My first Physique Contest
On very short notice I entered my first men's physique show this weekend hosted by the Ontario Physique Association (OPA) at Algonquin College. I have done many different types of competitions, I have also done bodybuilding many years ago. The reason I stopped doing bodybuilding is that for me, it seemed like I dieted and trained my butt off to peak for a day, only to. It be able to maintain my body in that condition and to proceed to bloat up pretty bad afterwards. I figured I would do a physique show, which requires less conditioning, with no contest prep.
I wasn't expecting to win, let alone place. Admittedly I was in over my head. Thankfully some of the other experienced competitors gave me a couple pointers. The best advice I could give is that if you want to do well, hire a posing coach and work on your posing. Work on it a lot. After talking to the judges they said I should get back into bodybuilding as my body was better suited for that. Apparently even being down to 175 pounds at 5'7" is still too big for physique.
Everyone seemed friendly, people were eager to help out others. No one seemed to mind me pulling up my lunch kit as a head rest and grabbing a nap pretty much anywhere I could find a safe place to sleep. Everyone had their little routines for pumping up, carbing up, drying out, etc. everyone was different. Competitors had their coaches following them around keeping their nerves calm and reassuring their choices.
The staff was excellent. It ran on time, they gave us plenty of notice to get our tans touched up and get a bit of a pump before jumping onstage.
I met many other competitors, some local, many travelled from as far as Toronto. I was talking with one girl who had dieted and trained for 6 months for this show. That seems like a lot of sacrifice for one day's results, and if it's like many of the competitors they really blow up after the event. Which I hope they don't, but especially amongst the men there is still the off-season bulk mentality. Most where shocked to understand that I walk around normally in this condition.
I tried to manipulate my water a bit for the show, not something I should have done. I have done this to make weight before, but doing it for aesthetic purposes is different. I wasn't sure how to maintain the dryness from the morning show until the evening show. They brought out a table full of sweets (you would never see this at a CrossFit competition) before the evening show. One of the trainers recommended I eat a bunch to help pull the water back into the muscles. That was a mistake. I haven't eaten junk food in so long that it did not settle well. I was no longer laying down napping, I was laying down with a severely cramping stomach.
The day consisted of two major parts. I showed up Friday at noon to get my first coat of spray tan. I am familiar with this from bodybuilding days. This is pretty much a paint they cost you with to look like an Oompa Loompa. This is because the lights are so strong they wash out even the darkest tan. I headed back home for supper, then back at 6 for registration and an athlete meeting. This could have been all done online and saved us some time. Saturday at 7:10am I got my final cost of tan. Then the waiting game. I slept until about 11 when the men's physique short were called out. These were out mandatory poses. Basically we were all caked out together and compared by the judges. This is where all the real decisions were made.
We we then had a break until 5pm. I used this as an opportunity to catch up on yet more sleep. I could be found all weekend napping in various places. It was great. We the had a touch up on our tans and got ready for the night show. The night show is much more exciting from a spectator point of view. They aired a little 10 second intro video about each competitor before they stepped onstage and were given one last opportunity to wow the judges and show your stage precence. I didn't do so well at this point. I was bored and bloated by this point.
When the weekend was over I felt drained and exhausted. I didn't watch much of the show, and as soon as my last call out was done I headed home to see my family. This is not for me, but perhaps if you are one of the people who have dieted for 6 months to get stage ready you are enjoying every minute of that special day. I would probably do it again, but I might try the classic bodybuilding next time. That limits the amount of muscle by height, which provides a more natural classic physique. I would also bring my family for at least the evening show.
My opinion was definitely in the minority, many people were super happy, using the backstage time as socializing time. IN A SPORT WHERE YOU SPEND THE MOST OF YOUR TIME TRAINING BY YOURSELF I CAN UNDERSTAND THE COMPETITORS. PERSONALLY I WOULD PREFER MY PHYSIQUE LOOKING THE WAY IT DOES AS A RESULT OF MY TRAINING VS TRAINING TO LOOK GOOD. FUNCTIONAL FITNESS FOR THE WIN.
If I were to do it again I would probably bring someone along to keep me company, I would also definitely work on my posing. Physique seemed like an easy choice, but turns out I should have done bodybuilding. Perhaps next time.
Yours in health,