2007 a Year in Review
After taking a two year layoff from not even stepping a foot into a gym. One year ago at this time I made a decision to slowly ease myself back into the gym and eating 3 to 4 meals per day up from my one or maybe two meals per day. Taking baby steps in the begininng 15 to 30 minutes of weight training three times per week sounded hard for me at that time.
As some of you may know after taking a week or two off, that time can make a difference. Imagine taking a year or two off. The first 2 days I was unbelievbly sore. Even my nose hurt to an extent. I was just about to quit. I gave myself another week in the gym. Low and behold with proper nutrition my body took to the weight training and food really well. Thus I had caught the bug again and I was BACK!!!
After a month of training my body quickly progressed. When I first started I weighed in at 160 to 165 pounds. At the end of December I now weighed 175 pounds. Some people asked if I was using anything as in steroids? I would always laugh and take that as a compliment and replied with a smirk No. I tell people all the time I have been blessed with very good genetics and I don’t want to destroy myself by using anything my body dosnt already produce on it’s own.
Did I have doubters? Of course!!! It’s funny, people would always ask me how can I get big or lose weight or get stronger, what exercises should I do? The first thing that comes out of my mouth is " How is your diet" meaning are you getting proper nutrittion? They would always tell me it’s good I eat 2 to 3 times per day. Cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and a big dinner. This is how most of us are brought up to eat 3 times per day including myself. Educating yourself on proper nutrition should be a must before you start any exercise program. Without proper nutrition, you can do more harm than good.
So at the end of December I decided to enter the Max Muscle Naturals (NPC) in Anaheim, CA in March of 2007. The owner of the gym where I was training at the time advised me to compete in the Gold’s Gym Classic (Mr. San Diego) in San Diego a week prior to the Max Muscle Naturals and if I represented his gym he would sponsor me. So I took the opportunity and ran with it. Careful planning and monitoring of myself I was getting in shape pretty quick.
With the help of Lana the egg white lady (Lana’s egg whites) and no I am not sponsored by her, she cut me a break on the buckets of egg whites I was ordering. Also local meat market here in Chula Vista got to know me from seeing me every week, the butchers started cutting me a break and lowering the price for me, for lean beef and chicken breasts. I couldnt tell you how much my body improved in just a short time.
Going into the Gold’s Gym Classic, I was really nervous this being my first show in just about 10 years I didnt know what to expect. I have always competed in the Natural Organization ABA/INBA/PNBA, but thought I would take a stab at the NPC, hoping to place within the Top 5. As it became closer to prejudging my stomach started turning a little more.
As some of you may not know I have played sports my entire life and my mother was always at every event from little leafue, high school, college, pro and even my bodybuilding shows. She has always big my biggest fan. Before I start any event I always look for my mother in the stands or audience to give me that ok nod, things will be ok and she is proud either way. Well this time she would not be there.
This would be my first event or competiton without my mother since she passed away a year prior. So it was very hard for. Finally it was show time my really good friend and training partner stayed with me the whole time (Mark Madison) and helped me prepare backstage. Right before we walked out I said a prayer to my mother and she must have been listening cause all my fears and nervousness went out the door.
During all the mandatories and turns my confidence grew. Still not sure where my placing was going to be, all I know I was in the top 5. The Finals where here and my stomach started to turn, even more seeing people I knew from everywhere, the gyms that I train at, friends and family etc. Thinking to myself could I really go out there in front of all these people? After alot of walking around pumping up 3 or 4 times ( i was nervous I don’t recommend that) they finally called the light heavy weights to line up.
One more prayer mom I said to myself so far we did it Top 5 let’s see if we can do better. As they announced the winner’s 5th place, 4th, 3rd, oh man my stomach was in knots on stage, thinking to myself could I actually win? they announced the 2nd place winner and the winner of the light heavy weight division is Kiyoshi Moody. My heart stopped and tears just came rolling down. Could not believe the outcome.
