I’m finally back to writing after a grueling but fun experience competing for the first time, and not just in a local competition, but the Nationals! Woohoo!
This decision to compete on a different field was ignited by my will to beat my old self 2 years ago. I suffered from anemia with esophageal diverticulae last 2016, making me super thin down to 111 pounds! It was followed by another sickness, a facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy), which appeared late 2017. I performed on I Can See You Voice with a stiff face on the right side.
During the show, I mentioned that I am planning to compete in a bodybuilding competition, and this is where it all began.
It took me around 3-4 months to prep for this. Yes, because I was aiming to compete for Laboracay Championships which was supposed to be held last May 1. But Boracay got closed and I needed to find another competition to join.
Then I found Mr. Philippines.
So my prep got extended for another 2 months! That’s around 5 months of no-fastfood, no-junk, no-shiznit diet. I was dying to eat Longganisa Burger, but it was postponed for another 2 months! While it was really tough to compromise on having these foods that I am eager to eat, I knew it’s gonna be all worth it.
There were things that were holding me back from competing to such big show such as the Nationals sooner. I didn’t like the ambiguous nature of judging for men’s physique, the way the posing is done, the complete omittance of leg development (which I know is probably my genetic gift), the ever increasing size of the pros I’ve seen on IG (such as the respected physique athletes like Ken Hanaoka & Ming Jereza), and most notably the politics. But in reality, the thing that was holding me back was my fear of failing. My fear of failure or rejection has often reared it’s ugly head in relationships, jobs, school and all other aspects of life. I often did not fully apply myself to situations because I was worried that if I did invest completely and tried my hardest, I would have no excuse to fall back on if and when I failed.
Coach Anton Chua from Gold’s Twin Oaks (my home gym) then saw me eager to try a physique competition, and still took a chance on me…
then I even resigned from my day job to focus.
Yup, I bid goodbye to my Digital Marketing work to make sure I can commit to a 5-a-week workout and closely counting my macros for that smooth prep. I closely watched some competitions such as WNBF and NBFA so I’d have a gist on how these competitions work. I only know how to sing on stage, but not on how to pose well on stage, topless! Haha!
Competition prep wise, I still have a long long way to go.
I was at SM Mall of Asia with my bestfriend cramming up last minute because my board shorts (which I bought last February) turned out to be HUGE because I lost a lot on my waistline! The 32-inch board shorts did not exactly fit my 28.5-in waist come competition day! And nobody on the alteration services stores offered rush work.
I was also doing some last minute food preps by 10PM! That was roughly 12 hours prior to prejudging! Hahaha!
Also during the registration, I was not fully aware that I can actually get an initial Protan. I was even wearing a neon-colored undies and a rough jeans! How about that?
On the other hand, after the initial spray tan is applied which happens to by my very first time to get (I haven’t tried spray tan even just for the summer!), you look, and feel like a different person. And it felt really good!
As a competitor, I stay focused not letting my eyes wander and hardly giving anyone else a second look. However, I can’t help but absorb the variety of demeanors jumping off the unnaturally tan faces of each athlete that I saw on that registration day: focused, excited, anxious, proud, scared, ready, confident, lost, hopeful, eager. That’s a rollercoaster of faces right there!
During The Competition
The day of the show feels surreal. My emotions are rolling crazy. But I kept telling myself:
make it count Jeff first time ‘to kaya mo yan!
To be judged solely on appearance and physique rather than a speech, a product, my intellect, or some sort of business value proposition, is definitely a new concept for me. I do digital marketing as a day job and it would’ve been easier for me to nail a proposal than being looked in the eye on how my body looks.
My product is my physique. I walked out on stage and know that I will be accepted or rejected by the judges and crowd as compared to my co-athlete. But I stood true to the idea that I am going to enjoy whatever happens that day.
On the backstage I had a few powerful insight: never ever stand up solely for validation and comparison. When you spend large amounts of time comparing yourself to the rest of the guys out there, insecurity will suck all your remaining confidence as a first-timer. Remember, it’s your first, so make it enjoyable and memorable right?
