Hi again everyone!
So good to be back once again to give you an update into CW's bodybuilding lifestyle with a some of my usual 'current affairs' as well as advice and tips on nutrition, training, posing and more.
A surprise entrant at a Melbourne State show!
During my recent stay in Melbourne during the school holidays I was able to compete in a Melbourne based contest. The promoter was more than happy for me to give it a crack and I thought it would be a great warm up for my upcoming WA state shows which will be unfolding over the next couple of weeks.
Another great aspect of our sport is the ability to able to compete all around Australia and indeed all around the world. I really enjoyed the day and my Louise did yet another superb job of slapping on my stage tan. I caught up with some of my Victorian buddies like Tony Haranas, Graham Clarke, David Baxter and Silvana Nuspan and was lucky enough to take out 1st place in the Masters division on the day.
Graham, Tony and I then had our usual 3 wise men's luncheon and debrief the next day in Ivanhoe. I really enjoy their company as they have so much knowledge and experience to share as well as being humourous too, we always manage to have a great laugh.
And coincidentally I bumped into David Baxter at the Doherty's Vaults City Gym a few days after and found him to be wearing the same Ryderwear Doherty's Jersey as myself!!
Aaron's interview for WA Bodybuilding
As you may or may not remember, I as well as 3 others, are admins for the WA Bodybuilding Facebook Page. Aaron Kohn was liaising with a journalist who wanted an insight into why we do what we do in our sport of bodybuilding, that at times can be criticised by those that are ill-informed that everyone who participates is automatically taking performance-enhancing drugs. Aaron asked me for some points that might assist him during the interview with the journo. Of course that is right up my alley so I promptly put together the following 13 key aspects and benefits associated with our wonderful sport and bodybuilding health and fitness lifestyle in general:
1. Bodybuilding allows you to set goals, create purpose in your life and can enhance the way you look and feel about yourself..."Look good, feel good, am good" rings true for all of us to some degree.
2. As humans we should always be trying to move forward, evolve and create better versions of ourself by not accepting mediocrity. Bodybuilding allows you to do this.
3. Many scientific and medical studies have now shown that hanging onto your lean muscle tissue as you get older is absolutely critical to your overall health and is anti-aging in itself. Maintaining the body's furnace, lean muscle, helps prevent your metabolism from slowing down, supports your joints and connective tissue, has been closely linked to better brain function and again may halt diseases like Parkinson's, Dimentia and Altheimer's. So clearly the bodybuilding health and fitness lifestyle could assist here in a big way.
4. Bodybuilding as a sport is one of the most international pastimes on the planet and has been since the 1950's or even earlier. Just look at some of the ancient statues in various cultures of muscular physiques (eg: The Greeks, Vikings & Romans, etc).
5. People say that bodybuilding is an ego driven, self-centred sport. Most individual and even team sports have exactly the same element where people have that extreme desire and commitment to excel. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, unfortunately in Australia, there exists a "Tall Poppy" syndrome that sees the masses trying to bring you down to their level rather than patting you on the back for wanting to do well at something.
6. Clearly the bodybuilding health and fitness lifestyle promotes the prevention of obesity which is becoming a massive burden on the Healthcare system in the Western World.
7. There as been a big increase in young men getting into bodybuilding and weight training in recent years. Some of these gentlemen just do it for themselves, others to compete in physique contests, some use weight training to improve their performance in their chosen sport (eg: AFL, Rugby, Tennis, Golf, Swimming, Track & Field, the list is endless).It's a far better thing that young men get involved in this form of self-improvement than waste their life away on social media, computer games, pornography, etc all while putting on too many excess kg's of body-fat.
8. There is a sado-masochist element to us all In that we enjoy 'punishing' ourselves so as to reach a goal. A swimmer tortures themselves with hours of laps up and down a pool for 3 hours in the early morning and the same in the evening. A great golfer will spend hours on the driving range repeatedly hitting balls. Marathon runners spend hours daily running, sometimes in pain with recurring injuries. A bodybuilder would spend less time in preparation than many of these other athletes and also doesn't get the accolades that the other sports get.
