So it’s been one day since I stepped on stage for the first time as an NPC Physique competitor. The day was a long one and the day before even longer. I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed out before a competition before. Here’s what happened.
So I bought a new car off my grandparents on Wednesday of this week. I installed my Bluetooth head unit from Clarion, put my Spartan sticker on the back window, stuck my Baltimore Orioles fuzzy dice in the window, installed my 12″ subwoofer in the back, all is good in the world. I made my mark on a 2004 Pontiac Vibe with 88,000 miles. Fast forward to Friday on my trip up to Allentown, PA for my show and the battery light is on. Weird. A little bit later my head unit shuts off. Weird. Maybe I wired up the wiring harness wrong? No worries. All of a sudden, a few minutes later, we hit traffic. As I slow down my dash lights go off. This is not good. I make my way over to the shoulder and there she dies. Mandatory check-in is out the window. I’ll never make it there by 8. Luckily AAA to the rescue. We called AAA only to find that our AAA membership expires oct 1 (which would have been tomorrow at that time). The guy said we were cancelled. So I had to 3 way my parents who are the head of the AAA plan to get things sorted out. Meanwhile, I am sitting with my wife and 4 month old infant just feet off a very busy interstate. Not a happy camper. After a few minutes, we got things sorted out and AAA was on their way. They made us a priority since we had an infant and were there within 5 minutes. They determined that it was the alternator and they had to get us off the interstate. So they had two trucks, they put a battery pack on my car and shut the hood down a little, and told me the plan. One truck drove in front of us, the other truck behind us, and they escorted us a mile up the interstate on the shoulder off the interstate to a gas station right off the exit. Come to find out, the first thing they asked is why the alternator was all slimy. Turns out my dad thought it was a good idea to use engine cleaner under the hood and spray down the engine. Water and electricity don’t mix. I called the venue and the event promoter was totally understanding and told me that I could come in early at 8 instead of 9 to check in. So we had to tow my car back 70 miles to a shop near our house, get our other car, and head back to Allentown, PA. 12:30AM we arrived at our hotel. Long day and sleep was sweet.
We woke up at 6:30 and checked out of the room and went downstairs to the free breakfast. I had my morning carb up meal of sausage, eggs, and two pancakes with a glass of water. We headed over to the venue and got checked in, got my height checked (a requirement in my class) and got ready to roll. Come showtime, Mens Physique was about halfway through the show. There were 119 competitors in total. The event was great, very well organized. About 40 minutes prior to my showtime, I got oiled up from my coach and started my pump up routine. Curls, push-ups, working with a band, anything I could do to get the muscles going and the veins popping. I wasn’t the biggest guy there by a long shot but I wasn’t the smallest. I also was not the most conditioned but my conditioning was pretty dang good compared to some. My time came and they called my name. I heard my family cheering and saw my daughters sign that said “Go Daddy!” on it. She showed it to me later, with the flowers and jewels and the boulder she drew that she put on there because she said I could lift boulders because I was so strong. I hit my poses and felt really good about it besides the cramp in my lower back and oblique. And that was it. Four months of hard work, prepping, dieting, lifting, and cardio for 30 seconds. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I set a goal for myself and accomplished it. There is no greater feeling than that.
Finals were at 5pm, so we grabbed some lunch and headed back. It was around this time that I realized I stank. I hadn’t showered in 3 days (at least not with soap) because of the spray tan. I had oil on me. It was a bad combination. The finals required us to do our posing routine one more time for everyone. There were four guys in my class, Novice A. They were all super nice and we were fist bumping each other and encouraging one another to go out and have fun. They called my name and I went out, smiled big and hit my poses. I managed to eliminate the cramping by eating a banana a half hour before stage this time. I made it a point to wave to my daughter before I walked off. They had us line up on the diagonal line taped to the stage as they announced the winners. I placed 4th out of 4 guys but that didn’t really matter to me.
Yes, I got a pretty cool trophy but even that didn’t matter. I did it. I wanted to completely transform my body from the skinny 150lb marathon runner to a Physique competitor. I did this in a year and a half. I was proud of myself. I was proud that I saw it through. I was proud that I put in the hard work and chose to endure the 4 months of dieting and prep that went into getting myself ready for this moment.
It was also in this experience that I realized I have work to do. My conditioning was good but there were many guys, even in my own class, whose conditioning was just as good but they were bigger. I know exactly what I need to work on for next year. I need to grow my back and chest and come in a little more conditioned. But now I know how it’s done. I’ve learned from this experience and can go on to do better next time.
There isn’t anything anyone can say that will take away from this experience. All the support that I’ve had along the way has been incredible and I hope to put on some size and make them proud once again at a show next year. This isn’t the end of me. This isn’t the end of bodybuilding for me. This is just the beginning. I’m hooked. I caught the competitive bug and I’ll come back stronger. Mark my words.