The Complete Guide to Setting Realistic Bodybuilding Goals for Your First Competition

The Complete Guide to Setting Realistic Bodybuilding Goals for Your First Competition

Setting realistic bodybuilding goals when you are new to competing is essential. 

This journey will not only challenge you in new ways, but if you have unrealistic goals, you might be disappointed later on. 

The key to reaching any goal is to understand what it would entail, if you are mentally ready for it, and making the necessary changes needed.

Here we are going to go over setting these goals and touching briefly about what that would entail for you. 


Recommended Reading: A Bikini Competitors Day in a Nutshell




The Complete Guide to Setting Realistic Bodybuilding Goals for Your First Competition

 The complete guide to setting realistic goals for your first bodybuilding competition



So what is a Bodybuilding Competition?

Essentially it is an art and a science all in one. It's not just stepping on stage for the first time after losing a bunch of weight and getting lean.

 A bodybuilding show is a fitness contest where you have worked your butt off in training, building lean muscle, having the discipline with your nutrition, and practicing a posing routine on which the judges will score you on.

It usually takes years for someone to get to this point of being a competitive bodybuilder and takes a lot of learning. 


General Tips for Preparing for a Bodybuilding Show 

When in prep for a bikini competition, you will have to consider the time and things needed before hand. 

This would entail a consistent training and nutrition routine in order to build enough muscle in the areas that the judges are looking for. 

Each person will be different depending on their starting point, but if completely new to weight lifting, it would be best to start here. 

If you are not new to weight lifting, then you will have to access your current physique to determine which areas would need to be worked on prior to entering a show.

After you have built enough lean muscle for a bodybuilding competition, then you will take the time needed to cut body fat to lean down and show case more of your hard work underneath. 

On top of this, you would need to learn and practice a posing routine in heels under the criteria for that federation and division as each one will vary slightly.

 Timeline to compete in first bodybuilding competition

How to Break Down Your Bodybuilding Goals 

 In order to set your bodybuilding goals, we need to break them down. 

  1. Determine what federation and division speaks the most to you that you want to compete in. 
  2. Access your current physique and decide which areas would need the most work to start based on the division you chose. 
  3. Realistically understand the length of time it would take to reach that goal whether you need to lose or gain in certain areas. 
  4. Take into account of lifestyle, upcoming dates, and health concerns in the process. 
  5. Choosing a show that would be in the timeframe that is realistic for you to achieve.
  6. Then bringing it all together with a plan and keeping yourself accountable to stay on track for this goal. 


How to Determine the Best Division For You

Obviously, you probably have a division that you would love to do and then there is a division that would better fit your current physique. 

Sometimes these are the same and other times, they are different than what you expected. 

Bodybuilding doesn't go off of weight, it goes off of other requirements for specific divisions. As mentioned earlier, it will also be slightly different depending on the federation you choose too. 


Some examples to explain divisions:

Bikini- fitness model like, with emphasis on glutes and ham tie-ins, small waist

Wellness- bigger emphasis on whole lower body, still lean like bikini or leaner 

Figure- emphasis on V-taper, developed upper body and legs, capped shoulders


How to choose the best bodybuilding division for you

*For exactly what the judges are looking for, read the federations rules and criteria. Then compare to winners at the different shows.*


If you are just starting out and haven't been focused on building lean muscle, the typical division to start in is bikini. 

However, this does not mean you can't compete in another division. It just might take longer to step on stage. It comes down to how important it is to you, the time you are willing to take, and your current body stats. 

You can compete in any division you choose as long as you are willing to take the time and work for it! 

Need more guidance? We are here to help! 

We understand it can be a little overwhelming at the beginning, but also exciting. 

Top Knot Strong specializes in helping first time competitors learn everything they need to know to step on stage and helping you each step of the way to get there. 

In order for us to best help you, schedule a free 15 minute consultation where we can go over a best time frame for you to step on stage and come up with the best plan of action.

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