The Other 22 Hours

female bodybuilding sterotypeFrom time to time I get asked about my training schedule for preparing for a figure competition.  When I tell the person that I only work out about an hour a day they seem really surprised; they were expecting me to say I did four hour marathon sessions.

I thought the same thing.  Prior to my first competition my concept of bodybuilders was that they were all like Hanz and Franz of Saturday Night Live, which is to say, I thought bodybuilders lived at the gym and were kinda dumb.  I didn’t even know that women competed, and when I found out they did, I thought that they must look like scary gorilla women who took steroids and grew beards.  Needless to say, I was wrong about all that.  (Although, I’m disappointed that I will not be growing a beard.)

One of the biggest misconceptions about bodybuilding is that a competitor’s physique is solely made by putting in long hours pumping iron at the gym.  I can understand why people want to perpetuate this belief; it’s cool to lift insanely heavy weights over your head, and grunt like a beast, and have people check out your ripped body.  But unless you are a sponsored athlete or independently wealthy you are at the gym for 1-2 hours a day tops.

So what about the other 22 hours?

Oh, right.  The nutrition and recovery side.   Food is actually the MOST important part of bodybuilding, but no one really talks about it because it’s not sexy to say, “Dude, have fun eating nachos and getting wasted at the bar tonight while I stay home and eat my broiled fish and green beans.”

Well balanced meal

Well balanced meal

You can lift weights until the cows come home but if there is a snuggly layer of fat over your muscles no one will see how strong you are.  What you eat and when you eat also determines how well you change the contours of your body.  If you want to grow lean muscle mass you add carbohydrates to your diet.  If you want to get shredded before a show you cut them.  You have to time when you eat fruit and when you take your supplements for the best results.

Another aspect to bodybuilding that is completely ignored is recovery time.  When Henry Cavill was training to be Superman his trainer made him get at least 10 hours of sleep per night so his testosterone levels were right for muscle growth.  How many people would want to brag about that?  “Nah, don’t wait up for me bro, my bedtime’s at 8:30.”

If you are considering bodybuilding (which I hope you do – it’s an incredibly fulfilling sport) just go in with open eyes.  The easiest part of bodybuilding are the workouts.  Balancing out your macronutrients, eating clean even when you have to travel, saying no to alcohol, and forcing yourself to take recovery days are the parts that truly determine your physique.

How about you?  Do you find that what you eat impacts your workouts?

Lisa 😉 (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.   

31 responses to “The Other 22 Hours

  1. ❤ this. This is exactly the case. The focus is so much on the workouts (which are tough, don't get me wrong) but the nutrition is the really tough part and the part the will make or break you.

  2. i know it’s my food that is holding me back. now that summer is over I’m looking to get back on track BIG TIME. Can’t wait to see the results at the gym and how my clothes fit. After all, abs are made in the kitchen!

  3. Absolutely. I work two jobs and will stupidly just forget to eat sometimes. Sure, I am an efficient runner, but I still need more than a granola bar before or after a 15-mile run. While it’s not the best option, I’ve found finding a trust-worthy liquid meal replacement (vitamins, hydrolyzed protein, not too much sugar, fat, or mystery ingredients) has been crucial. Especially on mornings when I need to hit snooze 8 times 😉

  4. You are absolutely right. Bodybuilding is what you do outside the gym. The nutrition, the recovery, etc. I like that you posted this here. I too am max in the gym for 90 minutes and some days 60 minutes and still see results 🙂

  5. Today, I went to the beach with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go
    back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  6. Have yyou ever considered about adding a litgle bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and everything.
    However just imagine if you added some great pictures or videos to
    give your posts more, “pop”! Yoour content is excelent but with
    images and clips, this site could undeniably bee one
    of the vry bbest in its field. Superb blog!

  7. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.
    It’s always exciting to read through content from other authors and practice a
    little something from other web sites.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s