Hi there everyone,
Well here we are once again blogging in cyberspace with more bits and pieces from CW's bodybuilding health and fitness lifestyle.
I really do enjoy this forum and have really appreciated the nice feedback I received from people all over this great land. Some people love the food tips, others like the motivational pearls of wisdom, whilst others really like the training, nutrition, supplementation and exercise advice. At my recent WA state shows I had some people stop me and say is that really you that writes these blogs or do you have people that assist you. My answer of course was yes these are all my own thoughts and ideas! At school I always liked writing essays yet despised reading and comprehension. Even now as an adult I can't sit and read a book, my mind wanders as I would much rather be doing something else more constructive...like writing blogs for ANB Australia!! I do, however, enjoy reading short articles that are factual non-fiction that also actually relate directly to things I am interested in. And all of this writing that I am doing kind of goes against my day job of Secondary Mathematics teaching. Either way my blogging is a great creative outlet for me to somehow share nearly 3 decades of training in gyms, competing in bodybuilding contests and all the knowledge I have acquired from the various talented people I have come across in my travels.
It's not all about the time on stage!
As I have discussed before the journey to the bodybuilding stage is really the greatest part of your preparation. It is a true test of your internal fortitude, character, dedication and will-power that can be a source of tremendous satisfaction once you reach your goal of achieving your lifetime best condition.
The stage time should be awesome and incredible giving you memories you'll take with you for the rest of your life. Some people say they can't wait for it to be all over, this is the wrong attitude as you should soak up and cherish every minute. If you enjoy your time onstage then the audience will pick up on that and be drawn to looking at you. So will the judges and that can't be a bad thing now can it!?
And let's not forget the post contest reflections, including analyzing your great achievements with photos and contest DVD's, feedback from family and friends as well as setting new goals to be better next time. The post contest rebound is also a great way to make some terrific muscular gains as you launch into the off season.
Two of my clients that competed recently did really well in what turned out to be extremely competitive line ups. Whilst they didn't quite get that podium finish they still represented 'Bodychisel by Craig' wonderfully well and I was very proud of the way they presented themselves. I remember helping them along the way with the obvious nutrition, posing and contest advice as well as an emphasis on making sure they realized just how important the overall journey is and that they need to take stock and be very pleased with the way they are transforming their physiques. And these amazing results sometimes draw negative comments from others, particularly in the workplace, that say things like "I don't know why you are doing all this?" or "Geez you look gaunt, are you ok!?" or "God you're looking skinny, aren't you supposed to be bulking up!??" or "That can't be healthy, you must be crazy!"
Sound familiar? Well my young clients experienced this as I did many years ago. I told them that these comments are coming from people who are almost always very dissatisfied with the way they themselves look and that you indirectly pose a threat to their mindset. Interestingly their own lifestyle is usually very unhealthy so they resent and become jealous of your go-getting drive and determination. I advised them to feed off that negativity and realize that the insecure, green-eyed monster comments are actually compliments which should make you go even harder and in turn be very happy with what you are achieving. One of my friends Mark Berthon, who has moved to Sydney, recently told me that someone in his gym was reading my blogs and said that I wasn't 'natural'. Mark said he knew me and that I had never used banned substances ever. I appreciated Mark's sticking up for me but at the end of the day this person was downplaying and dismissing my achievements by saying "...yeah he's on the gear!!" Again I take this as his own problem with jealousy as well as being an indirect compliment. This reminded me of an old Muscletech T-shirt of mine that had a transfer reading "No actually I don't take steroids, but thanks for asking!"
At the end of the day the journey to the stage is an amazing experience that can really improve not only the way you look physically but enhance the way you feel psychologically too.
Below are some pics of my clients Paul Newton and Tak Cheng who certainly both transformed their physiques brilliantly.
Cause for concern!
The other reason people sometimes make negative comments to you can actually be from a place of genuine compassion and care for your own physical state of well-being.
I remember when I first competed way back in 1994 when my Head of Maths Department, Rowley, took me to one side and said "Craig, we're all worried about you. You've lost a lot of weight and your face is looking very thin, is there something you're not telling us about you??"
Of course, after I explained the situation, he was somewhat relieved but still didn't quite get why my face was so skeletal. I tried to explain that when you lose most of your bodyfat in an attempt to reveal maximum muscularity throughout your body that your face really only has muscle around the jawline so once the fat on your face is gone then basically all that is left is a skull with a thin layer of epidermis! Anyway after the contest was over and I placed first in my division I showed my work colleagues some photos. They then realized that what was going on underneath my work clothes was quite different to what they perceived from looking at my head.
My good friend, Bob Cable, that coached me way back then always said "Craig, when you are backstage before the show never worry about the huge guy with the full face. It's the ones that have their cheekbones protruding with clothes that are hanging off them that will be your greatest threat".
So now when people say I'm looking skinny in the face I take this as an acknowledgement that I am actually on track with my condition for the stage.
I recently posted a picture on Facebook with Louise and I wearing those huge imax 3D glasses just before we watched "Ironman 3". A friend of mine, Grant, fired the first comment which read "Craig your head is shrinking, looks like the dieting is going well!"
Of course others jumped on the bandwagon referring to me as resembling an alien and being the incredible head shrinker.
All this could be taken to heart but I look at it as again fuel for realization that I am getting closer to being contest ready.
Exercise of the Month
This month I would like to focus on the Rear Deltoid Raise with dumbbells.
