NABBA Britain Finals 2014 – How I Placed
So i’ll quickly start off and let you all know how I placed in the NABBA Britain Finals – 6th. HASHTAG – buzzing my pecs off.
Now i know 6 out of 10 may not sound impressive, but let me put this into perspective for you. I was told by Eddy to do the NABBA Britain Finals for the experience, but that I wouldn’t place. I had dieted for the NABBA North Britain, which took place on May 4th from the last week of December / first week of January. As I mentioned, I didn’t expect to place int he NABBA North, so i had 0 idea about the NABBA Britain Finals 4 weeks later. To my amazement, and delight, all that clangin’ and bangin’, hours of cardio, and hungry nights paid off, as I had placed 3rd in the North Britain, and qualified for the NABBA Britain finals. You can check out my NABBA Training Log for how I was training, and how i was changing week on week during my contest prep.
I don’t want this to be a life transformation post, as I do have one of those planned for a future video, and article, but I feel like I should provide some background to my earlier years.
A little bit of background…
As a teenager I was the overweight MMORPG addicted kid. I spent summer after summer playing an MMO called Legend Of Mir. The game was hugely popular in Europe, and my Summer holidays would consist of being woken up by my Mam (yes that’s right, mam, not MOM – Im from the North of England!) for my dinner. This would be chicken in breadcrumbs with chips/fries and i’d cover it in bbq or garlic sauce. Id already have my PC warming up, ready for a 16 hour stint. The rest of my day would be grinding, leveling, pking (player killing, this was before WoW), spending time on the forums, taking short piss breaks or snack breaks, and heading to bed for an early night at 4 am. I knew shit got real when I heard the birds chirping outside, would minimise out of the game to my desktop, see that it was 6 or 7, and think DAMN. Better get to bed.
In School I was in ‘top set’ for most subjects, bar P.E. In the UK P.E is our gym class. In my last 2 years of secondary school(high school) I was put into the ‘mongo’ P.E class. A gym class where we didn’t do sport. We did ‘theory’ and went bowling, skiing etc. As a life long fan of WWE, I was conditioned to seeing this awesome physiques. I was also quite big on anime as a teenager, of course my favourite being Dragonball Z, so that unrealistic muscular cartoon look was further ingrained into my mind. This was further emphasized growing up watching the Marvel animated series of the 90’s, X-Men, Spiderman, FF, Hulk, Iron Man, Silver Surfer. Funny enough all of these things, im still a huge fan of now. I still watch WWE weekly (even though most recently its almost fast forwarded every week due it sucking ass). I collect comics, figurines, busts and statues. I still watch anime, and I still collect old school Pokemon cards, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and play games. Although I don’t play them very often at all compared to what I used to when I was in uni.
The 90’s were a time when comic art style was over muscular, look no further than Cyclops from the 90’s X-Men TAS. This coupled with the typical ‘boys toys’ of the 90’s such as Action Man, it was fair to say I grew up in a culture where kids my age were conditioned to a ripped, muscular look.
Anyway lets fast forward to college time. I had naturally lost weight and ended up pretty skinny. I had started exercising, eating a bit better, and looked like a ‘normal’ teenager (whatever that is). I had already been bitten by the gym bug though, and, because of being conditioned to these muscular physiques, wanted to get some muscles myself. I went on a ‘bro bulk’ and ended up, at my heaviest, 219 lbs. I thought I was a beast! My friends thought I was a beast! My family thought I was a beast! Guess what?
I was fat.
After an epic (see:silly) cut that got me beach body ready, with visible abs, i felt worst than I did when i was 219 lbs. With a t-shirt on, it looked as though I didn’t even lift. I’ve never been one for being ‘skinny ripped’. When I first started lifting seriously, I wasn’t concerned with looking ripped. I just wanted size and strength. I achieved that, but then I wanted to look ripped. So following a few years of the typical cut/bulk, and some decent progress, I decided to take a plunge into competitive bodybuilding. It’s a notion I had toyed with for about 2 years prior. I always knew deep down i would eventually do it, but towards the end of 2012, something triggered in me that made me take the first step on a life long, and life changing journey.
I changed gym’s, seeking out the advice of former Mr Universe, Eddy Elwood. In no kinder words I was told that I was too fat for bodybuilding, and I needed to focus on getting rid of body fat. Eddy has been retired since the early 2000’s, and has a ton of experience. Over the years he will have seen dozens of people just like me come and go. Talks of stepping on stage, only to give up a few weeks later. Im not sure what his first impression of me was, but it would be fair to assume he thought i was ‘just another one of them’. Hell, if i was in his position id have thought that.
So in January of 2013, I left my old gym, and paid up front for a year at Xtreme Fitness. This was one of the best investments I’ve ever (to quote Chris Jericho) eeevvvvarrrrrr made. In my first year of competing, I did 3 bodybuilding shows, i’ve documented them all, and you can check out the videos and transformation pictures of them on my youtube.
NABBA North Britain 2014
I qualified for the NABBA Britain Finals (unexpectedly) at the start of May, placing 3rd in the NABBA North Britain. Going into this show I had 1 goal. To improve from the November show I did. I think its fair to say I did improve, as I managed to place 3rd, something which I did not expect to do. This was the start of a 1 month roller coaster ride of highs & lows.
Now the year before, I entered the first timers at the NABBA North Britain 2013, and did not place. So to step up into the Novice class and place. Wow.
I started training from last years show with the mindset of wanting to place. Deep down I knew it was a possibility, but I did not expect it. Not this year. I realistically expected to not place in the top 3 this year, and to then place in the top 3 next year. So to actually place this year, and to get an invite to the NABBA Britain finals just left me gobsmacked.
