Martin Petro WNBF Pro Lifetime Natural Bodybuilder & Massage Therapy Specialist

Life of a bodybuilder – part 3

After my first year competing I felt fantastic. I didn`t feel that great in many years. I found something I really love. I always knew that my place was in the gym but never thought about competing until now.

I don`t remember taking any time off from training. I was back in the gym right after my British finals with big plans for next year. I knew that if I decide to compete next year I have to challenge more experienced and much better guys. No more Novice class but weight classes. Another thing was my body weight. I felt and looked great around 80kg but my weight was 72kg in my last competition… I knew that I didn`t want to compete under 70kg as I would not feel good. So next class was under 78kg.

In 2009 I contacted Andrew Merrifield called Mezza. He was UIBBN World Champion in Natural Bodybuilding and one of bodybuilders I admired and felt I could “reach the top with him”. He was one of the nicest man I met and down to earth. We agreed on cooperation for next four months during my contest prep. This was the first time I prepared for contest with help. Everything he told me I did. I didn`t care if I had to wake up at 4 am or doing cardio twice a day. I was determined to do well among the men on stage. There we things I didn`t like but I never told Mezza I will not do it. I did everything he asked me to do and I feel it was not enough I did more. I had all these crazy nicknames at work like “Petrominator”, “Rambo”, Rocky”, “LeanMeanFightingMachine” etc.
I told myself that I will do only one show and was hoping to qualify for the British finals. My qualifier was in September and I had four months to prepare. It was one of the hardest contest prep for me but I was happy with the result. I felt very confident I will do well in competition. I decided to enter NPA South East qualifier on 13th September. This was one first show from previous year where I won my first place trophy as a Novice competitor.

What a surprise it was for me when I realized that there was only one guy in my class! Me and Tsala Kabala, black guy with amazing physique, abs so deep that you could see them from back seats and his tiny waist and wide back muscles gave him incredible shape. Very well defined and balanced physique. When I saw him I already knew I can`t win. I felt weird. I was preparing for that one show only and then only one guy showed up and I even can`t beat him? What a disaster… I thought. After all compulsory poses we had our free posing routine. I remember my music. It was from the Terminator movie. Shortly after that they announced the results. Second place goes to….Martin Petro! Second place. I know, I should be happy with that and I`ve got my ticket to British finals. But somewhere inside of me I was sad and disappointing. I congratulated Tsala for fantastic first place win and left the building. I am not sure if I talked to judges, I normally do after every show but not on that day. I remember going back home, texting Mezza and telling him that I`ve got second place and British invite. He was so excited and happy for me. But I told him that I am not competing and that I am done with competitions. My roommate and my best friend Taavi ordered the biggest pizza you can imagine. But I didn`t eat one single slice. I just was not in the mood. I had an appointment for the next day with one of my friend from work. He agreed to take some photos on the beach if the weather was nice. But just to remind you…It was 14th of September 2009. I am sure I was the only one guy on that day in posing trunks on that beach! We took lot of great pictures. I was studying The Encyclopedia of modern bodybuilding from Arnold Schwarzenegger the night before and learned all poses suitable for my physique. That was my only satisfaction this year. Thank you Simon for these great pictures and memories.
Mezza sent me his amazing photos signed saying “See you at the top” and his DVD. I loved it. We became great friends ever since.


I had really hard times after this contest. I just couldn`t find any motivation to do the finals. I was so burned out. I was talking to Mezza couple of times and he tried to encourage me. I remember his words to this day. “It`s only five more weeks from your life Martin, you can do it”. So he insisted that I will write one motivational sentence every day after workout and cardio session and than write “completed”. It worked and I did it. I kept all these papers on my table and in my bedroom, in the kitchen… My first British finals as a man and not Novice anymore…. Just five more weeks…

To be honest, I don`t remember much from this day. I know that I was to lean and lost all my muscles. The line up was incredible with so many great athletes. I had maybe only one call out for comparison…. I didn`t place in top six. I went talk to judges after the show and they told me I have a great physique and some of my poses are very strong but that I need more muscles to be competitive. I was ready to go home with my cheese and ham sandwiches and some Kit-Kat. I was thinking a lot and decided to go back home to Slovakia to spend some time with my family. I needed to change something and didn`t know what so I thought that I will find out later. But I had another idea…. There was one guy from work who said that he is going to Slovakia too by car and I can join him. I told him great, lets do it! And I found out that there is one more competition this year in natural bodybuilding on the same day in Slovakia, Banska Bystrica. I didn`t hesitate for too long and sent my entry form. I thought that it would be great to compete for the first time in front of my parents and in my home country…

After more than 24 hours driving from England to Slovakia we finally arrived Banska Bystrica, the night before the contest. My parents were waiting for me. It was late night and we had some local accommodation in hostel. I remember my mum showing me what everything she made for me – all that food – home made apple cake, ginger cake and other yummies. But I had to wait until the competition is over!

I was competing in over 174cm category with other 9 or ten guys. I don`t know how I ended up in this class as I am 173cm for sure… It might be me filling entry form very quickly and making this mistake. Never mind. I was on stage already 🙂 They announced my name and I knew I am in the finals – top 6. I felt good. My weight was around 74-76kg. After few call outs from the judges I placed 5th. Honestly, I didn`t care that much about placing any more. I was so happy to be there with my parents and brother… I had a big smile from ear to ear. I congratulated all the competitors and went backstage to have my home made apple pie 🙂 I could have been maybe higher, 4th or 3rd but it was October or November and I was on diet for so long…. That all I was thinking was food now! My dad was helping me backstage with my color and pumping up. It was great to have him there. Judges and people in the audience loved my side triceps pose and it became one of my strongest poses. After the competition we were going back home all together with my 5th place diploma. On our way home we stopped in the restaurant for typical Slovakian food “bryndzové halušky” 🙂 Back to normal life…

I spent some time back home with my parents and brothers before going back to England. One thing I knew for sure. I will not be competing in the 2010. Not before I can get any better…

To be continued…

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