Food supplements needed the most

Posted in Nutrition & Diet on November 15, 2012 by takeupsculpting

Every competitor has to battle several odds before he is being accepted as the best. E.Karthik of Chennai, who is gold medalist in federation cup, is one such competitor.


I  regularly come across a lot of bodybuilders who are serious about building their physiques but are financially struggling. In countries like ours, only a few have the desire to take on challenges against such odds and over 90 per cent of these warriors come from a poor background. Often they are confused about what minimum food supplements are needed.

Here are a few suggestions which might be of help to those who do not want their supplement bill to soar.

1. Take 1,000 mg of Vitamin C, split into two doses every day.

2. Add a multivitamin/multi-mineral tablet to your lunch, which might contain brown rice, vegetables and chicken breast.

3. Take 1,000 mg of calcium split into two doses with two of your meals every day.

4. Take a serving of whey protein and BCAA immediately after workout.

5. If possible, take 5 gm of glutamine, twice a day.

This supplement plan has been suggested under the assumption that your diet contains enough solid food giving you sufficient calories and all macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrate and fat in the right numbers based on your activity level and physique goal.

- C. Lakshmi Kumar

Recovery, key to non-stop gains

Posted in training on October 11, 2012 by takeupsculpting

I keep reading about how important recovery is to improving your physique even as you move into mid-to-late thirties and forties.
There are a lot of persons with pretty good knowledge of training and diet, but fall short in the recovery part. Majority of trainees are still under the impression that doing more sets or reps ALONE lead to overtraining. Reality, however, is a person can overtrain even if he or she hits the weights hard when the body is still tired from a previous workout. This can be what many big names call ‘systemic recovery.’

Inability of a person to sleep well, feeling tired despite regularly working out and eating right, and the lack of motivation to train are some of the common symptoms of overtraining.
These are more pronounced in the case of a person who is in his mid-thirties and older.
For example, a person who used to feel fresh and ready for another serious bout with the weights on his usual three-on-one-off split (or any split, for that matter) may suddenly need one more rest day. If the person ignores this message coming from the body and BLINDLY sticks to his split, he might not be able to train hard. He might even find it impossible to move a weight which he usually does, or experience pain and discomfort while forcibly training. This will most certainly lead to overtraining and might even cause injury.
In my own case, I can see that my body is right now not recovering as fast as it used to when I was 30. This is despite eating pretty right and training carefully.
On one of my recent workout days, I felt kind of tired and didn’t know if I was ready for the weights again. When I ignored that thought and started training, I was horrified to see my training poundage drop by more than 25 per cent on basic movements!!! Listen to your body and try to differentiate between laziness and genuine tiredness.
The concept of recovery applies not only to pro bodybuilders but also small-time amateur competitors.
- C. Lakshmi Kumar


MEET – Junior Mr. India Y. Annamalai

Posted in Champions on September 8, 2012 by takeupsculpting

Even as I sat watching the recently-held Mr. Chennai at ICF, the thought struck me again – I was yet to do an interview of ‘Junior Mr. India’ Y. Annamalai. That I had spoken to the man himself several times but couldn’t make it to his gym owing to some genuine reason no longer appeared acceptable. With a firm decision of meeting him at any cost, I spoke to Annamalai once again for an appointment and he was, as usual, too glad to oblige. Within a couple of weeks, I found myself talking to him at his newly-opened Sri Fitness Studio in Royapuram.

‘Posing King’ Annamalai always looked like a winner - onstage or backstage.

‘Posing King’ Annamalai always looked like a winner – onstage or backstage.

Lakshmi Kumar: Finally I am here sir, thanks for giving me time on a working day. Let me begin with the formal questions…
Annamalai: Yes, I’ll tell you all that myself. I was born on December 14, in Chennai. My father’s name was Yoganathan and my mother’s, Pushpa. My father was employed in a private company and my mother was a housewife.
L: Do you have brothers or sisters?
A: (With a broad smile) My parents had eight children, and I was the youngest. I have four elder brothers and three elder sisters.
L: Pretty big family…OK, when did you start training and who was your inspiration?

