It isn't just women who compete in the Penn Bodybuilding Contest. The guys also strip down to Speedos (or less).
Sean Welleck, 20, a first-time competitor and a junior in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, won the Mr. Penn title this fall.
A former member of the track who hails from Austin, Texas, Welleck says he "adopted a totally different lifestyle" to train for the competition. Last spring, he began seriously weightlifting. And in the past few months, he woke up to a morning cardio session of running, biking or swimming, then would lift four or five times a week in the gym. He would also make his own meals, eating six smaller ones per day.
As with the other guys in the show, he also shaved his legs and arms — "pretty much everything," he says, for the competition. "I think it's an interesting part of the whole sport," he said. "It's definitely a lot different than the rest of the preparation — trying to be big in the gym and then toward the end, you're tanning and shaving."
Some of the other men competing included Aria Mahtabfar, a fifth-year Wharton and nursing student, and junior Reuben Hampton, who's an economics major from Masterman High School and whose family lives in West Mount Airy.
Mahtabfar, 22, said he lost 55 pounds during the training and had to buy a closet full of new clothes. His performance at the show earned him second place in his category.
Welleck, 20, won the tall-class men's category doing a routine choreographed to the music of "Time," from the "Inception" movie soundtrack.
When he and David Christian competed onstage together in their final pose-down, cheers of "Welleck, Welleck!" arose from the men's track team, while other audience members yelled out: "D.C.! D.C.!"