Volume 1, Issue 1
Welcome to the OPA Newspaper!
would like to personally welcome you to the official newspaper of the Ontario Physique Association (OPA), the province’s governing body for bodybuilding, fitness, figure, physique and bikini events. The OPA is the only organization in Ontario recognized nationally by the CBBF and internationally by the IFBB. Every year, the OPA holds approximately 15 events throughout Ontario, making us the largest physique organization in the country both in terms of the number of competitions we hold and competitors that enter. OPA events also receive tremendous media exposure in all leading physique magazines and across numerous websites and online resources. We look forward to providing a platform that will support and promote our athletes while inspiring our communities to get fit and stay healthy. Building a strong physique takes a lot of work and dedication and we’re proud to be the leader in helping make dreams come true. If a highly competitive environment that offers tremendous potential for growth appeals to you, then the OPA is right for you. Enjoy the first edition of the OPA Newspaper and visit the official OPA website (www.physiqueassociation.ca) and I hope to one day meet you at one of our events.
PUBLISHER Fred Antwi email@example.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Daniel Batlle ADVERTISING SALES/PROMOTION MANAGER Debra Antwi firstname.lastname@example.org Photography Liana Louzon, Paul Buceta, Mark Millar CONTRIBUTOR Tina Goinarov, Nancy Di Nino, Lori Ann Redding, Carla Heins COPY EDITOR Alicia Skoons CIRCULATION email@example.com If you would like to have copies of Ontario Physique Distributed at your location please contact circulation. Ontario Physique News Paper is published 4 times a year June/September/December/March SUBMISSIONS Readers are invited to contribute comments, views and photos. Article submission and photography should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org MODEL/PROFILE If you are interested in being considered for a model/trainer/instructor profile please submit photos to: email@example.com
XPO E S S E N FIT T S E G R 2 1 S LA ’ 0 A 2 D , A 3 , N ,2 CA 1 E t. N n e U m J n i a S t r T e t n STAR anada sport and e po of x , Ontario C o E t n o g r n o i T t | i e c r x t n e vention Cen n o C o t n o Featuring a r o T | Metro
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THERE’S ALWAYS A FIRST! THE OPA INTRODUCES THE 201 2 COBOURG NATURAL FITNESS CHAMPIONSHIPS By: Tina Goinarov
This year seems to be a first of many
for the Ontario Physique Association (OPA). At the season opener in Stratford, just one week prior, there was the debut of the men’s and women’s physique classes, and now, the first ever Cobourg OPA Natural show. OPA judge Winston Roberts and BODYtone Promotions, were the individuals behind this debut event. Like the show prior, Cobourg provided a lot of emotion, highlights and class. The event was held in the stunning Cobourg Community Centre, and showcased athletes from bikini to bodybuilding, as well as a few surprises and tributes from and for the industry. As with all OPA events, the athletes in all classes and divisions brought their best to the stage, highlighting what hard work and dedication looks like. The females from both the bikini and figure truly brought their all, making the judging for the overalls difficult, and again, the focus was on the physique class. Joseph Ng, who placed second in the overall at Stratford, came back to the stage to take first in physique and first in the overall, proving that he has what it takes to move on in this class.
