Contest Coming Up Soon!

/ Posted 10.30.2011

Wow, time is flying by fast! I have less than 2 weeks to go until I compete for the first time in 7 years. On Saturday, November 12th, 2011, I will be stepping onstage to try to capture the Natural Olympia title again. I will be competing in the Masters Pro division for the first time. The last time I competed was way back in 2004 so it’s going to be a little strange entering a contest again.

When I last competed seven years ago, I didn’t plan on ever competing again. I entered my first bodybuilding contest when I was only 16 years old and I competed consistently until I was 41 years old. That was a total of 25 years of competition and it seemed a good place to stop at that point. I had already won the Natural Mr. Universe twice as well as the first Natural Mr. Olympia title, in addition to many other titles, so I didn’t see any reason to keep going. I did not believe I could make my physique better at that age than I was in my 20′s and 30′s, when I had won most of my contests. If I couldn’t really improve on my physique, what was the point of continuing to compete?

I started promoting Natural Bodybuilding competitions in 2007 and this took the place of competing for me. I would have to prepare for these contests six months in advance by promoting them and, just like when I was competing, I would get more involved in the contest as the show date approached. I tried to make each show bigger and better than the last one by having entertaining guest posers and making the contests a great experience for both the audience and the competitors.

However, this year, I started to entertain the idea of competing again. I got into great shape for my Ironman Magazine photo shoot in May and lots of people were impressed with how I looked. Although I was lighter in bodyweight than I had been in years, my muscularity and definition were better than they had been in a very long time. I didn’t care what I weighed as long as I looked ripped and hard.

After the photo shoot was over, I stayed with my diet and didn’t gain much of the weight back. I went to Chicago in June and did another photo shoot and then shot with another photographer in August when I went back to Chicago to promote the Natural North America bodybuilding contest. Although I was allowing myself a few cheat days here and there, I never let myself get too far off the mark and I would quickly get back on my diet to stay lean.

In late August, I started to have problems with my lower back. I have compressed discs in my lower back so I always have to be careful with my training to avoid aggravating this area but this injury was different. I had somehow aggravated the sciatic nerve in the left side of my lower back and it was causing pain in that area for weeks on end. First the pain was in my lower back on the left side, then it moved to my hip area on the left side and finally it was in the hip flexors in my left leg. I was going to a chiropractor and a massage therapist to treat the area but it still took over a month to go away. They were doing their best to help but this injury was mystifying them as well as me.

By the time I went to the Mr. Olympia contest in Las Vegas in mid-September, it seemed the injury had finally ended. When I got back home, I started training as hard as I could to regain any muscle I had lost over the last 5 weeks when I had to hold back in my training because of this injury. I was still lean at this point so I continued to diet to get as hard as possible while hoping to add back some of my lost muscle tissue.

With two weeks to go, I am happy to say that I am really lean and ripped. I am very excited about competing this year because I know I will be my best condition in a long time, maybe even in my competitive career. I have increased vascularity all over my body, especially my legs. I think this is because the skin is so thin. It feels great to be so ripped at the advanced age of 48 years old. So much for being over the hill after 40!

I will continue to post some more pictures as the contest gets closer. My goal now is to maintain my muscle fullness leading into the show and compete full, vascular and hard! I’m really pumped up about getting back onstage in a couple weeks because I feel so good about my condition. Stay tuned for more updates!!

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Natural Olympia Fitness Getaway and Halloween

/ Posted 10.10.2011

I was proud to welcome my first guest to my Natural Olympia Fitness Getaway this last weekend. The Natural Olympia Fitness Getaway is a new venture I recently started that allows anyone to visit me in sunny Tampa, Florida and train directly with me for three days. In addition to the one-on-one training with Natural Mr. Olympia, the Fitness Getaway recipients also receive a personalized Workout and Diet Program written specifically for them, a Training and Nutrition Seminar, a Natural Olympia Fitness Getaway T-Shirt and a copy of my book, “Natural Bodybuilding”. I am looking forward to welcoming more visitors to my beautiful hometown to train and work with me.

