MY 17-WEEK PREPARATION FOR MY FIRST EVER WNBF PHILIPPINES PHYSIQUE COMPETITION (…
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MY 17-WEEK PREPARATION FOR MY FIRST EVER WNBF PHILIPPINES PHYSIQUE COMPETITION (PART UNO)
I remember my last regular meal for this prep was earlier before midnight of Christmas day. Coming from the church, we did not wait until midnight to celebrate. The time between 9:00pm until midnight was spent eating and opening gifts. I can still vividly remember the elaborate flavor of Nanay’s ‘kaldereta’ cooked using short ribs slowly cooked in coconut milk and tomato based sauce until the coconut starts to curdle sweating its natural oil that would settle on top of the pot to cover the fall of the bone tender meat simmering for hours. She puts just enough hot chili on it to remind you that it’s there, not overpowering the flavor profile of the dish. I can say with conviction that the hint of spice on the rich sauce will make anyone ‘Oryza sativa philiac’ or ‘addicted to rice’, it just makes sense together, a perfect match. It’s just so GD good! It’s Christmas, like anywhere else, we don’t play it simple in my household, it’s go big or go home. We do not have just one dish served. Nanay is the only person who knows how to make ‘kare-kare’ the right way, and that I was born loving tripe and oxtail in thick peanut sauce. My plate was a mess that night, I smothered the bed of steamy hot rice with kare-kare allowing the already tender fatty tripe, innards, oxtail tendons and broken down veggies from several heating that morning melt like butter on top of it. By the way, kare-kare is not complete without the shrimp paste side that Nanay prepares with chunks, and by chunks I mean slabs of fried fatty pork that it could be a dish on its own. The idea is to build a tower of rice, kare-kare and shrimp paste in that order, use the side of the fork to push the beautifully stacked masterpiece nicely on the spoon (to hold/combine flavors together is the reason why Filipinos eat with spoon and fork – for Westerners who thinks that’s barbaric, please keep an open mind, it’s just ergonomically efficient for us, you don’t use rake to transfer sand right?). I did not pay attention to other dishes Nanay served that night, I was contented with the trifecta of rice, kaldereta and kare-kare. Dessert? I am a simple kind of guy; any form of chocolate is enough for me. Nanay has a magic stash somewhere inside their bedroom that eternally spills out chocolates, I have no idea where she gets its from but they definitely come out whenever I visit their house. I don’t remember how much sugar-chocolate I consumed that night but it was enough to raise another Lazarus back to life. My Christmas ended well with a genuine smile on my face, full and contented.
Few weeks before Christmas, I was made aware by someone from the gym about Mr. Davao Body building competition that will be held mid March the following year as part of Araw ng Davao celebration. It ignited a spark in me saying that it’s my time to shine, at least before I turn 40 years old. Whenever I set a goal, I just do it through hell or high water, it has always been like that for me, I may not have achieved them all but at least I always try to give it my best everytime. To stress it again, I am not the smartest person in the room and I am not good under pressure. I am not the type of guy who’d pass an exam cramming that morning, believe me, I tried It that way and ate dog $#it. I do well by preparing way ahead of anyone as much as possible, ‘while you were sleeping type of guy’. I have to read a book written in English (in this case, most books) at least 3 or more times to keep the information in my thick skull, read on subtitles to understand conversations from movies, or have someone explain to me patiently (nobody like that person existed in my life, hence I am so bad in math) how math equation works. When I have a goal, I write it down and count my days, the phases needed, the ammos it requires. I do diligent research (by research I mean google search supplemented by reference books not the other way around) and even ask and bug other people with enough experience about the subject. If the contest is going to be mid March, I at least have 12 weeks to prepare, doable for me since I packed some quality bulk (I think?)on my off season with fat percent a little higher than expected as shown on my post holiday season built. New year would be affected if I were to start by Christmas. A week’s spent training from Christmas until the New year was an edge I could not take for granted so I decided to ditch the New Year binge and set the start of my prep officially on the 25th of December (Christmas morning). At 5:00 am, I was the only person jogging along the small streets of the community where my parents live, same time when everyone was still dreaming happy thoughts of Christmas or still up finishing up their parties, curing hangovers or thinking of more excuses to eat more until the beginning of another year.
As I jogged, I noticed that the side streets were filled with empty gift boxes and wrappers, stray cats and rats ransacking left overs from turned over garbage cans, also puke from people who overdid alcohol that night. I was not so well either from the food coma I just came out of. I can still feel bits of m&m’s sugar coating shells all over my stinky mouth being too lazy and stuffed to even spend few minutes to brush my teeth. I felt half my throat was still stuffed and covered by the grease from last night’s dinner and it’s trying to push itself out. But as I have already set my mind into starting training that day, I had to jog unless I was ready to suffer from the heavy guilt afterwards. The pressure was great on my joints and the concrete road as I slam each foot in front of the other considering my starting weight of 197lbs. 45 minutes felt like forever, I felt my heart and lungs beating and ready to explode out of me anytime soon. I was gasping for air, hurting and dry the whole period but I did not stop at any point even if I wanted to, the idea of resting in between even felt counterproductive and cheating on my goal and myself. I have a strong mind set, that’s what I am. I use to joke a lot, annoying friends especially lovers with the phrase ‘What Ariel wants, Ariel gets’. In the romantic sense, it’s so self serving and egotistic, definitely annoying I concur, but in this case, I gave it a pass and it’s the phrase that kept the flambeaux burning bright until the show.
What happened a few more weeks leading up to the show? Stay tuned….
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