A big hello to all our bodybuilding fans.
I thought I’d direct your attention to a fascinating article I just read on the Sun Rock University website. Credit has to go to them for this one. It does well at bringing to the general publics attention the effort that is required to be a professional bodybuilder.
Competitive bodybuilding not just about dumbbells anymore
The SRU Bodybuilding and Fitness Club will hold its annual Mr. and Ms. SRU Bodybuilding and Fitness Competition in Miller Auditorium on Saturday, March 30.
The annual event is open to all students to compete, but chances are that very few know what goes into the training for the event.
“It usually takes the average person 12 to 14 weeks of hardcore dieting and training,” Bodybuilding Club president Dan Tokarek said.
Fourteen weeks? How hard could it be?
“(It takes) a lot of hard work, dedication and confidence in yourself,” said Rachel Lhota, who was named Ms. SRU at the competition back in 2006.
In the weeks leading up to the competition, the student-bodybuilders’ schedules would make a normal person cry.
Part of that schedule includes waking up at around 5:45 a.m. every day, with no exceptions, to hit the gym and start a cardiovascular workout before spending the day worrying endlessly about the seven or so meals to be consumed during the day.
“I do about a half-hour of cardio and abs, come back (home) and eat my egg whites and protein then go to work,” Tokarek said.
Tokarek, the reigning Mr. SRU, knows exactly what it takes to have a great regimen. He has been bodybuilding competitively for the last four years.
He said that on a normal day, he’ll consume a chicken breast and brown rice for lunch, oatmeal and whey protein mix for an afternoon pre-workout meal and settle in for a meal of steak and brown rice when he gets home after his workout.
Think he’s done? Not a chance.
Two hours later, he eats and has a protein shake, and just before heading to bed, consumes more chicken and green veggies.
“Basically my whole life revolves around my eating schedule,” Tokarek said. “I’d rather miss a workout than a meal.”
The reason for this seemingly nonstop consumption of “clean” foods is to keep the performer’s metabolism up, which actually makes it easier to regulate the bodybuilder’s weight.
Competitive bodybuilders generally already love to work out, which makes the trip to the gym the easy part.
Along with the morning cardio workout, they’re in the gym two or three times a day.
The nutrition side of the training can be the nerve-wracking part, Brian Mortimer, the club’s adviser, said.
“If you truly want to get lean, your diet must be controlled,” Mortimer said. “Most of the guys and girls are already down here working hard. It really comes down to nutrition; They’re already beating themselves up in the gym.”
Although the diet is different for everyone, there is one aspect that’s constant across the board: the fact that eating is the one thing on each performer’s mind 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“If you want to take a day trip, or go shopping, or go out to eat with friends,” Lhota said, “you think, ‘What can I eat when I get to this restaurant? Or, ‘How many meals do I have to take with me?’”
Meals on-the-go are commonplace for the competitors.
Most cook their meals two to three days ahead of time to ensure they don’t disrupt their routine.
“If you take the time to prepare the food and have it readily available, the chances of you taking (unhealthy food) are a lot less,” Mortimer said.
One competitor said he takes meals anywhere and everywhere-the classroom included.
“I’m always taking food to class or no matter where I’m at,” said Jon Murchak, who finished as the runner-up in the heavyweight division at the 2007 competition.
Murchak said he pre-cooks most of his food days in advance just to get the work involved out of the way all at once.
Since the strict eating is such a huge aspect of his routine, he said there would be no way he’d have the time to cook every meal when it was time to eat.
“I come down (to the gym), get my workout in, and then it’s all about eating the rest of the day,” he said. “If you are not in 100 percent with the dieting and the training, you’ll really suffer from it.”
Operating on such a demanding schedule for three months out of the year requires a strong supporting cast, Lhota said.
“I’ve lost friends through this, which was hard,” she said.
But she also said that her training gave her the opportunity to find out who her true friends were.
Although most of the competitors admit to training on their own or with one partner, they all agree that outside the gym, everyone around them must be on the same page.
“You have to watch your peers. If you are around the wrong guys or girls and all they want to do is eat (unhealthy), it is difficult,” Mortimer said.
Every part of their life must be 100 percent committed when taking on this task.
“Some people don’t understand how we can work out that much and still carry on with our regular life,” Tokarek said. “It is like carrying two jobs. Two full-time jobs.”
Tokarek says that he also has to stay focused on the people around him-like his friends, family and girlfriend-to ensure he’s not forgetting what means the most to him in life.
“It’s really hard to have a social life at all because you’re always on the clock,” Murchak said.
But eating well and weight training are a small price to pay to fuel these athletes’ competitive sides.
“I love to workout and be healthy, and this was just another sport to get into,” Lhota said.
“I love competition,” Tokarek said, “I just love going against other people and trying to beat them.”
Although the competitors consider themselves “in-season” for the 12 weeks leading up to the competition, their training period is essentially the entire year.
And on March 30, the SRU Bodybuilding and Fitness Club won’t just showcase one of the most demanding sports at the Rock, but a different kind of lifestyle as well.
Keep up the good work. Keep motivated and don’t forget your goal
Til next time.