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Corey Pavitt stood atop a folding table, naked except for a pair of bikini briefs. The anatomy class of mostly women stared, awe-struck, and then began to coo and holler as Pavitt turned and flexed his bulging quadriceps muscle.
``Oh, my god!'' said one woman.
``That's amazing!'' said another.
``Could you turn a little that way?'' said another. ``I can't quite see. Oh, that's it!''
Pavitt was posing for friend Jamie Bursell's anatomy class, and if he gets that kind of reaction this weekend, then the dieting, the vitamins, amino acids, protein powders, two-hours-a-day, seven-day-a-week workouts - will all have been worth it. Saturday night in Anchorage, Pavitt, 41, will compete in the Mr. Alaska competition. And, after a strong second-place showing last year, he feels he can win it.
``At 41, I feel like I'm just starting to hit my stride,'' he told the class.
Pavitt first entered the Mr. Alaska competition in 1980, then again in 1982. It wasn't until 1994, when he saw the competition as an audience member, that he decided to get back into body-building. Pavitt said he's been training steadily since then, with only a week or so of rest here and there.
The competition will have several mandatory poses, then a personal routine, then a pose-down among all the contestants.
``That's more for the crowd than anything else,'' said Pavitt, who'll enter the masters' open division. ``By that time the judges have made up their minds.''
The winner of each division competes for the overall title. A top-place finish at Mr. Alaska would qualify him for a number of national competitions.
The term ``sculpt'' is often used to describe how body-builders train, and it is apt. Compared to power-lifting, which involves training for strength, body-building is all about how you look. Body-symmetry and muscle definition are what the judges look for.
To build size, Pavitt power-lifted three times a week during the off-season. Last November Pavitt was named Best New Male Lifter at the Southeast Alaska Power-lifting Championships, where he totaled a 315-pound bench, 405-pound deadlift and 450-pound squat.
About 14 weeks before the Mr. Alaska, Pavitt began his current seven-day-a-week workout regime to develop each muscle to its fullest.
To help in his training, Pavitt consulted with former world champion body-builder Frank Zane, who was a perennial contender for the Mr. Universe title in the 1970s, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.
Pavitt sent Zane pictures for feedback on training techniques and for targeting certain body parts.
``It's extremely helpful having a former world champion body-builder giving you advice each week,'' said Pavitt. He added that the 57-year-old Zane is still in extremely good shape.
Which might explain why Pavitt is now in the best shape of his life.
``It's just an accumulation of knowledge,'' Pavitt said. ``It's the cumulative effect of seven years of training without a break. And just really learning what works for me.''
Pavitt, a local chiropractor who also runs a fitness center, said body-building demands varying degrees of commitment.
``Body-building at its simplist is simply exercising to improve your health and fitness,'' he said. ``Body-building at its most advanced is an art form.''
And to master any art, plenty of discipline is required. Pavitt scripted his diet of lean fish, egg whites, and fruits and vegetables 21 weeks in advance for this competition. Pavitt eats no red meat, and said he's never strayed and wolfed down that candy bar or extra slice of cheesecake. His body-fat percentage is five percent.
``I'm not hungry or unhealthy, I'm just really, really motivated,'' said Pavitt, who consumes 2,500 calories a day in six small meals. ``I eat foods that I enjoy. It takes discipline but it's not a hardship.''