WNBF Worlds Write-up and 2011 Contest Season in Review
Well another contest season has come and gone and i’ve now had a week to think about and digest what has transpired. The focus of my 2011 contest season was the WNBF Pro World Championships, which were held in NYC on November 12th. I competed in the 2009 Worlds, finishing a disappointing 4th place. My goal was to bring a better overall package to the stage (elevate my personal best) enabling me to earn a better placing. Specifically, I needed to bring up some weak points to overcome structural deficiencies in my symmetry. Coming into this year’s show, I felt that I had succeeded in making some improvements to my physique that would enable me to hold my ground against those with better genetic structure. My overall win at the WNBF Pro Universe in September gave me confidence that my extended off-season paid off and that I was more ready to challenge for a top spot in the heavyweight class.
The line-up for the show proved to be as competitive as always with 10 lightweight pro men, 14 middleweights and 12 in the heavyweight class (a total of 36 pro men). Looking at the names, I knew that both Vaughan and I would have to fight for a top spot in both of our classes.
I was in contest prep mode for a total of 28 weeks leading into Worlds. In the final week I was very happy with how everything came together and felt as though I was bringing my best to the stage. I was excited to see how my efforts would translate to placing amongst the best in natural bodybuilding.
When my class was brought onstage, I started off all the way on one end (since I was competitor #1 in my class). After a set of quarter turns in the symmetry round, Head Judge Nancy Andrews moved me towards the center of the stage. From there, I remained in the middle 3 positions throughout the symmetry round, mass round and conditioning & muscularity round. This was a pretty good sign that I was in contention for top 3 in my class. The feedback I got following prejudging was consistent with this. With a class of 12 I was prepared to be onstage for awhile. I felt well prepared in my ability to hold my poses for a long time. Vaughan and I spent a lot of time practicing our posing…we had conditioned ourselves to handle long bouts onstage…at the Mid-America 5 weeks before, we were easily onstage for 40 minutes and both did not have any issues with fatigue. Likewise, I felt great at Worlds.
In my class was the 2009 Overall World Champion, Martin Daniels…a mass monster with perfect symmetry. Martin’s proportions are ridiculous. New amongst the heavies, was new pro, Richard Gozdecki from England. Richard had just recently earned his pro card and it was evident in prejudging that he was challenging for the top spot in our class. Richard not only possesses great symmetry, but is an absolute monster! Quite possible the biggest natural bber i’ve ever seen, weighing in at 229 lbs ONSTAGE!!! That’s about 30 lbs more than my stage weight! I knew right away after looking at the pictures, he’d be very hard to beat…although he could have been a little sharper in terms of conditioning, Richard probably brought the best overall combination of sheer mass and muscular symmetry with decent conditioning. The general consensus after prejudging was that it was close between the top 3 (that is usually the case at a show like Worlds…very little separating the top spots).
The day proceeded and after a long drawn out night show (I don’t think I did my routine until around 9pm), Our class was brought out to award the top 5. I was happy to not hear my name called for the 4th and 5th place spots. On the plus side, Rodney Helaire, who has been a dominant force in the WNBF over the years was announced 4th. Back in 2006 I competed against Rodney in the Pro US Cup…he won the heavyweight class and I took 2nd to him…if I remember correctly he beat me by a unanimous decision, so placing ahead of him at Worlds was certainly an accomplishment for me that demonstrated marked improvement.
I ended up placing 3rd, Martin took 2nd and Richard won the class along with the Overall Title (he beat out the lightweight and middleweight class winners)…so I lost to 2 Overall World Champions
I came away from the show with mixed feelings, not entirely sure how to react or what to think. On one hand, I improved my placing and placed ahead of someone I had formerly lost to. On the other hand I failed to achieve the goal I ultimately set for myself and I was not able to close the gap on the individual who placed ahead of me last time. At this point, I needed to wait until I could get some honest feedback from Nancy Andrews (Head Judge) and see the scores.
A couple days after the shows, the results and scores were posted…Richard finished with 7 points, beating Martin by 1 point (Martin had 8 points) and I had 17 points…it appears I was a distant third place, not challenging for the top spots in my class. This was a bit disheartening considering the efforts i’ve put forth over the last 2 years. It almost seems to demonstrate no improvement against those who beat me before. By the week’s end I was able to get some feedback from Nancy Andrews. Nancy pointed out that Richard and Martin were clearly the top 2 while I was definitively third, not matching the symmetry or mass that either Richard or Martin possessed, but clearly ahead of the 4th and 5th finishers. Nancy seemed to think I wasn’t as sharp as I was for the Universe in September, a result of maintaining contest condition for too long. From looking at the pictures, I felt that the stage lighting washed us out, detracting from my conditioning and making me appear softer than I was. Going into the show, I felt I was at my best. Regardless, I don’t think it would have affected the outcome since I did not get beat on conditioning.
Nancy did seem to think that there might be some things I can adjust with my posing to help gain me points in the rounds where I have a disadvantage. Moving forward I will plan to find anything I can tweak with posing and master it before hitting the stage again. I look forward to her suggestions on my posing, since it’s something I focus on quite a bit during my prep.
Nancy did give some very positive feedback and I am very grateful for her willingness to take time to help others in the sport. Nancy is a true ambassador of natural bbing and gives lot to help the sport grow. She was recently interviewed on Natural BBing Radio, she discusses the heavyweight class at about 51 minutes into the podcast:
Reflecting on the 2011 Contest Season as a whole:
I started the season out on a great note, winning the heavyweight class and the overall at the WNBF Pro Universe (total of 18 pro men). In that show Jim Cordova (2008 Overall World Champion) finished second in his class to my workout partner, Vaughan Twigger…I then beat Vaughan by 1 point in the overall…he got me back 5 weeks later, beating me by a point for the win at the WNBF Mid-America in a class of 9 pro men. I finished the season with a 3rd place finish at Worlds. With my placings declining throughout the season, there was definite disappointment to accompany that. The emotional high I experienced from the Universe was deflated. While I recognize that I accomplished more, made improvements and elevated my personal best, I am much quicker to recognize where I came up short and am focused on the tasks of working to improve.
Week 1 of off-season is complete and I am determined to get better. Vaughan and I began our newly designed 4 day off-season split this past week and i am strategically attacking some weak points. No decision will be made now, but I will likely not compete in 2012…my focus will likely be Worlds 2013, which gives me time to make needed improvements…not a minute to waste.