Muscle & Fitness Workouts, Nutrition Tips, Supplements & Advice Thu, 15 Dec 2022 23:39:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Awodibu, Walker get Heated, Help Spark the 2022 Olympia Press Conference Thu, 15 Dec 2022 23:39:01 +0000 The 2022 Olympia Weekend is officially underway. The opening act of bodybuilding’s biggest event was the 2022 Olympia Press Conference. The big names weren’t just onstage, either. Olympia owner Jake Wood, Olympia President Dan Solomon, and IFBB Pro League President Jim Manion were among those sitting in the front row as Bob Cicherillo served as moderator for the festivities.

Bodybuilders Big Ramy Brandon Curry and Hadi Choopan being interviews by Bob Cicherillo
Courtesy of Wings of Strength

All IFBB Pro League divisions were represented throughout the conference, but the entertainment was provided by the competitors in the Men’s Open. Two-time defending Mr. Olympia Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry, and two-time People’s Choice winner Hadi Choopan maintained courtesy while expressing confidence in their abilities. Elssbiay, with sunglasses on, predicted that winter was coming yet again, while Curry expressed that this year will be different because of one factor – time.

“I was able to put more time in this year, and I think it’s going to pay off,” said Curry. Later in the event, a group of contenders got the crowd loud and on their feet. WIlliam Bonac, Andrew Jacked, Blessing Awodibu, Iain Valliere, Nick Walker, and Hunter Labrada all shared the stage with Cicherillo. Jacked didn’t mince words when it came to his chances this weekend.

“This weekend, the Mona Lisa will be on full display,” he said confidently. He then called Valliere out for criticisms and comments he made, which then prompted Valliere to call Jacked out to pose down. Jacked opted to wait until Friday night at the Zappos Theater.

Awodibu referred to Walker as “brick” and said they were going to finish what they started, regarding their rivalry. Walker retorted with a line that was met with approval from the crowd.

“I don’t talk to guys in the third callout.”

Cicherillo then called Rafael Brandao to the stage, who brought tissues for Walker and Labrada, insinuating they would be crying after Brandao took one of their top five finishes from a year ago. Finally, Michal “Krizo” Krizanek stormed the stage and hit a couple of poses for the fans.

Bob Cicherillo interview the women bodybuilders of Olympia
Courtesy of Wings of Strength

Other highlights from the press conference included Solomon informing the fans that this weekend they would be a part of the “biggest bodybuilding and fitness event of all time,” and women’s bodybuilder competitor Margie “Marvelous” Martin announcing that the Ms. Olympia would be her final contest. She will retire to focus on other areas of her life.

If you’re not in Las Vegas to watch the Olympia in person, you can watch the 2022 Olympia  to watch every pose, callout, and awards presentation live as it happens by order the pay-per-view stream at

A packed 2021 venue and expectation for the 2022 Olympia weekend and olympia bodybuilding competition

The Olympia Weekend is About Much More than Bodybu...

Other sports and events will make their mark in Las Vegas.

Read article
]]> 0
The Olympia, from A to Z Thu, 15 Dec 2022 14:42:49 +0000 There’s far too much info to deliver to you regarding the 2022 Olympia in these pages. However, we can fill you in as much as possible and in the easiest way possible, which is why we chose this format—the ABC’s of the 2022 Joe Weider Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend, presented by Wings of Strength and Trifecta.

2022 Olympia Weekend full schedule

Watch the 2022 Mr. Olymipa live on ppv

A is for Arnold
Arnold Schwarzenegger won six straight Mr. Olympias from 1970- 75. He then came out of retirement to win his seventh in 1980. He is arguably the most famous champion in history.

B is for Bench Press
The bench press was the go-to for 1976 O winner Franco Columbu, who was also a renowned powerlifter: “If I did no other exercise for chest, I would always do the bench press. Nothing is better for chest thickness.”

C is for Controversy
Controversies and the judging of a subjective sport, especially its zenith event, can be a fertile ground for controversial decisions. And the Olympia is the most fertile of such fertile grounds. A few of the big head-scratchers over the years have been:

  • 1980 MR. OLYMPIA. After five years of retirement, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sudden, unannounced appearance at the Sydney Opera house—bringing much less muscularity and definition than usual—was a shock to many. Amid the thunderous boos after announcing him as the winner, Chris Dickerson jumped off the stage screaming, “I can’t believe it!”; Frank Zane threw his trophy against the wall backstage; and Mike Mentzer, the only Mr. Universe to this day to ever score a perfect 300, walked away and never competed again.
  • 1991 MS. OLYMPIA: Filmed live on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Bev Francis was leading Lenda Murray going into the evening finals. A big scoreboard showed the current placings for all to see. Somehow, by the end of the evening, a somewhat smaller and less-defined Lenda Murray was announced the winner. The ensuing eruption in the audience was led by Bev’s husband, Steve Weinberger, standing on his feet and screaming at the judges. Weinberger would later go on to become the IFBB’s top judge. Other less dramatic, however no less controversial decisions include:
  • 2002 MR. O: Ronnie wins his fourth straight Olympia over a phenomenal—some say best of his career—Jay Cutler.
  • 2007: It was Cutler’s turn, this time as reigning O champion, to be the guy who shouldn’t have won over a supremely conditioned Victor Martinez. 2014: This was supposed to be Kai Greene’s turn to finally make the then-four-time Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath his bridesmaid. Unfortunately, the judges didn’t see it that way.

D is for Dimensions
While Arnold and Sergio Oliva were definitely big guys, they were the exception, not the rule. Once Dorian Yates crossed the 250-pound line, the mass race was on. Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler eventually brought even more mass, competing in the 270- to 290-pound range. Then came Big Ramy, all 300-plus pounds of him. This year, he’s even bigger! The women too have brought more and more size to the game in not only bodybuilding, but also figure and women’s physique. Even the bikini girls have more muscle now than when the division started. Everyone is growing!

E is for Expo
The Olympia Expo features vendors and activities for all genders, ages, and fitness levels. The expo is also where prejudging takes place.

F is for First Callout
Initial comparison series of prejudging. It almost always consists of the presumptive top finishers. The first callout is important, but you want to make sure you’re in the last callout as well.

G is for Grainy
This is when the skin looks very dry and you can almost see the individual muscle fibers underneath. If a bodybuilder is grainy, then expect him to have a very high placing. Examples of legends that were grainy were six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates and 2009 Mr. Olympia runner-up Branch Warren.

H is for Hollywood
In this case, we mean Planet Hollywood. In years’ past, the Olympia was held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, but the 2022 edition will be right on the famous Vegas strip at Planet Hollywood. The biggest stars in bodybuilding will be showcased on one of the biggest stages in Sin City.

I is for IFBB Pro League
The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness is the governing body that sanctions all the Olympia competitions. Amateurs compete in the NPC (National Physique Committee) to earn an IFBB Pro League pro card. From there, it’s about competing in Olympia qualifying events in hopes of reaching the biggest stage in the industry: Olympia Weekend.

J is for Joe Weider
The namesake of Olympia Weekend, the late, great Joe Weider is affectionally known as the Father of Bodybuilding. Weider was a publisher, entrepreneur, bodybuilder, and strength and fitness enthusiast before his passing at 93 years of age.

K is for Kinesiology
Bodybuilding may be about posing, but the movement and transition from pose to pose is critical to showcase all aspects of a competitor’s physique. Fitness athletes will also be performing very challenging routines that are sure to entertain the crowd. It isn’t just about muscle, it’s about movement as well.

L is for Legends
As in legendary competitors throughout Olympia Weekend, including Mr. O winners Arnold Schwarzenegger Ronnie Coleman, who has eight Sandow trophies; 10-time Ms. Olympia Iris Kyle; and eight-time Fitness Olympia champ Adela Garcia. There are several more who will be walking the aisles and watching the champions of today from the audience.

M is for Mr. and Ms. Olympia.
The first Mr. Olympia competition took place in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1965. Ms. Olympia saw its triumphant return in 2020 after going on hiatus in 2014.

N is for Nicknames
Some of the best nicknames for Mr. O winners include: Arnold “The Oak” Schwarzenegger, Dorian “the Shadow” Yates, Phil “The Gift” Heath, Frank “The Chemist” Zane, Ronnie “The King” Coleman.

O is for One Man Show
The 1968 and 1971 Mr. Olympia competitions featured only one contestant—Sergio Oliva and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively. Uh, they won.

P is for Posedown
It’s the period when the top competitors pose with one another in an unscored, free-for-all format.

Q is for Qualify
To become eligible to compete in the Olympia. IFBB professionals must travel one of these routes:

  • Finish in the top four of the previous Olympia, top three of that year’s Arnold Classic/International or top two of the New York Pro.
  • Win an IFBB pro contest after the previous Olympia.
  • Accumulate enough points by placing high in IFBB pro contests. The top-five highest point scores each season qualify for the O

R is for Routines
Because what’s the point of having all that muscle if you can’t show it off? The posing routine has become the signature by which each competitor signs his presentation. No two are alike and some are way better than others. While the stage has been privy to some excellent posers over the years, there are some, such as six-time masters Mr Olympia Vince Taylor, four-time Ms. Fitness Olympia Oksana Grishina, and the almighty king of posing, Kai Greene, that are a show all unto themselves.

S is for Symmetry
Bringing a symmetrical physique—balanced and proportionate—has helped past Mr. O winners Frank Zane, Samir Bannout, and three-time Classic Physique O winner Chris Bumstead stand out among other legends of the stage.

T is for Tanning
The Olympia competitors will all need to make sure their tanning is right so they look their best under the lights and in front of the judges. That’s why you will see (and likely smell) a lot of tanning oil on the athletes prior to them taking the stage. This helps them look their best to show off the work they spent weeks putting in.

U is for Upper Back
A common phrase in the sport is that shows are won from the back. If the upper back is wide and thick with a lot of separation between the muscles, then it will be seen when the judges call for the back-double biceps pose. The confident competitors will hit this pose quickly when it’s called.

V is for Venetian
The official hotel of the 2022 Olympia is the Venetian Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, NV. The Expo will be held there as well, and this one is expected to be the biggest and best yet. Book your room, then go grab some swag and samples.

W is for the Wellness Division
This new division debuted in Orlando in 2021, and it will be a part of the main stage festivities in 2022. Francielle Mattos is the defending champion going into this year’s competition.

X is for X-Frame
Whether you’re male or female, competing for size or shape, having wide shoulders and lats that lead down to a small waist, followed by thick and defined legs make up the X-Frame. If the athlete’s physique is described with this term, it’s a good thing.

Y is for YouTube
Go subscribe to Olympia TV on YouTube so you can catch up on all the news and developments leading up to the big weekend in Las Vegas. You will then be able to keep up with what happens after the Olympia leading into 2023.

Z is for Zappos Theater
The place where all the action will go down on the weekend of Dec. 15-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be the first time that the Olympia has been in Vegas since 2019, and you won’t want to miss a second of the excitement this year. Go to for more information.

]]> 0
Tribute To The Career Of Seven-Time 212 Mr. Olympia Flex Lewis Thu, 15 Dec 2022 14:38:45 +0000 Full 2022 Olympia Weekend schedule | Watch the O live on ppv

Normally, when I’m asked to pen a tribute to someone, that someone is not in the kind of condition that would lend himself to ever know what I said about him. On the rare occasion though, the assignment comes down for a person not in such dire straights. This time it did; the bloke is just merely retiring. In his wake though, he leaves one of the most successful bodybuilding careers on record, racking up 13 amateur titles and 21 pro wins over his 19-year career, including seven consecutive 212 Olympias, as well as the winner of the first Arnold Classic 212. As far as the 212 class goes, this monster from the UK is not only the GOAT, but also posed a legitimate threat to the open if he ever got to take his foot off the brakes. To say Flex Lewis is entitled to a tribute is to say a post-verdict Johnny Depp is entitled to a mega-pint.

The first thing I told Flex Lewis when he picked up the phone is that I want this to be a tribute to his career through his eyes. I want to know what were the pivotal points in his career, the anecdotes, the people, the places, that define his memories. I want his perspective, not the pundits. So, I’ll pretty much just be steering the course; the discussion is all Flex.

With that, I must offer the following caveat. The foregoing might sound good on paper, but if you’ve ever discussed anything with Flex, in any level of detail, you’ll know that keeping him on point is four levels more challenging than herding feral cats. He’s all over the place. And he knows it. The only intolerance, however, is the clock. If I had the time, I’d be more than happy to let him go on down by the way; wherever he goes it’s going to be interesting. But, nevertheless, if you want to make a deadline, or know the answer to a specific question, particularly a poignant one, be prepared for several walks away from – not to – the point.

Don’t get me wrong. The walk is sure pleasant enough. Kinda reminds me of asking for directions from an old southern gentleman on a hot summer day, with nothing to do and a tall glass of sweet tea in his hand. And that would be for the condensed version of his answer to me when asking him something such as, “How did you make the decision to give up Rugby and pursue bodybuilding full time?” At least seven times I thought he was telling me, but we ended up somewhere else. We finally did get to the point. And since it was such a struggle, I think that’s where I’ll start…

Before I do that, let’s get the “Flex” thing out of the way. In Lewis’ case, the nickname was a derivative of one given to him at the age of six by his Rugby mates, because he was so flexible. “At first it was “Flexy” then, inevitably, down to “Flex,” he said. “I went all through school – my entire childhood – always being called ‘Flex.’ I never heard ‘James’ except from my mom and dad.”

With that cleared up, back to the pivot from Rugby to bodybuilding. Flex emphatically states, “I started training with weights to help me be better at Rugby… And, because I wanted to attract girls with my muscles.” It doesn’t get more humble and honest than that.

