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Can Competition 10X your progress?

I think by nature I am a very competitive person. But never an athletically competitive person. I think I’m much more competitive when it comes to things like playing games. Put me into a Monopoly game and I all of a sudden become as focused as a T-1000 with the sole objective of bankrupting every last fucker on the board!
But growing up, I never really cared too much about competing in any sort of sport or athletic pursuits. Which is why it is weird for me that I now absolutely love throwing myself into competitions like bodybuilding and now, powerlifting.

I still remember the very first bodybuilding show I ever went to. I had probably only been training somewhat seriously for about 6 months and my friend / training partner, Davo (here in Australia, everyone gets a a nickname that somehow ends in ‘O’. Like me, Jimbo!) was a big fan of bodybuilding.
I was not. I thought it was was weird, and to be honest, I still think its weird!
I think my first reaction to the bodybuilding show was priceless to Davo, when the first line up of guys came out on stage and started going through their mandatory poses. Everyone in the audience was yelling out words of encouragement and praise for the guys.
“Looking awesome bro!”
“Thats it! Squeeze those glutes!”
Don’t get me wrong, they looked awesome, but sitting in a relatively packed theater watching about 10 tanned up, ripped guys wearing a tiny pair of speedo’s flex their muscles, just felt really…. weird!
By the end of the night though, I had gotten it. I understood it all.
On the surface it’s pretty much a male model swimwear show. But really it was more than that. It was the result of years of hard work and commitment being displayed on stage. Most of the people in the crowd were either friends or family of these competitors and had been a source of support for these guys.

Fast forward a couple of years to the end of 2013, when Claire and I had just gotten married in late November. I had been saying for about a year now that I had wanted to someday compete in a bodybuilding show. But I was using the same excuse all of the time for why I hadnt competed in one yet. “Oh I need to spend more time putting on size”. I think I had been saying that ever since watching that first bodybuilding show. I had put on a half decent amount of size since I had first started training. But it was nothing special though. I wasnt MASSIVE and I wasnt lifting huge numbers in the gym. I just looked like a slightly bigger than average dude.
So anyway, a few weeks after getting married I said to Claire, “Claire, I want to compete in a bodybuilding show”. And Claire said, “Ok Jimbo”.
Im pretty sure the conversation went quite differently to this, but c’mon it was 4 years ago! Im paraphrasing.

So, I found myself a coach, who I had followed for quite a while through social media and his podcast. He lived interstate, but he was willing to coach me online through weekly email correspondence. I sent him weekly progress photos body weight updates and he told how and what to change with my nutrition and training to keep me on track and making progress.

All of a sudden, when I started the contest prep my effort in training and the intensity I had in the gym increased by 1000% (estimated figure). I had probably been coasting for quite a while in the gym beforehand and had been pretty relaxed in the nutrition side of things too. But once I started working towards this first bodybuilding show, I just became completely focused on the competition ahead. What was also really cool, was that Claire had also decided to compete in the Women’s fitness category of the same show. So the two of us both had each other to keep us on track.
16 weeks went by crazy fast and by the end of it, I was up there on that stage being cheered on by my family and friends. My mate Davo was there front row, and he was now that guy calling out to me to squeeze my glutes and flex my quad’s harder.
Not that it really mattered to me, but I actually did pretty well in my category of the show too and came in fifth out of 15 guys, who all looked amazing. So I was super happy with the result.

I think after reflecting on the show and how I went, I am most proud of myself for doing this first show. In just 16 weeks, I had gotten better results than I could ever have imagined. I dropped a tonne of body fat, but I also built a good amount of extra lean muscle in the process too. A lot of this could be attributed to the excellent program and guidance I received from my coach. That was definitely a big part. But none of that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t committed myself to the actual competition.
I went on from that show and competed in the same show again one year later, where I made even more progress over the course of that year. From there I have now also gone on to enter a powerlifting competition just recently, where I have made massive progress in my own strength levels. Like I said at the start of this blog, I was never a competitive guy when it came to sports. But I have now discovered that by throwing myself into competition’s has been the key for me to keep me 100% focused and to go above and beyond in how much effort I put into it. Had it not been for me entering these bodybuilding or powerlifting competitions and growing from them, I would probably still look very much the same as I did back at the end of 2013.

I used to be that guy that said things like “I want to enter, but I need to put on more size”. That used to be me! And I’ve heard so many other people say the same stuff. They don’t want to enter that powerlifting comp until they build more strength. They want to wait until they are, “ready”. Here’s the thing I have found though. You will never be “ready” for it until you get ready for it. If you are waiting for the moment or sign to tell you that you are now ready to enter a competition. Then you will be waiting for a long time. I think so many people have this fantasy that we all want to wait until we can step into a competition and WOW everyone, with stunned gasp’s as everyone in the crowd asks each other, “who is this god amongst men, that we have never seen before until today?” Don’t worry, I had those dreams too. But then I came back to the real world.

So what is the whole point of this? Am I saying that you need to enter a bodybuilding or powerlifting competition?
No way!
For starter’s there are so many other competitions that you could look to competing in. There’s Spartan races, Crossfit competitions, fun run’s, marathon’s, triathlon’s, cross country mountain bike racing. Whatever takes your fancy!
The point of competition is to bring out the very best version of yourself. I love competition because it give’s me a singular goal to work towards and keep improving at. If you want to boost your progress by 10X, I highly recommend thinking about entering some sort of competition in an area that excites you.
Even if you have no hope of winning your first competition, I still recommend competing.

At the most recent powerlifting competition that I entered I knew going in that I had no hope of winning the thing. I was entering a comp at a gym that had some of the strongest lifter’s in the country. I knew this going in, but I didnt let that deter me. At the end of the day, I was one of the lowest ranked competitors. But it didnt matter! Because I went in there and gave it %110 of my best effort and I made some incredible PB’s that I probably would not have made, had I just been working through a strength program and performed my pb attempts in my own gym during a training session.
I didn’t go home with any medal’s or trophies but I still came home a winner, with a lot more knowledge and experience that is only going to help me grow in the future…….

Was that too deep? Sorry!
jamesCan Competition 10X your progress?