Have you heard of the Arnold Sports Festival? Its also called the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival and its a yearly convention celebrating various branches of sports, primarily through bodybuilding and fitness competitions. "The Arnold Classic Worldwide brand is now the largest series of multi-sport festivals in the world and we look forward to making each of our Arnold Classic weekends better than our previous best," said James J. Lorimer, CEO of Classic Productions, Inc., who co-founded the Arnold Classic in Columbus with former Governor Schwarzenegger.
It was only in 2016 that the event was introduced to Africa and it gives athletes an opportunity to compete with each other on a continental level. We are proud to announce that one of the female finalists is one of our own Tizi Stars; Miss Nyaguthii Ndung'u, who was ranked sixth in the bikini category! We had a chat regarding her experience at the Arnold Classic and this what she had to say....
TIZI: How did you find out about Arnold Classic Africa?
NN: I found out via social media, specifically Instagram. I follow Arnold himself on Instagram and many of the competitors I follow seemed to be keen on the different competitions in Arnold Classic series, then I started to notice that there were different ones held in different locations and continents and Africa happened to be an option.
TIZI: What inspired or drove you to participate in the event?
NN: I follow a significant number of bodybuilding competitors around the world and it slowly became apparent that the Arnold Classic series and the Joe Weider Olympia are the main competition goals if you want to benchmark yourself against other world class bodybuilders. I am a goal driven person, and fitness which is one of my greatest loves evokes something inside me that makes me want to level up so hard and Arnold Classic Africa seemed like a challenging opportunity. I also had not competed since 2016 which also happens to be the year I decided to compete. In 2017, there was supposed to be a Muscle Mania competition to be held in Nairobi and I decided to jump and prepare for that; I did a 10 week prep and then a few days to the said date, the competition was cancelled.
...Then in December my friend, fellow competitor and personal trainer, Leon Weche attended the Dubai Muscle Show and during the expo we got to see all sorts of athletes who were representing different super brands ( supplements, gyms, apparel lines etc) and to be honest watching them made me feel some type of way. Its like I belonged there and I felt I could be one of them if I actively pursued competitive bodybuilding and actually work towards making it a paying lifestyle rather than continuing to view it as a resource draining hobby. Despite working in the fitness field as a personal trainer, I had never really considered what kind of impact being a competitive bodybuilder had on one's career in terms of value addition. So while in Dubai, me and Leon sat down and made the call to find a competition we could both enter.The IFBB (International Federation Of Body Building) has a website which has a calendar of events and Arnold Classic Africa seemed like the most viable one to enter and just like that...the decision was made.
TIZI: What did it take for you to prepare for the competition?
NN: I would imagine that everyone's approach to prepare is different and unique to the individual. For me, it actually starts in the mind with the active and deliberate selection of the target competition then speaking out of my intention ( it makes it more real and it stops being a thought that you are fooling around with once you proclaim your intention); and then there is the acceptance that life is about to change in a MAJOR way. Training for regular fitness goals is different from training for a competition, whereas it's easier to be a little more flexible with training and dieting, when prep mode is activated, your level of discipline needs to go all the way up and it can be mentally, emotionally and physically challenging to say the least. I prefer a longer period to prep as compared to shorter preps, and I have found that I am comfortable with anything between a 16-20 week prep.
...It's easy to assume because I can train others I should be able to train myself, but truth is competition prep is a little different from regular training and it is advisable ( not compulsory) to engage someone who is a seasoned competitor or a seasoned prep coach to guide your training as they already know the ropes and may often come with additional benefits like posing tips. I opted to engage an online coach after doing research on the different coaches available for my budget. Naturally for the competitor, posing is of utmost importance as it is through the mandatory poses that the physique gets judged. If a competitive bodybuilder does not know how to properly pose, then he has very little chance of doing good in a bodybuilding competition.
TIZI: How did you feel when you became a finalist?
NN: Its so hard to put into words but I am sure it was mix of being pleasantly surprised and a hint of omfg I am here; Jesus Christ!! By the time 18th had came around, I was all sorts of exhausted, mentally, physically and emotionally. I remember telling Clea a good friend, personal trainer, and care package extraordinaire who I was sharing a room with, that I just wanted to get over and done with the show and make it out alive.
TIZI: Will you do more similar competitions in the future? What's next?
NN: It is my strongest desire to continue competing until I get my pro card and God willing, grace the Olympia stage *crosses fingers*. I am not sure what is next in terms of competitions, but I am definitely going to jump on that bandwagon as often as its possible; it builds and tests your character as a human being but it's life changing in a beautiful way.
TIZI: What would you advise someone who wants to participate in the next Arnold Classics Africa?
NN: Laughing quietly to myself because I can't resist the urge to complain about how expensive prep is, it's absolutely mind boggling. Factors like hotels and flights throw your budget in a frenzy, supplements are expensive and the cost of eating clean is quite high. I am accustomed to the monotony of eating the same thing pretty much the whole year, so its safe to say I settled on bland chicken breast as my main source of dietary protein.
Bodybuilding shows are about presentation of your hard work with style and finesse. You are judged by how you present yourself including your hair, makeup, bikini, jewelry, tanning and posing. All these things distinguish you from the other athletes and thus are worth putting into a lot of consideration. Depending on where you source all these things, the costs are very variable and dependent on how much the athlete is capable of spending. However, I have to admit it costs a pretty penny, at least for me it's not the kind of thing that I would easily wake up and decide to do, at least not yet and God willing I pray to be able to attract sponsors to facilitate this life changing and character building madness called competition prep.
Here is a sneak peak of what happened at the Arnold Class Africa 2018. Would you do it? Let us know!
Arnold Classic Africa
The Iron Den
Yours in Wellness,
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