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Former Competitors

Bigtuna84

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This thread is directed to those of you who are former competitors. More specifically to those who have stepped on stage at national level and battled it out year after year until giving it up one day. It’s been about 8 years since I last stepped on stage and adjusted to a family lifestyle and to focus on my career. Lately I find myself reading my old prep journals and wondering “could I do it again?” (Even though I promised my wife I wouldn’t the thought still exists ). I find myself picking apart each off season and prep and making adjustments...notes...to what I could have done/would do differently if I could go back...nutrition, training, PED’s, and simple day to day lifestyle adjustments.


To those who can relate...if you could go back what would you change/ do differently?...would you do it all the same ? ...and more importantly do you miss it?

Hoping to get some insight from @muscle_n_blood on this one.
 
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I do miss it. I miss being huge and very strong in the off season. I miss having a body that attracts women and intimidates men. (I'm not in bad shape now, but nothing like I was) I miss Friday night weigh ins. I miss the Saturday AM athlete's meeting, getting a number, sizing everyone up as I pumped back stage, then finally getting to walk out there with my group in front of a theater full of people and a panel of judges. The awards...
Differently? I would not have started my weight training journey focused on strength only. I would have used better form on my max lifts as a kid. I would not have hurt myself doing feats of strength on construction jobs. I would have eaten differently and not had to lose as much to get ready for a show..
I hung it up in 1997, came back in 2003 to do the state championships as a 50+. I came in at 6' 1" weighed in 248. I was in really good condition, but placed 4th out of 9. That hurt. I thought I should have taken second. I got drunk, went home, and smashed all but two of my trophies.
Fact was, though I was in good shape, I was out of balance. My spine was crooked and I was too one sided from the back. I had a partial tear of my right bicep tendon and it didn't look good; too much space between the muscle belly and the attachment. In short, even though I was obviously in better condition, I wasn't aesthetically pleasing. After that, more orthopedic problems set in, then the open heart surgery, So I just said goodbye. I train, but it's light. I'm not the strongest guy in the gym anymore. That's enough whining. I did my best.
 

St

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I'm done now, I don't look back at it now.

I feel so much better not thinking about it. I like to save for vacation down south, plus just eating good and doing cardio im better shape that 99% so it happy. Plus I finally have some drinks since i never did my whole life, since I seen so many friend pass away over the years life is to short.

I did enjoy all my contests.

Wouldn't have took gear that I got acne from, or gyno.

I'm done with another Rocky come back.

I focus now on training clients make smarter choices, and I still feel part of the sport.
 

Upjohn

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@Bigtuna84 gave me the a-ok to post even though i was not a national competitor and competed only once....

To stay true to his original question , yes id like to compete once more , its been a far thought for awhile now.

Couple things -
im going threw the process of getting TrT from an Endo right now so basicly any plan to compete is prob 2yrs away

I like this idea of this forum to be able to look back on your past posts , to see what frame of mind ur in , and also for motivation for future goals

I honestly prayed to god (iam an Atheist) weeks before i stepped on stage if i lived id never try compete again hahahahha it was hell 🤪

- For privacy regards no exact info -
iam 45 now was around 26 than
level 1 show
more than 7 less than 10 competitors in my Lt Heavys class
i was heaviest at weigh-in
iam 5’10” 1/2
3rd place

Some random thoughts from what i remember-

18 week diet. no coach but girlfriend at time worked for local big name bodybuilder that i got advice from threw out like..... At eight weeks out he said walking down on the street with your shirt off everyone’s going to be looking at you because how sick you look but on stage with the lights next to the guy that shredded you’re going to look soft and fat. i quit my job, was doing 3hrs cardio 1 hr am/lunch/evening plus 2 workouts (morning /late afternoon) after that lololo

was on test cant remember dose but less than a gram
real primo but only could afford 200mg week
real winni v cant remember dose but usually 1-2 cc eod at least ( loved that stuff)
real mexican halotestin last 3weeks (went up to 40mg day felt pain in prostrate after) from this i think but FUCK makes u look hard like CONCRETE!!!!
clen in the pump
aldactone last 5days
*edit* - been soo long..... pretty sure i was runnin eq too , no idea dose but i was getting 50ml vet jugs of it at that time

