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The hidden discipline of bodybuilders

The International Bodybuilding Federation World Championships don’t commence until Friday but the two Samoan athletes competing will be up against it as soon as the board the plane on Tuesday.

“When you travel, you hold a lot of water,” said national coach Magele Johannas Keil, who is accompanying bodybuilders John Lemoa and Arona Mataia to Fujairah, United Arab Emirates for the tournament.

“When we get there, we’ve only got like two days to flush three to four kilos of water.

“The sauna helps quite a bit.”

The 19 hour flight to the Emirates is far from the first challenge facing Lemoa and Mataia, who have been preparing their bodies for this weekend’s show for some time.

Magele said reaching a show in peak condition requires a lot of planning:

“There’s so much involved in bodybuilding, showcasing your physique. It’s not just about the muscles, you’ve gotta pose right," he said. 

His athletes train three times a day around their work schedules.

“This sport is about discipline,” Magele said.

“Anybody can train, anybody can lift weights.”

But nutrition is just as important for building one’s physique, with the current dietary focus being on low carbs, high protein and some vegetables this close to a competition.

“At the moment there’s no salt, there’s no sauces, it’s just bland, can’t get any worse than that,” Magele said.

“You're just eating to function, to live, not for enjoyment.

“John’s been on a diet for I think the last 16 weeks.

If that diligence doesn’t pay off on competition day, it does on refeed day.

“As soon as we finish a comp… it’s one day of enjoyment,” Magele said.

He said you can gain five kilos from just a couple of meals, since the body has been so deprived.

It’s a relatively quick turnaround for Lemoa and Mataia from their preparations towards the New Zealand and South Pacific Championships last month.

“You’ve gotta balance your weight, you’ve gotta cut water, but we’re on schedule, we’re on target right now,” Magele said.

And he is proud of the fact his athletes are clean of the performance enhancing drugs that are so prevalent in the upper echelons of the sport:

“We’re 100 per cent natural, this is all beef and taro.”

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