After months of feeding the pythons it was time to let them out for the world to see during the 2009 Alaska Bodybuilding Fitness and Figure Natural Bodybuilding Championships in Kenai on Saturday. Numerous local bodybuilders -- both first-timers and experienced competitors -- took part in the event.
"Everyone looked awesome and you could tell they put a lot into it," said Shawn Boisacq of Anchorage, head of the seven judges that scored the competitors.
Depending on the portion of the event, competitors took to the stage singlely, in pairs or in groups, striking multiple poses for the judges and cheering spectators to take in their packages, and it was the full packages that got the highest scores.
"Some people have great parts, but we're looking for a great overall body. We want to see an hourglass physic, no triangles with big upper body parts, but small lower body parts," Boisacq said.
To judge objectively, competitors were scored on three main criteria, which is their size, symmetry and definition, Boisacq said.
"Although, stage presence, how well they pose, and their tans are also factored in," he added.
Chase Jenson of Soldotna competed in the junior division of the competition with several of his friends from high school. He said it was a little intimidating initially, but that he liked the overall experience.
"Going out on stage for the first time, and wearing next to nothing, it was scary at first, but I had fun," he said.
Jenson said it was also good to finally have the competition behind him because of all the sacrifices he had to make in the weeks leading up to it.
"It was tough. We just had spring break and everyone around me was eating Taco Bell and junkfood, but we had to stick to our boiled eggs and lean meats," he said.
Jenson's friend and fellow competitor, Tyler Johnson, agreed that dieting was one of the most arduous parts of preparing for the competition.
"Working out is the easy part. I love working out, been doing it since I was 10, but the dieting was tough. I was on a diet for a month and half before this and gave up carbs for the last two weeks. It took a lot of discipline. I really craved pizza, and Top Ramen's and my mom's strawberry shortcake and the cinnamon wheels my sisters bring home from Papa Murphy's," Johnson said.
The two young men said they got a lot of support from family and friends, which made the run up to the competition a little easier.
"My football coach was probably my biggest supporter," Jenson said. "He didn't like that I was losing weight, but he liked that we all did something physical in the offseason."
Johnson said his parents were equally supportive, they even helped him with his paint-on tan.
"They helped me paint my back and the areas I couldn't reach. It took hours to get an even coat," he said.
Dana Nelson, a guest competitor from Florida, said it was great seeing such new blood enter the arena, particularly since the ABFF tries to promote more than just lifting weights.
"ABFF tries to promote natural, no steroids body building, but we also try to promote more of an overall healthy lifestyle. Healthy living is about lifting weights, but also cardiovascular fitness for a heathy heart, resistance training to increase bone density and eating well because nutrition is very important, too," she said.
Nelson said adhering to all of these factors for months to years, is what makes competition such a fun outlet.
"This is a chance for them to show off all that hard work. It takes a lot of discipline to challenge your self and reach a goal to look a certain way," she said.
And since there were so many competitors interested in challenging themselves, Boisacq said it was good for them to have their own local venue.
"We've always had great athletes coming to Anchorage from the Kenai-Soldotna area, so it's good to finally see a show coming to the athletes," he said.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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