Contest Prep Priorities: Part One

This will be my first blog post with EBP, and when Jason hired me it was to be a prep coach for him. So, taking a little inspiration from Eric Helms’ Muscle and Strength pyramid series, I thought I’d make a blog series on prep and the priorities within prep.

The topics that I will be covering will be:

1. Who/What/Where/Why/How?
2. Diet
3. Training
4. Sleep and Adherence
5. Motivation
6 Picking a show/federation
7. Suits/tan/other minute details
8. Peaking
9. Post show

Basically I’ll be going over from start to finish, the ins and outs of prep. So to start off, it’s the who/what/where/why/how?

Who are you doing this for?
What do you want to get out of this?
Where do you want this to take you?
Why do you want to do this?
How do you expect to get there?


These are all questions I asked myself before committing to a prep. A few folks I trained with at the time thought I put too much thought into the details, and that I should do it for “shits and giggles.” As someone who has a competitive nature, I want to know the mental aspect of something before going through with it.

So, the first one: Who? Who are you doing this for? This is a trick question because every time you should be saying “I’m doing this for myself." This is a very selfish “sport," if you want to call it that. If you’re doing something solely for someone else then what’s the point? You find out along the road that there’s a lot of personal growth that occurs and in the end you should follow through because it’s something that YOU want, not something that someone else wanted you to do for their own desires.

The next one: What? What do you expect to get out of this? Some say they just want a competitive outlet or a goal to strive for. For me, I had lost over 60lbs and gained 10lbs back before I decided to prep. What I wanted to get out of it was basically to take my physique to something I had never gotten to. I didn’t do it at the time because I thought I’d turn pro or I wanted to get sponsored. It was something personal for me. Granted, down the road, yeah I had, and still do, dreams of becoming a pro or becoming sponsored, but those are secondary to my initial motivation.

Where do you want this to take you? Now, some people will use competing as a means of exposure. A lot of people who coach, myself included, started out competing as a means of garnering attention towards their profession of being a coach. As a means of attracting potential clients. Some folks want to pursue the modeling side. Others might want to go all the way, turn pro, and make their attempt to get to the top of the heap. Others they might not see a future for themselves in the big picture, but might compete because they enjoy it.

Why do you want to do this? This is a big big question most will ask themselves before, during, and even after prep. The question of why is one that some won’t be able to answer easily. Some they made a promise to someone or they want to make someone proud, but that also goes back to the first question, who is this for? If it’s to make someone proud, is it also first and foremost for yourself? Honestly this question could have been answered by all of the questions that came before it. You do it for yourself, you want to make a big change in your life, you want it to take you somewhere, it is all encompassed by the WHY of the situation. Why you do it is ultimately what will drive you to finish it.

How do you plan to get there? This one is a little different from the others because it doesn’t have as much emotional attachment to it. When I say how do you plan to get there, I don’t mean “I plan to get there by any means necessary," I mean will you utilize someone to help you along the way or do it yourself? For my first prep I hired a coach. When it’s your first go around, no matter how much you think you know or how confident you feel in yourself, there will always be times where you just don’t exactly know what to do. As you get deeper and deeper into prep you second guess yourself a lot, you make mistakes, you get stressed. It all adds up. A coach can be a potentially game changing asset in this game.

-Coach Gavin McCort