His initial attraction to bodybuilding was something a bit unique. We all have our story of how the bug bit us, but this is out of left field. Flex Lewis had an aunt who was a nurse in London. She attended – of all things — a Tom Platz seminar that was given at her nursing school. He was doing an appearance there and doing his usual talk on nutrition, dieting, and training, and he did a guest posing. Afterward, Tom was selling his merchandise, when Auntie bought one of Tom’s books and he signed it. “She left the book in her bookcase,” Flex remembered. “I found it when I was 12 — I was staying in her room during a visit and, me being a 12-year-old boy, was snooping through her shit and I found this book on Tom Platz. I started flipping through it and I said, ‘holy shit look at those legs!’ I was playing Rugby and wanted legs like that. So, I took the book home.”

“You just took it?”

“Let’s just say I borrowed it.”

“Okay, so you have the book, but what did you lift?” I asked. “Did you have any weights?”

“Dad had an old Weider weight set with the plastic plates – remember those? They were filled with sand. He had them in the shed by the garden. Because the house is built into a hill, the garden was kind of like on the second floor. I couldn’t change the weights because the collars were so corroded. So I had to roll the weights from the shed, down the hill, and through the house, and up the stairs, and into my room, and hide them under the bed. Every night I’d pull out the wights and try to figure out how to do a squat, using the bed as a squat rack. Eventually, I figured it out and kept doing squats.”

Bodybuilder Flex Lewis doing a calf raise exercise
Per Bernal

That is classic! And, he’s doing it behind his parents’ back. Flex Lewis never completely explained to me why he felt he had to sneak in the weights. But, it’s true, they had no idea what he was doing up there. But, as with all things we did behind our parents’ backs when we were kids, it’s only a matter of time before the mission is no longer covert.

“One night my dad hears all this grunting through the door and bursts into the room thinking I’m cracking one out, and he sees instead I’m lifting weights! He stood there and bellowed, ‘What the fuck are you doing??’!!”

I cracked up. “It probably would have been the same response if you were wanking.”

He laughs, “Yeah, probably.”

But I wanted to know, “what was it about the weights your parents were against?”

“I was 12 and my mom thought it would stunt my growth.”

“Were your parents tall?” I wondered.

“No!” He roared, “They were both like 5’5!!”

Nevertheless, what mom says goes; the weights would have to wait… As far as training at home went anyway. It was too late. The bug had already bitten Flexy. He started watching WWF wrestling and saw how big the guys were. “I just wanted to be jacked on the rugby field,” he said. “After Every game I went straight to the gym, all muddy, to train. The coach hated me because I was always all dirty and I’d leave mud all over the gym… You couldn’t keep me out of there though. I wanted Platz’s legs.”

“That was it then, Rugby and weights?” That’s kind of a narrow path for a young teenager growing up in Wales.

“No… no,” he replied. My mother put me in everything; not just Rugby. I did gymnastics — I can still do a back flip if I have a few whiskies — track and field, boxing….”

“Boxing?” I was puzzled. “Aren’t all guys from the UK born knowing how to fight?”

He cracked up. I always tell him how I routinely extol the toughness and scrapping prowess of my bros on the other side of the pond. He agreed, but, he said, “Boxing is a bit more formal than street fighting, but yes, you’re right. We do a lot of scrapping in the UK. It’s accepted. Guys always get into fights. At least they used to. It’s incredible what’s happening. This generation…… Everyone is such a pussy today….. You know the thing that really irks me…?”

Oh, man… I saw where that was going. Such a diatribe would last 30 minutes. And I’d follow him right down that rabbit hole too. “So, wait….” I stopped him. I had to. “Wait… What about track & field? You participated in that for a long time, along with Rugby, all through school. If I remember correctly, you have a still unbroken record, don’t you?”

“I did,” he replied. “I actually ended up running for my country and won a gold medal in the indoor hurdles. And, yes, I still hold that record in Wales.”

So, the next obvious question is, “Why didn’t you keep running? You have a freak’n gold medal!”

He chuckled, “One would think. I was running indoors and doing well, but I wasn’t in love with it. Then I started having problems with my

feet. I was getting shin splints….. I just wanted to focus on Rugby. I went to college playing Rugby. I was scouted. I was at a very high level. There were a lot of opportunities to play overseas; I toured the world playing. My hands are scarred, all my front teeth are fake from scrapping on and off the field.”

I made note of the gratuitous scrapping. “See, again with the fighting! I know Rugby is a sport notorious for scrapping but isn’t that because it was invented in the UK? Where everyone fights?”

Flex Lewis cracked up again. “I guess it’s somewhat true he admitted. My grandfather worked in the mines when he was a kid. He worked on his hands and knees with a pick and a shovel all day. He was in three cave-ins! He’d climb out and go back to work. After work, he’d fight for pennies, so my grandmother could feed the family. Scrapping is just part of the culture in the UK. He taught me at a very young age that when you’re tough, you don’t have to flex. You just have to know how to defend yourself……But this generation has gotten soft as fuck! My grandfather was a miner when he was a kid! They wanted to employ kids in the mines because they were small and they could send them into tight, dangerous, places….. Compared to now? Oh my god, social media has created ball-less males……..”

Yup…. there we go again. Back down the rabbit hole. I couldn’t stop him that time. Not when a man is paying tribute to his grandfather. After that discussion ran its course, I asked him again about that transition from Rugby to bodybuilding. “Okay, so you were powerlifting to help you with Rugby, right? Where did bodybuilding come in?”

“I trained at the gym where all the bouncers trained,” he began telling me. “And the ‘family guys.’ if you know what that means. I trained around these guys and found myself doing more and more bodybuilding work. Then I met a guy named Steve Naylor; he had a very ‘Arnold look.’ Good enough to win the Mr. Wales, but nowhere else. He was running through training partners like Kamala Harris is running through staffers, especially for legs. No one would show up on leg day. So he asked me If I wanted to train. One day while we were training, someone put up a poster for a bodybuilding show and Steve and I went. It was the first time I’d seen the transition from off-season to competition shape. I was totally blown away. I was 19 by then. Naylor and I kept at it, and one day the poster went up again. The gym owner said, ‘Flex if you compete in that show I’ll give you a free membership.’ That was huge! That was a lot of money to me at the time.”

“How did you prep for it?” I asked. “How did you figure out how to diet and dial in for a show?”

“I’d periodically buy Flex magazine if I had the money. It was my bible. I read them cover to cover. Over and over. But there was rarely any info on diet. Then, finally, an article on Gunter Schlierkamp came out that talked in detail about his diet. (I still have the issue). I followed it by half, and cut out all the carbs. I was like a zombie. I just kept going because I needed the free membership!”

“So, the show comes and I win! I won the teen and the novice. It was a big deal. My friends came and brought air horns. There was an open bar. There were fights outside (would you expect anything else?) My friends brought me a big bag of my favorite chocolates and Snickers bars. I ate some chocolate to appease my friends. But, really, I just wanted to drink! Then I heard this voice behind me that said, ‘mate, are you doing the British championships? You can beat all these cunts! You have to represent your country. Who helped you for this show?’ I told him no one. He said, ‘I’ll help you. Monday, drive to my house.’ and he gave me the address. That was Neil Hill. And we’ve been together ever since. Nineteen years. We won 13 amateur shows together and 21 pro wins. That’s loyalty brother.” It sure is.

Neil hill flex lewis
Flex Magazine

So, This Is Really It…

I’ve been in this industry for well over 30 years and one of my biggest disappointments is not getting to see Flex Lewis compete in the Olympia open. I was so pleased to learn of his intent in 2020 and thought there was a very distinct possibility that I’d get to witness history being made, as Flex could have been the first and only winner of both the 212 and open Olympias. The only other competitor in history who could also have pulled it off, but didn’t, is Lee Priest. The industry as a whole suffered a bit of a letdown in this potentially historic case, what happened?

As the story goes, 2017 was going to be Flex’s last 212 Olympia. It ended up being the worst year of his life. Three weeks before the Olympia, Flex’s training partner, Dallas McCarver, passed away suddenly. Shortly thereafter, 10 days before the show to be exact, a massive hurricane began bearing down on south Florida. “So we boarded up the house and went to Vegas,” he said. “We lived in a hotel the whole time before the Olympia. As soon as we got there, everyone who knew Dallas wanted to talk to me. At the Meet the Olympians event, I had a line of people waiting to see me. They were all crying. It was so emotional for me, but I had to suppress all that. And, on top of that, I had a camera crew for BBC following me around the whole time….. They were cool and ended up doing a tribute to Dallas in the documentary.”

Needless to say, his suppressing of emotion might have done the trick, because he won the 212 again and he did again the next year, 2018. The decision was made then to go for the 2020 Olympia open. He took 2019 off to put on size. He was pushing really hard for 2020, then got really sick, the result of which made eating a bit of a challenge. No appetite, couldn’t eat, whatever he could force down usually didn’t stay down. Then there was the shoulder injury… “It was horrible,” Flex remembers. “I was going to so many doctors’ appointments. I was missing meals, I couldn’t train right for a championship. I felt like shit.”

So, instead of doing the 2020 open Olympia, Flex Lewis went to Columbia for stem cell therapy to try to help rehab his shoulder and reset his gut. “I was so focussed on rehabbing injuries and doing the stem cell therapy,” he said. “I took off four months of training. That was hard. My gym was my church. I was going nuts. To take my mind off my misery, we decided to sell the gym in Florida, move to Vegas and open one up there. While I was off of everything, my wife and I decided to have another kid. After we found out she was expecting, I called Neil and we decided to go for it again, and do the Olympia open in 2021. Then

the same thing happened. My guts were shot. I could have bought a house with what I spent on doctors and therapies to get back on stage. I still couldn’t eat. My life was miserable. I had to step back and analyze my life. I wasn’t living. I was force-feeding. I wanted to be the first-ever two-division champion, but it just wasn’t in the cards.”

Well, if I’m disappointed in not getting to witness such potential history, I can only imagine how my friend feels. The way he positions it makes sense though, “If you’re the best you don’t have to say so. I’m not going to talk about what never was. But, I know enough people, not to mention Neil, who’ve seen me with the brakes off, and we know. Staying under 212 was so hard. I knew if I could have exploited my full potential I would have won the open. But the doctors’ visits and hospital stays weren’t making me a champion.”


About health in general, Flex Lewis has this to say: “Up until the last couple of years, I’ve been very healthy all through my career. I knew exactly what I was doing. I’ve done things as minimally as possible. People look at my condition and say things about drugs. It’s not true. I suffered. I suffered a lot. If I had done the drugs I knew some of these guys did, I’d never have made the weight class. It scares me what some of these guys do. Some don’t even get yearly check-ups. I proposed to get medical clearance at the beginning of each season. I think it’s the only way to save these guys.”

On Joe Weider…

“I can’t say enough about Joe Weider and Peter McGough. I was broke and struggling when I got a call from Peter. He said Joe wants to offer you a contract. I remember I was in Ralph’s grocery store. I was on a burner phone and was afraid to answer because they’d charge me. I said, ‘Peter are you taking a piss?’ In the middle of Ralph’s I yelled, YAAAAAAAA!!!!!! Like an out-of-your-heart yell. At that moment everything changed.”

Flex Lewis and Joe Weider
M+F Magazine

What About Arnold?

Flex Lewis says, “There’s no better person, other than maybe the Rock, who has paved the way for us just-let-me-show-you kind of guys. As cliche as it may sound, he was a massive inspiration. I use him for a blueprint now. He’d been told, just like me, you’ll never make it. He came to this country, just like me, and wanted to achieve the best.”

“You won his first 212 Arnold Classic in 2014,” I said. “That must have been a big deal for you.”

“It was a big deal. It was a show I didn’t know if I was going to be able to pull off. After the Olympia, I always take off for a few months. I started prepping for the Arnold at under 200 pounds. So, I grew into that show – old school. Neil stayed with me for six weeks. It was a massive feat that I still can’t believe we pulled off.”

“Would you say that’s the most memorable show of your career?”

“It was up there,” He replied humbly. “But the show I always remember most is the last show.”

Every champ wants to walk away a winner, not because he lost. Flex’s most memorable show is his last show – his eighth consecutive Olympia. Not a bad memory to drag around with you for the rest of your life.

And that’s it folks, posing trunks on a hook, tanning goop in the bin, a Cubano in one battle-scarred hand and a whisky over ice in the other. He may even be wearing a straw hat and a Hawaiian shirt right now, with just enough of a breeze blowing to rustle the palm fronds. It’s over. As disappointing for some as that may be, there’s no denying it was one hell of a run. And he did it right. History will prove that no pantheon of modern bodybuilding would be complete without Flex Lewis at the table.

Flex Lewis Makes Major 2018 Olympia Announcement

Flex Lewis's Top 10 Training Principles

The top 10 training tenets of Olympia 212 Showdown champ Flex Lewis

Read article
]]> 0
Hunter Labrada Talks Olympia, Bodybuilding, and the Future Wed, 14 Dec 2022 18:15:25 +0000 When you interview Hunter Labrada via Zoom, you immediately get the feeling there’s a monster across from you filling your computer screen.

The competitor from 2021 who finished fourth was nowhere to be seen anymore. To say he feels that he’s improved his physique is a drastic understatement—and he doesn’t mind saying so himself.

When you immediately get hit in the face with a quantum expression of self confidence, sense of humor and clear thinking from a guy two weeks out from his third shot at the O, you know he’s showing up ready to roll.

Regardless of how much damage he stands to do when he lines up alongside other bodybuilding titans on the Olympia stage this weekend, it’s hard not to be awed by the rarity his appearance on the Olympia stage is relative to the legacy it represents. With nearly eight billion people walking the face of the earth, this will be the only time history has allowed a former Olympian to watch his son compete in the Olympia.

Labrada is quick to correct the record.

“This will be the third time in history,” Labrada says, laughing. “I’ve done it twice already.”

With the countdown to bodybuilding’s biggest event closing in, Labrada still has a sense of humor. Commendable to say the least.  But this weekend is not about father and son. This is his time, and this is about him.

You took fourth last year. Without considering anyone else in the show, where are you now compared to where you were last year?

About three weeks out, I was better than I was onstage last year. And that’s hammered flat and still pushing for conditioning. People are going to see a whole new version of me this year.  For sure. A lot bigger, a lot more conditioned.

