August 2nd 2008, that was the last time I stepped off a bodybuilding stage. It was so long ago, but my memories are still so vivid. I recall flying across the country, and it was actually the first time I had ever traveled somewhere east of Texas. The crazy part was that I was doing so to compete in a bodybuilding show. A pro bodybuilding show nonetheless, and it was my first pro show. Simply the act of traveling in order to compete made me feel like a pro. I recall with such clarity that day, because I knew it would be the last time I would compete for a while. I made sure to soak everything in, including meeting Ben Goins, Layne Norton, and Dr Joe, who were all guys that had inspired me along the way to work my hardest and smartest. I recall my numb left leg that I would have to pick up out of seats because of an injury I’d sustained earlier that year and how despite that, I toughed it out and managed to have a great season. I recall no numbness in my heart, as it beat with pain the whole lonesome plane ride across the country. I had just lost my best friend and training partner two days earlier, and among the excitement there was an empty feeling.
2008 at the San Jose International Airport
This year it was different, as I was not alone on a plane, a nervous wreck about getting up on a pro stage. Even though I was competing with a product that was still a bit rough around the edges (the glutes and hams area mostly), I still was not the least bit nervous. Unlike my last outing, it was not about "tearing it up". On the contrary, it was just about getting back up there and enjoying the sport. No extra pressure (mostly from myself) this time, I just wanted to be up there, showcase my hard work, and have a memorable weekend with my friends. No 5 hour plane ride alone or a hurricane of thoughts spinning in my head. This time I was accompanied by Eric, Barb, and Melissa; three of the many sprinkles of grace in my life in recent years. It was an 11 hour car ride which I was actually looking forward to, even if it was in a tiny Hyundai Accent. We almost didn't make it actually, as we ran into car trouble about 45 minutes outside of Boise. We limped in, and with the help of our friends Paul, Scott, and Michelle, we were able to get back and forth from the venue to the hotel while in town. Truly, I have such a wonderful support system once I stop and think about it. This was also my friend Paul's first Pro show; he had earned his NGA Pro Card two weeks earlier and was looking to get his striated feet wet. Paul, as you will see, was as cool as the other side of the pillow the whole time. I mused that this was in complete contrast to my mental state from my first show experience in 2008.
Melissa, Myself, Barbara, Eric, Tom, Scott, Michelle! The Blue Bunny Ice Cream Crew!
Before we knew it the morning came, and mornings before shows usually come up real fast, either because you get up early to get a head start on your meals, and/or because you didn't sleep a wink. I actually slept a good 6 hours, which is probably a personal best for me on the eve of a show. I also would like to add that I woke up looking just as how I had hoped considering I ran a last minute peak. I was actually debating running a "peak week" at all, but I figured by late Tuesday that it would not hurt, and it would serve as a metabolic break of sorts. So I started a very conservative peak week on Wednesday, loaded through Thursday, and used Friday as a maintenance day to hold my look in terms of fullness, tightness, etc. Usually I start my peak weeks on Monday, but I figured I was due for an impulse buy of sorts. Friday evening I looked pretty good, not flat at all, just nice and steady and most importantly predictable.
Upon arriving at the venue I realized that even though this show was held at high school, it was going to be a show, as the promoter Allen Bowlden really goes out of his way to make sure every detail is taken care of. It was a great platform for the athletes to show their work, and not to mention an extravagant experience for the audience. From the most generous "goodie bags" I have ever received, to the show being broadcasted backstage for the competitors to enjoy, this was a quality event. Even bodybuilding.com was there covering the blow by blow. Two states away and all, but this might be on my "to do" or "to enjoy" list for the years to come.
Tomko and I not taking anything serious per usual
So back to the show, it was almost surreal that I was even competing until we were about 2 hours out and it came time to bathe myself in dream tan. Now anyone who knows me is well aware that I really dislike this portion of the competitive experience. I love dream tan’s look, and the end product when applied correctly, but I really dislike wearing it. This time as the first globs of the glittery mess went on I could not help but bask in its cold, oily, full-of-hassle application. It had been way too long, and seeing my reflection in the mirror made it all that much more real. It was official: I was a bodybuilder again, and I was going to compete in a matter of hours-unreal!
All gunked up!
Before I knew it, I was back up there on stage after a nearly three year absence, and of course it was extra sweet being with the first call-out. Before long we had been on stage for over an hour. I was proud of the fact that I held my composure quite well. I thought the 35 minute symmetry round at my last show was grueling, but this one took the cake in that department. When it came down to it, I ended up placing 4th and earning money. Sure placing in the top five was a sweet achievement in itself, but the best part was simply just getting back on that stage, and having a great time at a show as a competitor. I was thankful for my great support system, not just via the 3DMJ coaches, but even our clients. We truly are a team in every which way! The messages that poured in through my phone all day, my mother keeping close tabs on me via my girlfriend Melissa…I have to say I am simply blessed to be surrounded by so much and so many things that are so positive. I want to take this moment to thank all of you.
I didn't end up making it back home until early Wednesday morning. Even as tired as I was, I was one happy camper. I was left with a sense of optimism that this is going to be a great season. While it’s going to be long and challenging (and challenging might be an understatement), I feel very confident about what is to come. Next up is the IFPA Muscle Mayhem on July 16th, and as you can see from the picture below, if last year’s pro line-up is a sign of things to come, then this year then I have quite the challenge on my hands.
Top 5 at the 2010 IFPA Pro USA
But, challenges are not to be taken up with any fear; on the contrary you should test yourself, do so with intense optimism, and take it all as a great learning experience. I will learn so much about myself during these next few weeks, which of course is a big part of my infatuation with this sport. It takes you out of your comfort zone like nothing else, and shows you what you are really made of. So here we go...8 weeks out! Until next time!
One of my favorite treats! RARE game burgers
Melissa and I bowling, we had a great time wandering around the city of Boise.
In : Team 3DMJ
Tags: alberto nunez natural bodybuilding nga atlas contest preparation bodybuilding team 3dmj team 3dmj blog
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