much time (and cash!) on online shopping during your contest prep, try this. Browse to your heart’s content, fill your online shopping basket – and then close the browser window. Do not press “complete purchase”. You get all the fun of window shopping without actually crippling your Paypal account.

Your language will change
Perhaps it’s the extra testosterone your body is producing (we can hope!) or maybe it’s hanging around more males than females, but expect your lexicon to shift. You’ll start calling your (female) friends “beast” and telling them they’re starting to look “disgusting”, and they’ll be delighted. Someone could call you a “horrid little monster” and it would make your day. Oh, I’m a “freak”, you say. Thank you, thank you!
You’ll eat out of the same bowl all day long
Thanks to my gym buddy “Lady P” for this one. You’ll take to pretty much eating out of the same bowl all day long. I’m not sure why! I can’t remember the last time I used a plate – always a bowl and usually a spoon – and, yes, I tend to have my breakfast in one bowl and then… er… just kind of fill the same bowl with my next meal, and so it goes on. Why? I don’t know! But I’m not the only one who does it. I then wash up at the end of the day. As Lady P quite rightly points out: “my cats eat out of the same bowl all day, so why not!” (I refer you to the “beast” description above…)

You’ll be more obsessed with beautification than before you were a bodybuilder

Maybe just one for the women (but I never judge). Before I competed as a bodybuilder, I don’t think I’d ever had a manicure and I’d certainly never had cluster lashes. Nowadays? I “get my lashes” done as often as I can afford. There doesn’t have to be a reason. And as for spray tans/self-tanning… don’t get me started. Once you go orange, you never go back.

You think nothing of going out wearing shorts, a stringer or tank top (and your hi-tops, of course)

I’ve been to client meetings in gym kit (good quality, non-revealing stuff of course, and on my way to the gym, not on the way back!) I’ll go in to town wearing gym kit. I’ll queue in the Post Office post-cardio. I honestly don’t think anything of it, until someone points/stares/tuts (expect all three when you’re prepping). I will put an extra layer on to go into Waitrose. Somehow, it just feels the proper thing to do πŸ˜‰

You’ll genuinely like very odd food combinations
If you’d told me five years ago that I would look upon ground flaxseed and egg whites as a delicious treat, I would have looked at you like, well, a bit like how your face is looking right now. Dieting for bodybuilding shows not only means that you come to appreciate the smallest and most paltry treat as hugely exciting, but you end up experimenting with certain foods in a bid to make a meal you haven’t eaten 234,123,943 times already. What are some of your favourite discoveries?

You’ll kind of like shaving…
Before I tanned up for my first bodybuilding comp, I’d never shaved my arms (funnily enough). But when you’re getting ready to apply stage tan, you kind of have to shave everywhere. Let me tell you, you’ve not lived until you’ve shaved your own rear delts! Most (female) bodybuilders I know will give their forearms a quick swipe with the razor throughout the year. And no, it’s nothing to do with getting hairier (I’m part of the drug-free scene, remember). It just… feels nice.

OK, so that was a bit embarrassing! Please let me know I’m not alone in all of this. What weird and unexpected things do you now do since prepping for bodybuilding shows?

What to expect during body building prep (it’s not what you think) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


4 Responses to What to expect during body building prep (it’s not what you think)

  1. Flick Williams says:

    I explained stock piling to a friend just today!
    For me its been nail varnishes and herbal teas (the latter of which i never drink as they never taste as good as they smell!)

    The only other bizarre thing a friend of mine does, is weigh themselves pre- and post-bathroom, thus exclaiming “my wee weighs 700g!” And other grossities…


    • Nicola Joyce says:

      Oh that’s a good one!

      Yes to the herbal tea obsession (pre-BB I’d be fine with a cupboard featuring builder’s tea and perhaps an Earl Grey)

      Nail varnish…. nice! I just get mine “done”… by the lady who does my bloomin lashes πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for reading x


  2. Thanks for sharing. Mine tends to be all about food! Buying food for my friends to eat for them to tell me how it tastes. Pacing the junk food aisles to see what I want then not buying any. Bit like your window shopping online. But for a period of time I also become a “Feeder”. Lots of home cooking for others to eat.

    I go the other way and hide my body from the world when I’m on prep so its baggy clothes all the way for me unless I’m in the gym.

    But I do go a bit OCD on cleaning… πŸ™‚


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