It is finally here. The day of the contest, 20 weeks of training, dieting, and sacrifice has all led up to this one day. I wake up of 5:00 AM. First thing I do is check the mirror. Only a smile comes to my face as I see that I have nailed my conditioning and will be perfectly peaked for the stage. I then, eat my first meal which is 8 oz of Top Round Steak a half a sweet potato and 4 oz of water.
At this point my body has been without water for about 16 hours so the 4 oz will be utilized for body function and not be retained subcutaneously (under the skin). After my meal it is back to the shower where my father will put on my last coat of contest color then he will put on my first coat of Dream Tan Formula #2.
After all the tanning process is over it is time to double check all of my contest stuff that I will be bringing for the day. I check and then have my father check. It is always good to have two people go through this process so that you do not leave anything behind.
For the contest I will be using blue posing trunks but you need to wear clothes over them. Opt for lose fitting sweat pants and over sized long sleeve shirts. This way you don't mess up your contest color and also it helps hide your physique from the other competitors, which I will go into later.
Check in for the bodybuilder at the contest is between 8:00-9:00 AM. So I have to leave my house at around 7:00 AM. It takes a little less than an hour to get there. You always want to be early to check in. You never want to hold up the promoter.
When I arrive at the venue the first thing I do is have a second meal. This meal is 4 oz of top round steak and 2 hard boiled eggs. My muscles are very full, which tells me carbs are not needed, the protein and fat from the steak and eggs will continue to dry me out.
After eating I go into the auditorium and check in. I have to be weighed to see which divisions I will fall into. My weight comes to 179. That is 36 lbs down from when I started my contest prep. At that weight I will be in the lightweight novice and open light-heavyweight men's divisions. There is no weight break off for the juniors so that doesn't matter. So the category break down for me was:
- Juniors: Ages 20-24, I was 20 at the time so I was the youngest in the entire class.
- Lightweight Novice: 179 and below. I weighed in at 179 so I was going to be the heaviest in this class.
- Open Light-Heavyweight Men's: 189 and below. At 179 this would put in the middle of the pack weight wise in this division.
After we check in the competitors sit in the auditorium and have a meeting with the promoter. If you have never competed before you have not experienced the type of stares you get walking by all the other competitors.
As I stated before all the competitors are wearing bulky clothes so they are not showing off anything to each other. All you can do is imagine what each competitor looks like under all that clothing. Let the mind games begin. The promoter goes over how the contest will run and goes over the competitor listing and divisions. Once the meeting is over, IT'S SHOW TIME.
The morning show is referred to as Pre-Judging. This is where all the scoring is done. The afternoon/evening judging is in the early to late evening and is referred to as the night show and is more for the audience. The winners of the classes are already picked. Minus the overalls the show is won or lost in the morning, so you better be ready to do battle in the pre-judging.
The Final Prep
Now that the competitors meeting is over all the competitors go back stage and do their final preparation before we step on stage. The final prep before we step on stage for me consists of:
- Applying a light second coat of Dream Tan Formula #2.
- I have 1 hard boiled egg and half a sweet potato. The egg will help to keep me dry and the sweet potato will help keep a steady flow of glycogen in my muscles while I pose on stage.
- I then start to pump up with the rubber bands that I brought and small weights that the promoter provided. While I am pumping I sip the tightest bit of water. This singles the body to shuttle the water that I have into the working area which at this point are my muscles while I pump up. I make sure to get a small pump in my upper body and only flex my legs.
- I then have my father apply my posing oil. It is about time to step on stage. I take one final look in one of the mirrors back stage. I say to myself, "20 weeks have all come down to this. Hold Nothing Back!"
As we line up back stage to go on stage I am completely calm. I did all my homework and I am ready to show it off.
Finally they call out the Junior class. I walk out on stage and the rush of posing in front of all those people is incredible. The first thing that hits you is the heat of the lights. From that point on it felt natural hitting one pose after the next as I did so often in the locker room practicing for the last 20 weeks.
As we posed it was evident that I was going to do well, because they moved me to the middle of the stage quickly and I stayed there. It was a great feeling to know that my hard work was being rewarded. As quickly as we came we went. This class seemed to blow by even though we were on stage for 20 minutes! The rush was amazing.
After I got off stage I went to my bag of stuff and sipped a little water and had one teaspoon of Natural Peanut Butter. I was not even finished with the teaspoon full as they called out the Lightweight Novice Class. I ran into line and was back on stage. Now this class was a lot more competitive than the junior class.
I could see it was going to be a dog fight because the head judge was moving us all around on many of the different mandatory poses. I stayed mostly in the middle but knew that it would be close. The amount of posing practice that I did during my prep paid off.
I could feel some of the competitors struggling to hold their poses. I was struggling inside but I believe I did a great job not to show that to the judges. When it was all said in done all the competitors myself included were drenched in sweat as we walked off the stage. We were beat. We were on stage for a total of 35 minutes! A full 15 minutes more than my previous class.
I had about 20 minutes before going out for the Open Light-Heavyweight Men's Class. So I toweled off the sweat and tried my best to relax. At this point the stares from competitor to competitor back stage are gone and everyone seems to be buddies. I sipped a little water had another half of a sweet potato and then started to pump up very lightly again.
