New Bodybuilding Contest Schedule… And, No, Competing in “Open” Shows Does NOT Mean I Have Crossed Over To The Dark Side!


Monday, September 26th, 2005. Yup. I bumped the show date. Not only did I pick a different contest, I picked two shows in a row. Not only did I pick two shows in a row, I picked two shows that are NOT drug tested! (don’t worry, I didn’t cross over to the “dark side”, I’m still natural… I’ll explain in a minute)…. Not only did I pick two non tested shows, both shows are going to be fiercely competitive because they are national qualifiers! Wassup with that? Read on to get the scoop…

Here are my contest dates and locations:

October 15th: NPC South Jersey in Asbury Park, NJ

October 29th: NPC Gold’s Classic in Tom’s River, NJ

Why did I change show dates? Well, I’ve been mentioning in my blogs over the past couple weeks that I felt like I wasn’t quite at my peak yet. That’s why I was pushing so hard with cardio and dieting so strict with the carbs and calories cut so much lower just in the past week or two.

I’ve been rushing to hit my peak for this Saturday, when in reality, I should be at 100% at least a week out from the show. Then the final week is not about rushing to keep getting leaner, but simply for carbing up and dropping your water. Right now, I feel like I’m at about 97%.

I could easily do this weekend’s natural show the way I look today, and in fact would probably place quite well or possibly even win. Richie said to me this morning, “Yeah, you may be a few percent off, but with your genetics and your strong body parts like your legs (which not a lot of natural guys have), you might win the whole thing even if you were 90%.”

I agreed with him, but I told him I didn’t achieve that certain “look” I wanted yet, and that in 2 weeks I WILL be absolutely 100%. It’s not about where I place, it’s about being onstage knowing you’re at your absolute best – and beyond – better than you’ve ever been before! I want to display a physique I’ve NEVER displayed before. For me, there’s no joy in simply repeating past accomplishments (i.e., looking the way you looked at your last contest). I want to take it to a new level; and I am sooooo freaking close right now, but still not satisfied. So I decided to keep cranking two more weeks and hit the stage absolutely at 100% on
October 15th. Then, even if I get last place, I’ll actually be happier.

These two upcoming October shows are sanctioned by the National Physique Committee (NPC), NOT one of the smaller independent organizations. Although I’m not partial to competing only in one organization, (and I really appreciate the smaller natural organizations that do drug testing), the NPC is unquestionably the
premiere bodybuilding sanction in the United States and it attracts the highest caliber of competitors. Since these are both national qualifiers, the competition is going to be tough in the open classes especially because they are NOT drug tested events.

Of course, I’d rather compete in drug tested shows so I’m on a level playing field with everyone else, but the next NPC natural competition is Mike Katz’s show in Connecticut at the end of November (remember Mike from the movie Pumping Iron??)

As it is, I’m already looking at another 2 weeks of dieting to hit my peak, and then another 2 weeks to maintain it or even take it up a notch higher for the Oct 29th show. I think I’ll be dying and ready to EAT some PIZZA long before late November, so October 15th is much better – tested or non tested – whatever… bring it on. I’m not worried about “unfair” competition… all I have to do is come in at
100% and be completely shredded and I’ll compete with any middleweight, natural or not.

Actually, I’ve done tested and non tested shows, and I think it feels even better to be natural and place well in a highly competitive untested show than it does to be natural and win a natural show! I’ve done open non-tested shows before and placed very well. In 1996, I competed in the NPC physique 96 and placed 2nd in
the middleweights in a tough class of 11.

Yes, it DID feel good, and that four foot tall trophy is still sitting right here in front of me on the top of my desk to this day. Even though it’s a second place trophy, that one means as much to me as any 1st place trophy I ever won. I beat 9 other guys, and none of them had to take a drug test, but I knew that I had never touched a drug in my life.

I spoke to the promoters of both of these upcoming shows and I found out that according to NPC regulations, I can still compete in the novice division, because I have not won an overall NPC competition yet. My last show in 2001 was the NPC Natural Eastern Classic, and I won the middleweight division. At the time, I
thought that meant I could no longer compete as a novice, but I didn’t win the overall so according the NPC rules, I can do novice next month. I was also told that if I choose, I can compete in novice and also “cross over” into the open division as well (for a chance to win both titles)

Oh, I almost forgot. Either one of these upcoming NPC shows will qualify me for Team Universe next August 4th & 5th 2006. Team Universe is like the national championships for drug tested bodybuilding in the NPC. Competing in the Team Universe is not even like a “goal” for me. To be on that same stage where guys like Tito Raymond, Skip Lacour, Jeff Willet, Chris Faildo, Tricky Jackson And Jose Raymond have won their titles, would be more like a dream to me. All roads now lead to Team Universe 2006.

For those of you who read my blog who have emailed me privately or posted comments to say good luck on this week’s show, I thank you all, and will carry your good luck wishes with me through the next month for the two shows ahead which will be even more challenging than the natural show I had originally planned on competing in October 1st. I got my work cut out for me, huh? I’m goin for it, I’ll
keep blogging and I’ll keep you posted.

PS. I also scheduled two photo shoots to coincide with the two contests, with two of the top physique photographers here in the New Jersey/ New York metro area. The first one is in less than two weeks. I originally intended to post a lot more training pictures, but I found that it was a lot more difficult to get training photos than I thought, short of hiring a photographer to follow me around at every
workout (and it’s distracting as well). But in a couple weeks, I will finally start putting together a new photo gallery and will be posting many of the photos here on Bodybuilding Keep following the blog!

