Before and After The Big Show: What Physique Competitors Go Through


Some of you may know some one who has competed in a Bodybuilding show, some of you may not. I’m writing this to give everyone a little insight on what really goes on behind the scenes before and after a show. We may seem to be fine on the outside but let me tell you from experience, the struggle is real!

So you’ve decided to do a show! Awesome! Good for you! Good luck in your show!

The beginning of prep is all fine and dandy. You’re motivated, physically strong, and mentally strong. “Fuck Yea! Lets Get it!”

Once you get about 2 months from the show is when every thing starts to catch up with you. The long hours in the gym, all the meal prepping, and the caloric deficit that you’re in starts to hit you.

You’re tired, weak, hungry, and just plain ol’ sick of it. Not to mention the food restrictions. O MY LORD Give me a piece of pizza! Now if you’re prepping the smart way you’re not too restricted on food choices. If you have that cheese burger you better be making it yourself and be ready to be real hungry that day because its filling a good amount of our daily macro nutrients.

Then once you get real sick of prep you start to question yourself. “Why am I doing this?” “Is it worth it?”. Once you remember the answer to these questions then you get a whole new line of questions. “Will I be lean enough?” “Am I gonna fall of my face on stage?” “Will I place?” “Hows my competition look?” “Do they look better than me?” “Are you really sure you want to do this?!?!”

So now you’re about a month from the show. This is when you start to get really weak and irritable. Gym sessions are miserable and you just do your best to push through. You almost don’t even remember what its like to enjoy your work out. You’re just walking around in a daze from the lack of nutrients, and the energy expended in the work outs.

Before you know it, its the day of the show. Was it all worth it you ask?

YES! 100%! You’re practicing your posing the morning of and you see yourself in the mirror. You stop and stare at yourself. Not because you’re leaner than you’ve ever been. You’re staring because you’ve made it. All the hard work you’ve put in the past months have paid off and damn you look good! Got your tan, hair, outfit and everything on point!

Now its show time. Whether you place or not. You’re proud of yourself. You’ve come a long way!

So now the show is done. Prep is done. “I’m Hungry! Lets get food!”. You go and get what ever meal you’ve been fantasizing about for the last 2 months. And damn it was every thing you ever hoped it would be!

Now some people have a problem with this, and some don’t. How to keep the body you worked so hard for. Some people don’t mind putting weight back on and some people do!

The struggle is real for the people that want to stay semi lean. Your love for food and your love for the awesome physique you’ve created are battling!

You want to eat all the foods you’ve missed through prep but don’t want to gain the weight back.

This is the dilemma now. What to do… What to do? Answer….. ENJOY YOUR LIFE! But don’t over do it.

What I recommend is give yourself a couple days of going crazy after the show. Its all just going to be water weight anyways. After these couple of days its time to start hitting those macros and maintaining the sexiness! Now hitting your macros doesn’t mean you have to go back to starving yourself and not enjoying life. Hit your maintenance macros all week. Give yourself a cheat meal once a week.

This is when you really need to be mentally strong and when you need to realize all of prep wasn’t for the stage. It was to make you mentally stronger. You endured the struggles of prep! Now it wont be too hard though because you’ll be on maintenance macros. Which means you’ll be eating a good amount of food daily so the feeling of being hungry is in the past. Which is awesome! But you may start saying fuck it and eating whatever you want. Then you wake up the next morning 4 pounds heavier, with the regret of the binge the night before. You go back to your deficit macros drop the pounds then a few days later you binge again! This may happen a few times.


If you can realize this in the beginning then you’re golden! That’s one of the reasons I’m writing this. If you are going through the struggle after your show, just remember what you’ve been through the past few months. It took a lot of dedication and hard work right? A Lot of mental power?

Well shake it off and and remember how strong you are!

I’ve been asked if I’ll ever compete again. You mean will I ever torture myself again? Well….. Yes I already plan on it! Nothing feels better than going through prep then getting on that stage hearing people call your name and screaming when you hit your poses. BOOM! KILLED IT!

Also… you learn a lot about yourself when you go through prep. How mentally strong you really are. Prep isn’t just all lifting weights. You have to be all in…. physically and mentally.

I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. Its an amazing feeling! I recommend everyone who is interested to try it at least once.

-Branden Bridge