Style was abundant in his posing

Style was abundant in his posing

A: My brothers were my inspiration. They used to exercise and look good. I was thin and wanted to look like them. I used to lift the grinding stone at home and try to get big and strong like them (laughs). However, there was a very funny belief in our household. My body remained cool generally and never used to get warm very fast. In Tamil, they call it ‘seethala udambu.’ Our relatives scared my mother saying that if I grab iron, the cold feeling would affect me, get me down with fever and ultimately lead to death! It’s an irony that the same cold iron earned me recognition, a government job and helped me run a successful gym.
L: Nice. But, when did you start working out? Were you a fast gainer?
A: I joined Raghuveer Gym, the oldest running gym in Chennai, on December 14, 1986. I was not a fast gainer and had to struggle a lot to gain muscle.
L: What was your weight then? And who was your first guru?
A: I started competing in 60 and 65 kg classes. I was in 65 kg class in many of my earlier contests. I eventually competed in the 70 kg and 75 kg categories. My first guru was R.L. Thiruvengadam, who is now vice-president of Indian Body Builders’ Federation. He encouraged me a lot. There was a senior body builder by the name Venugopal, who also helped me. I am indebted to them and Raghuveer Gym.

What an honour to win the first contest and get the medal from a legend like Premchand Degra

What an honour to win the first contest and get the medal from a legend like Premchand Degra

L: When was your first contest?
A: It was a few weeks after I started training in 1986. Raghuveer Gym used to conduct a contest among its members and I entered that. However, I didn’t get any placing. (With moist eyes, Annamalai continues)…… when I came home that night, my father asked me what exactly I did at the contest and what prize I got. I told him that I didn’t get any prize. Being a very shy person, I also hesitated to drop down my clothes and pose in front of him. Seeing me hesitate, my father asked, ‘You weren’t shy posing before strangers but in front of me, your father.’ That was it… I slipped into my trunks and showed him my posing routine. My father got off his chair and said ‘How could those people deny you a prize? You perform so well! Come with me, I will ask the authorities at the gym. They can’t do injustice to you.’ I tried very hard and convinced him saying that I would win that contest the next year. (With tears rolling down his cheeks, Annamalai continues in an emotion-choked voice) As promised, I won my class in that contest next year and the overall too and my father was so happy. Legends such as Premchand Degra and Bhattacharjee were guests that evening and it was Premchandji who put the medal around my neck! My father died some years ago, but he saw me enter government service and make a name for myself in bodybuilding. He should have been a content man (sobs).
L: Who would you thank for all your victories?
A: I joined MFC, a fitness centre owned by the then Secretary of Tamil Nadu Amateur Body Building Association Thanigaivelu. He was my guru and I would have been nothing if he weren’t there to train me. His son T. Manivannan also helped me a lot. My victories started after that.

‘Ripped and ready’ was the name of the game for Annamalai

‘Ripped and ready’ was the name of the game for Annamalai

L: What all titles have you won?
A: (With a calm smile) I have won first place in Mr. Chennai 23 times; first place in Mr. Tamil Nadu 13 times; first place in Mr. South India 7 times; first place in Junior Mr. India in 1992 at Kanpur; and fourth place in Senior Mr. India in 1996.
L: Oh my God! That makes it an awesome 44 first place finishes!!!OK, which was your first State contest and what did you win?
A: It was the 1987 Mr. Tamil Nadu in Katpadi and I won bronze. It so happened that some people said I might get a job if I won the first prize in that event. So, I went and spoke to Thanigaivelu and asked him if he could help me win…the words he uttered that day came as an eye-opener and helped me all through my career. He said, ‘If I help you now, you will use me like a crutch. You will never learn to stand on your legs. No, I will not help because it’s unethical. Go and fight it out and get whatever you are really worth.’ These words made me work harder and harder the following years and helped me win more titles. I first stepped on the ‘Mr. India’ stage in 60 kg class in 1989, but didn’t get anything.
L: How would you train those days? You were always ripped. Were you doing a lot of cardio?
A: (Laughs) I never did any cardio. I had tremendous energy and worked out on a triple-split system (three times a day). At times, I would have just one cup of tea after a workout and by body would be ready for another session. My training partners couldn’t keep pace with me and I burned them out. My workouts themselves burned a lot of calories and got me ripped. I trained each muscle group thrice a week and grew.

