Lee Priest, the renowned bodybuilder known for his exceptional muscular development and aesthetic proportions, recently shared insights into the mental challenges of contest preps and his unique eating patterns. In a candid YouTube video, Priest revealed that he would consume more food while adhering to a rigorous three-hour cardio routine. With his career taking off in the early 1990s, Priest quickly gained recognition for his impressive physique, earning a reputation as one of the most gifted and controversial athletes in the sport. Despite his relatively shorter height compared to his competitors, Priest compensated with an unparalleled level of muscle mass and definition, solidifying his legendary status in the bodybuilding industry.
One of the key factors contributing to Priest’s success was his unconventional diet philosophy. For most of the year, he would eat whatever he wanted, only adopting a strict diet 16 weeks before a show. This strategy allowed him to achieve rapid and impressive results. Although now retired from the sport, not much has changed in terms of Priest’s dedication to working out. Despite a neck injury, he continues to weight train and do cardio to maintain his form at 213 pounds.
During the YouTube video, Priest reminisced about the mental toll of contest preps. Even when he knew he was in great shape, he would often feel unsatisfied with his physique. He shared an anecdote about a video taken at World’s Gym where he initially felt confident about his appearance, but upon looking in the mirror, he became self-critical. Despite winning the Ironman competition, he admitted that the last few weeks leading up to a show were always a head game.
While struggling with body image issues, Priest revealed that he never cut back on food during contest preps. Instead, he would increase his cardio to compensate for the extra calories consumed. “I used to do two or three hours of cardio because I never cut my food back. I would just keep eating to stay full. I didn’t want to cut my food out, so if I just ate more, I’d do more cardio,” he explained. Priest also mentioned that he finds it difficult to sit and have a meal without incorporating some form of physical activity. Today, he typically does two hours of cardio, including walking to places like McDonald’s.
The topic of body dysmorphia and mental health in bodybuilding is not uncommon. Many athletes, including seven-time Mr. Olympia champion Phil Heath and five-time Classic Physique champion Chris Bumstead, have opened up about their struggles with body image and anxiety. Heath uses positive affirmations and focuses on his physical well-being to combat body dysmorphia, while Bumstead has been vocal about his anxiety and fear during competition preparations. These athletes exemplify the challenges faced by top-performing individuals in the industry.
Despite the battles they face, athletes like Lee Priest continue to inspire with their tenacity and dedication to preserving their physiques. Priest’s impact on the fitness community and aspiring bodybuilders remains significant. His story serves as a reminder of the mental and physical demands placed on athletes in pursuit of excellence.
To watch the full YouTube video, click on the link below.
Belinda Evans is a news reporter specializing in bodybuilding and general fitness. Passionate about the sport, she strives to keep readers informed about the latest industry news. If you have any questions regarding this news or any other topic, please feel free to reach out to Belinda Evans by leaving a comment below.
Published: 28 December 2023 | 2:06 AM EDT