For those of us who have been in the industry and are familiar with the individuals that make the sport that much more, could agree with me that Winston Roberts is a man whose passion for the sport comes through in all he does. Winston Roberts is known mainly for his role as OPA judge, however, in Cobourg, he was a proud and nervous ‘parent’ of this debut event. During the evening event, Winston took to the stage to address the crowd and athletes. Talking about how he became involved in the sport and how he wanted to give back so to speak, by introducing and debuting this event. With a touching and inspiring talk to all in attendance, Winston proudly called up on stage all the OPA graduates as he called them, who had just either competed internationally at the Arnolds, or were preparing to compete at the Canadas in hopes of receiving their Pro status. By highlighting these athletes, Winston enabled the new competitors to see that they to can one day represent
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on a much larger scale. Winston’s pride for the athletes did not stop there, he also called upon the IFBB Pros, who began their careers with the OPA. As the three men, Bob Weatherill, Mboya Edwards and Renaldo Gairy, joined Roberts on stage, Roberts made it a point to say that no matter how successful one becomes, the OPA athletes always come out to support one another. Each of these Pros will be involved with competitions this year, either on stage or prepping others. The Cobourg Naturals, also took some time out to give a tribute to one of our very own. This past December 2011, coach, trainer and bodybuilding everything, Darren Oliver passed away. Winston was a long time friend, who saw Darren rise to the successful coach, trainer and mentor he had become. Many of Darren’s athletes had graced the OPA stage, so it was only fitting that there was a tribute and dedication in his memory. One of Darren’s athletes, bodybuilder John Aiello, performed a moving guest posing tribute to Darren, as well as, handed out the first ever award in
Darren’s memory to the “Athlete with the Most Promise”, lightweight bodybuilder, Salim Sagar. On a lighter note, fellow OPA judge and IFBB Pro Fedel Clarke, put on a guest posing routine that had all guessing what was next! Coming out as a gladiator, Bob Marley and then himself, Clarke put on a fun and entertaining routine. At the age of 49, he proved that anything is possible and age is just a number. Overall, the first ever Cobourg Natural Fitness Championships, put on a great show drawing in a big crowd and a good number of athletes, as well as familiar
faces from the OPA family. It seems that in OPA tradition, it only gets bigger
and better from here. Looking forward to seeing what the OPA has in store for the rest of the season, as well as seeing some of these faces on stage in the near future.
THREE FOR THREE! TH THE THE OPA HAS DONE IT AGAIN WI OPA STEPHANIE WORSFOLD CLASSIC ONT. NATURAL QUALIFIER IN LONDON By: Tina Goinarov
As we are now into the third week
of the OPA season, it seems that things will not be slowing down! On Saturday May 5 2012, London was host to the second Natural OPA show of the season and it is the second of several that the OPA is holding this year. IFBB Pro Stephanie Worsfold, hosted the second annual Natural Classic and it was deemed an “absolute success”, by OPA judge Carl Cheung, “I couldn’t believe how many supporters came and the crowd filled the entire Hall like it was Provincial time”. Cheung also noted that the natural athletes who competed, displayed their “freaky ability” as they stepped onto the stage. What made this OPA show unique, compared to other events, was that participants and attendees were treated to a special VIP seminar from athletes, officials and representatives associated with the OPA and fitness industry right after the pre judging. Providing those who attended with insight and information on everything from how to showcase themselves ‘better’ on stage, what the judges are looking for, contest prep, all the way to how one can book themself for a photo shoot and get exposure in magazines. Rita Catolino, Scott Milne, IFBB Pro Renaldo Gairy, IFBB Pro Stephanie Worsfold, Tammy Hendry Bernardo, Pamela Bortmes, Liana Saadi Louzon, Judi Stone Douglas, Julie Anne Barbosa, Rachel Davis, Tim Love, Maria Mikola, Christy Wolfe, Karen Philips, IFBB Pro Fouad Abiad and IFBB Pro Nina Luchka to name a few. This was one of those rare opportunities that the OPA offers to their members in order to help out the athletes and competitors reach their fullest potential in the industry. What other organization makes sure to take the time out to basically educate and help the athletes improve for their future?
“ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE”. STRATFORD CITY PLAYED HOST TO A DIFFERENT CREATIVE PERFORMANCE. By: Tina Goinarov
The quiet city of Stratford Ontario
, known for its performing arts festivals, played host to another festival on April 14 2012. The Ontario Physique Association (OPA), and Jamor Enterprises, kicked off their season opener with the Stratford Festival City Championships. This was promised to be one of the biggest season openers that the OPA had ever held due to the introduction and debut of the men’s and women’s physique classes, as well as, entertaining the crowd with Canada’s OPA alumni, and recent competitor on the Mr. Olympia stage, IFBB Pro Mboya Edwards. Could the show start off any bigger or better? The Stratford Festival brought in a sold out crowd, many past OPA graduates, and top Canadian Pros, who were there to support the record number of 130 plus athletes. Ranging from bikini, fitness, figure, bodybuilding and the new physique class, this was the show to be at. The debut of the physique class, was the class that had everyone’s undivided attention. How many would compete and what would they bring to the stage? With all that being said, this was the group of athletes who would be responsible and set the bar for the rest of the physique athletes to come. Well, they did not disappoint. Mike Raso and Julie Lockheart officially set the standard and became the ‘poster’ examples for this class. With great definition, muscle tone and overall well put together looks, Mike and Julie earned their placings and overall wins with ease. Another highlight, was the guest posing routine of IFBB Pro Mboya Edwards, who took to the stage 4 weeks out from his first Pro competition of the 2012 year, the New York Pro. Coming in with a very thick and muscular physique, Edwards did not disappoint the crowd. Putting on an entertaining routine, that even had him going through the crowd, Edwards showed the competitors new or not, what great posing and stage presence is all about, and why he is an IFBB Pro.
