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Arnold Classic 2023 Divisions

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  • #76
    Originally posted by lifepulse View Post

    And this is why I actively discourage people from doing bikini, wellness, MPD, etc., when they reach out to me for coaching. I mean, if they really want to, go for it. But why would anybody in their right mind prep so hard, for so long, so they just "stood there on stage like cattle", never even getting to pose or do a routine? Seems like stupid exploitation at its finest.


    To ME -- bodybuilding is about "taking your lumps, even when you don't want to". My first natty show, I refused to do novice, on principle -- because my thinking was "Why would I want to compete in a class that is DESIGNED for 'lesser people'? If I'm going to put the effort in to prep, I want to stand against the best the show has to offer -- and if I lose, that's fine, I will learn from it and get better moving forward".


    My second season -- still natty -- I competed in non-tested NPC shows, KNOWING I would get my ass handed to me. But end of the day, who the hell cares? There's ALWAYS going to be somebody with better genetics than you, who beats you EVEN THOUGH you dieted harder, longer, etc. So walking into a show "concerned about losing" -- you're already too fragile, mentally, and won't end up happy at the end of it all anyways.


    I believe this is why all of the 212 guys want to do open now. Say what you want, there's no PRIDE in winning the 212 -- because, by definition, it is a "sub-par class". Every 212 guy wants to know how he would stack up NEXT TO the open guys. Every classic guy wants to know how he would stack up NEXT TO the open guys. And so forth.


    This sport is "supposed to be" about GROWING -- about aiming for the highest pinnacle. Yet we have spent the last decade making it "inclusive for everybody", introducing every handicap that we can think of.


    It hasn't made the sport "better". It has just led to endless in-fighting and debate -- all while slowly sliding into a true T&A contest, rather than a muscle contest.


    -David
    Hi David

    I think one thing that has made athletes veer off course, from my perspective, is the pursuit of the pro card. It’s almost as if that is the holy grail & be all & end all for success in this game.

    Also the idea that every single competitors dream is to then end up onstage at the Olympia.

    Had a conversation with the UKBFF President many years ago about these two very subjects, he basically stated that pro cards & being in the Olympia was the ONLY goal of all of those that compete.

    I replied “I compete, it isn’t mine”, I was winning & placing pretty well in small novice level shows all over the UK, but I had absolutely NO idea (or delusion) that the end goal for me was to turn pro, do Olympia etc etc. But many competitors are not realistic and now we have divisions like men’s physique & classic that - let’s face it- ARE easier & faster (potentially) to turn pro in than in open men’s bodybuilding.

    I was competing (mostly) right before Classic, the next step up for me was in the heavyweights and what- going up against Zack Khan, Alvin Small or Daz Ball at the finals? It was never, ever going to happen that way for me.

    Maybe if Classic had been around when I was at my best, yeah, maybe I’d have placed well at the finals (I qualified for the finals in Classic back in my last show in 2013, but I looked complete dogshit & the whole diabetes thing flared up RIGHT after that last show) thus ending my competitive days onstage.

    And the thing with categories like bikini is - Theoretically - (and I have seen this happen many times) is an athletic girl with good genetics can pretty much walk into a gym to start training & in under a year, turn pro and even win pro shows. (Remember 2010 Olympia champ Nicole Nagrani, 18 years old?)

    So, from a personal standpoint, competing was purely a personal thing. I guess I wanted to see if someone like me with horrible genetics & zero athletic talent (& who has never even seen his own abs before my first ever prep) could just do it & get up there and not make a complete fool of myself.

    Pro cards & competing in the Olympia were never, ever a motivator for me & didn’t enter my head, not even once.

    Self-satisfaction of doing it was more than enough for me, I loved every minute of it, the challenge, the idea of working towards an end date & giving it my all.

    Now, we have athletes starting gear & preps way too early, employing coaches way too soon without learning enough by themselves through trial & error.

    So many are in such a damned rush & only train to compete & to turn pro. Too much pressure in my mind…
    Last edited by Giles; September 6, 2022, 04:31 AM.
    MD Global Muscle Radio ep.40-https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-MIKWx8sAcw&t=5319s

    Comment


    • #77
      Originally posted by Giles View Post

      Hi David

      I think one thing that has made athletes veer off course, from my perspective, is the pursuit of the pro card. It’s almost as if that is the holy grail & be all & end all for success in this game.

      Also the idea that every single competitors dream is to then end up onstage at the Olympia.

      Had a conversation with the UKBFF President many years ago about these two very subjects, he basically stated that pro cards & being in the Olympia was the ONLY goal of all of those that compete.

      I replied “I compete, it isn’t mine”, I was winning & placing pretty well in small novice level shows all over the UK, but I had absolutely NO idea (or delusion) that the end goal for me was to turn pro, do Olympia etc etc. But many competitors are not realistic and now we have divisions like men’s physique & classic that - let’s face it- ARE easier & faster (potentially) to turn pro in than in open men’s bodybuilding.

      I was competing (mostly) right before Classic, the next step up for me was in the heavyweights and what- going up against Zack Khan, Alvin Small or Daz Ball at the finals? It was never, ever going to happen that way for me.

