Photos: Amid MLB Steroid Crackdown, Natural Bodybuilding Championship Hits St. Louis

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Adrian Shropshire - Danny Wicentowski
Danny Wicentowski
Adrian Shropshire

Shropshire was right. Too right -- he lost in the evening to Dan Noble, owner of Max Sports Nutrition in St. Louis, an opponent who apparently was thinking the same thing as Shoprshire.

Dan Noble - Danny Wicentowski
Danny Wicentowski
Dan Noble

Shoprshire's physique is nothing to scoff at; he is demonstrably whooping his golden years in the ass at 60. And while there were only a handful of bodybuilders near or above 50, the ultra-disciplined lifestyle seems to be working pretty well for them.

Ella Thomas, 45, has been competing in events since January. She explained: "I saw a friend, and her body looked pretty good, and I wanted to compete with her."

She laughed, adding, "Yeah, I wanted to beat her." Later that day, Thomas won first place in her class, taking home a DFAC pro card in women's bodybuilding.

And before you judge her less-than-noble motivations, it turns out keeping your body in peak physical conditions has other, remarkably healthy upsides even when you're not showing off your bronzed and perfectly cut hammies: Thomas said her exercise regiment and diet means she almost never gets sick, her digestive system is great, and (oh, right) she's in a bikini out on a stage in front of hundreds of people when most women at her age...are not.

Of course, Thomas and all the rest of the bodybuilders didn't go out there au naturale: Pre-match preparations commonly included last minute time with your posing coach, light weight-lifting to keep your muscles defined and blood flowing, and, of course, bronzer. A hell of a lot of it.

Bronzer. - Danny Wicentowski
Danny Wicentowski
Bronzer.

So what's with all the bronzer? And how can I make my manly chesticles really 'pop' in on stage? Find answers and more photos on the next page.

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