I am honored and humbled to say that I returned from Chicago, IL as a IPE Windy City Champion in Pro Men’s Physique. This might end up rather long, but I have received so many kind words throughout this contest preparation and even more so since winning yesterday I want to take the time to give you all a behind the scenes look at everything that went down and how I felt the last 48hrs. More than anything I want to say THANK YOU for your encouraging works, to my family, friends, the IPE and staff, fellow competitors, my coach John Gorman (Team Gorman), and my sponsors Kaged Muscle, Swole O’Clock, and Elite Training Tulsa.
I always prepare for my competition trips days in advance printing off information, packing, preparing food to avoid as many problems as possible. But even with the most planning unexpected things always happen. When competing it’s very important stay calm and not get stressed out because it can actually affect your physical appearance on stage. So all my planning didn’t prepare me for the surprise storms we had in Tulsa this last Friday when I was to fly to Chicago to compete. So I was more than a little concerned by flight would get delayed or even cancelled. Luckily I made it to Chicago in a easy 2hr direct flight. The real problem that I never really considered went down once I arrived…
I landed in Chicago around 2:20pm and thought I had plenty of time to get to the host hotel for my scheduled polygraph at 4:40pm. I did not even consider Chicago traffic being so bad that it would take 2hrs to go 30 miles, but it did. Again, I took deep breaths and remained as calm as possible. I eventually made it to hotel just in time for my polygraph test. I only compete at 100% drug free events and they have several layers of testing. Drug free means no steroids, growth hormones, testosterone boosters, insulin, prescription diuretic, and much more. Wittig is about health first and I only take natural Kaged Muscle Supplements. You all know this! Lol.
Once I got the hotel I was busy for the next few hours doing my polygraph, checking-in for the event, and my spray tan which is always an experience. They basically paint me dark brown in my underwear like you would a car. Once I finally got back to my room I was able to really unpack and unwind. Again, being a planning I started laying stuff out and pre-packing for the morning competition and going through some light posing. I purposely didn’t even turn on the TV while I was there. It was important for me to clear my mind and focus on the task at hand and not Sponge Bob. When it was time to sleep I had to lay on the comforter fully clothed and on top of towels so I didn’t ruin their sheets with my fresh ‘paint job’. But of course I couldn’t sleep…
I was seriously TOO excited to sleep. I might have slept 2-3 hours before It was time to get up at 4:30am for Meal 1. Then I maybe rested another hour before my 6:30am Meal 2 and at that point I was up for good. Because of my experience with Chicago traffic the day before I wanted to leave and get to the venue early. The Windy City Natural took place at the historic Athenaeum Theater which was extremely nice. Then between arrival and showtime is one of my favorite parts of competing with the International Pro Elite.
The atmosphere backstage of all IPE events I’ve participated in are always so friendly. Seeing old friends and meeting new people from all over the world is what makes these events special and memorable. I always love taking photos backstage to remember what makes me happiest about competing regardless if I win or lose. It’s always great seeing Steve Clausen with One Healthy Body. He is the promoter of several NANBF/IPE shows here in my home state of Oklahoma where I won Mr. Oklahoma last year, but more importantly placed 2nd in Men’s Physique Open at three separate shows. Those near wins are what pushed me to work harder to eventually win First in Open to receive my IPE Pro card last June in Arkansas. My natural competitive career started with Steve and all he does for natural fitness. Then I also like to take photographs with the biggest guys I can find backstage for my own inspiration. Shown below are a few of the natural heavy weight bodybuilders that I thankful did not compete against…yet 😉
This guy here below, Meshack Ochieng, had just one the previous weeks IPE International in Kansas City and I was excited to meet him in person for the first time. Remember I do Men’s Physique and Meshack is a bodybuilder. Different classes. But you think maybe I can step up in 5 years or so….?
After the pleasantries it was time to focus and get down to business. It is a competition I didn’t come all the way out here just to play 😉 I felt in the past my pre-stage protocol could be improved upon so I look even a little better on stage and this time I nailed it. I realized I just needed to start posing a little earlier and concentrate my warm up on a few specific muscle groups especially my shoulders. I was extremely happy with how I posed during judging and my solo routine which I did to the song “Never Enough”. I choose this song just to do something totally different for me personally. I typically go rock and roll, but wanted to do something more dramatic and slower this time. I really enjoyed “The Greatest Showman” sound track and this song especially moved me.
My fellow competitors were also there to give it their best and they looked great. I really wasn’t sure who was going to end up on top. When they called my name as the champion my first reaction was to point upward and give it all to God. Then I proceeded to my ‘Hulk Hogan’ tribute shenanigans of giving the crowd the famed ear, thumbs up, and strike the poses all over them. When I win competitions the few minutes on stage is my time to be the WWE wrestler of my other life so I always hit wrestler poses ha. I will have much better stage shots coming here soon. But my biggest surprise of the day was yet to come…
While I was on stage during the pre-judging I heard my name called out and I recognized the voice. My old time friend and Pillar band mate Noah Henson completely surprised me by showing up. When I saw him my face I know just lite up and I of course had to through him the rock n’ roll horns a few times while posing. Fellow Kaged Muscle Athlete Brandon Beckrich also came out to support along with a few other friends and followers. I was really overwhelmed on stage to hear such support while in a city so far from home. You all made the day really special for me. Immediately after being presented with the championship belt I was escorted to a bathroom to give urine for the second round of tests to be done. I was excited to get that part over and go out to the lobby to meet with my friends Noah, Erika, Megan, Brandon, and more. I even had the opportunity to meet with a group of kids and do a interview about natural fitness. After this I only had one thing on my mind….
Chicago is known for it’s pizza and Giordano’s is world famous so you know where we went. The big Noah Henson surprise was partly orchestrated by another long-time friend of mind Erika Carlson. I’ve known her and Megan Sontag from way back from the early Pillar days. Once photographs were done we packed up and went straight to Giordano’s pizza and it was truly amazing. I was still full for my flight home and was able to sleep in my own bed. It was just an all around awesome few days.
In closing I just want to say thank you again for the love and support. It means more to me than championship belt and even almost more than pizza… 😉 Now that the dust has settled I am back on track and planning to compete at the October 13 IPE Masters World Championships in Memphis, TN to close out my 2018 and 2019 competitive season. Then I plan to come back bigger and better in 2020 to compete in Pro Classic Physique Open. Coming for ya…
View my Behind the Scenes videos of my weekend here:
-Wittig, ISSA CPT
IPE Natural Pro
Kaged Muscle Athlete
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