As if the London show was not outstanding enough already, the OPA was able to treat the crowd to another OPA alumni, and recent IFBB Pro - Renaldo Gairy, who was the guest poser for the night. The MUTANT sponsored athlete, is in his final few weeks of contest prep before hitting the Toronto Pro SuperShow stage to make his Pro debut. Gairy offered the crowd a glimpse of his physique a few weeks out and entertained them with his smooth and well put together routine. Another highlight and moment that makes one appreciate all the hard work that the athletes put into their competitions was this year’s Stephanie Worsfold Classic Heavyweight 1st place winner John-Paul Belanger. John-Paul brought quite the physique to the stage, competing not only for a top placing but also to help bring awareness to Scleroderma. Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease that involves changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. Even with all of this on his plate, John-Paul was able to shine with the best of them in competition and according to OPA judge Lori-Ann Redding, “let’s not forget his incredible voice...he graced our event by singing the National Anthem.”
The evening, was also one of an emotional and personal journey for Jamor Enterprises own, Jim Morris. On April 14 2011, one year to the date of Stratford’s season opener, Jim’s daughter Mandy died unexpectedly at the age of 23. Jim took to the stage and opened the evening program with a touching speech and tribute to his daughter, followed by a moment of silence in her memory. With the tribute, overall show success, crowd and athlete participation and response, as well as, past OPA athletes returning to support the season opener and Association that started their competition careers, it can be said that the OPA, Jamor Enterprises and Stratford, did an outstanding job. Congratulations to all who took part in the show, now...on to the next one!
Tosca Reno Shares Her
Meet the woman who has inspired many with her magic
WHATEVER YOU CAN DO, OR DREAM YOU CAN, BEGIN IT.
BOLDNESS HAS GENIUS, POWER AND MAGIC IN IT. ~ Goethe
o say she is an inspiration to many women would be correct. To be motivated by her and learn from her because she is like each one of us, is very true as well. Tosca Reno has been able to reach out and touch many, women in particular, because she has had battles with her weight, personal struggles balancing her personal and work life, and numerous challenges throughout that have shaped her into who she is today. Tosca knows what many are dealing with because she was once there. It is with this history and realness, that Tosca Reno has become one of the leading Canadian health and wellness experts fighting the battle against obesity. She created the Eat-Clean series that shows us how to live a healthy lifestyle that works because it was the one that helped her become the woman she is today. As an inspiration, Tosca Reno has given permission to each of us to live the best life we can lead. Reno ignites a fire in many to achieve their dreams- whatever they may be - with great success. This was evident when she hit the stage again for the Miss Bikini America Physique competition in Las Vegas at the age of 49, proving that you are only as old as you feel. However, before the success of the Eat-Clean series, Tosca was a 40 year old wife and mother who was miserable and overweight, stuck, in what she describes as “an unhappy marriage and living an unfulfilled life.” She was able to change all of that and turn her life around, where now, she is a successful author, motivational speaker and wellness consultant, media personality and model. Tosca has written eleven books, including the incredibly successful Eat-Clean Diet series, as well as many columns for Oxygen, has appeared on numerous national television and radio programs and travels across North America appearing at book signings and seminars to deliver her message of health, wellness and inspiration. Tosca credits the changes of her life turning around when she left her marriage and started over with her 3 children. Now her focus was to get healthy on all levels. She met and later married RKP founder, the late Robert Kennedy. Kennedy created Robert Kennedy Publishing in 1974, which publishes well known fitness and bodybuilding magazines, MuscleMag and Oxygen (which is where Tosca first started writing her column). The two married and together built a life and relationship of health and wellness, that they shared with others through their work. Sadly, on April 12, 2012, Robert Kennedy lost his battle with lung cancer. Reno, with the support of those that worked with Robert and herself, vowed to keep his memory and passion for the industry alive and recently stepped into the role of publisher and chief executive officer at Robert Kennedy Publishing.
