Monday, April 28, 2008

It is Good to Eat

I have been eating completely with complete lack of restraint for the first time since Xmas, and it has been wonderful. I started with Thai food right after pre-judge. Finished the evening after the night show with Pizza Hut. Then pancakes for breakfast and party food with a beer in the afternoon. The only things I'm haven't indulged in are Mexican food and ice cream.

I know some people were worried that I'd have GI tract difficulties once I started eating regular food again. I was never worried based on talking to other competitors. And true to my instincts I've had nothing but joy in my reckless eating. JalapeƱo poppers, BBQ, pizza no problems. The only problem is the fear that I won't be able to stop the binge. I've told myself that I won't worry about my diet much for the next 3 weeks until I'm back from vacation (cruise link), but I don't want to have gained back 30 lbs. either. I'm hoping to stay within 25 lbs of bantam weight until I figure out my future plan. So unless I'm packing on the muscle I need to be in the 170 lb. ball park. I know I've put on at least 15 lbs. since Saturday morning, but I hope the next few come a little slower.

One horribly depressing side effect of eating again. . . My abs are gone already. I'm crushed. I was hoping they'd be around for at least a week or two. Hard to take.

Empire Classic 2008

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.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2 Days

I didn't work today. Just spent some time with the family taking it easy. Went by the gym to get some last minute instructions on my diet and posing. And tomorrow we travel to Spokane.

I'm doing well with my water drop. The day is almost over and I've only had about 20 oz. I did eat broccoli and cucumbers which upped that a little. Tomorrow is 20 oz. maximum.

I'm excited about tomorrow though. I get to eat rice cakes and and jam and sweet potatoes and yam. I weighed in at 150 lbs. this morning so I get to carb up. I'm sick of chicken and broccoli 7 times a day. I know the rice cakes are not that exciting, but it is a change. About 36 hours until I can eat a real meal!

Monday, April 21, 2008

5 days

Just a quick update. Brad got third place at the Emerald Cup. I thought he'd be second, but it was a really tough class. Rumor is the winners secret weapon was General Tso's chicken. He though the MSG really dried him out. Something did because he looked tight.

My weight to day was closer to 152 lbs. I may get to eat some carbs after all. I'm getting really excited for the show. The week can't go fast enough. My enthusiasm was tempered a bit when I remembered that lots of guys from the Emerald Cup will be coming over for the Empire Classic since it is only a week difference. Could be stiffer competition than I was hoping for. I guess we'll see who shows up.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

1 Week

Just a few more days until I can be a normal person again. My friends and family are pretty much sick of me. Food is such an important part of most social gatherings, and I haven't really participated in that part of it for about 6 weeks now. But more than the food part I've been pretty low energy most evenings. Last night I left early to go to bed. Fortunately I made it through the last social week end before my show, so hopefully I'll be more fun to have around the next time I get to hang out.

Yesterday morning I went to the Emerald Cup, to see Brad my friend/mentor compete. The Emerald Cup is the biggest show in the region and there were lots of quality competitors. Brad has usually owned his weight class at the there, but there were two other guys who were in amazing shape. I haven't heard how he did yet. The expo was great too. I came away with a bag full of free samples. That alone was worth the price of admission.

Seeing a real show again was definitely inspiring. I'm very excited for my own competition now. I managed to pick up a few tips on the posing and get some advice on my last few days of dieting. I came home and worked on a few things with my posing before bed. I felt really good about it for once. I'm usually discouraged after posing. The key may be the lighting. I posed in a different room with less intense direct light from in front.

I'm a little concerned about my weight again. I'm stuck at 153.5 lbs. I'll make my weight class, but I need to drop a little lower if I'm going to carb up. I think the water drop will take care of that. I had some carbs yesterday too, and didn't do cardio so dropping the carbs and some more cardio sessions should get me back on track.

Monday, April 14, 2008

2 Weeks

Time is getting short now. I think I should be a little more excited, but the diet is tough and the workouts are painful. I'll be a little more excited in a week I think. Or maybe just scared.

I've dropped a little more weight. Now I'm at 155 lbs. It is looking like I'll drop out of the 150s. Something needs to happen. I'm not really happy with how I look in this weeks pictures. I hope I look better on stage. Any way here they are. I'm off to do some posing research. I'm really liking some routines by Milos Sarcev. And since I can't seem to get the hang of a 3/4 back pose I need some new ideas.

