Tag Archives: posing

Show-Day Saturday Recap: Installment One

Alright, so here’s what happened yesterday.

At 3 am Saturday morning, Chris awoke and microwaved several sweet potatoes.  He then returned to bed until 5 am when him and Jeremy exuberantly woke up and made loud noises, thus stimulating my grudging emergence from peaceful slumber.

We had a brief panic around 6:45 am when we couldn’t find the competitor-identifying number buttons (like running race bib numbers) to pin on his man-bikini but, after dumping out all our bags several times, we found them.  We stopped briefly at Dunkin’ Donuts and made it to the venue, Cape Cod Community College, by 7:30 am, just in the nick of time to sit there and wait for an hour.

The show staff weren’t even done covering the floor with protective paper at the time we showed up.

Covering the floor (of the area where the bodybuilders got ready) with protective paper

Covering the floor (of the area where the bodybuilders got ready) with protective paper

Why do they have to cover the floor with protective paper?

Because of this:


That shiny brown paint is called “Dream Tan.”  As far as I know, it is made specifically for people in bodybuilding-type competitions.  No normal person-around-town would wear this.


It’s incredibly messy and hard to get off.  The bodybuilders wear it so all those worked-hard-for bodily features will not get washed out by the bright lights of the stage; the tanner is similar in function to the exaggerated stage make-up worn by actors under bright lights.

Applying the tanner and eating foods to make himself appear “full” but not “bloated” were the two main activities to do at the venue before Chris went onstage.  The show officially started at 9 am, but, based on the number of other classes before him (women’s bikini, women’s figure, women’s bodybuilding, and men’s lightweight bodybuilding), we guessed that he would go on stage around 10 am.  This is a tricky part of a bodybuilding show; it is hard to know exactly what time to prepare for going on stage because there is no way to know exactly how long the judges will spend looking at the competitors in other classes.

We chose to apply the tanner starting around 8:30 am which was a good decision as it then took us 30 minutes to fully cover his body with it and it is supposed to be on an hour before stage time.  Applying tanner is like applying very thick, messy lotion-paint (as can be seen in the pictures above).  Once the tanner is on, Chris can’t sit down and has to be careful about what his body touches because he becomes a giant stain-creating monster. You haven’t kissed a man until you’ve kissed a man covered in clothing-staining paint, I say.


Ahhh, the romance of trying very hard to not get close to each other while kissing

So after tanner-time, Chris ate peanut butter and jelly on rice cakes frequently to ensure his muscles looked “full”:



Unfortunately, rice cakes are crumbly and the tanner never fully dries so he ended up with some very fine rice cake crumbles sticking to his chest.  We thought about trying to get them off, but the tanner was finally looking smooth so we didn’t mess with things.  Below is the picture I posted yesterday of Chris’s pecs:


Look carefully and you can see little white rice cake crumbles stuck to them.  Awesome.

Chris then ate some of that jumbo pack of Reese’s I had been coveting, pumped up briefly (push-ups, body-weight squats, etc.) and was ready for stage.  At 10 am exactly, Chris’s class, men’s heavy-weight bodybuilding, was called to the stage.  (This was a very, very well-run show.  We were really impressed with the organization.)

Ready for some stage-Chris?!  Here he is!

Hands-over head abdominals

Hands-over head abdominals (He is in the middle.)

Front "relaxed"

Front “relaxed” (He is next to blue posing trunks man).

Front lat-spread (He's the shiny one).

Front lat-spread (He’s the shiny one).

Front double-biceps (Again, the shiny one)

Front double-biceps (Again, the shiny one in black trunks)

Back double biceps (shiny)

Back double biceps (shiny one)

Hitting a "preferred pose"

Hitting a “preferred pose” (He’s not hitting anything yet here I don’t think but you can see the size of all the giants in his class in this picture).

Chris was on stage for this part, called the “pre-judging” for about 20 minutes.  He told me later that my cruel game during posing practice with him, of seeing how long he would hold a pose that I called out, actually paid off and he felt totally energized on stage flexing for the judges.  I’m a good posing practice pose-call-outer.  Yep.

I loved watching Chris on stage.  He smiled a lot, hit his poses well, and really looked like he was enjoying himself.  I felt vomit-nervous before he went on stage, but once he was out there, it was fun.  Everyone in his class looked amazing.  (He is a “pro” which means that Chris and everyone he competes against has won an amateur show at some point.  Thus, they are all experienced and tough to beat.)

And now, in the interest of not writing a 500 page post, that’s about where I’m going to end today, with what would be a cliff-hanger had I not already posted yesterday about how Chris placed.  I will continue the story of “Saturday Show Day” in a post tomorrow.

I did say “about” where I will end because I absolutely must mention something that happened today.  As we returned to my grandpa’s house this morning (where we stayed all weekend) after going for breakfast, I went to pick up the newspaper in his yard. With excitement, I noticed the cover of The Cape Cod Times was about the bodybuilding show AND THEN, I may have screamed, as I noticed Chris was in the front page photo!

