Protein. Carbs. Supplements. Weights. Reps. Cardio.
A group of FGCU students and alumni lived and slept with these words in front of their eyes for months with one goal in mind: to compete and place at the FGCU Physique Show hosted by the FGCU Physique and Fitness Club.
The event will take place at the FGCU Veterans Pavilion at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 10 and is open to all FGCU students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Freshman Chance Galloway, an athletic training major, is one of those students. This will be his second competition — he placed first in his first show last semester.
Galloway said he’s been passionate about fitness for about five years, but he is still experimenting with what’s best for his body and what methods get him the greatest results. He started prepping for this show four weeks out by tightening up his diet. He said fitness means more to him than it does for many people.
“I view it as a piece of art,” Galloway said.
His motivation was to escape and become better.
“For me, it started as a way out, as I was bullied in middle school to early high school,” Galloway said. “I started lifting with the football team at my high school, and this exploded into a lifetime passion for fitness.”
He said it takes a lot to get your body ready for a physique show.
“It takes sacrifice and serious determination to compete in such a competition,” Galloway said. “Tracking macronutrients (macros), water intake and sodium intake is harder than many think to watch. Hitting the right amount of cardio is difficult, and the kind of cardio you do is crucial as well.”
Organizer and competitor FGCU alumna Kathryn Brewer said the goal of the show is to teach people how to become better athletes and competitors.
“It’s also put on in order to have a fun show for a community of those interested in healthy living and fitness,” Brewer said. “We like to bring together people who strive to be healthier and stronger.”
There are 20 confirmed competitors — 16 men and four women. Places will be given for women’s best overall and men’s best overall in two weight classes: under 170 pounds and above 170 pounds.
The judges are Jessica Lennox, Stephen Giuffrida and Alex Rao. All three have been involved in fitness and bodybuilding for many years, so they know what to look for in both men and women as they pose on stage.
Lennox, a graduate student at FGCU studying educational leadership, is a fitness enthusiast and regularly attends physique shows in the local community. She also works with a local Complete Nutrition chain, which has been a sponsor of previous shows at FGCU.
Giuffrida has competed in all of the four previous shows and is a founding member of the FGCU bodybuilding scene. He has placed third once and second twice through his four appearances.
Rao has competed and organized previous shows and is vice president of the club.
Judges have a number of criteria when looking at the posing competitors and deciding who will be Mr. and Ms. University in Spring 2016.
For women, they want to see lean muscle mass and very little body fat. Judging measures include shape, proportion, muscle tone, poise, femininity and beauty flow.
As for men, judges will compare competitors for balance of size, symmetry and muscularity.
Some of what you’ll see on stage will be similar to what a professional National Physique Committee, or NPC, bodybuilding championship looks like. The guidelines are similar, however, adjusted to the FGCU community based on experiences from shows in previous years.
Giuffrida was among those who started to bring students’ attention to fitness and bodybuilding on campus through the first bodybuilding registered student organization, FGCU Health Fitness and Bodybuilding Club, which FGCU senior Roland Balogh established in September 2013.
“The goal for me when I started helping with this club was to give students an avenue to try this form of expression out without all the investments necessary to compete in a league such as the NPC,” Giuffrida said.
Galloway said the margin of error is very slim and determination is key if someone takes it to a professional level, which he plans doing in the future.
“There are many places to make a mistake in,” he said. “And it takes experience to get all the techniques correct. I respect competitors for the determination it takes to cut down and get that natural look that is so desired by many people.”
Once students have put all the work into transforming their body to what they feel is ready for competition, they have to gather their confidence and practice posing wearing the appropriate attire they must wear on stage — box cut spandex or box cut board shorts for men and bikinis for women.
Although, those few months of dedicated diet and exercise comes with several challenges, many say it’ll all pay off at the end.
“Not being able to drink or eat your favorite foods is the worst part of prepping for the show,” Brewer said. “But, it’s totally worth it.”
[Correction]: An earlier version of this article noted that the show would take place in the Cohen Center from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, it has since been rescheduled to the time mentioned earlier in the article.