Personal Training is a Privilege



As trainers, we are given a great privilege and responsibility in the lives of those people who come to us for training. The best trainers know this and are always the ones with full schedules.

New trainees come to us with implicit trust in the information and techniques we propose to them. It is our job to give them the best of what we have if we expect to receive their best efforts and following.

The floors of current mega-gyms are littered with overweight, out-of-shape, irresponsible and ill-informed wanna-bes who not only don’t walk the talk, but don’t know the walk. They are often inattentive, rude, vulgar and a disgrace to those of us truly vested in helping people become safer, smarter, healthier athletes. And a negative influence toward our efforts.


We are not only teaching/coaching/training the one client that stands in front of us; we are training their spouses, friends, children, parents and anyone else whose lives they may touch as a result of the insights or accomplishments you’ve given them.

As trainers, we are also nutritionists, cheerleaders, counselors, doctors, confidantes, and more. They come to us to train and see physical results; but they also come for friendship, companionship, a sounding board, a place of refuge and a place of stability in their challenging world. They don’t want to hear your problems or excuses. They idolize you as an ideal, with the body and disciplines they aspire to. You are paid for your knowledge and support. Do not let them down.


The days are long, the frustrations sometimes more frequent than the rewards; and at times, trainers are as resistant to see their clients as the client’s are to see them. When the trainer is unmotivated, where exactly does that leave the client? When both look forward to the appointments with equal enthusiasm, we all know the magic that happens. We must be creative, knowledgeable, informed, and convincing salespeople who can impart a vision built on the sparse framework of the “idea” of what someone actually wants.

Many people say they’d like like to be trainers, think they can be trainers, sometimes despise us for being trainers, and just as in all walks of life, when those who can’t, become critics. The few who recognize our contributions and merit for teaching those who can’t or won’t, succeed by motivating with a ripple effect; until the lives we touch, touch two more in return, and the goodness we can impart, spreads.


Keep these things in mind as people come to you for training. It is an honor to serve in this way, as we do what we love. We give to humanity on a daily basis. Complain quietly, but give loudly; because if you don’t do the job of taking care of your people, they will find someone who will. Train them compassionately, with an open mind and open heart. Gain trust by giving trust that both of you will achieve the stated goals. See in them what they can’t see in themselves. Hold to their vision, not with your own ego, but with your understanding for their cause. Give, in order to receive.



Overall Bikini 2013 Ron Love Classic

Bikini Winners


The required poses in the posing rounds for each division of NPC competitions are each different, but similar. As confusing as that sounds, that’s how clear the judging criteria is for any and every NPC event. “You can, you can’t…you should, you shouldn’t”… all rules are malleable, all guidelines are blurred.

The Official required poses can be found here but are subject to change, even mid pose. With the addition of “True Novice” and all the iterations of categories to ensure crossover costs per division keep rising, keep checking the official entry blank of your area promoters; as if Novice, Local, Open and National Qualifier weren’t enough. But I’m trying to clarify rather than confound the issue more.


Men Physique Winners

Sure size, shape, symmetry, muscularity, leanness, roundness, height, non-muscularity,  smile, tan, teeth, suit, association to the judging panel, and sometimes even the actual physique, matter. But ultimately a competitor, through the perfect concoction of the above ingredients, and the grace of God Himself, must please the judges, must win the appeal, must ignite a connection between those on the table, to those on the stage. Sometimes, even the hands-down, most-obvious, walk-away winner in the competition, does not win. Yet sometimes, sometimes, when the applause-o-meter is working that day and all the judges go to lunch at the same diner, the real winners are chosen, undisputedly, across all divisions. It happens, really. I’ve seen it myself.


Bodybuilding Winners

This inconsistency is the only consistent tract from the lowest, local levels of the competition, through the highest-almighty IFBB Pro ranks. Someone appealed to the right someone, all down the line, all the way to the top. The rest of the discrepancies determining that rise would take a book to document. Still, the poses required pale compared to the hoops ensued.


Bikini Winners

After 30 years of work in this field, and over 600 shows documented from behind the scenes, it’s time someone tells the truth about competitive physique events. This is not to bash any specific people, just to inform the competitors of what they are dealing with and in what’s become of this sport that means so much to so many, yet so little to a few. You can speculate all you want over that sentence; but to those involved over the years to build it to what it is, who supported, promoted, documented and spent countless hours coaching, training, nurturing and developing it into the monster it’s become, we all know where our personal responsibility falls.


Pro Bikini

The athletes themselves are often spectacular. Their hard work and dedication rival the greatest of any athlete in any other sport on their level. Amateur bodybuilders work harder than amateur baseball players. Olympia contenders work as hard as Olympic contenders. They are each measured subjectively right down to the direction their toes are pointing. They win by paying  attention to every nuance of detail to ensure their appeal is as convincing as their performance. But often, even when everything is 110% correct, it doesn’t turn out right.