That's him, shiny as usual, on the far right in the background.

That’s him, characteristically shiny, on the far right in the background.

He’s not the featured competitor and the photo isn’t exactly focused on him but hey, front page of the paper, above the article about the Red Sox playoff game?!  Wow.  As if it wasn’t a good enough weekend already, that made our weekend.

(Yes, we then ran out to a gas station and bought five copies of the paper and when the gas station man asked, “Why are you buying five copies of the paper?” Chris told him it was because he, Chris, was in the cover photo!  And as, by this morning, Chris was no longer shiny, and is actually rather pale, and clearly Caucasian, we’re guessing the gas station man assumed Chris was crazy and is laughing heartily, right this moment, with his gas station friends about the crazy non-shiny pale man who thought he was in this cover photo of today’s newspaper.)

Peak Week and Posing Practice

“Peak Week” starts today!  This basically means that Chris is doing his final push to look his best for the show.  His diet and exercise are switched up a bit.

So far, the only difference I can make out is that he’s even more utterly exhausted and just now couldn’t make it through a whole “Google Books” talk that we were watching because he absolutely had to stop and make food.  (The talk was by ultrarunner Dean Karnazes who discusses eating pizza and cheesecake mid-run; perhaps listening to the gloriously calorific life of an ultrarunner was too much for the food-yearning bodybuilder.)


Making dinner

As the contest date approaches, we’ve been working on Chris’s posing routine.  A few weeks ago, Chris played me a bunch of possible posing routine songs that he’d found online and let me tell him which ones I liked.  The yelling-angry songs (I believe they are called “heavy metal” by those approving of the genre) were all immediately nixed.  That eliminated 80% of his selections. I really liked the first song he’d played for me, which turned out to be his first choice too, so, that is now his posing routine song.

Selecting a bodybuilding posing routine song is interesting:  it has to be a song that you enjoy and also something you can sort of dance to.  I say “sort of dance to” because posing routines aren’t dance routines but they do involve moving around the stage and flexing at different times in different positions and making it work with the music.  There are some songs that work and some songs that just don’t work.  At bodybuilding shows, there’s usually a mix of (ugh) mystical-this-bodybuilder-just-rose-out-of-the-earth songs and (super ugh) heavy metal.  I think the song Chris chose fits neither of those categories and thus, will be very cool.  Yes, I’m deliberately not writing what song it is; I’m supposed to keep it a secret. 

Along with working on Chris’s posing routine, we’re also still working on Chris’s posing for prejudging.  Bodybuilders do “prejudging” first at a show.  In “prejudging” they hit certain “mandatory” poses and then, later in the show, they do their “posing routine” which they have made up themselves.

I say “we” are working on Chris’s posing because I am the posing critic.  He asks me to be the posing critic.  I sit on the couch and call out poses to Chris and he hits the poses and sweats and I stare at him and tell him what looks good and what could maybe be flexed more / differently.

As a fan of flexed abdominals, I choose to call out the “hands over head abdominals” pose a lot.  Apparently it is one of the more exhausting poses but, eh, he is the one who wanted to practice posing.  Sometimes it’s fun to call out “hands over head abdominals” and then “front double biceps” (another tiring one) and then “hands over head abdominals” and then “front double biceps” and see how long he can keep hitting them until he reaches true exhaustion.  I have to keep things interesting for myself.

In between poses, he is supposed to get into “relaxed” positions.  There is a “relaxed” position facing the front, the sides, and the back.  To envision what the “relaxed” positions look like, imagine standing upright with your arms at your sides and then tensing every muscle in your body.  That is “relaxed.”

In between “relaxed” positions, we also do “quarter turns to your right.”  This is so the judges (and me, the posing critic) can see all sides of Chris.  When I first went to a bodybuilding show, this confused me a great deal; would quarter turns to the right be followed by three-fifths turns to the left and six-eighths turns on the z-axis?  Unfortunately for those wishing for a math/bodybuilding combo competition, no.  It’s just quarter turns to the right.  (I have seen “half turns” once, but only once.)  One day when I run bodybuilding…

I will end with a fun story.

A few days ago, Chris went to the grocery store and bought several monster bags of frozen broccoli (pictured below), many Greek yogurts tubs, bags of fajita steak, and coffee.


Our freezer currently (And he wonders why he gets bloated…)

The cashier asked him, “Is this all you eat?” to which Chris fibbed, “Oh no, ha ha, I just like buying things in bulk,” to which the cashier said, “Oh good, because it’d be really weird if this was all you ate,” to which Chris laughingly replied, “Ha, yep, sure would be weird!” and then Chris chuckled to himself all the way home because that really is all that he eats, and yes, it’s weird.

