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The age-old argument of what activities can be called a sport, or those that can’t, is never solved and is always based on personal opinions, never fact.

bodybuilder-8-19Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, cross country, track and field and softball are all mainstream sports, but what about those that aren’t?

How about ... body building?

Now hold on sports fans, don’t start arguing yet.

According to the definition on www.dictionary.com, a “sport” is an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and is often of a competitive nature.

Funny how the first sport they give in the list of examples is “racing” ... I’ll leave that be.

But body building, requiring hours upon hours of weight training, cardio activity, harsh diets and most of all mental toughness, should certainly be considered a “sport.”

Just ask 33-year-old Sedona resident Eric Mikulewicz what he thinks about body building. One wouldn’t need to get 10 feet from Mikulewicz to realize what great shape this guy is in.

A Buffalo native, Mikulewicz and his family moved to Sedona in 1990 and he attended Mingus Union High as a freshman.

Finding the weight room was easy in high school, but Mikulewicz’ first love was baseball.

The three-time varsity letterman and two-time All-Region performer for Mingus played at shortstop, second base and pitched during his four-year career.

Although baseball was a passion, the weight room took more and more of his time after Mikulewicz graduated in 1994, and became his biggest love.

“Since I was young I was always a big guy. I responded pretty well to the weight room in high school and I continued the training after,” Mikulewicz said.

By the age of 26, Mikulewicz got serious with the weights and hasn’t turned back, dedicating his life to staying in shape, being healthy and achieving the look that body builders want.

The first question asked of Mikulewicz was how healthy can body building really be and he had this to say:

“What people need to understand is it’s a lifestyle. You must diet perfectly because 85 percent of what your look turns out to be is the diet,” Mikulewicz said.

He went on to say he’s had no health issues at all, and watches every little thing that goes into his body.

At 218 pounds, Mikulewicz said he usually competes once a year in July at a weight of 175 pounds, or the middleweight division. The last competition was July 18 in Phoenix when he weighed in at 175.4 pounds.

Yes, that’s right, he’s gained 43-pounds since the competition only a month ago.

“It’s not uncommon for body builders to gain 35 to 45 pounds after competition. Most gain 15 pounds the next day,” Mikulewicz said.

He explained a lot of the weight is water weight, or weight a person can gain from just eating bread, or heavy pastas.

During the “off season,” Mikulewicz is usually around 9 to 10 percent body fat. In the six weeks leading up to a competition, he can get as low as 3 to 4 percent.

Mikulewicz did admit the weeks leading up to a body building competition can be stressful on the body, which is why many only do one, maybe two shows a year.

During the “off season,” Mikulewicz lifts weights five days a week and has three or four days of cardio activity.

In the weeks leading up to the competition, he spends his time in the weight room seven days a week and does cardio every day.

As for the diet, easily the hardest part for anyone to do, Mikulewicz can eat up to eight times a day.

Chicken, fish, and lean ground beef is usually on the menu at 10 to 12 ounces a sitting. One or two servings of complex carbohydrates are included as well like yams or pasta, per meal.

“We have to eat so many meals because a few weeks from the show, yeah, you’re tired and you have to keep the energy level up. Sometimes I wonder what the hell am I’m doing this to myself for, but in the end, I want to achieve that look,” Mikulewicz said.

It’s taken Mikulewicz 17 years to learn how to be safe about body building, and he consults on a regular basis with professional body builders in Phoenix.

“This is truly the hardest sport anyone can get involved in,” he added.

The question that lingers in anyone’s mind, especially these days, is steroids.

Mikulewicz immediately stated the bottom line is anyone who wants to achieve something great has to do all the work and taking short cuts isn’t how it gets done.

“I’m not going to say steroids isn’t a part of body building because it is, but I don’t do them, and have no part in them. It’s nothing I would consider,” Mikulewicz said.

Mikulewicz spends his time at Snap Fitness in Cottonwood working out and getting ready for the next show, and in his spare time he coaches a baseball team for the Sedona Little League.

After placing third at the NPC Arizona Open in Mesa on July 18, one of the largest body building shows in Arizona history, Mikulewicz hopes to do better next year and continue his hard work in the weight room.

“I love this sport. I like the way I look and I look forward to more success at future shows,” Mikulewicz said.

 

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


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