Within the bodybuilding world you will hear this saying said many times, captioned under booty pictures and plastered across stories. When I first heard this saying I was early into my prep and wasn’t at a place where I could necessarily relate to it. The further I got into my prep the more I could understand and relate to this. A question I get asked a lot is “how are you so motivated to do cardio daily, stick to a meal plan and train after a 14 hour day at work” the answer soon went from, “I’m motivated to step on stage and do well” to telling people that these daily tasks became non negotiable and part of my daily routine. Some days I didn’t want to do these things, I wanted to skip my last 2k steps I had left to do at 8pm, I didn’t want to train after having a long day at work, and I wanted to order a cheeseburger when it was the time of the month. However I became discipline in all my actions knowing that any little slip up would result in me moving away from achieving my overall goal.
In order to become disciplined I needed to execute everything I did to a high standard. I needed to make sure steps were achieved daily, no slip up to leave those last few hundred. I needed to weight everything out to the gram and give every cardio session 110%. Due to my job and working long unsociable hours it was important for me to plan my days to the hour to make sure I was as productive as possible. I would create a routine for those days I was on a day shifts, night shift and day off. Day shifts I would make sure I was up at least 90mins before I needed to leave the house for work. I invested in a treadmill in winter to get my steps done first thing in the morning and last thing at night so there was no excuse for weather effecting my routine. I would prep all meals the night before for 2 days so it saved me time in the morning and I had the time to do my cardio instead of messing around with weighing scales and tupperwear. Whilst at work I would make the effort to take the stairs instead of the lift, I would walk to the toilet the furthest away, I would pace around the carpark on my lunch break after eating just to get those extra steps in and help with digestion after eating.
Luckily for me the gym is a place I always look forward to going due to the environment and people providing such a great atmosphere. Training was always completed and never missed. My gym bag is always packed the night before and in my car. I found that by doing that I never had to come home from work and risk sitting down or getting comfortable and not going to train. I would eat my pre workout on my last break as it timed perfectly to be 90mins before I got to the gym. In my head I knew once that pre workout meal was in there was no excuse to not go to the gym, I had now fuelled my body and needed to put it to work. I rarely drink energy drink but on the odd occasion I would have one going to the gym as a little extra pick me up. Being sensitive to caffeine it didn’t take much for my energy levels to rise and my workouts be completed to a high standard.
Writing a list daily before bed of things you need to get done the following day, that could be steps or cardio, or book that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off, or pay for show fees before deadline. Lists became my best friend during prep and especially when you develop the so called ‘prep brain’ when you begin to forget things, lists enabled me to visually see and tick off daily tasks.
Living with my partner who is also a bodybuilder at times proved a test when they would be given a cheat meal and I wasn’t. I knew myself if being around it would be ok for me or not beneficial. The majority of the time we timed it that he would have his off plan meal whilst I was at work so I wasn’t exposed to it however sometimes I would happily drive to the drive through or takeaway to collect it. It was almost to prove to myself that mentally I was strong and my goal meant so much more to me than a pizza or burger and fries. I would happily sit and watch him eat that meal and sit on my coke zero because I knew that that one meal would set me back and undo the hard work I’d put in that week. A burger and fries isn’t going to get me my pro card at that point and it will always be there come the end of my competitive season.
The main thing I want people to take away from this is to understand that no one is going to do the work for you, no one is going to care about your excuse. In order to push yourself you need to become discipline with every factor in your life. Whether that meaning you need to sacrifice sleeping in for an extra hour, time spent with friends and family and meals out. It all needs to be done to an extent in order to produce the best results you are capable of. There is no better feeling than standing on that stage on show day knowing that every minute and hour you put into your prep was worth it. Prep is not easy and not for the faint hearted but it can be made easier with a solid routine in place and the right people around you. A lot of the time it’s your mentality that will give up first so make sure you are in a good position mentally to start prep and prove to yourself how strong you can be. Motivation will not carry you through those hard times but discipline sure will.