This man never did cardio to get ripped!!!!

This man never did cardio to get ripped!!!!

L: Amazing! I remember ‘Mr. Olympia’ Dexter Jackson saying that until 2006 or 2007, he never did any cardio. But, he was already bronze winner at the Olympia. He had such fantastic metabolism and I guess yours would have been very good too. That you trained so much and still grew shows that you had excellent muscular and systemic recovery, which a lot of trainees might not have. Please tell me about your diet. How would you eat those days and did you use any food supplement?
A: My best competitive season was from 2004 to 2007. I would eat and train like this while getting ready for a show:
Meal 1 – 4 slices wheat bread, 4 egg whites, tea without sugar
Workout 1
Meal 2 – 1 serving whey protein, 4 egg whites, 1 apple, a few chappatis
Meal 3 – 250 gm chicken, 1 cup rice, vegetables
Meal 4 – 5 egg whites, 2 slices wheat bread, 1 cup sweetlime juice
Workout 2
Meal 5 – 1 serving whey protein, Marie Gold biscuits
Workout 3
Meal 6 – 250 gm chicken, a few chappatis, 3 or 4 egg whites
I would also take some papaya or pineapple after sometime to help digestion.
Meal 7 – channa and some raisins
I first used supplements in 1999. I tried Twinlab’s Gainers Fuel. After that, I was using Taras products for some time. Ever since 2002, I have been using Millennium Nutraceuticals’ products.
I used to eat like this for only 30 days and could get ripped. In retrospect, had I dieted like what all our competitors do now, I might have got freakier in conditioning.

L: When did you open your Winners Gym? And when was this new gym inaugurated?
A: When MFC gym closed, Thanigaivelu wanted some of his students to open their own gyms. He and the then IBBF president, M. Kesavan, encouraged me to open a gym – I opened Winners Gym at Royapuram on March 2, 1998. Sri Fitness Studio was inaugurated in June this year (2012). There were no air-conditioned, high-end studios in this area and so we summoned all our courage, worked very hard and opened it.
L: I can see that your wife A. Kavitha is the proprietor of this studio. Tell me when did you both meet? I am sure it was a love marriage.
A: No, it was an arranged marriage. Kavitha is my sister’s daughter. The moment she was born, elders at our household decided that she would be married to me. We got married on November 12, 1999.
L: Oh, so you two must have spent very nice moments during all your school days.
A: (Laughs again) I am sorry to say ‘no’ again. I used to casually talk to her like ‘hai, how are you’ and the kind of stuff. We never went out anywhere…you are not going to believe this – we spoke to each other for several minutes only on the nuptial night.
L: That’s great and nice to see your wife supporting you so much and being so understanding. How many children do you have?
A: Two – my son Vignesh is 11 years old and is in Standard VI, my daughter Kaviya Sri is 5 and is in UKG.
L: When did you join ICF and what are you employed as?
A: I got the job in January 1993. Now, I work as fitter-general. A promotion is awaited.
L: I totally forgot to ask you this – how did you learn to pose so well. That your students like ‘Mr. India’ Mohammed Abdullah and Federation Cup (Mr. India) Gopinath are fantastic at posing speaks volumes of your training and influence. Who was your guru in posing?
A: I always loved posing. A former champion by the name of Jayaprakash from Coimbatore taught me how to pose. I worked on it further as I liked to be called a good performer. I enjoyed posing and wanted the crowd to enjoy it too.
L: I am sure you would have received great applause for your posing routines. I remember reading about a particular expo at Kamarajar Arangam in 1999…
A: Of course, I can never forget that. Your guru ‘Olympia’ Jai (K.P. Jayakumar) was the person who organised that demo. It had the full ICF team, including Arasu, Kumarananthan, Gerald, Vasanth, Jegannathan and myself. It was a two-day expo and I posed on both days. My routine which was choreographed for A.R. Rehman’s ‘Vandemaataram’ received tremendous applause. I take this opportunity to thank Jai once again for giving me that chance. Another event where I received great applause was the Mr. South India held at Palakkad in 1993 or 1994. It was an open stage and there should have been at least 7,000 or 8,000 people among the audience. I have never seen such a mammoth crowd. I am still amazed that people sat in endless rows from where competitors on the stage would look like ants!!!
L: Will you encourage your son to become a bodybuilder?
A: I will…and at the same time, I will ensure that he doesn’t get carried away by persons who give him wrong advice. I will see to it that he doesn’t abuse his body. I actually competed and won titles for a while like a madman just because I wanted him to see those victories.
L: I don’t understand.
A: I didn’t like my son to see his father flex all those muscles in photographs alone. I didn’t want him to feel that his father was a has-been. I seriously trained after my son turned 3 or 4 years old and won more titles, becoming bigger and better – it was all for my son. He came and saw me win several contests.

