Balancing Bodybuilding Competition Prep with College Life
When you are a college student, you typically have a lot on your plate. Whether it is with classes, homework, or clubs, it seems like you always have something going on. I know that in the past I have felt that there wasn’t enough time in each day to balance everything that comes with school and having a social life. Well this last semester I decided to try adding something else to my schedule other than classes, bodybuilding.
Going into it I had the idea in my head that all bodybuilders do is lift weights, get spray tans, and go on stage and pose. Well, I was just about as wrong as you could be on the topic. Before the semester started, I found a bodybuilding competition that was scheduled for November 23rd, the very end of the school semester. I thought to myself that a whole semester would be plenty of time to get ready for it. I then sought out a coach and found an old friend who agreed to guide me through it all. This was a wakeup call time. As he explained what we were going to do and how much we were going to change my diet and my whole daily routine I realized this was going to be a much bigger commitment than I thought.
I started the semester and I was also just beginning contest prep, which means slowly cutting weight to make my body as lean as possible. My diet changed more and more as the semester went on, I went from 2,000 calories a day to 1,500 a day to almost 1,000 a day.
Once November came around, I was cutting out almost all the carbs from my diet and living off boiled chicken and broccoli. To say my energy levels were low would be an understatement as I had to give myself a pep talk every time, I approached a flight of stairs.
Once I hit the two weeks out mark from competition, that’s when things got very demanding. I was doing at least 30 minutes of cardio a day on top of 2-hour workouts and only had about 1,200 calories to get me through it. Not to mention I had to start cutting out: dairy, processed foods, and any artificial sweeteners. This was hard for me since just about every supplement I owned was made with artificial sweeteners. Luckily this was when I found the Never Been Stronger Pre-Workout and it made a huge impact on my workouts with the fact that it has no artificial sweeteners. I would go the whole day with no energy and as soon as it was time to lift, I would take a scoop of NBS pre-workout and be immediately ready to go.
As I powered through the last two weeks of contest prep, I was also dealing with the stress of exams that always come right before break. Between studying, meal prepping, and getting through my workouts I was just about as exhausted as I’ve ever been in my life.
I was able to find enough time to study, lift, and eat and before I knew it, it was November 23rd. This was a huge day for me as I wanted to finally see if all the time I spent on cardio, lifting, meal prepping, counting calories, and posing in the mirror for hours would pay off or not.
To say it paid off would be an understatement. I went out on stage the leanest I’ve ever been and ended up winning both the novice and open categories of which I was competing in. I came out of the competition with two first place trophies and pro card. To say I was beside myself would be an understatement. I viewed the whole experience as a mental challenge, I had to sacrifice time with friends and much of my social life for this experience but If I had the option I would do it all over again.
When you push yourself through a challenge like this you learn a lot about what you’re capable of mentally and it makes you a much stronger person. I am looking forward to competing again soon. Now that I have successfully experienced a full competition prep and made it through a semester of classes I’m eager to do it again and get back out on stage bigger and leaner than before!
Follow Alec on Instagram at buobthebuffboy