Last week I had the pleasure of attending a bodybuilding show, but this time not as a competitor.
I had been helping a young man named Ricky Carrillo get ready for the Jacksonville Physique Contest.
I met Ricky when he was 14 and playing basketball at the YMCA. He was an all-around athlete (athlete of the year at his High School) and is now an engineering major at UCF. While in HS, he would talk with me about weight lifting and nutrition. Once he went away to college, he took everything he had learned and applied it. Ricky came home for the Holidays a whopping 200 Lbs., when prior; it was all he could do to hit 150! He had been eating and training like he wanted something.
“Throughout my life, I was always the skinny kid. In 8th grade, I was ecstatic when the scale reached a whopping 100 pounds…By my senior year of high school, the scale finally hit 150 lbs., mostly due to added height and minimal muscle gains. In high school I always wanted to get bigger, but I never got the results, mostly due to a lack of knowledge on the subject, and extensive sports activities. I trained for increased performance in basketball, cross country, and track. After high school, I became increasingly interested and, some would say, obsessed with hypertrophy training. I spent my free time learning how the body functioned and how this correlated with muscle and strength gain. Wendy and I became closer friends through our mutual interests and talked often about nutrition and training. Our conversations sparked what would soon become more than just a hobby; bodybuilding through healthy eating/living became my lifestyle.”
Ricky came to me one day in December and said he wanted to cut up. I asked,” For what?” I am unsure he had anything in mind except to just try it. I suggested he get serious and register for a show. With some time and contemplation, he registered. When I saw him in January, I will never forget the day he lifted up his shirt for me. I said, “My gosh kid, you have gotten fat!” He looked massively muscular to others, a young man who had gained muscle. To me with a show in mind, he was fat. Needless to say, it was time to start a diet. He has studied a lot about nutrition and we would talk during the weeks ahead and decide what he needed to eat and how. He was getting to know his own body real well and that is a big, big part of being a successful competitive Bodybuilder. His approach was pretty direct:
“I came to Wendy in need of advice about how to turn my hope of one day competing into reality and she replied, “Well, go sign up for a show then!” With that being said, I found a contest to enter and began my first ever contest preparation.
January 2013, 12 weeks out from the show, I was 200 pounds and around 14-15% body fat. We wrote my diet and training plan and I “checked in” with Wendy continuously to stay on the right track. I soon found out dieting and training isn’t the only thing involved in a bodybuilding contest. I began my preparation with little to no knowledge of the important art of posing.”
Every week I would see Ricky and he would pose for me. I took photos as we watched his complete transformation into the bodybuilder he would become. We had some assistance from Big Mike, in posing. Mike has competed for years and he knows first hand what the judges look for in a guy. I just know what I look for in a guy, so Mike helped with the tweaking as Ricky listened to both of us with earnest intent:
“Wendy and Mike met with me every week to help me fine-tune my posing ability so I could display my body in a way that would make me competitive. I went into the show being able to pose comfortably and with confidence.”
Ricky was like a sponge soaking up all we had to offer. It was a beautiful display of discipline and determination. A clear cut reason he did so well. And then came the final week….Ricky writes;
“Perhaps the most confusing time for a bodybuilder is what is known as “peak week.” Sodium & water loading, carb & sodium depletion, “switching salts”, then carb loading, water depletion, weight management, shaving, tanning, grooming and posing (with the little posing trunks)…there was enough to keep track of that I needed a notebook just for peak week. With the help of Wendy’s experience, I was able to navigate my way through peak week and drastically improve my conditioning, lower my body fat and bring out the striations in my muscles.”
I need to add- through the 12 weeks, his bodyweight dropped to 165Lbs. The night of weigh in, he officially weighed 170lbs. By the evening show he was about 174lbs. Middleweight all the way!
“Now for the moment of truth, SHOW TIME. Stress levels are high, risking high cortisol levels and drastic body changes, inexperience causing restlessness and uncertainty. But, with Coach Wendy’s steady assurance and expertise, and support from my family & girlfriend, all of those hindering emotions were kept at bay and I was able to focus on “getting the job done.” I placed 3rd in my first competition in the most competitive division of the show. The judges had incredibly motivational and encouraging things to say to me after the show and my excitement grew beyond what I had imagined. Bodybuilding is now my lifestyle.”
It was quite an experience for me to be back in the arena again. I always want to be on stage when I am at the show, but I really don’t want to go through all the stage ready discipline anymore. We spoke to the judges to get a critique. They said he needed to come back darker (tan) next time and keep doing what he is doing regarding weight training and diet. They also said he reminded them of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger! This was enough to get Ricky excited to keep on going. His thoughts:
“I want to express my thanks and gratitude to my Coach Wendy, my family, my girlfriend and supportive friends who were there for help during my preparation and for being a part of my journey to make my desire to compete a reality.”
Incentive, no doubt. We all need it to move forward. I will use it and so will Ricky.
See you next time.