I then went outside and greeted fellow Bodybuilding.com writers Anthony Church and Jay Cholewa (Big Red), along with fellow message board members Pete (Petefox) Camillo, Tony Baldwin, and Vince LoGiudice. That's right, they came from, Rhode Island, Boston, Maryland, and Ohio to stay at my house for the weekend and watch me compete. After they got settled in the first order of business was to watch my copy of Pumping Iron, then it was dinner time.
They had pork tenderloin and potatoes while I continued to munch on low sodium chicken breasts. At 9 p.m. I went to take my polygraph test which I passed. I then came home and talked with the guys a bit before they went out on a food run. Pete stayed behind however and we talked for awhile and discussed pre-contest dieting and training strategies.
I must say it was very refreshing to hold a conversation with people that had a similar or greater amount of knowledge about the sport of bodybuilding and that weren't completely ignorant. At 11 o'clock I did one final run through of my posing routine and went to bed totally focused on the task that awaited me the next day.
I awoke at 4 a.m. to start consuming my carbs and potassium. I ate a bowl of raisons, popped some potassium pills and went back to sleep. I awoke again at 6 and repeated the previous meal. At 8 o'clock I awoke for good and once again ate more raisons with a few bites of a protein bar. Jay, Pete, and Tony were awake at this time so I fixed them all some scrambled eggs for breakfast while I continued to munch on my raisons.
And I'm Off
After breakfast I began packing my bag with all my goodies (dream tan, pam spray, hot stuff, etc) Tony, Pete and I then left for the Henderson community college theatre (location of contest) for the competitors meeting. When I arrived I was stunned to find out several of my competitors actually new of me and had read my articles this made me feel pretty good!
I also met fellow Bodybuilding.com writer John Gray who was there to compete in the men's open. I found John to be a very nice guy and he was in great condition. The competitors meeting was at 10:30 and it was quite long and ended at 11:30 leaving everyone only about 20 minutes to put on their bronzer and whatever else they had to do to get ready.
I was very lucky to have Pete and Tony there to help me get ready. As the other competitors started taking their clothes off I started getting very anxious and felt like I was way outclassed. I am glad that Pete and Tony were there to reassure me constantly and keep me from freaking out. I continued my carb load, this time by consuming a pan pizza (to fill me out and bring out my vascularity) at 10 o'clock.
The competitors meeting was at 10:30 and it was quite long and ended at 11:30 leaving everyone only about 20 minutes to put on their bronzer and whatever else they had to do to get ready. I was very lucky to have Pete and Tony there to help me get ready. I was competing in two classes on this day the Men's Novice tall and the Mr. Evansville class.
As our class stepped onstage you could almost hear the audience gasp, no one could believe this was a novice class. I heard one of the judges say you all are in such great shape, this isn't going to be much fun for us judges.
Our class was a very tight race for the 2-4 spots, however one competitor was much more conditioned than all of us and it began to show as the competition progressed. He had a huge split between his upper and lower pectorals, very prominent lower pectoral striations, deep separation and striations on his inner and outer quads and very well separated hamstrings.
Many people said that he could have placed highly in the men's open division and several of the judges said he was not far off from getting his own pro card. I did not let this intimidate me and I posed like I wanted to win and I was very aggressive.
I Am In The Middle
We were out onstage quite a while which led me to believe that the judges were having a hard time making up their mind. After they finally let us go I went backstage and ate a few oatmeal cookies and then began to pump back up for the Mr. Evansville division.
About 20 minutes later it was time for the Mr. Evansville division to go back out. This class was not as competitive as the men's novice class. The number one spot was between myself and another competitor who was also in the men's novice class.
We were not out onstage long as the judges had probably already made their decision about this class earlier since we were both in the men's novice heavy class together. After we left the stage I went out to watch the men's open class compete...what an unbelievable bunch of freaks. I could not believe these guys were natural.
One particular gentleman had striations in his hamstrings, that was quite possibly the freakiest thing I had ever seen but it was very cool. Their class was onstage for at least half an hour. There were at least three or four guys onstage that could easily be WNBF pros, they just all happened to show up at the same contest...what a treat for the fans.
One of the judges even said this is the best lineup of amateur natural bodybuilders I have ever seen. Another said these guys have muscles in places most people don't even have places! It was very cool to watch.
After the men's open class left the stage it was break time. It was 2 o'clock and finals were not until 7 o'clock. The guys and I stayed around to attend a seminar the WNBF pros Dr. Joe Klemczewski, Dori Frame, and WNBF world champion Dave Goodin put on. It was extremely informative and I must say these three athletes truly know what they are talking about and I wish I knew half of what they have forgotten about diet and training.
After the seminar was over the guys and I went out for pizza but I didn't have any as I didn't want to spillover at finals later that night. I just kept munching on raisons. We then went back to my house and watched a couple of bodybuilding movies for a few hours and then it was time to go back to finals.
Pete, Tony, and I arrived early to apply another coat of dream tan to me. Then I started going over my routine a few more times in my head before it was actually time to go out onstage. The first competitors to do their routines were the men's novice lightweights. After they were finished it was our turn. My routine went very well.
I did it to Metallic Hero of the Day and Anthony Church later told me he thought my routine was the best routine of the night. After all the novice heavyweights had finished their routine's they brought us out for a pose down and then presented us with our trophies.
They announced me in fourth place. That was quite possibly the toughest pill I ever had to swallow. I was torn up inside and felt like breaking something but I kept it to myself and kept smiling and waved to the audience as I accepted my trophy.
And The Winner Is...
As I walked backstage my mind was racing. This wasn't supposed to happen...I dieted for 14 weeks, I didn't cheat, not once, this isn't right. Words like failure and loser kept echoing in my head. I didn't really even bother to pump up for the Mr. Evansville division pose down. They announced me in 2nd place in that division but it was little consolation. All I could think about was my fourth place finish.
I stayed to watch the rest of the contest which was very entertaining. WNBF's pros Dave Goodin and Dori Frame put on excellent guest posing routines. And it was fun to watch. But my mind wasn't on that...it was still stuck on my 4th place finish.
After the contest Tony, Pete, Jay, Vin, Anthony, my family and I met up with Brad (another member from the Bodybuilding.com message boards to have some pizza at my favorite pizza place.
I think they could tell I was somewhat down about my placing and they reassured me saying your only 20 all those guys were years older than you, when you get to that age you'll be awesome. It didn't make me feel much better as I never make excuses for myself and I consider age as an excuse. The pizza made me feel better however. We went back to my house and the guys and myself stayed up late and just chit chatted about random things until we all fell asleep.
The next morning my family and I said goodbye to the Bodybuilding.com crew. I'll miss those guys, they were great to hang out with and all of them are great guys and welcome in my house anytime. After they left I remembered that I still had one contest left to do in Tennessee the next week and I had to start depletion week all over.
I was so depressed about my placing that I didn't even feel like dieting or competing the next week, I just wanted to dig a hole and crawl in it. I moped around for the next couple of days and was down on myself, until... Pete sent me the pictures for the contest and I realized how close the contest actually was. I didn't get beat by that much.
Looking at the pictures I realized that I had improved quite a bit from last year and that if the competition level of the show would have been the same this year as it had been last year I would have definitely won. This snapped me out of my feeling sorry for myself funk. I became totally focused on a new goal... kicking ass at the SNBF Tennessee supernatural championships.
Those results are coming in my next article.
As always, if you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org