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Bodybuilding Muscle Competition

Muscle Show Contest

Muscle Competition

Contest Dieting

Bodybuilding is a unique sport which requires competitors to exhibit maximum muscle mass and minimum body fat at the same time. These two requirements are somewhat unnatural in that the body prefers to gain both muscle and fat together or lose them together. So attempting to maintain or increase lean mass while losing fat deposits is extremely difficult.

As all sports involve a process in which new standards are created, new records set and then every effort possible made to exceed those standards and break those records, in bodybuilding it means extending our conceptions of just how far we can take the development of the human body.

Bodybuilding is not just about developing muscles, it also involves the visual effect of the body. It isnít just what what you have, its also, how you look. And it didnít take long for bodybuilders to realize that a certain kind of training involving higher reps and more sets coupled with a diet to rid the body of excess fat gave bodybuilding judges a heck of a lot more to look at.

So bodybuilders began to concentrate more and more on dieting. And by the late seventies things had gotten pretty much out of hand. In trying to diet away fat, competitors were putting themselves on such severe diets that they ended up dieting away a large percentage of their muscle mass. So they never got ripped, never got hard - they just got smaller and smaller.

Shrinking your body by severe dieting is a long way from following a program that will burn fat without much or any loss of lean muscle mass. Overly strict low calorie diets, coupled with high-rep / high-set training and cardio workouts, produce effects that are counterproductive to building a high-quality competitive physique. The reasons:

1. The lower calorie diet, the larger proportion of lean muscle mass versus fat you will loose.

2. The body always burns glycogen for fuel, the higher your volume of training the more calories your body is going to burn for energy.

Added to this, many bodybuilders have traditionally allowed themselves to bulk up gaining excessive body fat between contests. If you do this, when you finally begin a contest diet 6-12 weeks before a show, you have so much fat to loose in so little time that you unavoidably strip your body of muscle mass as well as fat.

Bodybuilders nowadays are beginning to understand the contest dieting process much more clearly. Keep your bodyweight steady all year so that a slight increase in volume and intensity of training plus a moderate diet a few weeks is all it takes for them to snap into great shape. So the first rule of contest dieting is: Watch your diet all season long so that you are within a few pounds of your contest weight when you start your contest diet.

Studies have shown you can loose only about one-half pound of pure fat a week through dieting. Training will help you burn off another half-pound. At a rate of a pound of fat a week or less, if you plan to diet only 6-8 weeks youíd better only have a little more than five pounds to lose.

Many bodybuilders advocate losing your fat early and gaining muscle right up to the contest. This would result in your weighing the most on the day of the contest.

What contest dieting and all other kinds of weight-loss diets have in common is this: To burn off body fat you have to expend more energy than the calories you take in. You have to be in calorie deficit before your body will reach into its stores of fat to create additional energy.

We have already discussed the fact that losing body fat has to be accomplished without burning up significant amounts of muscle mass. So our second rule becomes: A successful contest diet must combine reduced calories with a particular balance of nutrients in order for you to lose fat without losing muscle.

All diets involve reduced calories. But if simply cutting back on calories were enough, the logical thing would be eat nothing until youíd lost the amount of weight you had in mind. But this idea doesnít work for these reasons: When you reduce caloric intake too much, your basal metabolic rate slows and you burn less fat during the day. When you do not get enough sufficient nutrients on a daily basis, all of your metabolic processes including the building and maintaining of muscle mass and the production of energy suffer. Therefore our third rule becomes: The contest diet should be designed to include the fewest calories possible without creating nutritional deficiencies.

Deciding how little to eat without nutritional deprivation involves first looking at your need for the three basic nutrients: protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

As a bodybuilder dieting for a contest you need to reduce your intake of fats as much as possible. Of course, you need some fats and their essential fatty acids simply to survive. So eating a diet with zero fat content is not advised. But every gram of fat contains nine calories (as opposed to protein and carbohydrate, which only contain four calories per gram), so a low-fat diet is necessary in order to achieve a reduction in calorie intake. Keep your fats (including oils, bullet, whole dairy, and red meats) to a minimum.

The amount of protein you need in your diet is also fairly easy to determine. Experts" have been telling us for years that bodybuilders, athletes and human beings in general donít need large amounts of protein, that the RDA of one gram of protein for every kilo (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight is adequate.

More recent studies show this is not nearly enough for bodybuilders and probably isnít enough even for the average person. Instead, keep your protein levels up at least one gram for every pound of bodyweight - preferably a little more than this rather than a little less.