 I am proud to say that a great champion like Annamalai shows lot of interest in my welfare and success.

I am proud to say that a great champion like Annamalai shows lot of interest in my welfare and success.

L: Wow, this is like Bollywood Baadshah Shah Rukh Khan getting into shape for his son and flexing his muscles in Om Shanti Om. But, your story is older.
A: Oh, is that so? I admired Shah Rukh’s physique in those photographs but never knew this story. That is a nice one.
L: Who are your favourite body builders?
A: Among yesteryear champions, it is Frank Zane. I love him for his beautiful shape, muscularity and posing skill. Among current pro bodybuilders, it’s Dexter Jackson. As regards Indian champions, I like Prasad Kumar, T.V. Paulie and Nageshwaran.
L: Would you tell me names of your best students?
A: Mohammed Abdullah, Gopinath, ‘Royapuram’ Raja (Physically challenged Mr. India winner), Sarath Priyan (Junior national medalist), Karthik, Chinna Durai, Durairaj, Ramesh, Vinoth, Nehru, Ilango, Guru, Balasubramanyam, Radhakrishnan – all State and South India champions. One of my champions by name Jeetu has also won the nationals.
L: Now, moving a little away from bodybuilding, do you follow other sports?
A: I watch cricket, like everybody else does. I was a kabaddi player in school.
L: Do you watch movies? Who are your favourite actors?
A: (With a broad smile) I do. I actually did a main role in a film titled ‘Adhisaya Ulagam.’ Unfortunately, that movie is yet to be released. I couldn’t pursue a career in acting because I won’t be in a position to give dates whenever producers ask for because of my job. So….I kind of let it go. My favourite actors are Kamal Haasan and Surya.

L: Thanks for giving me so many details. Before wrapping it up, what message would you like to tell our readers?
A: Don’t abuse your bodies. If you take wise decisions, you will be happy and successful. Thanks for the interview, Lakshmi.
- C. Lakshmi Kumar

Mr. Classic 2012 – Inter-district Championship

Posted in Contests on August 24, 2012 by takeupsculpting
The overall title once again went to Krishna.

I admire some persons for their untiring efforts at organising competitions on a regular basis. E. Dayalan of Classic Fitness Centre is one such person whose name figures among the best of contest organisers. He successfully conducted Mr. Tamil Nadu 2011 Open State Championship at Tambaram last September and repeated that feat this year by organising an inter-district contest for champions from Chennai and Kanchi on August 19. That this event was held to mark the eleventh anniversary of his gym and happened to be his eleventh annual contest need special mention.

Manikandan of Chennai, who finished second in 55 kg class, came close to winning the title.

The competitors who finished in top five places were showered with gifts. Here is an overview of how some of the best competitors fared:
55 kg class
K. Nehru of Kanchi district won the title. However, M. Manikandan of Chennai, who finished second, came close to taking away the title from Nehru. Mani, who finished third the previous weekend at the ‘Mr. Chennai,’ presented a much-improved package. He had a fantastic V-taper, incredible back details and good abs. With a little more size and muscularity in the legs, this young man can comfortably move into the winners’ circle. C. Vinayakamurthi of Kanchi finished third.
60 kg class
K. Sriram of Kanchi was outstanding in this category. His quads and hamstrings were A-grade and the rest of his physique was nothing less either. With a little more effort, Sriram can win medals at the nationals. Rajasekar of Chennai finished second and P. Saravanan of Chennai, third.
65 kg class
The fight was between P. Krishna and I.K. Huzaifa, both representing Chennai. Krishna entered 65 kg category this contest against his usual 60 kg division. He was bigger and drier than the previous weekend. Huzaifa was holding a little water and had to finish second behind Krishna. However, Huzaifa’s quads were freakily cut and ripped. Not a bad year at all for the young man, who has made a mark as a competitor.
Yasin of Chennai placed third.

