June 13, 2014 4:34 pm

Fitness competitors may look great, but not feel it on event day

Watch above: looking great doesn’t equate to feeling great for fitness competitors

SASKATOON – Fitness competitors from across Saskatchewan will be in Regina this weekend for the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness provincial championships; however, preparation began weeks, if not months earlier.

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Marc Morris, a men’s physique competitor, said most contestants start to alter their diet three to six months before they take the stage. Some will also try to reduce water weight in the weeks leading up to an event.

This helps achieve the “look” needed to be successful in a physique competition; however it can come at a cost.

“You’re not going to feel your best when you’re at that low body fat, it’s just one of those things,” said Morris, who won the men’s short physique title at the IFBB Saskatchewan Novice Championships in May.

“Your body’s fighting to be at a different body weight, it doesn’t want to be this lean,” he added in an interview before his daily workout.

Overall, a bodybuilder’s lifestyle is a healthy one, according to Harvey Viteychuk, a veteran of the sport, who is the judging chairman for the Saskatchewan Amateur Bodybuilding Association.

“Obviously the proper diet and the consistent training, things like that are very healthy,” said Viteychuk, who started bodybuilding in the late 1980’s.

“Getting ready for an actual competition, there are a few parts of it that you would look at it and probably not consider as healthy,” he added.

However, it’s not just the pre-event phase that can be delicate for a fitness competitor. After the psychological and physical strain of preparing for one day of competition, a participant might binge on the food he or she has deprived their body from in the lead up to the event.

“There can be some adverse effects after the contest, overeating being one of them,” said Viteychuk, who will be judging the competition this weekend.

“I’ve had situations where I’ve gained thirty-five pounds in a week.”

“There are unhealthy components of any type of sport or any type of athletic endeavor and its just finding ways of recognizing those aspects and trying to control them and deal with them,” said Morris, who is originally from Ontario, but now calls Saskatoon home.

Morris may have an advantage to navigating the health-related areas of fitness competitions better than some of his fellow competitors. He’s currently pursuing a doctorate in nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan.

“If it’s taken you a long time to get down to that low body fat you should probably take the time needed to actually get up to healthy body fat,” said Morris.

“I definitely want to take the time and be slow and progressive, adding body fat back on, or it can be a disaster,” he added.

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