Healthy, hard-training bodybuilders (unless they have certain medical conditions) have little to fear from eating larger amounts of protein. If you eat more than you need you will add extra calories to your diet. But if you eat less protein than you need, you have prevented your body from building and maintaining maximum muscle mass. So our rule of thumb for protein becomes: Eat no less than one gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight daily no matter how much you are cutting calories.

With protein at a fixed level and fat at a fixed low level, the only variable is carbohydrate. Bodybuilding is a specialized sport with very specialized needs. When you are preparing for a contest, performance involves maintaining muscle while minimizing bodyfat. Therefore, as far as the contest diet is concerned: Progressively adjust the amount of calories you consume weekly by adjusting the calorie levels of the carbohydrate you eat while you still fuel your workouts and supply your bodyís basic needs.

Determining how much carbohydrate per day involves not depriving your muscle of carbohydrate. With no carbs in the body, you lose a lot of water (every gram of carbohydrate binds in the muscles with almost three grams of water) and you lose several pounds of bodyweight, but not body fat, immediately. Obviously, this is not a good diet for bodybuilders when you dehydrate like this your muscles get small and flat. When your body burns up muscle tissue you are defeating your own our purpose.

Carbohydrates, of course, come in all different forms. Fruit is carbohydrates; so is fruit juice. Sugar is carbohydrate, as is wine. But the way to use carbohydrate for contest dieting is this: Eat as much carbohydrate in a form that is high in fiber, low in concentrated calories.

Carbohydrate food like sweet potatoes, brown rice, vegetables contain allot of fiber. Fiber is important because it causes food to move more quickly through your system and this reduces your absorption of the calories by something like 10 percent.

Eating high-fiber foods allows you to eat more, feel full, and avoid a feeling of hunger and deprivation without taking in a large amount of calories.

One major problem that afflicts many bodybuilders is the idea that the more fat you lose the better. This isnít true. You need to lose only enough body fat so that you look ripped onstage or in the mirror.

The purpose of the diet is to lose subcutaneous fat. You want your skin to look thin and your muscles and striations to be revealed. But you may also have intramuscular fat in your body, fat that is like marbling you see in an expensive steak. Just as water contributes a lot to muscle size, so does intramuscular fat. If you continue to diet past the point where you have gotten rid of your subcutaneous fat, all you will do is make yourself smaller and smaller without getting harder or more ripped.

In tests that have been done on competition bodybuilders, we have seen champions with as much as 6-8 percent body fat. How could the percentages be so high? Because these were large 200 pound ripped to the bone individuals, and the bigger you are, the more muscle you have, the more intramuscular fat you will have as well.

On the other hand, a light or middleweight bodybuilder or a woman competitor might well test at 6-9% because less intramuscular fat. So keep that in mind as well.

You also have to keep in mind that you will not really look your best until you have finished your diet and carbed up for the contest. As your muscles fill up with glycogen and water, you suddenly begin to look bigger, more muscular and super ripped. As you are dieting since you have little excess carbohydrate in your system, the water in your body has nowhere to reside except under the skin. "Iím holding water," bodybuilders are always saying a few weeks before a contest, but what is really happening is they are dehydrated due to low levels of glycogen but the little water they do have is temporarily positioned subcutaneously. Carbing up takes care of this problem, so donít worry about it. Nor should you drop your sodium levels except as part of the immediate pre-contest preparation program only three days prior.

- Brian Cannone

Bodybuilding Competition Posing

The comparison posing phase of a bodybuilding competition is called ďPre-judgingĒ and is held before the Finals. The pre-judging event is conducted using standard poses. Judging panels are comprised of six or eight qualified judges, the Head Judge is the judge who speaks to the contestants and calls out the poses to the contestants. The Head Judge calls out the initial comparisons in a systematic fashion, utilizing the mandatory poses, done in a prescribed order. When there is a panel of six judges, five judges score the event. When eight judges are used, seven judges score the event, always with an odd number of judges. The high and low scores are then dropped and the scores are added with the lowest number being the winner of the division.

Should the number of contestants in a single division be larger than ten contestants. To make a single division practicable in the initial comparison, the Head Judge may break the division into two segments in order to facilitate the judging. After the initial comparisons are completed, the Head Judge shall shift the contestants about and conduct additional comparisons of selected subgroups as requested by the judging panel until all judges are satisfied that they have seen enough to establish their placings. After the completion of this phase, the comparisons for subdivision awards, if any, shall be made before the contestants are sent offstage. At the conclusion of all procedures, the judges fill out their individual scoring sheets.

During the initial comparisons, nine (or more) mandatory poses shall be done. The poses are the same for male and female bodybuilders. These poses are required for the initial comparisons and shall be done in the sequence indicated.