      Maybe if Classic had been around when I was at my best, yeah, maybe I’d have placed well at the finals (I qualified for the finals in Classic back in my last show in 2013, but I looked complete dogshit & the whole diabetes thing flared up RIGHT after that last show) thus ending my competitive days onstage.

      And the thing with categories like bikini is - Theoretically - (and I have seen this happen many times) is an athletic girl with good genetics can pretty much walk into a gym to start training & in under a year, turn pro and even win pro shows. (Remember 2010 Olympia champ Nicole Nagrani, 18 years old?)

      So, from a personal standpoint, competing was purely a personal thing. I guess I wanted to see if someone like me with horrible genetics & zero athletic talent (& who has never even seen his own abs before my first ever prep) could just do it & get up there and not make a complete fool of myself.

      Pro cards & competing in the Olympia were never, ever a motivator for me & didn’t enter my head, not even once.

      Self-satisfaction of doing it was more than enough for me, I loved every minute of it, the challenge, the idea of working towards an end date & giving it my all.

      Now, we have athletes starting gear & preps way too early, employing coaches way too soon without learning enough by themselves through trial & error.

      So many are in such a damned rush & only train to compete & to turn pro. Too much pressure in my mind…

      I agree on all levels.


      The whole "the goal is to turn pro -- no wait, the goal is to stand on the Olympia stage" -- is a "fake dream" that the IFBB themselves have foisted on the masses with the rhetoric rolled out year after year at the Olympia.


      Fact of the matter is -- I never even had a goal to COMPETE. When I started bodybuilding -- literally, living the lifestyle -- training with weights on a daily body part split for hypertrophy, and eating a high protein/moderate carb diet -- I WAS "bodybuilding" -- but I had no CONCEPT that I "should" want to compete someday.


      My goal was simple -- be less fat, and be more muscular. How MUCH less fat, and how MUCH more muscular -- I had no idea, because I didn't really know what was POSSIBLE (given my childhood obesity).


      If I had to characterize my goal in "some other way", I would have said, "My goal is took a little more like Arnold Schwarzenegger" -- because, well, I grew up watching Arnold in movies. I did NOT grow up "watching the Olympia", as a kid in the 80s.


      So, we set our initial "goals" -- our initial driving motivation -- usually based on what we are exposed to, culturally.


      Two years into my own training, I started working at a commercial gym as a personal trainer. I decided to diet down and get as "close to shredded" as I could (given my knowledge at the time), then do some pictures at the end of that diet phase to document my progress.


      I happened to work with a few other competitive bodybuilders at that gym -- one was a national-level NPC superheavyweight (Reggie Anderson); another was a Muscle Mania pro (Anthony Villaci); the third was a trainee of Art Atwood's at the time (Matt something-or-other, can't remember his last name).


      Once I was dieted down, they all said, "Hey bro, ever think about competing? You look good. You're too small -- you need to spend some time putting on more size -- but you clearly have the drive".


      That planted the seed. I looked at my physique, and realized that I needed more time -- to improve my symmetry (get my upper body more balanced to my lower body), and to put on overall size.


      It took me 3 more years of training -- bulking up and cutting down -- before I threw my hat in the ring for my first show. And at that time, my goal was STILL never "to go pro", or "to step on stage at the Olympia". It was simply to get into the best shape of my life, and do a natural bodybuilding show -- and hopefully, win. (I took 2nd.)


      Each time I competed, I set sub-goals. By 2010, I had started using gear, and for the first time that year, won my class (2010 NPC Maryland State superheavies). So I then set the "goal" of eventually going a national show. :But my buddy at the time told me, I still didn't have enough size or good enough symmetry to be competitive -- so to take another long off-season to keep working on my physique. (At 6'1", and big boned, it was NOT going to be easy to "be competitive at the national level", and I KNEW it.)


      I qualified for nationals in 2010 (twice) -- again in 2012 (four times) -- again in 2014 (3 times) -- and again in 2016. Each time, I held off on going to the national level, for personal reasons.


      But as I got further along, I could SEE that the "scam" was becoming "getting people to chase their pro card". The pro card ITSELF had become the commodity, NOT the physique, or the lifestyle. During that 2010-2012 era, the various NPC promoters and officials -- and those within the IFBB -- really promoted the idea that "turning pro, is the end-game; that's what MATTERS".



      And I was hit with an influx of competitors -- or wanna-be competitors -- ALL concerned with "chasing their pro card", even though none of them had really put the time in, none had really lived the lifestyle all that long, none had really "slowly climbed the steps".


      On top of that, by then, I could see that I made far more money working as a trainer and coach, than I EVER would as a competitor "chasing a pro card". I could literally see that I made more money, as a lowly personal trainer, than pretty much all of the other IFBB pros in the state (most of whom I was personal friends with). They were all busy chasing some ridiculous dream, and trashing their health and personal lives while doing so; I was busy helping others, supporting my wife and child, and just bodybuilding because I LOVED BODYBUILDING, and loved living the lifestyle. (Similar to what Hollingshead is currently promoting with his social media).


