By: Nancy Marchbanks
Competitive bodybuilding is not for the faint of heart. This sport takes unwavering dedication, guts and determination in order to even have a prayer of being a contestant. This a world that most people know little about…I certainly knew nothing about when I began working on this assignment. Did I have preconceived notions? Yes. Was I wrong about most of them? Most definitely. I think that when most people have had the occasion to be channel surfing, and come upon a station featuring gleaming, expertly tanned, muscle bound men and women posing and parading around on a stage, it can be a little disconcerting. You can’t help but linger awhile and watch…and you wonder. How could a human being transform him or herself into a living, breathing statue of a Greek or Roman god? What does it take to create a physique of such magnificence and jaw dropping awe? Why do they put themselves into those bizarre configurations that make every single muscle ripple, bulge and pop. Viewing these men and women bring to mind comic book heroes who can (and often do) crush their enemies like a grape! It will be my pleasure to take you inside this much misunderstood sport and I urge you to take the opportunity to see these splendid examples of supreme musculature and strength right here at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center on July 31st, courtesy of POWER SHACK in Biloxi.
POWER SHACK has been in business for over 21 years. The primary core of the business is bodybuilding, fitness, and cross trainers. Over the years, the POWER SHACK has sponsored hundreds of NPC sanctioned bodybuilding shows in the region, in order to show support of the sport. When the opportunity presented itself for POWER SHACK to promote an event that would be exclusively it’s own, the corporation pounced on it. This is the first show of it’s kind since hurricane Katrina, which only intensifies the importance of the competition. POWER SHACK will cater to all the athletes that participate. The red carpet will be rolled out, refreshments will be served backstage, and every participant will receive a very special gift bag. This event is being held on the Coast to raise awareness, to educate the public, and to help the sport grow and prosper. The competition is going to be brutal, the claws will be out, and these athletes are going to lay it all on the line. Who will raise the bar to new heights? Will a Coast contestant be the dark horse and leave everyone else in the dust? Get your tickets NOW!
NPC stands for the National Physique Committee, which is the official governing body for amateur bodybuilding athletes worldwide. Bodybuilders must rise through the ranks, step by step. The NPC is the amateur springboard to become an IFBB pro, which is the epitome of the sport. A record of participation is kept by the NPC to keep track of each athlete and how they perform in the events. Seven distinguished, highly experienced judges attend every NPC show. Each has a very critical eye, and every aspect during the competition is scrutinized. Athletes cannot move forward into the realm of an IFBB professional until they have been champions in the eyes of the NPC. If a bodybuilder has won qualifying competitions as an amateur, and has earned a Pro Card from the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness), he or she is considered a professional and has earned the right to compete in sanctioned events. The winner of the POWER SHACK Classic will be ready for a national qualifier, and that leads to the Junior Nationals or to the Mr. USA in Las Vegas. It is important to note that there are very few professional bodybuilders in the world. It is such a huge accomplishment to get that far, and the earning power for the very select few is tremendous. The highest achievement in professional bodybuilding is being named Mr. or Ms Olympia. POWER SHACK Classic is giving athletes the opportunity to participate, in the hopes of further advancement toward becoming a professional.
Overall, it is expected that the POWER SHACK Classic will have between 150 to 200 competitors. It took almost a year to put this event together. It will encompass bodybuilding, figure, and bikini championships. There are 5,000 seats available, which will undoubtedly sell out very quickly. The contest begins at 9 AM with preliminary judging in the morning, and culminates at the evening show, beginning at 6 PM when the excitement and pageantry will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen! Keep in mind however, that ANYTHING can happen and ANYTHING can change right up to the very last minutes of the event. The posturing and clashing will be a show in itself! There will be so much going on during this fight for bodybuilding supremacy, that you won’t want to miss a minute of it! The bikini competition will be filled with gorgeous gals strutting their stuff to exhibit their sculpted, sleek, and very tan bodies. Again, these are female bodybuilders that have kept to a very strict regimen of diet, training, and exercise, and they look like goddesses from Greek mythology. Class winners will take home sculptured bronze trophies that will make it clear who’s got the goods.
This kind of event would not be possible without sponsors, and the POWER SHACK has the biggest and the best in bodybuilding. Gaspari Nutrition and ABB Performance are at the top of the list of companies that made this gig a reality. A special guest appearance by Branch Warren. Warren is # 2 in the world and will certainly blow the lid off when he struts his stuff for all to see …the man is a beast, a complete freak of nature, with veins the size of garden hoses! His lovely wife, Trish, who is a IFBB pro in her own right, will also make an appearance. Curiosity got the better of me when I saw a picture of Warren, so I checked him out on YouTube, where his routines are on display…it amazed me how this hulk of a man could be so graceful and poised. This sport is so multifaceted and very surprising. Those that participate are transformed inside as well as outside. Self esteem goes through the roof, and a sense of well being and purpose fills the spirit of every athlete.
Legend Monica Brant, who is one of the most important figures in the women’s fitness movement, will join this impressive group of athletes at the POWER SHACK Classic. This Texas beauty has been on hundreds of magazine covers over the years, and she is an accomplished author on the subject of fitness and strength. Hidetada Yamagishi, “the rising sun” of Japan is also part of this amazing line up of guest stars. Hide is making his mark in a big way, and causing quite a stir in every competition he’s in. The Mr Olympia title is in reach! It is said that bodybuilding requires an extreme level of physical and mental discipline that is unmatched by any other sport. To achieve and maintain a perfectly balanced physique also requires specific vitamins and minerals. The muscle mass and bone density must be kept at optimum levels at all times.
The POWER SHACK Classic is a family event, suitable for all ages. It promises to be something incredibly entertaining and fun for everyone! Who knows? The competition may spark something in you and you will decide to give the sport a try! It is very cool when you think about the fact that all these amazing athletes are regular people with regular lives. They are often married, have kids, and they have full time jobs or careers IN ADDITION to the blood, sweat and tears they put into bodybuilding day in and day out. Talk about dedication and commitment! In order to pursue, and hopefully attain perfection of the physical body, they make huge sacrifices. A highly specialized diet is a must, as well as spending hundreds of hours in the gym doing cardiovascular exercises and training with weights. Those that choose to enter the world of competitive bodybuilding are a rare breed. Bodybuilding is a form of body modification involving intense muscle hypertrophy, which means in plain English…increasing the size and strength of muscles. There is no room in this sport for second best. The musculature, symmetry, and shape of the body must be outstanding. The individual contestant must become a true work of art.
Bodybuilding is very popular on the Coast, and is supported by local gyms throughout the area. Entries for the POWER SHACK Classic are coming from all over the country, particularly the Southeast. Do you have what it takes or do you know someone who can “Bring It?” There is still time to throw your hat into the ring. This sport has garnered a new fan…ME! I have come away from this assignment with a new appreciation and respect for the men and women of bodybuilding. They are so disciplined, and have such a strong work ethic. Now I understand the sacrifices they make, and the lengths they go to achieve their goals. It is nothing short of extraordinary. Please join me at the Coast Coliseum on Saturday, July 31st for a super exciting, unprecedented sports event that people will be talking about for a long time. Be there or be square.