In the past year the life of 25-year-old Lavie Kafra was dedicated to one goal: to stand on the stage of the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) in Las Vegas and represent Israel with honor.
After months of preparation and hard work, Kafra took a silver medal in the Pro Men's Physique 2021 competition. Now, he can finally relax, and maybe even stray a little from his strict diet and daily regimen.
"I have been working out since I was 16 years old," said Kafra, who works as a nutrition advisor. "I always trained hard, and I played many sports such as basketball, ping pong, tennis, and volleyball. But the idea to take part in the competition came to my mind only two years ago, when my friend, who is also my personal trainer, told me about the WNBF's natural bodybuilding competition.
"As a kid, I always thought bodybuilding without banned supplements is impossible, but when I found out you can also do it naturally, that's I started to train for my first competition," Kafra said.
Kafra first won first place at the National Amateur Body-Builders' Association competition (NABBA) in the category of natural bodybuilding. Later, he won the Motor Body Constructions (MBC) competition and the champion of champions title of the WNBF organization, which promotes natural bodybuilding without any banned substances.
After winning the champion of champions title, Kafra felt he is on the right track. As a result, he signed up for the world championship.
"Each contestant has to take a urine test and a polygraph test, in order to make sure he doesn't use banned substances such as anabolic steroids or insulin, and only after I passed all the tests, I was officially notified that I won," he explained.
After he finished celebrating his win, Kafra dedicated himself to the real challenge, the preparation for the world championship in Las Vegas.
"It was a tough period of intensive workout and a very strict nutrition throughout the whole day, my full focus was directed towards winning, even if it means putting my nutrition business and my relationship on hold," Kafra said.
"I got to a situation in which I eat six meals a day in order to gain muscle mass since the body burns a lot of calories in order to grow muscles. I found myself sitting in front of my plate late at night, and force eating because I had no choice."
From that point, Kafra said it only became harder, because you start with large amounts of calories, and then, you cut your calorie intake for 2-3 months. "I had to cut my calorie intake in order to reach a competitive percentage of body fat, from some 6%-7% of body fat to around 3%-4%."
At the competition, Kafra qualified for the top five, and the winner was decided by whoever got the highest score from the judges.
"I was really shocked when I reached the top five, suddenly they called my name, each judge gave his score, and everyone was sure I would win, but eventually I finished second. However, my goal wasn't winning, my goal was to bring my best shape to the world championship stage.
"The competition was broadcast on hundreds of platforms, and I represented Israel and my organization well - which was all that matters."
When asked about his future plans Kafra said right now he dreams about nothing but rest. "I had to put many things on hold, right now I want to give myself time to rest in order to concentrate on my business and build more muscle mass so I can compete again in two years. At best, I will win, and at worst, I will get the chance to represent Israel again."