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Ripple Effect
First-up win for firefighter

By Michael Weaver
LAC Luke Schembri strikes a pose on his way to being named Mr Junior Sydney at the 2003 Australasian Natural Bodybuilding Association Sydney Titles at the Castle Hill RSL.               Photo by Richard Gregorio Photography
LAC Luke Schembri strikes a pose on his way to being named Mr Junior Sydney at the 2003 Australasian Natural Bodybuilding Association Sydney Titles at the Castle Hill RSL. Photo by Richard Gregorio Photography

SUCH was the preparation for his first bodybuilding competition that Leading Aircraftman Luke Schembri took a week off work leading up to the event as he knew he would not have the energy to do his job properly.

The firefighter from RAAF Base Richmond drained himself of energy so that his skin literally shrank on to his muscle-bound figure.

However, the ripple effect it created paid dividends when he was named Mr Junior Sydney at the Australasian Natural Bodybuilding Association 2003 Sydney Championships at the Castle Hill RSL on May 25.

“You end up looking good, but you’ve got nothing as far as energy goes, so I had to take the week off,” LAC Schembri said.

In the 12 weeks leading up to the event, he could eat no fat and what he did consume was strictly calorie controlled.

“I drank three litres of water a day and basically ate lots of wholemeal rice, corn, fish and veges so that my body actually held zero fat,” he said.

And then there’s the weight training, with high repetitions of light weights followed by low repetitions of heavy weights, with some more light weights to provide the finishing touches.

On the day of competition the heavyweight action began when entrants were waxed and fake-tanned before the rigorous process of performing for the judges.

Facing six entrants in his division, LAC Schembri poised himself for pre-judging where eight compulsory poses are performed, followed by a symmetry session where judges checked for muscle definition.

A free-posing routine to music completed the judging, with the winner being the one with the fewest points.

LAC Schembri finished with a convincing victory on seven points from his nearest opponent on 15 points, both being mates from the same training gym, Plus Fitness at Northmead.

“I thought I had a good chance but didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself,” LAC Schembri said.
“Three months of preparation all goes into one moment, so I was pretty psyched for the event. On stage it was all a blur really.”
But he wasn’t finished there, with winners of each division recalled to decide the overall champion.

Following another judging routine, LAC Schembri placed second overall and received high praise from officials who said he should definitely aim for the Australian titles in October.

“I was pretty drained by the end of it all and actually put on 4kg of fluid that night (thanks to a couple of well-earned beers) and I put on 10kg in the week after,” he said.

He was naturally elated with the first-up win and, as a former rugby league player and amateur boxer, described the experience as being on par with playing either sport.

A broken nose and subsequent operation made him rethink his chosen sports. He came across bodybuilding after doing weights for a couple of years.

LAC Schembri joined the Air Force in September 2000 and after completing his initial training, has been at RAAF Base Richmond ever since.

“Being four days on and four days off is perfect as it gives me the flexibility I need to train and compete,” he said.
 

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