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Contest Day!

If you've ever wondered what happens on the day of a bodybuilding contest for a competing bodybuilder, then listen up. It is really one of the longest days you'll go through, that is, if you dieted right and conditioned yourself correctly.

If you've ever wondered what happens on the day of a bodybuilding contest for a competing bodybuilder, then listen up. It is really one of the longest days you'll go through, that is, if you dieted right and conditioned yourself correctly. The contest that I was in this past September (2001) was my first contest in which I competed, and at that time, I had only been to one other contest. Phano had guided me through what was going to happen, so I kind of had an idea of what to expect. However, talking about it is one thing, the whole experience is another! I can't say that I woke up and began my morning like all the others because I never fell asleep. I decided to get moving at around six in the morning or so. Before that I had just been watching television on the couch and drooling over what was on The Food Network (you find yourself watching food shows during precontest dieting, if you're like me, you'll spend about 4 to 5 hours a day doing so). I fixed and ate breakfast and took some vitamins. I had already packed all the stuff that I needed the night before, and packed it in the car so that I wouldn't waste any energy or stress out about what I needed to bring. After getting dressed in clothes that hid my body well, I went up to the civic center where prejudging was held. The doors opened and all the competitors went in for a briefing on how prejudging was going to run. One of the judges got up on stage, took roll and proceeded to tell us the rules, proper poses, and order in which the classes were going to be called out.

We all turned in our tapes with the music for our routines and headed back to the dressing room. My training partner was running a little late which wasn't a big deal, but he needed to be there in order to help me get ready. The fitness chicks went first and then the novice class. Phano finally showed up, and that's when I started putting on the Dream Tan. We were rushed, so by the time I got done applying this stuff, it was time to get on stage. I jogged in order to get in line with my class when someone told me that I had forgotten my number that goes on my posing trunks. Now, I was sprinting back to the dressing room and back to get in line. Of course by the time we were supposed to go on stage, I was already out of breath and my mouth was now dry as a bone, which made for some very attractive facial expressions for the cameras. So, the lesson to learn here is; get started with preparations on time and don't forget your damn number in the dressing room.

The biggest fear of prejudging to me was the duration of time that the judges were going to have us up on stage. We went through the quarter turns, and then through some basic poses, nothing really difficult. The judges shuffled us around a bit and then ran us through some more poses. We were done pretty quickly, but I couldn't go far because I was also competing in the open class. Ten minutes later, it was time to get back on stage. Thankfully, most of the competitors from my novice class was also in the open class, so we were only up on stage long enough for the crowd to take some pictures. The rest of the competitors got up on stage, and within an hour and a half, prejudging was over.

Fortunately for me, I lived close to the civic center, so I just went home right after prejudging, made a meal, and laid in my bed. I had the intention of sleeping for a couple of hours. Yeah right. You are so excited thinking about the night show, and your routine, and all the cheering at prejudging that sleeping is now out of the question. So what do you do for eight hours. Well, I tried to take it as easy as possible. I watched TV, and when I got sick of that, I just listened to some cds. Fixing meals and eating meals throughout the day helped pass time, but by that point, half an hour seems like an eternity. You can't really keep your attention on anything, and nothing really sounds very appealing, and everything is annoying. You're tired as hell, but you can't sleep. By the way, if you think you're short tempered now, just wait because you have no idea.

I was so ready to do the evening show that I came back to the civic center an hour early hoping that it would be open. It wasn't, so I had to sit outside until the doors opened. Finally, it was time to go in and get ready again. I sat backstage and talked with some of the competitors. I'm not all about playing mind games at that point, or trying to pick someone's brain. A word of advice, if you find yourself asking others about tips for precontest preparation/training, I think that shows that you are not too confident in your strategy of preparedness. This is the time when your nerves are really going because you can hear everyone coming in to watch, your mouth at this point is totally dry, you're nervous as hell, and you're very pumped up about performing and hearing what place you earned.

So now it's showtime. All the fitness girls are dressed up ready to perform, looking good as ever. The bodybuilding competitors are all exercising trying to get a pump before going out. At my contest, they got every competitor to stand behind a curtain, said a prayer, and lifted the curtain and everyone started posing for the crowd. That was a lot of fun because you are actually fighting your way to the front, pushing everyone else aside. Then, we're all called back and go out in groups, and then come back to get ready to do some routines.

Time for your routine, your big moment, you and the crowd. "Whatever you do, don't trip and fall off the stage," is what I kept telling myself. If you practice everything will go smoothly. After your class done, you'll get called back out with the class and the winners will be announced. That's the best part because right after, you're gone. Time to eat like a champ. I went to Stake-n-Shake and ate about 5,000 calories and drank two gallons of water. I definitely made up for the loss of sleep, waking up only to eat and for an occasional shower!