Making his pro bodybuilding comeback at this year's Australian Pro Grand Prix was the Malaysian Sensation, Wong Hong. And what a comeback it was. Weighing ten kilograms heavier and coming in even more shredded than he was at his last pro appearance - Toronto Pro in 2004.
Wong presented a look that was balanced, huge and ripped, a look that compelled contest promoter, Tony Doherty, to say that it was what bodybuilding is all about. Although he placed eighth, Wong was extremely happy with the result, given it was his first show in three years and he had arrived in the kind of condition he had hoped for.
A few weeks back I presented Wong's pre-contest strategies as we counted down to his comeback. In the following interview he talks about what he did over the final week and in the hours leading up to show time, to arrive in his best possible shape. He also shared his competitive experience. So sit back and relive the pro bodybuilding experience through the eyes of one of its own.
[ Q ] How did you feel both mentally and physically the last week before the Australian Pro? I noticed the last week before this show you dried out remarkably. How exactly did you achieve this?
I was focused and felt really good because I knew I was on the right track. And physically I knew I was ready to go on stage at any time during the last week before the show. To get ultra-ripped I cut sodium completely and increased my potassium intake during the final three days. At the same time I carbohydrate depleted (was on almost zero carbs) for four days - all of these factors combined to dry me out.
[ Q ] A few days out from the show, just how confident were you of your chances of success?
I knew I was ready to compete. I knew I was in the best shape of my life -bigger, more balanced and better condition than ever.
[ Q ] When did you stop training for this show?
My last workout was on Thursday.
[ Q ] Describe the training program you used in the final week.
- Sunday was back
- Monday chest
- Tuesday shoulders
- Wednesday arms
- Thursday was a very short whole-body workout
During the carbohydrate depletion phase:
I used high reps (25-30) to flush out the glycogen stores as much as possible. Mostly cable exercises were used for safety purposes and to carve detail.
[ Q ] What were you eating the final week?
During carbohydrate depletion I was eating broccoli, oats, beef and chicken. During the Carb-up phase I was on rice cakes, sweet potatoes and potatoes.
[ Q ] What was the reception in Australia like? Were the pros treated well?
Tony Doherty is a gentleman and treated all the athletes very well. He did a remarkable job and made us felt like we were at home. We were put in apartments with a full kitchen. The location was convenient (close the venue of the contest and grocery shop). Tony's crews were very helpful, friendly and courteous also.
[ Q ] Whom did you travel to the contest?
I travelled with two of my buddies (who are also competitive bodybuilders). We are in the same bodybuilding society in Malaysia. This society sponsored my preparation for the show. The chairman of the society sent them to give me a hand if I needed assistance in Melbourne. Sometimes travelling alone can be very boring and their morale boosting was a great help.
[ Q ] What was the atmosphere like backstage and onstage?
Everyone was very friendly backstage. We talked and joked around while we pumped up. It was a healthy atmosphere in my opinion as this was only a contest not a battlefield, and by the end of the day, of course the best man wins.
On stage, it was electrifying! The hall was packed and the crowd went crazy during the prejudging. Every competitor was trying their best to show what they had and it was exciting and fun too!
[ Q ] What did you do the evening before, and morning of the show as far as getting adequate food and preparing for the prejudging went?
The evening prior to the show, I was carb-loading every two hours. I just laid back, watched TV and relaxed my mind while carbing-up. The following morning I was still loading and went on my I-pod to stay focused for the prejudging.
[ Q ] Describe prejudging.
I was compared a few times in the symmetry and muscularity rounds. It was a good comeback for me as my last show was three years ago. I wished I were called out for more comparisons though. I was ready to flex more for the judges! However, overall it was a good prejudging for me.
[ Q ] Where did you feel you might place after prejudging?
I figured I would be between seventh and ninth based on the prejudging call outs.
[ Q ] What did you do as far as maintaining your look between prejudging and the night show?
I ate three whole pizzas (small) two hours before the finals. The sodium and extra fast carbohydrates made me look better - bread makes me a lot fuller at the night show. I didn't lose any definition either.
[ Q ] You eventually placed eighth. Were you happy with the result? Was it what you expected?
I was fine with the result because I expected it after the prejudging.
[ Q ] Were you happy with the way you looked?
I was happy with the way I looked onstage because, as I said, I came in the best shape of my life. My goal was to come in better than my last show three years ago.
[ Q ] How did the crowd respond to your physique?
The crowd went pretty wild when I did my routine at the night show. It was great to see that they like my physique.
[ Q ] Your coloring was excellent. What did you use?
I used a new Australian brand called Body Shimmer. I used to use Dreamtan, which sometimes covers my definition so I decided to try something new and it worked wonderfully.
[ Q ] What feedback did you receive about your physique after the show?
I received much positive feedback. They say that I have a very symmetrical physique with a small waist and could go far in this sport. I was glad to hear that.
[ Q ] I think the judges would have appreciated you balance and conditioning.
Yeah, Tony Doherty the promoter said that my physique is what bodybuilding should be about and I was very happy to hear that. It's been my goal since the first day I picked a weight - to build a physique that inspires.
[ Q ] Comparing your physique with that of several competitors who placed ahead of you, it appears you may have been overlooked. Do you feel this was the case, or was the outcome a fair one?
I have no complaints whatsoever with the result. However I wish I were called out for more comparisons. Everyone looked great (they were all prepared and were in condition!).
[ Q ] Why do you think you were placed eighth?
It could be due to my weak chest development. Honestly I over-dieted a little and lost some of the hard earned mass on my middle and upper chest. I was wide but needed more thickness, especially on my chest. It was my first time working with my nutritionist, Ali Amini, and he is still learning about body. Now we know what to do to come in better for my next show.
[ Q ] Overall, how would you describe the experience of competing at the 2007 Australian Pro?
[ Q ] Was the show well run?
It was a well-organized show. Kudos should go to the promoter, Tony Doherty.
[ Q ] What did you do directly after the show?
I went to eat Chinese with my two Malaysian buddies and some of my Australian friends. We had a huge dinner.
[ Q ] What are your plans for the remainder of the year?
My next contest will be the Montreal Pro in early September, the Santa Susanna in Spain end of September and all the post-Olympia European shows. As you can see, I am going to be pretty busy competing this year.
[ Q ] Well good luck Wong, look forward to seeing you back onstage in September. And what changes do you hope to make before the Montreal Pro?
My target now is not to get bigger, but come in fuller and even more balanced and refined than the Australian Pro. So I got a bit of work to do here in a mere six months before the Montreal Pro. But I believe that I can do it.