This is the story of me, and my first bodybuilding competition. No, I am not a famous professional bodybuilder or a professional athlete, but am simply a man with goals and dreams just like you. I am writing this article for you and your benefit. You see, you and I both know how scary it can be to compete in your first competition. There are a lot of things they never tell you. What goes on behind the stage? Where do I start? Is my posing routine going to work? What about my posing oil? Am I wearing too much? What in the world am I doing here posing in my underwear in front of 300 people? These are just a few of the questions I had as I entered my first competition. This article will begin from day one, the day I decided to compete, then I will tell of the important experiences I had as described as day two, three, etc. and end a couple of weeks after the competition. Sit back and enjoy the reading. If you are like I was, you have a lot to learn!
Day one ... the day I decided to compete.
It was the latter part of December and I was home from school on Christmas vacation. I had been lifting off and on while in school so I could stay in shape for baseball, so my muscles weren't too small. Naturally, I wanted to continue lifting at home so I contacted my weightlifting partner Ryan Deluca. He and his wife Bryna were more than willing to take me to Gold's and workout. We had a great workout. Afterward we went to Bodybuilding.com Nutrition Store (a sports nutrition store in the area) to pick up some protein drinks. I don't know how the conversation got started but it seemed as though out of the blue, Ryan asked me if I was going to compete in the Idaho. Not really knowing what I was getting myself into, I said yes and thought nothing of it.
Day two ... did I really say I was going to compete?
I couldn't believe it, I had actually committed to compete in July for Mr. Idaho. News traveled fast. This was a good thing and a bad thing. The good part is that I would absolutely have to compete now, or make myself a liar. The bad part was there was no turning back. So the next step I took was to enroll in an aerobics class in school. I also enrolled in a lifeguarding class because I knew it would keep me in shape aerobically.
Day three ... oops I told more people I was going to compete.
It seems as though when you arrive home from college, people ask you two questions ... how are you doing in school? and what have you been up to? I answered them all the same. School is good, baseball is going good and ... I'm training for Mr. Idaho. You can imagine some of the funny looks I recieved.
Day Four ... what about my diet?
This seemed to be the question of the day. I really had no idea what to do. I knew one thing for sure. I was small, and had too much fat around my belly! So, I decided I would cut out as much fat as possible and add as much protein as possible. Yes I did continue to eat pizza and other college foods. Ramen noodles was the most popular. However, I did start buying more chicken breast and turkey and hamburger meat. Vegetables also became important to me. At seven months out, I wasn't too concerned about my diet. I did feel the importance of bulking up and would do everything in my power to do so.
Day five ... what about the supplements?
This was a pressing question. I had no idea what to take. I listened to all the commentary, and did some research. We all know there are millions of supplements to choose from. I was somewhat familiar with some products because I had taken ZMA and thermoblast. Also I had taken creatine and gk glutamine as well as many weight gainers. I decided to continue taking all of these with an emphasis on weight gainers. I used Prolab NLarge2 and a Champion weight gainer. I also used Lean Gainer and Ultimate weight gainer. They all were good, but ultimately, I think the NLarge 2 worked the best. I also used some Optimum stuff.
Day six ... what workout plan will I use?
I decided that the good old 3-day per week routine would work best. The important thing to me was the aerobics. I made a committment to swim more than 100 laps per week, as well as doing aerobics and riding the exercise bike.
Ok, so I took you through six days of my thinking. Let me tell you how it all worked out.
I got to school and immediately put my plan into action. I continued to workout three days per week for a couple of weeks. Did I ever miss a workout? I'll let you answer that. Of course I did. I went crazy on the aerobics. There were some days I would go ride the bike for 30 minutes in the morning, then I would go lifting in the afternoon, then I would go swimming in the evening. Other days, I wouldn't even lift! It was crazy. The advantage I had was that I had a lifeguarding class, so I had to look good in a swimsuit. This pattern of sporatic lifting and aerobics continued for about 2 months. I discovered a helpful tool for my abs. It was an ab wheel that was home made.
So, where'd you get the tan?
The first time I went to the tanning bed I knew I was going to compete. So, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go tanning, so I said yes. I went to the salon and the lady behind the counter asked me if I had ever been before. Me in my macho self said "well I am a bodybuilder." So, she proceeded to program the bed for 20 minutes. I didn't tell her that I had never been before. Big mistake! That night I looked at myself in the mirror, and saw no redness or tan or anything, so I went to sleep and thought nothing about it. Well, the next morning, I was sore. Being sore was not the worst part. Later that day in lifeguarding class, I looked ridiculous! Then that night, I had a water polo game. The red lobster look wasn't impressing any of the girls. To make a long story short, I learned my lesson and worked up to the 20-minute session. I usually went about once per week. Then twice per week. People started to notice how dark I was getting, so be prepared to answer questions.
