Do you love the gym and working out? Is your fitness routine and gym time something that has become a part of you? If you are a gym buff and are looking to challenge yourself even further, you may be interested to learn more about fitness and bodybuilding competitions.
These competitions are popular all across the country and provide fitness enthusiasts with a platform to train, challenge themselves, and show their hard work. While it can be challenging to train for, competition can be a wonderful way to push yourself to the next level in your fitness journey.
Interested in what it entails? We spoke with Precision Fitness trainer and bodybuilding expert, Mehrdad Sarjoughian to find out more!
Active since he was a child, Mehrdad grew up around sports and fitness. He mentions, “I did grow up really athletic. I’ve tried different sports since I was 8 years old. Consistency and my parent’s support helped me to keep continuing.”
In college, he studied to be a nutritionist and upon graduating, he was introduced to bodybuilding. Mixing his two passions together – sports and nutrition, he decided to embark on a career as a fitness and health coach. He says, “I finished my B.A in Science, completed my athletic life, and became a coach.”
In the bodybuilding world, Mehrdad has competed professionally in Iran and Canada. In fact, he has been crowned the Canadian national champion in bodybuilding, classic bodybuilding, and physique! He says, “I won all those men’s categories either on provincial levels or national for 7 to 8 years in Canada.” What a tremendous feat as an athlete!
Coaching Bodybuilding Competitors
With professional competing experience, Mehrdad is passionate about preparing athletes for competition and guiding them on the journey to compete. Guiding and training his clients is as rewarding as taking part in competitions. Mehrdad has had equal success in training clients, “All my male and female competitors are titled top 3 in the provincial and Canadian national level. I never had a failure in my coaching resume because I have high standards when it comes to competitions. I believe that my academic knowledge will boost my coaching as well.”
With a wealth of experience and years in the competitive bodybuilding space, Mehrdad is the expert when it comes to preparing for fitness and bodybuilding competitions. If you are considering the possibility of stepping into a more competitive fitness arena, read on!
Fitness Competition 101
There are different types of fitness competitions for both men and women. Mehrdad breaks it down and mentions that the category that you compete in is very much dependent on your body. “It depends on your category and body type. Prepping time for competition is different for everyone as it is usually between 7 to 8 months, however, this is still dependent on many things.”
Men’s categories are:
- Classic Physique
While women compete in:
Deciding to compete in a fitness or bodybuilding competition is not a decision to take lightly. In order to take the leap, there are a few things that you need to consider before starting. The preparation for competition is not easy – it takes a lot of hard work, planning, and commitment.
If you are on the fence about competing, here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin.
Do you have the funds?
Fitness competitions can be expensive. Make sure that you have the funds in order to make it happen. Mehrdad says, “First, you need to make sure that you have the money. Competing is expensive due to eating, supplements, and coaching.” Here are some costs that you should keep in mind:
- Coaching fees
- Gym fees
- Nutritionist fees
- Registration fees for competitions
- Tanning costs
- Competition outfits
- Travel expenses
Why are you competing?
Consider the motivation to why you are competing. Since the process can be challenging, make sure that you are mentally prepared to deal with the training as well as the dark side of competition.
Make sure that you have a healthy mindset to compete. If you find yourself obsessing over your looks, have disordered eating habits, or turning to banned substances, then fitness and bodybuilding competitions may not be the best idea for you right now.
Be sure to be realistic about your expectations and your results. The body that you will have while competing is not going to be sustainable in the long run. Your competition is simply to healthily challenge yourself for a period of time, so stay realistic about your expectations.
Do you have time?
If you have a demanding job, busy family life, and other hobbies that you take part in, check in to see if you have the time to compete. Fitness competitors spend a good portion of their day training and you can expect to spend at least 2 hours a day at the gym, almost every day of the week.
In addition to the time that it takes to train, you will also have to dedicate time and energy to prep your meals, practice your posing, and prepare your outfits and travel plans for the competition. Be prepared to dedicate a few weeks and months to prepping for your competition.
Are you ready to be onstage?
Becoming a fitness and bodybuilding competitor doesn’t just take dedication and strength, it also takes courage. If posing onstage in a bikini, glistening with oil makes you a little nervous, it is something that you will need to build the courage for if you want to compete.
It is completely normal to feel a little tentative and even have stage fright. Know that with time and practice, you can definitely get over this hurdle and be more than ready to compete! Nervousness is very common and even seasoned competitors feel it before a competition.
Prepping for your Competition
If you have decided to take the leap and take part in a fitness or bodybuilding competition, congrats! To be successful in your competition, Mehrdad believes that there are a few areas of preparation that you need to prioritize.
Your coach will prepare you for competition with a mixture of strength training, lifting, and cardio. Every day will focus on different parts of your body and your trainer will focus on building your muscle size and definition.
Each day, you will strength train a different muscle group and have 1-2 rest days per week. However, during rest days, you will likely not be simply relaxing. Your coach might have you do a cardio workout in order to lose body fat.
Remember that depending on the category you are preparing for, your training regime will be very different. For example, bodybuilders will have very different training schedules from bikini or physique competitors. With experience in all categories, Mehrdad can successfully train competitors in their category of choice.
According to Mehrdad, “Diet is actually the most important key to compete. The ideal diet is about timing and measurements. It is important to eat a balanced diet that is made up of protein, carbs, and fat. Usually, your diet will consist of 4 meals a day and each meal should be specific regarding your goal.”
Eating right is extremely important when you are training and preparing for a fitness or bodybuilding competition. Your diet is an important factor in achieving your body and fitness goals. It is a great idea to get the help of your fitness coach or a nutritionist when planning your diet for competition.
In addition, make sure that you are drinking at least a gallon of water a day, and that you are fueling your body with lots of vegetables. Sticking to your diet during the prep period is crucial before your competition.
Rest and recovery are just as important as the training itself. “Sleeping and resting are other main factor during preparation. When you train hard you need to recover,” said Mehrdad. Make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of sleep during your day, and make use of your recovery days.
Having a positive outlook and mindset is essential for competition. According to Mehrdad, “Having a strong mindset is so important to motivate you.” Training and preparing for competition is not easy, so staying positive and strong mind will go a long way. He adds, “Being mentally supported is important because, during prep, you will have different foods and different lifestyles that you may not be used to.”
Lastly, discipline is one of the most important habits to have. Mehrdad says that “Without discipline, you can’t do anything.” Cultivate a strong sense of discipline and you will be able to have more success in your competition.
Prepare for Competition with Precision Athletics
While fitness and bodybuilding competitions can be challenging, time-consuming, and demanding, the experience can be extremely rewarding. Mehrdad wraps it up by saying, “An important thing about the process is that it’s a hard and challenging journey. It’s not for everyone and only dedicated and passionate people can do this.”
If this is you and you are thinking about entering the world of competition, chat with one of our personal trainers at Precision Fitness today!