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View Full Version : My Arnold Experience (cross posted from my Journey)



Firedrake
03-08-10, 7:52 pm
First Report -- the trip there:

So: I'm sitting in the DFW terminal, waiting for them to announce the gate for my flight, which has been delayed, and I see a guy walk by wearing a Powerhouse Gym jacket. Taking a wild guess, I told him the gate for Columbus hadn't been announced yet. "How did you know I was going to Columbus?" he asked.

"The Powerhouse jacket gave you away." I said. I didn't catch his name yet, but he said he's been coming to the Arnold for 15 years! Then, when he gets home Monday, he has to turn around and fly to Australia for a meet. This guy's a large powerlifter, and I know the trouble -I- have with the width of airline seats -- I can't imagine how he will handle the 14+ hour flight to Down Under.

So: here I sit, waiting for my flight, calmly munching my chicken breasts surrounded by all sorts of culinary blandishments, but my cheat meal isn't till Saturday! I may see if I can find a steamed vegetable plate somewhere.

Well, Patrick, here's my first "report"! <grin>

I'll see everyone who's coming very soon, and I'll take LOTS of pictures for everyone else.

Firedrake
03-08-10, 7:53 pm
Well, I just got back from Metro Fitness and a ball-busting HRT chest and shoulder workout with Rage and Mr. Dead.

Bench Press: 155 x 8 + 4 x 2
Incline BP Hammer Strength: 2pps x 8+4 x 2
Pec Deck: I don't know x 8+4 x 2 (Rage set it -- I didn't even look)

HS Shoulder Press: 1p+35 x 8+4 x 2
Seated Lateral Raises: 10 lb. plates x 8 + 4 x 2 ... my shoulders were threatening to come off even with this weight -- this sucks! (In a good way)

So: the flight up here from Dallas was . . . entertaining. Ronnie Coleman was sitting up in First Class.

Author L. Rea and some of his boys from ALR were back in my section. Their marketing director spent several minutes trying to convince me, in the waiting area, that their supps were much better than Universal's. I kept saying "so, show me." He gave me his card, and said he'd send me some.

I said "Look, I put on 25 pounds last fall, 20 of which were lean muscle, in 14 weeks, thanks to Animal/Universal. Tell me how you're going to beat that." He said, "We have a new protein coming out in a couple of weeks that'll blow everything else out of the market." I said "Show me. Thanks to Universal and Animal Pak, since October of 2008, I've gone from 266 lbs and 29% bf to 242 at 18Z%, and I'm cutting hard and it's not hurting me; I'm not even suffering much, yet. I have good reason to be loyal."

There were several powerlifters trying to squeeze themselves into coach seats, and the flight attendants were kind of intimidated. Apparently, the Dallas-based flight crew didn't know why all these rather large men were on their way to Columbus of all places. I enlightened them (I guess they felt more comfortable talking to a slightly-smaller guy), and explained that this was about the second-most important bodybuilding contest in the professional bodybuilding year, AND it was a HUGE sports festival drawing about 150,000 people to Columbus for this weekend. "Oh!" they said, "that explains a lot."

I landed at 6:07pm, and chomped at the bit to get off the plane, but thanks to Columbus' airport's baggage claim system, which is WAY more efficient than even the little Ontario airport I use, I still managed to just barely get to baggage claim before the baggage was in. I got a cab immediately, to the hotel, checked in, and still made it to Metro Fitness by 7:15 to train with Rage and Mr. Dead.

Grant "Higa Monster" was wandering around as well, and took some pics -- I'm going to ask him to send them to me. I ran into dannynb, michi, Hola Bola, True Seneca, Naturalguy, J-Dawg, Mritter3 (who was with a couple of guys, Jeff, and I think Tommy, who aren't on the Forum much), Phil(whatevertheheck his numbers are), Wade "Little Zip", Big Al (who complained I looked right over the top of him <grin>), scals . . . and saw Big Ant and Ox, and some HUGE SOBs I didn't know, and if I missed anyone, blame it on the HRT session. Damn! We ran into Derik "Freak" Farnsworth as we were leaving. I walked back to the hotel with Rage and Grant, came upstairs and collapsed. My shoulders are still burning.

Now, I better get some rest if I'm going to get up in time to do my cardio before going over to the Expo.

G'night, Animals!

Firedrake
03-08-10, 7:54 pm
So, let's see, what do I remember from Friday?

Friday was almost as crowded as Saturday was last year. It was so hard to move around the Expo floor that I mostly didn't bother. I had a scary moment early in the day when Vinny called my name for the "Bench Your Weight" competition -- and I know I didn't enter. It looks like someone put my name on the card as a joke. I still don't know who. No one has 'fessed up. I -know- I'm not ready to bench 240 for reps right now.

