Monday, April 7, 2008

Natural bodybuilding is something the whole family can enjoy

The Iatomasis are Rochester's first family of bodybuilders.Dad Paul, 45; son Paul Jr., 24; and son Dan, 22, compete in regional competitions and have a closet full of medals to show for all their hard work. Paul and Paul Jr. are the first father-son team to earn their pro cards from the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation.

The Greece family promotes steroid-free bodybuilding and living healthy lifestyles. Paul Iatomasi Sr., a 2007 inductee into the Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, is 5-11, 190 pounds and competes as a heavyweight. In bodybuilding events that don't test for illegal substances, heavyweights his height can easily be 80 pounds heavier.

"It's a big difference," he said. "Natural bodybuilders, we're more muscular than your average guy but we also are very healthy looking with small waists."
Paul Sr. enjoys watching his sons compete more than competing himself."This is a great family sport because no matter what age or gender, everyone can compete together," he said on the hall of fame Web site. "A true natural bodybuilder has to get the most out of their genetics without the use of any chemical enhancement."

Here's a primer on pumping up:

History: The first physique competitions can be traced to the early 1900s and took place in London and New York City. The 1977 film Pumping Iron helped popularize the sport. It featured actor and current California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, who starred as the Incredible Hulk.

Science: Muscle building occurs through a combination of weight lifting or resistance machine training, proper caloric intake and rest. According to researchers, lifting weights causes micro-tears in the muscles and is the cause of soreness. When these tears repair, muscle growth occurs. Without rest, this muscle-building process won't occur. Bodybuilders are always on the lookout for overtraining.

Bodybuilding as sport: In competition, bodybuilders show off their physiques before judges who award points based on standards set for symmetry, muscularity and vascular appeal. Oils, tanning lotions and lighting enhance appearance but most important is the competitor's ability to strike required poses that show off muscle groups.

Training: Seeking the guidance of a professional trainer is a must. Weight training and nutrition are complicated topics with safety and health at stake. Foods high in carbohydrates and proteins are used with vitamins and dietary supplements to build muscle mass and definition. Anabolic steroids are a shortcut experts warn strongly against due to serious health risks. Books are written just on the art of posing.

For women, too: While many females fear lifting weights will give them undesirable muscle mass, strength training is important for building healthy bones and warding off osteoporosis. Women not interested in developing bodybuilding bodies can take part in general fitness and figure contests.