Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wow! What a Summer this has been!

All I can say is that this really has been a crazy summer!  There have been so many struggles, changes and accomplishments that I find it hard to imagine I could have done so much in a year, let alone a few months.  I know it has been quite a while since my last update to my blog, but I truly have been so preoccupied with so many other things in my life lately, there has just literally been no time (I do apologize for this).

With so much to say, where do I begin?  I guess the best place is to start where I last left off.  My last blog post talked about my progression through my 12 weeks of prep before my first competition for Men’s Physique with the BCABBA at the Western Canadians in Kelowna.  The whole experience of prepping and stepping on stage for the first Men’s Physique show in BC really was remarkable!  I must admit that I did feel a bit like a deer caught in the headlights while I was waiting back stage for the first time I was to step on stage.  There was so much activity going on and it was almost too overwhelming to stay focused.  One thing I do regret about this first show, which I recommend other first time competitors pay heed to, is that I didn’t take the opportunity to make new connections and meet new people.  I did meet some new people, but not nearly as many as I would have liked, as I stayed in my comfort zone of my fellow team members.  The one thing that I was a bit surprised about is that once I did finally step on stage for the first time, I didn’t have a case of nervousness.  I felt comfortable and was able to really enjoy the moment.  Receiving a third place ranking was such a great feeling.  This top three placing not only would have qualified me for the BC Provincial Championships (I say would have, because since this is the first year for Men’s Physique, this BC Championships was open to all MP competitors), but it also qualified me for the 2013 IFBB World Qualifiers at the Natural Nationals (I’ll come back to this competition later).  This is a tested event, so I am very excited to be competing once again at a tested event.

So, with Kelowna’s competition complete, this meant I was only six weeks out from competing closer to home at the BC Provincial Championships, which was held at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster.  I took the opportunity to contact the judge after the show, to ask for feedback as to what I could improve on for my next competition.  The main feedback that I received, did not really come as a surprise to me, as I was told that I needed to increase the size in my chest and shoulders, but that my conditioning the best on stage.  I found it very difficult to prepare for this next competition, trying to add on size, while still staying lean since the time between shows was so tight.  Stepping on stage here at the BC’s I did see some very minor gains in muscle development, but not enough.  On the other hand, with this attempt to build and cut, I did find my conditioning was not as tight as it was in Kelowna.  The results of this show were still right where I was hoping to achieve.  I knew this competition was going to be more difficult, as the number of competitors was much larger, and this was not a tested event.  While I would have been ecstatic to have won my class and/or the overall title at this event, my goal was to place in the top five for my height class, to ensure I would be qualified to compete in the CBBF Nationals.  I did reach this goal by placing fifth in the short class and did move on to compete in the Nationals.

Once again, the next show was only six weeks away from the BC’s and I needed to work on the same areas to develop my upper body size in my prep for Nationals.  This time, I had some serious struggles, as there were a lot of personal changes and struggles I was facing at this same time.  I took it upon myself to work towards earning my A.C.E. Personal Trainers Certification this summer (right in the middle of my contest season).  So, in addition to working as a restaurant General Manager 50 hours a week, serious dieting, training twice a day at the gym, studying for my certification, I was also in the process of working to make a career change.  I found my hardest time was five weeks before the Nationals, I was under so much stress with dieting, training, work, school and friendships, that I really had a minor breakdown.  Stress took over and I fell back for a couple of days into my old comfort zone, by turning to food to help me feel better.  This really did hurt my prep, although I did manage to have some great support from my wife Grace.  She was always there by my side every day at the gym (twice a day) even though she didn’t need to prepare for a show at this time.  Grace gave me a good pep talk, which got me right back on track and I was able to come in to the Nationals in the healthiest state of mind of all the competitions to date.  At this point, once again I was working towards winning my class, but I was more focused on being honored to make it to the National level within my first year of competing and really wanted to enjoy the entire experience.  I ended up placing 7th in my class at this event, which I was so pleased with.  This event I made a point to take the time to get to interact with fellow competitors, friends and family, as well as make an effort to connect with new people, or those that I had come to “know” through social media over the previous few months.

When I thought things would settle down after my final show at Nationals was finished, that is when things actually just started getting busier.  Right before the Nationals took place, I was invited by Ian Lauer to contribute to the Men’s Physique forum on the website, with results from the first Canadian Men’s Physique Nationals.  I was incredibly honored to have received this invitation and have now had two contributions posted to the website, sharing Canadian updates in Men’s Physique events.  In addition to this great opportunity, I wrote my exam and earned my Personal Trainer certification and have since left my restaurant General Manager role to pursue my new career as a trainer with Steve Nash Fitness World in Langley, BC.  This change has added a whole new level of stress for me, as it means I need to build my clientele from the ground up, but I am so excited to have a new career in a position that allows me to share my passion with those looking to make a change in their own lives. 

One of the most exciting things that has happened this summer, was hearing the news from Derek Crossman of DC Sports Nutrition, that both Grace and I were both chosen as Sponsored Athletes / Brand Ambassadors for Pure Force Nutrition.  This is such an amazing honor and the product line fits with our beliefs and life style just perfectly, as all of the Pure Force Nutrition products are Certified Banned Substance Free!  Check out our Fit Life 24/7 fan page on Facebook for more details about the product line.

If all of this is not enough to keep me busy, I have also been invited to be a guest blogger for Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean blog.  I am expecting to see my first contribution go live on Tosca Reno’s blog within the next couple of weeks.  I will keep you updated as to when this is live.

I guess I have gone on for quite some time now, trying to catch up on most of the events and activities I have been kept busy with through the summer.  I look forward to keeping you updated more often.  Next time I’ll get into details of my next competition and changes to my prep for this show.  Have a great day and as always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments about this blog post.

Thank you for reading.

Andrew Bukowsky

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