The Most Glamorous Event on the Fitness Calendar
Ok so this has been one of the ones I know we have all been waiting for. I had hoped to attend Saturday’s seminar and registration but due to some personal commitments it was not to be. I can tell you that checking in on my Facebook timeline left me with serious FOMO. I have come to appreciate the subtleties of attending an athlete’s meeting and learning from it.
Also the opportunity to meet Andreia Brazier and Tom Coleman when they were under less pressure would have been amazing. So to those who posted and shared all their pics, experiences and excitement at the registration and seminar thanks for adding to my envy.
My Saturday evening was spent prepping my food and tools for show day. That night I went to bed at about 22:00pm after neatly laying out my clothes thinking how awesome it was that I was planning formal wear for a show. I mean how many shows would you feel not only comfortable, but completely justified in wearing a shirt and tie? I hopped into bed filled with excitement for the day to come. It was not to be a short night. My excitement and adrenaline to attend the show did not abate when I fell asleep. Rather, I kept having vivid dreams of show day and meeting different people. I have an overactive imagination and my mind processes a lot of my daily thoughts when I sleep. At times frustrating, but at times quite entertaining. I slept in 40 minute pockets and every time I woke up I was disappointed that it wasn’t 5am. Weird right? I know I wasn’t even competing and I was going through this. Imagine what athletes were going through, with the added stress of what they would look like on the day.
Eventually 5am rolled around and I slunk out of bed to have my oats and egg whites. No show day treats here. At 6:30am I got on the road to collect two friends (Miss Sarah Ezzideen – Pictured below – who was my photographer and fellow critique, and a young up and comer Shaheen Moosa whom I’ve taken as a Baby Brother in Iron that I have affectionately named as Lil Moose… he doesn’t know this until reading this article) who would be my sidekicks for the day. I have to be honest on the drive out I was regretting not getting a room at the Carnival City Road Lodge for fears of a repeat of the Rossi GP driving home incident. After all this was to be a rather large show. The numbers that were coming out on Facebook was that 250 entrants had registered. I had visions of extreme tiredness creeping in since I had not slept well that night. Though I can tell you now that that was not to be.
We arrived at Carnival City before prejudging started so that I could head back stage and see how athletes were doing as I normally do and get a sense of the mood. I had been conversing with Andrew Carruthers via Facebook for access which he assured me I would be getting. On arrival I messaged a friend of the blog who unbeknown to be had informed Andrew that I had arrived. Waiting in the foyer I had a look around to find everything bathed in the blue of the main show sponsor USN. There weren’t many audience members at the time but already there was an air of anticipation.
Andrew surprisingly enough walked straight to me and greeted me saying “Hi Dubs! Great to meet you!”. I was a bit taken aback I have to admit. The guy is like one of the most influential people in bodybuilding in SA and he’s like calling me by my nickname (Yes, yes I know I told you guys to call me by that in my Diary Entry but just let me have it ok). I had seen Andrew at many a show and even trained at the Body Conscious gym he had trained at for a while a few years ago but had never mustered the courage to go up to him and greet him. How can you? We are all guilty of forming opinions of people before we meet them due to social media. Mine of Andrew was well… intimidating and a bit of a hard ass (he types pointing the gun at his foot). I could be forgiven though right? That beard, those
hard core pics on Harleys and in the belly of JHB central, not to mention the cigar! That being said one has to respect the things he has done for the profile of the sport in SA and as I understand soon to be branching out to other parts of the world. I am fast learning that it takes a passionate, single minded and uncompromising person to follow their dreams and that is what Andrew represents for me. I still remember, as clear as day talking to my buddy about this new South African Muscle mag that was going to be coming out many years ago. I was so excited because no longer would I have to save up to buy a Flex or Muscular Development imported from the US, which while I loved seeing Pros from overseas had absolutely no South African context.
Anyways back to our story. I was handed a AAA pass by Andrew which gave me access to all areas. While others stood outside I moved freely and with an air of arrogance in and out the arena. Entering the Big Top I was greeted by an octagonal stage with a ramp leading between the stands for athletes to walk out on to. I took a moment to sneak on to the ramp to try and share in the grandeur of this coliseum of greatness that would see a lucky few lives changed forever by the end of the night with the awarding of their pro cards. The energy and rush I felt was palpable, and that was with an empty arena. Paul Dillet and Nathan Harewood were mere meters away but I resisted urges to interrupt their preparation time.