      So yeah, most people jumped onto that bandwagon -- because most people vapidly absorb whatever cultural ideas are thrown at them, with every little independent thought. And the NPC/IFBB is complicit in "selling that dream" -- bragging about how many pro cards are given out now at Team U, at North Americans, and so forth.


      If you watch any interview with Bob Chic, he will typically say that "the real dream -- everybody's dream -- is to step on the Olympia stage".


      But that's patently not true. It was never my dream. Never ever. I was never so delusional as to ACCEPT that as "my dream".


      And the entire industry -- and competitor culture -- would likely be a little better off if we stopped trying to SELL THAT as "the dream". It is doing nothing but encouraging 25-year-olds to abuse drugs to a degree never before seen in the history of the sport, and die at ages we never thought possible.


      Quit with the bullshit. As my friend and former cohost of GEAR'D Up, Dave Smith, has said many times -- "Learn to separate bodybuilding the LIFESTYLE, from bodybuilding THE BUSINESSS":. The IFBB doesn't "own" the former. They only own the latter -- and try brainwashing the masses into believing that the two are synonymous.


      They are not. End of the day, the only people who are about stepping on the Olympia stage -- are the few within this culture who are already so insular to the rest of the world, and already so brainwashed, that they have, by and large, lost contact with reality.


      -David

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by lifepulse View Post
        Quit with the bullshit. As my friend and former cohost of GEAR'D Up, Dave Smith, has said many times -- "Learn to separate bodybuilding the LIFESTYLE, from bodybuilding THE BUSINESSS":. The IFBB doesn't "own" the former. They only own the latter -- and try brainwashing the masses into believing that the two are synonymous.
        Some time ago I read something in this line, Weider in a certain way hijacked what until then was a free sport.

        More than kidnapping, he capitalized very well the ideal of bodybuilding. I suppose this can be said of any organization of renown that promotes a sport with established norms.

        It's good that professional sport exists, but we can't be fooled by this idea that bodybuilding, or whatever sport it is, only belongs to the feds.


        For my part, I want to be a pro and get to the Olympia, but I hadn't established a plan to accomplish in a certain time. I just thought I could put the time and effort into it, I wasn't in a hurry. At some point I would realize that this dream was never going to come true, my genetics were nothing special, so I would just continue enjoying the lifestyle, but in a more serious and meticulous way than before reading the first magazines or seeing the Okabe DVDs.

        And the idea of competing in a lower or weaker class, or with drug controls (even if was natty), always seemed really against my nature and vision. If I was going to compete, I would do it against the best and in bodybuilding, because even though there were fitness-body classes for smaller guys, I was never drawn to that shit.
        http://betionastore.es/

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by lifepulse View Post


          I agree on all levels.


          The whole "the goal is to turn pro -- no wait, the goal is to stand on the Olympia stage" -- is a "fake dream" that the IFBB themselves have foisted on the masses with the rhetoric rolled out year after year at the Olympia.


          Fact of the matter is -- I never even had a goal to COMPETE. When I started bodybuilding -- literally, living the lifestyle -- training with weights on a daily body part split for hypertrophy, and eating a high protein/moderate carb diet -- I WAS "bodybuilding" -- but I had no CONCEPT that I "should" want to compete someday.


          My goal was simple -- be less fat, and be more muscular. How MUCH less fat, and how MUCH more muscular -- I had no idea, because I didn't really know what was POSSIBLE (given my childhood obesity).


          If I had to characterize my goal in "some other way", I would have said, "My goal is took a little more like Arnold Schwarzenegger" -- because, well, I grew up watching Arnold in movies. I did NOT grow up "watching the Olympia", as a kid in the 80s.


          So, we set our initial "goals" -- our initial driving motivation -- usually based on what we are exposed to, culturally.


          Two years into my own training, I started working at a commercial gym as a personal trainer. I decided to diet down and get as "close to shredded" as I could (given my knowledge at the time), then do some pictures at the end of that diet phase to document my progress.


          I happened to work with a few other competitive bodybuilders at that gym -- one was a national-level NPC superheavyweight (Reggie Anderson); another was a Muscle Mania pro (Anthony Villaci); the third was a trainee of Art Atwood's at the time (Matt something-or-other, can't remember his last name).


          Once I was dieted down, they all said, "Hey bro, ever think about competing? You look good. You're too small -- you need to spend some time putting on more size -- but you clearly have the drive".


          That planted the seed. I looked at my physique, and realized that I needed more time -- to improve my symmetry (get my upper body more balanced to my lower body), and to put on overall size.


          It took me 3 more years of training -- bulking up and cutting down -- before I threw my hat in the ring for my first show. And at that time, my goal was STILL never "to go pro", or "to step on stage at the Olympia". It was simply to get into the best shape of my life, and do a natural bodybuilding show -- and hopefully, win. (I took 2nd.)


          Each time I competed, I set sub-goals. By 2010, I had started using gear, and for the first time that year, won my class (2010 NPC Maryland State superheavies). So I then set the "goal" of eventually going a national show. :But my buddy at the time told me, I still didn't have enough size or good enough symmetry to be competitive -- so to take another long off-season to keep working on my physique. (At 6'1", and big boned, it was NOT going to be easy to "be competitive at the national level", and I KNEW it.)


