Yokosuka bodybuilding contest set for Saturday
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Genella Robinson held up her posing suit and winced. The entire thing fits in a sandwich baggie.
The idea of putting it on and posing for strangers is giving her the pre-competition jitters, the 30-year-old mom and military spouse said Thursday at Yokosuka Naval Base.
But Debbie Deutsch, the base’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation fitness coordinator, encouraged the first-timer.
“You’ve dieted and trained for so long, and now it’s your time to show it off,” says Deutsch, the voice of experience as an eight-year, 12-show veteran body builder. “Once you think about how hard you’ve worked, that moment on stage is perfect.”
For the fourth year running, Yokosuka wants servicemembers, civilians and Japanese nationals to “flex ’em if you got ’em” in a Sept. 30 body-building competition.
As of Thursday, 17 people had signed up to have their physique graded on symmetry, muscle definition and muscle fullness/density. Though bodybuilding traditionally is more popular with Westerners, “I’ve heard that it’s rising in popularity” in Japan, Deutsch said. “Right now, 13 out of 17 people signed up are Japanese.”
But wherever you’re from, building a “competition” body is no easy job, as Lt. j.g. Michael McPherson knows well. He’s been on his diet for three months and hits the gym nine times a week.
“I want to show the active-duty guys that you don’t have to use steroids to be competitive,” McPherson said. “Kids want it quick and easy but this doesn’t come overnight.” He also wants to quash the “out-of-shape-Navy” stereotype, he said. “We’re not all guys who rest coffee cups on our bellies,” said McPherson, 39, who’s single and has two children.
Deutsch and Robinson also have kids. Robinson said it took her two years to lose her “baby weight.” Then she realized she could be both a mom and a body-builder.
“I’d been to a couple of shows before, and I started thinking ‘I can do that,’” Robinson said. “The hardest part is the diet.”
Her restricted regime hasn’t varied in two months: five egg whites at 6 a.m., chicken and green beans at 9 a.m., tuna and salad at noon, back to chicken and beans at 3 p.m., chicken, salmon or steak and a vegetable at 6 p.m. and a 9 p.m. protein shake.
But after the final round at the Fleet Theater on Saturday, all bets are off. Both Robinson and McPherson plan to pig out on the same thing: pizza. “We’re going to have some backstage for when they’re finished,” Deutsch said. “They deserve it.”
After the competition, they’ll go back to their regular lives, Deutsch said, eating more food and training heavily for next year.
“It’s a constant cycle,” Deutsch said. Body-builders are actually smaller when they compete compared to the off-season, she added, as they try to shed water at show time to showcase their muscle definition.
Her husband, Jason, turned her on to the sport, she said.
“I love it — I’m addicted,” Deutsch said. “You work so hard for that one minute. But then you end up continually trying to improve yourself.”
If you go
Fourth Annual Yokosuka MWR Body Building Championship
Saturday, Sept. 30, at Yokosuka Naval Base’s Fleet Theater. Weigh-ins at 9 a.m. Finals at 4 p.m.
Guest Poser: Leo Ingram, 2005 NPC (National Physique Committee) Armed Forces Champion
General admission fee: $5 for those under the status of forces agreement; 1,000 yen for Japanese residents
Competitors entry fee: $25 for those with status-of-forces-agreement status; 3,000 yen for Japanese residents.
Lightweight: 127 lbs. and underHeavyweight: 128 lbs. and overMen’s Open
Lightweight: 154 lbs. and underMiddleweight: 155 lbs. to 175 lbs.Heavyweight: 176 lbs. and overAwards:
Women’s Division: 1st thru 3rdMen’s Division: 1st thru 3rdOverall Male and FemaleEligibility: Open to SOFA-sponsored civilians, military and Japanese residents.
— Allison Batdorff