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The Toronto Pro SuperShow is proud to have Tosca Reno as a guest the weekend of June 1-3 2012. She will be offering free seminars to the Expo attendees on the Expo stage. Make sure you get your tickets for the Toronto Pro SuperShow at www.torontoprosupershow.com, and also check the schedule for her seminar times, where you can be one of the lucky fans to meet the dynamic woman behind it all.
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LEIGH BRANDT - BIKINI
JODI BOAM - FITNESS
IFBB PRO LEIGH BRANDT: WOMEN’S BIKINI
Canada’s first ever IFBB Bikini Pro, Leigh Brandt had always wanted to be a police officer. She was very active in high school and doing a job that required physical strength seemed only a perfect fit. However, plans changed and through hard work, training, dieting and an overall lifestyle shift, Leigh competed in her first figure competition in 2007. With a 5th place finish, and feeling disappointed, Leigh took what she learned and worked hard to make her physique one that showed great definition and separation. All of this lead to Leigh competing in Figure,until the NPC opened up a bikini class. In 2009, Leigh made the switch to bikini and competed in the CBBF Nationals, placing 1st in her category and 1st overall, thus Leigh Brandt earning the title of first ever IFBB Bikini Pro. IFBB Pro, Personal Trainer, Owner of “BodyByBrandt”, sponsored athlete, published fitness and cover model, and the 2012 winner of the Inside Fitness Magazine’s 100 Hot and Fit, Leigh is not looking to slow down anytime soon.
IFBB PRO CATHY LEFRANCOIS: WOMEN’S BODYBUILDING
ver since her Figure debut in 2005, Kim kept climbing to the top. Her beautiful lines, symmetry and shape, made this Canadian a perfect fit in the IFBB, and in 2009, she was rewarded with the elusive IFBB Pro Card. Kim is dedicated to her training program; which shows in her polished physique, every time she steps on stage. Working with coach Mike Davies, and posing coach National Level bodybuilder, Mark Richman, Kim made the decision and transition to compete in Physique from Figure for the 2011 Pro season. Kim Tilden will be stepping on stage at the Toronto Pro Super Show in IFBB Pro Physique June 1-3 2012.
IFBB PRO NATALIE WAPLES: WOMEN’S FIGURE
Natalie Waples grew up in Northern Ontario, Canada, where she remained until graduating from high school. At age 18, she moved to Canada’s Capital, Ottawa, to pursue her post-secondary education. In 2005 Natalie entered her first fitness
In her youth Cathy Lefrancois was an accomplished speed skater winning several medals at the Quebec Provincial Championships. Upon retiring from speed skating she put her focus into developing herself as a bodybuilder. Her hard work and dedication was rewarded with an IFBB Pro Card in 1995 when she won the overall female bodybuilding title at the CBBF Canada Cup in 1995. After almost 20 years of competing professionally, Cathy is still training hard and bringing her very best to the stage every time. Cathy has competed in close to 50 competitions over the course of her professional career in both Bodybuilding and Figure. Now in her 40s, this veteran bodybuilder has won several IFBB Pro Women Bodybuilding titles and regularly graces the stage at the Arnold’s Ms. International which she won in 2003 and at the Ms. Olympia. She is a true ambassador to the sport and the most recognized Canadian female bodybuilder.
JANEEN LANKOWSKI - BODYBUILDING
RENALDO GAIRY NATALIE WAPLES - FIGURE
IFBB PRO KIM TILDEN: WOMEN’S PHYSIQUE
Kim Thilden - Physique
Muscle & Fitness
modeling competition and placed 3rd out of a competitive field of 46 entrants. From there she decided to enter the world of Figure and won regional, provincial and national titles in Canada, which translated into numerous modeling and traveling opportunities, and eventually an IFBB Pro Card win at the 2008 IFBB North American Figure Championships. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 she was ranked as Canada’s top IFBB Figure Pro and also represented Canada at the 2011 Ms. Figure Olympia in Las Vegas, Nevada. Natalie has translated her experiences into several ventures including a personal training and nutritional consulting business. Her goal is to inspire and motivate others to live a healthy and fit lifestyle, through example. Natalie believes in attaining a healthy and fit physique through a combination of balanced nutrition, a solid wellness program, and a challenging training regime.