People are going to ask where I think I’ll place. I’m very pragmatic about the fact that I can’t be better than my best and I am absolutely without a shadow of a doubt going to be at my best on that day. I’m controlling what I can control and the chips will fall where they may. I’m very optimistic and excited, but at the end of the day I can only bring my best and that”s what we’re going to do.

Is there any one competitor in particular that you consider above the rest?

Attaching yourself to one competitor, I think, is the dumbest shit in the world [laughs]. I’m not worried about anyone. I’m worried about showing up at my best.  That’s it. In this sport you can make yourself the biggest basket case because you’re sitting there looking at everyone’s overly edited glory shots and highlight reels on Instagram—it’s going to do nothing but mess with your head.

How much effort do you put into practicing your posing?

I’ve posed at least seven rounds a day for the last three months. I’m definitely leaving no stones left unturned this year. I’m showing up prepared and expecting to pose five or six rounds back to back to back, at prejudging and the finals. Steve [Weinberger] always works us, especially this year with the lineup we have. It’s definitely going to be one of those throw them all up there and see who crumbles kinda deals. Those who look the best at the start of the night might not  be the ones doing the best by the end of the night because of how hard they work us.  So, I definitely have that in mind heading into it.

Apart from the obvious, do you have any other kind of influence you draw on to help you with your mindset, your presentation, your attitude, or is it all self manufactured?

I’m not going to say it’s manufactured because you don’t just pull things from nothing.  But I will say it’s definitely become a very nurtured and developed thing over time. In my opinion, your mind is your greatest weapon. And it’s definitely one I’ve been honing for a while. I always say it’s a practiced skill to be able to suffer the way we do. its a practiced skill to be able to train the way we do. It comes to a practiced skill to develop the mindset that I have.

I’ve always said the best bodybuilders who don’t let the suffering get to them. Is that something you really cranked up this year?

I use that word—“suffering.” It has such a negative connotation. You know, we’re just working hard.  Suffering implies you’re miserable.  That’s been one of the biggest things that’s been different in this prep   I’ve had my coach [Ben Chow] and my training partner [Dean White] living in Houston with me. It’s hard but I am having the most fun bodybuilding than I’ve had in a very long time— maybe ever.  Right now, doing it the way we’re doing it – we have a set in stone routine. it’s been bodybuilding groundhog day for two months now. We’re locked in and having a lot of fun doing it. While we are “suffering,” it’s with a smile on our face.

One of my favorite quotes is, “you either suffer the pains of discipline or you suffer the pain of regret. One of them is temporary, the other is forever.”

How have you guys been training?

We’ve been working super-low volume and super-high intensity—it’s very Mentzer-esque. We do 10-12 reps on the working set, six to eight total sets for the workout.

Do you ever go that high volume route pre-contest?

No. My body can’t handle it. The way my brain is wired I do my sets to the death. If I do that high volume my body falls apart.

Do you do any cardio?

It depends on the point we are in prep. Right now, 30 minutes fasted in the morning, 20 minutes post training. For a while I was doing 40 fasted, 40 post. It just depends on where we are in prep.

So, is there something you can’t wait to get back to doing once this over?

Every show I do I have a piss-poor appetite.  So, I’m not really starving  so much as I’m craving energy. I have my daughter this weekend and I’m struggling to do stuff with her. I miss having energy.  Nothing is ever really that terrible as far as being deprived of anything.

As far as what I like to do outside bodybuilding, on my off days I’ll typically go to the shooting range. I’m a pretty avid shooter. It really helps on my off days. Most people sit around on their off days with their thumb up their butt and thinks about how hungry they are all day. I’ll pack three meals and head out to the range.

I’m also newly married, so enjoy spending time with my wife, spending time with my daughter, seeing me friends – being human.

Are you a long-range shooter?

No, I do more combat-centered shooting, like close-quarters combat stuff. I’ll actually shoot with a couple of the SWAT guys from Houston pretty regularly.

So you do tactical shooting?

Yes, like clearing rooms, shooting the bad guys—not the good guys—pistol stages, stuff like that.

So, are you good?

I’m not bad [laughing]. It’s just like in bodybuilding, there’s levels to everything. Am I as proficient as some of the SWAT guys? No.  Am I more proficient than the average guy on the range? Yes.

Is this something you might consider pursuing competitively sometime down the road?

Yeah, maybe after bodybuilding. Bodybuilding is a sport that I play. I do enjoy the gym and the lifestyle and everything, but it is very much the sport that I play. So once I get done with this sport I cannot wait to lose 60 or 70 pounds and be athletic again. Growing up I was always outside riding horses and four wheelers, skateboarding, wake boarding, snowboarding. I was an adrenaline junkie growing up. So I’m looking forward to doing things like that again for sure.

Do you have a dog?

My wife and I are huge dog people. We have two pitties. One bully and one full-blood pit bull. I like my dogs better than 99% of the people in the world.

When you’re done bodybuilding, will you stay connected to the sport?

Whenever I’m done bodybuilding, I definitely see myself pivoting to the outdoors and firearms. Right now I’m very cautious about it because of the Instagram overlords and their view of all things that go bang. I don’t want to end up with my page yanked. So, until I’m done with bodybuilding it will stay pretty much bodybuilding.

 Who cooks all your meals?

My wife cooks pretty much all my food for me. I’ll take up the slack when I need to.  But she’s been absolutely incredible this whole prep doing that for me. My coach will send her my meals every morning and she makes it happen for me. I literally couldn’t do it without her.

I always say the wives are the great unsung heroes of this thing we do.

I couldn’t agree more man.  After seeing and hearing  and experiencing what my mom does for my dad throughout his bodybuilding career and his business career and seeing how Liv has unlocked a whole new level for me. I say this and I mean this very strongly—you cannot bodybuild at a very high level unless your home life is in order. That is what it is.  What we do is so stressful, you can’t do it with the stress of a non-functioning home life.

So what’s your contribution to that? I’m sure if someone is going to be in a bad mood it’s probably going to be you. How do you guys deal with that?

A couple ways. I’m asked a lot, what’s your advice for a first-time competitor, I tell them I try to do my best to remember that what we do is a privilege.  You know, no one is forcing you to diet, no one is forcing you to do anything. I mean literally, you’re going to the gym three times a day, you’re eating six times a day, you’re taking all these supplements, you’re spending all this money, you’re letting other areas of your life go slack because of it. It’s a true privilege to be able to compete in a bodybuilding show, even at an amateur level, so, I do my best to keep that in mind.

We’ve been through this a couple of times together. So we know how to read each other pretty well. I know if I snap, or say something, I can see it on her face and I’ll catch myself and say, hey, I’m sorry, that wasn’t right. So, I feel like I’m pretty aware, honestly, and in the same breath, I’ll say everyone has their days—and I have my days—but I’m very aware of it.

What wears on you?

The impact of my energy level on my ability to be there and present in my relationships with the people that matter the most. That’s really the only thing that wears on me. I think it’s so dumb that people get so down because they have to miss a birthday party, or this or that holiday. You didn’t have to miss it.  You just couldn’t go and drink and eat [laughs]. I mean, come on. So, outside of not having energy for relationships, it’s not that bad.

What about the Olympia? The nuts ands bolts of dialing in and traveling and the rest of the associated chaos?

Monday through Thursday night is a lot.  Then actually competing on Friday and Saturday is really cool. But, you know, I really loved that it was in Orlando the last two years. I’m not a Vegas person. So between dealing with Vegas and a very hectic high energy week between all the commitments to sponsors and the commitments to the show, and getting tanned and staying on top of everything. I try to do my best to stay centered and stress free. I have a really awesome team around me here here and in Vegas. They know what their job is and they do a very good job of helping me.

How do you soldier through all of that under such an energy deficit, meeting people, shaking hands, taking a million selfies?

It’s professional.  Not every one can do it, and those who can’t have a reputation for not being able to do it.

Does the professional, affable, reputation you have mean a lot to you?

It does mean a lot. I’ve always said that, at the end of the day, I’d rather be known as a good human than a good bodybuilder. There’s plenty of good bodybuilders, but there’s absolute shit human beings. I’d much rather be a good person than a good bodybuilder. I’d love to be both.

So, where does the road end? How many more shots at the title do you have in you?

We’re either going to be done bodybuilding or defending Olympia titles at 35. If it hasn’t happened by then, it’s not going to happen. If it has happened, I’m going to defend them.

Bodybuilder Hunter Labrada Big ramy and Derek Lunsford posing on Instagram

Here's What the Internet Is Saying About The ...

At long last, bodybuilding's premier event is just weeks away.

Read article
]]> 0
M&F Holiday Gift Guide 2022 Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:23:18 +0000 We collected a handful of stuff for the M&F holiday gift guide 2022 that’ll make the coming year better (or at least less awful) whether you’re working or lounging at home, lugging your stuff from point A to point B, beefing up your home gym, training for marathons or crushing WODs.

]]> 0
M&F Hers Gift Guide 2022 Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:10:49 +0000 Whether you’re on the lookout for stuff you want or you’re keeping your eyes peeled for gifts for others, this year’s Hers Gift Guide 2022 list has something every fitness enthusiast can use inside as well as outside of the gym.

]]> 0
Armlifting USA another Must-See Event at this Year’s Olympia Expo Wed, 14 Dec 2022 11:34:43 +0000 The World Armlifting Championships will be held at the 2022 Mr. Olympia this year. There are a bunch of really talented strong lifters that will be competing in this year’s World Championships. Let’s meet some of them right now.

On the men’s side, in his debut at the World Championships is Carl Myerscough; he is a 2012 Olympian and English national record holder in the shot put; he will threaten all time world records in every discipline at this contest. At 6’10” and a very athletic 360 pounds, he is very impressive to watch. Look out for the 3 lifters that will be appearing at this contest who all have won World Championship medals while competing in Russia: former WSM competitor Odd Haugen, 5 time Canadian national champion Eric Roussin, and 4 time bronze medalist at the World Armlifting Championships Riccardo Magni.

Lifters in the women’s division that have already shown their excellence in Armlifting USA competitions include Sarah Chappelow, Anna Wilkins, and Ashlee Munsey. These lifters have all hit huge lifts in competition and potentially could break their weight class records in the lifts being contested this year. One up-and-coming lifter to watch is Tammy McClure. She has posted some huge lifts on her Instagram account and it is going to be exciting to see her lift in person at this contest.

Strongman holding barbell plates
Riccardo Magni of USA Armlifting.

There are 4 events at this year’s World Armlifting Championships:

  • Double Overhand Axle Deadlift
  • 3″ Country Crush Blocks
  • 3″ Saxon Bar
  • 2″ Country Crush Deadlift

All events are for max weight in an unlimited attempt rising bar format. We will truly find out who has the strongest grip as they will be the last man/woman standing.

You can go to to learn more about our sport, sign up for membership, and find more opportunities for you to compete in a contest in 2023.

]]> 0
Talking the Chris Bumstead Dynasty Tue, 13 Dec 2022 19:23:38 +0000 Three-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Chris Bumstead has been able to do what no other Mr. Olympia has done since seven-time Mr. O Arnold Schwarzenegger: break into the mainstream. As far as social media reach and popularity, Bumstead— or C-bum, as he’s affectionally known throughout the bodybuilding industry—and his 10.4 million followers on Instagram alone is more popular than the last three Mr. Olympias combined. The 27-year-old Canadian is 6’1” and tips the scales anywhere between 215 and 225 pounds. Though Bumstead has in the past credited Tom Platz—aka the king of quads—as an influence, the aesthetics and symmetry C-Bum displays onstage is often compared to legends like three-time Mr. O Frank Zane (1977-1979).

We spoke with C-bum amid his prep for his fourth consecutive Olympia Classic Physique title.

How Chris Bumstead Could Become the First Classic Physique Superstar

Chris Bumstead: First Classic Physique Superstar?

Is he destined to be the first classic physique superstar?

Read article

You are the most popular bodybuilder on the planet by every measurable metric. What’s driving this popularity?

[laughs] I get asked that question during every interview I do. But it’s a good one, because I don’t really know. Ask my mom and you’ll probably get an answer.

What do you think?

I think it’s because I’ve been authentic my whole career. My parents raised me that way. I’ve never tried to be someone I’m not. I’ve never tried to be the big, tough, intense, angry, bodybuilder that no one can relate…I’ve always been genuine and honest when I’m anxious, nervous, excited, and I share a lot of that through my prep on my YouTube and social media channels.

On top of that, [when I started competing] social media was starting to become the norm, and a lot of bodybuilders were very anti social media. Then there were the real competitors. The real competitors didn’t YouTube, or vlog, or take selfies. There was a stigma that bodybuilders—real bodybuilders—were too tough for that. And I wasn’t about that. What if I could bridge these two worlds together by entering a prep for the Olympia and recording every single workout, everything I eat, when I’m having good days, when I’m having bad days? What if I could just share the whole process. Maybe people would relate to that.

So why classic and not open?

I started in the open because there was no classic. I turned pro [in 2016] as an open bodybuilder. That year, classic came out. So I thought, this was great, I didn’t have to put on 40 pounds of muscle and build this physique that I don’t even know if I really want.

Do contemporary Mr. Olympia physiques appeal to you?

I wanted to look like Lee Labrada—but taller—Lee Haney a little bit, Berry de Mey was definitely one of my favorite physiques for a while. Those were the physiques I wanted to emulate rather than Phil Heath.

You’re the most popular bodybuilder, yet you don’t get the same money as the Mr. Olympia winner. Are you OK with that?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish the prize money was more. I think some of my fellow competitors might have a qualm, but I really don’t care. Honestly, I’ve never competed for the money. At the end of the day, would I like to take home a bigger check? Of course, but is that going to change how hard I try to win? No.

Let’s put it another way: If you’re more popular than Big Ramy and draw more people to the sport, shouldn’t you be more important than he?