          I qualified for nationals in 2010 (twice) -- again in 2012 (four times) -- again in 2014 (3 times) -- and again in 2016. Each time, I held off on going to the national level, for personal reasons.


          But as I got further along, I could SEE that the "scam" was becoming "getting people to chase their pro card". The pro card ITSELF had become the commodity, NOT the physique, or the lifestyle. During that 2010-2012 era, the various NPC promoters and officials -- and those within the IFBB -- really promoted the idea that "turning pro, is the end-game; that's what MATTERS".



          And I was hit with an influx of competitors -- or wanna-be competitors -- ALL concerned with "chasing their pro card", even though none of them had really put the time in, none had really lived the lifestyle all that long, none had really "slowly climbed the steps".


          On top of that, by then, I could see that I made far more money working as a trainer and coach, than I EVER would as a competitor "chasing a pro card". I could literally see that I made more money, as a lowly personal trainer, than pretty much all of the other IFBB pros in the state (most of whom I was personal friends with). They were all busy chasing some ridiculous dream, and trashing their health and personal lives while doing so; I was busy helping others, supporting my wife and child, and just bodybuilding because I LOVED BODYBUILDING, and loved living the lifestyle. (Similar to what Hollingshead is currently promoting with his social media).


          So yeah, most people jumped onto that bandwagon -- because most people vapidly absorb whatever cultural ideas are thrown at them, with every little independent thought. And the NPC/IFBB is complicit in "selling that dream" -- bragging about how many pro cards are given out now at Team U, at North Americans, and so forth.


          If you watch any interview with Bob Chic, he will typically say that "the real dream -- everybody's dream -- is to step on the Olympia stage".


          But that's patently not true. It was never my dream. Never ever. I was never so delusional as to ACCEPT that as "my dream".


          And the entire industry -- and competitor culture -- would likely be a little better off if we stopped trying to SELL THAT as "the dream". It is doing nothing but encouraging 25-year-olds to abuse drugs to a degree never before seen in the history of the sport, and die at ages we never thought possible.


          Quit with the bullshit. As my friend and former cohost of GEAR'D Up, Dave Smith, has said many times -- "Learn to separate bodybuilding the LIFESTYLE, from bodybuilding THE BUSINESSS":. The IFBB doesn't "own" the former. They only own the latter -- and try brainwashing the masses into believing that the two are synonymous.


          They are not. End of the day, the only people who are about stepping on the Olympia stage -- are the few within this culture who are already so insular to the rest of the world, and already so brainwashed, that they have, by and large, lost contact with reality.


          -David
          I think you were realistic and saw the pursuit of competing for what it was- a hobby that you thoroughly enjoyed and made the most of.

          Problem is with the pro card is that for most it’s a complete dead end. For many, it’s the kiss of death and can - in many instances - rob the joy of challenging ourselves to a 12 week prep.

          I was training hard 5 times a week, eating 6 meals a day for 14-15 YEARS before I eventually competed. Why? Because I thought I wouldn’t be big or good enough to not make a complete fool of myself by looking terrible.

          But, two things, well, three when I really look back and think hard.

          Firstly, I remember working with John Citrone building his supplement brand, (I was training with John too at that time & growing pretty nicely) and my office with windows was stationed in John’s gym (also where I trained), one day I was looking out into the gym & laughing/taking the piss out of two of these doorman guys.

          Talking with my co-worker Jason Rickaby (ended up starting PHD Nutrition after this, sold for 20 mill! Nice) & was commenting that one of the guys was basically an idiot for taking a LOT of gear, even passing my own judgement on his spending (if I remember rightly) around 800 (around a thousand dollars U.S.) on GH to take before his summer holiday.

          Then it dawned on me. I was doing the same thing! I was a complete hypocrite, here I was laughing at this guy for doing just what I was bloody doing!??

          So, there was that. Ie- taking gear, GH etc, to what? Look decent in a tight top, poncing around in a sweaty nightclub in town coked off my head every weekend?

          Then there the small pocket of people in the UK scene that I knew just did not see me as credible as a bodybuilding writer, reporter and journalist, despite - at that time - having been writing, shooting, travelling all over the World for nearly a decade.

          Because I had never competed, they saw me as ‘less’, a bit of a fraud maybe, even know I’d been weight training & more or less living ‘as’ a bodybuilder for 14-15 years at that point in time.

          Also at the time I had the UK-Muscle website & forum (11,000 members, it was a busy forum) and given that I was training with John and working with Jason (who also competed as a really decent natty), I just decided “oh fuck it, let’s give this everything this one time & see what happens”, and away I went, head first into my first prep. And I fucking loved every single minute of it.

          I stopped competing in 2013, I suppose you can argue due to health issues, but I look back on that time in my life with absolute positivity and satisfaction for what I did on all those preps.

          Even though I kind of got worse each year (lol) and not better (reverse progress ha ha) I am now SO glad & proud of going for it, regardless of my god awful genetics & TOTAL inability/hope to eventually ever achieve a pro card.

          I don’t even care about the trophies or placings, or even the wins, I just know that I followed through on challenges I set for myself ALL those times.

