What makes a bodybuilding champion?
Is it muscle size or is it something else?
“it’s consistency. Stay with it. You have to do it, day in, day out. It becomes a lifestyle”. Jay cutler.
Jay Cutler is a 4x Mr. Olympia winner. According to him, he didn’t choose to become a bodybuilder, circumstances forced him. He started working when he was eleven in the family concrete business. As you can imagine that’s hard work.
As a teenager, Jay says he hated his parents because he had to spend all his free time working. Today, he thanks his parents because his upbringing taught him not to be lazy.
what makes a bodybuilding champion according to Jay is good nutrition and surrounding yourself with people who dream bigger than you, meaning, It’s not just muscle size. He also recommends:
- Eat small frequent meals, eat every 3 hours.
- Give yourself at least 16 weeks to prepare for a competition.
- Don’t fear carbohydrates and eat lots of proteins.
- Keep your body relatively lean.
- The most important meals are breakfast and meals before and after training (calorie dense).
- Eat one hour prior to training and the same after.
- Stick to the basics: squats, bench-press etc.
In the first section we discussed traits that judges look for, we also learned that no matter your body type, be it, ectomorph, mesomorph or endomorph, it is possible to develop the X-Form. If you haven’t read that, click here.
In part 2, we look at the mass factor, how to balance your physique, muscle appearance and projection.
- The Mass Factor
- What is competition weight or dry weight?
- Size guide
- Bodybuilding is a balance between size and aesthetics
- How to train for aesthetics
- Balanced muscular physique
- How to build a balanced physique
- Muscle appearance and projection
- Can you lengthen muscle fiber?
- Blood vessels
The Mass Factor
To become Mr. Olympia, or to win any other title you may be after, you must start training early and you must work hard.
We recommend you start training at least six months before the competition.
Normally, professional bodybuilders gain as much as 40lbs of mass during competition season training. In your head, that may sound easy, but don’t forget that muscle gets harder to build as we age.
if you are over 30 and you don’t lift, you will lose about 3-8% of your muscles every decade. The cause of that is lower testosterone levels in men, and lower estrogen in women.
The good news is. Working out affects your testosterone levels. To get the full benefits according to Todd Schroeder Ph.D., you need to make exercise a habit.
What is Competition Weight or Dry weight?
It is important to understand that in bodybuilding size matters, if for example, you can bring your weight up by 30 pounds while cutting fat, it means that you gained 30 pounds of lean muscle mass.
Dry weight or competition weight is simply your weight without excess fluids or fat.
|Arm girth||51 cm|
|Chest width||127 cm|
|Calf girth||51 cm|
|Thigh girth||72 cm|
Bodybuilding is a Balance Between Muscle Size and Aesthetics
Bodybuilding is not about getting as big as humanly possible. As Steve Reeves put it in the previous article, “If you get too big, you will distort your natural symmetry”. That, will also happen if you use steroids. We will get to steroids later.
Don’t forget that body building competitions are highly visual events, and almost every aesthetic element is used to judge the overall impact of a competitor.
To get the ‘perfect look’, you will have to bring your body fat ratio as low as possible and increase your protein intake.
How to Train for Aesthetics
- Lift heavy (the aim of this is to build muscle and maintain a low body fat percentage).
- Compound movements (exercise that uses more muscle groups and joints at once)
- High-intensity cardio to burn fat and improve cardiovascular health
Balanced Muscular Physique
I remember mentioning that once when I was an amateur, my left arm got bigger than the right, WAIT! it’s not what you think. That happened because I didn’t train using proper form.
Basically, what you need are large muscles and your body should look proportional. Easy, right?
It sounds easy, but achieving the coveted X-Frame is anything but easy. You will have to lift heavy; you will have to make sure that both sides of your body push and pull equal. In other words, the upper and lower regions of your body must be perfectly balanced.
How to Build a Balanced Physique
- Exercise both sides of your body.
- Practice proper posture (sit upright)
- Use proper form when working out.
If you are out of balance, seek the care of a sports massage therapist or work with a professional lifter.
Muscle Appearance and Projection
Judges also look at the appearance of your muscles and they also look for confidence.
Can you Lengthen Muscle Fiber?
Do you have long or short muscle bellies? If your bellies are short it means that you have ‘bad’ insertions. That doesn’t mean that you can’t compete, it simply means that your muscles won’t look as aesthetically pleasing as someone who has long muscle bellies.
Can you lengthen muscle fiber?
Sadly, NO, that’s down to genetics. But you can overcome bad genetics. All it takes is hard work and dedication.
This may sound odd but vasculature enhances the appearance of your prominent muscle fibers. Because of that, you must work hard to make your vasculature emerge when you flex. To improve or boost your vascularity. We recommend:
- Do cardio
- Get lean
- Build bigger muscles
Another thing I must mention is judges base their analysis purely on what is observable, this makes muscle distinctness important and so are striations. The more recognizable the striations of your muscles are, the higher your chances of winning.
All in all, body building is not just about building muscles, it is also about looks and how much confidence you have on stage.
In the next section we look at power and ability, we show you how to develop energy, stamina and endurance. We also show you how to increase your metabolism, and how to tolerate the pain associated with bodybuilding.