More than just heavy metal

In a little over a week six members of The Manchester Gym will be competing in the NPC Vermont Bodybuilding, Fitness, Bikini & Physique Championships at South Burlington High School.

On Saturday, April 27, area residents Dan Colegrove, Dana Dussault, Adam Ihasz, Carrie Mathews, Lia Taylor and Olivia Warren will be competing in the show - which is a National qualifier - marking an unprecedented number of competitors from The Manchester Gym. The number of competitors from The Manchester Gym marks a significant increase as only about two or three people have competed in the same show at once in the past. "I think it's actually one of the bigger ones at the show," said Ihasz. "Usually the gyms have two competitors from each gym. So, this is a pretty big representation from this small little gym in this town."

There are seven different classes in the competition. The men compete in Bodybuilding and Physique and the women can compete in Bikini, Bodybuilding, Figure, Fitness and Physique.

Preparation for the show begins about three to four months ahead of time and Colegrove said the two main changes are the amount of food they eat and an increase in cardiovascular exercise.

Although it may vary from person to person, Colegrove and Taylor - who are both coaches - said that the change in diet usually begins 12 to 16 weeks before the competition.

Typically, carbohydrates and fats are taken in small amounts when the dieting begins and then they monitor how their body adjusts on a weekly basis. "It takes some time to learn how your body is going to react to it; different foods, different amounts of cardio," said Colegrove.

Since the diet is a lifestyle, their diet - which they described as "super clean eating" and is also high in protein - does not change much once they begin preparing for a show. One difference is that measuring the portions of food becomes more important whereas in they offseason they can "eyeball" the portions.

"The only other thing in the offseason is if you feel like having something you can have it," said Colegrove. "During a prep you have to wait for a cheat meal we call it, which is usually once a week."

As a result of the diet, Ihasz said it is sometimes difficult to continue the same level of intensity in their workouts because they are consuming fewer calories.

During the offseason, less cardio work is required as well.

"Dan and I don't do near [what we're doing now,]" said Ihasz. "Right now we're doing six days a week."

Practicing poses is another important aspect leading up to the show as stage presence and confidence are an important part of the competition. However, having a tan is important in competition too.

"If you're not dark enough that can hurt you," said Colegrove. "Those lights are so bright. You could actually look really good and if you're not dark you don't look that great on stage compared to somebody else that's super dark. Even something like that can have an effect on your placing." The interest in competing came about in a variety of ways for the group. Warren - who will be competing in her first show a week from Saturday - said she began lifting about a year ago and was inspired by her mother and Taylor.

"My mom kind of got me into it because she kind of started working out more," Warren said "Then she did the competition and at first I thought it was crazy, but then I actually went to it and thought it was really cool."

Taylor began working out and training about eight years ago, but it wasn't until 2007 that she decided to enter her first competition.

"I had always seen pictures of competitiors in magazines and once I started to work out and really get serious with it was kind of always in the back of my mind," she said. "I went to watch my first show that somebody was competing in and I just decided to take the plunge and go for it. Then once I did my first show I placed first I kind of just was hooked from there and just kept going."

Colegrove's interest in bodybuilding began when he was in high school as a "supplement to playing sports." When he was in college, he began learning more about training methodologies and nutrition, but he said it wasn't until he watched his first show that he became interested in competing and in 2009 he entered his first show.

Dussault competed in her first show last year, placing fourth in Masters, Novice and Open classes. In an interview on Tuesday, Dussault gave the indication that she hadn't thought about competing.

"Honestly somebody asked me to do a show and that's why I started" said Dussault.

Like Colegrove, Ihasz said that he first became interested in the sport when he was in high school and trained to play football. However, he did not enter his first competition until last year at age 41. In his first competition Ihasz won his masters class for light heavyweight and placed third in open light heavyweight and fourth in novice heavyweight.

As for Mathews she began competing for the first time in 2010 and has not looked back.

"I like having goals," she said. "I was just in the business of working out and doing things on my own and I found that once I had something to strive for I just set my mind to it. I really enjoyed my first show and I stuck with it."

The prejudging will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at South Burlington High School and the Championships will take place from 6 to 9 p.m., according to npcvermontchampionships

Follow on Twitter @BrandonCanevari.


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