          Even in my second show (Mr Wales, came 2nd), my personal life was SUCH a complete mess (all self inflicted too!) and having so much stress in that prep that I was backstage, all tanned & pumped up, ready to walk onstage and I looked in the mirror & said to my friend Ali “mate, I could happily put my clothes on, go watch the show, then drive straight home” & feel totally contented. Just making it to that point of completion of that stressful prep was enough for me to feel happy.

          So anyway, the idea of a pro card or standing onstage at the Olympia being the only real measure of success & reward for all that needs to be done before to get that far, is just an alien concept for me mate.

          I pushed my limitations as much as I could & gave each prep my all and walked away from it all extremely happy & thankful for all that it gave me in my life, right from that first day of that very first prep…
          Last edited by Giles; September 6, 2022, 02:29 PM.
          MD Global Muscle Radio ep.40-https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-MIKWx8sAcw&t=5319s

          Comment


          • #80
            Originally posted by Giles View Post

            I think you were realistic and saw the pursuit of competing for what it was- a hobby that you thoroughly enjoyed and made the most of.

            Problem is with the pro card is that for most it’s a complete dead end. For many, it’s the kiss of death and can - in many instances - rob the joy of challenging ourselves to a 12 week prep.

            I was training hard 5 times a week, eating 6 meals a day for 14-15 YEARS before I eventually competed. Why? Because I thought I wouldn’t be big or good enough to not make a complete fool of myself by looking terrible.

            But, two things, well, three when I really look back and think hard.

            Firstly, I remember working with John Citrone building his supplement brand, (I was training with John too at that time & growing pretty nicely) and my office with windows was stationed in John’s gym (also where I trained), one day I was looking out into the gym & laughing/taking the piss out of two of these doorman guys.

            Talking with my co-worker Jason Rickaby (ended up starting PHD Nutrition after this, sold for 20 mill! Nice) & was commenting that one of the guys was basically an idiot for taking a LOT of gear, even passing my own judgement on his spending (if I remember rightly) around 800 (around a thousand dollars U.S.) on GH to take before his summer holiday.

            Then it dawned on me. I was doing the same thing! I was a complete hypocrite, here I was laughing at this guy for doing just what I was bloody doing!??

            So, there was that. Ie- taking gear, GH etc, to what? Look decent in a tight top, poncing around in a sweaty nightclub in town coked off my head every weekend?

            Then there the small pocket of people in the UK scene that I knew just did not see me as credible as a bodybuilding writer, reporter and journalist, despite - at that time - having been writing, shooting, travelling all over the World for nearly a decade.

            Because I had never competed, they saw me as ‘less’, a bit of a fraud maybe, even know I’d been weight training & more or less living ‘as’ a bodybuilder for 14-15 years at that point in time.

            Also at the time I had the UK-Muscle website & forum (11,000 members, it was a busy forum) and given that I was training with John and working with Jason (who also competed as a really decent natty), I just decided “oh fuck it, let’s give this everything this one time & see what happens”, and away I went, head first into my first prep. And I fucking loved every single minute of it.

            I stopped competing in 2013, I suppose you can argue due to health issues, but I look back on that time in my life with absolute positivity and satisfaction for what I did on all those preps.

            Even though I kind of got worse each year (lol) and not better (reverse progress ha ha) I am now SO glad & proud of going for it, regardless of my god awful genetics & TOTAL inability/hope to eventually ever achieve a pro card.

            I don’t even care about the trophies or placings, or even the wins, I just know that I followed through on challenges I set for myself ALL those times.

            Even in my second show (Mr Wales, came 2nd), my personal life was SUCH a complete mess (all self inflicted too!) and having so much stress in that prep that I was backstage, all tanned & pumped up, ready to walk onstage and I looked in the mirror & said to my friend Ali “mate, I could happily put my clothes on, go watch the show, then drive straight home” & feel totally contented. Just making it to that point of completion of that stressful prep was enough for me to feel happy.

            So anyway, the idea of a pro card or standing onstage at the Olympia being the only real measure of success & reward for all that needs to be done before to get that far, is just an alien concept for me mate.

            I pushed my limitations as much as I could & gave each prep my all and walked away from it all extremely happy & thankful for all that it gave me in my life, right from that first day of that very first prep…

            Lots of gold in this post, thanks for sharing all of it, Giles. I feel like if more of us legit FANS, who ALSO competed -- a bit, dabbled -- shared OUR backstories, it might help to "guide that younger generation", being sold a crock of crap at times by current social media outlets.



            What you went through personally -- I was in a lot of that same boat, in a lot of ways. I was already working as a personal trainer BEFORE I started competing. As such, by the time I did my first show, I almost saw it more as a "business opportunity" -- it helped bring some (very small) local awareness to ME, as the other gym members saw me go through my prep -- and it also helped to "teach me the ropes", so I could better help OTHERS who were in the midst of trying to get leaner, sculpt their own bodies, etc.


            I agree 100% that "getting that pro card is often the kiss of death". I have helped (I believe) 9 people turn IFBB pro -- none of whom had any serious hope of "doing well as a pro". One turned pro at 52 in WPD, masters. I told her, "Congratulations -- that's the last time you will ever do well in a competition". She, too, was a trainer -- so saw the business appeal of being an "official pro". But sure enough, never again competitive. Same with the other people I helped turn pro. It effectively ended their competitive careers.


