Bodybuilders head to Murrysville for OCB pro qualifier competition
Joe Sharrow of Lower Burrell wasn’t about to let a shattered wrist keep him from pursuing his passion for bodybuilding.
“I have a plate and nine screws holding it together,” said Sharrow, 55. “I’ve lost some mobility and it still hurts, but I decided I’m not going to let it stop me from doing what I love to do.”
That pursuit will see Sharrow and others entering the OCB Natural Pittsburgh pro qualifier tournament, April 6 at Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville.
The competition is marking its 30th year in 2019, and is presented by Dean’s Health and Fitness Center in Murrysville.
Sharrow, who has been a bodybuilder since the early 1980s, competes specifically in the bodybuilding category.
“It’s the most hardcore,” he said. “You need to get lean, have good muscle symmetry and definition.”
He trains five or six days a week, and as he gets closer to a competition, “you change things up. For one, you want to speed your workout up, and take fewer breaks between sets.”
Sharrow’s overall goal is to get as much muscle mass as he can achieve.
Matthew Heavner, 20, of New Kensington, is at the opposite end of the bodybuilding spectrum: he started lifting weights in high school and the OCB competition will be his second overall.
“I remember going to the Arnold Classic when I was about 12 years old,” Heavner said. “They had a big banner up of Arnold (Schwarzenegger) that said, “I’m Back,” and I remember thinking it would be pretty cool to look like that.”
Heavner competes in the men’s classic physique category.
“It’s referred to as sort of the ‘Golden Era’ of bodybuilding: the small waist, nice lines and symmetry and all that,” he said.
Heavner usually trains five days a week and does cardio exercise daily.
“As I get closer, I’ll back off the weights a little bit to let my muscles recover, and then it’s more about dieting than lifting,” he said.
Sharrow, who was the OCB’s 50-plus champion in the “Masters” category in 2015, agreed.
“Your diet is what provides the definition,” he said. “That’s why us bodybuilders are kind of a dying breed — nobody wants to compete in a bodybuliding show that’s 80 percent diet and 20 percent working out.”
Heavner said the support he’s gotten from fellow bodybuilding enthusiasts has really helped him along.
“Being part of a group of people who take this seriously is great,” he said. “When you get done training after a year or two and see this thing that you achieved yourself, it can really boost your confidence.”
The OCB Natural Pittsburgh pro qualifier will kick off at 11 a.m. April 6 at the high school, 3200 School Road in Murrysville.
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at OCBonline.com.
For more, call 724-327-3326 or email [email protected]
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .