Great article MMX2.
It took me back to my first show and how far I've come since then.
In the beginning...
I began seriously lifting weight when I was 17 years old. I had “messed around” with weights before that but nothing major.
I trained my ass off for a little over a year and decided that I wanted to compete in a bodybuilding show. I knew nothing about competing- I had been to contests and kind of knew what I thought I needed to do, but I did not know what was in front of me.
Keep in mind this was the 80’s and the internet did not exist to the general public and any network of bodybuilders was non-existent. It was purely trial and error, all hearsay.
I had a football player helping me with my diet, and a dance team girl helping me with my routine and sharpen my mandatories. I was using moderate supplementation, as there were a lot fewer choices available compared to now. I managed to get down right below the 160 lb. mark in 12 weeks. I was already dark from the daily trips to the beach, so I needed very little inside tanning and only a few coats of tanning lotion. I was not comfortable with my posing or mandatories. I made the mistake of always practicing in front of a mirror – there are no mirrors when you are on stage. I had chosen “Carmina Burana’ as my posing music. “Carmina” was a very powerful piece of music and the routine had to mirror the music. I practiced everyday, but I was a shy introverted guy, and this was going to be difficult standing in front of people that I did not know almost naked in my posing suit.
I got to the contest and I was literally scared out of my pants. Everyone so much more defined, more prepared- more everything. I even forgot to bring my food. Mandatories were difficult as they made us hold posed for what seemed like hours. I had not practiced holding my poses for a long period of time (I didn’t know I was supposed to), so I was shaking pretty badly holding my poses for a long period of time.
I placed fifth in the contest after all that and got to do my routine at the night show. The routine went off fairly well, but I was glad for it to be over. I did two other shows a few months later and placed in the middle of the pack again. I can tell you that it was great to follow through on that step, but I also knew I was lacking A LOT of knowledge about contest preparation. Priorities were quickly changing for me and even though working out was still a part of my life (it is the foundation of what I am about), I could not devote the time I need to adequately prepare for shows, so that facet of my life was put on the shelf.
Fast forward to October 2001- I decided that it was time to finally get back into the competition arena again, so I began to devote more time in January 2002 for a summer show. I attacked my preparation like a pitbull -extreme bulking, extreme dieting, and maximum cardio sessions. I began dieting down at 268, 18% BF. I managed to get down to 208 in 13 weeks of dieting. I know what you are going to say – to much weight in too short of time and that assessment would be correct. My body did not react well to the rapid weight loss and I ended up with stones. One of the stones blocked my bile duct causing a backup of bile, which lead to jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes. Not a pretty picture and I had to go to work like that (people at work thought I was on drugs). My blood panel tests were completely out of range. I had to come off all supplements (by that time I had been on supplementation for 36 weeks), abort my preparation and get this corrected. It would have been nice to finish but I need to consider my health first and foremost. It took me 6 months to fully recover and get back to a somewhat normal training regimen without supplementation.
In early 2003, I decided that it was time again to make a run for it. I felt good and blood tests were in the normal range. I was looking at a September contest to get back into the game. I knew thins time I was going to take it slowly so my body could adjust to the changes I was about to take it through.
I was pleased with my results even though I was the smallest heavy in the group, but my posing really helped me.
I wanted to give you a sample of what it was like to prepare for a show and all the things that could happen in the process. I hope to write more articles concerning contest preparation both the good and bad. What I want to convey here is that what I write is not necessarily gospel- it’s my life experience and my hope is that you will take something from what I write and learn from it. Until next time…