As we were called out on stage and I started to pose. I could feel that my muscles were not jumping like they were before. Though I flexed as hard as I could they were too fatigued from the previous classes to show the wow factor they had done earlier.
I believe the 20-minute layoff between this class and my previous class attributed to some of this also. Though I did feel I could not flex as well, I still was moved to the center of the stage for most of the judging which made me feel better about the whole deal.
This class was very competitive but the judges seemed to know how they were going to place each person because we were only out on stage for a little under 15 minutes.
At this point Pre-judging is over for me. I was extremely happy with how things had gone.
Out To Lunch
It is around 1:00 PM and I am going to go to lunch at a steak house and have a burger with some friends and family. We need to be back at the venue at around 4:00PM for the night show.
At lunch I order myself a burger with ketchup and mustard, no cheese. The bun will help supply my body with glycogen which has been depleted from posing in the pre-judging. The burger with ketchup and mustard with help with keeping me dry and also shuttle water into the muscles.
The one thing missing from the meal that would of made it perfect was a tall glass of water. Let me tell you, I have not had a burger like this in over 20 weeks and it was great but the glass of water that my father had right next to me looked so much more appealing.
Dr. David Ryan
At this point I needed to stay as dry as possible for the night show. I had a good feeling about the pre-judging and if I won my classes I would have to fight for the overall title so I wanted to look the best I could.
Back To The Venue
Once we were done with lunch we drove back to the venue and hung out until they had the night show meeting, where the promoter went over how the night show was run and also collected our music. The song I was going to pose to was "Rollin" from Limp Bizkit. It is a great pump-up song for your workouts and I loved posing to it.
After the meeting they had all the bodybuilders one by one do their posing routine in numerical order. I was competitor #92 so I was one of the last to go out. As it started to get closer to my number I have to say I did get nervous.
As I did in the morning, before stepping on stage for my posing routine I looked into one of the back stage mirrors checked myself out in a few poses and said to myself, "20 weeks have all come down to this. Hold Nothing Back!" The only difference was this time I added to the end of that phrase, "Lets have some fun."
I walked on stage and once I started posing the poses flowed naturally one to the next. I practiced this routine so many times that everything went off without a hitch. The rush you get from pumping up the crowd like I did during my routine makes those 20 weeks of contest prep all worth it.
After the routines were all finished all the classes came out one by one and did a mini posedown which was not scored. Judges already had the class winners from the pre-judging. The first class I came out with was the Junior class.
I was very confident that I would do well, but you never know. I really wanted to win this class. Though I was the youngest person in this class all the competitors were around my age.
The Results Are In
As they called out the numbers starting with 5th place down and down, I hoped not to hear my number. There were only 2 competitors left and I was one of them. As the Emcee called out the other competitor's number in second place, I raised my arms in joy, shook the other competitors hand and took my place in center stage with the first place trophy in front of me. We took our pictures and were sent back off stage.
The next class I came out with was the lightweight novice class. Again I felt very confident in this class, but not as confident as in the junior class. After we did our mini posedown and the emcee started to call off placing I found myself in a very similar situation. It was myself and only one other competitor left and again his number was called and not mine. Two for two, all the hard work was being rewarded. Because I won this class I was going to have to go in to a posedown with the heavyweight novice winner.
So after they called out the heavyweight novice winner I was back on stage for a scored round of mandatory poses and posedown. I was not going to let this guy beat me without a fight. I hit each and every pose like it was my last.
After the round was over we both exchanged hugs and let our fates placed in the judges hands. This time the emcee called out the winner and sure enough he called out my number and name. I have to say the emotion of this choked me up a bit. When you work this hard for something and it pays off so well it is one of the best feeling in the whole world. At that moment I had accomplished everything I set out to do 20 weeks prior.
The final class I was called out with was the open light-heavyweight men's. Again I was one the last two to be standing but this time my number was called, which meant I got 2nd. I was happy with that placing. This was a tough class and all the competitors were much older than I.
I was so proud of my other wins that getting second in that class did not bother me. The winner of that class went on to take the whole show. After talking with the judges they told me that behind him I was the next best competitor in the contest. That means a lot when you hear that and know at 20 years old you are one spot away from winning your pro card.
After stepping off stage I took some pictures with my family with all my awards. All I really wanted was some water and a diet mountain dew. I was a little dehydrated and I have been craving a diet mountain dew all day.
After that I went up to the judges and thanked each and everyone of them. I also asked them what they thought I should bring up for my next contest. Each of them said I needed to improve my chest and arm size to match my lower body mass. They said my condition was great but as always strive to come in harder.
Now it was time to EAT. I wanted to go out to my favorite sushi place but by the time we got there it would be closed so I ordered a large Pepperoni Pizza and ate the whole thing.
The contest has come and gone. I look back on all the hard work that I put into each and everyday leading up to the show. I realized I am blessed to have done as well as I have. All those 4:00 AM wake-up calls and late nights closing down the gym were all worth it. I want everyone to know that hard work pays off. Set yourself a goal and let nothing stand in your way.
I want to thank everyone for following my articles of my contest prep. I hope that you can use my story as inspiration for you next contest. Also I hope that my training, diet and supplementation logs can help you find the best formula for your contest prep. Good luck and thanks!