House's seminar about differences between offseason and precontest training was interesting, but it was mostly stuff I'd heard before.

Big Ant and Big Al's training around injuries seminar was useful for someone like me, and consisted of advice on alternative movements when you can't do the ones you wanted to.

I missed Higamonster's strongman exhibition, and I'm not sure where I was. I hadn't left the hall by then.

Now, most of Rage's HRT seminar I'd heard already, but it was nice to hear Rev8Ball explain some of the science behind why it works.

I came back to the room and stretched out for an hour or so . . .

On to the workout:

Metro Fitness was PACKED last night -- not just Animals, but lots of other people, including Victor Martinez and Dennis Wolf. I got to see Groundpounder and several others learn the joys of HRT Back Training <grin>. I wasn't training HRT last night, but I was working my back, so we kept running into each other. It was worth your life to find room to do a set of Bent-Over DB Rows.

My session went something like this:

HS Hi-Row 1pps x 20, 2pps x 15, 2pps x 15

Bent-Over DB Row: 70 x 20, 90 x 15, 105 x 15

Rope-Pull Low Pulley Row: 4 or 5 sets -- but I think the weight was 120, and I was working in with a guy named Bill Tuttle. He's a little older than me, but in solid shape.

Machine Mid-Row: 3 sets of 15, but I don't recall the weight

Shrugs: 135 x 30, 225 x 20, 315 x 13(f)

I was toasty by then. Big C and I came back to the room, followed shortly by Iceiktitan, and the two of THEM went out till 1:30 in the morning or later. I took a pack of AnimalPM, and was out like a light.

Pics will have to wait till I get home. I left the cable to transfer them from my camera to the computer at home. Sorry, guys.

Firedrake
03-08-10, 7:56 pm
I got there a little late. By the time I did my cardio, showered and got over there, it was after 10. At that, Big C was still sawing logs when I got BACK from my cardio . . . he looked up and said "I guess it's time for cardio . . ." I said "I'm done already." Then he looked at the clock.

Steve Kuclo's training styles discussion was pretty good -- he gave me some things to think about that I want to talk over with Rage.

Pros vs. Bros:

Squatting 405 for reps: RedTeam: HigaMonster, Enforcer -- Yellow Team: Kuclo and theFreak. Higa nailed it for 24, then Kuclo ground out 30. Enforcer had a problem with his knee on about rep 6 and called it quits rather than risk injury. TheFreak, I -believe-, his 28, besting his efforts from last year by 3.

Curling Half Your Bodyweight: House vs. Big C. Big C went first, and nailed an impressive 38 reps, besting HIS performance from last year by 5. Then House went and plowed through an impressive 50!

HigaMonster vs. Nick Winters: Nick Winters (Team Yellow) won over Higa, but I'll be honest, I've forgotten the number of reps.

Then came the FORVM event. First was a drawing from people in the audience for cans of Animal PM. Big C won one, and so did Kon Rock, but I don't recall who else.

[side note: Kon Rock's dad, Eric, is a very personable fellow in his own right, and is just as proud of his son as he can be. We had a couple of nice conversations . . . until I found out he's about 3 years -younger- than me <grin>. Actually, that didn't matter.]

Then was the announcement of the winners of the Animal Bag stuffed with Animal products for essays about their remembrances of the Cage. The first name called was Shortstack, then . . . KonRock, then . . . Reacher 34. Go back and read their essays, and you'll see why.

Finally came the announcement of the Iron Contest II winners. I know I think it's a big deal <grin>, even if not everyone was following it. However, when he called out "BBWifey" for the cutters and Team Red, I think she a) couldn't believe it, or b) just stood there, stunned. Then the tie was announced for the Bulkers: LayzieBone and Ghost. They came, they got their t-shirts, and took pictures. I did get a request later in the day, from someone looking at my "Victor" shirt and asking if they were selling those shirts at the tables, and I took some delight in telling him they weren't for sale.

Finally came the announcement of the winner of the two tickets to the Finals tonight with Ox. CantGet2Big took home the big prize, and I think HE was a little stunned, too.

Right after that was Bench Press exhibition by Tiny Meeker. That mountain of a man worked his way through weight that would tax most of us like it was nothing. Then came the big thing: 1000 lbs. After taking time to rest briefly from his earlier work against Higa, he put up a solid 830 lbs.

Ox then gave a seminar on the bodybuilding diet. Good, straightforward information that I won't try to repeat here.

Sam Byrd then came and brought us an extremely impressive squatting exhibition. The man's form is just perfect! 225, 315 and 405 were blasted through without belt OR wraps, then I think 495, as well. Once he got over 500, he consented to use a belt. 585 was no problem, then 675.

