Muscle Muster, 1st Friday Bangud, 2nd Sabeh Chahla, 3rd Benjamin Shayler. Teen U/19
Muscle Muster, 1st Friday Bangud, 2nd Sabeh Chahla, 3rd Benjamin Shayler. Teen U/19 LEEROY TODD

Gympie guns too hot to handle

I MUST admit I did not know what to expect when I was tasked to cover my first body building competition.

While I am somewhat familiar with the gym, I am by no means a fitness fanatic, exercising out of necessity, rather than motivation.

I am ashamed to admit that I sometimes viewed fitness athletes with a small amount of contempt, probably more out of jealousy than anything else.

Arriving at the Gympie Muscle Muster on Saturday I had every intention of staying long enough to get the information I needed and get out of there as soon as I could.

But what happened when I entered the darkened auditorium at James Nash High School took me by surprise.

While the stage was full of muscled blokes sporting copious amounts of fake tan, there was so much sweat and testosterone you could cut it with a knife, there was also a vibe that I could not put my finger on straight away.

These athletes, while outwardly Adonis like, conveyed an inner strength I had have never associated with the sport.

These guys were tough and not just physically.

Speaking with a handful of them before they went on stage, I managed to get a small snippet of what their daily life is like.

From preparing and weighing every gram of food they consume, to calculating the the exact amount of water needed before they went on stage, boggled my mind.

When it came to posing it was amazing the effort and diligence with technique that was needed to execute the perfect flex.

If a foot was placed in an incorrect position, the biceps may not look as good as they potentially could.

This was a sport in the very sense of the word, and the guys on stage while technically amateurs, were as professional in preparation and devotion than any paid professional sports person I have come across.

Ethan Shaw, a St Patrick's college student in his first formal competition, told me body building is not something you can just do half-heartedly.

Shaw, who juggles his time between full-time studies, part-time work and training, said the comfort with being on stage in nothing but your underwear came with time.

He was introduced to the sport by a friend and claims it is something he wants to pursue.

When I asked him if he thought the sport was addictive, he replied "only when you see the results.”

Event organiser Mac Hosking, who is an accomplished body builder in his own right, said before Saturday's event he was hoping to grow the sport locally.

If this year's muster indicated anything, it showed locals are seeking alternatives to the traditional summer and winter mainstay sporting options and embracing the fitness sport culture.