Body Dysmorphia in Figure Competitors: The Ugly Side of Competing Part 1

Body Dysmorphia in Figure Competitors – What Is It?

It’s a psychological condition where someone sees flaws, or perceived flaws in their body and obsessively think about them, and even take extreme measures to correct them.

As it relates to competitors:

  • Often focus on minor flaws in your physique and see them as major issues
  • You have a fear of gaining weight that takes you too far away from stage weight – which in the long term can hamper your progress
  • No matter how much muscle you put on, or even how lean you get in a contest prep, you have an inability to see your progress and often focus on the things that still need to change in your eyes.
  • You might even find yourself unhealthily comparing yourself to others – whether they are “better” than you or not.

How this can negatively impact you as a competitor:

  • You have the most difficult time during a prep because you’ll tend to obsess over the wrong things – even if they aren’t necessarily a problem structurally.
  • In cases where you feel you may not be lean enough, you’ll go to extremes with cardio and diet to “fix” the issue, leading to muscle loss, a severely slowed metabolism, and hormonal imbalances that can lead to what some call “metabolic damage” over time.
  • With your offseason, you will tend to not be able to put on the necessary size because you’re constantly worried about off-season weight gain. You’ll tend not to eat enough or train in the appropriate way to improve from season to season.
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Ways to fix body dysmorphia in figure and physique competitors:

  • Get real about what’s going on in the mirror. Stop being overly critical and realize how your thinking is hurting you in the long run.
  • Start focusing on the things that are POSITIVE about your physique. What do you ACTUALLY like about you? What are some things you can appreciate as your physical strengths as you change and mold your body?
  • Be more cognizant of taking progress photos, and REALISTICALLY compare them at all points in your journey. Even enlist a friend or someone who knows the sport to honestly evaluate you as you go along – so you have a sane opinion and voice in your ear.
  • Hire a well-qualified coach. Because working with someone who actually knows and understands the sport is a crucial part of your DEVELOPMENT as a competitor. Working with a professional is one of the BEST things you can do as an athlete, especially one overcoming body dysmorphia as it relates to our sport.


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