Women Physique

The distinctions for the new divisions of physique men, physique women, bikini and whatever else the ruling gods may conspire to produce, are no more definitive than those of an advertising campaign. Sales. That’s all. And the sad part is, the competitor never knows where the line will be drawn in any given event. So the competitor who wins in week one, must realize 6th place is possible in two weeks, or 60th in a National show even though you’re the best in the state. And this is the way it must be; unless the rules require a timer, a knockout, a pin, or a duel to the death.


Figure Winners

This is the best advice on how to win a Physique competition. It’s a crapshoot, keep trying. Let your body be your trophy, walk your talk, lead with distinction, move on.

If you’re lucky, a judge was watching and can give you the necessary feedback to improve. By that time you know your own weaknesses and are simply looking for a confirmation from a knowledgeable eye. These are the only definitive guidelines:

  • You must only bring your best.
  • You must fully prepare every given detail.
  • You must perform the mandatory and compulsory poses.
  • You must expect the best, but prepare for the worst.
  • You must take criticism constructively.
  • You must smile and accept defeat as equally as victory.
  • You must continue to be your best, do your best, share your best.
  • You must realize that the path makes you a winner, not the trophy.

The sport of Physique competition has been growing steadily, giving many more athletes room to compete, despite their weaknesses, handicaps, age or affiliation. The sport has helped to raise public awareness to the beauty of an aesthetically pleasing physique, and the care, preparation and attention it takes to acquire one. By giving more competitors a chance to compete, it has left less winners in every category; but not necessarily defining what makes one the best and runners up, down the line. In short, it has become quantity over quality.

It is a cattle call. Your nine months of training are whittled down to four turns and a return trip to the warm up room; which used to be “pump up room” but that too has been disallowed. Bodybuilders used to be judged from their forearms to their calves, left to right, top to bottom. Now, an athlete is often chosen without yet making it to the comparison line-up.

It’s true when they say the victory is in the journey. It’s a gratifying sport, an enriching path that leads you to your best shape and opens new doors of opportunity and service. But the sport of Physique Competition has been dwindling as the number of athletes has risen, the number of promotions have dropped, and the integrity of the sport, diminished.



Best Posing Routines Anthology 1985 – The Pros


This is a tribute to the many great posers I have seen in the last 30 years of recording video for the Michigan and Midwest bodybuilding community.

Let’s start with some rarely seen IFBB Professional bodybuilders, Bob Paris and Kay Baxter. These were also the early days of video, so be lenient with the footage, it’s as good as could be preserved over 30 years and many, many format changes.

The second group is a nod to our own Michigan IFBB Pros, Lenda Murray, 8x Ms. Olympia, and Ron Love, the “Most Shows” man in the sport of bodybuilding over his career. I am blessed enough to consider each of these people as close, personal friends. They are two of the sweetest, most sincere and real people you’ll ever meet. Give them a note here, on Facebook or on Twitter and through my many channels to let them know you appreciate their dedicated effort and support as bodybuilding alumni and Hall of Fame members. As always, enjoy…

Physique Posing Fitness & Physique-Sarah Bodary


Sarah Bodary is a Fttness competitor and a Physique competitor. Her attention to detail in all aspects of the sport are phenomenal. She has her own style. From her suits and costumes, to her hairstyles, she shouts, “individual.”

Her fitness routine, seen here at the 2014 Flint/Mid-Michigan, was memorable. She had all the required moves and utilizes the stage over every inch; but she also accomplished the rare ingredient of bringing drama to the performance, by plotting out the course of a cat -burglar/cat-woman, in bad ass fashion, with push-ups, cartwheels, flips and handstands, punctuated by punches and kicks to finish off her invisible foe. It was as memorable as it was enjoyable.

When she cracks the whip, she brings it home; to show she even practiced that. The Devil was in the details of every bit of this splendid routine. This is where true athleticism shows for the women’s Fitness division.

Bodary next competes as a Physique competitor at the 2015 Flint Championships, owning the stage with poses to match the beat of the music; and once again, capitalizing on every inch of floor space across the stage.

We need more of this entertainment aspect in all divisions to save the physique sports from being “4-turns-to-trophy” shows.

What is Right (and Wrong) With This Routine


This is the Masters Division of the 2015 Nicole Wilkins Natural Michigan Championships.

Sam Awada is a seasoned bodybuilder. He trains at his own home gym and is also a doctor, with 4 kids as well.

Awada comes out with classic poses. He uses the stage well, from his entrance off-stage, to his strut to the opposite end. This draws the audience to his performance and shows his level of confidence and command of attention. Brilliant opening move.

He uses his arms and legs to show an open, welcoming posing style. He has nothing to hide. Despite his weaknesses, he performs open poses that reach across the space of the stage and he moves beautifully.

This is where we see he has the poses in his mind, but not fully in his body. He knows what he wants to look like, but he needed a bit more practice in both solidifying his poses and transitioning from one to the next.

