Arnold Classic Africa 2018 (Men's Edition)
All I can say is that it changed me, built a stronger mindset (as well as a physique) made me connect, understand and love myself even more.
We are back again with the men's edition of the Arnold Classic Africa 2018! Leon Weche was a finalist and came fifth in the men's physique over 178 cm. Don't worry, we also didn't know what that meant until we got schooled; we had to hear about his experience at the continental competition and what it took for him to prepare for it. In case you missed our women's edition and details of the what the fitness festival is about, check out the feature here.
Leon is the creator and owner of Leon Weche-Fitness where he is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and Exercise Therapist. His aim is to educate, mentor, motivate, inspire and change the mindset of the Kenyan community; whilst growing a level of professionalism to move the industry forward, both as a service provider and an educator. Leesthetics training is not only training and nutrition education, but an experience and a way of life. He is currently working on a new website which will feature e-books and engage more people through online training. We got to chatting!
TIZI: How did you find out about Arnold Classic Africa (ACA)?
LW: Ever since I started training and reading fitness and bodybuilding magazines about 10 years ago, I read about the competition, the Olympia and would be inspired by the guys in the magazines. I didn’t want to compete back then but I was really inspired by the bodybuilders; my all time favorite being Frank Zane. The Arnold Classic had been going on in all other continents but this was only the 3rd edition in Africa. I had competed once before at Musclemania Africa 2015 held in Kenya and after that I felt I wanted to do an international competition. I took time off and after attending the Dubai muscle show last year, my good friend Nyaguthii and I decided to do take part in the ACA. We came back and I started a 20 week prep for the show and I loved every minute of my journey.
TIZI: What inspired or drove you to participate in the event?
LW: After experiencing the ambience at the Dubai Muscle show, I was motivated and felt like this was it for me. I got quite a few compliments from the top professionals who were at the show; Kai Greene and Arash Rahbar complimented and encouraged me to stop procrastinating. I felt ready after the affirmation from people I looked up to and who gave me daily inspiration. I had taken 2 years and a few months off to work on growing quality muscle and after that, I felt ready to take the stage on at international level.
TIZI: What did it take for you to prepare for the competition?
LW: Lots of sacrifice, work, more work, research, more research, drive, goals and dedication. People just assume it’s all physical but preparing for a huge stage like the ACA required more mental training. Everyday, every minute and every second is like a test. A good support system definitely helps and I am super grateful for special and heaven sent Clea, without her the prep would not have been as awesome as it was; Maureen for pushing each other, the Fitness Revolution team and my clients for always cheering me. My clients are heaven sent and I am grateful to each one of them. My aunt Kaye and Uncle Arnie came through for peak week and made sure our time in SA was amazing before, during and after the competition.
Financial support goes a long way when it come to bodybuilding especially here in Kenya where the Federation doesn’t offer any form of financial sport; I do this out of passion and I have a personal vision in mind. My personal goals drive me everyday, and with the support I received, I am ready to participate in more competitions and make them count. So to summarize I would say with competition preparation; you need the mindset; you need to enjoy every minute of training; a good support system goes a long way; you need to work harder than yesterday; remind yourself each day that the competitors are working just as hard if not harder; stay focused; seize everyday and just put in more work. All I can say is that it changed me, built a stronger mindset (as well as a physique) made me connect, understand and love myself even more.
TIZI: How did you feel when you became a finalist?
LW: Unbelievable feeling to be precise, it’s amazing to see the work I had done being appreciated and considered to be the top guys in an internationally recognized competition. Before getting on stage I was worried when we were pumping up in the backstage, but the moment my name was called up to get on stage it felt right. Seeing the judges' reactions; my aunt and uncle happy in the crowd; Maureen and Clea shouting, I grew more confident with every pose. After the semi-finals we were taken to the backstage and the moment my number was called out, I was super happy and all I could think of was, “20 weeks of sacrifice and hard work, I did it. I am making it count.”
TIZI: Will you do more similar competitions in the future? What's next?
LW: Yes, for sure. If all goes well I plan on doing a lot more competitions in the future. I have a competition in mind for this year, still trying to choose between two competitions but I haven’t decided yet. I like to keep things on the down low though so once I have decided which one I want to prep for I’ll probably announce on my social media and whoever feels they need some motivation and inspiration can join and follow my prep or even better yet prep with me.
TIZI: What would you advise someone who wants to participate in the next Arnold Classics Africa?
LW: Start saving up now, it’s not cheap when your Federation isn’t giving you any sort of financial aid. So first and foremost start saving up now, approach sponsors and start sourcing for funding because remember it starts from the food, supplements, gym membership, plane ticket and registration fees. Mindset is key; you need to mentally prepare for what’s to come. It’s a beautiful experience from the first day until the moment you’re on that stage...it’s all super amazing. There is no half-assing when it comes to preparation, so it’s a journey you need to be ready for and go all in. If getting a coach is needed to get you there, get one but once you set your mind to it...do it, and work harder each day. It’s not a game, it’s a lifestyle.
To briefly put it, my advise for anyone who wants to do it would be:-
•prepare your mind
•work harder than yesterday, keep in mind the other competitors are working hard too
•do your research
•get a notebook and document your journey
•be a little selfish
•take it one day at a time
•it’s not a race
Have a look here at what the men's competition entailed! Would you do it? Let us know!
Yours in Wellness,
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