You just have to go out there, show them what you’ve got, and that’s just it!
All The Struggles
While I know I had fun at this first, I know and I admit there are a lot of points that turned out to be my weaknesses during show day:
- My Bell’s Palsy is STILL taking toll on me. I can’t show up a big smile, which is a very huge thing at physique bodybuilding competitions due to my facial synkinesis. You can read about this here: JEFF ALAGAR aka BRAD FIT on I CAN SEE YOUR VOICE. While the frontrunners are all confident wearing those perfect smiles, I had to keep a serious face while smiling a little from time to time.
- I still need a lot of training on Physique Posing. I’ve seen a lot of athletes who looks similar to my build, but they all stood out once they get on the stage with their powerful poses and great quarter turns.
- Classic Bodybuilding / Classic Physique wear is different in the Philippines. I rushed to the mall to look for a black cycling shorts only to end up knowing that I was supposed to wear a BIKINI on the said category! Hahaha! I kennat… just yet. Lol! So I cancelled my entry last minute before I get bashed on stage for wearing something by mistake. Bye entry fee, that could’ve been another tub of preworkout hahaha!
- My tensions took over that my last minute preps crashed down. 5 minutes prior to prejudging, I am still on the line to getting my final tan and bronzer. The delays devastated my pre-show pump and carb-up, and I ended up looking flat on prejudging. So I wasn’t really expecting to be on the top list. I should’ve went on the line earlier so I could buy more time to look better on prejudging show. But then again, lesson learned.
My Overall Experience As A First Time Physique Competitor
It was not an easy feat and every athlete I saw at the event obviously did their homework and you can see how they really worked hard to get the right physique to step up on that stage.
I left the event place with a lot of respect to the athletes knowing how tough it is to prepare, all those compromises and hardships they all went through to try an catch an honor. The level of self sacrifice, dedication, and discipline done by the guy out there is worthy of the highest respect.
To follow the tough prep regimen on training, strict diet for at least 2 to 4 months in exchange for just 20 seconds of individual performance time on stage? it was never easy…
In the end, I find every athlete that day as true winners of the craft.
Jeff Alagar, on his 30s, suffered with Anemia last 2016, joined I Can See You Voice with a Bell’s Palsy last December, and now a physique athlete who competed for PCBF Mr. Philippines 2018 last July 14.
No amount of illness will stop me from doing what I love.
When someone believes in you, it sparks a desire to grow, to achieve, and to satisfy that belief.
So I would like to give my sincerest gratitude to my coaches Anton Chua and Joshua Gayta of Gold’s Gym Twin Oaks, who believed in me. Fueled with newfound belief and encouragement, I set a goal and an ambitious one at that.
Thanks to my bestfriend, Marlo, Who had the outmost patience in coping up with my sinabawang utak during prep. And of course my partner John, who for once, has never doubted my ability to pursue whatever dreams I wanted to reach. You’ve made me feel like I’m already a winner.
Physique and bodybuilding overall is a LOT of investment not just with food, but all the supplements, registration fees, tanning, coaching, time, emotions, and really… a lot of money involved. If there’s another lesson I’ve learned today, it’s that bodybuilding is an expensive sport for sure. So I’ll head back to my regular life at the moment as a marketer to regain my finances while I share my experiences from time to time.
Will I compete again? I may just pause for a little while to realign my plans (I am rooting to compete for Tawag Ng Tanghalan too!). YES! I have decided to compete again soon. It’s in the blood now.
And I’ll say this once again: I’m not too sure what the future holds up for me, but one thing’s for sure: giving up is not an option.
I can live with not being the best, but I can’t live without knowing I tried my hardest to become it.
And it all applies not just in a physique show, but in all aspects of life. More than anything, this experience reinforced what I already knew. That it’s not about reaching a certain point of success in an area of life. Its about participating fully in this whole experience and in your passions. Through this you may be able to achieve rare greatness, but you never know until you take away your excuses and give your full effort.
Now go ahead, and keep going!