Many NPC shows I attend hold a common theme—the package presented by the overall winner of these shows is light years ahead of any other competitor. Yet there are typically numerous other competitors that are plenty conditioned, or have a more aesthetically pleasing shape. So what do these gentleman (and ladies) bring to the stage that leave the audience shocked and without a doubt as to who will come out on top?
A top physique athlete is not a professional dieter. While coming in out of shape will certainly leave one out of the winner’s circle 99% of the time, a top physique athlete understands that being number one involves a copious amount of factors. What the professional does that the amateur doesn’t is build a plan AHEAD OF TIME involving ALL of the numerous co-factors that makes a winner. Amateurs get locked into tunnel-vision during prep. They want to be as shredded as possible—they want to be as full as possible—they want their posing perfect so they don’t “embarrass” themselves; and in this they rob Peter to pay Paul. They come in shredded, but they are shaky, light-head, stringy, unpoised, their tan is off, etc. Or they come in full as possible, but their “trouble spots” (I.E. areas that hang on to fat the longest) are either watery or still holding a fair amount of body fat, they are over-confident and cocky, etc.
A champion understands that the dieting and other factors involved in prep tend to cause one to make irrational and split-second decision. It causes one anxiety over their plan (ESPECIALLY if the plan is one that seeks to achieve ONE goal—shredded, full, etc.) and keeps 99% of competitors from achieving their best. Therefore, top athletes only have one goal to achieve during prep—to maintain confidence in the plan they set out BEFORE dieting, one that places emphasis on all factors of a champion: presentable suit, well-practiced and choreographed posing routine, muscle control, abdominal/breathing control, a DARK tan, a well thought out training and diet plan that places emphasis on progression, and a thorough and all-encompassing “peak week” plan. These are the gentlemen and ladies you see back stage that are innately RELAXED, because they know the work has been put in. To a seasoned competitor, it is easy to spot those that are not confident—they are antsy, overly conversive, usually begin pumping up with two hours to go until they are on stage, or act with a false sense of bravado.
When looked at objectively, the winner of these NPC shows usually have flaws, but when they step on stage, they shock the crowd. They are dry, they are conditioned, they are separated but not stringy, they present a relaxed energy in their posing, their tan is DARK, their posing is spot-on, they suits are adequate and they have an air of confidence that only comes with the knowledge that one has all of his or her bases covered.
In this series of articles, I wish to delve into each individual sector that can allow you too, to shock the crowd. All factors will be covered to allow you to dive into prep with only one thing in mind—to get the job laid out done, day in, day out, until you stand with arms raised.
-Nick Tong, INOV8 Elite Performance Physique Coach