Well, it is over. I made it through my first bodybuilding competition. I say 'my first' because I'm certain I will do it again. I'll probably have several posts about the experience as I have time to think and reflect on the whole thing.
First thing I guess would be the facts. I placed 6th in a class of six, also known as last. Hey, somebody had to be at the end. I comfort myself with the knowledge that the judges said it was a tight class outside of the top 2 spots, even though I got straight sixes on my score card. I weighed in at 141 lbs. Making me the tallest and the lightest guy in my class. I asked one judge, Gordon Myco, for some details after pre-judging. He said he could tell I was a first timer, and that I could stand to gain some muscle (my legs are small for sure), work on my posing, and most importantly I need to be leaner.
On the bright side, I got some encouragement from Brad. He said that I'd do well in a show that had a bantam-weigh class. He almost had be convinced to do the Bend OR show this weekend. I also learned a lot. I didn't get enough color on in for the pre-judge, so I was the palest guy up there. I also learned how much weight I can really loose. I lost over 40 lbs. on the diet and water drop. If I'd believed that I could loose that much weight a few months ago, I would have entered an event that had a bantam weight class to start with.
I think I've learned about some of what I did wrong as well. I was stupidly concerned about loosing too much weight. Once I was down to the 154 lb light-weight mark I started tapering off on the cardio work even though I was not lean enough yet. I knew deep down that I still was holding some fat, but I thought that maybe the water drop would bring out enough definition. When I dropped my water I didn't notice much changed at all because of the extra 2% body fat that I should have burned off on the treadmill the last two weeks.
That is why I know I need to do another show. Knowing I didn't do everything I could have done will bug me until I do. I can get into better shape now that I know a little more about what to expect. I can get some help and learn to display myself better. And hopefully I can add some size. Even a little would help. I really need thicker legs and a wider back. I'm under no delusions about my genetic potential. I'm trying to make my body do things that are against its natural inclinations, but I guess that is part of the fun.
I get asked a lot why I would want to be a bodybuilder. Why would I put myself through this. The main thing is I like lifting weights, but after all the years I'd been in they gym I needed a goal for some extra motivation. When I started out I never thought I could be a bodybuilder. I've always been skinny. But I managed to bulk up a little over the years and met a few competitors at the gym and got excited by the idea. I enjoy the challenge of making my body respond and grow beyond its natural inclinations. I like exerting the self control to stick to the diet and the cardio (both of which I hate). I love seeing the results. It is satisfying to know I'm in control of what is going on. I may not have many genetic advantages in this sport, but to me the sport is about what I can make myself do, how I can shape my own body. It doesn't bother me that I might be sharing the stage with guys on steroids and growth hormones. It might mean I'll never get a first place trophy. That doesn't matter. I don't need to compare myself to those guys, I compare myself to where I was before. I've made personal progress. I've learned things. I've experienced things. I've accomplished something that is hard to do. That is why I'm a bodybuilder.