Guess what? It's time for my contest synopsis. I know everyone's been waiting to read this and I won't keep anyone waiting much longer. Ok....maybe I'm going a bit overboard but at any rate, here it is in full form.
Friday went smoothly up until weigh-ins and drug testing. I passed my drug test, needless to say, and I picked up my forms and things like that. I then headed to try something different. I decided to jump in the sauna for a few minutes. This wasn't the wisest move I've done before a show. I was already fairly dehydrated and all the sauna did was pull more water out of my body. This caused me to become dizzy and weak. So to make up for this, I decided to drink a gallon of water with lemon juice in it. Yes, I know this may be different but lemon juice is a natural diuretic and I rehydrated my system. My plan was for the lemon juice to help trick my body into excreting the excess water and hydrating my body just enough.. I felt full after drinking most of this water. So I had my last meal of the night which consisted of a 10 oz steak with potatoes. (a bit of a ritual before a show) Then I headed home to rest and do the usual prep-H routine. I sleep for 5 hours.
Saturday morning rolls and I wake up and cook myself an extremely light breakfast consisting of a 4 oz steak and NO water. I felt nice and dehydrated. I just hung out a bit and then proceeded to the contestant's meeting which was held at 9:00. I walk in there and look around to see other competitors with sunken in cheeks and dark tans. You immediately start playing mind games with yourself. "I wonder what he looks like." "I wonder how I'll do." As the meeting progresses, you begin to get more nervous as the time for prejudging nears. Finally, the head judge informs us of the order of events and that we can proceed to the pump up room.
We all file back and begin our preparation for the moment of truth. About an hour before stage time, I sip about half a cup of red wine. This helps to dehydrate you even more. About 30 min. before stage time, I chew 1500 mg of Niacin to flush my body and to help attain a better pump. I believe this works to a certain degree. Probably no more or no less than the "Hot Stuff" that floats around at shows. I personally don't like that Hot Stuff because it burns my eyes more than anything. So I keep it relatively simple.
It's amazing how a long and arduous diet can all boil down to about 10 minutes or so of prejudging. My class is up first. "Men's Open Short Class, you now have 10 minutes," calls one guy. I begin applying layer after layer of dream tan. I try to pump up my body parts in a specific order so that I can look my best onstage. I always proceed in this order: back, chest, shoulders, hamstrings, and quads. I feel no need to pump up my arms because they get ancillary work in the other exercises. You don't want that engorged feeling you get from working out. Rather, you want just enough of a pump to help bring out vascularity.
"Five minutes!", shouts the man. We begin to order ourselves in ascending numerical order. We give each other the usual best of luck and file onstage. The lights are hot and you begin to feel nervous. But wait a second, you've done this before. So you have no need to be nervous. Then again, you do because you know you're not at your best or at least I wasn't.
The head judge calls out quarter turns. We all shift to the right by 90 degrees while attempting to keep everything tight as possible. Quarter turn after quarter turn and the same story until finally the head judge calls out "front double bicep." I tense my legs first and hold it. Then I raise my arms and BOOM, I hit my shot. I feel confident because of my size on stage. Then the judge calls out "front lat spread." Once again, I tense my legs, put my thumbs into my waist and spread my lats as if I'm wanting to fly. The head judge then calls out "best side chest." I hit my shot without even thinking because this is one pose I've done ever since I've been introduced to bodybuilding. It's almost natural to me. "Face the rear," says the judge. We all spin around. "Rear double bicep." I flex one calf, tighten my hamstring, and scrunch my back together before flaring my back to hit the shot. I always work my way from legs to upper body because it's easier for me that way.
By now, I am breathing hard and am ready for a break. But NO, we're not done yet! I'm almost there...just a few more minutes. "Rear lat spread," calls the judge. We all hit our shots and hold them. I hear the competitors next to me gasping for air as am I. Regardless, we're staying as tight as possible. We didn't work this hard just to let a little fatigue keep us from our rightful placings. "Relax and face the front." We comply. "Best most muscular," says the judge. We hit our shots. The head judge then moves us around and has us hit a few more poses. My Dream Tan is running all over my body yet I remain tight. Sweat is dripping into my eyes but I pay no attention. All I can think about is staying as tight as I can.
"Thank you gentlemen, this was a tough class," says the head judge. We all file off with an applause from the audience. We go back stage and thank the Lord it's over...for now. We all head back and just talk about what we want to eat and drink when this is all over. I believe this is a lot more camaraderie amongst natural bodybuilders as opposed to the non-tested shows. We take it seriously but we know we're on the same playing field. I also believe the competition is closer without the use of anabolics. At any rate, these are my beliefs and other people may have different views. We are all entitled to what we believe.
I spend a few hours just fiddling around the local mall eating some junk food here and there. The time between the prejudging and the night show is long.....longer than it seems. Perhaps it's your mind telling you that it's sick of doing this and just wants it to be over. Perhaps I'm wrong.
6:30 rolls around and we're all gathered back at the Civic Center. All of the contestants are mingling while we wait for them to allow us back into the complex. The time comes and people begin to flood the complex. Before you know it, the seats are crawling with viewers. Just the thought of this always pumps me up. I get my second wind and my desire to compete once again.
I sit and wait for my turn to do my thing on stage. I wait and I watch. Competitor after competitor. As my time nears, I begin to go through the entire pump up routine once again. The red wine and Niacin are consumed with respective to my estimated stage appearance. I pump up vigorously this time. The competitor before me goes on stage, does his routine which I thought was lacking and then walks offstage. I give him High-Five and then walk out on stage.
"Representing Bodybuilding.com, 22 years of age, Phano Paul Som," says the announcer. The music starts and I do my thing. I hit my poses and hold them so the audience can see how hard I've worked. From one pose to another is a smooth transition. The crowd is held spellbound by my routine. I finish off by trying to get the crowd worked up even more and playing to them much like Mike Matarazzo does.
I walk offstage knowing that I enjoyed myself regardless of my finish. When they call my name out for 4th place, I could argue that I could have finished a close 3rd. But considering the amount of time I put into this diet, I suppose 4th will have to do... for now. Instead of letting a 4th place finish deter me from any upcoming shows, I am using it as added impetus for 2 upcoming shows in July. The Mr. GA and the Southern SNBF, where I will be defending my title.
This is it folks. I will be doing a 13 week diet and try to keep it as strictly as possible for once in my life. I'm hoping to better my condition that I produced at Nationals and walk away as the reigning Mr. SNBF champion. Only then will I be happy with my accomplishments to date. Stay focused and train hard!