Edited 4/15/08

I wanted to add a few more lines to this post now that I have a little more time. I spent the last week laying in my stockpile of distilled water for the flushing phase of the diet. I think I'll be switching over from tap water on Saturday afternoon. The idea is no minerals means nothing to encourage the body to hold the water. I have been drinking between 2 and 3 gallons of water a day. Hopefully when I stop suddenly, the I'll keep excreting the water at a high rate. I've also started supplementing with the dandelion root extract to encourage my body to shed water.

I'm not sure if I'm not sleeping well, fighting a cold or just feeling the lack of carbs in my diet, but I have been dragging so far this week. I carbed up on Sunday for my leg workout (which went well), but since then not much energy in the afternoons. I get through my workouts with some peanut butter, but posing practice afterwards is hard. No excuses though. I'll keep working on the routine.

Looking ahead, I need to figure out when to apply my ProTan, and a few other last minute hygiene things. Not much back hair to worry about, but I'll need help to make sure that is all in order. Then, drop my carbs, drop my water and hit the stage.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Teaching to Learn

We took Jamie to the zoo Friday as part of the celebration of his first birthday. He has always enjoyed animals and seemed to have a great time. His favorite part was the aquarium where he could get right up next to the glass where the sharks and things passed by really close. It was exciting for me to see him so enthralled. Even though he is young, I'm very motivated to make sure that he has lots of opportunities to experience and enjoy the educational resources we have access to.

My parents and elementary school did a pretty good job of giving me chances to visit zoos, aquariums, and museum despite the fact that we lived pretty far away. I hope Lori and I can do even better for Jamie, since we are located in an area with lots of opportunities. Part of my personal philosophy on parenting, is to do my best to raise a well rounded and educated kid. I think frequent positive experiences with our educational/scientific resources is the best way to produce a love of learning and critical thinking. At this point all Jamie can do is point and squeak at the fish in the tank, but soon he will have questions to be answered. I can't imagine a more fulfilling feeling than seeing him curious about animal at the zoo or an exhibit at the Pacific Science Center; wanting to know more than I or the plaque on the cage can tell him and following up with a trip to the library for more research.

I don't know yet if Jamie will be that kind of kid, but he has the potential. I intend to do my best to encourage that curiosity in him. We'll be back to the zoo before long I'm sure, and to the Seattle Aquarium when the weather get wet again. After he is a little older there is the children's museum, the science center, the EMP and the Museum of Flight maybe we'll get to Sea World some day too. Sounds like fun to me.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

3 Weeks

Once again I'm a few days late with this week's post. I should just make my goal to post on Tuesday then I'd be free from guilt. Any way this weekend was Jamie's 1st birthday, so there were lots of guest staying with us and a party and party food. Saturday was a tough day to stay on the diet. I've also noticed that I'm fighting some irritability lately in addition to some noticeable energy drain. I kind of tore into Lori for wanting to make brownies Sunday night. In my defense she was taunting me just a little bit. Still, I'm over all a little touchy especially about forbidden food.

Dropped a few pounds again over the last week. I'm in the 157 range now and have been for a few days so it should be legit. I need to start getting the water out though. In the next few days I'll be switching to distilled water for drinking and I had the last of my multi-vitamins this weekend. I should be cutting the lunch time carbs by the weekend as well.

An item of interest: my wedding ring doesn't fit well any more. It fell off in the shower this afternoon. Didn't think I had fat fingers before.

Also got a few words of support from the owner of my gym. That was nice. He also said I can expect to grow like crazy once I start eating extra calories again. He thinks the first contest diet is as good as steroids for gaining some mass. I'm excited by that idea.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Expelled Exposed

I just finished the Eugenie Scott interview on Skeptics Guide to the Universe. I thought I'd do my part and link to the Expelled Exposed website. The aim to to have the National Center for Science Education's official response at the top of a Google search for the movie. I'll do my part and add a link here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's in my Head

I really must be obsessing about this bodybuilding stuff. I'm sure it is normal for a first timer to spend a lot of time thinking and planning and researching, but now I'm dreaming it too. Last night I dreamed that I was in a show and I was supposed to do an individual posing routine (something that has been on my mind a lot this week). The problem was I thought we were doing mandatory poses so I just stood there waiting for someone to tell me what to do next. Also, I'd forgotten my posing suit and was wearing some spare underwear instead. Interestingly, I got second place because another guy just walked off before the end.

I know I say this every time I post, but I need to spend more time with my posing practice. Maybe then it will be automatic and I won't be wasting dream time on it.