Since I wrote about the financial costs involved with my first bikini bodybuilding competition, several people have sent me emails asking what the TIME cost was, in terms of exercise.
I made a nifty little pie chart for you, but let me mention a few things. First, every person’s body is unique so my exercise schedule may not be right for your exercise schedule.
Second, my goal with the first competition was to lose weight. Gaining lean muscle mass was not even a thought in my head beyond a vague concept of wanting to look “toned.” (Personal trainers of the world, feel free to cringe at the word “toned.”)
Third, my goal had a very specific timeline – I had only five months to get from couch potato to competition ready status. Apparently most people take a full year of training before they even consider stepping on stage. (Here’s where that whole “research” thing might have come in handy…)
Finally, I gradually progressed my exercise time. The first month I only did cardio 3 days a week for 40 minutes and strength training 2 days per week with my trainer; by the final month I was doing an hour and a half a day of just cardio + an hour or more of strength training five days per week + stretching every day, for a total of 3 hours a day. Yikes! I went to the gym 5 a.m. before the kids were up and 9 p.m. after I put my kids to bed because I didn’t want to mess up their routines. I was very tired but was on a mission.
My 2nd competition had a completely different breakdown. I was already starting from a healthy weight and my goal was to gain lean muscle mass. This time around I only worked out an hour and a half per day, also before the kids woke up. My pie chart looked like this:
The lesson I learned from this was that cardio is a huge time suck! Once I lost the weight it took half the time to maintain a healthy weight plus gain some muscle. In other words: It gets easier. This can be a nice mantra to repeat to yourself when you’re bored on the treadmill. It gets easier. It gets easier. It gets easier.
If you are training for your first competition, my suggestion to you would be to hire a personal trainer experienced in bodybuilding who will customize your workouts based upon your body and your goals.
How about you? Where do you focus your workouts?
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