Friday, March 2, 2007

Empire Classic

Yeehaw! I got my partner and myself two tickets to the Empire Classic on April 28. This is Spokane's annual bodybuilding competition. I have never actually been to a bodybuilding competition before, which might seem odd because the San Jose/San Francisco area is home to quite a number of fine competitors; indeed, a couple of the amateurs used to train at my gym. I even gave a fleeting thought to actually competing in the Empire Classic myself, but the following weekend is Bloomsday, and I don't think I'd retain enough muscle with all the intense cardio I have to do to be ready for the run.

Maybe next year? Especially since yesterday I realized Bloomsday is the day after Kentucky Derby Day, which means I can't knock back the mint juleps! Arrgh! I'm gonna have to stay home and be good.

The other thing is, I do love bodybuilding, but not when taken to extremes. Unfortunately, unless it's a "natural" contest (which the Empire Classic, I believe, is not), you can pretty much be sure most, if not all, of the competitors are juiced. This includes the women, even the fitness women, sometimes even figure. It's just that it's extremely difficult for a female to get down to, say, 6% bodyfat without a little extra chemical help. (Our bodies simply aren't made to go that low. We go below 12% and we stop menstruating, our hormones go haywire, and we suffer all the consequences that an anorexic person might.) So on a cut, they take thyroid meds, they take Clenbuterol, and then anabolics such as Anavar on top of that ... and then they deplete and dehydrate (often meaning diuretics) prior to the competition in order to wring out any subcutaneous water so they'll look dry and cut. Check it out:

This is last year's women's Overall Winner. (I erased her face because I'm talking about steroid, etc, use, and I don't want to imply that she was drugging because I don't know for a fact she was; I don't know her; please don't think I'm making any accusations. I'm speaking generalities about what is usually the case.)

I'm also not sure I could stick to the extreme dieting (cuts are generally 12-18 weeks, depending on how much bodyfat you're carrying) and the drugs and the dehydration, even though it's temporary and they're not this way year 'round. And, on top of all this, they work out like crazy and do tons of very moderate cardio for fat burn. It really is an entire lifestyle. I'm not sure I could do it. It's hard.

The upshot is that, despite some reservations, I have a lot of admiration for bodybuilders' sheer self-discipline. It will be interesting to see the competition up close and personal, instead of on DVD or in the magazines.

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