Bodybuilders flock to St. Johns for provincial championships
Bodybuilder Lee Hayward of Conception Bay South will be going after his first title as he competes in the provincial bodybuilding and figure championships, beginning today in St. Johns. Photo by The Telegram
Motivation wont be a problem for Lee Hayward at todays provincial bodybuilding and figure championships.
The 28-year-old from Conception Bay South is taking part in his ninth bodybuilding event and this time has a specific finish in mind.
Ive been doing it for 12 years but havent won a show yet. I dont know too many people that have competed that long without winning one, he said. Thats been driving me and if I keep improving, eventually Im going to win.
Hayward also helped organize this weekends competition at the Delta Hotel and is an executive member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Bodybuilding and Figure Association. In addition to competing, hell help other bodybuilders with their posing oil and posing techniques. Chances are theyll need his help since most of this weekends participants lack experience.
Theres going to be a lot of newcomers at this show and thats great since it shows the sport is really growing, Hayward said. Its really anybodys show this year ... Its nice to have a show with a lot of new people because they have a lot of excitement.
While the rookies want to win as much as Hayward, they are also fueled by meeting personal goals. Most of todays competitors are men and women who have spent a few years in the gym and in the last 12 months have stepped up their weight lifting efforts (early in their training) and increased their cardiovascular workouts (in the final stages of training) to specifically prepare for the provincial championships.
After all, the thought of stepping on to a well-lit stage wearing nothing but a Speedo and a smile in front of judges and hundreds of spectators is enough to scare anyone into taking bodybuilding seriously.
Diet a big factor
I saw it as a way to get in great shape, said Mount Pearls Adam Nolan, one of the first-time bodybuilders competing. And it pays off. In the past 18 weeks, Ive lost 50 pounds. The other day a complete stranger came up to me in the gym and told me I looked great. Hearing that makes you feel good.
Diet is also a huge factor in a bodybuilders training. Lean meats like chicken and fish are a must while a healthy serving of green vegetables is just as important. Theres room for selective carbohydrates such as brown rice and oatmeal, but fast food is out of the question.
The main focus is losing fat. Youre trying to get leaner. Thats the main focus in the last three to four months before the competition, said Hayward.
Although a lot of the bodybuilders are rookies, there will likely be one or two that really surprise the judges with a professional-looking physique. These men and women usually receive a lot of praise from their competition, but unfortunately rumours about what they took to get so ripped often accompany the compliments.
Hayward acknowledges that some people assume a big, well-defined bodybuilder must be taking something illegal, whether it be steroids or another banned substance.
It does ... bug everyone. I know a lot of competitors that have won and are totally natural. Theyve even competed in drug tested events, Hayward said. Im not denying some people take drugs. But most are drug-free and do well through hard work.
Hayward adds that like some sports, the highest level of bodybuilding has its share of athletes who indulge in banned substances. But when it comes to events like this weekends provincial championships, he said theres no need to wonder whos clean and whos on the juice.
At the local level, people compete for personal satisfaction and personal goals, Hayward said. (Steroid speculation) hasnt hurt our events. The sport is still growing and getting bigger.
In addition to mens and womens bodybuilding, a womens figure championship will also be decided today. Hayward said judges are looking for lean, athletic-looking females, similar to the way a swimsuit competition is decided.
Its a more desirable look for a lot of women. Its taking over womens bodybuilding, Hayward said.
Event begins today
Twenty people (10 men and 10 women) from across the province are expected to compete and up to 500 spectators are likely to attend todays event at the Delta Hotel in St. Johns, which begins at 7 p.m. (tickets available at the door).
Winners in several weight categories will be decided and one overall champion will be crowned in both the mens and womens divisions. The overall winners earn a berth at the Canadian bodybuilding championships later this summer.