Post Contest

Post contest:

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It’s a tough time for competitive bodybuilders. And it may just offer some insight for non physique competitors as well.


Basically, I’ve just come off of controlled starving my body for 7 months. Let’s just say the body doesn’t like that! Even when you do it right, which I think I did, your hormones get out of whack. It’s all due to the body’s survival mechanisms. There are many different variables that get affected, a few notable ones: reduced testosterone, increased cortisol, reduced serotonin, increased hunger hormones and decrease satiety hormones, just to name a few.


Now is the time for me which is called by many the recovery or recovery diet period. This comes with its’ own set of difficulties. Essentially what I want to do is make my way back to reasonable bodyfat levels, but do so in a controlled fashion. I’ll be going from the leanest I’ve ever been in my life, so seeing that dissipate can be tough, mostly mentally.


Diet adherence, even though it’s a calorie surplus, can also be much tougher than the pre-contest during this recovery period as well. Without a clear goal, hitting macros perfectly can be tough. Wanting to relax and just eat whatever you want , sometimes mirroring an eating disorder, is a real temptation. This will lead to all types of problems though. Since the body is such a survival mode, it will add body-fat at an alarming rate. As a matter of fact, I have gained almost 30 pounds in less than a month after my first contest many years ago. Not good!


So now is the time to set some new goals, performance namely and settle back into a healthy lifestyle.


So what can you take from this, even if you’re not a physique competitor? Well many of us have done a “diet” where you lose 10-20# for an event and then put it all back on, and then some after. It’s important to see healthy eating as a lifestyle that does not have an end date. Periods of weight gain and loss are part of that and are normal, but we want to be sure to keep check of our mental health as well. I’m speaking as much to you as I am myself here.


Time to settle back in and set some goals! First one up? 405 Deadlift for 100 reps (10×10).


More to come!



NGA New Jersey Natural Recap

Wow, what a day yesterday was! First off, thank you again to all who have supported me during this prep. It’s a long grind for a guy like me, whose body loathes being lean, and it helps to have such an amazing group of friends and and family who are behind me 100%!


So here’s the recap:


I entered in 2 categories: The men’s master’s class: 35-45 and the men’s open middleweight class.


All the competitors at this show brought it! I had my work cut out for me all day, in every class. First time out was the men’s masters. It’s great being out there with those guys! Usually when you get to this stage of the game, there are some real miles on you, if you know what I mean! So there’s a special level of camaraderie with us old guys! I was lucky that the lighter guy (sorry brother, forgot your name, again!) in this class, was self admittedly, a little off on his conditioning on this day. I saw some pictures from 2 years ago of this guy and had we been on stage together then, I’m not sure how it would have played out. Then there was big Bruce out there with me. Clearly out muscling me by far. As with every time I was on stage I had no idea how the judges would see it.

Here’s some pics from this class:

Then on to the class I came for. The men’s open middleweight class. This was the most stacked class of the day and the judges worked us harder than any other class because of it. We were out there at least 2 times as long as any other class, probably longer than that. They had us redoing poses over and over again. I was concerned that I didn’t hit my posing hard enough leading into this show, but actually felt really good on stage, even with the extended time we were out there.

Here is the video:

I was very concerned that I was not moved around at all, and thought that the class was between 2 other guys. The afternoon after pre-judging had me playing mind games with myself, driving my friends ,who came out to support me, mad I’m sure. I analyzed the video and pictures and couldn’t call it. Lot’s of encouraging, kind words from people in the audience, afterwards, but with this sport, you just never know how it’s going to play out at the end of the day.

We came back at night and I was as nervous as I have ever been at a competition. I have been competing in one form or another for about 20 years. I can honestly say I’ve never really been very nervous before competitive events, usually just hyper focused and excited. Today was different. Even the week leading into this show was rough. I wasn’t sleeping well and was just generally stressed out and a bundle of nerves.

We came back after a much needed coffee break for the night show and I just couldn’t wait for the routines to get done and get out there and hear my fate for the class awards portion of the show.

Here is my posing routine. Kept it short and sweet for this one:

First up, was the master’s class. Our lightweight in the group was called out in 3rd place. Then the first of many emotional crescendos of the night. Big Bruce was called out in 2nd place, leaving me the winner of this class! Wow, had to keep it together, I knew I still had some work to do, at least 1 posedown for an overall title, the masters overall, was coming up still!

Right after that, I was brought back out for the master’s overall posedown. I was awarded first place there and received a master’s pro card for it!

