Story of a… Bodybuilder
Through years of intense training, Ian Frierson, 31, has mastered the ability to transform his body and work the crowd.
It’s competition day, and a group of men wait in anticipation for their name to be called on stage. Frierson stands alongside his fellow contestants, preparing to demonstrate all of the hard work he has put in the past 15 weeks for this moment in the spotlight.
A probation officer and part-time fitness instructor, Frierson has been a bodybuilding competitor for 11 years. “I was always a super skinny kid and got picked on sometimes at school. That motivated me to work out and get big.”
Before each competition, he gives himself 105 days to prepare. “My weight fluctuates a lot throughout the entire training process. When I first start training, I need to gain weight so that I can gain muscle. Once I have the muscle I want, I trim down in order to look more sculpted. For my most recent show, my goal was to lose two pounds every four days before the competition. My goals for each show are different, but my body always goes through a similar cycle.”
“Bodybuilders are judged on symmetry, muscle definition, presentation, and marketability. Judges want someone with more than just a ripped body. They want someone who can inspire a crowd.”
Bodybuilders work hard to stand out among the other competitors. “My best physical asset is my abs, but what really sets me apart is my stage presence. I used to be a dancer so I know how to work a stage and entertain a crowd.”
“When we’re on stage, all we see are hot, bright white lights; no one in the audience is visible. I’ve moonwalked, danced, and impersonated Michael Jackson in between poses, all so everyone will stay engaged.”
While Frierson keeps a strict diet during the majority of his training, he does indulge in a little junk food. “I usually eat a high-protein diet, consuming around 8 rotisserie chickens per week, but I always give myself one cheat meal every week, up until 5 weeks before the show. I reward myself with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, or pizza.”
Choosing the perfect show attire is an important part of the process. “You first have to find out the rules of the show [some competitions take off points for showing too much skin]. Secondly, you have to find the right color that flatters your skin tone, then you must consider placement of how it will complement certain areas of your hips, and lastly, you need to be comfortable so that you feel confident on stage.”
“The most essential thing a bodybuilder must do every day is practice their poses. One of my favorite poses is the hands-over-head abdominal pose because it shows the audience definition in both your abs and legs.”
“I’ve won first place, last place, Best Pose, Best Physique, Best Personality, and Crowd’s Favorite. What keeps me motivated is seeing the improvements I make and the advice I can share with others through my years of experience.”