If your an aspiring bodybuilder, figure, or even bikini competitor don't fall prey to what's traditional in this industry when it comes to competing. It doesn't take countless hours of cardio a week & extremely low calorie levels as I see many do just because they think that is what they have to do. If you have to do 2 hours of cardio per day 6-7 days a week on top of training to compete then you are either getting bad advice, self-sabotaging yourself, or it just isn't in the genetic cards for you to be a competitor and there is nothing wrong with that. Be happy with yourself and just try to be the best version of yourself possible.
Is there sacrafice required, of course! But there is a difference between sacraficing social outings, having your favorite food and putting your body into metabolic shutdown and causing possible long term damage. There is no trophy or award worth that. There is so much mis-information going around these days from the next big "guru" to someone who may look the part and people falling prey thinking that is knowledge. Look at one of the top coaches in this industry "Chris Aceto". He doesn't compete or look anything like a competitor, but his knowledge about nutrition is undeniable (even though I see him prescribing crazy amounts of cardio to professionals, but that is due to his expertise in nutrition, not training)
So if you're looking to try and take your body to the next level, just be realistic with your goals and don't let it consume you. You need a balance in life and if exressing yourslef thru competition is your zen then do so, but be cautious to falling into the dark side of this industry, its there but no one wants to talk about it. I enjoy coaching competitors, but its sad when I get former competitors(and I coach a lot) who have done so much damage to themselves metabolicaly, mentally, and emotionally and realizing it wasn't worth it.
There will always be arguments made by people saying "so and so got shredded doing 2 hours a day of cardio". Of course they did. When you are burning off that many calories and you are in a calrie defict already you will lose fat, but no one seems to talk about the after effects of it. Most are in it for the instant gratification, but don't open their eyes to the long term effects after the contest is over. Don't compare yourself to pros or the high end national competitors because they are way above the average. You will always find someone who can do these things and never have the negative effects and unfourtunatley in this industry those are the ones people are making the arguments that it won't cause damage. Wake up!
I will never name names because I'm not here to call anyone out, I'm trying to open individuals eyes to something that goes on in this sport that no one wants to talk abouty because it may cause them to be an outcast and everyone wants to be excepted. IN my professional opinion if you're a coach and doing these thing to your clients without warning them the possible effects of the aftermath then you are part of the problem, not the solution. I know many who do it just to make a dollar without any regards to the clients well-being. If you are a true coach you will always look out for the clients well being and tell them things they may not want to hear instead of just being a cheerleader so you can make money. Ok rant over!