Now I will skip down to the pre-contest diet portion of my preparation. I decided to change my diet about 12 weeks out. It seemed as though it was a big rollercoaster ride. I went to the store and got all my food. That was when the fun began ... All of a sudden, there were pizza parties and barbeques, girls making cookies, and everything else. It was tough to resist. I did allow myself to eat Taco Bell for a treat. I did a basic pre-contest diet. I cut out all carbohydrates and took in a ton of protein. People literally thought I was crazy! To make things even more interesting, I was right in the middle of baseball season. To explain the diet a little, it causes fatigue of both mind and body. To fight the fatigue, I started using Hydroxycut and pyruvate. I also took a multivitamin/mineral. Final exams were a real challenge. One thing I did was go to an all-you-can-eat salad bar and pigged out! Doing this kept my body from completely shutting down. There were always times that I would "splurge" a little. I always looked forward to the cool refreshing protein drink I would have after each workout.
It seemed as though everything was going good. I made some good friends at the tanning salon, I was starting to look good, and the diet was starting to get a little bit easier. My last day of school, my roommate ordered a ton of pizza. I tried not to eat. In fact, I resisted it for about 20 minutes. Then, I gave in. I ate a ton! But, I vowed never to do it again. The next challenge would be going back home to my dad's home cooking. More than that was our tradition of going to super buffets. I had to explain to him and everyone else around about what I was doing and that I needed their help. It was hard to resist my dad's cooking. Even more difficult was teaching everyone how to shop for me. They never seemed to buy the right foods, so I opted to go shopping with dad everytime, until he learned my diet. I was fortunate enough to hook up with my weightlifting partner's wife who was also competing in the same competition as me. She proved to be a great support and help for me. When you prepare for a competition, it is easy to feel all alone. Bryna and Ryan helped me feel support, and kept me going at times when I was ready to throw in the towel. Thank you Ryan and Bryna. Also, I was fortunate enough to be sponsored by Bodybuilding.com. I will always remember my visits to the warehouse and the support they all gave me.
At about eight weeks out, my best friend came to visit me. We went to Pizza Hut and ate a lot. As a result, I decided to exercise extra hard that day. For my aerobics, I would run up and down a 300-foot hill for about 30 minutes per day. This was not an easy task. There were some nights that I would have to refuse to go out with my friends because I had to get my aerobics in. Definitely be prepared to sacrifice part of your social life if you plan to compete. Lifting at the gym became more and more of a struggle. Instead of my weights going up like they had been, I watched them go slowly down. My energy was completely gone. There were some days I didn't even want to get out of bed. Lucky for me, I found a job that required no real effort, and didn't keep me long hours. It was about this time that I decided to start using Xenadrine EFX.
Four weeks out ...
People are now asking me for advice on their diets and workout plans. I will always remember the day I was running and an older man coming up the hill yelled out at me "whatever you're doing, it's working ... keep it up." It was the little things like that which kept me going. On one other occasion, I was invited to a pool party, and for once in my life, I was actually excited to take my shirt off. There were a few girls there, and boy, they were staring at me. So were the guys. Later on while we were all relaxing in the hot tub, one of the guys asked me what he would have to do to look exactly like me. Humbly, yet with confidence, I told him everything I knew. It seemed as though everyone wanted to see or feel my muscles. It was real fun to see my friends, and hear their comments and see their gestures. Being big promotes self confidence and I think, a little of self-consciousness in other people. In other words, it causes others to take a look at themselves in comparison to you.
Only four weeks to go and these love handles are still here. What am I going to do? I really hope my 6-pack shows up. I do not want to look like an idiot! It seemed as though all was lost. I was almost ready to give up. Kind of funny, but I envisioned myself breaking an arm or leg or getting real sick so I would have a good excuse not to compete. The pressure was getting to me. Lucky for me, and I thank God for this, I met up with an old bodybuilding hero of mine while I was working. I was walking around my place of work and I passed by him. I took a double look and decided he looked familiar. So, I decided to go talk to him. It turned out that it was Mitchell Hodge, a bodybuilder and former Mr. Idaho. We talked for a while and it turned out that he had seen me earlier and thought to himself "that guy is in great shape." To condense the story a little, he was excited for me to compete, and promised to train me. He also gave me some valuable tips. This was a breath of fresh air. I was once again ready to compete.
Mitch told me something I will never forget. You see, up until this time I had been receiving advice from everyone, and I was following it. To be honest I was sick and tired of all the advice. Mitch simply said "Rendell, do what your heart tells you." So, I did. My heart had been telling me all along to be running two times per day. Others told me I would hurt myself doing this, but I knew what I had to do. So from then on, I ran two, even three times per day all for a 30-60 minute duration. I always took Sundays off as a day of rest and rejuvenation. Sure there were times I missed a day, or a workout. I even substituted biking for running a lot of times, but it all worked out nicely. It was about this time that I was introduced to Grotropin and Proxylon. These supplements totally gave me the edge. I felt myself getting larger and more cut. Also at this time, I decided to give up the creatine and I ran out of GK Glutamine. I was still taking Z-Mass PM. At this point in time, I believe a multivitamin/mineral is the most important supplement to take. I also was taking garlic pills twice per day (that's one of my secrets).
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The final few weeks ... and competition day!