            Even when it came to gear use -- I got married after I had been bodybuilding for 5 years, and about a year after my first show -- and we immediately tried to have a kid. I was still natty, and remained natty so that we could have our daughter. At that point, I was "ready to turn to the dark side, and blow the F up" -- BUT, I had serious financial responsibilities -- raising a daughter, and a wife who wasn't working. SO, I couldn't JUSTIFY spending money on gear, or even basic supps. And so I didn't really use much of anything, UNTIL I found somebody who wanted to barter -- gear, for my training services, lol. I literally "slowly worked my way up the ranks" -- but primarily because I didn't want to be the type of meathead who pinned all of his hopes and dreams on "being good at competition". I was more vested in "trying to be a decent father, and husband". (Often failed at that, in many regards. But still, I'd like to think that my "priorities were straight", from the jump.)


            And 7 years into my daughter's life -- 2016 -- I was my biggest ever (315 in the offseason), strongest ever -- BUT, I could tell, "It's only a matter of time before something bad happens". I had been using gear for 7 years, at increasingly high dosages -- I was no spring chicken (37) -- and in the back of my mind was a voice on constant repeat, "Don't be a fucking idiot, for the sake of winning a show; you have a kid who needs you; it's not all about YOU".


            So I was "lucky" in the sense that I had a self-governor, in a lot of ways -- in a sport that is all about "taking the governor off, and being as nuts as you possibly can". If I hadn't had a kid at the outset of my competitive career, I'm guessing that I would be dead by now, or at least have zero kidney function remaining, lol.


            It seems near impossible to "retain perspective and stay grounded", while playing in this sport/lifestyle. And all of the recent hype machine, by media outlets and the powers-that-be, is NOT helping that cause, one damn bit. The passing of Dallas could have been a landmark situation --= where people came out and openly talked about how "wrong" it is for 25-year-olds to be pushing the envelope like they are. But nope -- fans of this sport have a memory that lasts about 6 months, and then it's "right back to the same shit as before, only worse this time".


            The judges COULD reverse that trend -- but it would require some open conversations -- actually getting the Steves and Manions to come out in public, talk about stuff openly on YouTube, open up a public forum for some back-and-forth. However, I have the feeling that it will be a cold day in hell before any of us will see that happen.


            -David

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            • #81
              Originally posted by lifepulse View Post

              Solution:

              -get rid of bikini
              -get rid of wellness
              -get rid of figure
              -keep fitness, 'cause it's actually unique as a performance
              -get rid of women's physique
              -get rid of men's physique
              -get rid of classic physique


              Have men's BB and women's BB.


              Have it be a show about the best muscular, ripped, proportionate physique, for each gender.


              Get rid of artificial contrivances that don't exist in nature -- like a horse ass with an anorexic upper body (wellness) -- or an anorexia division in general (bikini).


              Get rid of a class predicated on men who were literally made fun of in the bodybuilding world for decades on end -- guys who do curls and train chest, but don't train legs (men's physique).


              Get rid of classes that don't actually pose, but just stand there facing different directions like Stepford Wives (figure).


              Get rid of "drug light" divisions (classic physique and women's physique)/.


              Hold the judges accountable to ACTUALLY JUDGE each gender according to the standards they BELIEVE IN -- so that if the women start getting "too masculine", you place them LOW and they DON'T WIN (as happened with women's BB) --


              Hold the judges accountable so that overly-gutted-out "freaks" with terrible proportions can't win based on stupid criteria like "density" and "dryness" and "striated glutes".


              Turn it back into a contest with one very simple criteria: the best-looking muscular physique on the stage. No debating. No "breaking it down into sub-criteria" (conditioning vs. mass vs. symmetry vs. "flow" vs. "esthetics" vs. "dryness" vs. "hardness" vs. "graininess" vs. "striations" vs "vascularity").


              Simplify this shit -- like a pie-eating contest. "I like THIS pie the best -- end of discussion".


              You know -- what the sport was ACTUALLY supposed to be about, and remained about, until the mid-to-late 2000s.


              Do that -- it will solve all of the problems that get debated on boards endlessly. It will make it a muscle pageant again.


              -David
              Very well put. I am torn because I truly believe the 'sport' would have died out 20 years ago if all the extra divisions hadn't been added to open it up to a far wider audience. But it has watered things down considerably. I struggle to pay attention in the divisions where no one ever flexes. MPD still puzzles me. How can you have a division in a physique competition where the legs are covered? And why don't they just wear pants? I have seen so many MPD Pro's with 18-20-inch arms who are rocking 13 or 14-inch calves that often literally look like sticks. Wellness - as a hetero man I love the look, but I still don't get why it was needed. We have Bikini, Figure, WPD, and Women's BB. If we have a division for women with dominant lower bodies and another for men with dominant upper bodies. why didn't they ever come out with one for poor schmucks like me who had Super-Heavyweight legs and Lightweight arms??
              Muscular Development Online Editor
              FB: Ron Harris IG: RonHarrisMuscle Author "EvilX10: 10 Tales of Extreme Darkness"