The horrible insomnia and grabbing my dog at two in the morning to go for a long quick pace cardio walk

the cravings..... I broke down one day on the way from work got a six pack of donuts ate them pulled over my truck made myself puke for the first time in my life thinking that at least I got the taste but since my body hasnt absorbed it I won’t get the calories .... like a fucking wacko

my awesome girl at the time that after i got home and confessed and broke down crying she was like ‘ no problem no problem no more carbs today go do extra cardio right now

started diet just shy 240 back than

the feeling of why the fuck im doing this to myself couple weeks before my show.....i went to watch Another similar level one show a couple weeks before mine,,,, besides the guy that won the light heavyweight class everyone else look like shit and I didn’t want to go up on stage after all my hard work and not have anyone good to be standing next to (that was my thinkin than, it changed after my show)

got my trunks fitted 6 weeks before show, was loose fitting day of cause still wass droppin the weight, thk god i did 18week diet cause was winging it

When getting a selfie with the guest poser after (he was future mr o ) he says Train to win .... and i shout out ‘or 3rd place’ we all lost r shit laughin!!!!

the weird feeling day of cause it all goes by sooo quick for all the planning and work i put in

on day of show , stepping on stage , and thinkin dont care if i got last place , my feeling was just SO FUCKIN PROUD of myself to accomplish that dream (i started working out when i left home at 15yr old and wanted to compete ever since

The horrible after affects of the show - water rebound gained couldnt walk more that 20 feet without being out of breath- no pct so my body crash was epic. i had done lotsa cycles by than but never longer that 8weeks long. Was on that one from my bulk to my show so about 6-7months

I ll see how this next couple years go, Definitely have a lot of work to do in the gym , my body proportions are definitely out of balance now. i honestly not sure if i could compete again with the healthy headspace ive been in last decade. There we re just so many unhealthy aspects to gettin stage ready, mabey its different now.

Former Competitors section doesnt get many posts, thought id add. thku
 
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Bigtuna84

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@Upjohn @muscle_n_blood @St Felt like reminiscing today thought I’d share share some personal notes about the joys of the post show REBOUND. For the other members reading this and don’t know what I’m talking about, right after a show your body is going to rebound from the whole peaking process even more so if diuretics were used. You could end up in hospital or even worse. If done properly it’s a great time to take advantage of growth.

So over a 3 day span since this show I didn’t go nuts...couple of boxes of cereal...few big meals and some snacks. My body started pushing back hard 245lbs. Blood pressure was 177/91...YIKES. Could feel the pressure in my head hands and feet. Breathing wasn’t to great either.

Kicked things off with some baby aspirin and herbal laxitives to clear the old GI tract. ..later used a suppository to finish the job. HIGH water and low carbs to keep things moving. Microdosed diuretics to ween off. Lowered to 137/91...things are shaping up again. Cardio. Sauna for 3 x 10 minute intervals...really good sweat. Took a shit and a huge piss. BP 127/62 now down to 239lbs
Right back in the healthy range. better overall mood went to bed no food. Woke up went to work and fasted for 6 hours.

How was everyone’s rebound ?
 
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My post show binge lasted 48 hours or so. I would stay on whatever stuff I prepped with for a few weeks to take advantage of the growth window; when things leveled out I would re-evaluate. Of course, I dropped Clen and diuretics. I preferred hctz. Only ran Lasix once and it flattened me out, not to mention feeling like crap trying to get rehydrated and electrolytes back in balance. My BP was very low for a show, so getting filled back out didn't put me in a dangerous range.
My mental state was always a challenge. I was never satisfied with my performance, even when I placed well. Once I put some size back on, I was happy again. That could take a couple of weeks or a couple of months. I would swear off competing for ever and ever, until the next round of flyers/entry forms showed up at the gym, and off I would go again. There was no online registration back then.
 

kaly11

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I find it is one thing to diet for a show but it is a totally different animal sticking to a diet post show to not eat your face off when you now have the green light to do so. I have seen first had some serious edema in competitors and also people blowing up and putting on 20-30lbs.

The body needs time to be able to metabolize carbs properly to use in growth after dieting down.

For all my shows I have taken the following day breakfast and another meal usually the dinner to have whatever my heart desired. After that I was back to business following a diet and slowly introducing carbs back into my life for the next 4-6 weeks. I find this to be crucial when doing such diets as keto for the last 4-6 weeks of my prep. I typically put on about 10lbs and maintain there. 20-30 grams of carbs in 2-3 meals per day is what I tend to stick with for the 4-6 weeks but adjustments sometimes have to be made.
 

Upjohn

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My ‘rebound’ turned out fairly nasty for me....