1. Quarter Turns
2. Front Double Bicep
3. Front Lat Spread
4. Abs and Thigh
5. Side Chest
6. Side Tricep
7. Rear Double Bicep
8. Rear Lat Spread
9. Most Muscular

In the comparison among class winners for the overall title, once the detailed systematic comparisons have been completed, the Head Judge shall call for a period of free-style posing, in which the contestants may do any poses they wish, in any sequence. The time limit for such posing shall ordinarily be no longer than 30-60 seconds.

Procedure of Judging

A. Semi-relaxed quarter turns:

Used by the judges to determine the symmetry score of a division during pre-judging

B. Mandatory poses:

In the initial comparison, these poses shall be used in a numerical sequence and all will be used. Selections of these poses may be used for subsequent additional comparisons of selected subgroups of contestants.

C. Optional poses:

Used during the comparison posing phase after the initial comparison has been completed. Selections of these poses may be used as desired by the judges.

Procedure of Posing

The poses shall be done described in this section, with particular attention to the requirements accompanying the standard poses. Contestants may be down rated for failure to assume the standard poses properly. The Poses should be formed by first placing the feet, and then assuming the pose as prescribed. While the focus of many poses is on a particular area of the body or body part, the whole body should be posed in every case. The semi-relaxed poses are meant to be semi-relaxed and not flexed, with feet flat on the floor, weight distributed evenly, posture symmetrical, and head facing forward. During the judging, contestants should generally focus their posing toward the center of the judging panel, and may rotate in place slightly in order to facilitate viewing by all judges. The mandatory poses or compulsory poses as sometimes called, are side by side with other competitors, under equal conditions to judge your physique against others in the division, these poses should be preformed the same by all contestants.

Quarter Turns

1. Semi-relaxed front pose

The contestant stands symmetrically, facing the judges, with both feet flat on the floor and weight distributed evenly. The arms should hang naturally at the sides.

2. Semi-relaxed left-side pose (quarter turn to the right)

The contestant stands in the same fashion as the front relaxed, facing right, and exposing his/her left side to the judges. Both feet are flat on the floor. There is no twisting of the body. The contestant faces and looks straight ahead.

3. Semi-relaxed back pose (quarter turn to the right)

The contestant stands in the same fashion as the previous poses, with feet flat on the floor and weight distributed evenly. The arms should hang as naturally as possible at the sides.

4. Semi-relaxed right-side pose (quarter turn to the right)

The contestant stands in the same fashion as the previous pose, facing left, exposing his/her right-side to the judges. Both feet are flat on the floor. There is no twisting of the body. The contestant faces and looks straight ahead.

Mandatory Poses

1. Front double bicep

The upper arms are held approximately parallel to the floor and the fists are balled. (The leg positions are not specified in this pose). Show off every major frontal muscle group in this pose. Legs in a comfortable, balanced stance, one knee slightly out. Stomach in, tighten abs, flexed arms. Helpful

Tips: Open up lats wide and smile, Remember to flex thighs and calves.

2. Front lat spread

The heels are together, with the toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle. The legs are slightly flexed. Show width and taper here. Stand, one foot slightly ahead of the other, tense thighs and abs. Start with arms bent, hands behind back at bottom of rib cage. Flare out lats as you bring hands front to sides of waist, elbows pointed out. Keep your delts flexed and up.

Helpful Tips: Keep a sober, serious expression. Hook thumbs behind waist and draw elbows forward.

3. Abdominals and thighs

The torso should be symmetrical. One leg out, point toe down or heel down, really tighten quadricep. Bring hands up behind head, keep elbows close to head, biceps flexed, fists touching traps. Lift diaphragm and blow all the air out of lungs and stomach. Crunch down on frontal rib cage and abdominal wall, crunching down on intercostals, serratus anterior, and obliques to show them as well.

4. Side chest

The chest is raised. The shoulders are held at approximately even height. The wrist is clasped with hand. Turn your best side to the audience, put legs together, lift heel of front foot. Fill lungs with air to lift rib cage, pull shoulder back, bend audience-side arm to flex bicep, push down on arm with other hand. Arch your back slightly, suck in stomach, flex pec, and smile to judges.

Helpful Tips: Mash front thigh against rear thigh to make look thicker, contract rear pec by pushing it to front with back arm.

5. Side tricep

The arm is held straight or nearly so, and may be rotated slightly. The wrist is held with the hand. The calf is spiked, with the toe placed at the instep of the foot. Grab displayed armís hand with other hand to hold it back.

