Bodybuilders, fitness and figure competitors descend upon Chicago every year for the NPC Jr. National. Since it’s inception, the “juniors” have become a gateway to bodybuilding stardom. Some of the sports greatest stars such as Phil Heath, Kevin Levrone, and the late Paul Demayo have competed in this show on their way to professional status. Basically, the show is no joke.

I caught up with a few competitors who I called “repeat offenders” and it’s not a bad thing, either. Pam Betz and Rob Larsen always put on a quality show with great competitors.

One thing that amazes me, and this will be a recurring theme in my interviews over the weekend, is the transformation these men go through from local to national competitors. As a bodybuilder in hiatus (my last show was the 2005 NPC Armed Forces Nationals), I find these transformations quite amazing. Muscles get bigger and rounder and harder. I was interviewing Kevin Jordan and the size and density he possesses is insane. Same for Adam Cohen of New York, who stripped down for our cameras to give us a sneak peek before tomorrow.

Another thing I have noticed is that while bodybuilding is individualistic, it’s a very team oriented sport. Winning is fun, but the best people have a team behind them. Take for instance Brian May and his father Rob. Just a great support system and I applaud Rob for being there for his son

The biggest thing I’ve heard yesterday in regard to making this jump is the word “work.”  You just have to take your lumps and be willing to make the sacrifice needed to win. No one will do it for you. There will be some shows where you may want to throw in the towel, but you just have to work harder and dig deep.

That’s it for now. There will be more interviews, more assessments and more reflections, so stay on