Prejudging started a little bit late, but not too bad considering there was an event the night before. So I’m sure there was setup through the night. I have to say having firstly, an American and secondly someone as experienced i.e. Nate mc-ing an event adds such a smoothness to proceedings. The American accent is entertaining, captivating and makes you feel like everything is calm and going to plan. Not sure if that was CIA programming or just television. Pre-judging as a result was smooth as silk, or at least that was my perception. I truly appreciated the speed and efficiency that things were run with. The Men’s Fitness Model category had 55 gentlemen standing on stage at the same time and not once did I wonder to myself when it would end.
The WBFF is a feast for the eyes. Even with the added appearances of the evening dress, theme wear and the boys in formal wear the show ran and finished ahead of scheduled time. Not once was I bored or drifted. Fans always compare federations but in my opinion the WBFF is not trying to be IFBB or NABBA or any other federation. I can see that the vision that Paul Dillet had when he dreamed up this federation was to be unique. I’ll delve deeper into this later in the year though.
So to the Athletes and a bit of results commentary. What did I think?
On the ladies
I have 2 overall notes for the ladies. Now I’m not setting out to be mean, but far too many times have I seen this during the course of the last 8 months since attending shows and I feel I should say something. This is not just a note from WBFF but in general across all federations.
I have noticed that a lot of girls walk on stage these days looking great from the front. However, when the rear is exposed I am sorely disappointed. Just as with men’s bodybuilding where your back poses can differentiate you from your competitors this is even more relevant when it comes to the ladies. I have been seeing a lot of girls coming in with either no glutes or really soft glutes and holding too much fat. Now I know our Fitgirls all love their squats or so they say, but perhaps there is not enough thought “behind” (pun intended) the form or action of performing said movement. The understanding I have built up for squats over the years has come from my experience with my motor vehicle accident and having to retrain the order in which my pelvis is supported by my glutes. Firstly not squatting below parallel will not target glutes. Secondly once below parallel it is vital to activate the glute muscles in order to initiate the first movement upwards. This can be achieved by not allowing the inner thighs to cave and forcing outwards. This action tightens the glutes and supports the pelvic girdle enabling you to thrust back up rather than just standing back up using your back and quads(that assumption is open to crit or feedback by any professionals reading this).
A lot of the top female athletes these days also have specialised sessions for glutes. Shannon Atkinson was able to bring her glutes up for her pro debut by training them 3 times a week with targeted glute sessions. Also as a friendly reminder squats are not the only exercise that you can use to build your glutes with. Check out YouTube and you will find a plethora of glute isolation exercises that can improve the amount of junk in your trunk.
My second note for the girls out there. Before you decide to step on stage. Take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror or get someone who you trust to give you an honest opinion to look at you. IF you are muffin topping out of your bikini or even just a short shorts, in my opinion you are not stage ready. The bikini class is not an excuse to carry extra body fat. I’ve come to learn that while the judges aren’t looking for as hard a look as toned/fitness bikini they are looking for an overall firm look with nothing hanging out. If you feel you haven’t met that criteria diet a bit longer and push through to the next show.
The ladies who won their pro cards on the night were as follows:
Chante Minnie (Ladies Figure Short)
Chanté met the criteria closest in this class. Her physique for me flowed beautifully with great symmetry and balance. She had great presentation and looked lovely on stage. She also has a cute and bouncy personality that exudes energy and athleticism.
Jenadine Havenga (Diva Fitness Model Short)
We’re used to gawking at her in Freddy ads (guys and girls alike) but Jenadine showed what it means to be prepared. Her figure on the night was evident of hours and hours of not only planning but building a look that is world class. She had everything developed in the right places in my opinion. She also shone every time she stepped on stage. I am doubly certain that when she competes as a pro she will be able to stand with the best in the world and be competitive.
Chantelle Kelly (Ladies Figure Tall)
Chantelle most closely met the judging criteria in her class I would say. She has an athletic but not overly bulky look about her which I feel was very pleasing on the eye. That coupled with a good presentation and a marketable look is what got her the pro card.
