Thursday, August 15, 2019

Should Pro's Practice Posing at NPC Clinics?


So here's the deal, does having a pro card mean you're perfect? No, it does not. What a pro card means, is that on a given day, you nailed it. Your physique was on point, your posing was on point, and you were the best out of the lineup you competed with. That is a HUGE achievement. After all, when you earn your IFBB Pro League pro card, that comes after competing at the local and regional levels, getting nationally qualified, and then earning top honors at an NPC national level pro qualifier. For the few who can achieve that - be proud - be VERY PROUD!!

Now, let's go back in time to 2012, when Mike Pulcinella released his "Kai Greene: A Day in the Life," video. I'm sure you've seen it a MILLION times, but in case you haven't, I've included the part in question, where Kai attended posing clinics regularly. Kai Greene was then, and now, considered to be one of the best and most entertaining bodybuilding posers of all time. By 2012, he'd won the NY Pro, won the Arnold, and placed Top 3 at the Mr. Olympia, yet he continued to attend posing clinics. Why? Because he constantly wanted to sharpen his skills.

I've seen pro's at clinics I've covered standing around, either assessing the amateur lineups and/or looking out of place. I have also seen pro's, folks who've won big titles, humbling themselves, getting in those lineups, shoulder to shoulder with true novices at the NPC level, simply to get the constructive criticism of presenters.

Now, not all posing clinics are created equally. When you can pose in front of a Mr. Olympia judge, like Gary Udit, and when you can get posing tips from an IFBB Pro and National NPC Judge like Linda Andrew - now you're in a different world!! Even Kai wasn't being assessed by judges on this level, but yet he attended his posing classes, consistently.

The fact is, if you've been spent 16 weeks eating out of tupaware, logging every rep of your training down, and taking your supplements at specific times, like clockwork, then you owe it to yourself to present everything you've worked so hard for on stage. Be humble somewhere else, at some other time. On stage, show every last bit of that hard-earned muscle, broadcast your crispness, and put your lines on blast!! Nothing shows off symmetry and balance better, than flawless posing!!

I don't care how great your prep coach and/or posing coach is, you simply cannot cut corners and deny yourself of being critiqued by the best. What's 45 minutes on a Sunday afternoon in the grand scheme of things? 

For amateurs, I have to tell you, it's on! Anyone doing the Ohio, had better come ready to battle. No one you come up against, will be there just for fun. The same goes for the Tricky Jackson and the Kentucky Muscle. It's much harder to get nationally qualified now, so everyone is coming ready to battle. Also, the judges want to reward the athletes with the best physiques, but if the athletes can't execute the mandatory poses, how pray tell, can the judges give them the best placings? How can you reward something you can't see?

With regards to Pro athletes, they have pretty darn high stakes, too. Many need to keep their sponsors happy; others will get bonuses for making Top 5, Top 3, and especially for winning! Pro's also want to make a name for themselves, they want to get invited to the Arnold Classic, and they especially want to qualify for the Olympia. Speaking of the Olympia, many pro's will go on points, if need be, but they would much rather qualify for the big dance by winning a contest. I'm sorry, but you're not winning an IFBB Pro League contest if you can't pose - ain't happening!

If Kai Greene went to posing clinics regularly to pose,  with NY Pro and Arnold Classic titles under his belt, while being Top 3 at the previous year's Mr. Olympia, then I'd be hard pressed to name even a single pro, anywhere, who shouldn't get in front of judges like Gary and Linda and make sure there isn't anything, even the most minor little detail they couldn't pick up to make their awesome posing skills even more awesome!!

I hope to see everyone - amateurs and pro's - at the NPC Free Seminar on Sunday, September 8th at Powerstation Gym in Middletown, OH. If you'd like to RSVP, please visit the official Event Page.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Contests and Press - Why Competitors Deserve It All!!

Christian Duque with IFBB Pro Theresa Ivancik

When a promoter at a bodybuilding competition says there will be press at a contest, many competitors take that to believe there will be press outlets doing interviews backstage. When it comes to the NPC and IFBB Pro League, the competitions are so top caliber, that competitors have come to expect talented photographers, shooting the stage, as part of the event. At many shows there's also an equally gifted videographer filming at work.

I'd like to stress that stage photographers and videographers are most definitely press - and key components to the successful coverage of a contest. I think my initial article didn't convey my thoughts on the subject accurately, and for that, I apologize. However, given the contemporary culture, when a promoter says there will be press at an event, many competitors believe that press to mean film crews with mics and/or booms to interview them. They see the members of the press covering the stage, often times, as part of the event. Everyone is press, just that we're discussing different contexts at different times.
Everyone who covers a contest - whether the stage, backstage, expo area, etc - is PRESS. Everyone plays a very important role and everyone is a critical part to the overall success of the contest.

In summation, I think NPC and IFBB Pro League competitors deserve it ALL!! Promoters should have the best photographers and videographers covering the stage and have at least one media outlet present (whenever feasibly possible) so that competitors can have amazing stage shots and video, plus get the opportunity to share their story and journey in front of the cameras, with interviewers who are eager to help them share their journeys.

In my humble opinion, the absolute best of the best, would be NPC News Online. There are some other very good outlets like MD, MD Latino, StrengthAddicts (yours truly, DIY King), Maximum Muscle Report, and Generation Iron.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Chauncey Wilson's, August 17th Posing Clinic

Breaking News from IFBB Pro Chauncey "The Shredder" Wilson!! Chauncey, who's considered to be one of Kentucky's two best posers [alongside IFBB Pro Kevin "Fit Johnson] has partnered up with The Factory Gym to put on Free Posing Clinics, the first to take place on Saturday, August 17th from 11AM - 3PM.