9. The bodybuilding health and fitness lifestyle also teaches you how to deal with stress in your life. Those nice brain chemicals, endorphins, GH and adrenalin, that are released after a great workout with weights really do clear your head and allow you to put daily stresses to one side rather than dwelling on them. Diversion is also a great tool for mental health, a hard weights session gives you that too.
10. Many so called "bodybuilders" don't actually compete. They just enjoy the physical act of training with weights and getting stronger, all while noticing how much better they look and feel about themselves. Training in public gyms also creates a healthy social outlet for people, as opposed to going to the Pub or local Tavern every night and wasting money and one's health on drinking alcohol in excess.
11. Following on from being a stress reliever the bodybuilding lifestyle is certainly a great way to help one manage certain mental issues and illnesses.
12. Having competed in many State and National level contests, I can honestly say that the sport of Bodybuilding can generate great friendships, camaraderie between competitors and allows you to associate with other like-minded positive people. We are too often surrounded by negative naysayers and this is something we must try to avoid.
13. Successful bodybuilders you will find are successful in many other parts of their life due to their passionate, focused, regimented and organized approach. They also possess a positive winning mindset, open willingness to learn and have a constant desire for self-improvement.
Li Cunxin's Keynote Address
I just recently had a professional development day for all the schools in my Anglican Schools Commission. The Keynote speaker was none other than the world renowned Ballet Dancer, Li Cunxin.
Li's incredible story of resilience and determination saw him rise from squalor and extreme poverty in the brainwashed and suppressed era of Mao-Tse Tung's brutal regime to become an elite Ballet Dancer who performed on the world stage for many years. You may have read the book or watched the movie "Mao's Last Dancer". This is Li Cunxin's amazing journey and well worth a read or a watch.
Ballet Dancer's at that level have an even more grueling training programme and preparation than us competitive bodybuilders. So as you can imagine I was glued to his every word. I'll never forget one particular thing he said "People ask me what are the percentages associated with my achievements in terms of talent versus desire and work ethic. I always tell them that talent represents only 5% with passion, heart, commitment, never accepting failure or even mediocrity being 95% of the outcome".
All this rings true for me as this the way I try to live my life. What an inspiring and motivating way to start the school term!
I was so inspired that I bought one of his books and got the man himself to sign it for Louise. She absolutely loves both nice books and the Ballet. A winning experience all round!
CW's chance meet up with Franck Garnier
Louise and I were wandering through Bourke Street in Melbourne City recently when I heard this voice from across the road yell "MR WINTER!!"
I turned around and to my pleasant surprise saw local natural bodybuilding champion, Franck Garnier, standing there.
I have competed with and against Franck several times over the years and have always found him to be very personable as well as also having that great passion and desire for the sport that I alluded to previously with Li Cunxin. Franck has a well balanced, aesthetically pleasing physique which is very reminiscent of his French compatriot Francis Benfatto.
We had a great chat, albeit brief, where he informed that he was flying back to France, his birthplace, the very next day to live! Even though we have competed against one another we still have great respect for the other person once again highlighting that tremendous comaraderie and kindred-like spirit that exists in our sport.
I wished him all the very best, got a photo together and then added him as a friend on Facebook so we could stay in touch. He said he wanted to do Masters Bodybuilding contests in France, which of course I thought was a superlative idea.
