How to Become a Fitness Competitor
A fitness competition is a mental and physical challenge that requires a momentous dedication to strength-training, gymnastics/dance training, cardio and a strict diet. If you're starting from scratch, you'll want to devote at least a year to training before you enter a fitness show as a competitor, where you will be judged on your physique and a two- to three-minute fitness routine.
Attend a fitness competition in your area and watch the competitors. Pay close attention to the winners and their level of muscular definition, the difficulty of their routines as well as the number of participants. There are a variety of fitness organizations, such as the National Physique Committee, FAME and Fitness America. Join and compete in an organization that fits your particular style and body type.
Develop a training plan. To be successful in a fitness competition, you must be fit. Generally, a five- to six-day strength training routine that incorporates all body parts within a week is required to achieve this level of fitness. Incorporate weight training, agility exercises, body weight exercises, and even plyometrics into your routine to reduce body fat and gain lean muscle mass. Add 30 to 60 minutes of cardio most days of the week and designate one day to rest.
Change your diet. Tosca Reno, physique competitor and author of “The Eat Clean Diet Recharged,” states that a beautiful body is 80 percent nutrition, 10 percent genetics, and 10 percent working out. Eat small meals of lean protein and vegetables every two to three hours. Add two to three servings of complex carbs, like whole grains and sweet potatoes, to your diet as well as a “scant” handful of almonds each day.
Find your style. In fitness competitions, your fitness routine will be a major contribution to your overall score. Elements of gymnastics, martial arts, dance, contortion and even cheerleading can be used to add spice and originality to your fitness routine. Identify your athletic strengths, and build a fitness routine around them.
Learn the rules. The rules of each fitness organization vary, regarding the types of swimsuits used during the physique round and the required elements of the fitness routine. Go to the website of the fitness organization that you’ve chosen to join and review the rules in detail, before you purchase your swimsuits and develop your fitness routine.
Get a coach. Your training strategy can determine whether you finish at the front of the pack or the back of the herd. Find a coach in your area that has had experience training successful fitness competitors. A coach can provide you with the tips and strategies you need to achieve the best physique and execute the best routine.
Based in Los Angeles, Ozzie Jacobs has been writing fitness articles since 2008, with work featured in various online publications. Jacobs holds an M.B.A. from Florida A&M University and an M.S. in exercise science from California University of Pennsylvania.