One of the most entertaining - and challenging - parts of bodybuilding is all the misinformation that comes along with it.
During my wife and I’s 14 weeks of prep, we heard it all. It seemed like every day someone said something to us in regards to our show that was blatantly wrong. It wasn’t any fault of their’s. I honestly had many of the same impressions before diving into a prep. Therefore, I thought I’d take this week to debunk a few myths of bodybuilding.
1. You have to starve yourself to get into contest shape.
There is no bigger fallacy surrounding bodybuilding than the belief that bodybuilders don’t eat. In fact, we both struggled to eat enough to keep up with the diet demands contest prep puts on your body. People think you’re not eating because you don’t take from the office donut offering or you aren’t indulging in fried foods and drinks together after work.
The thing is, you are replacing those foods with more nutrient-dense foods. Lots of eggs, chicken, fish and beef were consumed in the Lawson household during those 14 weeks of prep.
2. You can’t eat any carbs or fats.
This one I count as a half truth. I say that because one of the primary components of my diet was dropping my carb and fat intake, but I didn’t eliminate the two macronutrients altogether. In fact, it is just as important to hit your numbers for carb and fat intake as it is for protein intake as your body still needs those nutrients to function and keep your muscles intact.
Not all bodybuilders drop carbs and fats like I did. Some follow a high-fat diet, others do high-carb diets and some, like myself, took the high-protein approach. The ultimate goal for all of them is the same - put your body in a caloric deficit so that it must burn stored fat to make up for the lack of calories.
3. Only certain people can do it.
This particular myth really struck a cord with me every time I heard it. I heard reason after reason of why others thought it was a cool thing to do but they couldn’t do it themselves. One of the biggest excuses was that they didn’t have the body for it.
Everyone has a body for bodybuilding. It is how you prepare that body that makes the difference. If you think your genetics will prevent you from getting on stage and competing, you are wrong. I’m not a naturally blessed competitor. I gain fat quickly. I don’t gain muscle easily. However, I was willing to put in the work for 14 weeks to get myself into a place where I felt comfortable stepping on stage and competing. I had a body for it, my wife had a body for it and you have a body for it.
Last week, I competed in my first bodybuilding show. It was an incredible learning experience on many levels, so I thought it would be a good time to share some thoughts with you all.
Bodybuilding is the embodiment of the phrase “tip of the iceberg.” The part everyone sees is much less than what actually is involved in the process.
The part everyone sees is show day. The competitors get up on stage, all tanned out and (mostly) ripped and muscular.
However, the part that no one sees, the iceberg below the surface, is prep. Prep is when shows are really won. I know that sounds cliche, but it is true. Bodybuilding isn’t a sport that one ultra talented individual can walk on stage and come out on top without any prior practice. It takes weeks and weeks of prep to get stage ready. For my wife and I, it took 14 and if you asked me at all during that final week, I wanted even more.
Starting in early March, we began following a more stringent diet, tracking our protein, carbohydrate and fat intake each and every day. We also doubled down on our workout regimens. The wife and I were certainly no strangers to the gym, but we couldn’t use excuses to skip out on a day or two to sleep in. We also had to add some cardio to our routine, which if you ask me was like self mutilation.
Prep is the most challenging part of a show because everything that goes on is a mental struggle. You have to be disciplined with what you eat each and every day. Anytime you are tempted to cheat your diet, you risk putting yourself behind another competitor. If you skip a workout or take it easy on cardio, your body may not be as conditioned as the person you’ll be standing next to on stage. If you skip out on posing practice, thinking its not as important, you guarantee yourself a loss.
Prep was far and away the hardest part of the experience. Motivation is slow coming as you don’t see the fruits of your labor instantly. Its important to look for the small improvements each week rather than hoping to see the big jump all at once.
The all-star season is quickly coming to a close. Some of the most talented athletes in the area have had the joy of competing with and against old rivals one more time before heading off to college. All-star games are a well-earned finish to great careers, and each area athlete earned their spot.
Now, who can we expect to join the all-star clubs in the future? I’m going to take a stab at it. I went ahead and looked through the rosters of Neligh-Oakdale, Clearwater-Orchard, Elgin Public/Pope John and Elkhorn Valley and found plenty of players that stood out to me.
This isn’t intended to leave anyone out, but it is intended to point out who has stood out thus far throughout their high school careers.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and then, but let’s have some fun here. When going through and doing this, my only requirement is that I have had to see them in varsity action at some point. I guarantee this list could be revisited at the of every year and there will be many more athletes in contention.
Now, for some guesses:
2018: Nate Buck, Bailey Frey, N-O; Creston Bertschinger, Dominic Bolling, Allison Kerkman, Skye Schroeder, O-C; Kalen Dittrich, Brayden Effle, EV; Liam Heithoff, Grace Henn, Paige Meis, Calli Krebs, Ashton Evans, Lydia Behnk, EPPJ.
2019: Austin Rice, Andrew Herley, Jayden Arehart, Kristen Snodgrass, Cole Belitz, N-O; Chris Kester, Blake Hoke, Jacob Long, Ryan Wilhelm, Clay Thiele, Katie Stearns, O-C; Josh McFarland, Sierra Rystrom, Amber Miller, Hannah Ollendick, EV; Hunter Reestman, Kyle Schumacher, Allyson Wemhoff, EPPJ.
2020: Hunter Charf, Kaleb Pofahl, Shelby Pitzer, N-O; Gage Clifton, O-C; Prestin Vondra, Olivia Nall, EV; Conor Ramold, Kayce Kallhoff, EPPJ.
Sports Editor at Antelope County News/The Orchard News, Logan is from Kearney and has a diverse sports background, including several seasons playing semi-pro football. All columns here are the opinion of the writer only and do not represent the views of the Antelope County News or Pitzer Digital.