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Comments on New Bodybuilding Contest Schedule… And, No, Competing in “Open” Shows Does NOT Mean I Have Crossed Over To The Dark Side! Leave a Comment

October 1, 2005

T.A. @ 8:20 pm #

Goodluck with these 2 new competitions and training, ill be training right along with you through your blogs :)!
im dying for a pizza right now myself to 😛

October 2, 2005

T. @ 1:50 pm #

Hey Tom,
Good Luck on both of those competitions.
Could you give me an address and time of those two competitions? I live in Newark, NJ and I would love to go down there and watch my first ever bodybuilding competition espically since your going to compete as well as to support you.

Tom venuto @ 3:11 pm #

Here is the info for both bodybuilding contests:
NPC 2005 South Jersey Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships (national qualifier)
Saturday, October 15th, 2005
Paramount Theater
1100 Ocean Ave
Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712
Prejudging: 11 am
Night show: 6:30 pm
Tickets: $10 prejudge, $30 general admission night show, $40 VIP night show
Promter/Additional Contest info:
Paul Hendricks
(973) 342-0819

NPC 2005 New Jersey Gold’s Classic Bodybuilding Championships (national qualifier)
Saturday, October 29th, 2005
Tom’s River High School North
Tom’s River, New Jersey
Prejudging: 11 am
Night show: 7:00 pm
Tickets: $10 prejudge, $30 all seats night show
Promoter/Additional Contest Info:
Gold’s Gym Point Pleasant:
Mark & Karen Steinfield
(732) 899-1001

Jessica Britt @ 6:55 pm #

Good luck with your two shows! I couldn’t agree with you more: Being at your absolute best is the most important thing. Placing in a contest doesn’t quite compare with knowing you’re at your absolute best on stage and you have never once touched a drug in all your life and you never will. Make those two weeks your best and intense ever,to reach your 100% best! I’m following along in this blog. Keep up your great work 🙂

October 3, 2005

Andrew Terry @ 8:38 am #

Tom – have you ever been in a non-tested competition and had “enhanced” competitors come up to you wanting to turn away from the dark side, based on how remarkable your all-natural phyisque looks? If so, were they able to make that transition?

Tom Venuto @ 12:03 pm #

Yeah, I’ve heard every comment you can imagine from natural and non natural bodybuilders alike, ranging from “there’s no way you’re natural” to “you look good for a natural guy” (not sure so sure that’s a compliment, LOL), and to answer your question, yes, guys using gear have told me they wanted to go natural. Some of them doubted they could get any decent results being 100% natural (or they said it’s just too hard). Others figured, “If Tom can look good without drugs, then I can too.”
That’s one of the reasons I’m still seriously pursuing competitive natural bodybuilding: I saw other guys building amazing physiques naturally – the type of physiques I would like to have myself, and that’s what made me believe I could do it too.
In a certain sense, I admire what the IFBB pros have achieved, but I don’t like the look of most of them – beyond watching the shows for entertainment. The only guys whose physiques I can truly say I would want to have are guys like Lee Labrada, Francis Benfatto or Frank Zane.
Think it’s too late? no way! Look at 2 time WNBF world champion Dave Goodin, who in his 40’s has achieved incredible conditioning with good size and symmetry. Think you can’t build MASS without drugs – look at skip lacour. Think you can’t get shredded and dry without drugs – fuggetaboudit – look at lifetime natural jon harris from the UK – his conditioning is surreal!
Obvously the natural physiques will never be as big or freaky compared to what you see in FLEX magazine and on the Olympia stage, but NO ONE can tell me these natural guys don’t look fantastic (and many of them look better than people who Do use drugs. Drugs don’t necessarily make the difference. Drugs don’t make someone a champion).
When I see other people doing it naturally, I know I can do the same and that’s one of the things that makes me confident in my decision to stay natural and bolsters my belief that I can build a world class physique naturally and even compete successfully in the NPC on a local or state level. (Dave Goodin won the NPC Texas State before he became a WNBF natural pro).
For someone who has been using drugs and wants to get off them, but is concerned about the caliber of physique they can build or maintain without the extra assistance, they simply need some role models to see that it IS possible. I have dozens of photos of the best natural bodybuilders in the world, plastered all over my computer workstation, desk, and refrigerator… Tricky Jackson, chris Faildo, Tito Raymond, Skip Lacour, Dave Goodin, Jon Harris, Rob Hope, Nigel Davis, Miles Stovall and many others. These are my role models and they have set the standards for the natural community. (Take a look at NATURAL BODYBUILDING & FITNESS MAGAZINE to see pictures and read profiles of these and other natural champs).
The first obstacle you face is your own beliefs in what is possible naturally. I can’t tell you how many guys simply do not believe its possible to build a good physique without drugs, and that self limiting belief is what holds them back. You can’t even take the first step if you don’t believe it’s possible. And who knows what is ultimately possible for the natural bodybuilders. I know for certain the standards are going to rise and the natural physiques will continue to get even better and better as more genetic talent enters the pool and training and nutrition methods continue to become more refined and scientific.
Some people don’t believe you can be successful as a natural after having used drugs and knowing the difference in results between on and off cycles (it’s HARD to do it naturally!) But there are plenty of top notch natural bodybuilders today who freely admit to past drug usage, yet they are going as strong as ever 100% clean today. Look at John Hansen, Mr. Natural Olympia:
BELIEVE IT… AND ACHIEVE IT! It CAN be done… it CAN be done!

October 5, 2005

Jessica Davis @ 2:37 pm #

Good luck Tom,
I just competed in my first figure show on Oct.1 and I took third. It was amazing!! I definately have the “bug” I want to add about 5-7 lbs. of total muscle for next year in my legs, shoulders and a little more in my back. Any suggestions would be welcomed.
Once again, Knock ’em dead

October 7, 2005

Tom Venuto @ 1:38 pm #

Congrats on your first show! For info on gaining muscle for the next one, check out my Fitness Renaissance website. In the article library, there is a series called “How to gain lean body weight.”

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