Exercise of the Month
This month I would like to focus on the seated calf raise. Many people I know will mainly train their calves as a quick afterthought at the end of their grueling leg workout and quite often only target their gastrocnemius muscle with sets of standing calf raises. The soleus muscle is that long sheath of muscle, underneath the gastrocnemius that runs from the achille's tendon all the way up to behind the knee. When properly developed this muscle will help push the gastrocnemius out and give your calves both added width and thickness with a more pleasing 3 dimensional look to the muscle. My calves have always been a work in progress as when I started training many years ago they were very slender and lacking in development. I have been doing seated calf raises for several years now with a combination of both heavy weight and high repetitions. I do 4 sets of 40/30/25/20 reps after hamstrings every Thursday and 4 sets of seated toe presses for the gastrocnemius on Mondays after quadriceps. So my calves are getting hit twice per week with the focus on a different part of it's musculature in each workout.
Calves can be somewhat unpleasant to train due to that deep burning sensation you get in the muscle when using high reps to failure. Unfortunately if that sensation is not realized then you are simply not training hard enough!
I have also found that stretching the muscle between sets has been quite effective in helping improve the look of my calves as well as taking the pain away from that intense burn from the previous set. In short if you aren't doing seated calf raises to stimulate your soleus then you are missing out on optimal development overall.
Low Carb ideas for those night time hunger pains!
Here are a couple of great suggestions for those that are low carb at the moment.Konjac special fried rice with mushroom, spring onion and chopped omelette.
Konjac is a Chinese root vegetable that has zero carbs, zero fat and yet is surprisingly high in fibre. You can now get Konjac rice from the Slim Pasta range in the Wholefoods section of Woolworths Supermarkets and most health food stores. A dash of Soy sauce and you'd swear it was the real thing!This went down a treat with my chicken breasts and green beans.
CW's High Protein Faux Icecream:
2 scoops of banana whey protein isolate powder, 10 ice cubes, 1 metric cup of frozen berries, 1 cup of unsweetened Almond Milk all blended together until the desired consistency is achieved.
Finally add a handful of Almonds & Pistachios and sprinkle some ground Cinnamon on the top to create some extra crunch and flavour. If you are an Icecream lover then you'll love this, but best of all it's guilt free!!
A couple of posing tips
The Xmas tree lower back pose
You know when a judge has lost his way when he tells you 2 years in a row to hit the rear lat spread pose as soon as HE says strike, otherwise HE may penalise you for doing the standard 'Xmas tree' lower lumbar flex beforehand!!
All the great Mr Olympia's and indeed anyone with a lean and detailed back will hit the Xmas tree pose before spreading their lats. This is achieved very simply by leaning forward slightly with your back facing the audience. You first put your back leg in place flexing the calf, hamstring and glute muscles. Next have your arms infront of your body and slowly drag your elbows back to the crowd allowing them to bend all whilst squeezing the muscles of lower lumbar. This is a great way to show off your condition before displaying the sheer muscle mass of the rear lat spread pose.
The accompanying photo collage shows Dorian Yate's insane Xmas tree pose V a very mild version from CW.
Tweaking my side tricep pose
I was looking at pictures of Dorian Yates and Branch Warren a few weeks ago and marvelled at their fantastic side tricep poses as well as what they were doing to maximise it's effectiveness.
What I noticed was that their clasped hands were resting on the top of the glute that was nearest to the audience this enabling them to squeeze the triceps hard against their lats so as to give the illusion of more mass on the whole upper arm. I then realised I had been twisting around to far with my hands resting on the middle of my backside. This was making my stomach drop out and the inner head of the tricep was not visible to the spectators and more importantly the judges!
Below is a quick snap depicting this new variation after I cranked out some sets on Derrmut Gym's awesome Hammer Strength plate loaded seated dip machine. If your gym has one, I highly recommend you incorporate this exercise as a great overall mass builder in your triceps routine.
So in signing off Blog #22 I would like to thank all those people that have given me positive feedback regarding my blogging on the ANB Australia website and am so glad that I can give something back to the sport that has been so good to me.
I will report back in my next blog as to how my WA shows went and also how effective my trial of Layne Norton's approach of continued normal water consumption to just 2 hours before stage time affects my overall look.
All the very best until next we meet in cyberspace and keep up the great work with your own health and fitness lifestyle.
Kind regards, Craig W.