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Musclemania America 2009 Wrap-Up

The 2009 Fitness America Weekend has come and gone, and it was an incredible experience.  In previous posts you read about my preparation leading up to the big show.  I’m happy to say I accomplished my goal of winning the open bantamweight championship.  Now before you get too excited for me, I have to qualify that statement with an asterisk — there were no other bantamweight competitors in the division this year.  But a win is a win nonetheless, and to have a prestigious title like Musclemania American Champion next to my name is a huge resume-builder for my fitness career.

Here are some final thoughts, weekend highlights, and future plans:

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Week 8 – Thank You’s and Best Wishes

One week away.  All I can say is that I’m ready to rock.  I’m pretty sure I’ll make the bantamweight class that I wanted to make (I weighed 148lbs yesterday first thing in the morning without eating), so there is not much more to say about my contest preparation.

Since this is the last entry, I thought I would thank the people who have helped me along the way.  Although as competitors we stand on stage alone, there are always people who have supported us that deserve a ton of credit.  In a writing forum like this, you really get to sit back and think about all of the things you should say, or want to say, to the people that are closest to you.  Sometimes in person you just don’t get the right opportunity –  you are too bashful, you can’t find the right words to express yourself, or the timing is not right.

If life really is all about the people around you and the friendships and connections you make, than I feel like I am a very lucky man.  Without further ado, here are my random thoughts and thank you’s.  If you don’t want to read about my personal support group, I understand, and won’t be offended if you click away to something else on this site.  But hey, this is my blog, I’ll write about what I want to write about!

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Week 7 – Two Weeks Left

Before business, here’s a little story for you.

I was practicing all of the mandatory poses at home and realized I had to get back to work. I changed and rushed out without cleaning up. My wife gets home that night before I do and sees my maroon posing trunks lying on the bed. She said for about 5 minutes she was freaking out wondering, “Who the hell’s panties are in my frickin’ bed?” Hah, glad she had calmed down and figured it out before I got home. Alright, for the last time for everyone who has been busting my balls – they’re not a Speedo, they’re not a thong, they’re not panties, they are POSING TRUNKS!!!

Well boys and girls, we’re just over two weeks away from Fitness America in Vegas. Anyone excited? If there were a 155 lbs. weight class, I’d say I was ready to go, but the only two options are 145 lbs. and 165 lbs. I’ve seen what a big and ripped Musclemania competitor looks like at 165 lbs., it is incredible. They can easily look 20 lbs. bigger. With that in mind I’ve decided my best chance at a strong showing is to head south to the Bantamweight Division (145 lbs). As a result, I still have a lot of work ahead of me in the next 2 ½ weeks.

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Week 6 – Diet, Fake Tans, and Gelato

After checking out this blog a buddy of mine was giving me some crap. “Its cool and all”, he said, “but damn you need a tan!” Hah, no doubt. I’m lucky they make that fake tan in a bottle and Dream Tan stuff. For those of you haven’t competed before, Dream Tan is a skin dye you put on before you go on stage. The lights are so bright that you have to be super dark (beyond even a good natural tan) or your definition/cuts will get washed out. The dye basically looks like shoe polish. Its as weird as it sounds, but hey, its bodybuilding. What can you do?

I was in Maine Thurs-Mon for business and a little bit of fun. The timing wasn’t great because of the proximity to the show. When you have to travel, training is the easy part. You can always find a place to work out, or if worst comes to worst, you can do some modified bodyweight workouts. I found a cool, old school basement gym and had some great workouts. Being on a competition diet, however, can be somewhat of a challenge.

I packed a bunch of small baggies of rice so I had a clean source of carbs whenever necessary. I also packed some cans of salmon for a convenient protein source. That stuff sucks because it smells like cat food. When you pop it open everyone looks at you like you’re a weirdo, but it gets the job done. When we arrived we headed straight over to the local supermarket. I ordered some pre-cooked chicken breasts and grabbed some hardboiled eggs and vegetables from the salad bar. The few times we ate out I ordered fish with rice and/or veggies. The local Sushi joint congratulated us for coming twice in one day. It was a pain in the ass, but with less than a month, you can’t deviate from the game plan. Not even for Gelato.

My wife ordered this awesome gelato combination (chocolate/dulce de leche) from a local shop. She ate it all right in front of me, very slowly, as I squirmed and suffered. What’s up with that? We didn’t take the after picture where I was laughing and she was grimacing because her stomach hurt from all of that sugar. In all honesty though, my wife is my biggest supporter and I don’t know where I’d be without her.

I whine about having to travel a month before the show and then read blogs from guys like Sanya Amaya and Victor Montoya and feel like such a wimp. We all make sacrifices as fitness competitors, but these guys have persevered through incredible obstacles to achieve great success. All of the bloggers are great competitors and an inspiration to me, but especially these two. I wish you the best of luck.

Next week we’ll talk a little bit about Capoeira training for the stretch run. Until then, Happy Halloween.

Week 5 – Condition Update

I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback about the blog. Just wanted to say thanks for giving me your support. I wanted to have a good time with it and take a different approach, and it seems that some people are enjoying following along.

It’s just not my personality to sit back each week and write about how awesome I am or how I’m going to take my weight class down in Vegas. Besides, I know I’m not going to be the biggest, freakiest, baddest guy there. I’ve been checking out some of the other blogs and damn there are some big, ripped dudes coming to Fitness America. My main goal is to just be the best I can be on that day. That’s what bodybuilding is really all about. Hopefully, that results in bringing an overall look that is appealing to both the fitness and media industries. If not, I will hide in shame forever.

With the high caliber of athletes coming to Fitness America, I realized I needed to turn it up a notch. Over the weekend I implemented an old school, hardcore diet trick. Carb loading? No carbs? Supercompensation? Nah, none of the above. I went down to Japantown, picked up a whole raw fish, opened the package, and ate the whole thing — head, eyes, tail, bones, and all. I guess this could be considered the Japanese version of the Rocky Balboa raw egg drink. I won’t make any predictions about the Fitness America competition, but me vs. a fish, that’s a whole other story. I’m half Japanese; if you put a fish in front of me, I’m going to take that sucker down every time.

Just kidding about the whole raw fish thing, so don’t try it at home…

I rarely weigh myself or take body fat measurements. I just don’t think it is that valuable for bodybuilders or fitness models. For the stage and for photo shoots, the only thing that matters is how you look, not what some number says. And besides, no one in the real world cares what body fat percentage you are buddy boy, so quit bragging about it. I had an old buddy who would always work his body fat percentage into the conversation as a pick-up line with girls. You know like the guy who says, “by the way I make 200K a year”. He would do the exact same thing, “You know when your 4% body fat, blah, blah…” What a cheeseball! The worst part about it is that sometimes it worked.

The only time I really take those measurements is when I’m trying to figure out what weight class I’m going to compete in. Now is one of those times. Back in the day I competed at 155lbs. At Fitness America there is no 155lbs class this time around. There is lightweight (165lbs) and bantamweight (145lbs). A twenty-pound difference is huge. I figured with just over a month left to show time, I better decide just what the hell I’m doing. I used the Tanita body fat analyzer scale for assessment. It’s supposed to be one of the most accurate models, but I don’t put too much stock into that. The read out says 154lbs, 5% body fat. I know can drop a little more fat and tighten up in a few spots, so we’ll see where the next month takes me. If I get close enough, I might try to cut some water weight and make 145lbs. If not, I’ll stay at lightweight. I won’t do anything drastic to jeopardize my conditioning, or worse, my health.

Stay tuned to see how it turns out. Have a great week everyone. Feel free to shoot me an email at