I thought it might be interesting to share my experience of competing at the Arnold Classic Europe in Madrid a couple of weeks ago. This is the European version of the Arnold Weekend concept held every year in Columbus, Ohio.
And yes the great man Arnold Schwarzneggar was in attendance (it is named after him after all!)
Despite this being my first event outside of the UK, I knew going into the show that the standard was going to be extremely high – the Arnold Classic is considered the biggest amateur competition in the world with each participating country sending their best athletes, so it was imperative that I was as well prepared as possible.
Upon arriving at the hotel, I stock up on my food from a local supermarket; mainly carbohydrates in the form of potato and corn cakes, proteins in the form of turkey and steak, veg in the form of asparagus and a handful of simple carbs such as raisins, chocolate and fruit to help with energy whilst preparing backstage.
I have brought a portable grill and weigh scales with me. It may sound extreme but I knew that this would enable me to consistently carry on with my diet plan, having trained and dieted so hard and consistently for so long, I didn’t want to gamble with not having access to fresh food on a regular basis.
On Thursday morning I wake up and make my way to registration, which takes four and a half hours! Definitely not the most pleasant experience having to stand up the whole time when you’re already feeling tired, hungry and thirsty!
After finally completing, I return to the hotel and crash for a good couple of hours trying to recharge my batteries for the tanning, posing and grooming sessions to come later in the evening.
I find posing practice the night before a show helps to mentally prepare. I tend to try and pose in front of a mirror with my eyes closed, hitting my favourite shots then checking to see if I nailed it. Posing needs to be second nature, and there are no mirrors on stage to check you’ve got it right!
So the morning of the show has arrived, everything I have been working towards is here, first things first, ab check! Yep, they’re still there…
I put my final layer of tan on, have my breakfast and set off to the venue. When I arrive the sheer volume of athletes across the Mens Physique category is frightening. This class is literally taking over!
I find myself a quiet place where I can keep tabs on the running order but with enough personal space to mentally prepare. Backstage can be a very hostile environment; intimidation tactics, walking around with your top off, and athletes invading your personal space – this can make or break you as an athlete.
My class gets the final call, I look down the line and see national champions from numerous countries all sculpted to perfection, I can see already that the standard is unbelievably high.
When hitting the stage I clear my mind. What’s done is done, now it’s time to go out and enjoy. Because of the volume in each class we quickly get culled to a top 15, before I know it I’m being called back on stage.
We go through mandatory poses for what seems a lifetime. Tired, hot, dehydrated and weak from posing, my body is starting to fade – adrenaline levels are fading quickly!
Once completed, we leave the stage to wait and see if we have made the top
Much to my amazement I have! Knowing that I am considered one of the standout athletes in Europe is an amazing feeling.
So, again we hit the stage completing all mandatory poses, I have already surpassed my expectations and am relaxed, happy and really enjoying my time on stage. All the blood, sweat and tears have finally paid off.
Next up is the award ceremony, to my surprise I manage 4th place. I’m probably the happiest athlete on stage!
I head off stage and the first person I see is my partner, my rock who has been there for the last 14 weeks supporting me through the good, bad and ugly!!
It all feels a bit surreal at this moment, the end of a journey – mission accomplished!
I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the physique I did without a considerable amount of commitment, dedication and of course, consistency. My nutritional programme played a huge part and of course so did CNP supplements.
Here are 3 of the CNP Products which have been instrumental over the last few months and why I feel they deserve a special mention:
ProPeptide – unrivalled quality, contains highest grade of proteins specifically selected blend of protein to ensure constant release of amino acids – creates quality muscle tissue
ProGlutamine – pre/post cardio and resistance prevents going catabolic – aids recovery helps me sustain higher performance throughout the week because of increased recovery rate
BCAA Burst – drinking Intra workout helps prevent catabolism – starts recovery process whilst training – helps sustain performance