My first Natural Olympia Fitness Getaway guest was Eugene Toye from New York City. Eugene is 42 years old and he has been training for nearly 20 years. He is a natural bodybuilder and was looking for tips to increase his muscle mass without gaining too much bodyfat. Eugene was great to work with because he asked me a lot of questions when we did our workouts together. It was great showing him some new training techniques like doing 1 1/2 reps on the Hack Squat exercise, the proper way to do Pause Squats and the correct form on Barbell Rows. After three days of consistent training, Eugene was pretty sore and wiped out but he was really happy with the results.

We started the Natural Olympia Fitness Getaway on Thursday. Eugene flew in from New York and joined me at the awesome Powerhouse Gym in downtown Tampa that evening. I conducted a Training and Nutrition Seminar specifically for him but I also opened up the seminar to anyone from the gym. I was happy that we had a good dozen people from the gym attend the seminar and I got lots of questions on the best way to exercise and eat in order to increase muscle mass.

After the Seminar was over, I stayed with Eugene to go over his new Training and Nutrition Program. I customized the Program to his specific goals and bodytype. I also signed his copy of my book, “Natural Bodybuilding” for him and gave him his Natural Olympia Fitness Getaway T-shirt.

On Friday morning, I started the first of our training sessions with Eugene. We trained chest, triceps, biceps and calves in the morning at Powerhouse Gym and Eugene stayed to do some cardio on his own after we finished training. The weather in the fall in Tampa, Florida is gorgeous and Eugene was able to enjoy some sunshine during the day after our workout was completed.

On Saturday morning, we trained abs and legs at Powerhouse Gym. I was invited to a Halloween Party in the evening so I told Eugene he could come with me to the party if he was up for it. He went out and bought a Halloween costume during the day and I told him I would pick him up at 8 pm and we would drive to the party together. We had a great time at the Halloween party, which was held in an abandoned bar and was decorated to the hilt. I dressed up as a Roman Gladiator and Eugene was the Grim Reaper.

The following morning, we made our workout a little bit later since we got home from the party after 2 in the morning. We finished off our 3 day workout session with a shoulder and back workout. Eugene had a great workout as he didn’t drink the night before at the party (unlike many of our fellow party-goers who were hammered by the end of the evening). We took a few pictures together and Eugene was on his way back to New York. He really had a great time in Tampa and he promised to be back in 6 months to show off his gains.

If anyone is interested in coming out to Tampa, Florida to train one-on-one with me as well as receive your own personalized Workout and Diet Program, a Training and Nutrition Seminar, a Natural Olympia Fitness Getaway T-shirt and your own copy of “Natural Bodybuilding”, visit my website at www.naturalolympia.com and pick out the weekend that best suits your schedule. The 2012 Natural Olympia Fitness Getaway dates will be on naturalolympia.com soon.

As for me, I was really strict this week and stayed on my diet. It’s tough to go out to a party when in the middle of contest training but I did it and it was worth it because the party was a lot of fun. I stuck with Diet 7-Up and water for my choice of beverage and brought my food with me instead of partaking in one of the 30 pizzas or the catered food that was at the party. Plus, it was great to bring Eugene with me to the party and show him a little of the party scene in Tampa, Florida.

The count down is on for my return to the stage. I am planning on competing again for the first time in 7 years at the Natural Olympia this year. The contest will take place on November 11th-12th in Reno, Nevada and I will be entering the Masters Pro division. I am really looking good with 5 weeks to go. I am very close to the condition I was in when I shot my Ironman Magazine cover and I intend on being even harder and fuller by the time I step onstage. I am very excited and anxious to show the judges what I have. Stay tuned to this blog for future updates including some current pics as the contest gets closer. It should be fun!

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