IFBB PRO JODI BOAM: WOMEN’S FITNESS
Ever since she was young, Jodi was always involved in fitness. At the age of 7, she had joined a competitive gymnastics group and worked her way up to the Canadian National Level by the time she was 15. This was not something that would come easy. Training 30 hours a week, plus school, all without a moment of regret. Gymnastics helped Jodi learn what commitment, dedication and a great deal of discipline meant. If she wanted to be successful as a top athlete, she had to put in the work. Post gymnastics, Jodi found a new passion and interest in Fitness. At the age of 19, she won her division at her very first show. The following year, Jodi placed fifth her very first time stepping on to the national stage. Her goal was to continue until she reached the top. Working with Mindi O’Brien, who was Canada’s only IFBB fitness champion, Jodi was determined to reach her goal. In August 2010, at age 23, Jodi did just that. She earned her IFBB Pro card. In 2012, Jodi competed at the Arnold’s and a few well known Pro shows and has made quite the impact by placing in the top 5.
IFBB PRO MBOYA EDWARDS: MEN’S 212 BODYBUILDING
In 2000, Toronto native and IFBB Pro Mboya Edwards began his career in the sport of bodybuilding. He competed with the OPA prior to his winning and earning the coveted IFBB Pro Card status in 2008. Through his years competing, Mboya was also known for being a 5 time Canadian Bodybuilding Champion, in 3 different weight classes. Mboya made his Pro debut in 2009 in Dallas placing 4th and has been competing yearly ever since. When he is not competing, Edwards works in the Safe and Caring Schools sector with the Toronto District School Board
IFBB PRO RENALDO GAIRY: MEN’S OPEN BODYBUILDING
2005 was the year that started it all for Toronto’s very own IFBB Pro Renaldo Gairy. That was the year that he entered and won all of the bodybuilding shows he prepped for and competed in. Having always been an athletic individual, be it either track, basketball or volleyball, Gairy decided to try his hand at weights and weight training in particular, to see what he would be capable of accomplishing, or better yet, what his body would be able to do. Well the results spoke for themselves, and others started to notice. With constantly being asked if he was going to compete, Gairy decided to take the talk seriously and the rest as they say, is history. Not looking back, and only looking forward to the results his body was able to produce, Gairy just wanted to keep moving forward and improving his physique to compete with the best in the sport of bodybuilding. Well, the results finally paid off in October 2011, with Gairy earning his IFBB Pro Card Status in the Heavyweight Class.
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go in. I always knew that one day I’d make a fitness DVD or I’d put a fitness workout together but I never knew how or what or why I was going to do it. I just knew. And then everything else just kind of starts to fall into place to get you there. I never thought I’d open a yoga studio. I didn’t even know I liked yoga, but I did know that I wanted to deliver the message of health and fitness. That how I got there.” Yoga has been paramount in her life. “(When) I retired from wrestling, I was all about yoga. I was doing yoga, had taken the training. And so people would say to me, “Oh, so what do you do for your body? You just do yoga?” I was only doing yoga, but I was tapping into all the muscle memory, 10 years of weight training. So the yoga was allowing me to tap into a different side of me, it allowed me to perform at a better level. The craziness of my life, the way I handled six different tasks at once, I feel like it was the yoga that let me go, ‘Okay, I can handle this.’ Because it does get a little overwhelming at times.” So Stratus “disconnects every day,” and does her practice, which allows her to handle the stressful moments. “Now I realize how to use yoga in my life, rather than my yoga be my life. Yoga is not my life, but I use yoga to fully maximize my life.” Trish uses the word disconnect, but she says you’ve just got to cue people to what that means. “It’s okay to disconnect, leave everything and just come to yourself. It’s almost like an external disconnection will allow you connect internally.”
By: Stephanie Dickison
She’s got the energy of 10 yoginis and loves a big old
mess of deep-fried, beer-battered fish and chips. Meet Trish Stratus, one-time WWE Hardcore Champion and winner of 7 WWE Women’s Championships - a woman not only capable of anything, but achieving it. She bubbles with a vivacious energy and drive that makes it look easy. But just go ahead: try to do a tenth of what she does in a day. The 5’4” powerhouse got into yoga after a career in wrestling (yes, that Trish Stratus) left her with a herniated disc in 2005. She was looking for relief.