Helpful Tips: Try different degrees of arm-bending to see which most brings out tricep. Flex abs, and especially chest and delts. Press arm against torso to make it look thicker. Push forward arm against rear arm to bring out shoulder detail.

6. Rear double bicep

The upper arms are held approximately parallel to the floor and the fists are balled. Put one leg back, knee angled slightly out, lift heel, and point toe, flexing hamstrings and calves. Tighten lower back to show erectors. Lift arms bent-elbowed until they are slightly above level of shoulders. Flex arms, shoulders, entire upper back, lower glutes, and rear thighs.

Helpful tips: Show either calf, flex hamstrings. Turn head to either side to bring out trap detail.

7. Rear lat spread

This pose also shows body taper from shoulder to hip. Legs, same position as rear double bicep pose. Lower arms to waist, everything on your back-side tense, fists against the back bottom of rib cage, elbows bent. Slide hands to front of body while spreading lats. Keep shoulders up, back straight and tall.

Helpful tips: Try not to crunch forward. Start pose by pressing shoulder blades together. Show either calf and flex hamstrings.

8. Most muscular

Hands on hips - The hands are placed on the thighs, below posing suit, with palms flat and thumbs forward. Breath out and crunch down on abdominals. Either lag may be displayed forward.

Optional Poses

Crab most muscular

Place best leg out forward and lean upper body forward. Bring arms forward, the hands are not clasped. Bring out trap muscles, tighten biceps, pecs, and breath out and tighten abs.

Intercostal twist crunch

Contestant faces right or left side to judges, exposing his/her side to judges. The hand is placed behind the head and the opposite arm placed on the hip. The torso slightly toward the judges, breath out and tighten abs and crunch down on intercostal muscles.

Overhead victory

The contestant brings both arms overhead with arms bent. Bend at knees and tighten legs. The wrists are turned out above the head.

Hamstring flex

This pose is done with the contestant facing facing to the side or to the rear. When to the side the leg nearest the judges is flexed, and moved up and down slowly to display the development of the posterior and lateral surfaces of the thigh. When the contestant is facing the rear, the leg to be used will be specified by the judges. The leg is flexed, and moved up and down slowly to display the development of the posterior surface of the thigh.

Leg display

The right or left leg is displayed forward, the leg to be displayed will be specified by the head judge. The leg is either toe down or heal down, flexed and rotated.

Posing Pointers

No matter how good your physique is you must be absolutely prepared and polished in showing the product before you step onstage.

Posing should be an integral part of contest preparation. No matter how good your physique may be, you still have to communicate this quality to the judges and audience. Their impression of you is formed by your mastery of posing - your ability to display your physique with control, drama, and excitement.

Posing is an art, to perfect the art you must practice posing. Its not excessive to spend one hour daily to practice all three rounds of posing. Learn from watching professionals, learn how to control your muscles. Learn how not to shake during pre-judging. Do not pose too quickly or hold poses too long. Be honest and critical with yourself. What poses highlight good bodyparts and which ones show weak parts. Posing brings out muscle separation. After long hours in the gym, when you step onstage, you must to able to display your body at its best.

First impressions can make you break you - come on strong

If you feel awkward, you probably are, change the pose

Do only optional poses that compliment your physique

Be natural in your facial expressions, look like you are having fun and smile

Center yourself and clear your head before you go onstage

Select music that inspires you and will move the crowd

Try to choreograph your routine to tell a story

Remember to keep your physique hard and at least semi-flexed whenever you are onstage

Donít do anything that is unfavorable or disallowed in judging

Give other competitors space

Watch your time, a good short posing routine is appreciated more than a so-so long one

Put tanning products on evenly, donít look sloppy

Fresh haircut and clean shave, well groomed hairstyle

Posing suit and color that fits your bodylines

Nice dark tan highlights muscle, but donít overdo it

Watch for too much oil

Exude confidence and charisma

Posing routine

Free posing gives you the chance to pose and choose the poses that highlight your physique. Choose routine music that suits your personality, and have a professional record the music you choose. Flow between poses, make transitions smooth and logical. Choose dynamic popular music, get the audience involved!

- Brian Cannone

The Fitness Atlantic is a competition and fitness exposition held in the spring which includes bodybuilding, fitness, model, and swimsuit competitions for natural athletes to participate and receive awards and recognition for their accomplishments of getting into the best shape of their lives.

The production standards are nothing less than spectacular and are designed to make every contestant feel like a star. Broadway stage designers and night club music lighting experts to create a dazzling backdrop of lights, music and staging like no other fitness event you will ever witness and are designed to provide spectators with an unforgettable entertainment experience and make every contestant feel like a star.

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