I guess it depends on how you define “important.” [Many people] would tell you Big Ramy is more important because he gets a bigger check at the end of the year. So it depends on how you value importance. Right now, I’m happy with where I’m at. I think I’ve earned a lot of respect from people in the industry and in the world and I think classic physique is a very young division. I believe this year the prize money is going up a good amount—not up to open, yet—but we’ve been around for only a few years. I think the popularity and the crowd it’s drawn speaks for itself. As does the amount of love, not only from me, but also the love my fellow competitors have for the division.

Is it also drawing the next generation of competitors?

Younger competitors all over the US and in Canada are choosing classic over the open. It’s exploding. I think over the years the prize money will continue to rise and maybe will match the open one day. When it happens it happens, I have no control over that. What is in my control is how much money I can make outside competing and I work my ass off for that, but I can’t go run and whine to whomever controls that and say I want more money.

How hard is the work outside of competing?

It’s a lot of effort, but at the end of the day, it’s not a particularly hard job. Maybe that’s just me being grateful for what I get to do, because I really do love what I do every day. How can you feel like you’re working very hard when you’re enjoying it all the time? I’ve built an amazing team around me that helps me with my brand. I have a videographer, a photographer, and a friend who’s also my business partner who helps me with my training app and our merch that we sell. We try to stay active in the community. It’s a lot of work, but it’s absolutely worth it. I much rather be doing this than sitting behind a desk, so I’d never complain.

What would be the first signal that would make you think it’s time to reconsider competing?

That’s a good question. The first thing would be my health. Because as much as I love bodybuilding and I get so much joy and fulfillment out of it, my health is my number one priority. If I retire without that, then what was the point? After that, it’s keeping the same fire lit. If I start to lose that fire and I’m not even happy doping this, and I’m just kind of forcing

myself into this for just my ego’s sake to win another one, or a fifth one, or a sixth one, then that’s not something I’m trying to live like.

Where would you draw the line healthwise?

I follow my blood work and urinalysis closely with doctors, especially specialty doctors. I just moved to the US, so I’m getting a new nephrologist ( a doctor who specializes in conditions that affect the kidneys), and I have a specialty doctor that monitors my stuff and I have a record of it for the last four years and nothing has really declined much. I had one health issue: I have an autoimmune disease [not bodybuilding-related] that can affect my kidneys at random. I’ve been managing that pretty well. So, if I can see a comparison to years prior that it’s declining at a rate that I’m not happy with—that my doctors aren’t happy with (they are aware of bodybuilding and all that’s involved)—then it would just be a comparison of the change over the years and if it’s declining at a rate I’m not happy with then I’ll pull out.

In 2021, 31 male and female competitors pass away across the globe. Is that something that weighs on you?

I think you’re a fool in this sport if you think you’re all set and have nothing to worry about. It’s something I hope every single one of us worries about and gets the right checks and balances—make sure you’re seeing the right specialists and doctors who know you’re as healthy as you can be doing what you’re doing. There could have been a lot of factors involved in all those deaths, especially considering the year it was—I’m not going to get into that—but, of course it’s on my mind. I hope it’s on everyone else’s too.

Point blank: Is this your last Olympia?

People always ask me how many more Olympias do I have in me, and I answer, “One more.” And then I pause and say, “and maybe one more after that.” I really don’t know. That’s the honest truth.

How sure are you that you’ll win the 2022 Classic O again?

Pretty damn sure

Chris Bumstead

Chris Bumstead's Ultimate Shoulders Workout

The classic physique phenomenon shares his killer workout to blast your shoulders.

Read article
]]> 0
BPI’s Leadership Can Be Credited to Community and Connections Tue, 13 Dec 2022 19:22:46 +0000 This is sponsored content. M&F is not endorsing the websites or products listed in this article.

When you walk through a fitness expo such as the Olympia’s World FItness Expo, you could see many booths featuring supplement companies that are starting up and hoping to be a big hit in the industry. Some companies make it while others don’t. To be successful for a decade is a testament to the company’s quality and commitment.

BPI has not only been successful for over a decade, but they went from a disrupter in the supplement space to a leader in the industry. The Florida-based company is most famous for their 1.M.R. (One More Rep) preworkout supplement that they introduced several years ago, but their entire line of sports nutrition products has been proven to serve their customers around the world very well.

CEO Chris MacKenzie and Vice-President Whitney Reid have been a tag-team at maximizing BPI’s growth over the last decade plus. While they are based in the United States, they have an international appeal that has grown by leaps and bounds, including the Middle East.

“Over the last couple of years, we have built an amazing business in the Middle East Region. Just a few weeks ago when I visited Dubai for the Muscle Classic, I was blown away by the fandom surrounding bodybuilding,” Reid said.

Man with contact lenses holding a bottle of BPI supplements
Whitney Reid

As for their strategy here at home, BPI established themselves as a top company one product at a time and one customer at a time. They found new levels of success after they reached out to Walmart to begin stocking their supplements on their shelves. Reid credited MacKenzie for making that move in 2013.

“He went to pitch our first product to Walmart (1MR Vortex), and shortly after we added our aminos and haven’t looked back since. There is nothing risky about having the largest retailer in the country carry your brand.”

Now, the line has expanded even further to include the products from the Titan Series. Past M&F cover model Mike O’Hearn partnered with BPI to create his own line, and he became the first athlete to have his own line of products on Walmart’s shelves.

BPI continued to expand its reach beyond bodybuilding into other industries such as the world of hip-hop. In 2022, BPI released a preworkout in honor of Method Man and released a special flavor of their reinvented 1.M.R. after the only and only DJ Superstar Jay. They have other allies in that space as well, including Ace Hood and Waka Flacka. Reid shared that those alliances were formed by the common bond of the love for training.

“Ace, Waka, DJ Superstar Jay and Method Man are all gym enthusiasts and have an authentic story about their fitness journey. I feel that there is a massive market of consumers that we can them reach their fitness goals.”

BPI CEO Chris MacKenzie with wrestler Billy Gunn and Hadid Choopan
Whitney Reid

In the world of professional wrestling, BPI at one time worked with the one and only Hulk Hogan. Nowadays, All Elite Wrestling can be considered the upstart promotion now that BPI was in their early days. They have a combination of veterans and rising stars that keep their fans interested. Two of those stars are the legendary Billy Gunn, who has been creating moments for fans since the 1990’s, and Danhausen, a lighter athlete who is known as much for his entertainment factor as he is his matches. Both of those men have preworkouts of their own that have been a huge hit for AEW’s audience.

“I think it’s perfectly fitting that guys who train and perform on almost daily basis are connected to a supplement brand,” said Reid. “It’s amazed me that more brands aren’t working with wresters. These guys are on national TV with their shirts off every week lol. It’s a great way to get brand exposure.”

Another avenue that has helped them increase exposure is through social media. They found that working with influencers on both a macro and micro level have worked on multiple fronts. Thanks to the combination of people that have 100,000 followers as well as those with 1,000, the brand is growing one customer at a time, and BPI gets to play a role in introducing people to the fitness industry that can make a positive difference. Like those influencers, Reid feels the brand is growing and evolving with the times, and they can help the people they work with do the same.

“I think this is the typical evolution of sports nutrition brands. At one point we were the young cool niche brand but we have matured both as a brand and personally.”

While the team at BPI are great at increasing awareness from a variety of fields, their roots and most loyal customer base will always be the bodybuilding and fitness fans. Many of those fans will be watching intently as team BPI members Kamal Elgargni and India Paulino will compete at the 2022 Olympia weekend.

“I’ve been going to the Olympia for 15+ years, same for Chris. We keep up with all the industry news/gossip and follow bodybuilding. We are truly fans of the sport. We live it,“ Reid said proudly. “As far as India and Kamal. We are so proud of our two marque athletes to both be stepping on stage again. This is the fourth Olympia for Kamal in the 212 and India’s eighth in Bikini. It’s amazing to work with two athletes that continue to win/compete at the highest level. “

While the athletes of BPI compete on the Olympia stage, the company itself will continue working to grow and help more people reach their fitness potential. 1.M.R. has been re=released with an all-new formula, and they’re rolling out more products and flavors in the weeks to come. As with all businesses, the plan may change over the course of time, but the mission remains the same.

“Through it all we still maintain an amazing organic connection with our consumers. This is evident from our social media reach. It’s evolutionary. No brand can appeal to everyone on day one. We built the following and got the word out there and most importantly helped consumers reach their goals. We have had success in every category which led to a broad fanbase,” Reid explained.

Follow BPI on Instagram @bpi_sports and go to www, for more information about the new and improved 1.M.R. as well as their other supplements.

This is sponsored content. M&F is not endorsing the websites or products listed in this article.

]]> 0
Angel Fashion Show to be another Must-See Event at this Year’s Olympia Expo Tue, 13 Dec 2022 19:21:33 +0000 What is an Angel Fashion Show? 

The Angel Fashion Show, which is hosted by Angel Competition Bikinis, showcases their newest suits and designs. Athletic models grace the stage in glamorous costumes, fun outfits, and new designs. All under impressive stage lights, music, and effects. ACBikinis has had athletes at every age step on the stage. From 18 to 70 year olds, athletes showcase their confidence at any stage of their athletic journey. You will leave this show feeling inspired and in awe!

Various fitness models on a fashion runway
Angel Competition Bikinis

The Angel Fashion Show differs greatly from a bodybuilding competition. This is a stage that you get to have fun on and show off your personality and confidence! We stand for empowering women and making them feel over the top confident on and off stage. We add in an entertaining and theatrical experience to make an unforgettable experience for both spectators and participants.

Female bodybuilder flexing on fashion stage
Angel Competition Bikinis

 This show is unlike any other show! It draws in a large local crowd of spectators interested in fitness, fashion, and art as well as out of town residents supporting their family and friends on stage. This year, Angel Competition Bikinis is partnering with the esteemed Olympia for a special Angel Fashion Show. The Olympia Angel Fashion Show is on Dec. 17th. Watch it LIVE in Vegas at the Olympia Expo or watch from your home via live stream.

Former female bodybuilder in a bikini on a fashion runway
Angel Competition Bikinis

]]> 0
Kurt Angle’s Greatest Victories Were Beating Addiction & Depression Mon, 12 Dec 2022 20:15:02 +0000 Kurt Angle was in the pro wrestling business for around 20 years before retiring in 2017. During that time—most of which was spent with WWE or TNA (now Impact Wrestling)—Angle captured 12 world titles and a slew of injuries: broken necks, busted knees, and concussions, to name a few.

Before that, he won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling in 1996. He’s also an actor, brand ambassador (Küribl Active), and business owner (Physically Fit).

I’ve always been a fan of his work, especially in the ring—the guy was incredibly strong and athletic. But his candor during our conversation about things like his opiate addiction, the reasons he did a 180-degree turn on the use of THC and CBD, struggling to find his place in life after retiring from WWE, and how depression was a nagging anchor that hindered the path to finding happiness were an eye-opener.

If you’re so inclined, give it listen below or on your favorite podcast player: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Podchaser

You can also take a look at some highlights from Kurt’s M&F Reps interview below:

Highlights from Kurt Angle on M&F Reps …

Becoming addicted to opiates and taking 65 Vicodin per day …

“The second time I broke my neck, in 2003, I was introduced to painkillers. Those things made me feel energetic. They masked the pain. I couldn’t feel a pain in my neck, any pain in my body. And the crazy thing is, you take one for a while and your body builds a tolerance. Then you have to take two and that leads to four, and before I knew it, within six months, I was taking 65 extra strength Vicodin a day. My life spiraled out of control. I was in deep trouble.”

Depression …

“I was depressed for a while, retired from amateur wrestling, from the Olympics, and then retiring from WWE. I felt like I didn’t have a place in life anymore. And I felt out of place. And don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my wife and kids. But from a career standpoint, I thought what could I do next?”

Finding happiness after retirement …

“Unfortunately, the pandemic occurred right after I retired. … And the whole world stood still for a long period of time. And I’m just coming out of it right now. I had a lot of depression, and it set me back for a little bit. But I realized now that there are other things in life that I can enjoy … things I never did before because my whole entire life it was always about Kurt Angle. … And it’s just really sad that you get to that point, you realize that you are a selfish son of a gun.”

Refusing to quit …

“I’m so proud of the accomplishments I’ve made in my life—winning the Olympic gold medal, winning 12 world titles, doing the movies I did, everything like that. But what I’m most proud of are the ruts that I pulled myself out of. It made me feel like I was a fighter, not a quitter.”

]]> 0
Laird Hamilton Keeps Shredding—and Stays Shredded—at Age 58 Mon, 12 Dec 2022 18:51:57 +0000 At 58 years old, most people would be thinking about their retirement plans. For Laird Hamilton, there is no other way to live than to continue dabbling with the edge. Mention his name to anyone in the world of surfing, action water sports and training and there’s sure to be a smile that comes across their faces, followed by words such as pioneer, legend, innovator, and occasionally insane — but the good kind.

He will be the first to let you know the results of pushing his body to its limits throughout his life hasn’t come without bumps and bruises along the way. “I’ve been hurt since I was a kid, so I’m used to being banged up and performing without being 100 percent,” Hamilton said. “I haven’t been 100 percent since I came out of my mom and I took my first breath of air that these guys have been polluting here (laughs).”

Even with managing soreness and approaching 60, a scroll through Laird Hamilton and wife Gabby Reese’s Instagram account is as motivating a factor as ever on why age should never be an excuse for taking care of yourself. Muscle and Fitness caught up with the big-wave legend on the keys to his longevity, how Laird Superfood stemmed from his love of coffee and why everyone should have a relationship with the ocean.

Surfer Koa Smith riding a wave through the pipe

Koa Smith Talks Body, Mind, Spirit — and Surf

The surfing icon is keeping his fans engaged with breathtaking social media content.

Read article

Keep Moving

I think there has to be a real conscious effort toward trying to do everything you can to maintain your lifestyle. My love for surfing, riding waves, and feeling good is still there. Some people actually never get to a point where they actually know what feeling good feels like, so it’s hard to have a comparison. If you’re living with not feeling good, you won’t know the difference. You can always find a reason not to do something. Every day is a battle to get things done. I think sleeping good, eating good, taking care of yourself, and making sure your training doesn’t completely destroy you are big.