It’s fair to say she found what she was looking for, and more. In 2008, she founded Stratusphere, her yoga studio located in Vaughan, Ontario. And never satisfied doing just one thing, as well as being a speciality workshop instructor at the studio, she’s also filmed Stratusphere, a travel show for TV, airing on the Travel+Escape Channel. “I was travelling around the world exploring the histories and cultures of the places I was visiting and experiencing their ancient martial arts, such as kalarippayat in Kochi, India and in Hanoi, the traditional Vietnamese martial art called vo bihn dinh. The show integrated what I was doing in my past career with the fighting arts.” And in the tiny gaps between running the studio and shooting the show she: created and designed a line of wellness products, filmed a DVD workout, began shooting a show about mentoring up and coming wrestlers, played the role of a bounty hunter in the upcoming movie Bail Enforcers—rebuilding her body for the part—and with tongue firmly in cheek, met Snooki of Jersey Shore in the ring for Wrestlemania.
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When Trish was getting ready to play a bounty hunter on Bail Enforcers, she imagined the character she was about to play was a lot stronger than she herself was looking at the time. Her yoga practice had her feeling great, but not looking like a muscle-bound convict-catcher. So she decided to treat herself to a little spot training to build her arms, legs, and glutes. But having such a demanding schedule, she didn’t have the time to work out and do yoga, so she combined the two. Rooting around her mom’s house, Stratus found those brightly-coloured beanbag weights with Velcro stays from the ‘80s. She strapped them onto her hands, and used the extra weight to tone and build muscle. “I noticed my arms were starting to shape out again. I knew I was onto something. So I go to my studio, I show it to a few of my instructors and everyone’s loving it. My body’s great for the movie. I’m stronger. I’ve got my muscles back.” And with that, we must add product developer to Trish’s resume. “When you’re doing downward dog, you slide because you’re all sweaty. So we make gloves that have skid-free bottoms. We added a one pound beanbag on the top of the hands, and bam! I created and designed the Stratusphere Fit Glove.” That’s the idea behind her new DVD workout Stratusphere Yoga, a 50-minute workout done in 10-minute blocks, “Because” as Trish says, 10 minutes is better than zero minutes!” The DVD is on the shelves now and is part of the Stratusphere Yoga Kit. Trish promises, “This is going to get you started on the right track. I give you the mat, the DVD workout, a nuTRISHion journal.” Trish considers the gloves a tad more advanced, so they’re optional – something to work up to.
This gruelling work schedule would be enough to impress most folks, but what’s really remarkable about Trish is that she bursts with positivity.
Ultimately, for Stratus, it’s all about balance: doing something good for yourself, taking time for yourself and disconnecting. Which means that you can do it all and have it all – including fish and chips.
“I truly believe in the power of the universe. If you put it out there, things will manifest, but you have to be able to believe in yourself first and know the direction you want to
Reprint permission granted by Sweat Equity Lifestyle Media Group www.sweatequitymagazine.com
Girl Next Door
I grew up in Kitchener Ontario and presently
live in Cambridge Ontario. I was a competitive gymnast until I was 13. I first saw fitness on TV when I was 18 and vowed one day I would enter a competition. At the age of 24 I stepped on the OPA stage and competed in my first Fitness Competition. I had found my home and competing has been my greatest passion ever since. The following year I qualified and competed at the Provincial Championships. Nationals would have been the next step but I was getting married around the same time so waited until the following year. At the 2011 CBBF National Championships, my first National level show, I won the fitness tall class. I entered the North American Championships 6 weeks later and won the tall class and the overall! I had earned my IFBB Pro card at this show, something I had been dreaming about since I began my journey into Fitness.