Le Che Hendry (Diva Bikini Model Short)
Le Che is a dancer and you don’t even have to follow her on Facebook to know that. Dancers always have great poise and posture. Something I think many of the girls who compete regardless of federation should try to emulate. I saw a lot of tall class girls slouch on the right. Shoulders back head held high chest and butt out just like Le Che, will go a long way (can’t hold back the flow man!).
Carla King (Diva Bikini Model Tall)
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Carla, Carla, Carla. Much to the disagreement of my co-conspirator Sarah on the night I picked Carla when she first stepped on stage as the winner of her class. Marketability – check, Proportions – check, Presentation and presence – check. She had it all and I can really see her on the cover of many a mag with her beautifully voluminous and bouncy hair and subtle but inviting smile.
Jana Perdijk (Diva Fitness Model Tall)
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Jana is filled in all the right places and met criteria well.
With regard to the guys I have to say I thought the standard was pretty good. I think this is where the fundamental difference comes in with the girls versus guys. As male athletes there is no way you would step on stage without visible abs. As a result the men’s categories are either close or you can clearly distinguish the top 3. I actually have a game that I personally play at bodybuilding shows for my personal amusement. I call it “Who forgot to cut?” thus far this year I have seen one of these gentlemen at each show I have been to. Each show except for the WBFF SA. While there were varying levels of leanness and dryness on stage everyone looked the part on stage. So let’s get into your men’s pro card winners.
Jesse Pretorius (Male Fitness Model)
Wow! This kid! Now let me be clear I do not have any tendencies to the male persuasion at all. I love the female form and there is nothing more appealing to me. But I am most definitely comfortable enough to tell you when a guy is good looking. I had seen Jesse at the Rossi a few weeks prior. He was a bit softer and didn’t place as high as I thought he should. But as Andrew Carruthers put in on Facebook post show, “Jesse was born for this division”.
He has a naughty look on his face that I swear even flirted with me. It grabbed my attention and stood out even with 55 other not so bad looking guys on stage along-side him. That line-up was like cattle auction and in amongst the bulls was a young dashing calf. Unassuming, quietly confident and strikingly good looking. You could put him in a Marky Mark styled Calvin Klein ad and he would absolutely nail it. I am most certainly looking forward to… no, I am expecting great things for this young man in future. The amazing thing is that he is only 19 years old! I think in Jesse we have found our very own home grown Jeff Seid, dare I say it!
Marco Araujo (Male Fitness Model)
Compared to Jesse, Marco has a sportier kind of look. He was pretty tight on the night with a balanced physique. Marco would also sell well as a chic, shirt and tie or Men’s Health type model in my opinion.
Wiltord Nyaruviro (Male Muscle Model)
If memory serves correctly Wiltord won this category with hardly a single flex. Initially I was like “What is this guy doing?” but then I realised his play. Wiltord had the model look down already. He just showed up in pockets during the pose down and struck a pose looking at the audience and judges as if to say “I’ve got this”. Similar to Jesse’s quiet confidence but with a more imposing presence of an experienced competitor. He is the tall drink of black coffee you might see in a Gautrain station on a Tag Heur or Hugo Boss ad but would be equally comfortable doing something more macho like a Black Label construction guy.
Physique wise he was pretty full and well balanced. Thick slabs of muscle punctuated with just the right amount of condition and leanness to stand out from the crowd.
Now back to the show
Ok so I have given you my opinions of the new Pros. In conclusion I can tell you that I had a ball of a time at the WBFF. I was surrounded by friends and fans who are just as passionate about the sport as me. I was treated well at the show. I loved being part of an event that had the formal aspect to it. We should have more of these dress ups in SA bodybuilding in my opinion.
I’ll close this with a little insight into a conversation I had with Paul Dillet during the course of the night. Which reinforced why I am doing all of this. After various questions about the good old days and so on for myself. Paul got onto the subject of passion. I took out of that quick conversation that the WBFF was created as a platform for Athletes to be raised up. Yes there may be politics in the sport but isn’t there with any form of business or entertainment and even the main stream sports.
I started this blog/site so as to express my passion and vowed never to be drawn down by the politics of anything. So my take away from my discussion with Paul and ultimately the WBFF event was that if you love something dearly pursue it with vigour, single mindedness and a clear direction of where you would like it to go. In the end who knows where it will take you. Compete with passion, live with passion and at the end of it all you may be lucky enough to look back and say I stood on the grandest stage of them all… The life YOU chose!
Your Brother in Iron