Sometimes people misinterpret being fit, to aesthetically fit to actually fit. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been in the water most of my life, but I also have a lot of injuries from repetitive stuff and it’s an ongoing thing to find out how to reverse the things you’ve done. There’s heat, ice, cardio, lifting, and breath work. I also think a big piece of it is retaining your enthusiasm about being driven to do something. I’m driven by my mission, the ocean, the waves, and being around younger people. When you hang out with young people or your kids, you try to keep up with them. There’s a whole bunch of pieces to it, but you have to believe you can first and foremost.

I can see how it happens especially if you’ve been an athlete and training for decades. But, you don’t really have a choice. When you park the car for too long, it will not run. I’ve never felt worse than when I do nothing. Inspiration is a big part of that—who are you around, where are you in life? Gabby trains hard and her disciplines are endless. I have an environment where people want to work. I don’t know any other way to really retain my sanity. As hurt as I feel at times, I just don’t know any way to feel better than to keep moving.

Laird Hamilton is Still Training with an Edge

I dabble with the edge. It’s a little more seasonal now. In the summer, I know I can work myself until I can be sore for days, and with it being out of season, I don’t have to worry about what I’m doing the next few days. In the winter, that’s when the surf is going to demand the most out of us. I’ll lift and do some crazy strongman lifts. My pool training is the most unusual training that I have. I have standup bikes, heat, and ice, but I call the pool training my intellectual property because I hadn’t seen that being done before. When you add gym training and weightlifting to swimming, then you create a unique environment where you have to deal with your breath in conjunction with your movement, which really benefits you outside of the water. The pool is the thing that I always go back to because there’s no gravity and you can do a lot of work without getting beat up as much.

We do different types of things in the water like mobility stuff, cardio training, and explosive exercises. Depending on what our needs are, we can adjust the training around that. I get bored easily, so the monotony of a standard workout isn’t for me. If you run a mile every single day, pretty soon, you have to run a mile and a half just to get the same effects. I like to play with my workouts and add an element of learning to it because it makes it more enticing. For my short attention span, I like that, and adding something that you’re not a master at challenges you neurologically. We train pretty much every day. Part of the load is how you’re feeling. I’ll take a Sunday or a day where I’ll just do contrast, heat, and ice. We’ll ride and paddle and If I’m surfing, that will take up an entire day. I have a cardio run that I do up a hill on a standing bike at least five times a week. I’m also always listening for new things.

Get in Tune with Nature

First of all, we’re made of water. To not have a relationship with water is like not having a relationship with yourself. There’s so much information that we don’t know about what it does for us and there is what we know. There’s a grounding effect, the static electricity, the negative ions, and the minerals we’re absorbing. The ocean itself is filled with salt and salt is a preservative. There’s something about the air you breathe when you’re in the water, where you’re at in the environment, and how the water affects your mind. There’s a therapy and meditation to it. Without the ocean, there is no earth, no air.

I just heard somewhere that sharks are older than trees. My friend calls the ocean the soup of life. There’s something about all that it does for us. In a way, it’s one of the most active nature relationships you can have because it’s alive. There’s a physical, spiritual aspect to it. I just look at the ocean as the most dynamic of all the relationships you can have in nature. When you stop fearing it, that changes everything. We have people come through that haven’t swam ever and we change that quickly. It’s amazing how that fear changes once they can swim like we’re supposed to. Humans are the only mammals that can’t swim untaught. Every other mammal knows how to swim. Given the fact that there’s so much water around, it’s important that we continue that relationship because it’s the most conductive substance on earth.

Surfer Laird Hamilton hanging out in nature
Courtesy of Laird Superfood

Laird Hamilton is Mindful of His Fuel

There are a lot of ways to eat, but it’s hard to get to how we’ve eaten in nature. I grew up in Hawaii, so I grew up farming and fishing. The neighbors I grew up next to were living off of the land and the difference between the food that comes from the land, water, and the mountains as opposed to a bowl of Captain Crunch is the energy feels like fuel. Paul Chek had a really great quote and I use it as the foundation for what I do. He said: “If it wasn’t here 10,000 years ago, don’t eat. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. The three bad things are white flour, white sugar, and white milk.”

When you eat fruits, vegetables, and plants that are living, you get the living part of it. If you’re eating something that has been processed multiple times, it’s so far away from it having actual nutrients. The truth is we eat too much. Part of the reason we’re eating so much is that we don’t have enough nutrients, so the body doesn’t get what it needs, and it wants more. When you eat things that have a lot of nutrients, you’re satiated.

We have something called the Daily Rituals. We have a daily activate which is water, lemon, cayenne, lacuna, and some of these other things you start your morning with before you have your coffee. After that, I feel like I can work physically for eight hours straight before I would even need to eat. I have younger guys that come in and try that process, they benefit and so do all of the people that use the superfoods. Gabby always laughs because I can eat some things that taste really bad if I knew they were good for me. We’ve been bombarded by these incredible flavors that have made our pallets adjust to a level of taste that almost doesn’t exist in nature without some real concocting.

Laird Hamilton making coffee with Laird Superfood creamer
Courtesy of Laird Superfood

Laird Hamilton Shares The Science Behind Laird Superfood

The truth is it came out of a recipe that I was making. Part of it is my love for coffee and I was making this concoction and it was for performance. It was about how can I take this habit I have for coffee and make it something that could help me perform better. I would share it with my friends to see if they would have the same reaction I had to it. I shared it with a buddy of mine from Oregon and after trying it, he wanted to make something out of it. We were already in another business venture with him but he loved the coffee. We made a couple of powder prototypes and the fourth one was our original creamer. We started selling it online to see what people’s responses were and they were fanatical about it. Pretty soon, we’re growing and people are interested in being in the business. We made this from a product that we loved and that’s the origin of it.

I went to Europe in my late teens and was exposed to espresso, which is the way you make that coffee, and the quality of the coffee over there is heads and shoulders above what we’re drinking here at the time. After that, I developed a love for it and I would search for beans all across the world. In Hawaii, we have good beans but not quite to the level you get in Colombia, Peru, and some of those places because of the elevation and the quality of the growing environment.

Cream is always used in coffee. There is a time-released aspect of caffeine when you join it with good fat and when you have good fats, that needs your brain. Coconut oil is an amazing fat. I have a theory and my wife laughs at it. Things you do every day are accumulative. A little bit of poison over a long period of time ends up being a lot of poison. I look at it as a little bit of good stuff over time, you really benefit from it. I was taking this coffee ritual and you’re adding the minerals you need. I put calcified sea algae in there, so you’re getting the good fat and the time-released caffeine. I also put turmeric and cacao in there. Everything has to taste good, but there also has to be a function to it. That’s how we start with the products. I know how much energy output I can have throughout the day when I start with this beverage, and it’s amazing.

The 21 Hottest Girls in Surfing

The 21 Hottest Girls in Surfing

Top athlete beach bums heat up the end of summer.

Read article
]]> 0
Train and Make Gains over the Holidays with These 3 Time-Saving Methods Mon, 12 Dec 2022 18:35:12 +0000 There is a common misconception that you need a lot of time to train for it to be effective. Why bother if you haven’t 30 minutes to get your sweat on? Entering the holiday season, many people have more on their plate than usual, and gym time usually gets cut. You don’t need much time to maintain your gains during demanding times but you may need to change your approach with this time-saving training methods.

Regarding time-saving training methods, there is a trade-off between volume ( set x reps x load) and intensity (effort and load). When you have more time to train, you reduce your intensity and increase the volume. When you have less time, you reduce the volume but increase the intensity.

Increasing your intensity is critical when time is an issue, but you still want to get after it. So, during this holiday season or whenever you’re pressed for time, use the methods below to get your sweat on when time is of the essence.

You can thank me later. Or not.


Before getting into the training below, here are a few guidelines for what you’ll do to maximize the little time you’ve got to train.

  • Many exercises will be either compound (work for multiple muscle groups) or cardio-based.
  • Rest periods between exercises will be shorter to keep the intensity high, but rest more if needed.
  • The intensity is higher because you are only exercising for a short time.
  • Grouping exercises in trisets (3 exercises) and circuits (5 exercises) to help you get more done in less time.
  • Limit the equipment you use to one or two pieces to be more efficient.

Got it? Good, now let’s get into it.


There is a trade-off between time and intensity, but this can work in your favor in you are willing to work hard enough and embrace discomfort. Research suggests that doing only one to four sets per muscle per week will still result in muscle growth.

When time is an issue, consider cutting your workout in half, dropping the volume, and pushing your working sets to the point of technical failure- where you cannot get another rep in with good technique. Training with higher intensity with lower volume will keep you on the gain train when you are time-pressed.


A dumbbell complex is a series of back-to-back strength exercises blended into one training. You do all the reps of one exercise before moving on to the next, and the dumbbell doesn’t touch the ground until you’ve finished all the exercises in the complex.

The key to a good dumbbell complex is ensuring lifts occur logically. How did the dumbbells get there if you did a bent-over row followed by a front squat? Doing bent-over rows to a dumbbell clean makes more sense.


Do all exercises (between 3 and 8 reps for all exercises) on one side before switching to the other. Rest for 2 minutes after doing both sides and do 2-3 rounds. Good luck.

  1. Snatch
  2. Overhead Carry
  3. Front Squat
  4. Push Press
  5. Cross-body Row


There’s nothing magical about the eight-minute and eight-rep protocol. You can change it to five and five, six and six, or seven minutes depending on how much time you have to exercise. Matching the reps to the time for each triset will streamline your workout when time is an issue.

Instructions: Complete each exercise in the triset, resting as little as possible between exercises. Rest 30 to 60 seconds at the end of each triset and do as many rounds as possible within your given time frame. Select a weight that allows you to complete all repetitions with good form. If you’re stacking training, rest 90 to 120 seconds between rounds and choose no more than three in one session.

Note: The following trisets are examples; you can choose any exercise variation.

Kettlebell Deadlift

How to Maximize Your Gains On a Hectic Schedule

Too busy to hit the gym for your usual workouts? Switch it up.

Read article
]]> 0
The Olympia Weekend is About Much More than Bodybuilding Mon, 12 Dec 2022 18:21:41 +0000 Since 1965, the Olympia has been considered the premiere event in bodybuilding and fitness. The best physiques and the biggest names in the sport will grace the stage and inspire fans from around the world when they gather in Las Vegas, Nevada on the weekend of Dec. 16-18 at the 2022 edition of Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend.

While the Olympia will always be recognized for being bodybuilding’s biggest weekend, it has become an attraction for other strength sports and events as well thanks to the Olympia World Fitness Expo. The Venetian in Las Vegas will host several events and competitions that the fans can enjoy. Olympia Expo Director Tim Gardner is excited about this year’s expo more than any other.

“Just to have a collective gathering of fitness enthusiasts, all coming on to one area, and also having the diverse groups attending is a big deal,” Gardner said. The Olympia had been hosted in Las Vegas for many years prior to the pandemic, but being in the Venetian this year is breathing new life into the fan experience as well as the experience for all the different sports taking part this year.

“I just feel like this is one weekend where the vision of Joe Weider and the Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend will be a true collective of not just bodybuilding fans, but all like-minded fitness enthusiasts.”

Current Olympia owner Jake Wood bought the Olympia in 2020, and he was immediately faced with the issues caused by the pandemic. Nonetheless, Wood and Olympia President Dan Solomon have led a positive-minded team, including Gardner, to create the best event possible in Orlando, FL for 2020 and 2021. Gardner is optimistic that 2022 will be a year where fans can see and get a full appreciation of Wood’s passion for bodybuilding and fitness.

“We have over three times the square footage this year at the Venetian,” said Gardner. “Jake has more than came through on any statements he made about promoting the Olympia. He said ‘we’re going to make it better,’ and he doesn’t just stop. Every year, it keeps improving in spite of all the obstacles.”

The result of that improvement is a wide variety of strength sports and competitions that will benefit spectators and athletes long after the weekend in Las Vegas is over. Below are some of the events you can look forward to at the Venetian for the 2022 Olympia Weekend.

Dan Solomon Prime Time

Chief Olympia Officer Dan Solomon Speaks on the Gr...

Solomon was a guest on Prime Time Muscle.

Read article


An enthusiast watching the strongman competition at the 2022 Olympia weekend expo
Tim Gardner

Strongman Corporation will host the 2022 America’s Strongest Man, America’s Strongest Wom≈an, and 2022 Masters Nationals contests at the Olympia on Friday, December 16th and Saturday, December 17th. These contests could feature future stars of strongman and strongwoman as well as inspiring feats of strength from Masters competitors. For more information on this event, Click Here!

Powerlifting and Strict Curl

The International Powerlifting League (IPL) will host the 2022 IPL Olympia Pro Powerlifting meet in the Venetian. Events will include full meets, single bench press events, and single deadlift events for both men and women. Details and registration forms can be found at Here!

The “fourth powerlift” will also be featured at the Olympia. The United States Strict Curl Association will host the 2022 Olympia Strict Curl championships on Saturday, December 17th. Contests for strict curl and cheat curl will be held. Click Here for more information!


Fit bodybuilder performing a heavy load bench press with spotters
Tim Gardner

Armlifting is the sport that will test your grip to the max, and Armlifting USA will host their 2022 world championship at the Olympia World Fitness Expo. Promoter and strength legend Odd Haugen will be hosting athletes and testing their grip with a variety of lifts, including the Country Crush Blocks with three-inch handles, the Saxon Bar and more. Click Here for more information!

Ultimate Ninja Athlete

The Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association (UNAA) will be hosting a spectacular obstacle course racing series at the Olympia. This late addition to the expo is sure to challenge entrants while entertaining and inspiring fans in attendance. You can see this event starting on Friday, December 16th at the World Fitness Expo.