Just one month later I was on my way to Guadalajara, Mexico to compete in the first ever Pan-American Fitness Championships. It would be a wonderful way to finish my amateur career before commencing in the Pro Circuit. Much to my amazement, I won the Tall Class and the Overall at the Pan-American Games. It was a humbling and emotional experience when the Canadian Anthem was played. As a result of my victory in Mexico I was invited to compete at the Miss Fitness International at the Arnold Sports Festival. Yet another dream come-true! I placed 9th among the best competitors in the world. With each step forward in my fitness career a new possibility emerges. I can see that I have potential to go far in this sport. I have two clear goals in site: One, I want to qualify for the Olympia. I can’t describe what that would mean to me. I also want to win a Pro Show. If I keep working as hard as I have up until this point, I believe my time will come. Fitness has changed my life entirely. Since I began competing I have experienced a rewarding personal training career. My goal is to continue to help inspire people to discover what fitness can bring to their own lives. I am also so happy to announce that I will be launching my online training business within the next month. The OPA has been one of my biggest supporters along this journey. Without the OPA, what I love to do most wouldn’t even exist or be possible. I may have never competed or made it as far as I have thus far. I am truly grateful for the experiences that fitness has brought to my life. My roots grew with the OPA so for that, I thank you! Danielle Ruban-IFBB Pro Fitness Competitor, Figure, Fitness and Bikini Coach, Fitness Model, Personal Trainer. http://www.danielleruban.com
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Simone Sinclaire is a certified Nutritionist,
Hypnotherapist, Life coach and one of Canada’s top bikini competitors. A dancer since the age of 3, and a Tai-Chi National Champion, Simone has been excelling in the fitness world for most of her life. Simone was also the host of the TV reality show, “New York Confessions” on the HDNet network across Canada and the US.
KAI GREENE r e s o P t s e u G FLEX Magazine courtesy of
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A CBBF National Qualifier Event
Simone is happily married with 3 beautiful children. She runs a successful nutritional counseling practice in Maple, Ontario. She also holds two national bikini championship titles with the CBBF (Canadian Bodybuilding Federation). Simone is currently working on finishing development of studio that will be the first dedicated Kangoo Jumps facility in North America.
Contest history: OPA Luchka/O’Brian 2010 - 2nd place • OPA Provincials 2011 - 2nd place • CBBF Nationals 2011 - 1st place • OPA Henderson Thorne Natural Classic 2011 - 1st place and bikini overall champion • OPA Natural Provincials 2011 - 1st place and overall bikini champion • CBBF Natural National Championships and IFBB Natural World Qualifier 2012 - 1st place • Next show - CBBF Nationals 2012 - British Columbia Aug 11th
Rita Catolino is not your typlical girl. Former OPA bikini competitor, current CBBF National
competitor, personal trainer, Fitness Model and mom! 4 years ago that was a whole different story. Rita was an average woman struggling with weight issues, trying to find a career path, binge drinking, smoking, and oblivious to the downward spiral this lifestyle was having on her overall well being. For Rita, her fitness journey started after having her daughter in 2007. Rita had grown up watching her mother experiment with every diet on the market. She watched as her mother lost and gained weight uncontrollably and Rita realized that as she matured that this aspect of her life in turn, affected every other, “I didn’t realize that I could be heading down that same path if I didn’t do something about it. It was this huge milestone that pushed me to change.” The arrival of her daughter, and Rita holding her in her arms, made Rita realize that she wasn’t happy with her health choices. Rita needed energy and a positive self image, if she was to be able to pass that on to her daughter and break the cycle of yo-yo dieting in her family. Rita went to the gym, started doing group exercise classes, picked up Tosca Reno’s The Eat Clean Diet and was on her way! According to Rita, it wasn’t quite that easy. Initially, she struggled to make it to the gym, often caving in and eating white pasta and cheese. She also enjoyed her glass of wine. Weekends (Thursday- Sunday) were her ‘set’ cheat times. Along with the cheats, she struggled with the new commitment of motherhood. Eventually, the hard work paid off. Slowly and steadily, Rita started to see progress. She began building lean muscle mass and toning her body quicker than she thought was possible. It was around that time where Rita decided to sign up for her first fitness competition in May of 2009.
MEN'S FITNESS MODEL SEARCH Held in conjunction with the Oxygen & MuscleMag Model searches
Open to any Male 18 years of age and over from anywhere in the world.
Stepping on the stage for the first time did not lead to a win, or a top 10 placing, but it was what Rita needed to fulfill her personal goal. She felt like a winner, and like many who have competed...was hooked. Last year, Rita put in a lot of hard work and dedication, and proudly won the overall bikini at the Stephanie Worsfold Classic. With this win she qualified for the OPA Provincials. There she placed in the top 3 at the Toronto Pro SuperShow, which lead to her representing Canada at the Arnold Amateur, placing 4th in Bikini. Now, 3 years later, competing, fitness modeling, training and clean eating are part of her lifestyle. They keep her focused and motivated. “I am constantly training to evolve and become a recognized presence in the fitness industry. I still find time to enjoy the odd glass of full bodied red and some yummy Gorgonzola cheese, but in moderation. I hope to continue learning on this journey and inspire people to do the same”.
