DR. RICK’S FIRST BODYBUILDING BLOOD
ANBC Colonial Classic, March 30, 1996
This is a long post, meant predominantly for those of you who have been so encouraging as I approached the world of “Competitive Bodybuilding” and for those of you who are contemplating doing the same. I’ve included excessive detail, so that I could remember it, but I think you might find it amusing.
It’s the day after. I’m just getting ready to go work out, if you can believe it, but I thought I’d say something about my first experience as a competitive bodybuilder. First of all, I achieved my goal–I had fun and I learned alot. On top of that, I did okay, too.
The day started the evening before. After one more trip to the tanning booth and some posing, I ate and went to my girlfriends for the first application of my “Jan Tana” tanning solution. I wondered why I had bothered with the tanning booth, as even the first coat left me a chocolate brown color. Maybe that was because I had done my work in the tanning booth…I went home, afraid to touch anything, looking like a thug from the stuff on my face, brushed my teeth, leaving a trickle of pale skin on my chest where the water ran off my chin, climbed into my dirty sheets, knowing that I couldn’t shower the next morning, and fell soundly to sleep.
I rose early Saturday morning to eat some oatmeal and egg whites, apply the second coat, pack my food and head to Fall River for my lie detector test and registration. I put most of my second coat on myself, but I stopped at my girlfriend’s on the way so she could do my back. I must have drooled a little during the night, and I had to touch up my face a little. This left me with terrible splotches on my face, which were a remarkable source of enjoyment for my friends over the course of the day. I was terrified that I would be stopped by the police on my way to Fall River.
I rehearsed my posing routine during the drive going over and over it in my head. I tried to sort out the timing of the last little segment, which I didn’t have perfectly synchronized. I never did quite get it, even on stage that night, but it didn’t matter, except to me.
I found the Auditorium in Fall River by following other orange and brown men into a building. They all looked a little drawn in the face–something that had happened to me in the past week as well, though I had only lost about ten pounds in my diet phase (I never looked at a scale in the past two weeks, but I had someone else look for me so I know that’s what I lost.) Most looked brown. Many looked confused, as I did, and some looked like seasoned veterans. My girlfriend (my trainer for the day) was coming later, so I didn’t really have anyone to tell me what was happening. I said hello at the registration table and got directed to the lie detector test, which I passed. (I don’t think I’ve stolen anything of value in the last ten years from someone who trusted me, but I wasn’t certain…oh, well…)
I walked into the auditorium, where I saw all of the trophies lined up. I wondered what people do with these things–they are huge!! I had heard that one guy that I might meet in competition that day competes every weekend, sometimes twice in a weekend, and he wins all the time. I wondered if he had a separate house for his trophies. I was thinking that I wouldn’t have room in my little two seater car if I won my class. Not to worry….
Fortunately, a familiar face appeared–a guy I new from a gym I used to work out at. Chuck was the trainer for a competitor in the men’s medium height class. I hadn’t seen him in at least two years, and he didn’t recognize my darkened face. I also saw another guy, Phil, who was judging–and whom I met off the list!! Actually nobody recognized me until I spoke. That stuff really made me dark!! Running into Chuck and Phil helped the time pass until the meeting, where we were informed about how things would work.
I had been put into the Masters Tall (over 6 feet) Class. It turned out that this was perhaps the toughest class of the contest for the top positions–lucky me! Checking out the competition, though there were six of us in the class, there were only two other guys that I would be competing against. The other three guys were not as muscular or defined, or didn’t have as good a shape. My opinion, of course. The two guys that were muscular, defined, and had a good shape were formidable. One was older–the guy, as it turned out, who competed every weekend and always won. His upper body showed exceptional muscularity and density–big arms, big chest, big back, great abs…vascular…and he knew what he was doing, obviously. His legs were good, but not as good as his upper body. The second guy looked like he couldn’t have been over 35, but I guess he was. His physique was, in my humble opinion, exceptional. No waist, big round muscle bellies, beautifully symmetric. He was a little taller than me. Both men were black, though with my “Jan Tana”, I was darker than the younger guy! In my mind, they had a significant advantage in that they didn’t have to fuss with this tanning ordeal. I was informed eventually that they had taken 1st and 2nd the week before in Connecticut, with Charlie, the older guy winning the overall and the best poser as well. Lonnie (I think), the younger guy, had been competing four years, but had never taken even a second. He said he’d made some major dietary changes. I couldn’t imagine that diet could have effected his body that much, but who knows? Oh well, I thought–it’s my first contest!
