Hi there everyone,
Well here we are again as a another wonderful season of bodybuilding contests draws to a close.
The final flourish for CW was the amazing showcase that was the ANB Asia Pacific International.
Louise and I arrived in the good old Gold Coast, the place where we met almost 4 years ago, on the Saturday morning. We caught the bus from Cooloongatta Airport straight down to Surfer's Paradise, checked in to our executive spa suite at the Mantra Legends Hotel, kicked back for a few hours, had a wander around Cavill Avenue at some of the cool stores and then registered for the big show at the Watermark Hotel.
When we arrived at The Watermark we were first reunited with ANB National President Robert Powell who always gives us a warm welcoming reception. Robert has done so well with the ANB Federation in creating such a great organization for natural athletes both in terms of a level playing field and looking after the competitor's interests. His shows are always so well received and the atmosphere is one of excitement, energy and entertainment every single time.
Robert and I were chatting for some time about how things were progressing and in particular about the great news of the ANB kicking off in WA later this year with a show scheduled for September 29th. We also were very mindful of the commitment and effort that both Maria McCarter and David Salamon have put into this event so as to get it up and running.
As Louise and I moved through the registration line of competitors we bumped into some more familiar faces and then caught up with ANB Head Judge Phil Lehner and ANB General Secretary Murray Graham. Always terrific seeing these fine gentlemen and I get that sense of contentment when I finally see their faces, have a laugh and a chat and of course hand in my rego papers and free posing music CD.
After registration we then went back to Cavill Avenue for a very nice 'last supper' before the show at the Seafood Empire. This again is significant for Louise and I as this is where we first connected after a show in 2009 for a post contest luncheon with several competitors. I had there amazing Surf & Turf with extra salad and YES I ate the serving of chips as my final carbs for the day which were very loosely part of my planned macros for the penultimate day before the show.
I had been water-loading during the entire day so by the time we got back to our room I had drunk around 9 litres up till that point. We did some more posing practice, with compulsories, symmetry quarter turns and free posing routine and then laid in bed with my compression wear leggings on, legs elevated on multiple pillows and a brandy to help dry me out for that shrink wrapped look of thin skin around all the muscle groups.
My plan on show day for meals was basically as normal eating with Dr Layne Norton's advice of continual normal water consumption till 2 hours before stage time. This worked very well for me in this season of contests as the feedback I got from people that saw me on stage and from contest photos posted on social media was both one of good muscle fullness and very good overall condition, particularly in my quadriceps, which are usually my nemesis for holding water and filming over. The other great thing about this of course was that physically and mentally I felt absolutely ready to rock and roll to get on stage and strut my stuff!
Louise had helped me apply just one coat of the Original Contest Colour early that morning for a base tan followed by a trial of Wayne Wilson's Suntanon Supertan final coat put on about 1 hour before stage time. This product proved to be an absolute winner as it isn't as oil based and heavy as Dream Tan therefore not blurring muscular definition as much. You could see through the tan better with it looking more natural and drying somewhat quicker. It was also very easy to apply with my entire body covered in under 20 minutes. It was also one hell of lot easier to wash off later on!
You can order this product through Wayne Wilson's Suntanon Facebook page. A bit cheaper than Dream Tan too! The photos below show very clearly just how good this looks, these were taken just after application and just before I went on stage. Definitely worth giving a try!
My goal for this show was to try and defend my Masters title from 2012 but from the get-go it was very clear that the other five finely tuned gentlemen in my class were going to make this task very difficult indeed.
So we did our pre-judging in the morning, banged out my punchy music routine to the Bryan Ferry classic "Let's stick together" as literally the opening act in the evening and then came back onstage for the final posedown and presentations. In the end I finished in second place behind an incredible densely muscled chap from Papua New Guinea by the name of Jack Vilma. He was very conditioned too and a very nice bloke to boot. Jason Barrett, whom I competed against before last year, finished third but had really improved which was great to see. Jack was so good that he actually went on to win the Overall later that night! It was great to see someone achieve such a great reward especially given the effort from travelling overseas.
All in all it was a fantastic fun filled day and it was so good catching up with the entire ANB family. I made more new friends, consolidated old friendships and was once again walking away with a feeling of looking forward till the next time we could do it all again. Steve and Antoniette Jones did a superb job in running the show, so much glitz and glamour combined with excellent organization. The trophies were imported from the US and are manufactured by the same company that produces the Mr Olympia Sandow statues!! (pictured below is my first place trophy from 2012 and the second place trophy from this year, alongside the actual Sandow statue itself).
I also managed to speak with Phil Lehner and commend both himself and his judges for their great efforts in not rushing their assessments of the competitors and for judging all the way down to the minor placings.
Louise and I then had a very nice meal later that night at our favourite place in the GC being Hard Rock Cafe. The next day it was breakfast at Toscani's, Donut King mid-morning and then an awesome Waygu cheeseburger at the Longboards Bar and Eatery for lunch! We then caught the bus back to Cooloongatta Airport for our flight home with work the next day!!!