OLYMPIA Las Vegas Fitness Challenge – The Ultimate CrossFit Training Experience

Yes, the Olympia will host a CrossFit competition in 2022. The Olympia Las Vegas Fitness Challenge will test competitors’ strength, athleticism, functional fitness, endurance, and more. This contest is presented at the Olympia by Branded One and Elev8tion Gym. Click her to find out more about this event and competition!


Participents in the 2022 Olympia weekend arm wrestling competition
Tim Gardner

The Ultimate Armwrestling League (UAL) will host professional and amateur armwrestlers from around the world as they test their strength against each other in front of many fans in the Venetian. Several prizes will be on the line in this event, including a special Olympia jacket. Click Here for more news! and Here to learn more!

Hoopin’ with Heroes

This three-on-three basketball tournament will highlight and feature members of the United States Armed Forces as well as a variety of competitors that serve in civil service roles, including police, firefighters, EMT’s, and other first responders. Guest celebrities and live entertainment will also be a part of this event. Follow @hoopinwithheroes on Instagram as well.

Bareknuckle Fighting

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) is the first legal and regulated bare knuckle organization in the United States. Bouts are held in a circular four-rope ring, which can encourage fast-paced and exciting fights. The fighters are all professionals in boxing, MMA, kickboxing, and/or Muay Thai which makes this one of the world’s most exciting combat sport. Potential competitors can tryout and learn how to become a fighter, meet many of the professional fighters, participate in an official Round Card Girl search, and much more. For more information about the BKFC, Click Here to find out more information! 

Other Events

A fitness influencer and social media personality shooting at the Olympia weekend bodybuilding event
Tim Gardner

Aside from many of your favorite supplement companies hosting booths at the Expo, you can see other sites and events, including Zumba dancing, Bikini fashion shows, Stan Efferding’s World’s Strongest Gym competition, and more. You can see all the events and more at the Olympia World Fitness Expo, and tickets are available at Make sure you follow @mrolympiallc on Instagram as well to stay updated on all the happenings at the 2022 Olympia Weekend live from Las Vegas.

Competitors competing in ethnosports and the MAS wrestling strength competition

Olympia World MAS Wrestling Championship To Be Hel...

The event will be held Dec.15-18 at the Venetian Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Read article
]]> 0
MetaPumps is Connecting the Fitness Community in a New Way Mon, 12 Dec 2022 18:21:07 +0000 This is sponsored content. M&F is not endorsing the websites or products listed in this article.

The fitness community has grown by leaps and bounds over the course of the 21st century. It started with the internet and forum boards, where bodybuilding fans could discuss and debate athletes and contest placings. Then, social media came along. At first it was MySpace and Facebook, then Twitter, and nowadays Instagram and TikTok are dominating that space. Of course, you can’t leave out YouTube and its impact on the entire fitness industry.

You may be wondering what could be next, or what is even left, in terms of ways that the bodybuilding and fitness world could connect. The next frontier for the global fitness community could be in the form of the Metaverse and NFT’s

Don’t believe me? It’s already happening around us thanks to the NFT company, MetaPumps. Earlier this year, founder Whitney Reid started this company with the goal of creating and selling them to customers.

CEO of BPI Chris MacKenzie with Jay Cutler at an event
Whitney Reid

“NFT’s are non-fungible tokens. They are unique digital identifiers that can’t be copied, substituted that is recorded in a blockchain,” said Reid. “That is used to certify authenticity and proof of ownership.”

Those characters would come with utilities and assets that could benefit them now and later. Those people that wonder why people would want to collect NFT’s may remember back in their own childhoods when sports cards were the popular item to have, trade, and sell. Reid found that his passions of collectibles and cryptocurrency could be combined in this venture.

“The MetaPump NFT project started off as a fun side project I created due to my interest in the crypto space and collectibles. I am a huge sports memorabilia collector and also very early in crypto,” Reid explained. “Creating an NFT project was a combination of 2 of my hobbies.”

It’s never wrong to seize a business opportunity and try to succeed, but some of the most successful people in business such as Tony Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk will tell you that having a greater purpose is the key to longevity. Reid found his greater purpose with MetaPumps, create a positive fitness network and community that have a common passion for bettering themselves.

“When I first started the MetaPump collection, my goal was to create a fun network of fitness minded individuals/bodybuilding fans,” Reid shared. In the early stages of developing his brand, he joined forces with four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler. Cutler and Reid had worked together in the past, and they both agreed that this could be another positive step forward for the fitness industry and themselves.

“The first collection is a group of characters based on Cutler. Ownership of each NFT will give you some type of in real life utility,” Reid stated. Those utilities could include discounts to BPI or Cutler Nutrition supplements, promotions with other fitness brands, and some could even connect people directly to Cutler himself. People that may only get to see Cutler on YouTube or social media could not have direct access and learn from a legend.

“NFTs would be the next level of connection to Jay and other fitness personalities in our project.”

If you’re familiar with bodybuilding, then you likely understand that Cutler is considered the most successful business man in bodybuilding outside of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Reid pointed out that he was always a step ahead of his fellow competitors, which is why he’s still among the most relevant names in the sport today, almost a decade after his last contest.

“Jay has always led the way with community building, technology and being on the forefront of what’s next. I remember the old days when Ronnie (Coleman) and Jay would release a DVD and their seemed to be a competition as to who would sell the most. Jay then became one of the first real social media celebrities in our space and I see him capturing the same attention in the metaverse.”

CEO of BPI Chris MacKenzie with Jay Cutler
Whitney Reid

The thought of NFT’s may be considered a waste of time in the eyes of some people, but Reid offered a valid comparison that may sway your opinion going forward.

“Think about this. Subscriptions are the future of media consumption. Netflix, Hulu and so on. NFTs will be the next way to subscribe to access and information. “

This isn’t just something happening in North America, either. NFT’s are becoming a global phenomenon, and MetaPumps is among the leaders in the clubhouse of the fitness space. Reid was recently in Dubai, speaking at the DTEC Dubai Silicon Oasis about the development of a Metaverse gym, and there is already a movement developing in that part of the world.

“Dubai is poised to be the HQ of all things associated with the Metaverse. Our Metaverse gym was the focal point of the presentation. We spoke on how anyone from any part of the globe could eventually train virtually with Jay and other well-known bodybuilding/fitness icons. The technology is already available for this to take place. It would be extremely expensive to do this from home but I do believe at some point in the near future this is a possibility.”

It would be hard to avoid the fact that the market for cryptocurrency and digital properties is unstable in this early phase of development. Like most advancements in technology, it takes time for stability. Reid didn’t avoid that fact, and he’s optimistic about the future of his project and NFT’s in general.

“I actually think this is a good thing for the market,” he explained. “It will weed out a lot of people who were only in it for a quick flip and don’t really care about the technology aspect of the metaverse. I do think we are years away from full blown metaverse training but it is coming whether we want it or not.”

There are big plans for MetaPumps in 2023, including the development of the Metaverse gym and even potential opportunities with the Olympia in the future. In Reid’s eyes, the potential is endless.

“Will be fun to see how this plays out.”

To learn more about MetaPumps, follow Reid on Instagram @whitneyreid_fit and on Twitter@metapumps and @whitneyreid33.

Bodybuilder Jay Cutler 3d NFT

Jay Cutler Banking on Becoming MVP of the NFT'...

The four-time Mr. Olympia has a long track record of succeeding onstage and in business.

Read article

This is sponsored content. M&F is not endorsing the websites or products listed in this article.

]]> 0
Here’s How to Best Prepare Yourself for Cold Weather Running Fri, 09 Dec 2022 16:00:35 +0000 Is it ever too cold to go running? According to Reebok’s head of fitness Maillard Howell, definitely no. But that doesn’t mean you can just lace up your shoes and hit the pavement when temperatures drop.

Cold-weather running requires a solid warm-up, suitable apparel, and gear, and as hard as it may be to drink water when it’s cold outside, proper hydration.

“Only when there is an issue of safety should running in the cold be avoided,” Howell says. Good news for those looking to continue outdoor cardio year-round or shake things up a bit during the winter months. And with shorter days and less sunlight, a little fresh air does a body good.

Here Howell gives you his top tips for successful and safe winter running! So, lace up your sneakers, because it’s time to run!

Man stretching in the snow
Drazen_ / Getty

Never Miss a Warmup

Chances are you have a regularly scheduled warm-up session before every lift and already know just how important it is to never miss a warm-up. Although warming up is always important, when it comes to cold weather training, such as running, warming up just may be more vital.

“The cold requires us to spend extra focus on prepping our body for movement as our muscles tend to constrict in the cold. This can lead to that stiffness we feel which is essentially decreased mobility,” says Howell.

Warming up properly actually increases your muscles’ internal temperature which aids in injury prevention and can even boost sports performance.

So, what type of warmup is best suitable for training in cold weather months?

“Moves that involve and include dynamic movement,” Howell says. He continues, “One that warms the muscles of the legs, lower back, calves, glutes, and arms up, gets the heart rate elevated as well as raises the body temperature.” Here is what a dynamic warm-up looks like:

Try Two Rounds of Howell’s Dynamic Warmup Before You Run

    • 12 tempo air squats
    • 12 bodyweight good mornings
    • 12 hamstring scoops
    • 12 calf raises
    • 12 hill climbers
    • 12 A skips
    • 12 Jumping Jacks
Tips For Winter Training Survival

Wear Proper Gear

Cold weather running calls for choosing the right attire/gear and layering clothing properly. “When in the cold, our body adjusts by shunting more blood to our core organs and as a result, the extremities tend to get cold faster as a result of the decreased blood flow.” Says Howell. This is where, “Proper socks, gloves, and ear coverage is important in cold weather.” He explains.

Howell is a fan of a thermal layer, a running layer (his usual running shorts and Tee-shirt), and a light wind jacket in terms of apparel during the winter.

But don’t go too heavy. “Keep layers light, as you don’t want to feel too hot once warmed up during the run; Heavy layers will hinder both comfort and efficiency of your run and may cause you to abort the session,” says Howell.

Once the body has warmed up (during the first quarter of a run we heat up pretty quickly) Howells explains we actually do run the chance of overheating if too heavily layered. “The thermal layer should be moisture-wicking to avoid remaining wet.” He explains.

Once you landed the right gear, you’ll be surprised at how much better your cold-weather running experience becomes – there’s pretty much a science to it, and it works.

Don’t Skimp Out on Drinking Water

It can be hard to drink water when it’s cold out, and Howell himself has made the mistake of not hydrating properly during the colder months. “This is a mistake, especially during physical activity like running,” he says. “Ensure you have your water bottle handy as you would your summer runs, and remember, we are still losing liquids and metabolites through our sweat even in the cold.”

To make hydrating a bit easier, aim to sip on water thought out the day making it a habit; one cup before coffee, one cup after, and so on.

Bearded Man Applying Lip Balm To His Lips

Grab Some Lip Moisturizer

“This is a little thing but can make the difference during a long run in the cold,” Howell says. It’s the proverbial “pebble in the shoe” for him as the elements can wreak havoc on your lips during a run, leading to chapping, splitting, and bleeding. Hint: lip balm would make the perfect stocking stuffer for the runner in your life this year.

Don’t Wear Cotton

As comfy as cotton is, it can be dangerous when used as a base layer in low temps as it doesn’t wick sweat properly keeping you wet, and cold and raising your chance of hypothermia. Instead, opt for “A moisture-wicking base layer that holds warmth and pulls sweat away from your body is important” says Howell.

Continuing to exercise throughout the winter is important for not only physical health but mental health. Following these important steps before, during, and after your runs will keep your body moving all winter long.

5 Life-saving Tips for Cold-weather Training

5 Tips for Cold-Weather Training

Keep your body in tip-top shape when training outdoors.

Read article
]]> 0
Derek Lunsford Tells ‘FRS’ He’s No Longer ‘Held Back’ in the 212 Division Fri, 09 Dec 2022 15:55:35 +0000 There are plenty of questions to ponder leading up to the 2022 Mr. Olympia. One of those is where 2021 Olympia 212 winner Derek Lunsford will place…in the Men’s Open. Lunsford is now competing with the big boys, and he hopes to be standing tall as the 17th Mr. Olympia at the end of the night on December 17th. Lunsford shared his excitement about competing this year with Isabelle Turell on the Fit Rockstar Show. He also is well aware that he will have to face a long line of other contenders and even two past champions – Brandon Curry and defending Mr. Olympia, Big Ramy.

“I know we’re all going there to challenge for that title, and everyone wants to make history,” said Lunsford. He is even more excited because this also serves as an opportunity for him to showcase his full potential.

“I think being in the 212 was holding me back, and now that I’m able to reach my fullest potential, we’re going to see very extraordinary this year. I’m working my tail off to do that.”

Lunsford made it clear that he’s made the most out this past year, and this new opportunity has fueled his passion to compete like never before. He even compared it to back when he began his bodybuilding career as an amateur.

“I’ve got that fire inside of me this year,” he said emphatically. “This has been the best prep I’ve ever had.”

Turell pointed out that Lunsford could make history on two fronts. He could be the first man to win the Olympia in two divisions, and he would be the youngest winner of the Mr. Olympia since Lee Haney. When reminded of those facts, Lunsford smiled and committed to do all he can to rewrite history books.

“I’m going to give it my best,” he told Turell. Everybody there is amazing, and they want their shot at that title, and I believe I’m one of those guys that can challenge anyone.”

You can see Lunsford attempt to make history by ordering the Olympia pay-per-view over at You can watch this and all episodes of the FIt Rockstar Show by going to or subscribing to the Wings of Strength YouTube channel.

]]> 0
2022 Olympia World MAS Wrestling Championship To Be Held During Olympia World Fitness Festival Fri, 09 Dec 2022 14:56:01 +0000 Strength athletes from North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe will compete for World Championship Belts in two weight categories for women; and four weight categories for men. The competition will be conducted in double elimination tournament format, with fast paced combative and entertaining matches.

