The article you are about to read was an entire log of my latest competition
on 17 March 2001. It was the 2001 NPC Northern Kentucky Bodybuilding
Championship sponsored by Beverly International of Cold Springs, KY. 110
competitors participated in the show. It was a huge turnout. The crowd was
huge and very enthusiastic as well!
I won't tell you how it turns out. You'll have to read on!
The article you are about to read was an entire log of my latest competition on 17 March 2001. It was the 2001 NPC Northern Kentucky Bodybuilding Championship...
Beep...beep...beep...beep...beep...as I reach over and turn off the annoying
alarm clock. It's 5:00 am. As I regain consciousness to the world, I
realize that today is the day for which I have planned and prepared for
several weeks. I suddenly feel a jolt of eager excitement that I have
survived! That elation is soon converted into nervous energy as a sense of
the pending day to come overwhelms me.
To begin the day, I will apply a
single coat of show tan. First, I need to shower off the competition tan
that was applied last night. After, another coat can be applied. It's very
important to shave all body hair prior to competing and applying the tanning
lotions. It's also a good idea to use baby oil to moisturize your skin up
until the day before applying the first coat of tan. After the last coat, I
delicately put on an old pair of sweat pants and shirt to protect the
coating and prevent any unwanted rub-off on walls and furniture. I also put
on an old pair of thick socks and a pair of slip-on surf shoes. My next
order of the day is to begin preparing my meals that I will eat during the
day. I planned ahead and purchased and prepared a 4lb. eye of round steak.
I also prepared three 8 oz Sweet potato.
My first task of the day is to
eat. My first meal of the day will be a 6 oz. portion of the eye of round
steak lightly salted and a 4 oz. portion of sweet potato with cinnamon and
Molly McButter to taste. I sip a very small cup of water as I eat, take
3-99 mg potassium (every hour through the day), and take my protein
supplement tablets. No further eating until after weigh-in at 9:00 am.
After eating, I prepare all the meals for the day. Keep in mind that a
competition can be an all day event so BE PREPARED. I take out my large
cooler and fill it with ice. I now cut pieces of the eye of round steak and
weigh 2-6 oz. portions and 3-8 oz. portions. After I have each portion
measured, I place them in a separate zip lock baggie and mark them. After
all the meat portions are measured and bagged, I place them all in a
sizeable Tupperware container. Next, I will prepare 5-4 oz. portions of
sweet potato. Each measured portion will be placed in a small Tupperware
contained with a cinnamon/Molly McButter topping. All meat and potato are
placed into the cooler. Next, I place two large Snickers candy bars (Yes!
Snickers candy bars - I'll explain later) into a baggy a place in the
cooler. Now, I will place several (5-6) 1liter bottles of water into the
Finally, I'll place plastic-ware, A-1 steak sauce, and a couple
small bottles of wine (I'll explain later as well!). It's now time to
prepare the gym bag. The first items I pack will be two pairs of posing
trunks. I always pack two and sometimes three just in case! Although, I
have not competed yet where there was not a vendor selling them. Next, I'll
pack three old towels, exercise bands, a walk-man, two Hi-fi cassette copies
of my posing music, Pam cooking spray, competition tan, and a sponge. The
towels will be used later when applying the Pam cooking spray. I like to
use the Pam instead of other oils since it's so inexpensive and spillage is
not an issue. It also gives you a very nice gloss on stage instead of a
shiny oily look. I think I'm almost ready. At this point, I've really had
no time to allow the event-filled day to consume me and have not experience
a sense of uncontrollable nervousness. I'm ready to go and weigh-in! Before
leaving, I review my checklist once more to make sure nothing is left
The show is being held in Erlanger, Kentucky about an hour drive. I hop into
my car and head for the show at 7:30 am! I arrive to weigh-in around 8:35
am. Plenty of time since weigh-in starts at 9:00 am and ends at 10:00 am.