He was doing 2-3 reps by this point, or maybe a single at 675. When it got over 700, we were asked, did we want to see him wrap up and go higher, or stay raw (belt only) and use a slightly lighter weight (Personally, I don't see how over 700 pounds can be considered "lighter" even if it IS less than he could've done with kneewraps.

The decision was made to go ahead without wraps. They put up 730 on the bar, which was three pounds more than Sam's previous best. He nailed it. Maybe not like nothing, but it was just "boom! down and up again". Then he decided he had one more in him, and they put 760 on the bar. The world raw record is, apparently, 748. Vinny got the noise level up (mostly to drown out the schmuck in the booth across the way, who was using every carny trick in the books to get people to want his t-shirts.).

This one was obviously more of an effort, and a little bit of a struggle to lock out, but he got it! Damn, that was one impressive exhibition.

Tiny Meeker came wandering back in again, saying he wanted to "have some more fun". Vinny promised to ask him why guys size were all called "Tiny" but he never did. Tiny moved quickly up the lower weights, then decided he want to blow his previous efforts right out the window, and they loaded 1000 lbs. on the bar. Now, this lift was NOT raw. Bench shirt and the whole nine years were employed, but it was one HELL of a lift. Yeah. He got it. I can't even get an eighth of a ton off my chest, right now, and there was this man just exploding with it. That's some serious power.

Seeing everyone else today was fun, though it was hard to talk over the music. Deanna was running around playing "Den Mother", and I got to talk to Kon Rock and his dad for awhile. I -saw- lots of folks, but didn't get a chance to talk to that many. That's the only bad part about the Cage. There's little place for talking.

Tonight is the ABC. I thinking I'm hitting arms, but I'm not sure with who, yet. I'll try to get lots of pics.

Firedrake
03-08-10, 7:56 pm
Tonight's ABC should've been titled "Animal Barbell Chaos". It was seriously crowded, and hard even to find a space to work. I wound up training arms with Brad "Mr. Muscles", who's arms are easily 4-5 inches larger than mine.

We started with

V-Bar Triceps Pressdowns: 4-5 sets of 15 reps. I worked up to 110. I'm not sure what Danny was doing, but it was more.

HS Dip Machine: 200 x 15, 270 x 15, 270 x 12 -- these hit the triceps differently than parallel bar dips -- all the way down to the elbow. Nice pump.

DB Hammer Curls: 45 x 15, 50 x 15, 55 x 15, 55 x 15

Cable Curls: 80 x 15, 90 x 15, 100 x 15

Rope Handle Pressdowns: something x 15 x 3 <grin> I have no idea how much was on there.

I think that's everything -- it was just a madhouse in there, with every machine and every bench in use, and steam dripping off the windows. It was hard to get your sets in, but we managed.

The group picture was huge, and G. Diesel had trouble fitting us all in, even from the balcony at Metro. The food was good, but we had a BUNCH of hungry Animals. I have some great pics of people using the cardio equipment to sit on to eat. Their best possible use <grin>.

I have LOTS of pics for when I get home. A lot from the Cage and a bunch from the ABC.

When things are going on in the Cage, people are stacked 5-6 deep around the fence. The Box(es) were full almost all the time, and the no-carb Torrent, BCAA stack, EAA Stack, Real Gains and Whey Pro flowed freely. It's quite interesting, to see all these other booths doing everything they can to entice people (and managing it), but it was the Cage the repeatedly clogged the aisles, and not because we had booth babes or people signing autographs or throwing out free t-shirts. It's because there was real stuff going on, and people were being invited to participate.

I'll go back in the morning, once I've checked out of the hotel. I encourage anyone who can next year to make the trip. It's like nothing you've ever seen.

Firedrake
03-08-10, 7:58 pm
Onto Sunday at the Cage:

The crowds Sunday morning were somewhat lighter, but still busier than last year. Got to the Cage for some strongman and powerlifting action from Andre Skiba and his boys. The funny thing is, I'd sat next to Andre for awhile on Saturday, and we'd been chatting like old friends, and I had no idea who he was. Silly me. They threw up (all of them, including 52-year-old Andre) some impressive iron, and I managed to get some of it on video, and will try to put that up soon. I think the two-man 1000 pound deadlift was really cool. Watching the two lifters coordinate their effort to get the bar up was really interesting to watch. There are some STRONG men in his club -- I don't even remember all the lifts and all the poundages

"Pros vs. Bros" action:

I have to admit, I took a couple of images away with me on this one: Dannynb, pounding out the reps on deadlift from a height of 6'4", and the intensity with which both Aggression and Scals17 went after 50 reps at 225 for deads. I was in the wrong angle to see Scals' or Aggression's faces, but watching them strain for those last reps was inspiring. (Unfortunately, it's completely slipped my mind who Danny was lifting against. I hope whoever it is doesn't pound me next year).

