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My IFBB Pro Debut

Q: I was about to write to you to congratulate you on your showing in your IFBB pro debut at the ’10 Europa Super Show. Then I saw on the Internet that you placed 15th out of 15 in the 202-and-under competition. In the photos that I saw, I thought you looked great and held your own up there. I would have had you closer to the middle of the pack. How are you feeling about your placement? Are you going to compete in any more IFBB pro shows?

A: Thank you so much for your e-mail. I really appreciate that you—and so many others—were feeling good about my first IFBB pro contest. To tell you the truth, I had a blast at the show. As I stood onstage at the prejudging, even though I wasn’t in the first two callouts, I couldn’t help thinking how fortunate I was to be onstage competing in an IFBB pro bodybuilding contest. Every amateur bodybuilder in the world dreams of doing what I was doing at that moment. Although I could tell from the callouts that I wasn’t going to place in the top six, I was there living the dream.

After the prejudging on Friday I received tons of compliments on my physique—especially from people who were close to my age. As I made appearances in the Trioplex booth—I love Chef Jay’s protein cookies—and in the Scivation booth—the Xtend BCAA powder rocks—many people came by to wish me good luck in the finals and let me know that they were rooting for me. So I had all the baby boomers in my corner and all the Texas bodybuilding fans pulling for me, and all of the natural bodybuilders had my back as well.

When the finals finally got started on Saturday, I couldn’t wait to get onstage and do my routine. I was number 7, which meant that once the pro bodybuilding got started, I didn’t have long to wait. I started slow, posing to Carlos Santana’s “Europa”—at the Europa. It was frighteningly quiet during the beginning of my routine, but when Kirk Franklin’s “Revolution” started and I dropped from a vacuum into an abdominal pose, the crowd went nuts. I had fun with “Revolution” and exited the stage to a thunderous ovation. Getting the crowd going like that definitely makes it all worth while. After the intermission I got to return to the stage in the “Best Poser” posedown. That was a lot of fun too, although I had no idea that I was going to be in the middle of a heavily muscled breakdance contest. Ricky “Tricky” Jackson and Clarence De Vis had all the right moves and shared the Best Poser honors; nevertheless, it was quite a thrill to be in the mix.

After a nice meal on Saturday night I was up early on Sunday to shoot some video training segments with Ricky for We had a great time training together during the shoot. I have a lot of fun when I get to train with partners, and apparently so does Ricky. Even though we were both sore from posing and both drained from dieting down to contest shape, we really enjoyed the workout. Joe Lobell told us afterward that he felt that it was the best training segment he’d filmed in his eight years in the business. I hope that fun and enthusiasm come across to viewers and inspire them to higher intensity.

During our 3 1/2-hour drive back to Austin, Diana and I had plenty of time to talk about the weekend and what a great experience it was. By the time we got home, unpacked, got all the stinky Protan- and sweat-soaked clothes—my shirts smelled like skunk—in the washing machine, prepared grilled chicken breast and spinach salad and finished eating, we were both totally exhausted and ready for bed. I hadn’t seen my final placing yet, so I fired up the laptop to see where I’d finished. I must say that I was extremely disappointed to see that I finished last. I’ve never finished last in anything my whole life. I went to bed dejected that night, for sure.

After getting back to real-life—starting at 6 a.m. on Monday morning—and talking to a number of my friends and clients about my pro debut, I realized that there was a heck of a lot more stuff to be excited than disappointed about. First, I knew that I wasn’t at my absolute best for the Europa Super Show, and most of the people who saw me at the show or who looked at the photos from the show felt that I definitely held my own against the other pros. Most people, like you, felt that I should have placed somewhere between eighth and 12th. So my immediate thought process was, “I’m going to be much better next time I step onstage in the 202 class.” Second and most important, I had fun. Last but not least, for a 51-year-old lifetime drug-free bodybuilder I looked pretty freakin’ good up there.

While many people thought I was in incredible condition, I could tell that I wasn’t 100 percent on. I think I pressed a little too hard the last couple of weeks trying to get from shredded to supershredded, and it cost me in both muscle size and hardness. I could see from the prejudging photos that I was flat and that my legs didn’t have the razor sharpness for which I’m famous. I looked much better at the finals on Saturday, but the judging was already completed by then.

In planning for next year I think I will start my diet earlier and shoot to be ready a month out so that I don’t have to try to lose more bodyfat in the final few weeks. The other thing I’ll manage differently next year has to do with my mental approach. Before the Europa I was telling people that there was no way I was going to win or even place in an IFBB pro show. I was just hoping that I wouldn’t look out of place on the pro stage. I was still trying to get into shredded condition for the contest, but I think that I limited myself by my mental approach. Next year my goal is to qualify to compete in the 202 class at the Olympia. I have a guest-posing appearance September 11 at the NPC Heart of Texas Championships. After that’s behind me, my diet and my training will be geared toward qualifying for the ’11 Mr. Olympia.

Lee Thompson, an IFBB pro judge and the NPC Texas state and district chairman, was very encouraging to me after the show. He was judging at the Europa, and I asked him if my placing had been just a matter of size. Lee agreed that I was flat on Friday at prejudging and that my legs were off, but what he said that really got me fired up was, “Dave, I’ve seen you compete when you weighed in at 165 but you looked 190 onstage.” Those words reaffirmed my confidence in my ability to compete at the highest level. If Frank Zane could win the Mr. Olympia at 5’9” and between 182 and 189—I heard those numbers straight from his mouth—then I can surely place in a class that’s limited to 202 pounds and under.

For the off-season I’ll be armed with a new training partner and a new nutrition aide. Just a few weeks out from the Europa I started training with David Richardson. David is a 27-year-old genetic freak who’s just getting his feet wet in bodybuilding. He won the heavyweight class at the NPC Capital of Texas Roundup and was second at the NPC Europa, but he’ll certainly be an IFBB pro in the near future. I’m picking him to win the ’11 NPC Team Universe. Big Dave is a beast, and we have great training chemistry together, so that will help me tremendously.

My new nutrition aide is an iPhone/iPod app that my client Paul Leury introduced me to. Paul got completely shredded for his first show and won both the novice and open lightweight classes at the NPC Capital of Texas. The app is called “Lose It” and enables you to track your diet, including calories and macronutrients. I didn’t get started using it until the last three weeks before the Europa, but it was incredibly valuable, and I highly recommend it. I’m going to use it throughout the off-season to keep my bodyfat in check while still making sure that I get all of the nutrition I need to add muscle. I’m very excited about my upcoming off-season.

I may have been down, but I’m not out. I refuse to use my age or being drug-free as an excuse next year. The Texas Shredder is just getting started, and he’ll take a much improved package to the IFBB pro stage in 2011. Here’s a message to all the baby boomers out there: You’re not too old. Thanks again for your support.

Train hard and eat clean.

Editor’s Note: See Dave Goodin’s blog at Click on the blog selection in the top menu bar. To contact Dave directly, send e-mail to [email protected]. IM

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