I'm starting to feel very hungry. I head to the registration table to
confirm my registration and validate my membership with the governing
organization. "It's all good". I'm then instructed to strip down to my
posing trunks and step on the scale. One of the judges has been tasked with
weigh-in and calibrates the scale.
"One seventy four", he exclaims. My face is without expression as I think
to myself, "right where I want to be", and quickly place my clothing back
on. I can finally eat my next meal. I rush to my cooler and pull out a
baggy containing a 6 oz portion of steak and a container of sweet potato. I
also pull out the A-1 steak sauce and pour a generous amount over my steak.
Yummmmmmmmmieee! After eating, I begin to prepare for prejudging.
Relaxation is very important now since, as I mentioned before, undue stress
will result in water retention. I pull out the walk-man and listen to my
posing music and visualize my posing routine.
After all weigh-ins are completed, the judges will distribute numbers to all
the competitors as well as group the competitors into appropriate weight
classes. I'm in the Middleweight class. In addition to being assigned my
number, which was 90, I handed in a tape cassette that contained the music
that I would perform my free pose with at the evening show. Following
number assignments, the head judge conducts the athlete's meeting to explain
all the rules and requirements. When the athlete's meeting is adjourned,
I get butterflies just thinking about it as I write! Now the air is filled
with the smell of a coming storm. I gaze around and see the intense look on
each of the competitor's faces. It's a feeling that you can only appreciate
if you have ever participated in a competitive sport of any type. The
distinctive smell of muscle juice, tanning lotions, Pam cooking spray (who
bought garlic flavor!), and sweat, fill the air and complete the picture. A
storm is brewing, I say to myself and I'm right in the middle. It's almost
here. Soon the event expeditor calls out that the first class will be going
out in 15 minutes.
Since the women are usually scheduled to pre-judge
first, I have a few minutes to kick back and relax. Class after class is
called out to center stage. Finally after a waiting period that seems to be
an eternity, the expeditor calls my class, "Middleweights, you have 10
minutes!" he exclaims.
First, I grab a Snickers candy bar from my cooler.
The reason is to spike my blood insulin to help with my "pump" prior to
hitting the stage. Another addition to this would be drinking a hot fluid,
if available. Now my endorphins begin to kick-in. I start to warm up and
stretch. Next, I pull out the exercise bands from my bag and begin to
lightly work each upper body muscle group. I start with shrugs, then
shoulders, now biceps, next triceps, now chest, now back. I repeat this
over and over until I feel a sufficient "pump". Now I start to flex. Just
enough to assist with blood flow. I have purposely avoided doing leg
exercises. This will make the legs come out even more on stage since your
legs have a tendency to engorge with blood and sacrifice those hard-earned
"Five minutes middleweights!", yells the expeditor. With five
minutes to go, I pull out a towel and the Pam cooking spray and am lightly
coated. At this moment, I'm psyched! I try to relax and mentally go
through the execution of all the mandatory poses. "Okay, lets go
middleweights", he calls out. It's time. We each line up in numerical order
and leave the staging area towards backstage. As we exit the staging area,
the expeditor calls out our numbers in order. Once we're backstage we watch
as the previous class completes its prejudging round. As they pass us, we
congratulate them giving a "hi-five" or two.
The next voice is heard over
the loud speaker. It's the Head Judge calling my class to center stage. No
time to make any mistakes! I check to make sure I have my number and that I
haven't accidentally left my socks on! I've heard it has actually occurred
in shows before! We all walk out and as I do, I try to stand as erect as
possible to accentuate my size. To the stage we proceed. This is the most
grueling time I have experienced during a competition. As you stand facing
the judges waiting for instructions, you must keep as tight as possible.
From head to toe, every single inch of muscle must be instructed to flex or
tighten. If you are in a large class, this will really test how conditioned
you are and you will realize the value of "posing practice". This is also
the time to score presentation points by smiling. I'm not actually certain
that it means a whole lot in the scoring, however, it helps psychologically
in many ways. It seems to alleviate some of the agonizing burning that you
will experience as your muscles being to tire. Finally the head judge calls
out an instruction, "Quarter-turn to the right"! First, it is important to
know your left from your right. Laugh you may, but, I unfortunately fell
victim to the horrible experience of facing left on a face right
instruction. The embarrassment didn't last long after a few giggles came
from the audience.
