By Grace Frost
Wallan’s Adam Georgelin returned from iCompete Natural’s international bodybuilding competition with a gold medal after securing the win in Bali last month.
The 42-year-old athlete is well-known for his achievements with Essendon in the Victorian Wheelchair Football League, VWFL, and was this year named among Victoria’s 20 best wheelchair footballers.
Georgelin recently took up bodybuilding as a secondary sport, which helped him build endurance for the Wheelchair AFL National Championships in November.
Having spina bifida, Georgelin competed in the physically-challenged category at the bodybuilding competition last month, open to competitors with physical or intellectual disabilities.
Georgelin said he trained as if he would be competing against 50 people, ready for an intense competition.
Not until he was called on stage did he realise the competition would vastly differ from others he had contested.
“I certainly went into it thinking that potentially there could have been other people from around the world coming to do the physically-challenged category,” he said.
“It wasn’t until I got called to the stage that I knew that I was the only competitor.
“Because it was an international show, even the guy that was compering didn’t know until it started.”
Though guaranteed the gold, Georgelin said the medal was a testament to the 18 months of hard work prior to the Bali competition, and that the possibility of contenders had kept him motivated during training.
Training for the competition required rigid commitment, particularly as Georgelin began preparations 10 weeks later than recommended in August.
An exercise physiologist, dietitian and personal trainer, and daily training sessions helped Georgelin lose 17 kilograms in 17 weeks.
In the final weeks before the competition, Georgelin dropped down to 1100 calories a day on a calorie deficit for his physique.
“[That amount of] calories works out to be an egg and a bowl of berries for breakfast, a 70-gram bowl of pasta for lunch and a 200-gram chicken breast with 50 grams of rice over the day – that’s all you’re allowed to eat,” he said.
“I did that for three weeks – I was ‘hangry’ for three weeks.”
The competition marked the first time Georgelin competed in a seated position, remaining in his wheelchair.
Georgelin had previously competed in three Victorian competitions standing.
“Because my balance is not great, I’m unable to hold the poses that they require, so I decided I’d have a go this time in the wheelchair,” he said.
“It’s definitely the best that I’ve performed because of the seated position. I felt more relaxed and I was able to hold the poses better.”
In front of a crowd of 100, Georgelin and fellow competitors in other categories took to the stage to perform a series of six to eight poses to a panel of judges over the course of about six minutes.
“When you get on the stage, you’re nervous to start with, obviously, but [then] it’s all adrenalin and it’s great fun,” Georgelin said.
Georgelin said undergoing three days of fake tanning – which helps to better define muscle for bodybuilding – was ‘an experience all of its own’.
“In Bali, I had to stay inside for four hours after every tan because the humidity would have just washed the tan off,” he said.
Georgelin took home the gold and recognition as an award-winner with the iCompete Natural organisation.
Mr Georgelin has yet to decide if he will continue competing in bodybuilding, but if he does, he has his eyes set on a state win.
“I’m preparing as if I will compete,” he said.
“Now that I know I can do it in the wheelchair, I’ll certainly be working hard to try and win the Victorian Championships – I’ve never won it.
“If I was to compete this year, I’d certainly be going in to try and take it out.”