A SQUAT, bicep and chest exercise inside a tiny backyard gym at a friend’s house in Arcadia was all it took for Gerald Woodend to build enormous muscles that brought him the Mr Novice glory in Harare last month.
By FREEMAN MAKOPA
Of course, discipline, hard work and consistency were part of the equation for the 18-year-old body-builder in setting a foundation for success in the sport.
Woodend’s life changed five years ago when he first saw an Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary. Right away, he coveted the actor, producer, businessman, investor, author, philanthropist, activist, politician and former professional bodybuilder’s body.
At 20, Schwarzenegger won the Mr Universe title and boasts of seven Mr Olympia accolades acquired during his bodybuilding career.
“I have always been someone who loved fitness from a young age, but I got to love bodybuilding when I watched Pumping Iron, a documentary based on the golden era of bodybuilding, the time of bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger and others like Franco Columbo. Watching Arnold Schwarzenegger got me hyped, motivated, inspired and driven all at once to witness what you can do with your body,” the former Prince Edward School student told The Sports Hub in an exclusive interview.
“So Arnold Schwarzenegger has been my inspiration from the beginning. I believe bodybuilding would not be what it is today without people like him. He moved from his country of birth (Austria) to go to America and later become a body-building hero and legend,” he added.
Woodend started training and amazingly transformed his body into a beautiful piece of art that looks like it has been sculpted by hammer and chisel.
In fact, the teenage bodybuilder believes bodybuilding is an art.
“Having a tight T-shirt, big arms and abs don’t make you a bodybuilder. This art requires one to carefully and intelligently sculpt and construct a balanced and proportioned physique, which is pleasing to the eye. This requires you to be honest, self-critical, analyse your strengths and weaknesses — then use your diet as your tools to make changes,” he said.
Bodybuilding wasn’t exactly on the list of pathways presented by his family, but for the young gym junkie it was always the only option.
“If someone was talking about a car engine, I would switch off, but if someone was talking about nutrition or training, my ears would perk up and I’d be really involved. I absolutely loved it.
“So it was advised against me. But then, I think if you listen to people and don’t do what you love, then you end up living someone else’s life and being unhappy.”
Focus in this art form is of paramount importance for the avid reader who revealed that his parents instilled discipline and strong values in him from an early age.
The fitness fanatic also follows a strict exercise and diet plan.
“I adopted a schedule, which involves 5-6 weight training sessions per week. Sessions would be roughly 45 minutes to an hour of intense but controlled weight training,” Woodend said.
In terms of his diet, Woodend eats six to eight meals throughout the day, every three hours. His supplements of choice are protein shake, creatine and a pre-work out. Carbohydrates and calories are for strength and muscle recovery.
“My meals vary between six to eight meals a day, drinking eight litres of water a day. The closer I got to competition (Mr Novice) I was eating smaller meals and drinking 750 millilitres of water before 10am then no fluids until the next day.
“There’s no magic portion in bodybuilding. It takes years and anyone who thinks that you can get it through taking a performance enhancer is kidding themselves.”
Woodend honed his muscles by cutting out sugars, salt and oil from his diet using oat meal, chicken breast, egg whites, fish, broccoli and plain white rice.
His reward: the Mr Novice gong after he won the junior men class before reigning supreme in the overall category at the Zimbabwe College of Music on April 1.
Woodend had used a makeshift gym all his life until he joined Empire gym mid-January 2018.
Currently he is focusing on nothing else except bodybuilding and he hopes to become a professional and leave a mark on bodybuilding Zimbabwe as did Schwarzenegger on international bodybuilding.