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              • #82
                Originally posted by Ron Harris View Post

                Very well put. I am torn because I truly believe the 'sport' would have died out 20 years ago if all the extra divisions hadn't been added to open it up to a far wider audience. But it has watered things down considerably. I struggle to pay attention in the divisions where no one ever flexes. MPD still puzzles me. How can you have a division in a physique competition where the legs are covered? And why don't they just wear pants? I have seen so many MPD Pro's with 18-20-inch arms who are rocking 13 or 14-inch calves that often literally look like sticks. Wellness - as a hetero man I love the look, but I still don't get why it was needed. We have Bikini, Figure, WPD, and Women's BB. If we have a division for women with dominant lower bodies and another for men with dominant upper bodies. why didn't they ever come out with one for poor schmucks like me who had Super-Heavyweight legs and Lightweight arms??

                I just don't get where the "The sport would have died" idea comes from.


                My first show wasn't until 2007. I started actively attending NPC shows in 2005 -- not quite 20 years ago, but close. And I'm well aware that cats like you, Ron -- and dudes like BMC, Giles, and many others -- have been in the trenches much longer than I have.


                But back in 2005, the "sport" was hosted in in high school auditoriums -- the shows were fairly small, the attendance was small but filled the audience, and nobody "really knew" what the "sport" was all about -- or even that it existed as a "sport" -- outside of those few who were already "into it".


                As far as I can tell, promoters back then didn't make much, and didn't EXPECT to make much. They did it for "love of the game" -- paying it forward, so to speak -- mostly because they, themselves, had come up in the sport, usually competing themselves when they were younger -- and were now "carrying the torch forward". And from watching innumerable modern podcasts featuring current promoters -- Bob Chic, Fouad, the most recent Dennis James podcast featuring Tony Dohretty, etc. -- promoters STILL don't make a whole lot of profit off of shows. So, it seems that THAT aspect hasn't changed much.


                Which makes me wonder -- was the sport "dying", or "on its way to an early death", 20 years ago? Or perhaps 10-12 years ago, when the newer glam divisions were "officially" created? Were numbers ACTUALLY dropping, relative to where they say the previous 30 years? I know bodybuilding itself was no longer as popular as it was during its heyday in the 80s and 90s, where teen classes were often 15 deep. But was it actually moving backwards, in terms of total numbers?


                I just don't know my history here, so legitimately, fill me in with the details. I want to know if bodybuilding, as an endeavor, was actually "dropping off" during those times. OR, was it simply the fact that we have ALL heard, our entire lives -- "We need to figure out how to make bodybuilding popular...."


                THAT topic has been discussed, debated, and beaten to death, since I first started reading about bodybuilding in the early 2000s -- back on BB.com. EVERYBODY has always talked about how "shows are boring, bodybuilding is no longer on ESPN like it was in the 90s, so we all (collectively) need to figure out a way to make it popular" -- presumably so it could get back on TV or, gasp, achieve Weider's one-time dream of "making it into the Olympics".


                Of course, ACTUALLY WATCHING BODYBUILDING SHOWS -- the "actual sport" -- doesn't seem to have grown much at all. People still don't pay to watch livestreams, for the most part.


                Why? Same reason as before. The sport, proper, is boring as fuck, and painful to watch. Most "fans" prefer watching training videos -- following the PREP of competitors, more than the DAY OF THE SHOW. Bodybuilding, AS a sport, is incredibly anti-climactic -- there is zero action the day of the show, zero athletic prowess -- all of the "action" goes into the weeks and months LEADING UP TO the actual day-of -- and for that very reason, the actual day-of, is very very boring -- both to watch, AND to participate in. (And I know that everybody who is reading this, and who him or herself has competed, will know exactly what I'm talking about.)



                So, we didn't really "fix that". The actual show numbers still suck -- because they did nothing to "change the sport". All they did was invite more people onto the stage -- which invited more Moms and Dads to pay for tickets to attend the show -- and in the process, double or triple the price of entry, double and triple the amount of pro cards, pro-qualifiers, pro shows, and divisions.


                Yes, someone somewhere at the top of the food chain is benefitting off of this. But I fail to see that the rest of that food chain -- 98% of them (promoters, and the actual competitors themselves) -- actually benefited in any tangible way.


                For that reason, I'm inherently skeptical when people talk about how "the sport would have died, without the invention of the new divisions". I'm not sure it would have died. I tend to think it would still be what it had always been, prior to that -- a small, niche endeavor that was never really intended to make any money for anybody, except for the supplement industry.



                For real, give me a history lesson and tell me where I'm wrong.


                -David

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by Giles View Post
                  I was training hard 5 times a week, eating 6 meals a day for 14-15 YEARS before I eventually competed. Why? Because I thought I wouldn’t be big or good enough to not make a complete fool of myself by looking terrible.
                  Although my dream was to be a pro, in my mind I never had the delusional idea that I looked good enough to be competitive... some never get to compete for this reason, it can sometimes be fear of failure or an ideal of perfection in my case. The point is that if I ever decided to compete, it would be because I thought was worthy of it, not to win first place, but not simply to participate either.
                  http://betionastore.es/

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Beti ona View Post

                    Although my dream was to be a pro, in my mind I never had the delusional idea that I looked good enough to be competitive... some never get to compete for this reason, it can sometimes be fear of failure or an ideal of perfection in my case. The point is that if I ever decided to compete, it would be because I thought was worthy of it, not to win first place, but not simply to participate either.
                    Fear of failure was possibly my most powerful motivator when I prepped.