Louise was such great support during the entire experience and did a superb job in making sure my tan was absolutely spot on. We do make a great team and I look forward to the day I can return the favour for her when she makes a comeback to the stage herself in the Figure division.
So now I am very much looking forward to that post-contest rebound and growth spurt you get from higher calories with a reduction in cardio. As always I will get straight back to the gym so as to make use of this window of opportunity but slowly increase my carbohydrate intake whilst still maintaining my canine cardio walk with my beagle Mr Brown in the mornings. And yes there will be some treats along the way with some big Super Food Friday cheat meals already lined up with my buddy big Les!
A post-contest plan of attack
I always like to put a plan in place post-contest to try and improve on my last showing. I will continue to focus on my weak points all whilst trialling a training routine I did some years ago with quite a degree of success. This regime is based on giving the body lots of time for rest, recovery and growth allowing you to really hit individual muscle groups very hard with my own version of HIT style training. It is based on 4 workout days per week and training the entire body over 9 days, for example...
Monday: Quads and Calves (soleus)
Friday: Hamstrings & Calves (gastrocnemius)
Tuesday: Shoulders and Triceps
This routine is great for training through niggles or minor injuries and also very effective for natural athletes whose recovery ability is not the same as for those that choose to use performance enhancing drugs. The other aspect which applies particularly to me is that as we get older our ability to recover reduces so this training regime suits that really well too. I will do this for at least a few months and will then let you all know how it progresses.
Exercise of the Month
I have discussed before the importance of contracting the hamstrings isometrically via the very gruelling stiff-legged deadlift. I have used this exercise for some years now after adopting Dorian Yate's approach of working the hamstrings on a separate day to quadriceps. I again received comments regarding my glute and hamstring development during this last season of shows. My advice is now always along the lines of..."are you doing stiff-legged deadlifts??"
Stand with your feet pointing straight ahead, now grab the bar with a shoulder width grip with either both hands over the top of the bar or alternating with one overhand and the other underhand. Look straight ahead at yourself in the mirror and then pull the bar upwards all whilst maintaining a flat lower back and knees just slightly bent throughout the entire range of motion. When you lower the bar take it down slowly to a point where the bar lines up with roughly the midway point between knees and ankles. You should be able to really feel a great stretch throughout the entire hamstring from the back of the knee to the bottom the glute.
I normally start my hamstring workout with this movement followed by lying leg curls and/or one legged standing leg curls.
In the past when I have done only leg curls the level of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) afterwards is nowhere near as bad as the days after doing the stiff-legged deadlift hamstring workout.
Give it a try and watch a definite change to the development in that area unfold in the months to follow.
My Dad was my inspiration that got me started in the great sport of Bodybuilding when I was only 19 years of age. His inspiration was Reg Park, a former Mr Britain and Mr Universe from the 1950's and 60's. I stumbled across this classic black and white photo from around 1968 of both Arnold Schwartznegger and Reg.
Reg Park actually guest posed at some of the contests my Dad competed in in the late 1950's. My Dad recalls a train ride after a contest where Reg sat by himself with a huge stack of fish & chips wrapped up in newspaper where he proceeded to devour the whole lot, with the people in that carriage looking on in absolute awe!!
Reg also played the part of Hercules in some old movies.
As it turns out Reg was Arnold's idol too, now that is saying something!!
As some of you may know my favourite fun-food straight after a bodybuilding season of shows is the delicious donut! I usually manage to score my ultimate favourite, 'Krispy Kremes', from Melbourne or Sydney Airport after the various National titles I have competed in. So it was a little disappointing when after the recent Asia Pacific that Cooloongatta Airport didn't have a Krispy Kreme stall!
Luckily my local shopping centre in WA has a Dreamy Donut stand so when I got back home I bought a cool dozen with a variety of flavours and shared them with my Supa Food Friday buddy big Les. We had six each with some of my expresso coffee and really enjoyed the whole experience immensely. For me it is an absolute celebration marking the end of another incredible pre-contest journey. It had been on my mind for weeks and it was really something I was looking forward to. Pictured below is the dirty dozen Dreamy Donuts with my pizza omelette I ate about an hour beforehand. This particular pizza omelette was made from 4 jumbo free range eggs, chopped shallots, grape tomatoes, sliced mushrooms and low fat grated Mozzarella cheese.
Some people actually accuse me of being a 'foodaholic'...I think they may be right!!
So in closing Blog #24 I would again like to thank all those people that have been reading my blogs and very happy that some of you have been able to use my advice and tips as well as gain some motivation and enthusiasm to kickstart some new found gains. As I often like to say..."Always glad to be of service!"
All the very best with your health & fitness lifestyle till next we meet on the awesome ANB Australia Newstand.
Kind regards and best wishes, CW :-)))