As we stepped of stage I was in awe. They told me not to go anywhere I still have the overall. Ok like I have a chance at that i said to myself, No way. Well as we started to come back onstage “mom here we go again one more time” the fears went away and my confidence grew with each turn, each pose I felt like I couldnt let my mom down. The verdict was in as we stood there The winner of the Gold’s Gym Classic 2007 is" Kiyoshi Moody".
Thank you so much MOM for being there for me. Was the only thing going through my head. We did it. I thought to myself my mother was with me the whole time and she will always be there in spirit!!!
A week later I repeated my win at the Max Muscle Naturals as the Class and Overall winner and the week after that I won the overall at the ABA/INBA/PNBA Iron Gladiator in Corona. For awhile I thought I was done competing when a friend came up to me and said would you want to compete in Mexico? I laughed and said Nah I’m ok. I am done for awhile. He kept calling me, asking me to compete.
Finally I said Ok. The same week I talked with Lonnie Teper about the Jr.Cal and we decided it would be good for me to compete in his show right before the Team Universe as it would help get me more publicity as his shows always do and he would set me up with a photo shoot with Mike Neaveux of Ironman Magazine the day before the Jr.Cal Show on friday morning.I was using the Jr.Cal as a prep for the Team Universe to help me work on some things.
There were things I needed to work on in a short amount of time. So as the competitons grew closer, two weeks prior to the Mexico show and the Jr.Cal I was doing pull-ups and landed wrong and heard a pop in my lower back, didnt think nothing of it, I started to go home when the pain became unbearable. The next morning I went to the doctor.
I had sprained my lower back and he said I would have to stay off my feet as much as possible. We began therapy right away. I called Lonnie Teper and said I might not be able to compete in the Jr.Cal because of my injury. But I would still try. With not even stepping a foot in the gym for 2 weeks nothing but therapy and sticking to my diet I was about 75% ready and willing to give it a shot to compete as I promised in both shows in Mexico and the Jr.Cal.
The Mexico show was on thursday night and the Jr.Cal was on Saturday and with a photo shoot friday morning. My back was still tight but I sucked it up and competed in both shows. Mexico I won the Overall and Jr.Cal I won the class and the overall in which Jay Cutler presented the Overall Trophy. I had the momentum going into the Team Universe my first National Competiton.
With one month to go til the Team Universe I had some work to do, coming off the back injury just about fully recovered I had to get back in the gym and train my butt off 3 times per day early morning, afternoon, late night and sometime I woke up in the middle of the night to do cardio. I had to do whatever it took to be a 100% for the Team Universe.
Not knowing the history and prestige of this show I was going in blind. All I knew was some of the best natural bodybuilders were going to be there Chris Faildo, Miguel Niel, Andre Ewing, Tim Martin, Dave Goodin and the list goes on. I had to be prepared.
With alot of obstacles ahead of me on getting to the show I had to overcome them, a week prior my sponsor that was suppose to pay for my trip and hotel for the show backed out. So I had to run around and find a way to get there. With the help of my girlfriend Karla Espinoza (soon to be figure competitor), we found a way to come up with the money to get there to NYC. The only thing is we could’nt find a hotel that wasnt booked to capacity around the venue, so we stayed uptown as the new yorkers would say, up on 101st close to Harlem.
Now you say Harlem oh man bad area. I can honestly tell you the people on that side of the town were amongst the most friendliest people we met the whole time. From the Deli downstairs to the Diner on the corner where they made all my meals special for me, Metro Diner so if your ever around that area look them up. They pointed us in the right direction whenever we were lost except the time we were looking for the gym. T
he night we arrived in NYC we walked through Central Park for about 3 to 4 hours, yes we were lost at 8 to 9pm trying to get to the eastside of town. Lost in Central Park. I think I lost about 5 pounds or so of water that night. We arrived at the gym but they had just closed. So we turned around and headed back. This time taking the taxi. Come to find out it was only a 15 minute walk from the hotel to the gym.