He knows his back is his best feature and, he’s obviously showing off his striated glutes; all done in good taste, and rare to see in Men’s natural Masters competitions. He moves eloquently from one pose to the next, but again, he could have used a little more practice in bringing those poses home. He definitely used the stage well and was not afraid to traverse or come upstage toward the judges and audience. Another seasoned move.

The poses are held long enough and timed perfectly to the powerful music cues. He keeps attention and holds the audience with his charisma and smile. This is a real bodybuilder doing classic, bodybuilding poses, mixed in with dramatic effects. This was one of the best routines of the nightshow.

What do you think about this routine? Let me know by posting your answers here.

8x Ms. Olympia LENDA MURRAY Interview Part Four


Lenda talks about her involvement in promotion, the importance of studying your progress through videotape and the importance of honest feedback on your performance and physique development.

8xMs. Olympia LENDA MURRAY Interview Part Three


The Lenda Murray Interview Part Three covers her work as a Ms. Olympia ambassador and brings her to her current projects as an actress on Adam Sandler’s Ridiculous Six movie, her promotions of bodybuilding events in Norfolk, Virginia and now her hometown of Detroit, Michigan, where, on August 29, 2015, she will be hosting the Lenda Murray Classic in the historic Redford Theatre where she began her career as a Michigan bodybuilder.

She talks about the highs and lows of being in the spotlight with Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazines, her commentary on ESPN, covering bodybuilding events and fitness shows; and talks about many of the highlights and blessings she has had along the way, while staying centered and true to both her family and hometown roots.

8xMs. Olympia LENDA MURRAY Interview Part Two


The Lenda Murray Interview Part Two details her transition from amateur Michigan competitor to National leval competition and her ultimate rise to her first and second Ms. Olympia wins.

She covers how it affected her outlook as a competitor and the importance of the business perspective in regard to the  responsibility as a brand to sponsors, promoters, colleagues and fans. She tells how friends and family kept her grounded and humble and what people expected of her as an ambassador to the sport.

Listen closely to her methodical approach to going one step at a time rather than focusing too far out on the big picture. She offers great advice to newcomers and seasoned pro’s alike on the realities of the sport, the blessings it’s offered her and how she gives back.

8xMs. Olympia LENDA MURRAY Interview Part One


Lenda Murray, 8 Time Ms. Olympia

Lenda Murray, 8 Time Ms. Olympia and Tom Typinski


This first of 4 interviews is an exclusive conversation with the phenomenal pioneer and ambassador in the sport of Women’s Bodybuilding, Lenda Murray. She is an eight time Ms. Olympia, the highest honor in the sport of physique competitions; a member of the IFBB Hall of Fame, an actress, an ESPN commentator and world recognized spokeswoman for the sport of professional bodybuilding. She is also a mother, grandmother and down to earth friend I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for her entire career, since she first stepped onto a bodybuilding stage here in her hometown of Michigan.

Part One details her early career as an athlete at Western Michigan University, then her quest to become a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader at the time when the cheerleaders were more famous than the team; and her eventual success with the short-lived UFL in Michigan.

She describes the early days of women in the workout realm from the perspective of the Powerhouse Gym Highland Park, the Mecca of Midwest bodybuilding where many, many professional bodybuilders were nurtured and developed, and many still are to this day. She stood out from the first step and recognized a passion for the sport as a bodybuilding competitor. She had much to learn and now has much to share with what it takes to get on stage in every division of Competitive Physique sports.

The next 3 parts of the Interview delve deeper into her past; with what being Ms. Olympia has meant to her, the opportunities, downfalls and realities it created; and lead right up to her present involvements as a promoter and outstanding spokeswoman for the sport of Physique Competition.

She is a dear friend whom I’m honored to know all these years; centered, blessed, down to earth, practical and real. And now, ladies and gentlemen, for you, The Lenda Murray Interview Part One.



This is an interview with an excellent Men’s Physique competitor on the National level, Cedrick McKinney. He is a dedicated, passionate participant, who has done his homework and is ready to move up to the IFBB Professional ranks.

He has charm, charisma, confidence and that winning smile that he backs up with a first class physique. Watch the way he talks about the sport, and you’ll see both his conviction and his willingness to help others achieve their fitness goals. We had a very pleasant conversation, but I’ll let you judge for yourself.

He can be reached for training, posing and nutrition consultation at

Figure Competitor Amanda Betron Interview Part Two

This is the second part of an interview done with National level Figure competitor Amanda Betron. She is also a trainer at The Rochester Gym, specializing in contest prep, figure training, posing and motivation. Her frankness and sincerity are evident in this second part of the interview, where she talks at length in the differences between competing on the state level, and what she’d learned on the National level.

She will be hosting a boot camp for group training and nutrition coaching on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, February 2,  through March 28. Sign up at by Saturday January 31. Email for more info.

Amanda can be reached at and by email at for training, advice and inspiration.