fitness, Men's Physique, NPC
During the athlete’s meeting at a recent show, the event’s promoter asked how many athletes were first-time competitors. And, in this moment, as I looked around the room at the raised hands, I was struck by the number of athletes that the NPC and by extension the IFBB continue to attract year after year. Each of the classes from bikini to bodybuilding to figure and physique had several first-time competitors.
Over the course of the day I had a chance to chat with several of the new competitors who peppered me with questions about the sequence of events and what we were allowed to do and not do. Their inquiries were fueled by a mixture of excitement and nervous energy; a mixture that I was all too familiar with having been a neophyte competitor myself just one year ago.
The discussions that I had this day also reminded me of the emails and messages that I receive from guys that are looking to compete in Men’s Physique whose inquires range from how do you find the “right” board shorts to questions about diet, exercise and supplements. The reality is that many of these communications remind me of similar messages that I sent seasoned competitors as I was contemplating competing in the NPC. And, this is partly the reason why I take the time to respond to each of these individuals. In most of my responses I explain that so much of competing is about experience and trial and error.
In my opinion there is no greater teacher than experience. As you train and prep for a show, you learn so much about yourself and your body. Of course mistakes will be made but the secret is to learn from those mistakes and to turn them into opportunities.
I firmly believe that all of those first-time competitors learned a great deal from stepping on-stage for the first time. I also believe that they will be better athletes as a result of this experience regardless of their placing.