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.
Vaughan Twigger’s Routine:
Kurt Weidner’s Routine:
If you haven’t been keeping up with Natural Bodybuilding and the WNBF, let me inform you that there’s a new force to be reckoned with…His name is Vaughan Twigger. The 28 year British phenom, who works as a personal trainer in Blacksburg, VA at the Weight Club is tearing up the ranks this year. 3 weeks ago Vaughan won his class at the WNBF Universe, defeating former World Champ Jim Cordova. Yesterday, October 8th, Vaughan was crowned as the 2011 WNBF Pro Mid-America Champ. It was a very competitive show with 9 pro men all in one class. The pro men’s class was onstage around 40 minutes as the judges worked them hard making comparison after comparison. In the end Vaughan was victorious taking the class. Vaughan is quickly becoming a widely recognized name in Natural Bodybuilding and he is carrying a ton of momentum going into the WNBF World Championships in 5 weeks. At only 28 years old, he has an absolute ton of potential.
I am fortunate to be able to call Vaughan my workout partner and friend. I am beyond proud of what he has already accomplished this year with 2 pro victories in some very tough classes. Congrats Vaughan!
What a weekend!!! Last Thursday Vaughan Twigger and I traveled up north for our competition in the WNBF Pro Universe on Saturday, Sept 17th. I picked Vaughan up at 5am and we arrived at our hotel in New Jersey a little before 12:30pm. We did a little bit of cardio and stretching to loosen up and took the rest of the day easy. Friday morning we took the train into NYC for our polygraph tests and check in, after which we walked around the city a bit, while enjoying the beautiful fall day. The second half of the day was spent relaxing in preparation for Saturday’s event. Prejudging started at 9am Saturday morning. There were 18 pro men divided evenly into 2 classes. Vaughan was the cutoff for the lightweight (heaviest guy in the class) weighing in at 180.8 lbs.
It was looking to be a strong competition and after 20 weeks of contest preparation, preceded by almost 2 yrs of training since our last shows, we were both very excited to hit the stage. Vaughan would be facing 2007 Overall World Champion, Jim Cordova in his weight class. During the prejudging it was obvious the judges were performing a close comparison of the two as they held the middle of the stage shot after shot. Head judge Nancy Andrews put them through a workout, hitting poses multiple times in all 3 rounds. This was the first time Vaughan and I had competed under the new judging structure with 3 separate rounds of scoring (symmetry, mass, muscularity & conditionig), but each of us came away a fan of the new system. It places equal emphasis on each aspect of what contributes to a complete physique and forces the judges to take a strong look at the athletes front to back, top to bottom, taking into account their size, muscularity, symmetry and conditioning. We both felt very well prepared as we put ourselves through rigorous posing sessions 2-3 times a week every week during our prep.
Following prejudging we both got a lot of very positive feedback from people in the audience, so we felt pretty confident going into the night show. At the end of the night, both Vaughan and I came away with class victories and knew we would then face each other for the overall posedown.
This was as good as it could get! Vaughan and I have trained together for years and have been great friends. Spending the weekend together and competing together was beyond fun, but the entire experience was topped off when at the end of the night it was the two of us out of 18 pro men left to duke it our for the overall. At this point, it was a win/win situation, because one of us was bringing the WNBF Pro Universe Title back to Blacksburg with us. It was just fun! Posing next to one of my closest friends and workout partner on a pro overall stage. This was a dream come true situation! Nancy put us through each pose multiple times and had us change positions so each judge could have a close look. Knowing Vaughan had just defeated a former World Champion, I knew I had my hands full.
In the end I was announced the Overall winner by a very close 4-3 margin. The first thing I did was turn to Vaughan, shook his hand, gave him a hug and told him he was fundamental part of what was a victory for both of us.
I can’t express how proud I am of Vaughan. His progress over the years has been incredible! At only 28 yrs old, he is a force to be reckoned with on the natural pro circuit and has absolutely amazing potential. I feel fortunate to have him as both a friend and a training partner. It was an honor to share the stage with him Saturday night. You are a true champion Vaughan!
This weekend was the first of 3 shows for us both and we are beyond excited for the next 3 weeks leading up to the WNBF Mid-America in Evansville, Indiana. We could not have asked for a better opening to our 2011 season. After a long day of travel today (Sunday) we’ll enjoy the moment and allow both our bodies and minds to catch up. Tomorrow it’s time to kick it back in high gears and go balls to the wall again!!!
I would like to thank everyone for the support and encouragement you gave, especially in the days leading up to our show. Vaughan and I both received many emails and texts from family, friends, co-workers and clients, showing their support and appreciation of what we do. We are both very thankful!
All the pics can be viewed on my Facebook fanpage:
2011 Arnold Classic
This year I was fortunate enough to have the honor of working the Scivation booth at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. I feel very privileged to be a part of Scivation. I have been involved with Scivation as a sponsored athlete for almost six years, taking me back to the early days of the company. It’s amazing to see the growth and progress that has transpired during that time. It reminds me of why I chose their products to begin with well before I was ever sponsored. It’s rare to find ethics in the supplement industry, but this is a company that designs products with the intent of actually using them, NOT JUST SELLING THEM and making a profit. Special thanks to Marc Lobliner and Rob Moran for running a great company, offering the best products on the market, and allowing me to be a part of team.
The presence of great competitors at the Arnold provides an atmosphere that is energizing and electrifying. Despite waking up at 3:30am Friday, driving 5 hrs to Ohio, working the booth until 6pm, I was still able to hit a PR on deadlifts at 8pm during my training session with my old workout partner, Brian Whitacre. The Adrenalin was flying and I managed to pull 525 lbs for 13 reps on the trap bar. Brian is one of my closest friends, though I rarely get to see him anymore since I live in VA and he lives in OK. My 2 training sessions with him alone made my trip to Ohio worthwhile.
I had the opportunity to train with Brian Whitacre during his time in Blacksburg, VA as he was finishing his Phd. Brian was the best training partner I could have ever asked for. He’s constantly looking for new methods to improve his physique and is always game to find ways to take it to another level. Like me, Brian enjoys employing methods of training that others would likely not want to even try. Brian has won the pro lightweight class at the WNBF World Championships 3 times now. The few opportunities I get to hang out with him are always highly valued!
Being at the Arnold gives you that much more incentive to not only train, but train balls to the wall! While working the booth all the day, the one thought that stayed in my head all day was “I can’t wait to go hit the gym tonight!” Being in the company of so many top level natural pro competitors was certainly both inspiring and motivating.
During my time at the expo I had the opportunity to chat with world renowned female bodybuilder Brenda Rahe. I was even fortunate enough to get a picture with the World Champion. The Scivation booth also featured WNBF Pro Rob Moran (vice president), CEO and Scivation owner Marc Lobliner, Musclemania pro Matthew Liller, IFPA pro Tommy Jeffers, IFPA pro Layne Norton, IFPA Ron Parmeter, Ryan Doris, Bob Kupniewski and Derek Charlebois to name a few.
Overall, the weekend in Columbus was a great experience and it was exciting to be a part of Scivation as the company is ready to introduce new products to the line and release reformulated versions of existing highly demanded products.