June 6, 2015
Road to Provincials: Day 232/231
I made it…
The show has come and gone and I am now relaxing in my hotel room after a long couple of days. Peak week got pretty dicey for a bit there, leaving me pretty edgy and lethargic due to carb depletion but in the end I survived.
On Wednesday of this week I began to load carbs and that’s when my attitude shifted for the better. It’s funny how a little extra carbohydrate can make all the difference in your mood. My days consisted of pretty much nothing other than eating, sleeping and drinking water as the competition neared.
When Thursday night rolled around I double checked my luggage and all of my pre-cooked meals for the next couple of days and made sure I was all packed and ready to go. Friday morning was to be a fairly early departure so I wanted to do everything the night before so I could just sleep right until it was time to leave on Friday morning.
I am notorious for over packing but this time I didn’t do that bad. I ended up bringing a medium sized luggage, a backpack, a cooler full of food and a FitMark bag. Oh, and a tub of protein powder, of course.
Friday morning hits and I’m wide awake at 6:30am, excited (and a little nervous) and ready to go. We hit the road and drop Rico off at my Dad’s house, grab some gas, snagged a coffee and some eggs and pancakes and we were on the highway by 8.
We made great time and showed up with an hour or so to spare before my first coating of spray tan. After getting settled in the hotel room, I went to the athlete’s meeting and then grabbed my tan. Back up to the hotel room after that to max out until roughly 5pm or so. During this time I pretty much laid around in bed, snapped a few selfies, ate meals and tried not to sweat.
A few hours later it’s time to grab my second tan. Two coats and I’m looking pretty dang dark and extra shredded. Back up to the room for a bit and then around 7pm I cruised back down to watch a few categories of bodybuilders do their thing before it was my turn to head up.
Around 8/8:30pm it was time for me to head back stage, get glazed up and begin a light pump up. The first time I competed I was a bit nervous and uncomfortable backstage simply because I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. This time, I felt right at home. I came to the realization after my first show that nobody gives a damn about you backstage, they have their own stuff to worry about! Besides that, everyone is super cool and non-judgmental backstage anyway. Before I actually competed myself, I just assumed that everyone was mean mugging everyone else back there and talking shit and whatever else but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone is in their own zone and if someone does chat with you, it’s usually positive and uplifting comments or just simple small talk. So with this in mind this time around, I was completely at ease and ready to do my thing.
Immediately before walking out I quickly did a couple sets of push ups, bent over rows, lateral raises and some pull aparts to pump up a little. I grabbed a small handful of gummy bears, tossed them in my mouth and walked out on stage with about 20 other competitors in the medium tall category.
Once on stage, it was go time. The lights were super bright which made it hard to see beyond the judges in the first row but I was still able to find my wife sitting a few rows back with a big smile on her face. Right away I felt at ease. Not only does she make me feel comfortable but she’s also my mini coach, reminding me to stand tall, smile big, flair the lats, flex the abs, etc. I would look at her, she would give the signal, I would adjust. It was good teamwork.
As I’m up there I begin to glance around at some of the other competitors and I see some really impressive physiques. Some guys are super cut and some look more like bodybuilders than physique guys. Until then I hadn’t really noticed anyone around me, I was too busy focusing on myself. Now that I was looking around I realized there was some serious competition out there (as their should be at this level). I quickly shook the comparisons out of my head and just focused on standing tall, smiling, flexing my abs and flexing my lats. The rest was up to the judges.
Within a few short minutes, everyone is ushered off the stage and that’s it. The placings are all but decided and all that is left is a quick appearance again tomorrow afternoon for finals. I failed to make the top 5 which means I don’t qualify to move on to nationals. I’m a little bummed out about this for about 15 minutes and then I realize that I was beat out fair and square and the only two options I had here were to a) get back on the horse and come back with an improved physique or b) just give up and then bitch about how I should have placed higher or whatever. The answer was obvious.
After a quick burger and fries with some friends at a nearby restaurant, I head back to the hotel room aka ‘the lab’ to start putting together my plan of attack for the next 6-9 months of training and nutrition. I’m determined to take note of everything I learned during this prep, including weaknesses in my physique and posing, so that I can turn these into strengths. I want to come back with zero weaknesses, which means I need to start planning and implementing now. By Saturday morning, I have a fully detailed plan of action for both the gym and the kitchen, ready to go. I’m fired up and want to get back to the gym and train.
The rest of the day goes by, I hit the stage again for finals, we peruse the fitness expo, grab a pizza and max out for another relaxing night in the hotel and watched a movie. On Sunday morning we packed up early, hit up a local doughnut shop for a sweet treat and then hit the road.
The weekend that was long awaited had come and gone in the blink of an eye. All those hours spent in the gym, all those grocery trips and nights of food prep, all the time and money spent on the entire process had all come together in a wonderfully hectic crescendo and then just like that, it was over. On to the next one.
All in all, this experience was one to remember. I had a great time preparing for this competition and even more fun stepping on stage. Something about this time around really resonated with me. I enjoyed the process as well as the science behind the diet and training immensely. I learned a lot about my body during these past few months and I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned and apply it again for my next contest prep. Until then, it’s time to adjust the meal plan, get back in the gym, train like an animal and put on some more muscle before it’s time to diet back down again.
Anyone who enters a bodybuilding competition always has a long list of people to thank for support along the way, and my case is no different.
I have to thank my wonderful wife Dea first and foremost. She put up with my crap, helped me prep meals, kept me accountable in the gym and the kitchen, and supported me 100% of the way – thank you babe, I love you more than words can express!
Of course I have to thank my friend Tom Beltrami for helping me dial things in during the last six weeks. Without him by my side I wouldn’t have even peaked in time to make it on stage. Tom helped me achieve a very lean and dry physique through diet and cardio adjustments that I had overlooked and I can’t thank him enough for his guidance during the final stretch of my prep.
Even though I’m a solo lifter for the most part, I have to give some love to my gym friends and fellow competitors who I saw every day (sometimes twice) for the last three months or so. You guys not only motivated me by letting me know if you had seen some progress with me but also by simply being there working your asses off, doing your own thing. Some of you were preparing for the same show as me, some of you just train hard because you’re beasts – either way, I was able to feed off of your drive and it made my training better. So thank you.
To all of my personal training clients, you guys seriously rock. I have a tendency to get a little edgy while in the final throws of dieting and unfortunately you guys ended up right in the line of fire at times. As much as I try not to be a grump when I’m hungry it’s still a challenge I struggle with so you all ended up seeing ‘Diet Dave’ a few times too many, and I apologize for that! Thank you for not firing me or punching me in the junk – I know I deserved it at times.
And to the rest of my friends and family who showed me love along the way, a tremendous ‘thank you’ goes out to you too. It’s awesome to know that people are following along and sharing my journey as I prepare for these competitions. Not only that but everyone has been so positive and uplifting and it really helped on days that I didn’t quite feel like hitting the gym or putting in time to do some food prep. Knowing others were keeping an eye on my progress pushed me forward.
Plans may change in the future but as it stands now, I plan to compete again sometime early next year. When and where that will be is undecided at this point. I won’t be blogging a ‘Road to Regionals’ countdown this time around but I will be sure fill you in on details as the date draws near. Until then, eat clean, train hard and sleep well and I’ll meet you in Gainstown.