How to Become a Bodybuilder: The Top Tips You Should Know
Approximately 62 percent of Americans report having weight loss goals. For many, these goals involve shedding a few pounds and having their clothes fit a little better. For some, though, the goal is more specific.
Their intention is not just to look good, but great. They want to reach extreme levels of muscularity and leanness. They want to step on stage and compete as a bodybuilder.
Are you interested in learning how to become a bodybuilder? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for answers to all your most pressing bodybuilding questions.
Reasons to Pursue Bodybuilding
Some people, the question isn’t necessarily how to be a bodybuilder to how to become a female bodybuilder. Their questions are more along the lines of “Why would someone want to be a bodybuilder?”
There are actually a lot of benefits that come with participating in the sport (yes, it’s a sport) of bodybuilding, including the following:
- Increase your confidence
- Challenge yourself to do something new
- Gain a more thorough understanding of fitness and nutrition
- Feel empowered by setting and sticking to a goal
- Learn self-discipline
This last point is especially important. If you want to compete and do well as a bodybuilder, you have to be a highly disciplined individual. It’s not easy to do, but you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you dial things in and demand excellence from yourself.
Who Should Pursue Bodybuilding?
Those benefits of bodybuilding sound pretty great, don’t they? Before you decide to dive headfirst into the bodybuilding world, though, it’s important to note that it’s not for everyone. Some people are better cut out for this type of competition than others, including the following:
- Those who have enough time and energy to dedicate to consistent training and dieting (preparing for a bodybuilding competition is a months-long process that needs to be taken seriously)
- Those who do not have a significant amount of weight to lose (if you are very overweight or obese, you’ll have a much harder time getting down to competition-levels of leanness)
- Those who have taken time to build a sufficient amount of muscle (remember, in order to win a bodybuilding competition, you must be muscular and lean, not just skinny)
- Those who do not have a history of disordered eating
- Those who have the funds to dedicate to competition prep (paying a trainer or coach, paying competition fees, buying a competition suit, traveling to competitions, etc.)
- Those who are able to accept criticism and lose with grace
It’s important to assess your reasons before you decide to embark on a bodybuilding journey, too. What are you hoping to get out of being a bodybuilder? Are you pursuing these goals because you want to challenge yourself and your fitness, or are you trying to mask your insecurities?
The answers to these questions are very important, as they will help you determine whether you have the right mindset to compete in bodybuilding.
How to Become a Bodybuilder
If you’ve assessed your motivations and situation and decided that bodybuilding is right for you, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. If you want to become a bodybuilder and have a good chance of winning when you step on stage, here are some steps you’ll need to take:
Choose a Show
Start by figuring out when you want to compete. When choosing a show, remember that it takes several months to get to a place where you can stand up against other bodybuilders and have a chance of beating them.
Don’t choose a show three months away if you’re nowhere near stage-ready. Be honest with where you are right now and look for a realistic show date. Be sure to consider how much time you need to spend building muscle before you try to shed body fat and lean out, too.
Plan Your Workouts
Next, think about how you’re going to phase your workouts leading up to your show.
This is another time where brutal honesty is required. Which aspects of your physique need the most work? Do you need to focus on building muscle in your glutes or shoulders, for example?
Assess yourself and figure out where you need to place the most emphasis during your workouts.
Plan Your Meals
A clean, healthy diet is essential if you want to be a competitive bodybuilder. When you start dieting for your show, you’ll need to make sure you’re eating in a calorie deficit and tracking your macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) with precision.
Consider whether you need to “bulk” before dieting, too. This involves eating in a calorie surplus to help your body put on muscle. If you do plan on bulking prior to your show, you’ll need to make sure you have enough time to diet down to an appropriate stage weight beforehand.
Hire a Coach or Trainer
If all this is sounding a bit overwhelming, you don’t have to give up on your dreams of becoming a bodybuilder. You may want to hire a coach or trainer to help you through the process, though.
They can help you to create a workout plan that targets your weaknesses, and they can put together a diet protocol that allows you to lean out and get stage-ready in time for your show. They’ll help you find out more about which supplements you ought to be using, too.
A coach’s services don’t come cheap, but they’re worth it if you want to have a good chance of winning or placing well when the time for your competition rolls around.
Finally, be patient. A lot of people have questions like “How long does it take to become a bodybuilder?” and the short answer is “as long as it takes.”
One of the best bodybuilding tips to keep in mind is to be patient and trust the process. It’ll take several months (and often multiple rounds of bulking and dieting) for you to achieve your ideal physique, so you need to make sure you’re in it for the long haul.
Is Bodybuilding Right for You?
Now that you know more about how to become a bodybuilder, what do you think? Are you still interested in stepping on stage and competing? If so, be sure to follow the tips discussed above to ensure your physique is stage-ready in time for your first show.
To learn more about health, fitness, and bodybuilding, check out some of the other resources available on our site. From exercises to supplement protocols, we’ve got lots of information you can use to guide yourself through show prep and beyond.