The 1997 Gainesville Bodybuilding Competition

Time to wake up!

Well, it's 8:00am on Saturday morning. Prejudging is in 4 hours and it's also my 3rd day of Carbohydrate Loading. So, I get to eat lots of sweet stuff today! Gummi Savers were my favorite. It also happened to be the favorite of my fellow competitors as they rapidly wiped out ENTIRE my stash.

The Auditorium

Here's a shot of Lincoln Middle School Auditorium. I apologize for the blurriness of the shot. I was shivering at the time. When I walked in, a guy announced that the indoor temperature was 62 degrees. Most Floridians find that a "bit" cold (even when they're wearing CLOTHES!). Although I love cold temperatures, I'm not keen on standing almost naked in cold temperatures. Ah...but hey..."I knew the job was dangerous when I took it".


Here's a random shot from backstage. The guy on the right handside of the image is my competitor, Jason.

It was a relatively small show this year. Only 2 women, one teenager, only one guy over 35 and roughly 2-3 competitors in each men's weight class (open & novice divisions).


This is a video still of my competitor and I during prejudging. We both weighed in at 157 lbs. the day of the show. Roughly 3 weeks earlier I was introduced to Jason by a mutual friend. At that time he weighed 172 lbs. It always helps to know your competition as they say. Anywho...we became pretty good friends after that, so that made competition a lot more fun. Hehehe, I guess the friendliness did have one advantage...he almost wiped out my supply of Gummi Savers. Fortunately I had 4 bags with me for just such an emergency. 8) we all know, my "secret weapons" are FEAR and SURPRISE. No "secret weapons" are my small waist (28") and my intrinsically low bodyfat. Although I diet before a contest, I don't have to be strict about it until the last month before showtime. So whenever I compete, I always arrive "sliced". Luckily, I'm able to time my dieting and exercise almost perfectly.

My weakness...those dang legs & arms (mostly legs). Being 5'11", anything under 168 lbs. is almost a sure no-winner. Shorter, more symmetrical guys wipe me out everytime. But...the thing I like the most about all this is that I can definitely see improvement. I've gained 13 lbs. since the last time I competed 2 years ago, and my legs and arms are considerably thicker than they were. So I will continue to preach, DON'T FORGET YOUR LEGS! Train your ENTIRE body when you exercise. Devote at least one day for legs each week. AND DON'T SKIMP! It's better to train legs with the same intensity as you train your upper body when you're first starting out, than trying to play catch-up years later. This was my mistake. I hated training legs. Why? 'Cause it hurts! But in a way, it's a GOOD hurt. I just didn't know that at the time. 8) So please, if you've just started weight training, remember...your body is made of many parts. Symmetry is everything. Even if you never plan to compete, don't forget to train everything! Chest, Back, Shoulders, Abs, Arms and LEGS! 8) Ok, I'm getting off the soapbox now, back to the show!

To provide a good sheen and highlight muscle definition, bodybuilders cover themselves in oil before going on stage. You can use a variety of oils. I used Almond Oil the last time I competed. This time I used Walnut Oil. I used Walnut this time primarily because I couldn't find any Almond. Most guys use Safflower Oil, but some I've noticed even spray themselves with PAM Non-Stick Cooking Spray. Although it does give you a good sheen, it makes you smell like roast turkey. Not that it's a bad thing, but when you're around 10-20 people who haven't eaten anything roasted in over a month, you may seem rather appetizing. Besides, if you're a big bodybuilder, you almost have to empty the entire can to cover yourself. Another thing that most bodybuilders have to worry about is their tan. The lights on stage are VERY harsh and if you have fair skin, those lights will wipe out ALL your definition. Therefore, most fair skinned bodybuilders coat themselves with a bronzing agent like "Pro-Tan", "Jan Tana" or "Dream Tan" a few days before the show. It's also good to have a base tan to work with. One caveat...if you're using Jan Tana, be aware that other oils tend to smear Jan Tana applications. Unfortunately, you'd have to use their special oil to prevent that. Needless to say, I've never had this my tan is genetic. 8) Yay! Melanin IS our friend.

The Evening Show!

Here's my favorite series of video stills from the Evening Show. I received 2nd Place Lightweight - Men's Open. As I'm being awarded my mondo-keen trophy, I get sweat in my eye. With 30 seconds of my 15 minutes of fame left, I can't even see what's going on. "Isn't it ironic?" - Alanis Marmoset.

I had a lot of fun though. It's one of those experiences you wish everyone could have. It's not so much the attention, but it's the personal satisfaction you get out of knowing you've given 100%. It's all about getting to know yourself and what you're capable of. It not only showed me that I have more self-discipline than I thought, but I gained a great deal of respect for myself. I resisted many temptations and pushed myself toward a goal. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. 8) And yes...the dieting sucked. If I eat one more rice cake, I'm going to explode. 8)

So...despite the dieting, hours of weight training, and constant desire to just "sit back and coast", I'm definitely going to compete again! It probably won't be for another 2 years, but I'll do it again. I spoke to one of the judges after the show and he said that everything about my presentation was really good, but the one thing that I needed to improve on was my legs. "Once you do that, you should do very well." Symmetry is the key. Like Pres. Kennedy saying "Get off your ass, America! We're going to the Moon!", I continue to have a definite goal, and I'm not stopping until I achieve it! Gee...not like I didn't know this about my legs before, but it helps to have that final kick in the butt to give you a vision for the future! This competition has shown me that I CAN improve if I put my mind to it. So hey...look out kids, next time...I'm taking FIRST!