There was a good amount of time between masters and the open class. Ate a little, pumped up some more. Waited. All the hard work playing in my head. All the years of effort. Did I make it? Like I said, I honestly had no idea.

We’re back stage and in our line up. Honestly, everyone in my class actually looked better at night than they did in the morning. It was unreal standing backstage waiting for this announcement. They began to call out the placing. 5th place, 4th place, then one of the competitors who I thought could have won the class was called in 3rd. Oh shit!

Ok, here we go! Come on judges, no more dramatic pauses please! So it was between myself and the competitor who I was highly concerned about. He out muscled me in quite a few shots. Great upper body and arms. Great muscle bellies and symmetry. All weak points for me! Well they called him out in 2nd place. There it was, I did it! This class was the only class, because of having enough competitors in it, to be be eligible for a pro card just by winning the class. So right then and there, my dream of becoming a professional bodybuilder were achieved! Surreal is only word I can use to describe it. It’s only just starting to seem real here now this morning.

Still, I had to keep my head in the game. I still had some real work ahead of me. I was now in running for the overall, up against all the other winners of their open weight classes.

My main concern was the big boys. It was either going to be Bruce again or my good friend and long time roll dog, Dante. Now there was a class that although it was only 2 of them in it, was very close. Dante’s huge upper body and conditioning had an advantage, but Bruce had some real thickness and width to him. Tough to call it.

Here is the video of that class:

Heavy weights

I waited to hear that indeed Dante had taken his class down! So excited for my brother here! This meant that, after so many years of competing together, we would finally be on stage together for comparisons. It almost happened in 2007, but now we finally had the opportunity! We were hype!  A true highlight of the night for me! We went through all the mandatory shots and then the fun part! The overall posedown! I went after the big guy and we had some fun! Dante clearly out muscle me on every damn shot! His upper body is stupid.
Here are some shots from the overall:

Then they called out the overall winner. I did it guys. Took down every class I entered and the overall title. What a day!



Time to tighten it back up, after a little off the rails eating, drinking and celebrating last night, to bring this journey back to the stage home on July 9th here in Philly. I hope that some of you can make it out for that one, and then join us in celebrating afterwards! Because I am going in after that show hard people!

The last leg…

The final weeks of contest prep for a bodybuilding show are always the most trying. Calories are low, energy and mood as well take hits. It’s a grind, and it’s time to pull out all the tools. So one tool, I don’t generally use while training is to plug in the headphones. Generally, we don’t encourage use of headphones in a group training environment. It’s hard to get the coaching you need from us and you’ll miss out on the group dynamic. To my 10a crew, I love ya guys! Believe me, you don’t want to listen to the obnoxious music I’ve got on on in these things. Just trying to squeeze every ounce out of my workouts right now, and sometimes Rick Ross is what it takes. As always, thanks for all the support! This has been quite the journey so far and I’m on the last leg of it!


First Show Down!

Ok, I’m officially back in the game! I had the pleasure of competing in the WPF Mr. Philadelphia contest this weekend and it was a great experience!

My good friend and old training partner Dante and I, pictured below, held out the information from our mentor that we were doing his show. We both haven’t seen him in a long time, and well let’s just say we got him good. Got a few tears off that tough skinned guy last night!

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The day went great, and was just generally a good time! It felt great to break the ice and finally get back up there on stage. Here’s a few pictures from backstage:

As the night went on, I had a feeling that I had a decent shot at this one, so I kept my head in the game. I was lucky enough to be on stage for the overall pose down and I’m sure only narrowly edged out my competition to take my first overall bodybuilding title ever! A pretty good start to the season for sure! Now it’s time to grind it out until my big shows at the end of June/early July!



Progress Update Week 12

Ok, so I’m 12 weeks into my Pre-Contest Prep!  The slow train keeps chugging along. I knew going in, that this was going to be a long haul, and that is proving to be true. As a guy who is not naturally lean, I know I need to take it slow and steady. I actually pushed my timeline for my first show back, from May to the end of June, because it looks like I’ll need the time. Things are progressing well and I have been slowly increasing my calories as I go along, while continuing to get leaner. Here’s the updated sets of progress pictures from week 8 on the left to week 12 on the right.

front relax 8-12side relax 8-12rear relax 8-12side relax r 8-12front lat 8-12side chest 8-12 Lrear lat 8-12rear dbl 8-12mm hands 8-12side abs 8-12