Sriram of Kanchi can win medals at the nationals.

70 kg class
P. Prashant of Chennai was beautiful in this weight category. He had the right blend of size, shape and muscularity to walk over the rest in the line-up. The fight for second place was between Maria Jijo of Kanchi and C. Vijaya Baskar of Chennai. Jijo was a little more ripped and drier which gave him an edge. Baskar, who used to compete in 55 kg class three years ago, had packed on a lot of quality muscle and entered the top-five zone. With the kind of leg training he is doing right now, I am confident that his once-weak quads will soon become a weapon.

Baskar (right), who used to compete in 55 kg class three years ago, has packed on a lot of quality muscle.

75 kg class
Shaliya and my good friend D. Saravanan, both representing Chennai, fought for the title here. The former grabbed the top spot, thanks to his muscularity and conditioning. I hope Saravanan nails it right and wins the State championship this October.
80 kg class
Balaguru of Chennai was at his freakiest and won hands-down in this weight division. His conditioning was amazing even though his body fat percentage was not the lowest. He is focused at hitting the peak for a national-level contest scheduled in September and I wish him luck.

Balaguru of Chennai was at his freakiest in the 80 kg class.

S. Sheik Hussain and my friend Ranjith Kumar finished second and third respectively. The bronze winner was an unexpected entrant and his higher-than-usual body fat level made it evident. But, Ranjth had put on a lot of muscle, especially in the legs, and is sure to present a bigger and freakier package next March.

The high point of the evening finals came when competitors over the age of 40 flexed in the Masters’ division.

85, 85-plus classes
Kandan of Chennai and M. Raghul of Chennai won the title in the two classes respectively. Kandan, who threatened to take the overall title the previous weekend, was a bit off. However, he was too good to finish anything less than first in his weight class. Raghul is a new kid on the block. I could see significant improvements in his physique and posing. Let’s wait for a couple of years to see how this young competitor blossoms.
Veterans’ show
The high point of the evening finals came when competitors over the age of 40 flexed in the Masters’ division. That these seniors are still battling the weights at the gym and looking good enough for the stage need appreciation.
Champion of Champions
The overall title once again went to Krishna.
I wish the rest of the class winners the very best of luck for winning overall title in their future contests.
- C. Lakshmi Kumar




Mr. Chennai 2012

Posted in Contests on August 16, 2012 by takeupsculpting
Krishna, who won the overall title, with special guest Ameer, organizer Mohan Kumar and IBBF high official T.K. Gurunathan

Krishna, who won the overall title, with special guest Ameer, organizer Mohan Kumar and IBBF high official T.K. Gurunathan

If passion for pumping iron needs appreciation, so does the passion for conducting contests. My good friend Mohan Kumar of Yuva Fitness should be commended for conducting competitions regularly and encouraging bodybuilders. That he tries to do something unique at every show to bring bodybuilding into the limelight is what sets him apart from the rest of my friends.

Kandan (80 kg winner) and Balaguru (Plus-80 kg winner) battling for the overall title.

Kandan (80 kg winner) and Balaguru (Plus-80 kg winner) battling for the overall title.

Mohan did it again on August 12 by conducting Mr. Chennai 2012 at Dr. Ambedkar Arangam, ICF.

The team which worked on this event took special care from choosing the right colours for the stage backdrop to providing live video coverage. Promoting the show even before it began, two TV screens on either side of the stage showed clips of the earlier shows conducted by Mohan and proved to be a good curtain raiser.

Though not at his best, Murtuza entertained the audience with his sportive posedown with Munusamy.

