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Pre-Competition Training


Well here goes, now for the fun bit – or so everyone said. I have given you an insight into the bodybuilding phase, so let me see if I can entice you with my simplistic idea of pre-comp training.


Again, I would previously go to the gym and although my workout would kind of be planned, I could easily be distracted if a certain piece of equipment was being used, maybe even broken, or by someone else who was in the gym at the same time as me. But let me tell you, that has changed.

The Shock of Prep .....


Shocking the body to produce hypertrophy. This is where you push the muscle to the limit, breaking down the fibres so it can replenish with fresh blood and nutrients so it can then grow. And you're doing this in a body that (when in prep), is likely to be in a calorific deficit. Trust me when I say this is not my idea of fun.


Pre-comp training started for me when I was approximately 15 weeks out from stepping on stage for the first time and it was a shock to my system. The workout structure altered dramatically. The compound exercises were being supplemented with more intense isolation movement. The rep range and sets pretty much stayed the same, but the intensity, tempo of the movement and muscle connection became much more important. Actually, that’s an understatement – I was not allowed to half rep, fall out of tempo, pause (other than when I was meant too) get full movement or even socialise between sets. I quite simply had to get my head in the game every single workout.


.... and the Intensity of Prep

The intensity is insane. The weights would often be lighter, simply because my calorie intake had been cut and I was nowhere near as strong. Every 10kg plate felt like a 20kg plate. My focus had to be off the scale and without my mental strength (stubbornness), I would not feel like I was getting the best from the workout. So, through gritted teeth, or the opposite – yelling out loud, I keep up the intensity. 


It’s easy to understand why most athletes give up at this stage. But If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they (someone said that once I am sure). And no matter what way you have to find to deal with this sort of intensity, try with all your focus to find it. 

Dealing with Prep Mentally


Quite simply, I think of it as a game. A game where I don't give in. No matter how hard the process pushes me, I push back harder. And of course I believed in the process. My training partner Coco supported me, encouraged me and even yelled at me from time to time to kept me on track with the isometric exercises and the nutrition. Check-ins went from once a week to everyday (more often than not, at daft o’clock in the morning). 


If my words inspire you, and you decide to give this crazy sport a go, then like me, you will realise the value of a great support team. I am not sure that I could have done it without mine.


One last thing – Peak Week


Ah, I'd almost forgotten about peak week, the final piece of the jigsaw. In essence you are now on you lowest calories and you are still expected to perform at 100%. I was tired, fatigued, I hated the Stairmaster with a vengeance and would do anything for a leftover pizza. At one point I was teased by being told that I would be carbing-up toward the end of the week – but that didn't happen (I'm wise to that one now guys). But the truth is that any excess carbs were simply used up so quickly I didn’t even notice them.


So if I were to summarise pre-comp training, I would say it’s all about the mindset. Without strength of mind your emotions will take over. You have to cultivate a single-minded focus that drives you to follow the process, no matter how hungry you are, no matter how fatigued you are, no matter what.


Don’t be frightened to reach out on my contact page if you need any further insights


Love Pearly xx

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