2022-olympia-mas-wrestling-online-banner (1)
Courtesy of Odd Haugen, MAS Wrestling

MAS Wrestling is the international name used for the Yakut ethnosport derived from the traditional stick pulling game mas tard’yhyy . MAS Wrestling – the National Sport of Yakutia, North Eastern Siberia. Reminiscent of the Eskimo Stick Pull featured at the World Eskimo Indian Olympics, as well as the Highland Games test of strength The Swingle Tree (played with a shepherd’s crook), participants taking part in MAS Wrestling competitions sit in front of each other, prop their feet against the board that divides the competition area and tug on a wooden stick (MAS), making sure to start over the propping board. MAS Wrestling has roots in Viking games going back more than a thousand years. In the Viking sagas it was referred to as “kjevletrekk” in Norse language and was integral part of physical education through the millennium. MAS Wrestling demands agility and great muscular strength from the hands, legs, back, and abdominals, and is one of the best tests of functional strength.

Don't miss Mas Wrestling at the Arnold Sports Festival

Mas Wrestling at the Arnold Sports Festival

Part tug-of-war, part arm wrestling and all strength.

Read article
]]> 0
Maximize Your Workouts with These Sock-Selecting Tips Fri, 09 Dec 2022 12:35:54 +0000 We all know the importance of choosing the right athletic sneaker, but what about socks? Most likely, the purchase comes down to selecting your size and moving on with your day. And the same goes for compression socks; Choose a size (and possibly color), and done.

But there’s more than sizing that goes into picking the right pair of socks for your feet—in this case, size matters.

Whether it’s your running socks, gym socks, casual socks, or compressions, Theresa Marko, board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy, and CEO & owner, of Marko Physical Therapy, shows you how to choose the best pair of socks for your feet, and provides the dos and don’ts of compression wearing.

Female runner wearing compression socks

Are You Wearing Your Compression Gear Correctly?

From socks to sleeves, compression gear helps enhance performance.

Read article

Consider These Tips When Selecting Your Everyday Sock

Size, height, and material are what make or break your sock experience. Sock choice is very personal, and the goal is for you to be comfortable and feel good wearing them so you can move well in your everyday tasks.

That being said, “there are variations that one might want to consider such as the height of the sock, and then the material the sock is made out of ” Says, Marko.

These factors make a big difference in how the sock feels as well as its performance on your body.

Man putting on crew socks on his feet
Photo by Erwans Socks on Unsplash

One Step Closer to Finding the Best Fit For Your Feet

Size: When determining your correct sock size you can do two things: Simply measure your foot (in inches) from your heel to your biggest toe, or go by your current shoe size. The back of the sock package will have the measurements and sizes for you to choose from

Height: The height of the sock is personal, and may vary depending on your activity, but remember you want to be comfortable.

As far as the “no-show” socks that go below your shoe line, Marko advises, “It’s important to get a pair that has the rubber on the back of the ankle so that the sock will not slip down and cause blisters or pain.”

For activities like running and HIIT, proper sock height is imperative “You would not want to go for a run in a sock that slips down off your heel, bunching up in your shoe constantly.” Says Marko.

Look for a sock that stays in place, protects your feet, and is comfortable.

Material The materials of the socks can be cotton, polyester/spandex, a blend of cotton/spandex, and then wool, wool/cashmere, and wool/spandex. Depending on the season and physical activity, the material can make a serious impact on comfort level and even safety. For example, you don’t want to wear cotton socks during outdoor winter activities as they don’t wick sweat and the sock loses its ability to insulate.

Whether it’s work or gym time, “The different blends of materials can offer moisture wicking to allow the foot to not get hot and sweaty and help avoid things like foot fungus and skin breakdown.” Says Marko. With that said, when in training, it’s best to choose a sweat-wicking sock to support foot health.

For those needing arch support, “There are socks that have extra stretch around the arch of the foot to provide support and they feel really good to wear.” Says Marco.

Man sitting on the bench wearing calf compression socks
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

The Two Types of Compression Socks:

There are generally two camps of compression socks: Athletic and Edema.

Athletic: Athletic compression socks are going to be more of a traditional sport sock type and they probably will be knee high. “They provide support to the lower leg and help venous return and recovery by providing some compression.” Says Marko. These socks are not usually very tight but are a light compression.

Edema: Edema control socks are going to be more like a traditional knee-high stocking (like a pantyhose material) that come in different gauges. These different gauges are the “tightness” of the sock; Some of them are very tight and require a tool to put on called a “donner”. “These types of socks would be used in people who have pooling/edema in their legs due to aging or a chronic condition like diabetes,” Marko explains.

Female weight lifter wearing compression socks and setting up a barbell
Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

The Best Type of Socks For Your Training Needs

Standing for Long periods & Long Runs – Compression socks are a good idea if you are going to be standing or sitting for a prolonged period. “When you stand or sit for too long, blood can pool in the lower leg and foot and the veins will have a harder time pumping the blood up to the heart.” Says Marko. Compression socks help prevent the pooling of blood and help steer clear of blood clots. Marko recommends compression socks for someone who stands all day for work (nurse, factory worker, etc). And, for someone going on a long exercise routine like a long run, as well as someone who sits all day for their job (desk job) it’s best to slap on a pair of compressions.

Lifting Weights – Throwing iron and lifting heavy go hand and hand as the compression socks help keep your blood pumping and clots at bay. If you are wearing compression socks during your training session, leaving them on post-workout can help with recovery says Marko, but, “One might want to use looser compression if they were using a stronger compression during working out.” She says.

When Not To Wear Compression Socks – Compression socks are not recommended for bed. “You also need to change the socks and give your skin a break to breathe every three days if you want to wear them consistently.” Recommends Marko.

A variety of different socks on the store shelf
Photo by Clark Gu on Unsplash

How to Choose the Right Compression Socks

“The level of sock compression goes by your comfort level and also if you have any problems with circulation.” Says Marko.  If you have a circulation problem then you need stronger compression.

“A person without issues can use a more gentle compression –  However, compression is a personal comfort decision so one needs to try a pair and see how they feel.” Say s Marko.

Do they feel supported? Or do they feel restrictive? It’s going to vary by person.

Compression socks offer a variety of benefits. Consulting with a Physical Therapist can help you sort out any questions and concerns regarding what compression sock is best for you!

Female wearing advanced running shoes on a treadmill

The Evolution of Running Shoes

These innovations have led us to the pinnacle of performance footwear.

Read article

Try These 12 Top Compression Socks

]]> 0
These 7 Overhead Press Variations Will Push Your Power Through the Roof Thu, 08 Dec 2022 17:33:00 +0000 The best measure of absolute pressing strength is not the bench press (please don’t tell the powerlifters) but the overhead press. Although the bench press is pretty standard among lifters, the same cannot be said for the overhead press or the many overhead press accessory exercises.

Why? You get no assistance from the bench or a spotter yelling, ‘It’s all you, bro’ while they lift the weight for you. With the overhead press, it’s your feet on the ground, hands on the barbell, and either lift it—or not. The overhead press is all you, bro, making it arguably a better test of pressing strength than the bench press.

Here we’ll dive into what’s needed for an excellent overhead press technique, and seven coaches share their favorite overhead press accessory exercises for an improved overhead press.

Muscles Used For The Basic Overhead Press Exercise

There are certain deviations in form and technique when it comes to any lift because you’re all put together differently. But there are certain non-negotiables regarding the overhead press, and they are.

  • Shoulder Mobility: If you cannot raise your arms overhead without pain or compensation from the back or anterior core, you have no business going overhead.
  • Core Stability: A common mistake with the overhead press is the overarching lower back and the protruding ribcage to lift the barbell overhead. Having good core strength will help reduce crushing your lower back to smithereens.
  • Triceps And Upper Back Strength: The final third of the lift is all triceps, and adequate triceps strength is needed to lock out your overhead press. For scapular stability, upper back strength is required to ensure a better pressing path and lockout.

This could go on a bit, but these three critical areas must be locked in before hoisting heavy weights overhead.

Bearded weight lifter struggling with a squat at smith machine and performing squat accessory exercises

5 Trainers Share Their Favorite Squat Accessory Ex...

 There’s more to strength than just the Big 3 lifts, so try these moves as well.

Read article

Overhead Press Accessory Exercises

These seven expert coach accessory exercises will point you in the right direction when you’re looking at improving your overhead press strength and performance.

]]> 0
Here’s How Actor Waleed Zuaiter Used Pilates to Become More ‘Alpha’ at Age 51 Thu, 08 Dec 2022 17:19:58 +0000 Waleed Zuaiter commands the role of “Koba” in Season 2 of “Gangs of London,” playing a mobster bully who strikes fear in the hearts of all that dare oppose him, but in recent years, the talented actor and producer had suffered with backpain resulting from historic surgery, exacerbated by long shoots and standing for hours at a time between takes. In order to make “Koba” a convincing villain, Zuaiter, who is known to millions for his performances in “Altered Carbon” and “Baghdad Central” would need to fix his posture before standing tall as one of the most alpha television characters of 2022. M&F sat down with the Arab-American star of stage and screen to find out how he did just that.

“Some of it is, like, presence, I think,” Zuaiter explains of taking a character and making it dominate any scene. “I’ve always been told on stage, and I come from theatre, that I have a big presence on stage. I think screen presence is similar. When you are playing a character that is larger than life, and has this barbarity in terms of their childhood, and brutality, and gang culture, there’s a muscularity that comes with that.” Still, at 51-years-young, and having spent decades treading the boards and making movies, Zuaiter’s charismatic presence was being threatened by lingering back pain.


How Waleed Zuaiter Got (his) Back in Shape with Pilates

“It’s probably the best physical training I’ve done,” says Zuaiter of his Pilates journey. “It started because I had a herniated disc and I had back surgery. The physical therapy that I did was Pilates based, and what it taught me was that the support of all the smallest muscles that are connected to your spine, those are the most important to strengthen because what it does is it creates a natural brace for your abdominals. It’s like wearing a back brace but it’s all the thin layer of muscles that are closest to your spine and then it turned into, ‘oh’, this is the best way to get in shape for any role that I do.”

Pilates is an exercise undertaken to improve an individuals’ core strength, stability, and flexibility. It can be similar to Yoga in that you stretch and build strength through various exercises and positions. Then there is Reformer Pilates, this takes place on a bed-like frame that acts a piece of training apparatus, allowing for further stretching and resistance. “It just builds your confidence levels in terms of feeling very grounded, stable, and strong,” says Zuaiter. “Because for me, it just comes down to the fact that I don’t want to be injured, and I

want to be totally free to be able to do whatever is called upon me, or comes into my mind at that moment. For that, it’s about flexibility and mobility. As you get older, it’s really about that, and about stretching and finding that physical comfort so that you can kind of take risks. Every time that I’m done on the reformer, I literally have to roll off, I’m so exhausted.”

How Waleed Zuaiter Portrayed Koba as an Alpha Male in Gangs of London Season 2

“For me it was just, like, how do I physically embody this character so it’s believable that I am a gangster,” shares the talented actor. “And not only that I’m a gangster, but I grew up in a gangster culture, and for me that was about getting into shape physically and accentuating what I have physically, and so for me, wearing a tank top was part of that. In reading the description of the character, the mental image of animals came to mind because it was a very primal character. The description said that Koba at his essence is either predator or prey. I just had this image of a wild beast and for some reason, it was a leopard that came to mind. So that kind of inspired the hair and so when we got into the wardrobe, I wanted to show as much ‘cleavage’ (laughs) and chest hair as possible. To just kinda get that animalistic sense about the character.”

With his confidence restored, Zuaiter was able to collaborate with the Gangs of London stunt team, including coordinator Tim Connolly, who he had previously worked with during the making of “London Has Fallen” and “Altered Carbon,” to get in on the action even where the script hadn’t called for it. “When we had that scene in the boxing ring, it did not say that Koba punches Luan,” shares the actor. “It says that Koba gestures to one of his guys to punch him. I was like, instinctively, I wanna be in the ring. Koba is the kind of guy that wants to be the center of attention. He peacocks, wherever he goes.” Feeling Koba’s energy, Zuaiter suggested that rather than having a henchman punch Luan, he should do it instead. They nailed it one take.

So, what is the secret to throwing a great on-screen punch? “Really, it’s all in the hips and the feet,” says Zuaiter. “You get your power from where you are grounded because it all travels from your feet. The hip is the biggest muscle that is giving you that swing. So, once you get the actual posture down in terms of where you need to be for the right camera angle, it’s all about selling it. You’ll need to come up a little more (with your arm, to exaggerate) the hook. It’s like a dance.”

Season one of the BAFTA winning series, “Gangs of London” is available to stream through AMC+ in the United States and Sky TV internationally.

Sope Dirisu fighting in a tv series role

Actor Ṣọpẹ́ Dirisu's Fight Prep

Find out how this quarterback-turned-actor keeps fit for his epic fight scenes.

Read article
]]> 0
The Spud is No Dud When it Comes to Losing Weight, Says Science Thu, 08 Dec 2022 14:33:37 +0000 If the thousands of fitness “influencer” accounts on social media are to be believed, the only way to shed those unwanted pounds is to ditch carbohydrates in favor of a heavy protein and plant-based diet. In recent years, the humble potato has been shunned, partly due to unsubstantiated fears that they are responsible for spiking blood sugar levels and making us appear soft, but are potatoes really the worst of all carbs? And are carbs really that bad anyhow? If new research is to be taken seriously, there is ample evidence to suggest that the spud is no dud after all.

M&F took a look at the recent findings, and consulted with Dr Emilia Thompson, a respected fitness and life coach, and a registered nutritionist, to see if potatoes have been given a bad rap.

In a recently published study, researchers monitored 36 subjects who were either overweight or suffered from insulin resistance. (When our cells become resistant to insulin, it can cause increased blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycaemia, and this can lead to prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. The participants in the study, aged 18-60, were given diets of meat and fish along with either 40% beans and peas or 40% white potatoes. Both variations also contained a high vegetable and fruit content. “We demonstrated that contrary to common belief, potatoes do not negatively impact blood glucose levels,” commented one of the reports’ contributors, Professor Candida Rebello.

