Nick Walker and Mike O’Hearn on the Importance of Mindset During Competition Prep

Walker and O'Hearn continue their conversation on "The Mike O'Hearn Show."

Episode 21 of The Mike O’Hearn Show was published on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel on Oct. 28, 2022, and featured part two of the interview between the show’s namesake and 2022 Mr. Olympia contender Nick Walker. In the first half of their conversation, Walker opened up to O’Hearn about how childhood trauma led Walker to his now thriving career as one of the top bodybuilders in the world.

The second half of their conversation delved into how challenging bodybuilding is regarding mindset. Walker, who was amidst his 2022 Olympia prep at the time of the interview, stated:

Bodybuilding is the most mental sport you will ever do. The moment you let the mental take over, you’re done.

Check out the rest of the interview between Walker and O’Hearn in the video below:

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Walker and O’Hearn shared the sentiment that an athlete at a bodybuilding show could have the best physique in the field, but if they psyche themselves out for whatever reason and stress starts to pile up, their body will likely reflect that. Not only are they likely to look worse due to that stress, but they are also less likely to perform their posing routine with the crispness required to impress the judges.

The mind has to be so much stronger than the body.

Walker suggested further that if something terrible happens during prep, for example, a breakup with a long-term partner, holding oneself together until after the show is critical; otherwise, failure is imminent. Controlling emotions so they don’t disrupt prep is crucial to success in the sport — an added layer of difficulty indiscernible while watching bodybuilders compete on stage. 

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Sleeping During Prep

Walker is committed to his routine when prepping for a show. His last meal is about an hour before bedtime, at approximately 11:00 p.m. He wakes up at 7:30 a.m. to start his fasted cardio by about 8:30 a.m. and consumes his first meal of the day after that.

On top of training with intensity, Walker gets deep tissue work done twice a week to help his recovery. Additionally, he performs two stretching sessions daily — once after cardio and once after his first daily training session.

If you walk with a cane, you develop a limp.

Joint health is often top of mind for O’Hearn, who inquires about Walker’s stance on how he cares for his joints. Walker feels that wraps, like elbow sleeves and the like, could weaken the joints by removing some tension while training, making them stronger. Additionally, Walker feels wraps throw off his mind-muscle connection. As a result, he foregoes wearing that kind of equipment while training.

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Social Media

O’Hearn and Walker agreed that modern bodybuilding is partly driven by social media and the frequent updates seemingly required by the sport’s top athletes. Before social media was in the hands of everyone with a smartphone, there was an element of surprise to the sport — a bodybuilder would appear on stage with a sharpened physique after not being seen for weeks or months during prep.

Nowadays, posting images and videos with physique updates is part of the sport because the audience, according to Walker, demands it. Sharing on social media keeps athletes relevant, and relevancy is part of the currency that elite bodybuilders trade in to make a living — sponsors sponsor athletes with an audience.

That surprise element does create more of a wow-factor.

O’Hearn suggested that the roster of athletes that Walker will compete against at the 2022 Olympia is “all the prize-fighters” in the sport competing at once. The best of the best battling it out for the pinnacle prize in bodybuilding is motivation for Walker, who ranked fifth overall in his Olympia debut in 2021.

Win or lose, there’s nothing better than standing next to everybody knowing they’re at their best.

Having all the best bodybuilders in the world on stage at once is also clarifying for Walker. Wherever athletes rank at the Olympia when the roster is stacked is the most robust gauge of where each bodybuilder stands. 

If you can beat everyone at their best, that truly shows how good you are.

The 2022 Olympia is scheduled for Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV. Walker will attempt to dethrone two-time reigning Mr. Olympia Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay.

Featured image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram