2010 WNBF Worlds
November 13, 2010
Having lost the lightweight class title by a single point in 2009, my goal was to make improvements to the areas I felt needed them the most (legs, calves, and traps). I implemented a relatively unique 2-week split during my off-season to bring up these areas, emphasizing squats and deadlifts while also dedicating specific training days to traps and calves. Once again I dieted for 26 weeks to get into contest shape, but this time I refrained from shifting to a 6-day per week split as the contest approached and actually increased my food intake slightly over the last month. This, combined with less cardio over that last month, allowed me to maintain some of the size that I had fought for throughout the year.
New York was once again the host of the World Championships, but the number of competitors was a bit down this year with only 32 pro men (compared to around 40 each of the previous 2 years). My weight was exactly the same as it was the year before (165 lbs) but I had attempted to weigh in light, and was probably closer to 167-168 onstage. At the competitor’s meeting the night before the show I was shocked to find out that the defending MW and overall champion, Clarence McGill, would not be competing due to an injury. Clarence showed us some pictures of him from just a few weeks prior when he had won the WNBF Masters competition, and frankly we were all lucky he did not compete as he looked fantastic – possibly the leanest I had ever seen him (which is saying something for Clarence!) This year, after splitting the classes evenly, the lightweight cutoff was higher than usual at 173 lbs. This meant my class would feature Jim Cordova, whom many see as the best natural bodybuilder on the planet, who was returning to Worlds competition after deciding not to compete in 2009. The LW class winner from 2009, Shaun Clarida, was also back looking for a repeat win, and Wendell Webb was attempting to continue his pattern of improving from year to year.
As the lightweight class callouts began, I felt immensely better onstage than I had the previous year (lesson learned: no leg workout photo shoots the day before the contest!) The judging was as thorough as a competitor can ask for, with plenty of comparisons and a solid mix of poses called. I was the first competitor moved to the middle of the stage, always a good sign, and was quickly joined by Clarida and Cordova. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of back shots called, which I consider to be a strength for me, and not quite as much emphasis on the front relaxed pose as there had been the year before. I felt that I held my own with the mass of Cordova, although his rear lat spread is nearly impossible to match, and that I also matched up well against the symmetry of Clarida. I knew that my conditioning was on point but also felt the judges would have a difficult job separating us, particularly since this year all competitors were judged in 3 separate categories: symmetry, mass, and muscularity / condition.
Although the middleweights had traditionally been the strongest class in the show, in my opinion they were missing four of the best WNBF competitors this year: McGill, Greenwood, and Cunningham (last year’s top 3) and also Jon Harris, who hadn’t competed since 2007. Thus, this class was significantly weaker than in prior years. However, there were still many excellent physiques fighting for the MW crown. From the crowd, the battle seemed to be between Tyler English, who was coming off a great year with a very balanced physique, Paul Iatomasi, with the best condition in the class, and Miles Stovall, a World Champion in 2003 who was looking to return to the condition that had earned him that title. In my opinion it was close between Iatomasi (whose entire family seem to be WNBF pros!) and Stovall, with Iatomasi’s condition going up against Stovall’s structure.
As the heavyweights took the stage, the immediate favorite was the immense Martin Daniels, with the waist of a lightweight but mass of a superheavyweight. Easily the biggest guy onstage, Daniels’ size is matched only by his symmetry, with literally no flaws in his physique. His massive quads are matched by enormous arms, a thick chest, and solid calves. Daniels’ only downside was that his conditioning, while good, was not great, and he appeared a bit soft from the back. I was also extremely impressed by Hayzer Cayli from Australia, who stood next to the giant Daniels and did not look out of place. Hayzer has a ton of well-balanced muscle on his frame, and boasted better condition than Martin, although still not completely contest-ready from the back. 2-time HW champion Rodney Helaire was back for another shot at the title, and although his condition was better than Hayzer’s and Martin’s, his lagging legs were evident by comparison. Alun Davies of the U.K. was the most conditioned of the HWs, but his stocky structure prevented him from having a true shot at defeating the aesthetic physiques of Martin and Hayzer.
As the night show commenced I tried to have some fun with my routine, and it seemed to be well-received by the crowd. The top 5 LWs walked out to receive our awards, with Rich Kroll’s legs and overall balance earning him a respectable 5th in his Worlds debut. Taking 4th was Wendell Webb, who improved on last year’s showing by thickening his upper body and coming in just as crisp. 3rd was claimed by last year’s champ, Shaun Clarida, despite coming in with improvements to his chest and calves. As Jim Cordova and I stood waiting to hear the next name called, I flashed back to 2007 when he had soundly beaten me for the World overall title. This time, the result went the other way with Jim taking 2nd, allowing me to capture the LW class for the 3rd time in 4 years. Later I would find out that it was a relatively convincing victory for me, with 5 of the 7 judges awarding me 1st place. Jim and Shaun were actually tied with 12 points each (I had 6) but the tiebreaker awarded Jim 2nd since 4 of the 7 judges had placed him over Shaun.
In the MW class, Tyler English took 3rd and the lean Paul Iatomasi earned 2nd, with Miles Stovall reclaiming his early 2000s glory with another class win at the World level. Martin Daniels captured the HW class for the second consecutive year, with the Australian Cayli taking 2nd and Rodney Helaire in 3rd.
Standing next to Miles and Martin during the overall comparisons, I thought that this was as good a shot as I had ever had for a World overall title. I knew I was leaner than both of them, and was hopeful that some of my added size would put me over the edge, although I did not carry as much sheer mass. The posedown was a ton of fun, as I hit shots beside Martin and tried not to look small! After the final votes were tallied, I couldn’t help but be disappointed as it was Martin’s name called as the overall winner. His massive size and picture-perfect symmetry proved to be a winning combination. The final tally was four votes for Martin, two for me and one for Miles. Martin is a very laid back guy and is easily approachable even though he looks like a monster! Congrats to Martin, the 2010 WNBF World Overall Champion.