Wilson whose had a series of great placings, top honors, and plenty of exposure during his amateur career; turned professional in 2019. Earlier this year, Chauncey won the NPC Kentucky Derby Festival Championships, went on to win the Overall in Classic Men's Physique at the NPC Junior USA Championships, and topped it all off with a Top 6 pro debut at Jack Titone's IFBB Pro League Omaha Pro.

The fact competitors will have the opportunity to work with a pro poser on this level, for FREE no less, is a huge resource. I have seen quite a few competitors shortchange themselves in the posing department, only to pay the price on contest day. You've worked too hard for this, why sabotage yourself?

The truth of the matter is, you can't learn to pose like Chauncey or Kevin from watching a YouTube video. You also can't learn from your coach. If you're coach happens to have been a great poser, then maybe, but just because a coach can figure out your macros, doesn't mean he/she can design a posing routine contoured to you. What works for one person, may very well not work for the next

In order to attend, you'll be required to RSVP. A great way to contact Chauncey is on Instagram at @shredder21 / Please don't wait till the last minute, RSVP today!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

IFBB Pro Kevin Johnson - Free NPC Seminar

Be sure to attend the Kentucky Open, Free NPC Seminar, this Saturday, August 10th, at Proof Fitness in Lexington, KY, featuring our NPC Mid Atlantic Zone Chair and Mr. Olympia Judge Gary Udit, IFBB Pro and Judge Linda Andrew, and Kentucky's own, IFBB Pro Kevin Johnson.

Kevin Johnson, along with Chauncey "The Shredder" Wilson, is one of the greatest posers to come out of Kentucky in recent memory. Johnson, who earned his IFBB Pro League pro card at the 2017 NPC Nationals in Miami, FL, has made great use of his pro status. From working with his main sponsor, Next Level Sports Nutrition, to landing a key deal with international powerhouse, Team GAT, he's shown us that when you work hard, you reap the benefits. Johnson has also proved a force to be reckoned with on the pro stage; however, he has yet to guest pose at a Kentucky contest. I will say that being featured on this panel is a HUGE step in the right direction and also symbolizes an important change of the guard.

At a time when more and more people are wanting to get nationally-qualified and earning professional status, posing has never been more critical. As a member of the press, I have seen far too many competitors with spectacular physiques, take placings their physiques didn't deserve. The problem is, their physiques might of deserved to win, but their posing was so lackluster and off, that it cost them national qualifications, pro cards, and even contest winnings and Olympia qualifications at the pro level. Oh that's right!! Just because you're a Pro, doesn't mean you're a Pro Poser.

"You've worked too hard for this," as Gary would say. Gary will say that a lot. He knows what you've been through, he knows how badly you want it, but he also has the eye. Gary helps judge the most important contest in bodybuilding, so if you can be in a room with him for even a few seconds, it's worth your time - it's most definitely worth your time.

Earlier this year, we had a wildly successful Free NPC Seminar in Newport, KY, which also featured Gary and IFBB Pro Linda Andrew. One of the guys who attended was Benquil Marigny. He drove 3.5hrs (each way) from Owensboro to Covington (literally across the state). He drove all that way for a 45 minute group class. Some months later he'd earn his IFBB Pro League pro card at the 2019 NPC Junior USA Championships. Another competitor who attended, making a long drive from Louisville, KY, was Chauncey "The Shredder Wilson, who would also go onto to winning his pro card and the Overall at the 2019 NPC Junior USA Championships. Soon thereafter, he made his pro debut with a Top 6 placing at Jack Titone's prestigious 2019 IFBB Pro League Omaha Pro. Gary posed Chauncey; Gary also posed NPC WPD/Figure Competitor Sarah Barnett, who'd go onto win big titles at the Orlando Europa and the Kentucky Derby Festival Championships. 

I'm not saying if you attend this seminar you'll start winning shows left, right, and center, but if you're serious about going all the way, I can't imagine you'd want to miss this great event. Be sure to listen to what Gary, Linda, and Kevin have to say. Be a sponge and take it all in, from how to stand when at the wings of the stage, to how to execute the mandatory poses, to what type of music to select and even how much to eat (or not to eat) post-contest. This will be a HIGHLY educational event, you won't want to miss. I'll be there doing press for / NPC Strong Kentucky.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

IFBB Pro Chauncey Wilson To Guest Pose - 2019 NPC Kentucky Open

The world of Kentucky bodybuilding and fitness was on fire today, as IFBB Pro Chauncey "The Shredder" Wilson, announced that he would be guest posing at the Next Level Sports Nutrition 2019 NPC Kentucky Open/Kentucky State in Lexington. Wilson, who won the Classic Physique Overall at the 2019 NPC Junior USA's in Charleston, SC, is considered one of Kentucky's top two best posers. The other being IFBB Pro Kevin Johnson. There's no question Chauncey will deliver a great presentation, with a routine sure to bring the house down!

Wilson, or "The Shredder" as he's nicknamed, has already made very good use of his IFBB Pro League pro card, making a very strong pro debut at Jack Titone's Omaha Pro, with a very impressive Top 6 finish, and creating an undeniable level of buzz for himself throughout the fitness industry. 

This guest posing appearance is great news and may be the first of many in 2019. Chauncey has previously graced posters for Brent Jones events and could conceivably guest pose at the Tricky, in Covington, and elsewhere. Guest posers - who can actually pose - are, believe it or not, few and far between. A lot of times promoters won't have guest posers, for that very reason. I commend both Gene and Tina Goode on their choice!! The 2019 NPC Kentucky Open/Kentucky State at Heritage Hall is looking to be a major success and that's not just hype, it's fact!

In the meantime, be sure to follow Chauncey on Instagram and/or come out to his weekly Posing Classes, taught alongside IFBB Pro Jeremy Decker.