Coast Guard rescue swimmers place first, sixth in bodybuilding competition

Pacific Northwest Coast Guard Newsby Petty Officer Shawn Eggert

NORTH BEND, Ore. — What began as a simple goal to get back into the gym and back into shape after a shoulder surgery turned into a rigorous regimen of exercise, dieting, grooming and, ultimately, bronzing for a couple of rescue swimmers from Coast Guard Air Station North Bend in North Bend, Ore.

It was Aviation Survival Technician 1st Class Dennis Gryzenia who suggested Petty Officer 2nd Class Josh Mayfield, also an AST, work toward competing in the National Physique Committee Fitstop 24 Northwest Championship, a bodybuilding competition held in Shelton, Wash., Nov. 3, 2012.

“I got into bodybuilding in 2006 but never got far in competitions due to my body type,” said Gryzenia, whose lean frame can be a hindrance in the sport where athletes are judged primarily on the appearance of their muscle development. “Josh and Rob Evans have a good body type for competing so I suggested they compete and offered my experience and knowledge to help them train.”

AST3 Rob Evans began training with Mayfield and Gryzenia after Mayfield asked him if he was interested. The two then trained with Gryzenia over a period of a year to prepare for the competition.

“It was a lot harder than I expected,” said Evans who, along with Mayfield, endured a training regimen that included a strict diet and exercise routines. “It takes an incredible amount of discipline to stay focused. Not being able to eat any Halloween candy was kind of a bummer.”

The pair’s training schedule began with a bulking-up period where they spent three months on a sugar-free, 3500-calorie-a-day diet with heavy lifting routines before winding down to a 1500-calorie-a-day diet of chicken and rice cakes with cardio exercises throughout the day.

“It was twelve months of hell for one day of fun, but it gave me a goal to work toward and kept me motivated,” said Mayfield who began training simply wanting to recover from torn rotator cuff surgery on his shoulder before Gryzenia suggested he compete. “Our progress even inspired a few guys from the air station to get into the gym. A couple of our friends now want to compete as well.”

In addition to the diet and intense exercise, Evans and Mayfield had to get used to grooming for the competition.

“It was a full-body shave,” Mayfield commented. “And the posing was really strenuous. Having to tense your muscles and hold it was harder than I thought it would be.”

“I was still washing bronzer off my skin two weeks after the competition,” Evans remarked.

After a year of preparation, Mayfield went on to win first place in the Novice Middleweight and Novice Overall competitions and third place in the Open Middleweight competition. Evans took sixth place in the Physique class.

“It was great to see them do so well,” said Gryzenia, adding, “Especially against other service members serving in Washington. They’re both excited to compete in the future.”

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