I read my first issue of Muscle and Fitness not too long after I found my passion for bodybuilding and weight training. The first issues were ones that a friend in high school would bring in and we would spend time reading various articles and talking about specific bodybuilders.
It wasn’t long before I had a subscription to M&F. I think it would become a yearly Christmas gift from my parents which was always a great gift. I can remember waiting and checking the mailbox each day when I knew a new issue would be arriving soon. I would read them cover to cover and take away parts of workout routines or new exercises that I could try out and incorporate into my own workouts. The bodybuilders and pictures were always amazing and I definitely aspired to be one of those bodybuilders.
Each monthly issue was my lifeline to the bodybuilding world. Without internet, each issue contained not only new workouts, nutrition information, recipes, etc, it also contained contest results, bodybuilder profiles, pictures, and occasionally posters. I would hang the posters in my room at home, later in my dorm room, and even after college they would end up on a wall wherever I was living. They were my inspiration and motivation to follow my passion and keep going to the gym, eating right, and striving to improve and build the best physique I could.
It has been over twenty years since I picked up my first issue of Muscle and Fitness. Because of that magazine I learned a great deal about training, nutrition, and living a healthy lifestyle but also so much more. It set me on the path to building and living a healthy bodybuilding and fitness lifestyle. Even when I wasn’t competing I ate well, trained hard, and made wise choices about my body and what I was and was not willing to put into it. This lifestyle impacts every aspect of my life to this day. Through M&F I learned of and went to watch my first bodybuilding show to meet Rich Gaspari who was the guest poser at the show. I went with my dad and that nigh I knew I would compete. I competed in that very competition the following year. Over the years I met Bev Francis, Dorian Yates (on several occasions), Kevin Levrone, and Lenda Murray. These were the people who I followed religiously on the pages of M&F and it was always an incredible experience to see and meet them in person.
This month, I have made it into the pages of Muscle and Fitness myself. I am not the reigning Mr. Olympia, nor a 265 pound monster, which quite frankly I am more than ok with. I don’t have a multi-page spread with my own workout photos and routine splashed across the pages (not yet anyway!). Instead I have a very short and probably insignificant little blurb and picture (taken by Jenniffer Merida, photoCHICA photography) in the M&Fer of the Month section. Insignificant to most except for me. For me, I am now a professional natural bodybuilder which means I have worked my ass off for years and have reached another dream come true – being a pro. As this issue comes out I just competed in my first show as a pro and was in the greatest shape and condition of my life. Taking things to a whole new level would be an understatement as preparing for this debut has been completely over the top and absolutely amazing. Being included in the pages of Muscle and Fitness is definitely a dream come true. While not the way I envisioned it when I was a teen, but it still represents the commitment and dedication to hard work, sticking to my own goals, and persistence. And that I would put up against any bodybuilder in that magazine any day. It is a proud accomplishment for me and definitely an honor to be on the pages of a magazine that has been such a part of my life in so many ways, for such a long time.