Category: body buildin

Cleaning Out My Closet

Let the record reflect that on the morning of August 27th in the year of our Lord 2012, I took a synedrex for the first time in over a month. Synedrex is to my experience a wonder drug. Ostensibly a fat burner that I got as a free sample at the Europa, it fills me with energy, mental focus and little or no desire to eat food. As of this writing, I am still alive and consider this a win.

With energy and mental focus to burn, I started to go through my closet to throw away junk and perhaps find something of value. In college, I started a quote book. I wrote down inspirational and comical quotes as I found them. This book was in my closet. The interior pocket contained two folded pages that once unfolded were revealed as the prologue of a book (title unkown). The prologue was an extended description of Clearcus the Spartan general, and speaks to combat and stress leadership.

“Clearcus was a man to be obeyed. He achieved this result by his toughness. He had a forbidding appearance and a harsh voice. His punishments were severe ones and were sometimes inflicted in anger….With him punishment was a matter of principle, for he thought that an army without discipline was good for nothing, indeed it is reputed that he said a soldier ought to be more frightened of his commander than of the enemy if he was going to turn out one who could keep a good guard, or abstain from doing harm to his own side, or go into battle without second thoughts. So it happened that in difficult positions the soldiers would give him complete confidence and wished for no one better. On these occasions they said his forbidding look seemed positively cheerful and his toughness appeared as confidence in the face of the enemy, so that it was no longer toughness to them, but something to make them feel safe…Once they began to win victories with him, one could see how important were the factors which made his men into good soldiers.” -Xenophon

Last week, I spoke with Little Wolverine, who is about to embark on his first head coaching job with our freshman. He talked about finding his voice, and I agreed that the voice must be his own. There is no hard template for leadership, but the measure of that leadership will always be the impact made on the troops.

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The Europa

The Europa is a body building competition that serves as the center piece of an eclectic convention whereby one with payment of $20 one can watch “world” championship cheerleading, grappling, arm wrestling, run an obstacle course with a $10,000 cash prize or fill a bag with free samples of fitness products. For the record, I watched body building and acquired free samples.

I digress to profile a few of these samples. There is Jet Fuel Pyro the so-called #1 feel good fat burner premised on an “uplifting 4-part multi-process”, the fast-acting muscle voluminzer Jet Mass (no relation), Velocity XT the “extreme fat incinerating energizing solution”, Kickbutt amped energy ballz, and the key lime flavored muscle gel shot that in one disturbing tube bearing the instructions “rip open tab, squeezed packet, enjoy” provides the protein equivalent of a whole chicken breast or six egg whites. This all begs two questions 1) how does fat sustain itself against such vicious verbiage? and 2) who writes this shit?

Back on task, my presence at this event was occaisioned by Carlton Stubbs second body building competition. The venue was the Orange County Convention Center which conjures the very definition of the word vast and possibly sprawling as well. Sans exaggeration, I walked well over a mile to reach the Europa. I was fortunate to find Carlton’s girlfriend Julz shortly after arrival, and found a seat while some female fitness competitors finished routines to a largely unimpressed audience. Several weight classes passed before Carlton and the other three heavyweights took the stage for pre-judge. All four men walked on to stage and were directed to specific poses by the judges. Each man then posed alone for sixty seconds before the entire group posed down together on final time. On this display a champion will be decided. Tomorrow at 11am the “show” as it were takes place with introductions, ninety second routines with background music and awards.

Carlton weighed 203. Three pounds lighter then he projected two weeks ago, but looked very good. Of the four in his class only one was close enough to pose a threat. This man appeared to struggle during his pose down likely due to dehydration. By contrast, Carlton seemed composed and comfortable.

About ten minutes after leaving the stage, I met Carlton. He was hungry, but in good spirits. We walked the venue and picked up the aforementioned samples and tried to solicit sponsorship. The hunger mounted. We went to the Brick Tavern to eat. Service was slow and by the time his burger arrived, Carlton was nauseous. The extreme dieting and preparation were exacting revenge.  He retired early.  The rest of the dinner party included Julz sister, who spent most of the competition evaluating speedo covered penis rather than musclature and George, a talkative guy connected with the muscle and fitness industry, who had apparently sparred with a 6-7 300lb guy earlier in the day and lived to enjoy pretzel bites and cheese.