From Hypoglycemia to Posing Trunks

Topics to be covered in today’s post:  

1)  Chris’s hypoglycemia, self-diagnosis, and how he fixed it

2)  Where Chris thought it was a good idea to do hill sprints

3)  How the bodybuilder dealt with climbing a mountain

4)  How Chris looks now

Topic 1

I wrote before about Chris’s occasional hypoglycemia during contest prep.  Recently, Chris switched from afternoon to morning workouts.  This switch made the hypoglycemic episodes more frequent.

Last week, Chris was in Florida again when the most intense of these hypoglycemic episodes yet occurred.

I need to pause here to mention why Chris has spent so much time over the last few months at his parents’ in Florida:  his dad underwent open-heart surgery back in June and is still hospitalized as he recovers.  Chris, naturally, has wanted to spend time with his dad and mom during this process.

So one day last week, Chris went to the Florida gym early in the morning, trying to get in a heavy leg workout before driving to the hospital to see his dad.  He ate a high carbohydrate meal 2 hours before lifting and he was mentally pumped up about leg day.  After just a few squat warm-ups, Chris got so shaky and cold-sweaty that he was afraid he’d pass out.  He bought a Gatorade for $2 from the front desk at the gym to raise his blood sugar and then felt fine and completed the workout.

When he got home, he analyzed what was happening:  it appeared that the hypoglycemia only occurred in the morning when a high carbohydrate meal was eaten ~2 hours before lifting.

Based on these conditions, in an email, he explained to me his self-diagnosis:

I think I have a medical condition called “postprandially reactive hypoglycemia” which probably described what I am experiencing. I founds a few pubmed articles on it but can’t get the full texts. This link has the best description and probably describes the situation closest to what I am going through:


It is caused by very high insulin sensitivity in very lean people!

So Chris, who is a “very lean people”  is too insulin sensitive; this basically means his body overreacts when he secretes insulin (in response to carbohydrate ingestion primarily) and causes his body to lower his blood sugar too much.

The good news is, since he has identified the factors causing his hypoglycemic episodes, he has solved the problem.  He is still working out in the morning -it just fits his current schedule better- but he has changed the carbohydrate component of his pre-workout meal from a cup of oatmeal (~60 grams of starch) to an apple (~25 grams of fructose).  This change seems to have fixed things.

I do not like Chris having hypoglycemic episodes but I am very glad that he’s not an idiot and would consume an unplanned Gatorade at the gym rather than pass-out.  Honestly, I’m not sure all bodybuilders would make the same decision.  It’s good to know that my bodybuilder is a smart one.

Topic 2

The gym Chris worked out at in Florida wasn’t open on Sundays so Chris had to do cardio outside.  Someone at the gym recommended he run on the shoulder of the road over a bridge.  Logically, this is what he did.


It is a big shoulder, at least


And it had a good view

Anything to get in the scheduled workout.

Topic 3

Speaking of scheduled workouts, yesterday, miraculously, Chris did something “off-schedule.”  We climbed Mt. Monadnock.  What with the hypoglycemia and Chris’s extreme leanness and mild fatigue recently, I was nervous about his hiking it, and asked him several times if I should bring candy bars to force feed him should his blood glucose fall.  He assured me that he’d be fine and I did feel better when I saw that he was bringing 6 protein bars and an apple and also not eating a high carbohydrate breakfast.  He was fine on the hike and we made it to the top of Mt. Monadnock just in time to see this majestic view:


On the summit of Mt. Monadnock

What a view!  It was kind of neat to be surrounded by fog.  We do plan to go back there, however, when we are not surrounded by fog.

Prior to the hike, Chris had told me he was going to do his scheduled “cardio,” which to him means high-intensity intervals only, after the hike.  I thought about explaining that 5 hours of slippery mountain hiking is also called “cardio” but eh, he’s got his scheduled ways.  I was relieved (and rather astounded) that, after the hike, he said he felt like he’d had a good enough workout and was not going to do the scheduled “cardio”.  He felt guilty about this decision, but, his pedometer said we had gone 17,000 steps, he’d fallen flat on his butt twice on the slippery rocks, and somehow, that seemed like enough for his body for one day.  I believe his exact decision making process went something like, “Well, I’d be fine doing extra high-intensity intervals today, but I just think I might be too sore then to do well during the rest of the week’s workouts.”  Ya think?!

Topic 4

Chris is lean enough now that he felt comfortable putting on his teeny-tiny posing trunks for his Saturday flexing pictures.  He told me these were his practice trunks.  I said, “Why do you have practice trunks?”  He muttered things I didn’t understand about needing two pairs of identical posing trunks.  I think the “show” trunks have tanner on them still from the last show and that’s why he has two pairs? Not sure.  Also, why do those little things get to be called “trunks”?  They are clearly much too small for the “trunk” designation.  Well, anyway, here’s how the man and his trunks are looking:


Chris pointed out to me that his nipples no longer look asymmetrical! Hooray!


This is called the “front abdominal” pose.


We like his back, but are still waiting for those glutes to fully come in.  Oh the waiting!  When will they come in?!  Gluuutes!

Only six more weeks until COMPETITION DAY.