Martin Sorenson at 161lb

Getting into bodybuilding competition

This story follows part one – How I got into fitness. Like father like son.

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Though I had been strength training and keeping in shape for MANY years, I had unfortunately gotten a bit “over fat” and it was around this time in 2009 I corresponded through a bodybuilding forum with an American guy, Sean Toohey. He’s an expert in the field of bodybuilding who knows his game inside out and offered up some great advice. I am still corresponding with Sean and he has been a key influence of my overall success.

Martin Sorenson at 195lb

Here I am at 195lb.

What I learnt mainly from Sean was bodybuilding is all about “being lean”, and you really cannot be “lean” enough. It is also not a game of exploiting your strength but rather bringing up your weaknesses so that you have an overall more impressive sum of parts.

Every bodybuilder has a weakness or two, or even three. But the secret is getting everything else up to a decent standard so the weaknesses are not so obvious. It is also about proportions and symmetry, and basically a game of illusions, and not all about being MASSIVE or even strong, as many would think. You need to exploit many factors to bring out the best overall look.

These matters are slow changes that will improve with training, year on year. After following Sean’s methods for a couple of years I then had a good handle of how to train.

Martin Sorenson at 161lb

This is me considerably leaner at 161lb.

On moving to Gosport I started at a new gym where I then met Don Styler. He is a gym owner and bodybuilding competition organiser of over 35 years, who recommended I should enter his next show.

I set about a training and diet game plan with Sean which I followed to the letter, in the lead up to the July 2013 show. There were MANY stages involved with this, outlined in my next instalment.

The competition side is GREAT fun and is almost a surreal experience and you learn so much from doing the real thing. The timing of factors such as dehydration techniques, sodium loading, posing and tanning all become VERY important for the day. There is a real atmosphere and camaraderie among the bodybuilders as your success is very much theirs as well.

My first competition only had me up against two others in my age category (40-50 yrs), there were MANY more in the novice section, but the word is extremely misleading as these guys are on another level.

You have to perform your own routine to chosen music, and hit all of your most impressive poses. It is almost like a type of performance art. You are then compared to the others as you all perform essential poses and your bodies are scrutinized to the highest degree by a panel of judges.

All this with many different categories, both male and females, with both prejudging and then on to the actual real judging, takes the best part of a day.

I came third on that show in my class (out of only three people, LOL), but it was only my first attempt, and I was hooked on the adrenaline rush of competition. I had really enjoyed the entire day.

Martin bodybuilding at 158lb

Here I am competing in my first bodybuilding competition at 158lb.

And so I decided to enter the following year’s show in July 2014, where I had another year to get myself better for the job.

The entire year of training was superb, it couldn’t have gone smoother, and had me on the stage with overall around 7lb of extra muscle, compared to the previous year.

That in bodybuilding is about as good as it gets. My posing was more assured and my tan was much better (they grade this aspect). While there was only one other guy in my class, I did win my class fair and square this time. And I didn’t EXPECT to win, so it was a real buzz for me. The novice section was, as ever, at an outstanding level.

I recommend anyone who hasn’t been to a physique show to attend at least one to see what all the fuss is about.

Contact me on

O7809240535 for details of my coaching packages or email me at

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