With myself having to make weight I was still 202lbs, so I thought. So i started to drop my water a little early. It was Tuesday and the weigh-in’s were on Thursday. I had 2 days. So for the next 2 days I was in the sauna for 20 minutes a day and drinking about 16oz of water a day. The weight would not come off, still 202lbs. I was getting concerned, here I was the day of the weigh-ins and my weight is still 202lbs.
As I stepped on the scale it read 193lbs, WHAT!!! I can say I was relieved but I had dropped to much weight. The same day I went back to the gym just to get some blood flowing through my muscles as I started the carb process so I stepped on the scale and it read 202lbs, a trainer came over to me and said " that scale is broke" You have to be kidding me I just about killed myself dropping water and not eating just to make weight and the scale is broke.
Well, the rest of the day and night up til prejudging I just about ate every hour or so nothing but carbs and a little water to fill out. Finally the prejudging was here, I was backstage and oh man. The first thing I thought was Damn these boy’s are BIG!!! But I still had to handle my buisness and could not be intimadated.
At the sametime I had the pleasure of meeting alot of the competitors I would read about in the magazines and see on different videos, Chris Faildo, AJ Jarrell, Jeff Rodriguez, Tim Martin, Dave Goodin etc… My goal coming into the Team Universe was to place in the Top Five especially since this was my first national level show. As we finally stepped out on stage everyting was a blur.
Honestly to this day I can’t remember if there were even call out’s, but I am pretty sure there was a least a couple call out’s. As the prejugding ended I had a pretty good idea I was somewhere between 1st to 3rd from what I was told. But in this sport you never know. Still I had to stay sharp and hold it together for the Finals the next day.
So I still kept my water low drinking only when I needed too and carbed up as much as possible for the entire night and into the next day. Finally the Finals were here and all I could think about is doing my best onstage, I have come along way in a short amount of time. The only low light of the whole night was the majority of the people left after the Figure competitors were done.
The beginning of the night the venue was packed and by the time the men stepped onstage there were less than half of the people still there. The notables that were there were Dexter Jackson, Dave Palumbo, Kai Greene, Stan McCrary and the list goes on. Here we go the announcement of the Light Heavy Weight Division. 5th, 4th, 3rd was Odis Mccullough, I thought to myself ok, I got second. 2nd - Miguel Niell and the winner of the LightHeavy Weight Division is Kiyoshi Moody.
I was at a loss for words. As I congratulated everyone in that division I was trying to catch my breath.This has just made my whole year!!! As we stepped offstage I was told get ready for the Overall, Wow!!! Again!!! Still not knowing what was going on. Here we go again as all the overall winners stepped onstage I was in AWE. As we started with each turn I noticed in the corner of my eye.
The welterweight Chris Faildo had numerous fans out in the audience and with each manadatory pose we went through I caught myself looking at him instead of worrying about what I needed to do. The presence and the energy that he brought to the stage was unbelievable. As they announced the Team Universe 2007 overall winner, I thought to myself whatever the outcome is this has been a remarkable ride thus far. The winner Chris Faildo.
As we stepped offstage we were escorted to the back for a drug test and once that was over someone told me get ready for Korea and the World Championships. “The what, I said to myself”. Whats that. I was told the winner’s of the class get to go represent the USA in the IFBB Amateur World Championships in Korea all expenses paid for the trip.
I was in AWE again. Damn could this get any better. I don’t want to come down off this cloud for awhile, was I all I thought. What a week in New York City!!! am I coming back for the Team Universe next year? Of course, bigger and better. With the help of my new sponsor Dave Palumbo and Species Nutrition.
With one more show to go The IFBB Amateur World Championships in Korea. From what I have heard the US team has’nt faired to well in international competition. In speaking with Chris Faildo he told me I better be prepared for war, cause these guys really bring it. I can tell you this time around it was really hard preparing for this show.
