Bodybuilding is a Mind Game
When a bodybuilder makes the decision to enter into a competition, he or she is suddenly faced with a raft of new concerns. In addition to new challenges such as posing, skin tone, tan and presentation, the entrant is also faced with the task of mentally dealing with the the prospect of working even harder - to become smaller. For bodybuilders this concept goes against everything ingrained within their psyche. The ability to appreciate defined muscle over pure mass can prove difficult for many body builders to accept and if severe, can lead to anxiety and depression.
The Bodybuilding Competition Physique
The competition physique should be as much pure lean mass as possible with any excess body fat stripped away. Although fat cannot be flexed, when you are carrying a mid-range percentage of fat on your body it can make you feel bigger and this can be psychologically satisfying to most bodybuilders. Shredding this additional mass can prove psychologically challenging as it gives the impression of a severe decrease in size. Other challenges to creating a competition-ready physique include perfect seperation within muscle groups. To achieve competition succes there must be perfect separation within muscle groups, for example, between the deltoids - anterior, side, and posterior delts.
Body Bulk vs Lean Muscle
For an average male, a bodyweight of 110kgs and 16% body fat, would be considered lean. When this same person starts to train and diet for competition, he has to alter his body composition so that he gets down to just 9% body fat. Assuming that the mass reduction is purely fat and lean mass is preserved, that bodybuilder's lean mass would still be 93kgs. So in terms of muscle, he will be the same size, but will feel a lot smaller simply because he has lost weight as fat. This sense of smallness affects some individuals to the extent that they find themselves psychologically unable to continue persuit of competition success.
Body Composition for Bodybuilding Competition
A key factor in winning a competition is to change your body composition. While mass is vital to a bodybuilder’s physique, it is the shape and quality of the mass that wins contests. Seeing big numbers on the scales, or the feeling that your clothes are tight all over your body and not paying attention to stripping away body fat, will give you nothing but loss in a bodybuilding competition. The key is cut body fat and sculpt muscle to show the judges what you are made of. To achieve this can be a real mind game and many fail in this quest due to the fear of feeling small in the process.
While it can be stressful for a bodybuilder to go through this process, it is worth keeping in mind the payoff at the end - winning. The goal of any bodybuilder, male or female, is to attain perfection, to be the best. When the process of cutting fat for a competition gets tough, it pays to remember one thing. What is the point in being the biggest if you're not the best? Perfection in the eyes of a judge, and your peers, depends on definition, seperation and lean mass, not overall weight. If you want to be the best, for a short amount of time you have to change focus and concentrate on achieveing perfection rather than mass. If you can temporarily alter your definiton of what it means to be the best, then cutting fat can be seen as a positive challenge rather than a negative one After all, isn't the achievement of perfection the goal of all bodybuilders?