Body building is of course a subjective sport.  Results are determined by a panel of five judges.  On Saturday morning at 11am, Carlton took the stage for his 90 second routine.  He flexed, TI rapped, and people applauded.  An hour or so later, he was judged to be second place.  I do not agree.  It was a poor decision.  I am not alone.  Several people approached Carlton after the results to protest the injustice.  It is in these voices that victory is found.  One can only speculate as to the bias of any judge or panel, but to have put in the hours in the gym, committed yourself to the dieting, and walked onto the stage for all to see, and succeed in convincing many that you were the man of the hour is the transcendant quality for your efforts will linger longer in those minds than the bigger trophy on your mantel.  But longer still will persist the pangs of guilt for those who’s votes may have been swayed by some prior relationship or other bias.

Lights Down, Grind On

Carlton Stubbs is 29 years old. He lives in Altamonte Springs, Florida and is father to two year old Ethan. Five days a week, twice a day he drives 27 miles on the stagnant parking lot better known as I-4 to work as an IT specialist for Disney. As of last Saturday night, he is an amatuer body builder with three trophies.

Carlton started lifting weights at 14 to play football. He became a star at Bainbridge High School in Georgia and earned a scholarship to Divison 2, Fort Valley State where he became team captain. Carlton’s passion for lifting survived his football career, and rare has been the week that he hasn’t been in the gym at least four days over the last fifteen years.

The graft of his grind is measured in looks and comments. The lingering eyes of men and women alike in the mall, at a supercross, and even at the gym. Many times, after he has left a soccer game or basketball game, my friends will ask “what’s his deal?”, or “what does he do?” About ten months ago, I went to the gym with Carlton for the first time, and three random strangers approached to talk to him about lifting, and countless more kept looking his way. Tonight I met him at the gym again, and two other aspiring, but clearly inferior, body builders engaged him in idle chat of their initiation.

I met with Carlton tonight to learn what transpires before the bad music, spray tan and speedo. Twelve weeks before his first competion (as seen in the photo above) Carlton weighed 243 lbs. He was big and muscled by any standard, but unfit for a body building competiton. He enlisted his girlfriend Julz Wright to make him fit. Later in the process he included nutritionist, Jamie Ibon.

Training commenced with a regiment at least five days a week. 45-60 minutes of intensive weight training (every body part worked out once a week) and muscle building followed by 45 minutes of H.I.T. (high intensity training) cardio. This is basically interval training to manipulate the heart rate for maximum fat burning.

The initial diet was 300 grams of carbs and 300-plus grams of protein. Weekly meetings with the nutritionist will limit the carbs (100, 75, 50, even 0) to address specific phyical concerns. Meals are consumed six times a day and include chicken, fish, steak and sliced boar’s head sandwich meats accompanied with special bread “tastes like cardboard” and vegetables.

As the competition approaches, the nutritionist oversees carb deletion, the result of which is a marked decrease in energy and strength. Workouts change with an emphasis on higher tempo and cardio can be doubled. In the days leading up to the competition, water is pulled from the diet, leaving Carlton dehydrated and subject to cramping.

Last Saturday morning, Carlton arrived at prejuding at a shredded 213lbs. Unbeknownst to me at least, the trophies are won during the prejudging phase of the competiton. The show as it were is just that, entertainment for family, friends and fans. After prejudgement and before the show, Carlton ate a steak, potatoes and six glasses of water. After the show, it was two slices of pizza, three garlic knots and gallons of water.

With the next show only two and half weeks hence, Carlton is back to intense dieting and pre-show training. Tonight at Golds Gym in Altamonte he worked upper and lower body at a rapid pace and left the gym about 8:30 to eat before getting his cardio in before bed. He will not be able to build muscle before the next show, but hopes to arrive at prejudging at a shredded 206-208.