As you face right, remember to keep as tight as
possible. The important areas to focus on are triceps, quads, abs, and
chest. Next the head judge calls out, "Face rear". Again, keeping as tight
as possible. Facing to the rear provides the opportunity to display a well
sculpted back, striated glutes, tight hamstrings and calves. A trick that
you may find useful for bringing out the hamstrings and calves is to
slightly shift more weight to your toes. This seems to naturally tighten
these areas. "Quarter-turn to the right", exclaims the head judge. Again,
Finally, "Face front", is instructed. While facing front, I
cannot emphasize enough how important it is to tighten and flex as much as
possible. Once the judges have completed their assessment of the line-up,
they excuse the class and we all exit the stage. Finally, after what seemed
to be an eternity we have been excused. I am overjoyed! The hardest part of
the day is done. After prejudging, I decide to eat another meal and take a
nap. In previous shows, I have elected to run out and grab a high carb,
high fat...meal like pizza or hamburgers but today I decide to wait until
after the evening show! Can you believe that? I must be losing my mind.
Anyway, it's only 2:30 and the evening show starts at 7 p.m....ZZZZZZZZ....
At this competition, the evening event primarily consisted of each
competitor performing his or her free posing routine to music. This offered
a chance to show off all your hard work to the audience and have FUN! I
especially like this part of any show (now that I have overcome my stage
freight) and I always select a song that has some meaning for me. It's also
more relaxing since you are not confined to doing mandatory poses. During
the free pose it is important to emphasize you strengths. You are typically
given 60 seconds during this round of judging.
As the audience began to
file into to the event arena, I began to feel more and more anxious. The
sheer numbers I saw was amazing. So many people interested in the "Art of
Bodybuilding". Finally the announcement was made over the loud speaker that
the evening show was about to begin. Class after class, competitor after
competitor was introduced by the Master of Ceremonies (MC). Each walked to
center stage and performed a free pose routine to music. If you've ever
attended a bodybuilding show you will know what I mean when I say,
Many of the routines you see are the result of hours of
practice and can only be truly appreciated if you've ever had to perform
one. When it's my turn, I will execute all 8 mandatory poses in an order
that I feel most comfortable (Front double-bicep, Front lat-spread, Side
chest (best side), Side tricep (best side), Rear Double-bicep, Rear
lat-spread, Ab and thigh, and Most muscular. As I complete my mandatory
poses, I bow to the judges and wave to family and friends and exit the
stage. Whewwww! At one time, the individual free pose was the most
difficult part for me. I had always had a fear of standing in front of
large groups of people. Imagine how I felt when I would stand, in posing
trunks, all alone, and executing something so detailed as posing! Needless
to say, I have all but overcome that fear! As with all the other weight
classes, after all competitors in my eight class completed their free posing
routines, the MC is handed a score sheet by the judging panel.
calls out to the stage the top five placers, in no particular order, in that
class to center stage. Now the real excitement begins! After a brief pause,
he begins to announce the final placers...In fifth
place...number...56...Allen.... As each number and name is called, the
competitor is handed a trophy. This continues until the last two competitors
remain. I am one of those two. At this point I feel as though I'm in a
dream and begin to realize that the next number he calls will be the second
place winner meaning the only one not called is the class winner! I say in
my head, "Please don't call number 90...". I'm 90 is why. As the MC begins
to read, "And in second place, number 93...", I desperately resist the urge
to leap from the stage as I am overwhelmed with gratitude. The MC continues
to announce...and the 2001 NPC Northern Kentucky Bodybuilding Middleweight
class champion is, number 90 Delbert Hickman!". Yes!!...Yes! I won!