Then came G's "Train Like an Animal" seminar. I enjoyed the roundtable he got working (though I'm really sorry Wrath couldn't make it). Hearing the different approaches but similar attitudes was enlightening. I'll never be a powerlifter -- these joints have had quite enough, thanks (though Andre Skiba certainly gave me pause -- he's only 3 years younger than me), but I enjoyed hearing about that kind of work. Then G, surprised me by pointing me out as an example of someone who's still at it. That really touched me -- made me feel kinda good.

At that point, I'm afraid I had to start saying my goodbyes. I knew my flight wasn't till 6, but I wanted to make sure I could clear security in plenty of time, so I started going around to a couple of booths I'd wanted to see but couldn't get to in the crowds. I came back to the Cage around 2 to get my jacket and bag and bail.

Once again, I didn't want to leave. Originally, I'd planned to stay over on Sunday night, and fly out the next day, but I needed to be in the office today for a meeting . . . which I found out was canceled when I got here. Oh, well.

It's weird. Part of me feels like I should be a bit more assertive when wanting to talk to people, but I always hate to interrupt. I'd wanted pictures WITH a lot more of you, but that didn't happen as much as I'd've liked. I'd love to get to train with TTL, or LittleMan, or B Con, or some of the guys I normally only see here on the Forvm, but that didn't work out. Heck, I was supposed to ask G for benching pointers, but he always seemed busy with someone else and I didn't want to impose. Now, logically, I know he'd have been more than willing to help, but it's my own fault for not asking.

I promise to try to be more "in-your-face" next year!

Encounters in the airport:

So walking along the concourse toward my gate, which was (of course) at the far end, I hear a vaguely recognizable voice call out. I looked up to see Stolzenator proudly holding up the wall, already dressed for getting off the plane in Florida in tank top and shorts (I -know- he didn't wear that into the airport by itself!). We talked for a while, and I headed for my gate.

I got there to find a large, muscular young man, an older gentleman, and a young lady sitting across from me. The young man was munching his chicken breasts, so I asked him what he was prepping for. He (his name's Nick, but I didn't catch his last name), said he wasn't prepping, but that this was his diet most of the time. Then the older guy, who turned out to be his trainer, said "yeah, and you're trying to make up for some of the crap you ate this weekend!".

Getting hungry, I got out my -own- chicken, and we started talking. The trainer, John Reagan (I think that's how he spells it) and I had a good talk on getting ready for a show, and I mentioned my upcoming one, and he was talking about dropping water and the fact I have three artificial disks in my back. He noted that, if you go on water depletion for more than 2-3 days, you run the risk of fluid actually coming out of the discs. I said my trainer usually only dehydrated for 1-2 days, and that he was talking about trying not do it at all with me, but that we needed someone to watch me just before my show, because my trainer would be in Pittsburgh at the Masters Nationals the same weekend. He asked who my trainer was, and I said "Tom Fuller, with Animal.' He said "You're in good hands."

Then, Victor Martinez walked up with his lady (I don't know if they're married or not), and seemed to know John and got to talking, and I kind of faded away, I guess <grin>. Victor seemed nice enough, though. Then Gunter Schlierkamp came by, after they all got on their flight for Newark, and sat down, and WE started chatting. He's apparently may be considering (that's how tentative it is) coming back to competition, and made encouraging noises about my efforts.

Here are the "few" pictures I managed to get <grin>. And yes, I'll re-post these posts over on the Remembrances section.

http://s729.photobucket.com/albums/ww297/firedrake54/2010%20Animal%20CAGE%20at%20the%20Arnold/

I was just commenting to someone here at the office that I really hadn't wanted to leave, because I'd had such a great time. He said, "Getting back to normal, eh?" I said, "I'm not sure I LIKE normal."

I'm an Animal.

Mr. Dead
03-08-10, 7:58 pm
Great stuff, there!!! And, as I said earlier... It was an honor to meet and train with you!!!

Firedrake
03-08-10, 8:05 pm
Well, that was a helluva weekend. Like I said, I don't think I -like- having to be "normal". After a weekend with the Animals, I feel like I have to turn things down to be with everyone else.

Oh, one other thing: The beard and moustache became history this morning. Changing planes in Houston last night, I stumbled slightly, when one of my bags got caught on a seat back in the narrow aisle of the silly little jet we flew from Columbus on, so I started walking sideways down the aisle.

Immediately, the flight attendant wanted to know if I needed a wheelchair, and I was asked again at the door of the plane. That settles it. That white beard made me look too old!

Onto my show prep. Wish me luck!

Phil800101
03-09-10, 1:49 am
Good stuff Jim! Awesome to see you again bro.