                    Nothing like knowing you have to go ON stage in trunks in front of judges & a ton of people looking at you to kick you up the ass each day.

                    I knew that even if I’d never be the biggest that at least if I got as shredded as possible I’d not make a complete fool of myself. Thankfully I didn’t, but it was a scary thought the closer it got to the show.
                    MD Global Muscle Radio ep.40-https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-MIKWx8sAcw&t=5319s

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                    • #85
                      Without a doubt, the idea that you are going to go on stage and compete causes you to exert yourself to a degree that you otherwise would not.
                      http://betionastore.es/

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Beti ona View Post
                        Without a doubt, the idea that you are going to go on stage and compete causes you to exert yourself to a degree that you otherwise would not.

                        This is absolutely true, and it cuts both ways, both good and bad.


                        Without having an active competition to prep for, it's fairly easy to "diet down and get lean", but NOT "getting shredded". Put another way -- without the pressure of a looming date hanging over your head (an "end date"), and without feeling "compelled" to push harder, to a darker place, than the bro standing next to you -- I don't think anybody in their right mind would ever diet down to true contest shape. Closest we would see is sort of "how Arnold looked when he first came to the States" -- huge, lean, but semi-soft and fluffy. I have worked with a lot of clients who wanted to "test-run a show prep" -- get pretty much into contest shape, but without actually having a contest to prepare for -- and, well, they all quit long before they get there. Why? Because getting into contest shape feels miserable -- it's a pretty miserable process, and thus, there's no real INTRINSIC motivation for pretty much ANYBODY to ever do that.


                        So, prepping for a show is "cool", in that it puts that extrinsic pressure on you, to "do things you otherwise would not be willing to do" -- and achieve a level of leanness, conditioning, that is never really seen in day-to-day life.


                        But the same exact principle applies to the drug side of things. Even before I competed or planned to compete, I figured that I would one day use gear. Based on all the reading that I did and "loosely familiarizing myself with bodybuilding", it seemed like that, in order to achieve the physique I wanted to achieve, I would probably have to use gear at some point. And also based on my reading at that time, it seemed like using some gear, in reasonable dosages, wasn't all that unhealthy. And I still believe that to be true.


                        The bigger problem is that, as you compete more and more, your "motivator" goes from being intrinsic -- building the physique that YOU want to LIVE IN -- and instead, you "hand over the reigns to others", and your motivator becomes increasingly EXTRINSIC -- comparing yourself not to the masses on the street, but comparing yourself instead to the guys who beat you, or the guys at the national level, or the guys at the pro level. You no longer use your OWN eyes and your OWN standards to assess yourself, but you use the JUDGES' EYES and the JUDGES' STANDARDS to assess yourself.


                        And with that -- it's pretty much guaranteed that your gear usage will go up as well.


                        Mine certainly did -- the longer I competed, the more I "climbed the ranks" (which, granted, was never very high) -- the more I "loosened up my standards" and was "willing to try something a little more extreme". And I can't imagine that I'm the only one -- I'm guessing that's pretty true for most competitors.


                        That's why, these days, I think the very idea of "bodybuilding as a SPORT" -- is sort of dumb. Try to regulate it however you want -- drug tests, etc. -- so long as the standard is "beating the guy NEXT to you" -- it will always encourage "pushing for more" -- bigger, leaner, drier.


                        If we stopped trying to "judge" it like a "sport" -- if we just treated it like a "contest", like a pie-baking contest -- where we had a panel of "experts" (judges), who simply "picked their favorite physique", and didn't try to justify their choice BEYOND the simple act of "picking the best one" -- if we didn't try to break it down atomically into "mass", "conditioning", "symmetry", "lines", "muscle bellies", "dryness", "fullness", "graininess", "vascularity", "striations" -- well, that alone would help to do away with ALL of the in-fighting (about politics etc.) -- and would also help to tame the mindset of "trying to do a little more to beat the guy next to you". It would help to push the same mentality that Cedric had, of "building the physique that *I* believe is the best, judges be damned". Pie bakers don't try to make their pies sweeter and sweeter and sweeter, thinking it will somehow influence the judges into picking them. The same could be done with physique contests -- just develop "the best physique that you can" -- from a muscular perspective -- and let the chips fall where they may.


                        I'm not going to pretend to have all of the solutions worked out to our "sport" -- but I see the above approach as the only viable way to slow the insanity and the death toll, just a little bit. Yes, drugs would still be rampant -- but NOBODY would be trying to turn into Nick Walker or Big Ramy, or worse yet, CHASE that look when they didn't have the genetics to begin with.


                        -David

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                        • #87
                          It’s very easy to fool yourself too in bodybuilding, thinking you are in better condition than you really are. Trying to come in big.

                          Photos never really lie, they will bring you back down to earth

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