Written by Peter McGough
11 November 2012
NPC Nationals 2012 coverage presented by All American EFX


A Personal Perspective on the 2012 NPC Nationals

By Peter McGough

Bodybuilding’s Delicate Condition

NPC nationals 2012Let it be said that at this year’s Nationals, particularly at the Friday night prejudging, we saw a procession of over 170 athletes with the vast majority just not being in contest condition: Maybe only 10 or so were really on. The conundrum to that reality is that increasingly over the years condition has become bodybuilding’s number one commodity. It tends to be the case that even if a competitor has great overall development that is merely hard and separated someone with an inferior physique that is ripped will beat him: The talisman for “condition” being striated glutes. Often a competitor will walk out to hit his front poses and the assembled throng will wait for him to turn around to see if those minor bodyparts – in comparison to chest, back delts, arms, quads – hams and glutes are striated. And so dear reader there we all are waiting to give the thumbs up (unfortunate phrase in this instance) to see what a guy’s backside looks like -- talk about a bum decision. (I’m still waiting for the introduction of the first “Ass Mr. Olympia” column.


As stated earlier so few of the 2012 NPC Nationals entrants came to Atlanta with that winning-from-the-rear credential. Why, given that condition is the number one prerequisite of modern bodybuilding? A personal view is that they don’t attain condition because they’re trying too hard to attain condition. Have you ever seen a comedian who’s not really funny trying to be funny? The more he tries to be funny the more unfunny he gets. There’s an almost irresistible temptation in the days before the contest to do more. If we invoke the percentage analogy, a competitor at 95% does certain machinations to hit 100% and instead screws up and comes in at 80%. The hardest part of being in shape is waiting. There's always the temptation to think, "I should be doing something to get even better." How many times have we seen guys look tremendous 48 hours out and then not so good when they go onstage? Patience, grasshopper. Less is more.

A Game Of One Half

npc national bodybuilding championshipsTaking the previous segment on board it has to be admitted that come the Saturday night finals many competitors were much better than at the Friday night prejudging. If they had brought their Saturday game 24 hours earlier the perception that this was a disappointing Nationals might not have been as strong. For instance in the light heavies the Saturday version of Cory Matthews may have beaten Adam Cohen for the title. Of course what happened on Friday was that for the first time under the glaring stage lights deficiencies of (either holding water, or being flat) were exposed and there was 24 hours to right the problem. But the kicker is the Nationals, unlike pro contests, is not a game of two halves. Judging is done and completed on Friday night. It would be ideal if the scoring could be divided (as in the pros) into 50% prejudging, 50% Finals but given the multitude of competitors over the whole weekend the congestion and logistics would seem to be against that being feasible. So the message is guys: “Get nailed on Friday night!” Something that I’ve been known to be adept at over the years in my own inimitable style.


The House Of Cards:

NPC Nationals 2012 ReportThe top two in each of the men's seven classes were awarded IFBB pro cards at this event. A personal opinion is it is too many. The reason against it are: 1) It leads to a host of amateurs being propelled into the pro ranks before they are ready. Once there their results are mediocre and they maybe become disillusioned and leave the sport before they develop their optimum physique. 2) It dilutes the ranks of the amateur ranks for the next few years. Of the 14 new pros maybe 12 should have stayed in the amateurs to work toward improvement. Back in the ‘90s when pro cards were harder to come by many future big names had multiple appearances at the Nationals and USA Championships as they sought their pro card. Here’s a not inclusive list of the number of appearance at that level some big names made: Bob Cicherillo (14), Flex Wheeler (4), Paul DeMayo (4), Chris Cormier (3), John Sherman (5), Mike Francois (3), Don Long (3), Toney Freeman (5) and Tom Prince (5). These regular appearances at the USA and National Championships gave them name recognition and the media and bodybuilding public got to know them and identified them as front-runners in the countdown to the contests. Having guys of that caliber regularly competing for pro cards and improving year by year increased the quality of the amateur ranks. Given that hothouse of competition those guys didn’t turn pro until they were good enough to be pros. The same should apply today, but with so many pro cards being given the strength in depth of the amateur ranks is weakened as many top amateurs head into the pro before their time. Better for them and the quality of the amateur division that they battle on and make improvement until they are ready for the big step upward. Sadly a pro card doesn’t always equate to pro caliber. It sometimes seems today that the only thing harder than winning a pro card is not winning one.

Random Thoughts on The Results:


The complete Shaun Clarida was a clear winner.


NPC NationalsWinner Chris Derby was the most ripped in the whole contest. Welterweights – Personally thought that the more proportioned physique of runner-up Brandon Williams should have been ahead of the harder Artin Shahnazarian. Middleweights – Didn’t see this one coming. Anthony Paitaris won but methinks the hardness of third placed Edward Foster (only lightweight Chris Darby beat him for condition over the whole weekend) should have been rewarded. Heavily muscled runner-up Steve Silverman would have walked it if he had been able to control his midsection. Anyway congrats to Paitaris in what was remarkable only his second ever contest.

Light Heavyweights

The hardness and full development of Adam Cohen quite righty won Friday night proceedings, while runner-up Cory Matthews brought his A-game 24 hours too late.


A star is born in the fabulous shape, crisp conditioning and flowing proportions of 24-year-old Justin Compton – check out the gallery. Runner-up Lloyd Dollar was aptly on the money (c’mon dya think the punster would pass on that one), while third placed Rob Youells has great line but needs a little more mass.

Super Heavyweights –

Brian YerskyThe chiseled mass, full condition and overall development of Brian Yersky dominated this class as he nabbed a pro card at the seventh attempt. It was also cork-popping time for runner-up Anthoneil Champagne as he entered the pro ranks.

Overall Title

At Friday night’s prejudging (without seeing them next to each other) I felt that the greater size of Yersky would overcome heavyweight Justin Compton. But by Saturday night Compton had become even tighter and these peepers thought he took it. But Yersky is a savvy warrior, knowing how in comparisons to play to his strengths and hide his weaknesses. Bottom line, both are ready for the pros.

To Those That Made It Happen:

Kudos to promoter Steve Karel, Jim Manion and the NPC organization, and the athletes of course for putting on a great show. And a special shout out to the backstage crew and emcee Lonnie Teper who processed a total of over 850 competitors in all classes in time efficient style.

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