Four weeks and counting…

It’s just four weeks until I head to the stage for the Pure Elite Fitness Model Championships in Margate on November 2nd. Actually, checking the calendar, make that nearer to three weeks – gulp – and there’s a lot to be done in those remaining days!

For newcomers, this activity involves standing on a stage in a packed theatre with very few clothes on (there are some clothes, it’s not that extreme!) – and being judged on physique, stage presence and model attributes. Think of it as a bodybuilding show without the nasty drugs, and with smaller muscles, but with bigger shorts and bigger smiles! It’s a much more aesthetic and marketable look than a typical professional bodybuilder.

I’m no stranger to this sort of thing – I’ve competed four times in the past, all with the Miami Pro organisation. But this is the Pure Elite organisation and it’s a bit more of a challenge for me – why is that that? With Miami Pro, I was in their over 50’s category – indeed I’m their current World Champion for that age group. But Pure Elite has a different age category structure, so I’m in the over 45’s. This makes a difference as I will be on stage just two weeks before my 58th birthday, so I will be alongside competitors up to 13 years younger than me – and in this game, it’s a lot easier to look good and do well if you are younger.

I’m entering three classes – Fitness Model, Muscle Model and Body Transformation. Muscle Model requires more muscle than the more elegant Fitness Model look, but it’s still nothing like a pro bodybuilder in appearance. And I hope my transformation of losing a third of my body-weight in fat since turning 50 will help me in the final category.

In these final few weeks, I’m training alongside Dan Wynes, who I have been mentoring in fitness for six months. Dan is also entering the show – in different categories to me since he’s only 21. Indeed I wouldn’t be entering this one without Dan’s insistence that I should (although Jenny, my wife, says I didn’t need much convincing!).

Snapshot - 201Over this week and next, I’ll be trying to coax a few last pounds of fat off, and add a wee bit of muscle here and there by turning the dial up on all my training and nutrition activities. I’m now up to doing pre-breakfast cardio 6 days a week rather than 4, and I’ve increased the afternoon weights workouts similarly – with more intensity, and determination to set new personal performance records. On the nutrition side, I’ve reduced my daily calories a little, I’m cutting the sugar and other fast carbs significantly wherever I can, but increasing the protein to make up some of the calorie reduction from the reduced carbs. To help on the nutrition side, I’m also checking I’m taking the right supplements, most of which are from True Performance Nutrition.

The plans from next week are that the training and nutrition parameters for me and for Dan get turned up one more notch – which we will do as part of an intensive week of pre-contest ‘fitness immersion’ in Los Angeles. This is a trip we have scheduled to absorb some of the atmosphere of the fitness capital of the world, and try to live with almost perfect pre-contest training and nutrition for a week.

One interesting point is that the contest journey Dan and I are making is being filmed for a TV documentary, with filming both in the UK and on our LA trip. With an eye to promoting community activities, the documentary is designed to show how mentoring works and benefits both the mentee and – more unexpectedly – the mentor, and also how our initial mentoring relationship has built into a strong friendship that transcends the generation gap between us.

Another interesting aside is that just 6 days before going on stage, I am running in the Dublin Marathon – a commitment I made to raise funds for a very poorly little girl who lives near us (look at to see more). Doing what I can to help Esme is a high priority, and it’s just bad luck – or perhaps over-eagerness on my part – to have two such significant, challenging and personally-important events just six days apart. I’m still working out how to juggle the training and nutrition involved in getting off a plane in London from LA, then getting on to one for Dublin, running that Marathon and then being stage-ready for Pure Elite a few days later.

Jenny is also running the Dublin Marathon – and we’ll try to run together throughout, even though she’s a much better distance runner than me. And, being the amazingly supportive wife she is, she will be shouting her socks off for the two of us when Dan and I hit the Pure Elite stage – as will his girlfriend Liz and his own family, all joining Jenny in the front row of go-mad spectators!

Chris meets Dan at BodyPower 2014

Chris meets Dan at BodyPower 2014

If you’d like to read Dan’s blog and his views on fitness generally and this contest in particular, find it on – and I’ll be giving more information on my exact approach to nutritional changes next week in my blog – then it will be Los Angles, Dublin, Margate in the following blogs. Then it’s an easy downhill run to turning 58 and then Christmas!