Though not at his best, Murtuza entertained the audience with his sportive posedown with Munusamy.

Honouring trainers

The highlight of the event came at the evening finals when Mohan did a short interview of every weight class winner right on the stage! Mohan took the audience by surprise when he made each winner call out his coach to the stage and presented them a special memento.

Special guests

The morning event was inaugurated by Congress leader Karthi P. Chidambaram. Film director Ameer was the special guest at the evening finals and presented the overall and most-muscular awards.

Lanson Toyota was the main sponsor of the event. Mr. LankaLingam, Managing Director – Lanson Toyota was present in the evening.  Other sponsors include Hotel Bheemas, Vishnu Cars,  Jai and Jai Agencies, Century Ply and Score Health and Fitness Club.

Mr. LankaLingam being honoured by Mr. Mohan and other organisers

Event management was handled by Thinkcomm, which needs special mention.

Here is a short review of some of the contestants:

Manikandan, who finished third in 55 kg class, looked wide and had excellent proportion. Had the young man displayed a more bigger and muscular set of quads, he would have been the winner.

Sporting trunk number 35, Krishna looked big and extremely muscular in the 60 kg category. The young man won the same title on a Sunday last month on this very stage and looked like he would repeat his victory this Sunday too. A wide upper body, back and muscle hardness were his strong points.

 I.K. Huzaifa was cut, dry and full.

I.K. Huzaifa was cut, dry and full.

I.K. Huzaifa was the clear winner in the 65 kg class. The young upstart, who finished second in this event last month, was at his best and ready to grab the top spot. His muscles were ripped, full and pushing from beneath the skin. He had no competition at all during prejudging. Though a few others in the same class got much better and tried to give him a fight in the evening, Huzaifa was already ahead of them.

The 75-kg class had THE most interesting line-up in the entire show. It had the sensational Munusamy (who needs no introduction to hardcore fans of bodybuilding), Murtuza (one of the best bodybuilders of the State, according to the judges) and Arun Kumar (a competitor known for his perfect proportion).

However, none of the three was in top form. Muni was at his 80 per cent best and Murtuza looked like he was 8 weeks out from being ripped to shreds. Muni’s ripped back, triceps and hardness helped him beat Murtuza and finish first. The second place finisher told me that he intends getting to his best for the State championship in October, Satish Sugars Classic in November and staying in top form till Senior Mr. India scheduled for March 2013.

Arun Kumar was beautiful and full, but not ripped and dry. He finished third.

Kandan who won the 80 kg class was massive and had excellent structure. However, he too was not at his driest.

Balaguru, the plus-80 kg class winner, was close to his best ever form. He was huge, ripped and dry. That he didn’t sweat a bit under the powerful stage lights should tell anyone how dry he would have been.

Champion of Champions

Krishna’s muscularity was outstanding.

Krishna’s muscularity was outstanding.

The fight for the overall title was awesome. Judges picked Krishna, Kandan and Balaguru for the final fight and it was Krishna who was the last man standing.Balaguru won the most muscular man title.

Many of the top finishers at this contest will go on stage once again on August 19 at an inter-district championship scheduled at Tambaram.

_ C. Lakshmi Kumar

Key to muscle growth

Posted in training on July 25, 2012 by takeupsculpting

Often trainees do not see results because they simply ‘go through’ the movements – i.e., they simply keep moving the weight from Point A to Point B.

To ensure optimum growth, trainees ought to establish a clear link between their mind and muscle, which would help them feel every single rep working hard on their target muscle. Lack of this mind-muscle link might prevent lot of trainees from seeing results.

Bodybuilding is a sport where you come up with your own ways and ideas which might eventually be accepted as training principles or techniques. However funny it might sound, if it looks like an idea would help you establish a strong mind-muscle link, you shouldn’t hesitate to regularly try it out.

One such idea I hit upon sometime back was ridiculed by some of my own friends. However, I incorporated it into my training and it did help me feel the exercises in my muscles during each rep, better than before. I had struggled for years to establish mind-muscle link and this idea help me do that.