This was going to be my 8th show this year and my body was really tired and not responding the way I had wanted it too. With a month left to go I received a call from Sandy Ranalli congratualting me and wishing me good luck at the World’s. Training was starting to come around and the diet was getting better. As the whole team met at LAX for our 12 to 14 hour flight over to Korea we got know each other a little better, Shiloe Steinmetz, Kelli Pettiford, Paul Coats and the US representative Ken Taylor. The only one that wasnt with us was Chris Faildo, cause he was already half way there in Hawaii so it wouldnt make sense to fly out of LAX.
I can tell you now this wasn’t all what I expected. Going into the World Championships my expectations were very high as well am sure my teammates, until we got there and saw what we were up against. Now when I say we the US team are natural. Trust me we are. Unless 90% f the countries came up with some scientifically engineered protein or something that shuttles the amount of carbs directly into the muscle we don’t know about yet naturally.
I don’t think so people. I can tell we saw our fair share of growth guts . I personally talked to two athletes that were on GH and insulin. They told me it can’t be tested so they won 't get caught. I thought for a moment this was suppose to be a drug tested show, a natural to say. Yeah right!! When you have athletes eating loaves of bread 12 potato’s , bacon and other crap in one sitting right before your eyes and putting it down within minutes, I don’t know about you but it would make very bloated for days.
Not these guys!! It made them harder. I guess you have to see it to believe it. I guess now I believe that an organization will have there fair share of drug users whether 1 or 30 they will be there. My placing wasn’t what I had expected. In other words I didnt make the cut of 15. I have no one to blame but myself. I will be back into the gym to train harder.
This experience has taught me a lot. On handling adversity and disappointment. I have a new mentor. His name is Chris Faildo. This man is a true champion. Watching him conduct himself was very inspiring. Going into the night show we were all certain he was in the top 6 for the finals, but when we all got to the arena his name was not on the list. Were there tears shed? Of course , not just for him but I guess we shed tears in our own way for not even placing in the top 6.
After a few moments I watched something that I will never forget to this day. Chris wiped the tears lifted his head up and went around and shook all of his competitors hands to wish them luck with a smile on his face. Now that’s a true champion!! After we got back to the hotel and changed and ate, we were all down in the lobby and the competitors were just coming back from the competition with there trophies in hands and even then Chris congratulated and shook there hands with a smile on his face.
That was very inspiring. He could have easily turned the other cheek and blew them off. True Champion. Also to his family and friends I say thank you for a wonderful time in Korea. The people that he surrounds himself with are a true blessing. If you are ever in Hawaii. Look him up at gold’s gym in Oahu. I know I am, I am heading there in March and April!!! Thank you for everyone’s encouraging words and a special thank you to Chris Faildo and Big E for the talk.
As I sit here and think of what I have been through within the last 2 years I am very fortunate and thankful to the people that have helped me through everything. They are a true blessing in disguise. In 1998 my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. That hit me very hard. I thought my mother was indestructible. She battled through, removing her right lung completly. No chemo nothing!!! No cancer they got it all. In 2005 my mother became ill with pneumonia and placed on a ventilator.
After a month went by with no progress and her health starting to deteriorate. I did not want my mother to suffer and something I thought I could never do I did. I removed my mother from the ventilator. I still live with that last moment in her life everyday, but I know my mother would not have wanted to suffer!!!
Her death hit me really hard. I attempted suicide twice. I came to realize I was being selfish and I knew my mother would be very disappointed in me, especially since I have 3 year old, beautiful little girl.
So I took my mother’s ashes back to Japan as she wished, and I spent a couple of months there, contemplating what to do with my life. When I returned from Japan I started training after a 2 year layoff. As thus it brings me to where I am today!!!
As most people may not know my mother was a practicing buddhist and I too grew up practicing the same religion. My mother’s words to me before she passed which I will never forget was " To accept is easy; to continue is difficult. But buddahood lies in continuing faith.
Those who uphold this sutra should be prepared to meet difficulties, and Winter never fails to turn into Spring". I geuss this is true in any religion or faith, you will always have obstacles but you must meet them head on and not run away.
My approach for the 2008 season has begun where I will end up, time will only tell. Maybe the USA’s, Team Universe or Nationals. I can tell you onething I will be bigger and better for 2008.