Lessons I Learned from Competing in Men’s Physique – Jeromy Bryk

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Jeromy Bryk – @Bryk_Squuaadd

For those of you who may not not know, before I competed in powerlifting I competed in 3 Men’s Physique shows in 2014 that marked the beginning of my “fitness career.” I had a lot of fun, and some moderate success, before I decided to give powerlifting a chance the next year.

Although my Men’s Physique days are long over (however, a Classic Physique competition looks to be on the horizon), I like to reflect on my experience because of how much impact it had on me as a competitor, trainer and person overall. Here are just a few things I learned from my time prepping for and competing in Men’s Physique that have lead me to where I am today!

  • How to Dial in Nutrition: In the months before I picked a show and started my prep, and during the prep itself, I spent countless hours reading about different dieting techniques and self-educating myself on how to get shredded. During this time, I experimented on myself with many diets including low carb, high carb, carb cycling and learned how to calculate how much of each macronutrient I needed to eat each day according to my height, weight and goals. It’s safe to say I was borderline obsessed with making sure I was getting the most out of my diet, and it was a very confusing, stressful time for me. However, I am thankful for it because all of that experimenting lead to me understanding my body extremely well.
  • How to Do a Water Cut: A weight cut for powerlifting and a peak week for bodybuilding/men’s physique have a lot of similarities, as both deal with water manipulation to some extent. This is where I learned to do a successful water cut for the first time. I have always had a relatively easy time making weight for powerlifting, often dropping from 200lbs down to 180 in a span of 3-4 weeks, and I attribute this to my understanding of how to manipulate water in my body that I learned from peaking for the stage.
  • The Importance of Balance Between Goals and the Rest of Life: During my prep for my first 2 competitions, my tunnel vision was in full effect. While my results were fantastic, other areas of my life suffered. I had a tough time focusing on anything else because I was so focused on the competitions. It’s important to be dialed in to your goals, but having down time and having fun is important to avoid burnout. I learned not to allow myself to view my goals as something that adds to my life rather than allow them to be my entire life. This lesson I am very happy to have learned when I was 21 instead of later in life.
  • How to Enjoy the Process: My physique competitions were a great lesson for me in enjoying a process with no immediate gratification, or even great gratification in all honesty. The contest prep process is long and drawn out over 12-16 weeks and all culminates with 5 minutes on stage in front of the judges. I find it is hard to stay motivated through the process if you look at it that way, I won’t lie. However, I learned to love the process. The cravings, low energy workouts from being carb depleted and extra cardio were a fun challenge for me and although I couldn’t wait to go on stage and see how I fared against my competition, I loved seeing my body change every day and embraced the challenge for what it was, rather focusing on the end result.
  • How to Lose: While I personally consider my time in Men’s Physique as a success, I did not have the greatest success of my life in Men’s Physique statistically. I placed 4th in my first show, and tied for 5th in my second, to not placing at all in my most recent. These losses didn’t discourage me, but instead motivated me to learn from them about what I could do better for the next time around. There are no real losses in life, only lessons. Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 7.40.46 PM

So there you have it, just a few of the many things I learned from competing in Men’s Physique. This is definitely a topic I plan on revisiting in the future, so if anything from this article jumped out at you and you would like to read more about it, please feel free to send me your suggestions! Thanks for reading!

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