Over the past two weekends I ticked off a massive goal that I set at the start of this year, to compete in my first ever body-sculpting competition. Stepping on stage to compete at both the INBA Tropix and INBA Qld State Titles in Male Fitness Model. My journey started in May 2015 where I contacted Jes Murphy from Clean Health Performance Centre in Sydney. I had decided to do my prep as an online client as I am the type of person that when given a program and meal plan, I’ll follow it.
The first thing most people assume when you say ‘I’m entering a bodybuilding comp’ is your wanting to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, though depending on your goals and category this is not necessarily the case! The competition I entered is a much more pleasing look to the general public and represents a tight, lean look that is not overly muscular but with abs. (see below pic). I had been thinking about competing for a while and been encouraged by a few people to look into it. Having consistently weight trained for 4 years, I had a solid base in both strength and muscle mass, good discipline with nutrition and the time just felt right.
Having never prepped for a comp, I didn’t know what to expect as I was venturing into foreign land. Even though I had a lot of knowledge about training and nutrition already, actual comp prep is different especially when getting down to the final stages. This was why I left it up to my coach, Jes, and followed what she told me to do. At first it was a bit of a lifestyle adjustment as I was used to having one cheat meal every weekend and this was cut back to every fortnight, alongside having to be even more organised with food, making sure I was weighing it correctly etc. but I quickly adjusted and found it easy to stick to.
Over the next 19 weeks, I did a few different training and nutrition phases to increase overall muscle mass and bring up lagging body parts. Below is a breakdown of the different phases:
- Phase 1 (4 weeks): Hypertrophy Balancing
- Phase 2 (3 weeks): Super Accumulation/Compensation
- Phase 3 (4 weeks): Intensification
- Phase 4 (3 weeks): FST-7
- Phase 5 (3 weeks): 7-7-15
- Phase 6 (2 weeks): Depletion (week of comps)
Alongside the training and nutrition, I also needed to learn how to pose, as there is no use having the best body on stage if you can’t show it off properly. Fortunately I was taught by one of the best in the industry when it comes to Male Fitness Model posing, Michael Schneider. I went to him as a complete beginner and after 8 posing sessions I felt pretty much like a pro. Alongside videoing countless hours of my posing and also performing it in front of my mirror, I also had posing sessions via Skype with IFBB Pro James Cant in the final few weeks to fine tune my routine and help add that bit of pizzazz!
It wasn’t until the final few weeks that I really struggled mentally, physically and emotionally! As training increased, calories dropped and the elimination of certain foods (eg. fruit, brown carbs) started to happen, I began to feel tired. The week before ‘peak week’ was extremely tough as show day was pretty much here and the anxious thoughts started to kick in ‘am I going to be ready?’ Fortunately I was calmed down and reassured by my coach that yes I am ready and I would make it to comp day. Peak week rolled around and by now I was starting to see the results of all my hard work when I started to drop water and had the first coat of tan put on. My bottom abs was pretty much through, veins were popping and everything else was coming together! Then being back stage on comp day, after 19 weeks of prep, it kicked in! I couldn’t wipe the smile of my face and I was surprisingly calm and collected. I came away from my first comp (INBA Tropix) with 4th place in Male Fitness Model First Timers from a line up of 10 guys! I had no expectations of winning or placing going into my first season of comps so I was stoked!
I allowed myself a Grill’d Burger and sweet potato fries post comp, then it was back onto peak week diet in preparation for INBA Qld State Titles. Although I didn’t place at my second comp, I was very happy with the condition and posing that I brought to the stage. The quality in each class was extremely high and my first class (Male Fitness Model Novice) took 15-20 minutes, as the judging was that tough!
The hardest part of competing isn’t the dedication to a diet or the training its the post comp nothingness…having no restriction after comp is the most dangerous part. I was straight back in the gym after a couple days off…but I did splurge out with food. I am now slowly re-introducing calories/carbs back into the diet without an immediate reason for it is a struggle. Dropping the amount of cardio back to a few a week is the easiest part, and I guess that excess calories from cheating has helped with my strength levels, not to mention the pump!
What’s next for me? GET FAT! No only kidding, I plan on maintaining a lean physique all year round but also in an enough of a calorie surplus where I can grow muscle, and live a little, in preparation for next year’s comps in late April! So stay tuned, this journey has only begun!:)