Bucknell students compete in bodybuilding competitions

KLARC, most often frequented by students looking to find a way to exercise without traveling outside during the cold winter months, is also a home base for a few students who wish to participate in bodybuilding competitions this spring.

Keith Cassar ’22, Victoria Groody ’25 and Mia Hursh ’23 are all training at KLARC, taking lessons and have competed or plan to compete in amateur bodybuilding shows this spring. Bodybuilding, which gained popularity in the late 19th century as a form of competition, is a process by which individuals aim to build enough muscle to compete against others in judge-rated shows. The training for such shows is often grueling and intense, requiring many hours in the gym and many other hours of careful dieting and planning. While it might seem like a good idea to try out some of the dieting and training techniques these students use, it’s important to remember that before trying anything new at the gym, you should talk to your doctor or find a personal trainer to make sure any new plan is right for you. I spoke to the three students this past weekend to find out more about how they became interested in sports, their training and diet practices, and how they balanced such a time-consuming activity with their school work.

Hursh, who plans to compete April 23 and 24 at the OCB Atlantic Super Show and OCB Best of the ‘Burgh, respectively, is aspiring to earn her Pro card in the Bikini Open division. When asked to describe his preparation process for upcoming competitions, Hursh went into a bit of detail about his training plan and dieting efforts, “During the week I wake up [around 6:30] in the morning…to go to KLARC for 30-40 minutes of fasted cardio with a protein shake. In addition to cardiovascular exercise, Hursh does a combination of HIIT and strength training to look his best. Explaining her weekly routine, she said: “Mondays and Thursdays I do HIIT [and] strength training to strengthen and condition my upper body while including some brief lower body workouts…Tuesdays and Fridays I do HIIT [and] strength training to mainly strengthen and condition my lower body, including some short upper body exercises.

For Hursh, bodybuilding has family ties. Her mother competed in shows and they even used the same coach to prepare for her first official competition, giving her additional expertise and understanding of the sport. His advice for anyone looking to explore the world of bodybuilding is to “seek the help of a trainer or personal trainer if you lift [or] training for the first time”, adding that “you [must] be dedicated to the sport and willing to make long-term lifestyle changes to see the results you desire.

It was a theme that continued in my conversation with Cassar. Cassar, who placed third in the Powerhouse Classic in Connecticut on April 2, spoke about some of the struggles associated with his long and grueling workout schedule “Watching my friends eat delicious food right in front of me, missing parties and getting -together because I had to go to the gym, and the lack of interest and focus that I was able to give someone completely diminished [towards the end of my preparation for the show]“, said Cassar.

Cassar, who originally came to the University as a member of the wrestling team in 2018, was banned from competing with the team because he had too many concussions to do so safely. In search of another challenge, he embarked on bodybuilding. Cassar tells his story: “Since I needed a physical struggle in my life, I naturally turned to bodybuilding and got stronger while sculpting my body like it was clay,” Cassar said. “I’m fascinated by how our body reacts to stress and how one could drastically change one’s entire physique just by exercising.”

For Cassar, consistency was essential in the preparation for his competition. From timing, weighing and tracking every meal to training six days a week, the demanding schedule took a toll on his relationships, “it put a lot of stress on my relationships and me, as I became distant and only focused on being the best I could for the show.Despite the time-consuming schedule, Cassar recommends people looking to train to “have fun with it” because “someone is much more likely to… go to the gym if he enjoys the way he trains or the way he makes them feel.

Groody is another person who fell in love with the discipline of bodybuilding. After growing tired of running long distances after her first marathon, Groody said she “started working with an online certified personal trainer and dietician on a fitness program focused on lifestyle and had spent a lot of time in a bulking phase last summer tracking macros and building muscle Groody, who competed at the NPC Natural Ohio Championships on April 2, said balance is the part the toughest of the tough prep stages for stage competitions.” Finding a routine that works for you is crucial, and I’ve found getting up around 4:30 a.m. to knock out weight training and cardio in one session before my first class at 10am worked best for me.”

Like Hursh, Groody uses professional trainers and dieticians to help determine his training plans and stay safe through the difficult process of preparing for competition. Groody said, “My trainer gave me macros, a training plan, and cardio, and we made small changes every week by increasing cardio and decreasing food.” On the importance of trainers, she said, “I highly recommend starting with a reputable trainer early in your fitness journey to ensure you benefit as much as possible from being new to fitness. training and eating enough to build muscle. ”

When it comes to advice for people trying to train for the first time, Groody, like Cassar, thinks it’s important to have fun. “My number one advice is to live and love the lifestyle first,” she said.

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Teresa E. Burton