5.5 Week to the Bodybuilding Competition: Effort is always 100%

I had the chance to head down to Calgary over the last weekend to see Leigh and our new Blitz Conditioning site!  On Friday I packed the car with one bag of clothes and a giant cooler of food that would last 2 days and began the ride down.

My 45 litre cooler packed to the brim with two days worth of food.

My 45 litre cooler packed to the brim with two days worth of food.

One of the biggest things people don’t realize when you’re training for a competition is the amount of preparation that’s required to ensure that wherever you go you can control the type and amount of food.  People can normally just jump into a car and eat along the way at restaurants but this can’t happen while in competition mode.  I eat about 3,000 calories a day of clean food, drink about 5 litres of water, and workout 2 times a day.  This can’t change whether I’m in Edmonton, or Timbuktu during preparation mode.  When leaving for Calgary, I had to time when I was leaving so that I ate a meal right before to ensure that I didn’t have to eat on the road.  If I was going to workout or going for meetings I had to cook all of the meals in advance, pre-heat them and put them in my gym bag or a thermos so I had food constantly ready and on the go.  There were definitely some stares when I was eating steak, sweet potato, and mixed veggies in the lobby of the recreation centre in between workouts but I definitely don’t mind; it’s all worth it.

After meeting up with Leigh for a few hours of meetings and a thorough butt kicking in her group class, I grabbed food and headed back to the gym for another workout for specific muscle groups.  Life right now is competition prep.  I was told by Al, my contest prep coach, that I have the fortunate advantage to be in the fitness industry and having my current life circumstance revolve around bodybuilding.  Other people may have difficulties juggling family, work, and life in general, but I’ve been able to modify my life around the training.  When you’re focused on a goal like this one it seems pretty isolating at times.  Eating is usually a social activity but when you’re limited to the type and the quality of food it sometimes becomes a social crutch.  Similarly the amount of workouts required and the toll that they place on the body is something entirely different than a regular run of the mill exercise routine.  My muscles constantly ache there’s no way around it.  This sport isn’t meant for everyone.  It was tough being in a city where I had a lot of friends that I haven’t seen in a long time and having to juggle my schedule around meals, and workouts.  A year ago I would have been able to just drive down, hangout, and eat at normal times.  Even the friend I was staying with was shocked when he saw the cooler stocked full of food brought in and by the end of the weekend nothing was left.  In the end after talking with my friends they understood and supported what I do, and then we accomodate for it.

I was asked a while ago, about what percentage of the bodybuilding lifestyle is diet versus exercise and everything else in between.  The response was this:

IMG_4508It’s 100% effort.  You don’t divide a percent allocated to diet, to exercise or to sleep or whatever it is, you give everything 100% and the results will show.  You don’t divide it to 80% diet, and %20 exercise.  That’s giving your mind an excuse so that when you decide to eat something bad, or skip a workout you can say to yourself it’s okay because it’s not as important as the other component.  I don’t care about ratios, I give 100% to nutrition, and 100% to exercise and 100% to what I do.  I use this mantra in life.  There is no lukewarm, there is only crazy passion and effort.

Effort is the driver to success.  Success, to me, isn’t about winning the competition.  Success is about putting all my effort into the development of a product that I can truly stand behind.  A body that, when I step on stage, I can be confident in saying that I’ve tried my hardest and left no stone unturned in my training, my nutrition, my effort.  So yes, I could complain about how difficult it is to be on the road while training.  I could give myself an excuse like, I’m too busy, or I’m too young to take something so seriously.  But those excuses would only prevent me from moving forward in life.  In the end what is perceived to be sacrifice is worth 100% of the effort that I can possibly put into it to see it completed.

I wake up in the morning and attack my day with the same passion and effort, day in, day out.  I may be tired, I may have only had 4 hours of sleep, but I don’t care because, if I chose to seize every opportunity with my best effort, I know I can accomplish something that makes me better than I was yesterday.  I refuse to let myself and my community down by accepting anything less than 100% of my effort.  I refuse to make excuses for myself and live in this false sense of perfection that tells me that I don’t need to change, it’s the world that does. Knowing that I put 100% of my effort into anything I do places me in a position where when I step on the stage of life I know I’ve come prepared for what’s to come.

This quote always rings in my mind when I struggle to accomplish something:


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About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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