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Gary Chappell's First Blog Post!

Ab Salute Gym is proud to announce its new columnist, journalist and amateur competitive bodybuilder Gary Chappell. He is currently training in our Lakeside gym and will be writing a series of monthly columns every last Thursday of the month, including interviews with members.⠀

Gary can be followed on Instagram @fleetstreetphysique and if you have a story about your journey you would like to share, please get in touch with him on Instagram or email to be featured on this new blog!

Finally, before Gary takes over, we would personally like to say good luck for your competition on Sunday!

Please see below.. Gary's first blog!

FAR from feeling masculine, I shivered with cold standing naked in a room full of men. And get this, I was eagerly craning my neck to check these guys out. "Don't look at their manhood, don't look at their manhood', I pleaded with myself as I stood there, starkers but for a sock covering my modesty. I was getting spray tanned for my first bodybuilding competition. Oh the glamour.

"He's bigger than me, much bigger", I thought. [No, not down there]. I'd overheard this particular guy telling another competitor he was doing the Masters Over 40s - the same class as me. Naturally, I wanted to see who I was up against. I soon wished I hadn't.

From that moment on, I'd lost. Well, in my head at least. I spent the entire evening the night before the show rubbishing my chances, completely deflated. What on earth have I done? Backstage on show day and my fears intensified. Two other competitors in the four-strong class were pumping up. I had myself fourth of four. Under the stage lights, however, all the nerves disappeared. I was a different person; focused, relaxed, at ease. Everything flowed. 

Time came for the placings. The guy who was 'bigger than me' was last. They called third. Still not me. Second place, I thought. Second place was called. Not me. I'd won my first competition and the biggest battle of all - against my mental negativity and total lack of self-belief.

With bodybuilding, it's not how 'big' you are. Never underestimate the illusion being in extreme condition makes; I look bigger at 180lbs than I did at 220lbs. Since that day on March 31, 2019 at the PCA First Timers, I've won the IBFA Mr Liverpool Over 40, placed third at the IBFA West Midlands Athletic Tall and placed sixth in the IBFA British Finals, gaining an invite to the World Finals in Rome on November 3.

This is where Ab Salute comes in. My preparation has been taken up a level since training there. The equipment is second to none. And there are some strong people in there too. 

What I do is different - almost show-pony nonsense! I can't lift half of what I've seen people in Lakeside lift. I train differently; not to move the weight from A to B, but to work the muscle. 

The point is, I guess, we are all different, with our own goals - but Ab Salute offers the perfect environment for all of us to succeed.

Whatever happens at the World Finals this Sunday - the top six place, the rest forgotten - it will simply be a huge achievement just to be there. I'm representing IBFA Team GB. A few months ago, I'd never stepped on stage. A few months ago, I had no self-confidence. It will be the celebration of a year's work; time that has taken its toll on those around me; the strict discipline, the sacrifice, month after month after month. Make no mistake, dieting to get stage lean is a tough and often gruesome road, mentally and physically. I'm still a beginner though and will take 18 months off to build 12lbs of muscle [hopefully!] after Sunday's show. Ab Salute will help.

Wish me luck.


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