Why Bodybuilding Isn’t For You

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Bodybuilding isn’t for everyone. It just isn’t. I can say this with 100% confidence because I ran around the bodybuilding circuit for about 3 years. I met so many friends, I pushed myself so much, I had personal victories and plenty of losses. I learned more about dedication and self love in those years than I have in my whole life. I absolutely LOVE the sport – but still, it’s not for everyone and here’s why:

  1. You can’t commit to 24/7 dedication
    The sport of bodybuilding is exhausting. In order to win shows and have a chance at your pro card you have to give your training and nutrition everything. That might mean working out two times a day and saying “no” more than you say “yes”. Don’t get me wrong – I have met some of the busiest moms who compete and dominate the stage but I’m sure they will tell you that sometimes it feels like they are losing their heads. If you are someone who has a hard time with commitment and following a strict schedule – bodybuilding isn’t for you.
  2. It’s expensive
    Between gym memberships, food, competition entry fees, competition suit and heels, jewelry, hair, makeup, tan, coaching, posing lessons, and supplements – you can expect to shell out a LOT of money. Entry fees alone can range from $100 – $300 PER SHOW!!! You can expect to shell out $250 – $550 for a good suit (even more based upon how elaborate and how many crystals you want), and I have seen coaching range from $100 – $1000+ a month. I would say don’t let money completely derail your hopes to compete, but if you’re strapped on cash you will need to start putting away large chunks of your paychecks to cover all your fees.
  3. You obsess about food
    This point seems silly but it is oh so important. When you compete, almost every morsel of food has to be accounted for. There is no room for guessing or estimating your portion sizes and eating your favorite treats is almost forbidden. As I mentioned in my first point – bodybuilding takes 24/7 dedication and following a strict diet plan is part of the deal. If you are someone who has food issues – whether you’ve put yourself on a starvation diet for longer than you would like to admit OR you happen to be an emotional eater… I am warning you right now that competing will do more harm than good. Get yourself healthy first. Learn to have a better relationship with food and then reconsider stepping on stage.
  4. You’re a private person
    If you are a private person or you have a very ultra conservative private family – competing isn’t for you. The moment you step on stage, there will be dozens of photographs taken of you. Those photos will be all over the internet (including your butt). Sometimes I cringe thinking of my butt being online – but it comes with the territory. It’s not meant to be sexual but for someone who doesn’t understand the sport that is all they will think about. This is especially true if you have an ultra conservative job or hold a career like a teacher. Just know that if your kids parents Google search you – they will see you in a small bikini.
  5. You have body image issues
    I put this last because it is the most important point and I want it to stick in your head as a final takeaway. Bodybuilding will likely give you body image issues on some level for some duration of time. I can remember back to the last competition I did over a year ago. I had a full on six pack and I remember crying because I felt unconditioned. True story. I’m not someone who has ever given much thought to the size of my waist or how skinny or fat I think I look, but at that time I remember feeling so critical and I know I am not alone. I have had dozens of conversations with competitors who all feel the same way. Part of it is the process of losing a bunch of weight and getting super ripped. You make all these Instagram posts about your “before and after”. Then after your show – you start looking a LOT more like your before and that starts to build up anxiety. It’s 100% totally normal to not stay stage lean all year but for someone to go through multiple “transformations” in a year can be self-damaging. Post-show blues is a real thing. Go ahead and just google that phrase and you’ll see plenty of competitor stories. If you are someone who already has body image issues, steer clear of this industry or seek help before considering to compete.

If this article didn’t scare you away… congrats! You are ready to start training for your first show. Check out my article on How to Find a Bodybuilding Coach and my FAQ video about the sport.

Also, I’ve created a FREE downloadable checklist of everything you will need to bring to your first show. Fill out the form below to get your copy!

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Heather Stammen bodybuilding