Fitness

Sculpting muscles and dreams

MUSCLE POWER: Participants at the Mr.Madurai contest. Photo: Special Arrangement  

“Though I worked out hard and followed the master’s instruction to the T, I never thought I would make it,” gushes S. Vetrivelu from Cosmo Fitness Gym, who won the overall championship at the recently held 32nd Mr.Madurai contest organised by Madurai District Amateur Body Building Association. “Now, I feel like a hero. My future plan is to pursue the passion of body building and take it to more youths.”

The contest saw enthusiastic participation of 100 body builders aged 16 to 60, from 50 gyms across the district under eight different weight categories. Year after year, young and middle-aged men sweat it out on the treadmills, spend hours before the mirror at the gym straining to lift weights and sculpting their body muscle by muscle. All this to get ready for the Mr.Madurai contest. It’s not just their bodies that get sculpted at the gym but also their dreams. And as a milestone in their journey, they get to show off their prideful muscles at the contest.

“The months before the contest is the most crucial time when you really need to buck up on your fitness regimes. We spend more than half a day at the gym during these months. We take protein supplements apart from taking in kilograms of chicken and eggs, depending on our body weight,” says P. Karthik, who was judged the best in the 65-70kg category. “I ate nearly 30 eggs and three kilos of chicken every day to meet protein requirements.”

“It has been more than three decades since we started an exclusive competition for body builders from Madurai. Earlier, the sport was dominated by Chennai based body builders. But now equal opportunities for men in the southern towns is ensured,” says K.Sivakumar, Secretary of the association, who has won accolades in state and national level championships. “The judging is done on various criteria, such as overall proportion, the muscle depth and shape. Once into a contest, body building becomes an irresistible passion.”

To go gymming is one thing but to participate in a body building contest is quite another. It requires immense self discipline, restraint in food and lots of hard work. “I underwent a rigorous six months pre-contest training, stayed off rice, stocked on proteins and worked out twice the time,” says Vetrivelu, who will be taking part in Mr. Tamil Nadu contest to be held at Marthandam this month end and later in the National contest. “I walked up and down the Sellur bridge and trekked the Azhagar hills to strengthen the cardio.” But masking all the hard work is the glitz that one gets to see on stage in the form of rippling muscles glistening in arc light. “It’s quite a sight to see body builders flexing their muscles and exhibiting themselves like sculptures. That’s the moment we feel on top of the world,” says G. Chandru of the 60-65kg category. “The sheen is brought about by applying olive oil and we also use tan cream to give our bodies varying shades of brown that makes the look more attractive.”

“Though there are many youngsters who pursue the sport, I am happy that I give them tough competition. It’s a challenge that I accepted and it gave me confidence,” says 41-year-old K. Balamuruganantham, working as ticket examiner at the Madurai Railway Station, who won the master category championship. “I am basically a weight-lifter. I reduced 15 kilos within a short time. I exhausted all my leave just for this and it couldn’t have happened without the support of my family.”

“Contests like these help both the participant and the parents to understand the advantages of body building. Apart from being a confidence-booster and fitness regime, body building also helps young men to get into government jobs,” says Sivakumar, who works at the Integral Coach Factory, Indian Railways. The winners of the contest were given a treadmill, cash prize of Rs.10,000 and shields.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 2:23:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fitness/Sculpting-muscles-and-dreams/article16071173.ece

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