With sponsorship I can work wonders -says pocket-Hercules Sylvon Gardner
By Steve Ninvalle
October 7, 2002
Sylvon Gardener is a man on a mission. In just over two years of competing in bodybuilding he has chalked up a first for Guyana. Last month at the CAC bodybuilding championships the squatty Gardner became the first Guyanese to win a gold in the bantamweight category.
It was the first time that the 26-year-old had competed overseas and his placing has whetted his appetite for more medals. At 5' 3" and a competition weight of 135 pounds he knows that he has done well but feels that more could be achieved. Lamenting the scarcity of sponsorship the local pocket-rocket predicted wonders once he gets the "backings."
"I have goals of getting to the top of my sport but for now I'm taking it one day at a time. I would not be entering any other local competition for 2002. That means that I will be missing Flex Night which will be held later this month. I have used up a lot of my finance and right now it is very hard on me. That is what happens in this sport. You really don't make any money but to maintain a competitive body takes a lot of finance. I spent a minimum of $10,000 per week leading up to the CAC championship. And that was just on things to eat. In Guyana the only competition where cash prizes are given out is Mr. Flex Night. So the amount of money collected from that competition cannot up keep a bodybuilder for a year. It was rough but somehow I managed to make it. That's why the medal means so much to me. It was hard but you know that nothing good comes easy. I was trying to get some sponsorship just before the CAC championship but it was only until very late that some folks came forward. People like Mike's Pharmacy and a few others donated some stuff like suppliments. If had gotten sponsorship early I would have been much better prepared, I would have looked more outstanding. I would really appreciate the added assistance since its tough going at it alone. Once I get that then I can concentrate on bringing home more golds for my beloved country. This gold medal means a lot to me. It was my first overseas competition. In fact it was my first trip overseas. I'm very proud not only for myself but for my country. When I look at it I see that hard work pays off.
My dieting was very different leading up to the CAC competition. I never really dieted for local competitions. I would stop using water for about two days before the actual competition and come off completely from carbohydrates. For the CAC championship I came off of salt, water and carbohydrates. I used a high protein diet which consisted of a lot of egg-whites, beans, chicken, beef and fish and food suppliments. There were days that I consumed up to 12 eggs."
His usual weight is approximately 154 pounds but he sheds about 19 pounds for competitions. "I train five days per week and I train with Paul Nicholas. I really admire Randy Coleman but the person who really inspired me to get into bodybuilding is Paul Nichols.
When I joined the Power Plant Gym I used to look at Paul as senior person and I always wanted to emulate him. I got involved in the sport in 2000. The guys in the gym kept urging me to go up for the novices competition. I realised then that they had the confidence in me. I took a shot at it and captured the first place. I then brought first at Mr. Physique and took away the crown in the lightweight category at Mr. Flex Night 2001. I never looked back from that time.
"The sport is very nice. I would advise any young person to get into it. You must have discipline though. Once you have that and dedication you are on your way."