Students prepare for Saturday’s fitness contest

Kris Caldwell, a senior marketing major has not had an alcohol beverage in the past three months.

Caldwell is one of eight men who will go head-to-head for the Mr. EIU Contest Saturday night. Two women will compete as part of the Ms. Fitness competition as well at the annual competition held on Saturday night in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The men have to do a personal routine along with group posing, while the women have a personal routine and group symmetry, or side-by-side posing.

The mens’ personal routines will consist mostly of posing, and the womens’ personal routines will be a basic fitness routine looking at flexibility, cardio ability and strength.

Kicks and splits will show off flexibility, not showing fatigue will count toward cardio ability and push-ups and strength holds will determine strength.

Each routine, whether for Mr. EIU or Ms. Fitness, will run 60 to 90 seconds.

The men also have three weight class divisions.

The bantam weight class is for men 155 pounds and below, the middle weight class is for men 156 pounds to 175 pounds and the heavy weight class is for men 176 pounds and above.

One winner from each of these divisions will be picked; then those three will face off for the title.

“It’s an outlet for people who have been working out for years,” said Josh Jones, event coordinator and host. “They can show their hard work or this can motivate them to start working out.”

Rob Hackett, a junior sports management major, will compete as part of the middle weight class.

Hackett said he started preparing for the contest 16 weeks ago.

“Ever since then, I’ve been eating the right foods at the right times and changing up my workouts,” he said.

Hackett also does more cardio workouts since he began training and increased the repetitions in his weight lifts.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do since last year,” he said. “I worked out over the summer and my friends encouraged me.”

Sigma Pi, Hackett’s fraternity, has one man in each division, including Hackett.

One of the women entered in the Ms. Fitness competition started training when she got back from winter break this year.

Myka Williams, a senior African-American studies major, decided to enter the competition for motivation to start working out more and eat healthier.

She wanted to discipline herself and she also thought entering would be fun.

Williams said she also did more cardio every day and increased her weight training to build muscle.

She wanted the music for her routine to start out slow because she wants to get her strength holds done first.

“They all have their own personalized routines with music with a mix-up of songs,” Jones said. “It gives them a chance to be creative.”

Caldwell had aspirations to compete last year, but the timing did not work out, so he decided to take part in the contest this year as part of the heavy weight class.

“I’ve always been a gym-oholic,” he said. “Over the summer, I hit my weak spots, my [Latissimus Dorsi muscles]. Twelve weeks ago, I started my new diet.”

Caldwell works out for an hour to an hour and a half six days a week hitting a different muscle group each day along with posing for 30 to 45 minutes.

Caldwell ate around 3,500 to 4,000 calories a day with a lot of protein shakes and carbohydrates while he was bulking up and then when he hit his desired maximum weight of 248 pounds, he dropped to about 2,000 calories a day with a carbohydrate meal every 18 meals, or three days.

Caldwell ate around six meals a day.

He said the whole college atmosphere has been different since he started training.

“I wanted to push my body to the limit before I graduate college,” he said.

All five judges have jobs related to health and have judged in the past.

The head judge, Chad Graham, was Mr. EIU in 1997 and is a strength consultant for the Indianapolis Colts football team.

The contestants had a say in how the event was set up in previous weeks.

“We would bring up ideas in meetings,” Jones said. “[The women] could decide on how their routines went and the guys decided on how to divide the weight classes.”

The event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union with an admission cost of $5.

Heather Holm can be reached at 581-7942 or at [email protected].