jubilation settles, I remind myself that I will need to get mentally
prepared for the overall. The overall event is the last event and its
purpose is to compare all class winners in order to determine the overall
champion. Being a Middleweight, I have two more classes to wait through
(Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight) prior to hitting the stage for the
overall! My first order of business is to head backstage and try to relax
and stay warm. After heading backstage, I grab my exercise bands and start
to slowly warm-up. Between warming body parts, I take small bites from the
Snickers bar I brought and sip on a hot cup of coffee (with cream and
sugar!). I hear the crowd cheer as the Light Heavyweight class winner is
Now, I begin to intensify my "pump-up". I head to the free
weight area and begin to do light, high-rep sets with the straight bar and
dumb-bells. Still eating the Snickers and sipping the coffee! Finally, I
hear the Heavyweight class winner announced. As I do, I drop to the floor
and grab a quick set of close-grip push-ups. I'm ready! The expeditor
calls for all the class winners and lines us up. Other valiant competitors
offer support as we line-up. We are then lead to the stage in class order,
Bantamweight, Lightweight, Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, and Heavyweight.
Not much time to think! The MC introduces us and we head to center stage.
Staying as tight as possible, I walk out, position myself in view of the
judges and stand as erect and big as I can. The head judge calls for us to
perform facing movements. As I perform each movement, I concentrate on
every muscle fiber.
After completing the facing movements, we are then
directed to perform each mandatory pose for comparison. Side by side, we
all attempt to execute, with utter perfection, our mandatory poses. Each
flexing as much as possible in order to gain the attention of the judges.
Now the MC announces that the pose-down will begin and directs the music
controller to start the pose-down music. This is where it really gets
exciting for the audience! As the music begins, each competitor is free to
pose as they wish. My first thought is to find the best lighting on stage.
Next, I will try to accentuate my strengths against my competition's
weaknesses (Sound familiar?).
Over and over and over we pose and pose and
pose. As we do, we jockey for attention from the judges! The crowd is on
its feet and yelling the number of its favorite competitor. Finally, the
music stops and we squeeze out one more pose and get back in line. As we do
the MC queries the crowd for who they think the winner is! He then requests
the scoring sheet from the judging panel and begins to announce, "The 2001
NPC Northern Kentucky Bodybuilding Overall Champion
is...number...102...Chris Meyers"! The crowd cheers with acceptance!
Congratulations Chris! (sorry if the number was incorrect). We all
congratulate each other and exit the stage. Although, I didn't win the
overall title, I was extremely pleased with the event. For one, I was
healthy and fit enough to be there. For two, the sponsors, judges, and
audience were great! For three, I enjoyed the positive competitive spirit
that each participant brought to the show. For four, "I'll be BACH!" (BACK!)
After the event and every event I participate in, I feel a bit down.
Not because of a bad performance or regrets, however, a feeling that
I trained so hard for weeks, I dieted so diligently for weeks and now it's
over. That will last for all of about 10 seconds. Then I'm re-charged! I
remind myself that I am still in the "game" and need to prepare for my next
event. I'm then even more energized because I know that tonight I can have
a "free" meal! This means my favorite of all favorite foods, PIZZZZZAAAAA!
Before I leave, I take every opportunity to congratulate all the competitors
that remain. Next, I head to the judge table and ask for a critique from
the head judge. This is the most important thing that any competitor should
attempt to do before leaving. It WILL help you improve for the next event.
I cannot stress how important it is enough!
Well, everyone that's it! Twelve weeks ago, I started down the road to this
contest. I began to write about my journey at eight weeks to "Show-Time".
Now, after all the sacrifice, I came into my first show very much improved
from one year ago. It's attributed to all the critiques and advice from the
judges, Roger, Sandy, and staff at Beverly International, and my own
personal commitment to myself. Thank you all for the great things you
provided. In my next article, I'll address what I call "Important
Competition Factors". These are the factors that I believe in my mind are
necessary in order to be one step ahead of the competition. Stay tuned and
again, thanks for reading!
"Courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined...."
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