Natural Bodybuilding & Powerlifting - Simultaneously – Jeff Mumaw
I decided that as I’m getting older that it might be wise to try and document what I’ve been able to accomplish in the approximate last five years; March 2017 – Sept 2022.
It was December 2016 and I had just competed in an AAPF powerlifting contest in Chicago in which I weighed 181 lbs and at age 54 I went 523squat, 264bench press and 523deadlift with single ply gear. Right after the contest something triggered me about competing in bodybuilding again. My last BB contests were in 1995 and 1996 in which I competed in a total of nine contests as a Lightweight (154 lbs) while continuing with powerlifting contests but competing as a very light 165 lber (154 lbs) in those years; ’95-96 I had been very successful and had gotten down to around 2% bodyfat. I wondered if I could pull this off again now nearly 20 years later and coming up on my 55th birthday.
By Christmas of 2016 I had decided that I would give it shot. The diet started immediately. I’ve always eaten clean and healthy but competing in strictly powerlifitng at 181 lbs I would normally consume nearly 4500 calories a day. I knew this would need to be cut nearly in half. Within a month and half I was down to 170lbs and by the end of February I was at 159lbs. At that point the muscle separation and some striations were evident and the reduced calorie intake was not a big deal, simply a mental adjustment.
I then decided I might as well look for a contest….so in March 2017 I competed in an ANBF Natural Bodybuilding contest outside of Detroit. The number of competitors was not very good which was a bit disappointing. I did well but still did not look like the 1995-1996 version of me. After that contest I knew I still had 5-7 pounds to cut. I began looking for another natural BB contest but then discovered another AAPF/AWPC powerliftng contest here in Grand Rapids. Since my training has never varied from my powerlifts I decided I would enter. I weighed in at 156 lbs in the 165 lb class. I deadlifted only and went 462-485-501. I didn’t know it at the time but the 501 was not only a Michigan state Masters record but also an AAPF National record and an AWPC Masters World record. Are you kidding me?...I immediately checked my math and discovered my pounds to bodyweight (which I always keep tabs on) came out to 3.21x bodyweight.
Whoa! My best previous deadlifts were 562 @ 180lbs and 520 @ 165 lbs…..3.12x and 3.15x……so this pull
at age 55 exceeded my own personal bodyweight to pounds lifted value while at nearly 2% bodyweight. I was actually just as efficient now at age 55 as I was at age 35. Sweet. (the record still stands today)
You may ask how was this possible; Focus, Intensity and Will. I’ve always trained both like a bodybuilder
and a powerlifter as the late Franco Columbu was my lifting idol. Workouts are super intense and after the specific three powerlifts each bodybuilding movement set is performed to failure and every 50-60 seconds. EVERY set. There’s no chatting, no sitting, no damn cell phones. The gym is my office. It’s about focus and intensity. I lack a lot of physical giftedness but God has given me the ability to outwork anyone. It’s the only thing I’ve always had to draw on. I’ve had to work twice as hard as most to achieve my goals.
Following this powerliftng contest I then reeled off (5) natural bodybuilding contests, but now coming in at a bodyweight between 151-154 pounds in the Open Lightweight Class as well as Masters 40+ and Masters 50+ while being much more defined and striated. There was literally very little difference between my BB pictures
from 1995/1996 and now in 2017. Moving forward between 2017 and September 2022, I now have competed in a total of (20) natural drug tested bodybuilding contests and (17) natural drug tested powerlifting contests. The schedule was off the chart obviously; May of 2017; three contests, February 2018-April 2018; four contests.
The powerlifting meets were always at least one week prior to a bodybuilding contest and then two weeks after. I did find that I was unable to deadlift the week of a BB contest; (though I tried it once; deadlifting on Thursday then on stage for BB just two days later; not a good idea!!) But, in 2019 I did compete in a BB contest here in Grand Rapids on a Saturday and then just 16 hours later (the next day) I competed here in a AAPF powerlifitng. I must confess when I woke up Sunday morning I was like; “what am I doing??”….but as the powerlifting contest started I was fine…though I was still pretty depleted I still went 429lb squat, 215lb bp and pulled a 462lb deadlift…..not my best numbers by any means but just the fact that I pulled it off, was mission accomplished.
In 2019 I thought I had lined up both a bodybuilding and powerlifting the very same day. I had worked it out with the contest directors from both events and right after the pre-judging I was to go do my squats and benches with the heavier weight powerlifting flight. Unfortunately just five days prior the powerlifting federation pulled out of the contest so I was left without that mission accomplished. Will plan another day.
So, you may ask what were my results from all of these contests? Well, in bodybuilding I usually placed in the top three in the Open Lightweight as well as the Masters classes; 40+, and 50+. In the powerlifting contests I continued to break and set new Masters; Michigan State, and Masters Nationals records in the 54-59 age group while competing in the 165lb class but being 8-11 lbs under the 165lb limit.
Now, those who would see me in the gym day-to-day, week-to-week, really have no idea what they were seeing. I’m not sure if a run like this has ever been done, let alone by a Masters Drug Free competitor. It definitely comes with a price; the physical aspect is part of it; trying to recover from day/day, week/week with the meager calorie intake, but also the heavy pounding of 3x bodyweight squats and deadlifts when you’re bodyfat is between 2.3-3.4% bodyfat. The mental drive and focus if off the charts; no question, probably none have endured a run like this…..it’s about pushing ones self beyond what the body thinks it’s capable of. Try it, I dare you.