Skippy's Big Day in Pictures - November 15th, 1997

It's over!!!

Jason took a picture of me backstage holding my mondo-keen trophy.

The Final Posedown!

Here's a video still of the Heavyweight, Middleweight, and Lightweight winners, posing down for the Overall Title of Mr. Gainesville. As is often the case, the Heavyweight won it. Jason's the guy on the far right.

Time to go home!

Here I am doing a side tricep pose after the show.

Skippy vs The Great Bowden

This is me posing with my friend Helen. Talk about grandstanding! 8)

The Goofy Albury Boys!

Me and my brother Chris. Would you believe he's only 4 years younger than I? It must be something in the water. 8)

By the way, this picture was taken just as they were turning off the stage lights, hence the darkness. Talk about timing.

Traditional Pics at home!

And now the traditional photos after the show. 2 years ago my Dad took pics of me in this same location just before we went to dinner. SO...I thought I'd do the same. 8)

This is the ever popular "Ab & Quad" pose.

Front Double Bicep

...and a Front Double Bicep...

Most Muscular

...followed by a somewhat disturbing, Most Muscular Pose.

Gratuitous Trophy Pose

And of course, what photo montage would be complete without a "Gratuitous Trophy Pose"?

Notice that in the background (to my left - your right), is my previous trophy from the 1995 contest.

I think I like this new trophy better. One...because it's from the OPEN division instead of NOVICE, and two...the figurine is bigger. Hehehe...I want to look like him one day, just taller. 8)

Mr. Trophy

Here's a close-up picture of my trophy. Inscribed at the bottom are the words "1997 GAINESVILLE BODYBUILDING CHAMPIONSHIPS - Men's Open - Lightweight - 2nd Place".

I haven't come up with a "name" for my trophy yet, but the face bears a striking resemblance to Arnold Schwarzenegger. I guess it's the square jaws. So...I think that'll be the name I'll choose.

If you have any other suggestions, e-mail me.

Skippy's Pre-Contest Dieting Time Table

Critical Date What Happened...
9/1/1997 No More Pizza.
Current weight: 168 lbs. - 8% bodyfat
9/8/1997 Reduced fat intake to between 40-50 gm/day.
9/15/1997 Reduced fat intake to between 35-45 gm/day.
9/16/1997 Increase protein intake to minimum of 80-100g/day.
9/22/1997 Reduce fat intake to between 30-40 gm/day.
10/2/1997 Increase protein intake to between 100-150 g/day.
Current weight: 165 lbs. - 6.1% bodyfat
10/5/1997 Reduce fat intake to 25 g/day.
Begin working on posing routine.
10/16/1997 Begin drinking distilled water.
Limit Sodium intake to no more than 2500 mg/day.
10/22/1997 Add an extra 30 minutes of aerobics per week.
Total minutes of aerobic activity per week: 2 hrs. 45 minutes + 30 minutes extra = 3 hrs. 15 minutes
10/24/1997 Striations beginning to appear.
Current weight: 162 lbs. - 5.5% bodyfat
10/26/1997 Maintain Sodium intake at 1500 mg/day
Fat intake = Maximum of 12 g/day.
10/28/1997 Add another 30 minutes of aerobics per week.
Total minutes of aerobic activity per week: 3hrs. 15 minutes + 30 minutes extra = 3 hrs. 45 minutes
11/1/1997 Eat more raisins to increase Potassium intake.
Current weight 160 lbs. - Less than 5% bodyfat.
11/2/1997 Vascularity begins to appear in legs
Hold Sodium intake at 1000 mg/day.
11/5/1997 Striations come and go due to variations in fluid level.
11/10/1997 Switch to mostly fibrous carbohydrates (80-100g/day)
Last day to workout legs.
11/11/1997 Sodium to less than 50 mg/day.
Switch from raisins to pitted dates to increase Potassium level.
2nd day of carb depletion, no more protein, last day of aerobics.
11/12/1997 Last day of carb depletion
Short but intense workout.
Muscles appear quite flat.


Switch back to starchy carbohydrates (300-400 g/day)
Stay home from work and eat!
Sodium intake to 0 mg/day. Continue eating dates to keep Potassium high.
Current weight: 159 lbs.

11/14/1997 2nd day of carbohydrate loading (400-500 g/day)
Muscles filling up nicely.
Continue to stay home from work and eat!
Restrict water intake after 4pm. - Dehydration occurs as the evening progresses.
11/15/1997 Showtime!
Current weight 157 lbs.
Impressive vascularity and numerous striations are visible.
Quite dehydrated, but maintaining fluid level after 10 am.
11/16/1997 First day AFTER the show!
Current weight 161 lbs.
Striations are less pronounced. Fluid level improving dramatically.
Diet is back to normal, although cautiously so.
11/19/1997 Three days AFTER the show!
Current weight 164 lbs.
Most striations are gone. Fluid level back to normal.
Diet is back to normal.
No weight training until 11/23/97.
I feel great! Can't wait to start lifting again!

So...if you have any questions or comments about what it's like to participate in a bodybuilding competition, or if you've competed yourself and just want someone to commiserate with, just drop me a line.

I love talking about this stuff!

For more information about the Gainesville Bodybuilding Competition,
visit Gainesville Gym's Webpage.

Created: November 19th, 1997
Modified: April 26th, 2000

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