What does recent research mean for the humble potato?

Both the potato based diet, and the pea and bean based diet resulted in reduced bodyweight and BMI, but why? The answer is simple: it’s all about calories in versus calories out. When consumed as part of a balanced diet, potatoes have a lot going for them, and better still, the research suggested that they had no more of an adverse effect on blood glucose levels than peas or beans.

Additionally, potatoes, due to their weight and relatively low-calorie content, are a great way to make you feel fuller for longer, potentially leading to less snacking. “Interestingly, according to the satiety index, white potatoes specifically are the most satiating food, only just ‘beating’ oats and brown pasta when compared with fat; which is calorie dense even in low volume and easier to overeat,” says Dr Emilia Thompson. “When looking at low-carb or low-fat diets, when energy intake is matched, it makes no difference as to where calories come from in relation to fat loss.” And that’s the key, it’s not the potato that’s making you gain weight, it’s the portion size that you consume.

Of course, the calorific content of a potato will also increase substantially if you deep fry them, or put slabs of butter on top, but alone, they are actually more efficient in terms of calories per gram than many other vegetables. The average potato will provide 77 calories per 100g. Compare that with 81 calories for peas, 155 calories for baked beans, and 347 for pinto beans.

“Potatoes, much like other carbohydrates, are a great source of energy, fiber, and support satiety. They are also very easy to prep ahead of time and don’t require reheating,” says Dr Thompson, who believes that in moderation, we should be open minded about mixing our food groups. “No one food is unhealthy, and no one way of cooking is unhealthy. If potatoes have added calories through frying, this may add saturated fat depending on the chosen oil. I would recommend omega 3 rich oils like olive oil. It’s important to be mindful of overall saturated fat intake, as well as energy intake for some individuals.”

So, to carb or not to carb?

That is the question! If you are an athlete looking to perform at the highest level, ditching the carbs may be counterproductive. “The main concern with a very low carb diet is the potential of nutrient deficiencies, which is a risk of any food group exclusion,” says Dr Thompson. “In this case specifically, there is a risk of low fiber intake as carbohydrate foods are often a key source of dietary fiber, and fiber is an essential component of a healthful diet, associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk and improved metabolic and gut health. The optimal way to manage satiety is to enjoy a mixed macronutrient meal including protein, carbohydrate and fat mindfully. Provided protein intake is adequate, we can make up our calories with a mixture of carbohydrate, protein, and fat according to our preferences and access. Nutrient variety is one of the best things we can do for our health, and potatoes fit in well!”

10 Best Carbs Sweet Potato

10 Best Sources of Carbs

Get the lowdown on which carbs you should include in your diet.

Read article
]]> 0
Need a Place to Train During Olympia Weekend? Yak’s Fitness is the Place to Be Thu, 08 Dec 2022 13:47:25 +0000 There are many things to do if you’re in Las Vegas for the 2022 Olympia Weekend. You can watch all the competitions, visit the Expo, meet your favorite athletes and celebrities, and then you’re going to want to train. Hotel gyms are great, but it would be nice to go to a gym that has the dedicated bodybuilder in mind.

Gym equipment in yaks fitness in las vegas
Courtesy of Yak's gym

Fortunately, Yak’s Fitness Town Square is such a gym, and it’s the official gym of this year’s Olympia Weekend. It’s less than four miles from Planet Hollywood and the Venetian on the Las Vegas strip. Owner Chris Yakimchuk has two locations in the city, and the Town Square location had originally been built before the pandemic, but it was officially opened this year. Yakimchuk has a strong connection to bodybuilding as well. That connection goes back over 25 years and originated in Canada.

“I did my first show in 1996. So, I started off in bodybuilding,” Yakimchuk said. “That was always my passion.”

Yakimchuk went on to become a national judge and president of the Saskatchewan Amateur Bodybuilding Association, His wife at the time, Shelly, even became an IFBB Pro. After originally opening a gym in his home country, he relocated to Las Vegas, where he resides today. He designed his gym with the bodybuilder in mind. Aside from top-of-the-line equipment, he has a smoothie bar, tables and chairs for guests to have their meals, and even a posing room for competitors and coaches that want to make sure they are on point before taking the stage.

“I don’t try to compete with anyone. We do always carry the torch for being the cleanest gym,” he said proudly. “After 12 years of running the gym, it takes a lot to keep that torch, but we do it.”

There are plenty of gyms in Las Vegas, which has become a bodybuilding hotbed, but having access to a gym right down the street from the Olympia saves time and energy that would better used for training. Yakimchuk is inviting athletes and fans alike to pay his place a visit in order to take advantage of the motivation that is sure to rise from seeing the best of the best compete on the Olympia stage.

“I want to be very welcoming for the pros, and I’m also doing some very attractive guest packages.”

To learn more about Yak’s Fitness Town Square and to take advantage of those guest packages, you can follow @yaksfitnesstownsquare on Instagram, go to, or call 702-445-7376.

]]> 0
WWE Strengthens Its ‘NIL’ Program with Exos Partnership Wed, 07 Dec 2022 16:51:17 +0000 M&F has learned of a new partnership that will bolster WWE’s efforts in finding the next larger than life performer from the fields of football, track and field, basketball, cheerleading, and beyond. Now tag-teaming with Exos, a world beating leader for honing human performance, future WWE “NIL” program signees will have the best possible chance of rising to their athletic potential and making it big in the ring with an unrivaled set of resources.

Five potential WWE wrestlers training under the the WWE NIL Program and holding the championship belt
Courtesy of WWE

What is WWE ‘NIL’?

WWE’s NIL program, now in its second year, is a forward-thinking initiative designed to scout and develop future WWE Superstars from the world of college sports and athletics, made possible thanks to a 2021 policy by the NCAA which now allows for college athletes to monetize their own name, image, and likeness. Known simply as “Next In Line,” WWE’s mission is to provide a clear pathway from college athletics to the bright lights of WWE, offering an invaluable opportunity for athletes from diverse sporting backgrounds to follow in the footsteps of icons such as Drew McIntyre or Becky Lynch.

Scouring the world of competitive sports for the next big thing in WWE is a no-brainer when you consider that the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and John Cena were all college football stars before they became legends between the ropes. When athletes are able to harness their elite talents and combine these skills with sizzling charisma, pro wrestling megastars are born. The current WWE Raw Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair is a former college track and field athlete, and the first official signing to NIL was the 2020 Tokyo Olympic gold medalist freestyle wrestler, Gable Stevenson. There are now 25 active athletes participating in the program and lacing up boots in the WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, FL. Athletes have made the trip to Orlando from 24 different universities. Another notable signee was the recent addition of Gabi Butler, who cheerleading fans will know from the hit Netflix docuseries, “Cheer.” Each talent hopes to graduate the “Next In Line” process and be selected for a WWE developmental contract.

WWE will announce its next class of 15 NIL students in early 2023.

Potential WWE wrestler training at the EXOS training facitility under the WWE NIL Program
Courtesy of WWE

Why is WWE Tag Teaming with Exos?

M&F understands that Exos will provide WWE “Next In Line” athletes with a wealth of resources such as the ability to learn and workout in the many Exos training facilities across the United States. Exos, which has been an established force in athletics for more than 20 years, operates in 26 countries and already supports more than 12,000 game changing athletes. The crop includes more than 1,000 NFL draft picks along with 215 plus Olympians and elite military athletes.

“An industry leader in sports performance, Exos will help enhance our NIL athletes’ experience as they transition from college athletics to WWE,” said James Kimball, WWE Head of Talent Operations and Strategy, speaking exclusively with M&F.

While working with Exos professionals, WWE NIL athletes will also be introduced to the Exos Athlete Experience Program and its many sports science and data partners. The athlete intake process will see participants go through rigorous performance, body composition, nutrition, and physical therapy testing. The baseline developed for the athletes will then enable customized and fully integrated plans to ensure a foundation for optimized training.

“Exos is thrilled to team up with the WWE in an effort to meet its next generation of athletes on their journey in order to ensure success—physically and mentally—and continuity of care,” added Exos CEO Sarah Robb O’Hagan.

How do college athletes join the WWE NIL Program?

Three athletes from the inaugural 2021 NIL class have already joined WWE following their graduation from school, and have started training full-time at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla. In just four months,

Northwestern University football star Joe Spivak has appeared on WWE’s TV show, “NXT Level Up” on Peacock, under the ring name Tank Ledger. This is pillar to WWE’s renewed recruiting strategy which is now fully focused on elite former college athletes. If you are a college athlete dreaming of becoming the next big WWE Superstar, you can visit for information on the application process. The next class will be announced in early 2023.


EXOS Trainers Are Redefining Fitness

These tainers believe that the needs of the athlete and the desk jockey aren’t that different.

Read article
]]> 0 Wwe Video Final 1
Luis Santa’s Passion for Bodybuilding and Service Burns as Bright as Ever Wed, 07 Dec 2022 16:09:40 +0000 The NPC Armed Forces Nationals is a contest that recognizes and supports members of the United States military and their families. Many of the athletes that compete on that stage every year are simply looking to improve themselves and perhaps explore a new athletic endeavor. They also want to feel like they belong in a community. That’s why they train and diet so hard to face the judges on that stage.

One of those judges is Luis Santa, a man who is familiar with both commitments the athletes make – as competitors and servicemembers. That’s because Santa is not only a retired IFBB Pro League competitor, he’s also an active member of the United States Air Force. Santa works in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. His job is to analyze data and artificial intelligence.

“In a sense, I’m your bodybuilding nerd,” Santa joked. Both his passion for service and bodybuilding originated in Puerto Rico, where Santa spent part of his childhood as well as the early years of his adult life. After working at a fast-food restaurant and being robbed at gunpoint, Santa felt he needed to be a part of the solution. So, he joined the local police force.

“By joining the police department, I went into a tactical unit. Almost every single cop in that unit was a member of the Army National Guard,” said Santa. “When we were being trained with new weapons, these guys knew how to use them already, and I had never seen any of these weapons.”

Luis Santa as a puerto rican police officer
Courtesy of Luis Santa

After finding out that his fellow officers were also in the military, and because at the time he was working multiple job to make ends’ meet, Santa decided that he had to join as well. After going to a recruiter’s office with his team members, he decided to join the United States Air Force. After taking the ASVAB test, the recruiter told him that he could qualify for any job he wanted.

“I told him that I was a car mechanic, and I could work on motorcycles as well. I think it’s pretty interesting to work on aircrafts. He said ‘oh, man, I have a guaranteed job. You will go to basic training, and you’ll go straight to tech school for that job, which is tactical aircraft mechanic.’”

Luis Santa in his army gear
Courtesy of Luis Santa

On December 6, 2001, Santa accepted the opportunity, and that decision started a career that he is still involved with over two decades later. After initially wanting to serve as a way to improve his career as a cop, Santa would transition to working in the military full-time. That career would include three deployments. One of those was to serve during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he considered that the most significant moment of his military career thus far.

“It was a pretty shocking thing that I felt I was going to do, and I also felt like my call for duty was in full effect.”

Another call that he was pursuing at the time was bodybuilding. That side of Santa’s life can be traced back to his childhood as well. His father made sure he played as many sports as possible to stay active. Sports were a part of his childhood through his time in Puerto Rico as well as New York and Connecticutt. Once he grew up, he kept up a regimen of doing pushups and situps every day, which helped him maintain a good physique. His shape caught the eye of a local bodybuilder, who convinced young Luis to compete in a show. His first show was in 1997, and he recalled the experience as if he just walked offstage.

“The good news was that I finished second in my show. The bad news was there were only two guys in my show.”

Nonetheless, Santa was bit by the bodybuilding bug, and he decided to compete again. He would win the welterweight novice class of the Mr. Puerto Rico in 1998, which featured 24 competitors. Fast forward over a decade later, and Santa had earned his IFBB Pro League card by winning the 2011 NPC USA’s Middleweight title. He had actually won his class in years’ past, but due to the few pro cards that were issued at the time, he didn’t get to move up. Once he did attain pro status, he made up for lost time by competing in a show right before a deployment.

“I was already 37 years old, so I needed to get on a pro stage asap. So, I jumped right into the New York Pro. One reason I did that was because I had to go back to the Middle East, and I wanted to make sure I had a show in because I didn’t know if I was coming back.”

Fortunately, Santa did come back and competed several more times. He would eventually win a show, the 2017 Baltimore Classic Masters Pro. He also placed seventh at the Tampa Pro 212 that year. Derek Lunsford would win that contest. Santa called that his most successful season as a pro, but he was actually prouder of his showing in Tampa, even though he won in Maryland.

“I was very happy with what we managed to do with my physique,” he stated. The “we” referred to himself as well as his coach at the time, A.J. Sims, who worked with Santa for the rest of his career. What makes Santa most proud of his career is that like fellow pros Charjo Grant and Olympia 202 champion David Henry, he successfully prepped for contests while maintaining his commitments to his country.

“To prepare while doing shifts in the military and have a family, it’s tough to get it done. I always felt the most rewarded on the day of the show that I made it to the show.”

Santa’s career onstage would conclude in the 2021 Toronto Pro, where he placed sixth in the 212 division. Even though he doesn’t compete anymore, he still trains hard and is still connected to the sport, both as a judge and promoter. In his eyes, it’s a way to give back to the community and sport that has been a strong part of his life.

Luis Santa in military dress

“I am passionate about the sport just like I’m passionate for my (military) career.”

Besides serving his country in the Pentagon, Master Sergeant (E7) Santa still sees himself as an advocate for both fitness and service. He re-upped this year to add three more years of service, and he’s open about encouraging young people to consider a future in the United States Armed Forces because it would mean something far greater than a paycheck alone.

“It’s a different feeling. I really can’t explain the feeling of the love for some people to serve. It’s a very special feeling of accomplishment and gratification. I feel that on the inside. It’s a very strong feeling of satisfaction to be able to serve.”

Follow Luis on Instagram @luissanta1.

]]> 0