Ask The Trainer #156 – To Compete Or Not Compete?

Ask The Trainer #156 - To Compete Or Not Compete?


Hi. I was wondering if you could help me figure something out? I’ve been training hard for 15 years now and a really want to try doing a bodybuilding competition. I’m currently 41 years old, but I’m definitely in the best shape of my life. I’ve built a fair amount of muscle over the years, but I’m not sure if I should build more before attempting to compete? I’m 5 ft 11 inches and weigh 190, at about 10% body fat. A lot of people at the gym have told me that I should compete, but I’m not sure if I should wait a couple more years and add a bit more muscle, or go ahead and pick out a competition and begin cutting for it? I currently take Kre Alkalyn Hardcore, Training Ground Pure Whey, BCAA, and Glutamine. I’m natty so I would be aiming for a natural bodybuilding show if I were to compete. The big question is should I do it now or later? Your input would be most appreciated. Thanks.



Hi Dave. Deciding whether or not to compete is a big decision. It’s one thing to remain disciplined and follow the meticulous process involved in developing a stage-worthy physique. But, it’s a whole different ballgame to actually bring the rubber to the road and get up on stage.

Understandably so. After all, it should go without saying that it isn’t exactly most people’s cup of tea to get up on a stage wearing something smaller than a loincloth so you can be critiqued in a public environment with a hundred or so people staring at you.

If you have more of an introverted person like me, then getting on stage is a big deal! However, if you’re more of a charismatic extrovert who thrives on being the life of the party then getting up on stage won’t be much of a problem at all. Even if your conditioning is less than subpar.

Most Never Change Or Improve

I can’t tell you how many bodybuilding shows I competed in, or attended, where you would see these people who were not in shape for a physique competition at all, yet they enthusiastically took the stage and strutted their stuff with total confidence. They had no scruples about being blown out of the water by all of the other competitors.

In some instances, I’ve seen a few of these people enter the same competitions year after year without making any kind of improvements to their physiques whatsoever. They apparently love getting up on stage much more than going through the process of actually getting in shape. That doesn’t make much sense to me personally. But then who am I to tell someone what they should or shouldn’t be doing makes them happy and nobody’s getting hurt?

Most Never Change Or Improve

Based on your stats and the fact people at your gym are telling you to compete, I think it’s safe to say you definitely don’t need to worry about embarrassing yourself. Especially in a natural completion. If you’re 190 lbs. at 10% body fat, I would say a reduction of 10-12 lbs. would bring you to around 5-6% body fat, which would make you very competitive.

Sure, you could always give it a few more years and try to build some more muscle. But, then you have to consider that in a few more years your body will be producing less testosterone and growth hormone, making it even more challenging to build muscle. Consequently, your metabolism will also slow down, making it more difficult to get shredded.

Age Really Is Just A Number

I’m not one of those naysayers who conforms with the ideology that if you’re over 40 you can’t make any significant progress building muscle; not at all. However, I can’t ignore the fact that biologically there are certain deficiencies we develop as we age that make our muscle building and fat loss endeavors a little more challenging. Not impossible with the right approach, just more challenging!

Don’t get too consumed with the idea you have to pack on more pounds to look more impressive on stage. As you lean out, you’re going to reveal more and more detail that will actually give the illusion you’re much larger than what you are.

Conditioning Is Key

There have been times when I competed in bodybuilding shows where I would be thoroughly impressed with some massive, shredded bodybuilder, who I guessed to weight over 200 pounds. Later, I was shocked to discover they weighed just under 170 lbs.! This is the magic of extraordinary conditioning.

You asked my advice, so I’ll give it to you straight. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Our health and fully functional abilities are not guaranteed. If you have the desire to compete, I think you should go for it!

When you finally do it you’ll probably be asking yourself why you didn’t decide to do it sooner. Speaking from experience, there’s an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction, a high like no other, that accompanies facing your fears and successfully tackling meaningful goals. People who make a habit out of this can’t help but become extremely successful!

You seem to have an outstanding work ethic and an awesome supplement stack to boot. So, I think this will be a rewarding experience for you! Do me a favor and let us know how you do when this goes down.

I wish you all the best with your competition prep and the rest of your health and fitness goals!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,

Chad Shaw

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