New Bodybuilding Contest Set July 21
By COSHANDRA DILLARD
There was a time when Alicia Burgin was sick and stressed all the time. She'd run to the emergency room monthly with apparent stomach viruses. She said unhealthy eating habits were the source of her stomach woes. Greasy, processed foods were her staple, but she didn't think twice about it because she was slim. Nonetheless, she was unhealthy, and it was taking a toll on her body.
"I was a fast-food junkie," Mrs. Burgin, 36, said. "I never had been in the gym. I was going to the ER quite a bit, being sick and my doctor said, 'You have to work out.'"
She hated the gym and admits she is still not fond of it.
Mrs. Burgin's husband, Will Burgin, opened PureBody Nutrition as it had been a goal for him. He also recommended to his wife to get in the gym and then participate in a bodybuilding contest.
Her first was a Hot Moms show and was still breastfeeding at the time. Since then, she's participated in five shows.
Last year, the couple decided to host a bodybuilding show. Because Tyler only has a few people who actively participate in bodybuilding contests, the Burgins are targeting first-timers.
Tyler's first-ever bodybuilding show will begin at 10 a.m. July 21 at Caldwell Auditorium.
"I want everyone to be comfortable because it's going to be a lot of new people," Mrs. Burgin said.
It's a natural show, and participants will be drug-tested, Mrs. Burgin said. At natural shows, no steroids or other performance drugs are allowed. Most bodybuilders opt for protein powders, vitamin supplements and herbs to help them pump up their physique.
Often seen by those outside of the bodybuilding industry as a vanity show, participants contend it is an athletic sport that takes discipline and dedication. Bringing a show to Tyler is one way athletes can see that it is another way to get healthy, supporters say.
"It's just to bring an awareness to the community that you can use bodybuilding as a goal, a way of getting weight loss or a way of getting better fit," Mrs. Burgin said. "It's all about being happy and healthy."
She expects about 30 people to sign up. She believes many Tyler residents will become more interested in the show and plans to make it an annual event.
"It can either turn you off completely, or it can turn you on and you're just hooked," she said.
To ensure objectivity, judges are coming from out of town, most of whom are former bodybuilders or frequent show judges.
fitness is 'me time'
Sandra Baker, a 48-year-old mother of two adult children, has worked out most of her life and adopted a healthy routine after having children. She will compete in the figure category of the July bodybuilding show. It's one thing she can check off of her life's to-do list.
"The contest is going to be seven days before I turn 49, so I figured, 'Bucket list, knock it off,'" Ms. Baker said.
For Ms. Baker, a massage therapist, and Mrs. Burgin, the mother to 6- and 3-year-olds, weight training is their "me time."
"You're always busy with kids, and you forget yourself," Mrs. Burgin said. "This is where I actually put myself first. I have to, to go work out to be health and get ready for a show."
Ms. Baker added, "If you don't take care of yourself, there's no way to take care of anybody else."
Mrs. Burgin said there's an "I did it" moment for many new bodybuilders. The shows are a culmination of achievement, as those who have struggled with weight cry and shout about their successes on stage. Ms. Baker can understand their passion.
"I just want to go up there and be able to say, 'I did it.' Whether I go further from there, I'll just have to see when I cross that stage," she said.
Athletes who train for a bodybuilding contest must be highly regimented. The last 12 weeks before show time are especially strict, which includes ramping up weightlifting. Toward the last few days, salt is drastically limited, no carbohydrates are eaten and then no water is consumed in the 24 hours before the big day.
Bodybuilding contests are a big production with many components, especially for women. After all of the hard work they put into building muscles, they must learn poses and tan so judges can see the definition in the muscles. Women also must wear makeup and learn to walk and pose in 5-inch heels.
It takes time to get used to the tricks of the trade of the bodybuilding circuit. Most contestants are thrilled just to participate and their accolades sometimes don't come until much later. Mrs. Burgin won her first trophy at her fourth show. Regardless of how many titles she earns, she said she loves performing.
"My confidence comes the minute I step on the stage because I love the stage," Mrs. Burgin said. "That's my shining moment."
Ms. Baker has some anxiety about her first show, but she practices flexing in front of people at her gym in Tyler. She works out four days a week for 60 to 90 minutes, usually in the mornings.
She's the epitome of physical fitness with her lean, sculpted muscles. It's not just moms who aspire to be like her.
"I'm not just motivating women, it's the men too," she said, noting that men at her gym are awed by her strength.
Body building is an ongoing journey that was possible because of years of dedication to doing right by her body.
"It's got to be a lifestyle," Ms. Baker said. "It can't be an overnight thing."
Staff photographer Sarah Miller is following Sandra Baker on her journey to the bodybuilding show. Look for photo and video stories of the preparation for the contest on July 22.
IF YOU GO
: PureBody Nutrition Extravaganza NGA Bodybuilding Show
: Prejudging at 10 a.m., final judging at 6 p.m. July 21
: Caldwell Auditorium, 300 S. College Ave.
: General tickets are $10 each for day or evening show. May be purchased at PureBody Nutrition, 6747 S. Broadway Ave. or go to www.purebodynutrition.net
For women who don't want to become very muscular. Muscles are softer, and during the show, women show more personality. Participants wear a bikini suit and 5-inch heels.
Participants must display several poses to show off muscles. They wear a bikini that crisscrosses in the back.
(men and women):
It's all about the muscle in this category. Participants learn poses, which includes flexing and a routine. Prejudging occurs in the morning with the final judging and routines are presented in the evening.
PureBody Nutrition is offering this as part of the July contest, although it is not a part of the National Gym Association. The category is for smaller men who don't gain a lot of muscle naturally. They wear surfer board shorts and strike a model pose.