I was a kid who grew up relishing larger than life characters both fictional and non-fictional. I remember idolizing characters and people such as Hulk Hogan, Rocky Balboa and that entire series of movies, the strongmen on Wide World of Sports, the Incredible Hulk, Arnold, as Conan and the Terminator, and other larger than life images. These stuck with me and shaped my mindset as I grew.
I played a variety of sports as a kid – baseball, soccer, basketball, gymnastics. When I got to jr. high the only sport I wanted to play was football, but as luck would have it I was too young at the time of tryouts. I tried wrestling, but it wasn’t for me. So I found gymnastics and that became the difference, so to speak.
As a gymnast, I had a coach Ken Friedheim, who commands respect and demands the best of his athletes, on and off the field. I spent six plus years learning and getting to know him and aside from my father, he was the most impactful male influence in my life. Gymnastics taught strength, control, poise and the importance of practice. My coach taught discipline, respect, mental focus and the importance of perfect practice making perfect.
During the off-seasons, I began lifting weights with the guidance and encouragement of both my father, who bought me my first weight set, and Mr. Friedheim who expected his gymnasts to follow a weight training program during the off-season.
By my junior and senior year I was hooked into bodybuilding and reading the magazines and learning as much as I could.
In college, with my gymnastics career behind me, I stuck with what I knew, which was bodybuilding. I lifted regularly in the weight room, and ate to support my workouts and promote growth.
During the summer of my sophomore year I convinced my dad to take me to Bev Francis’ bodybuilding show so I could see Rich Gaspari guest pose. After seeing that competition I decided I would enter that exact show the following year.
During that year of training I met Pete Fountain, who became my training partner, closest friend, and biggest supporter of the bodybuilding lifestyle.
I competed in that show and learned a valuable lesson – that was my first and last non drug tested competition. I was not discouraged, I just searched out drug tested organizations. For the next few years I competed in a handful of competitions placing usually in the top 3 or 4 and getting some valuable feedback from the judges.
The next few years, life took over and after a few shows I aimed to compete in were cancelled or postponed, I stopped competing but continued to lift and train hard.
Fast forward 15 years later,….
Pete and I were still training hard together and pushing ourselves in the weight room. I still ate fairly well and followed a bodybuilder lifestyle without the restrictions of competing. Sometime in the summer of 2009 I began to think about returning to competing after seeing several natural shows promoted around the area. By chance I found my competing journal and all the notes I kept so diligently years ago. This spurred my motivation and by the fall I had run the idea past Pete and off we went.
In April of 2010 I stepped onstage for the first time in 16 years or so in the Natural Northeast Bodybuilding and Figure Championships. I placed second. From that the learning process continued. I continued to improve and compete and earned my pro card in 2011.
In 2013 I competed at the pro level in both the ANBF and the DFAC. Both these federations have come to feel like home. In that year, I competed in 4 competitions, 2 in the spring and 2 in the fall, the last of those 4 shows being the DFAC World Finals. It was an amazing first experience and the knowledge gained from that show and year were incredible.
I returned to the world stage in Miami with the DFAC again in 2014 and brought my most complete and best conditioned package to date. Although I did not crack the top five, I could not have been more proud of the physique I had brought to that stage. I had met every goal I set for that year and the goal is always to be better than my previous best.
With the feedback from that show, I plotted a 2 year course to improve and take the time to pay attention to the fine details before heading back to the stage. That plan has been developed and executed since stepping off the plane from Miami in 2014 and will culminate on stage at the 2016 DFAC World Finals in Miami in the fall. The journey continues.
Natural Pro Fitness Coaching
Upon returning to the stage I knew I wanted to be more than a competitor. That is my own personal quest, but more importantly my goal was to help others. Having earned the level of professional bodybuilder was an opportunity to use that platform to reach others. One of the greatest rewards is being able to share my passion of fitness and a healthy lifestyles with other people. Through much development and a partnership with Peter Fountain, Natural Pro Fitness Coaching was formed. This is an online and in person business aimed at helping people learn how to make small, almost seamless changes into their already busy schedules to improve the quality of their lives.
I have had the honor of writing for Natural Muscle Magazine since 2012. Each month I am fortunate to share my knowledge and passion with others on nutrition, training, lifestyle, and the mental aspects of both sport and living a balanced lifestyle.
A Lifetime Passion
I have been able to take the written word and turn it into seminars and live question and answer sessions online through social media. Interacting with people in person and being able to share knowledge, answer questions, and help others along in their own fitness journey has always been my greatest joy in all of this. Over the past year, through Natural Pro Fitness Coaching, we have been able to begin to develop seminars and presentation topics to reach a larger audience.