Have to put the disclaimer in that i had fairly little knowlege of comps n dieting at that time ago. Still dont really. I was hesitant to even post my one competition experience here , with all the heavy hitters that have Dedicated bigger chunks of their lives to standing on stage.

After the show , my group went to the local meat bbq restaurant. Remember having couple beers , wings , ribs and abunch of deep-fried carb choices😔

I dont remember my diet days/months after the show , but i wasnt smart like @kaly11 , it wasn't that good for sure.

Just from the feeding at the restaurant by the time it was all said n done n made it home , i was in bad shape. Because of my severe sleep apnea that i have (i sleep with a breathin machine now , didnt back than) i made my girl stay up that first night , make sure i was breathing. I was already having problems with breathing from I guess the water retention? - i took aldactone starting tues night all the way to the sat show. Stopped water intake except sips from i think fri weigh-ins till after show-

We went camping right after for like 3 days to go chill out. Just going from the tent to the picnic table like 30ft away , i was panting n out of breath. I was very lucky i didnt end up in the hospital i imagine.

I could barely walk down the stairs to my apartment because of the pains i got in my legs n feet for awhile after , i was laying down lots.

I got back into the gym with-in a week , i couldnt help it. i was soooo over trained i really needed more rest than that.

One memory i have is 3weeks after the show i was back over 220 (competed just under 198)

My warm up back than was 4 sets of widegrip chins to the front 12 reps. I would get a good overall pump to start my workouts. Mabey cause i was over trained plus the rapid weight gain but i remember getting this lil tiny pin point burning feeling in my arm pit while i was doin a set of chins. Remember thinking , whats that , but kept plowing away the reps , gotta get my 12.....that was the set up to abunch of rotater cuff rehab (no surgery).

For me personally , went threw a huge depression after. I was on gear for agood long go with no pct but novadex. Crashed pretty hard , think that was the start of my low test adventure. Ended up doing my own TrT about 5-6 years after that. Wonderful girlfriend that helped me compete , with the race-horse trainer Dad , left me 🙁😩😭 (almost 5years of all kinds of cdn vet gear at cost for me) ......gone. i did deserve it , i wasnt a super relaxed guy iam now🤪

Sooo basically how NOT to rebound after show 😁
 

xpac2

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I miss having a goal and the adrenaline rush of getting on stagein front of a crowd no matter how shit I felt.I miss the contest training. I competed before social media was a thing and everyone kept phones in their lockers which made for an awesome and intense training experience as you worked toward your goals. I missed the camaraderie with the guys as you would all get to know each other on the scene and we would all pretty much compete at the same shows as the community was smaller back then. This was before physique and calssic physique with a million competitors.
I don't miss feeling like shit or the post show rebound. I don't miss all the damage that contest prep does to your body. I don't miss the broken relationships and putting aside any semblance of a normal life to fight for something that would never make me money and most people outside our niche think is stupid.
All that being said would I go back and do it again? FUCK YEAH!
 

snowpatrol

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I had a conversation with @66Chevy today that gave me pause, I reflected that while I’ve always trained pretty hard and consistently, it’s been 3+ years since I pushed the food and drugs hard enough in the off-season to be a competitive open bodybuilder.

I’m not sure how much I actually regret that, because there have been other priorities, mitigating factors and accomplishments outside of the gym/stage but the truth is that I haven’t consistently pushed the size envelope, at least not since I first hit the national stage.

Here I am a month out of the next pro qualifier and at the moment, content with the fact that to be competitive I’ll be entering classic rather than open bodybuilding. To be continued...
 

St

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I find it is one thing to diet for a show but it is a totally different animal sticking to a diet post show to not eat your face off when you now have the green light to do so. I have seen first had some serious edema in competitors and also people blowing up and putting on 20-30lbs.

The body needs time to be able to metabolize carbs properly to use in growth after dieting down.

For all my shows I have taken the following day breakfast and another meal usually the dinner to have whatever my heart desired. After that I was back to business following a diet and slowly introducing carbs back into my life for the next 4-6 weeks. I find this to be crucial when doing such diets as keto for the last 4-6 weeks of my prep. I typically put on about 10lbs and maintain there. 20-30 grams of carbs in 2-3 meals per day is what I tend to stick with for the 4-6 weeks but adjustments sometimes have to be made.
I'm like you as my first 3 show ate everything, then after a few shows I just got back on the diet upped my carbs by 50 grams per day.
I just took extra herbal diuretics and espresso for the next few days, so I could close my hands without feeling tight.
 

Sorbate

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I find this a very interesting read.
 
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