People have often remarked about my rear delt development and asked what I do to stimulate that area. Firstly I tell them to train rear delts on back day after all your chins, pulldowns and rows. One of the major functions of this muscle group is to pull so it makes perfect sense to train them on back day.
Secondly, I perform them whilst lying on my front on an incline bench angled very shallow at around 15-20 degrees. When performing the movement look straight into the mirror so as to get that mind to muscle thing happening.
Allow the arms to bend a bit which will in turn let you lift quite heavy dumbbells. Too often people do this movement with too wide an arc with very light weights and seem to get nowhere fast with the development of their rear deltoids. Many of my clients have tried this with great success in a fairly short time frame. Posing tip
The good old abdominal and thigh pose is a classic and when performed correctly can show off other muscle groups too.
If you clench your fists, place them behind your head on the top of your traps with your elbows pointing up to the ceiling all whilst flexing your biceps then you can effectively reveal much more of your upper body.
The stage lights are shining on you from almost directly overhead so you need to concentrate on avoiding casting a shadow on the front of your torso. When your arms are right back behind your head this will allow the light to shine down your chest and abs which in turn highlights your six pack and even the chest. Also the upper lats and biceps should be flexed which again will create an even more muscular look. Now with your elbows up nice and high and all the aforementioned muscle groups looking nice and full next crunch down on your abs and take a big breath out so as to make your waist go as small as possible all whilst tensing the abdominal wall.
Your best thigh should be flexed and you can do that by either flaring the outer sweep with the ball of your foot on the ground with that feeling of lifting the knee all whilst maintaining contact with the floor, remember to turn your foot around about 45 degrees so that the judges get an optimal view of your teardrop, middle rods (medialis) and adductor.
The other option with the front thigh is to have your front heel planted on the floor all whilst locking out the knee joint so as to show off any striations you have throughout your quadriceps.
See the pictures below of CW, Dorian Yates, Kai Greene and Nasser El Sonbaty and you'll hopefully get what I mean.
Complex carbs to go!
Most of us are well aware by now that rolled oats and whole grains are the 'Porsche' of complex carbohydrates that give you that low sustained release of energy without spiking your insulin levels too high too quickly. I have always enjoyed the benefits of rolled oats for breakfast over many many years and used to eat other carb sources during the day like brown rice, sweet potato and rye bread. I knew, however, that my body reacted best to rolled oats but I didn't have time to mess around with cooking porridge during my hectic day at work. I then started investigating muesli bars that were primarily rolled oats and whole grains with minimal fruit.
Two brands I discovered have proven to be a revelation for me and several of my clients. Carmen's fruit free and apricot & almond muesli bars are both very low in sugar, contain about 25g of carbohydrate per bar and have all natural flavours with no preservatives. The other one is the Nature's Way apricot, coconut, chia seeds and rolled oats muesli bars which again have all natural flavours and no preservatives, contain about 15g of carbs per bar and taste great.
I have been using these as a major source of my daily carbohydrate intake for several years now even during the pre-contest phase. I will quite often eat my chicken breast with barbeque sauce first and then enjoy my muesli bar(s) with an expresso afterwards. Give them a try and save yourself time messing around with cooking up rice or sweet potato the night before!
Some very nice surprises indeed!
A couple of weeks ago the owners of my awesome gym in WA at Nonstop 24 Hour Fitness, Port Kennedy stopped me as I was walking out of the gym after a big chest & bicep workout. Chad said to me "Craig, here's some money to help with your expenses for the upcoming Nationals with your airfares and accomodation"
Needless to say I was quite overwhelmed at this very kind gesture which really came out of left field, so to speak. It is so refreshing to see the owners of a gym supporting their members instead of forgetting about them once they've signed up and start paying their regular monthly direct debit.
Nonstop is a great Health and Fitness Club that boasts excellent equipment, huge Crossfit area, MMA Octagon and Boxing, Aerobics room and a good sized supplement store. I am certainly very proud to represent them as a member as this gesture was the first of it's kind for me in nearly 3 decades of training in various gyms. Much kudos and respect to Chad and Amy Francis for their great vision and hard work in setting up such a terrific facility.
Good old David Salamon recently sent me a PM to let me know that the ANB WA contest poster was ready for publishing. I checked it out and was extremely chuffed to see CW doing a side chest pose on the top left hand corner of the poster!
Obviously I couldn't be happier to represent my ANB family in this way and am very appreciative of being bestowed this honour. This is only the 3rd time I have been featured on a contest poster so I cherish this very much and look forward to getting a hard copy, framing it and putting it on my office wall with my others!
I am very excited about doing this show and will be encouraging others to do the same so they can experience just how great ANB shows are and how the competitors are treated so well.
State titles done and dusted!
Ok so I have now just completed 3 state shows during April and May with 3 first places. Some of the pictures below are from my two WA shows which were held on the 12th and 18th of May.
I am now very much looking forward to finishing off this season with the awesome ANB Asia Pacific International on the 9th of June. My condition is pretty close to where I want it to be right now which will enable me to cut back on my cardio, increase my carbs slightly and hence super-compensate as the show approaches. This should fill out my muscle bellies and dry me out all whilst continuing to shed a little bit more body fat.
My fiancee Louise will be flying up to the Gold Coast to meet me there, so it should be a great weekend all round and always great to have my beautiful tan-lady with me.
I very much look forward to communicating with you all once again in Craig's Blog #24 towards the end of June. In the mean time keep up the great work with your own nutrition, training and supplementation as you continue to become that new and improved better version of yourself!
All the very best till next time, Craig W :-))