Ever wondered what it’s like to prep for a bodybuilding competition? We chat to our very own South London Showroom Manager, Olu Amao, to get the lowdown on what it takes to get stage ready…
When did you first get into fitness?
I would say I first got into fitness at a very young age, around 10 years old. I loved martial arts and eventually joined a local karate club in my area, and then the one at my secondary school. Alongside martial arts at the age of fifteen, I started to lift weights and incorporate a lot more body weight exercises into my routine.
Is this your first competition and what inspired you to sign up?
Yes, this will be my first competition. The main inspiration has been the constant encouragement I have received over the recent years. Meeting new people, friends, family, colleagues, fitness professionals and even strangers who have either given me the encouragement to compete or assumed I was already competing. These are the people who motivate me, and as much as I am doing this for myself, I feel empowered to do it for them too.
How long have you been preparing for this competition?
I’ve been training for about nine years now, but my official prep will be ten to twelve weeks in total.
How has your training changed to prepare for this competition?
I’ve had to concentrate a little bit more and make small changes to my training for the competition. For the first couple of weeks I maintained lifting heavy, and in the last six to eight weeks I dropped the weight and focused on more repetitions. The focus on really contracting the muscle with each rep has been something I have to incorporate and get used to, as I’m doing a lot of drop sets/pyramid sets for my compound exercises – i.e. bench press, squats and dead lifts. The hardest part has been keeping to a strict timed session of no more than two hours, or ideally an hour and a half. I’m somewhat of a beast when it comes to the training and usually spend two and a half hours in the gym!
What does your competition prep diet look like?
My diet currently is very high protein with minimal carbs and fat, eight to ten litres of water a day and of course a farmyard worth of vegetables. I also throw in some ‘carb load/refeed’ days once every four weeks where I up my carb intake.
What couldn’t you do without for your competition prep?
I couldn’t do without a combination of my headphones and iPad. These two have been an absolute life saver when doing cardio. I get myself on the Life Fitness CSX Cross-Trainer, set an hour interval workout, switch on Netflix and just zone out.
What are you missing that you can’t have/do during prep?
Oh wow, there are so many things. Firstly, MEATliquor burgers! MEATliquor is my favourite restaurant for cheat days (or for just about any day!). I also miss a drink called Supermalt, which is an Afro-Caribbean beverage that has been in my household forever. A meal is incomplete without a refreshing bottle of Supermalt! Though it’s very high in carbohydrates and sugar…
When and where is the big event taking place?
The competition is taking place on July 9th at Albans Arena in Hertfordshire.
What’s next for you?
I will be launching my very own fitness brand soon after the competition. The brand will help promote myself as fitness enthusiast and upcoming fitness pro/competitor, and offer a platform to help others interested in health and fitness. I will be able to offer online coaching, access to my upcoming YouTube videos sharing tips and tutorials, fitness clothing and material plus personal training. Aside from that I also look to embark in fitness modelling and lastly, regardless of the outcome from this upcoming competition, I will look to compete again.
What is your advice for someone hoping to compete?
Do some research, watch videos from different federations and ask around to make sure that you choose the right show for your physique. Once you’ve chosen your comp, make sure to have enough prep time, anything in excess of twelve weeks is ideal. Take it seriously and stay consistent. Every day counts, whether it’s a training day or rest day. Even on rest days make sure you are still eating and refuelling right, so you’re ready to hit it hard again. Lastly, get your cardio in as soon as the prep starts. As little as twenty to thirty minutes every other day is good, then you can swap to fasted cardio more frequently the closer you get to the comp. A long prep will take its toll and it’ll be hard to stay on track due to temptations, laziness and lack of focus – but stick with it. You don’t want to not place and be left thinking ‘’I shouldn’t have had that box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts” or “I shouldn’t have skipped so many leg days”. If you don’t place but you truly gave it your all, then you will know for next time that you need to change certain training aspects.
We wish Olu the best of luck in his comp! You can follow Olu on Instagram for all of his fitness updates.