Whether you’re looking to enter into a bodybuilding, strong man, or bikini competition, training the right way takes more than just putting the time in at the gym.

In fact, some experts say that more than 50% of your training success is due to other factors like nutrition and hydration. That’s why before you start preparing for your upcoming competition, there are a few things you need to know first.

Following the ten bodybuilding tips below will ensure your body is in peak condition come competition time.

1. Make A Plan and Stick to It

First and foremost, you need to have a plan. Preparing for an actual bodybuilding, strong man, or bikini competition isn’t something that can be done simply by “winging it.” And if you do, you won’t be taken seriously. Simple as that.

That’s why you need to enter into your training with a carefully constructed plan that’s both catered to your unique body and designed to challenge you.

Focus on multi-joint exercises that promote growth. Use heavy weights with low reps. Incorporate new exercises into your routine to maximize gains.

And equally importantly, you have to stick to your plan. Especially when it gets tough.

2. Recruit a Lifting Partner

There are some things you just can’t accomplish when you go it alone. And reaching peak physical performance is one of them. That’s why both bodybuilding women and men simply need a lifting partner.

Maintaining bodybuilding motivation is key to your success and when you have someone else to hold you accountable, you’ll be less likely to slack off. Plus, you’ll also have a dedicated spotter and peer to give you tips on your form during bodybuilding workouts.

3. Find the Right Gym

Not all gyms are created equally. And when you’re training for a competition, you need a facility that has all the proper equipment for your bodybuilding exercises.

Competition-level power-lifting, for example, typically can’t be performed at just any old gym.

But there’s more to the right gym than just high-quality gear. Individualized program design, knowledgeable nutrition advice, and experienced coaching are all crucial amenities to look for in your training facility.

4. Don’t Neglect Water Intake

Proper hydration is absolutely essential during bodybuilding training.

For one thing, water is a great appetite suppressant. Consuming enough of it will be invaluable when it comes to sticking to a restrictive diet.

But water is also critical in keeping your muscles healthy and growing. It plays a vital role in delivering nutrients to different parts of your body, giving you the energy you need for another set.

Plus, the molecular components of water are instrumental in building the protein your muscles need to repair themselves after intense bodybuilding workouts.

5. Nutrition Is Key

Just as an engine needs fuel to run, your body simply cannot continue to grow without a proper bodybuilding diet. That means meticulously planning out macromolecule (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins) proportions, tracking vitamin and minerals, watching your caloric intake, and more.

And when it comes to bodybuilding supplements, the truth is most of their benefits can be obtained simply from a proper diet alone. If you do want to incorporate them into your routine, though, we recommend speaking with a professional physician or dietician first.

6. Understand the Science

Becoming a successful body builder is about more than training working hard; it’s also about training smart.

And the more you understand the science behind body building, the better able you’ll be to get more strength for less effort.

7. Take Rest Seriously

Muscle growth depends equally on two factors: working the body and resting the body.

To explain, weightlifting actually damages your muscles on a small scale by causing tiny tears in the fibers. This is called microtrauma.

When we rest after a workout, our body gets to work to repair these small tears. If, however, you don’t give your body enough time to repair the initial damage, you won’t actually be getting any stronger – you’ll just be causing more damage to pile up.

That’s why incorporating a significant period of rest into your workout routine isn’t just a way to boost energy, it’s also a critical part of the muscle building process.

Without proper rest, you simply won’t make any progress.

8. Stay Motivated

One of the biggest challenges of training is maintaining your bodybuilding motivation. And when you think about all those hours at the gym and not to mention the monotony required in a proper bodybuilding diet, it’s no wonder.

That’s why staying motivated is a key component of preparing for any competition, whether it be bodybuilding, strong man, or bikini. If you stray even a bit, all your work might be for nothing.

So ask for support from friends and family. Talk to other body builders on a bodybuilding forum. Visit weightlifting authorities like Bodybuilding.com to keep up your interest.

And most of all, keep your eye on the prize.

9. Find a Trainer

It might be tempting to fly head first into a training program without any personalized guidance. After all, can’t you get all the advice you’d ever need from the internet?

And while it’s true that there’s a lot of good information out there, nothing comes even close to having real-life individual attention from a professional. They can ensure you’re using proper form during your bodybuilding exercises, help you stick to a program to meet your unique goals, and give you advice that applies specifically to your body and yours alone.

So take your bodybuilding seriously by hiring a knowledgeable personal trainer. You’ll be happy you did.

10. Lose the Extra Pounds

You can pack on as much muscle as you want but, the truth is, if you’re still carrying too much fat to really see it, your next competition is going to be a disappointment.

That’s why the experts over at Bodybuilding.com recommend that you start with two low to moderate cardio workouts as well as one high-intensity cardio session a week.

This, combined with a strict bodybuilding diet, can help shed those pounds and show off those gains.

A Strong Foundation to Start From

There’s more to preparing for a bodybuilding competition than simply putting in the time at the gym. It takes dedication, thoughtful planning, adaptability, meticulous research, and of course unshakeable motivation.

So when you’re crafting your competition training program, keep these bodybuilding tips in mind. And most importantly, don’t ever give up.