My girlfriend, Terry, arrived and it was time to pump up and oil up. I drank a Critical Mass and a glass of red wine over the course of the half hour before I went out. Not sure if either had any effect, but I wasn’t hungry and I felt a little warmer, perhaps more vascular. This pumping up thing had me a little confused. I didn’t want to over-pump up, I didn’t want to be tired, Jay Cutler had told me to stretch more than pump–Would I remember how to hit the poses properly?–Would my hands slip off of my oily sides on a lat spread?–Oooh, posing with oil was easier in that my thighs and pecs no longer got “stuck” when I hit the poses—“MASTER’S TALL CLASS”–I said a little prayer.
The prejudging round was exhausting in a way. I felt like I was shaking the whole time. Fortunately, as we hit our relaxed positions and did the quarter turns followed by the mandatories, friends–and strangers, even–yelled to me from the audience. “#12 (my number)–nice chest–#12, great back–#12, you came in shape–#12, tighten those legs–nice!!–#12, you’re the hardest one up there–” My favorite came from an extremely supportive stranger who, upon hitting my rear lat spread hollered to me, “Take off!!!” I felt good about it, and my exhaustion was replaced by exhilaration as we left the stage. Pheww–no major screw ups yet.
I watched the men’s open divisions, and I guessed at the winners. There was one guy who would have beat me in the men’s open tall class, without question–but I’d have been competitive with any of the others. I wondered if I should have switched classes…
After prejudging, there was a three hour break. I had made curried couscous with chicken–apparently not what everyone else had chosen to eat–which I ate cold. It was tasty, hardly any salt, so low sodium, because I thought that probably mattered, and I didn’t stuff myself by any means. I also ate a banana and some peanut butter a little later, and drank another Critical Mass and another glass of wine before the evening routine. Since I’ve sort of done my own diet, I’ve been curious to observe the response my body has to certain things, but I’ve been impressed with how little it changes with various dietary changes. Of course, that’s more how it feels, rather than how it looks, and I’m not yet able to sense that well.
Anyway, back to business, after a nap in my car and a leak behind a rock (they locked us out of the building!!) we met to be informed about how the evening would work. I was more nervous about my routine, because I knew that friends had driven all that way to see me for 90 seconds. I didn’t want to disappoint them. Beyond that, I wasn’t really sure what I should expect. Oiled and pumped, “MASTER’S TALL CLASS” was called out again. We did a 60 second pose-down to get the audience psyched and then came off stage. #11 went first, and I stretched during his routine, watching intermittently. He finished in what seemed like 4 seconds rather than 90. I handed the woman my tape and went to the stage where I took my position with my back to the audience. I stood with my back and my thighs tight, arms folded in, head down. My music started with a deep laugh, some noise, and then a robotic sound of joints bending. I stretched my arms to my sides, one at a time in syncrony, one–two–three to a rear double biceps, then spun around to a hands on hip most-muscular pose as the voice on my tape said “WELCOME”. The music picked up, and I felt that the audience was really with me, for some reason. My routine was very carefully choreographed and went well with the music, rather than just being a collection of poses. My moves were right on the beats, and I tried to make the transitions smooth, then explode into the next position. Toward the end of the routine, the music starts “ooh, aah, ooh, ooh, aah….” and I did this bizarre abdominal roll ending with a hands over head abdominal pose. Everyone was hollering at that point, and they didn’t care that the timing I had worried about on the drive down that morning was not perfect. I ended with the taped bomb blast on a crab most-muscular, a pose I could never really take seriously, but which they loved. Apparently, I ran off stage faster than I should have, but I’ll know to hold the pose a little longer next time.
The tough competitors followed me, and both posed brilliantly. I wondered if they’d be at every contest I ever went to. Maybe I could get shorter, or something….
I watched the rest of the competitors and found some of the routines outstanding and many a collection of unconnected poses, off the beat, lacking in imagination or structure. I was thankful for the friends who had coached me so diligently–Jimmie, Terry, Jay.
Award time followed a brief intermission. I didn’t know what to expect, but as we were informed of the finalists, they also announced “Best Poser”. To my surprise–and excitement–I won best poser in my class. I couldn’t believe it, but I wasn’t going to question anyone about it. When our turn came to receive our awards, I went out first to receive my “Best Poser” trophy. I hit my rolling abdominal shot, but started with my abdomen protruding like I had swallowed a melon–something I’ve been able to do since I was a child. The crowd went wild–again! I think I like this bodybuilding stuff!! As for the class awards, the young guy, Lonnie, took the class and the masters overall. Charlie, the weekly winner, took second, and I got a happy third. Not bad for the first time!!
Of course, afterwards, I called my parents, who were excited for me. As I analyzed what I would have to do to beat these guys, explaining that I would really need to put on more size, my mother interrupted–“What do you mean??” I explained that next year…”Next year!!!!!—”
“Don’t worry mom, it’s only a phase.”
So anyway, what do you do with these enormous trophies????
Rick Silverman, M.D.
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
University of Massachusetts Medical Center
Worcester, MA 10655
“The first duty in life is to assume a pose. What the second is, no one has yet discovered.” –Oscar Wilde