The interesting thing about this one was the fact that it was focused on particular age groups; teen, collegiate and masters. The masters group is basically defined as men age 40 and older, and women age 35 and older. Teens must be 19 or younger and collegiate had to be 25 years or younger. All competitors had to be members of the National Physique Committee (NPC) and US citizens. In addition, the event was an IFBB Pro Qualifier. Pro cards were awarded to the Overall Winner of Men over 50, Men over 60, Women's Bodybuilding over 35 and over 45, Figure over 35 and over 45, Bikini over 35 and the top 2 placers in the Men's Over 40 Overall. Needless to say it was quite an exciting weekend and the energy was palpable for three days solid.
We arrived on the day of weigh-in/check-in. Jimmy weighed in at 180 for this one, about 7 pounds shy of the top weight for his class, which was Men Over 60 Middleweight. He had put in a lot of work on his training, diet, posing and general preparation all year, but especially during the last 3 weeks. We packed a lot of the food he would need, and figured out that the way to fly with a cooler is to use bags of frozen veggies as ice packs to get through security! He also measured 6.4 % bodyfat two days before prejudging. This was his leanest ever.
I'm slowly learning some of the tricks to prep week for these competitions. For many, the beginning of the week shows the nice results of a very lean diet and being fully hydrated. Then the real fun begins by manipulating sodium, potassium and water for the leanest, driest look possible. This makes a big difference in muscle and vein appearance during judging. Oh, but that's not all. Many competitors (my husband is now one of them) also have to throw in strategic carb manipulation during the last 24-48 hours to fill the muscles out if they have a flat look. This is quite a tricky process and while there are some basic guidelines, it varies from individual to individual. Not so lucky for me was the fact that Jimmy's trainer, Chris Caudy was not there! Chris is a bodybuilder, personal trainer, event promoter, NPC judge and owner of Next Level Training in Memphis. He gave me a crash course before we left and we were on our own to get it right.
Most Muscular pose before the Evening Show
The competitors were fascinating to me. I enjoyed walking around and seeing them all during the weekend. We watched a few photo shoots from a distance and met several competitors and their friends/families. It's amazing to see what bodies over age 35 can accomplish. The hotel lobby was quite a site at any given time of the day. Chairs were covered with sheets due to all the spray tanning and everywhere you looked you could see competitors eating from disposable containers. Most of the time it was chicken, oatmeal, eggs, white or sweet potatoes, brown rice, steak, etc. The guys have it tough enough with all the exfoliating, shaving or waxing, tanning, and posing, but it's hard to believe what the women go through. They have to do all of those things plus pick out a suit, decide on hair and jewelry, and for the figure girls, learn how to walk in 4-6 inch heels!
I'm very proud of Jimmy. He looked and presented himself the best ever at this one. It's not easy when you are doing it naturally. He won 1st place in his weight class, Middleweight Men Over 60. He did a super job and earned it! Once you win your class, you then compete against the winners of the other classes in your age group. After being taken through some quarter turns and mandatory poses, the pose-down begins. It's a fun free-for-all style posing for 30-60 seconds to determine the overall winner. The heavyweight guy won it, but Jimmy had fun and it was good experience! Of course I'm not biased, but I thought Jimmy looked the best! He feels very blessed to be able to train the way he does, especially going into his sixties.
A sign the grandbabies made before we left for the trip!
This year one of the long-time competitors, and a several-time winner of the Men Over 70 group, turned 80 years old. He called the promoter and said "what do we do now?". The promoter discussed it with the NPC and a category for Men Over 80 was added. He was the sole competitor in his age group and took home a first place trophy. He still looks good and presents himself well! He rocked the house with his 60 second routine to music at the evening show and got a standing ovation.
Whether you compete or not right now, if you're not training, get with it. You never know if you might find yourself on stage in front of a packed house in a posing suit at 80 years old!
Chris Caudy of Next Level Training is Jimmy's trainer in-season. Jimmy is a member of the NPC for competition purposes. See my disclosure statement.