NABBA Britain Finals 2014 – LONG DIETING
By the time the Britain Finals took place, May 31st, My contest prep was locked in at around 23 weeks. Anyone who has competed or follows bodybuilding knows this is a helluva long time to diet. So why did I do it? Because I screwed myself over. As i’ve explained over on my Youtube channel and in earlier training blogs on the site, I binged BAD after my last show of November. I put on about 20 lbs of trailer park trash, weight in around 2 weeks. Its safe to say after dieting for 23 weeks this year, i’ve learned my lesson and will not binge like that again. I’ve actually written a post about controlling a post show binge, from my own experiences, and I am in the midst of producing an article and video about how my mindset has changed this year compared to last year. To put it bluntly however, I don’t even have a desire, craving or urge to binge now.
The last week of prep was hard. Think Contra hard. Real life doesn’t have the Konami code though, so I was fubar. I was really fed up, as I felt like I was just prepping to fight a losing battle and to be a number on stage. Remember I was told on May 5th, the day after placing 3rd in the NABBA North Britain and qualifying to the NABBA Britain finals that I was not going to place at this show. Outright, I wasn’t going to get anywhere. I was going for the experience, and to be a number on stage. More importantly though, I was going there to improve upon my own physique, and to look even better than I did at the North Britain show.
I didn’t really struggle with my diet leading up to the North Britain, however the last 2-3 weeks before the Britain things got hard. I was tired every day, hungry every day, miserable. I felt like a different person. Not only was it affecting me , it was affecting my relationship with my awesome fianceé. What she misses out on due to me bodybuilding, and what we’re limited to doing and not doing is harsh. To be a bodybuilder, you need a very understanding partner, who is willing to put them selves 2nd to you, or you need to be single. Fortunately for me, I have the best level of support from the best partner I could ever ask for.
When I found out I had placed, in the evening show, I couldnt believe it. It was surreal. My name was called and I walked off stage. I assumed that was game over, not realising that the 6 of us who had been called off stage had placed. It was only when I was backstage that I saw everyone buzzing something clicked. Still puzzled, I turned to one of the NABBA staff backstage asking “So.. have we all placed?”. I was met with a look of shock, covered in a pile of WTF sauce. No sooner had I asked this question the other 5 competitors all stopped and turned to me. Laughter erupted from each of them, as they could not believe I was this clueless.
I knew straight away my placing. I was lucky to get into the top 6, and I was realistic to realise that at this point, I had placed 6th. I couldn’t believe it. I was buzzing. My friends and family all ‘knew’ I wasn’t going to place, as I had told them. Connie knew i wasn’t going to place. I thought I knew I wasn’t going to place. How wrong I was.
A Lucky Break
Of course, let me put this into perspective. I don’t want to big myself up, or make myself sound great. As already mentioned those involved in bodybuilding will know placing is a huge achievement, however to outsiders, colleagues and friends, they may hear me say ‘6th out of 10’ and think that it is a poor result. Well it isn’t. Placing is good.
However I placed it what could be considered a week line up. There could have easily been 20 competitors on stage, from all the qualifiers. There was 13 on the sheet due to compete. There was 10 of us who showed up. The guy who won the NABBA North Britain didn’t show up. The guy who placed 2nd at the North actually won the class. So had more people turned up, I feel the result wouldn’t have been so successful for me. Yes I did work hard to earn this, but there was also a huge element of luck on my side.
I won’t complain though, and I won’t take it for granted. As I know what next needs to be done….
Time To Grow
This past week I’ve been picking Eddy’s Brains,
‘how did I do?’, ‘what did you think i looked like compared to the others?’, ‘how could i have improved?’
He told me not to over analyse everything. Just to take what has happened as it has happened, and to look forward to progressing. Of course I then asked, what do i need to improve upon to hear, what I already knew to be true: “everything”. Why was I asking a question, in which I already knew the answer?
I need to get more conditioned. I need to get harder. I need to get bigger. I need to be more dense. I need to keep doing what I have done for the last year and a half, clangin’ and bangin’ and keep improving. Simple as that.
While I need to improve overall and in every area, the biggest thing I need to focus on now is packing on some size. Its 11 months until the 2015 NABBA North, so here we go!
11 Months Countdown
Starting this Sunday i’ll be kicking off my journey to the NABBA 2015. Im having a realistic, grounded approach, just like I did last year when looking forwad to the next year. I know i will not place next year. This isn’t going to be a repeat of the Britain, where I ended up fluking my way onto the podium. I know the standard of competition at the NABBA North Britain in class 2 (which is what ill be competing in). I know that no matter how much progress I can realistically make in the next 11 months, that I will just not be at a high enough standard to be stepping onto the top 3 podium in 2015. Give me till 2016 though….. watch this space!
I’ve let things slip in my training log over the past few weeks, but Im going to make it a mission to update my youtube with a video recap, along with this blog once a week, recapping the previous week of training, dieting etc. My first one, this Sunday, will start with my current weight, and a look at my conditioning, along with me explaining my macro’s to pack on some mass. I’ll also be discussing my supplements that i’ve used, along with what changes i’ll be making. Being in the UK, I tend to buy the majority of my supplements from bulk suppliers, so i’ll be posting my supplement stack, along with new pick ups on http://cheapproteindiscountcodes.co.uk, and you should make sure to check it out for the cheapest supplement discount codes to.
My mindset is so different to what I had last year (last year was my first year of competing) and in November I packed on so much fat after going on a 2 week binge. Completely silly, but I don’t even have any cravings this time round. However a week ago, I couldnt wait to smash in reeses peanut butter cups, lucky charms and flapjacks! As soon as I stepped off stage all that temptation and craving went. Very strange how our minds play tricks on us.
Untill Next time guys, you all know what to do, keep clangin & bangin!