BLURRED GUIDELINES

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Overall Bikini 2013 Ron Love Classic

Bikini Winners

“HEY, HEY, HEY…”

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

DREAM Girls II

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.

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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.

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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.

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8xMs. Olympia LENDA MURRAY Interview Part One

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Lenda Murray, 8 Time Ms. Olympia

Lenda Murray, 8 Time Ms. Olympia and Tom Typinski

LENDA MURRAY 8 TIME MS. OLYMPIA INTERVIEW PART ONE

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.

NPC Figure Competitor and Trainer Aimee Cinzori Interview

Figure Competitor and Male Physique trainer Aimee Cinzori gives some great insight into what it takes to compete on both local and National levels as a figure competitor. Aimee has a diverse background in training and is a well-rounded athlete, with High School Hall of Fame records to prove it. She humbly reveals quite a collection of achievements.

She is also very enjoyable to speak with, an affecting laugh that will keep you focused on the important points she has about stage presence, training, and being a lifelong athlete.

She can be contacted at www.fitxpedition.com and on Facebook at the same name, as well as her own personal Facebook page Aimee Stout Cinzori. For her shows and others, go to www.DreamVideoBodybuilding.com, the home of Michigan Bodybuilding Events since 1985.

CHLOE SANNITO FIGURE PHENOMENON

Chloe Sannito is going to be a competitor to watch in the NPC Figure Division. She won her first show, took overall, and went on to take 2nd place in the Chicago Iron Man against a very competitive field. This, and the fact that she is only 17 years old and a high school senior; but more than that, she battled childhood obesity, then turned the tables on being called “the fat kid” to now being the “fit kid.”

This girl inspired me as soon as she stepped on stage. She was an easy winner in this small group, but she still gave the audience her best shots, every one of them; and was a definite crowd pleaser.

Leg development in any physique sport is the determinant of the best conditioning, the hardest worker, the one paying attention to the details. Chloe Sannito had the best legs I’d seen all summer in any women’s division of Michigan Bodybuilding Competitions. When she turned around to show back, hamstrings and calves, the audience let out a simultaneous, “wow.”

She looked young, but who would have guessed 17? By the end of prejudging everyone knew who had the most outstanding physique of all the women at the 2013 Midwest Muscle Challenge; by the end of the night, the buzz about Chloe Sannito, “the teen figure girl,” was,  “who is this girl was and where she came from? “

Standing around to congratulate her later, I stood next to other admiring fans; the one closest to me happened to be her mother, who was beaming. She proceeded to tell me the remarkable transformation of this young girl from an 185 pound freshman from Crown Point, Indiana, to this high school senior at 110 pounds, winning the NPC Figure Competition; blowing everyone away in this, her first show.

Listen to this inspiring interview with Chloe as she tells of her ordeals, training, diet and thoughts on competition in the figure division of the NPC.

 

 

Bikini Physique Posing Practice with Stacey Kay

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Stacey Kay Morgan shows and tells how important posing practice is for the Bikini Physique competitor in NPC contests. Stacey is the 2012 Michigan Championships Bikini winner and has since competed in National events. Listen to her explain how posing should be as much a part of the competitor’s training as the training itself. Enjoy!

 

 

ACCEPTANCE

Gold Trophy

Tonight are the Oscars, the Academy Awards. Everyone who’s ever watched them has practiced their imaginary acceptance speech. Everyone who longs for stardom, success, recognition, dreams of receiving the “trophy,” the reward at the end of the journey, have sat there with smiles or tears or emotions to match the “winners”.

What journey are you on?

What reward  do you long for?

If you’re in a competitive physique sport, is it the first place trophy?

Or is it truly the “journey” and the reward of a fantastic body transformation and optimum health that’s enough gratification for the work enlisted?

What is your acceptance speech?

Who do you want to thank?

Who helped you and supported you and believed in you along the way?

Who is that trophy truly for?

What is that trophy truly for?

As you sit and watch the Oscars tonight, think through these questions and apply them to your quest, your job, your trials, your journey.

Think of what you’re seeking and whom you desire to be there by your side every step of the way, to the end; spouse, Mom, Dad, sisters, brothers, friends, God.

Now silently, say thank you to all of those who stand by your side right now, at this stage in your journey; wherever you may be, at the start, near the end, or still looking for the Path. Say, “thank you.”

THANK YOU!