My Superheavyweight Bodybuilding Experience

Well, I’m about a month late, but I do want to recap my experience from the NPC Michigan State bodybuilding show. Fair warning: this is a longer one. I went from competing in classic physique at 184 pounds on stage last August to competing as a superheavyweight in bodybuilding at 245 this July.

TLDR: I wasn’t happy with my conditioning or posing, but I managed to win the superheavyweight class and the overall. Here are a few of my favorite stage shots!

ben michigan state qt
ben michigan state side tri
ben michigan state side chest

The Leadup

Originally, I hadn’t planned to do a local show at all – my goal was to get up to about 255 in bodyweight, compete at the USA Championships in July (and try to earn IFBB pro status), and then prep for Big Dogs in October (and try to total over 2303 to beat Stan Efferding’s best mark).

Unfortunately, the whole pandemic thing got in the way. USAs was pushed back to December, Big Dogs was cancelled, and the NPC changed qualifying rules for this year so that I would have to do a local show to even have a shot at a pro card this year.
Fortunately, I have good genetics and stayed lean enough, even when gaining 60 pounds of muscle over the last year, to compete at a local show with relatively little prep. My coach, Justin Harris, dropped my calories down just a bit for about 10 days, and that was the extent of my “diet.” I was honestly really happy with my look a few days out:

The Show

In fact, everything went quite well up until the Friday before the show. That’s when things started to fall apart. I could make a laundry list of excuses here, but ultimately, they’d be just that: excuses. So, I’ll be brief and summarize, instead.

  • Things didn’t go perfectly the last 36 hours or so (as should be expected – when do things go perfectly??)
  • I responded poorly and got pretty stressed out.
  • My cortisol spiked, I ended up flat and watery, and was overall very disappointed in my presentation.

I hate to compare myself to a guy lightyears ahead of me, but if you watched the Tampa pro show this past weekend, I think I probably felt quite similar to Iain Valliere, who framed his own experience with a “bad” show day like this:

I think ultimately, if you’re a competitor, results matter less than your own expectations of yourself, and that’s why I was pretty torn up about the whole thing. Yes, I placed well – but I know I could have done better, so to me, the show was still a bit of a failure despite winning.

Moving Forward

I’ll be honest – I really wanted to throw in the towel after the show. But I know if I did so, I’d be left with regrets. I do believe I have what it takes to earn a pro card, but only if I give 100% effort to the process. So, that’s the plan for the next 16 weeks! I’m teaming up with Joe Bennett to help bring up my arms and shoulders; Kenny Wallach to help me learn to pose, and of course, Justin will still be doing my diet. I’m confident that if I stick to the plan and give it my all, I will show something I’m proud of at Nationals in Miami in November, and that will be a win – regardless of placing.

If you’d like to follow along with my journey to becoming the world’s strongest bodybuilder, be sure to join Myoplasmic, my go-to resource for all things powerbuilding.

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