On the 21st April 2013 I hit the road and made my way to the ‘Mr Southport’ bodybuilding competition, a show in which I was a contestant. This is something I had been training for, for the last few months. It was a nervy start to the day as I had been ill during the week, but my trainer assured me I was fit to go and so with huge excitement we made our way down.
We arrived at our hotel and met up with my Mum and Auntie who had come along to be my cheering section. Then the waiting began. It felt like the day was lasting a lifetime and I kept saying “I can’t wait to get on stage”, but my trainer kept me focussed and we went through some preparation work together.
A huge part of bodybuilding is getting your diet exactly right and knowing what to eat at which times. So to maximise my physique prior to the show I ate some rice-cakes and some dark chocolate, which gives energy and also helps to give vein definition on your muscles.
Suddenly I was told “there’s only half an hour now”! At the venue I found I wasn’t nervous, I was confident and ready. I had to take off my shirt and apply some roll on fake tan which made me look the part. Everyone said “you look great” and I felt great. I told them “this is my day; I’m going to get up there and really do it”.
Soon enough my music started and I took centre stage. I did my first pose, my muscles flexed and then BOOM! I locked in my pose, the definition was there and the whole crowd erupted. They were screaming and shouting for me and the roof nearly came off!
I had to do all the major muscle poses; biceps, lats, triceps, back and calves. I was alive with energy and it felt brilliant. My trainer said it was the best he had seen me. You know there’s definition and there’s DEFINITION, there’s lean and there’s LEAN. Well I was at my peak. Everybody was stamping their feet and clapping along – this just made me go for it even more! I had so much energy.
I left the stage feeling elated and then took some time to wind down before finding myself on stage again a while later for the results. When stood next to the other contenders I was all of a sudden unsure. “This is it” I thought “I don’t think I’ve done it”. Then they started reading out the top 6 names: Michael – 6th place, David – 5th place, Jordan – 4th place. At that point I was gutted, “I’ve come all this way and I’ve not placed…I may as well leave the stage”.
The announcer said he would announce the top 3. I looked up at my mum in the crowd and thought “that’s it mum I’m done…I’m finished”.
Then I heard them say “Simon” and I was taken aback. I said “what?...Is this a dream?” They said “Simon, 3rd place”. I could see my mum going crazy in the crowd; she couldn’t believe it, neither could I. Last year I came 5th and now here I am taking 3rd place and a huge trophy. So who knows, next time it might be 1st place I’m walking away with.
For an Asperger’s and Glaucoma sufferer to come to a major show, compete in the main event and come away with this kind of accolade is a huge victory. I’ve proved if you really want something, it doesn’t matter who you are or if you have a disability, you can do it.
I have two more competitions in the next couple of months and I’m going to take the lessons I’ve learned about confidence, positivity and stage presence with me. I know that in bodybuilding, as with anything else in life you can’t do half a job. You have to be focussed and give it everything every day, otherwise what’s the point? I train hard, I focus hard and I listen to my trainer. These three things have got me to where I am today and will take me even further in the future.