It’s pretty simple – your spotter or training partner should put couple of his fingers exactly on the spot where a particular exercise is supposed to work.  You should concentrate on squeezing that area and getting a good pump and burn. The great feeling you are going to get after performing a set like this will tell you how well you have stimulated growth. However, it would be clumsy to try out this idea on exercises like squats and some abdominal exercises.

Try it out sensibly.

P.S: I remember reading about 1995 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic champion Mike Francois incorporating something similar to this in his training.

_ C. Lakshmi Kumar


Mr. Chennai 2012 – flash report

Posted in Contests on July 16, 2012 by takeupsculpting
Murali got ready for this show at short notice

Murali got ready for this show at short notice

Joy, surprise, fun, and, of course, a little disappointment – the ‘Mr. Chennai 2012’ held on July 15 at Ambedkar Arangam, ICF, was a mix of all that.
E. Arul of A.R. Fitness has to be congratulated for successfully conducting a city championship after a gap of two years. Arul and his brother E. Ponmudi (‘Junior Mr. India’) worked very hard for a couple of months to make this show a success and need appreciation.
Special thanks to all the sponsors and friends who helped the brothers in organising the event.
As this happens to be the first show of the second competitive season this year, not all competitors were in top form. So, I will limit myself to writing about only a few who stood out in some of the weight categories.
65kg class
Saravanan, who won this class, was a clear winner and this could be seen even while he was applying the tanning cream. His well-proportioned mass, hardness and muscle fullness were eye-catching. Though he was not at his driest, his physique was more than enough to grab the top spot.

Huzaifa was the surprise package

Huzaifa was the surprise package

However, a young upstart by the name of I.K. Huzaifa stood next to the seasoned champ and stole the show. This kid, whom I had seen as a nobody, is now serious stuff. Huzaifa’s quadriceps (thighs) were deep, big, ripped and hard, which are hallmarks of big-time competitors. As he turned backwards to hit a back double biceps shot, the audience couldn’t believe the knots of muscle they saw on the young man. His body opened up as he posed. With more muscle maturity and conditioning, this youth can rock shows.
70 kg class
The hero of the entire event was Murali of Powerzone Gym, who returned to stage after a couple of years. Though not totally ripped and dry, the handsome young man displayed a beautiful physique. His big, round arms were still the same while his deltoids (shoulders) were rounder. His quads were big and had reasonable separation for a person who had whipped himself into shape at short notice. Murali’s back was wide, thick and had mountains and valleys all over. That he has to get ripped is clear, but  he can do it in another 4 to 6 weeks.

In short, the handsome prince has returned. Let’s wait and see if he wins the bigger wars and is crowned king.
My friend Nirmal G. Krishna took second in this class. He carried decent size, was ripped and in good condition. Krish posed well and that was a neat job.
75 kg class
Sundar, who won this class, was cut above the rest. I remember seeing him win medals in contests held in May 2009 and then in 2010. In this show, Sundar was big, cut, hard and dry. His muscles were proportionately developed and his conditioning was better at the evening finals. He might soon move into the A-list of competitors.
Deepan, who finished third in this category, was the best conditioned athlete among the group. However, the young man needs to pack at least 20 kg of ripped mass on his frame proportionately to win future shows. As this happens to be his first contest, that too after a mere 3-month training-and-diet schedule, one has to wait and see what more this six-footer can do.

Murali (left) and Balaguru hit biceps at the comparison for overall

Murali (left) and Balaguru hit biceps at the comparison for overall

80 + class
Balaguru, a veteran of wars, was the winner of this class from the word ‘go.’ He was huge, hard, reasonably cut and dry, though not at his freakiest.
Champion of Champions
The fight was intense – Murali’s beautiful physique versus Saravanan’s muscle maturity versus Balaguru’s muscularity…In the end, Murali was declared winner and it was a popular decision.
Saravanan was given the most muscular award.
Tailpiece: The fun element of the evening show was the posing routine of a youngster named Kumaraguru, who finished third in the 55 kg category. The ‘little guy’ entertained the audience by imitating ‘Mr. India’ Mohammed Abdullah and the house reverberated with laughter and applause.
_ C. Lakshmi Kumar



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