I recently became interested in competitive bodybuilding. Luckily there are resources for the beginner, and I can use my interest in traditional shaving to maybe get an advantage over the competition!
What is Competitive Bodybuilding?
According to the National Institute of Health the sport of competitive bodybuilding involves an intense regimen of weightlifting and dieting, often aided with muscle-building or fat-burning drugs, and culminating in an on-stage posing competition.
What Is The Difference Between Bodybuilding And Weightlifting?
Bodybuilding is a type of exercise that focuses on the development of muscle mass, while weightlifting is a type of exercise that focuses on the development of strength.
Competitive Bodybuilding Organizations And Categories
There are a number of bodybuilding organizations. Each organization has different competition divisions for body types, personalities, and fitness goals.
Most bodybuilding organizations have specific beginner or novice classifications. They usually concentrate on a “physique” standard on the order of a “beach body” or male model look, versus the more “cut and defined” look of a professional bodybuilder. Beginning competitors usually wear shorts (vs. the tiny bikini you might see in more advanced competitions) and just two or three poses.
Should You Shave For A Beginner’s Bodybuilding Competition?
While it is not a requirement to shave your body for a beginner’s bodybuilding competition, some competitors choose to do so to enhance their muscle definition.
Pros of body shaving for a beginner’s bodybuilding competition:
- Enhanced muscle definition: Shaving your body hair can make your muscles appear more defined, which can be beneficial when being judged.
- Improved tanning: Removing body hair can also make it easier to achieve a more even and deeper tan, which can also help to enhance muscle definition.
- Reduced body odor: Shaving body hair can reduce the amount of sweat and bacteria on the skin, which can lead to less body odor.
Cons of body shaving for a beginner’s bodybuilding competition:
- It can be time-consuming and costly: Shaving your body hair regularly can take a significant amount of time and money.
- Irritation and ingrown hairs: Shaving can cause skin irritation and ingrown hairs, which can be uncomfortable and unsightly.
- Personal preference: Some people may not feel comfortable with the idea of shaving their body hair, and may prefer to leave it as it is.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you and what you feel most comfortable with. It is important to focus on your training and nutrition as they are more important factors in your performance.
But for the purpose of this article, let’s assume you are going to shave.
Shaving For Beginning Bodybuilders
There are a number of considerations about shaving for the beginning bodybuilder.
Razor (And Trimmer?)
The idea of defined muscle groups for bodybuilding makes the type of razor important. A razor that can pivot around muscle groups–whether it is a manual razor or an electric razor–can save time, effort, and irritation. I think a manual razor should have a pivot and as few blades as necessary for the results you want. On the other hand I think an electric razor should be the “wet/dry” variety and have four or even five rotary “floating heads” for best results.
Beginners might also need to use a trimmer before their initial shave attempts to knock down the heavy, long hair (like on the legs) to a manageable length for a regular razor.
A really good shave cream is an important aspect of shaving for the beginning bodybuilder. Whether you use a manual razor or a wet/dry electric razor, a good shave cream will cut acceptably close and more comfortably than a cheap canned shave foam. It may also help avoid skin reactions and irritation due to excessive artificial ingredients.
What about using a shave brush? It’s certainly do-able but the sheer amount of skin to be covered might make using a brush impractical. If you’re going to use one, use a large one.
Preparation for body shaving is similar to shaving the face: the skin and hair needs to be hydrated and softened for shaving. Taking a long, warm (not hot) shower or bath will help your skin get ready for shaving.
I think it’s best to tackle one segment of the body at a time. Lather up a portion, shave carefully and lightly with the grain, rinsing the razor often, then move on to the next portion. A “baby’s butt smooth” result is not the goal here–getting a reasonably close shave to define the muscle group without getting cut, ingrown hairs, or razor burn is more important!
While it’s certainly possible to shave your back yourself it’s probably best to get some help for the back of your body.
Carve out some significant time for body shaving: count on a couple hours of shaving when you plan your day.
A cool rinse followed by patting dry with a towel, followed by a good skin moisturizer, will help keep your skin supple and irritation-free.
The timing of your shaves should be an integral part of your bodybuilding competition preparation.
Your first “competitive” body shave should probably be about eight weeks away from the actual event. That will help you (and your coach?) evaluate your physique and to guide your next steps for diet and exercise.
Keep the body hair stubble at bay by re-shaving once a week or so.
Then you should shave the day before the competition for a smooth skin tone and comfortable hair removal.
Conclusion: Prepare For Success
Shaving for bodybuilding competitions is a great idea since it allows you to look good and get rid of hair that can make your body look more defined. And, if done right, the hair growth won’t show on bodybuilding competition days.
About the author: Otto Wright is a traditional wet shaver and freelance author.