THE SEARCH BEGINS June 2 & 3, 2012 at the Toronto Pro SuperShow, Toronto, ON Metro Toronto Convention Centre
The Toronto Pro SuperShow features an exciting expo of over 150 booths plus continuous entertainment including: North American Strongman Championships, Weightlifting, MMA, Arm Wrestling, OPA Provincial Championships, IFBB Pro Competitions and Much More!
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Visit www.TorontoProSupershow.com for registration, updates on ticketing and show information. Registration deadline is May 25th or when maximum entries per model search are reached. For inquiries please email email@example.com
feature By Nancy Di Nino
Last year’s inaugural
Toronto Pro SuperShow , held on June 16-17, 2011, was a coming home of sorts, an action packed weekend filled with avid fans, fitness enthusiasts and celebrity appearances. Inspired by the Arnold Sports Festival, the weekend kicked off on Friday with the EXPO highlighting a number of extreme and combative sports from Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Armwresting, Strongman, Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, Boxing, Kickboxing, Judo and Wushu. In heading to the EXPO on Friday it was already buzzing with fans ready to meet their favourites celebrates in each of their respective sports. In attendance were 8x Mr. Olympia winner Ronnie Coleman, 6x Olympia winner Dorian Yates, Hall of Fame Inductees-IFBB Pro Bodybuilders Shawn Ray, Rich Gaspari and IFBB Pro Bob Cicherillo. As a media correspondent for the Toronto Pro SuperShow team I was more than excited to interview the various celebrities and industry icons around the EXPO including IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Toney “the Xman” Freeman, Strongman Champion Hugo Girard, World Champion Armwrestler Michael Roy and of course I was busy backstage interviewing the winners’ of each of the women’s events in the OPA and IFBB Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure and Bikini events.
Canada left no room for error in the Women’s Pro Fitness line up snatching each of the top 3 spots. It was a tear-filled moment for the newest of our IFBB Fitness Pro’s Jody Boam who brought an undefeatable package earning her first Pro show win, remarkably, within the first year of obtaining her IFBB Pro Card at the CBBF Canadian Nationals in 2010. Myriam Capes took 2nd place with her show stopping routine. Veteran Fitness Competitor Mindy O’Brien who returned to the fitness line up after recovering from various injuries took 3rd place clearly demonstrating she still has what it takes to qualify for the Olympia.
It was a great year for Pro Figure winner Gennifer Strobo adding this Pro win to her roster of top 5 placings. Trinidad’s, Candice John took 2nd place and rounding out the top 3 was Ann Titone.
The Pro Bikini division is always a show stopper with bombshell Chelsea Montes taking 1st place. What an awesome way to celebrate her Pro win on her birthday. She was able to wow the judges with her swagger, style and stage presence. Close behind was Missy Cole placing 2nd. Canadian cutie Justin Monroe who is always a heart throb on stage with her stunning smile and cultivated physique that graces the stage like poetry in motion took 3rd.
The 202 division was championed by Shaun Tavernier.
Backstage! And the winner is?
The Women’s Pro Bodybuilding winner was locked in by Brigita Brezovac adding another Pro show to her belt along with victories in both the Europa Battle of Champions and Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships in 2010. Canada’s Nicole Ball took 2rd place with evidence that Nicole has been doing her homework bring greater thickness to her physique. Mah Ann Mendoza looked the best she ever has bringing the best physique and presentation to date. Balanced symmetrical lines and sharp conditioning earned her 3rd place.
Backstage was crowded with Pro and Amateur women. It was all about studded suits, bikini bite, heals and practicing those last minute poses before taking the stage for the judges. Canada held strong Friday night as they announced the winners in Fitness, Bikini and Women’s Bodybuilding.
Saturday was highlighted with various events including the finals for the Oxygen and MuscleMag model searches offering lucrative prizes and magazine coverage. The OPA Provincials was the largest to date and the night ended with the Pro Men’s Open Bodybuilding, Pro Men’s 202 Bodybuilding and Figure Divisions.
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Craig Richardson often seen as the underdog, managed to steal the Pro Men’s Open Bodybuilding win, weighing in at 214lbs, he challenged the misconception that “bigger means better.” Bringing his best package to the stage; it was evident from quarter turn comparisons that he would take the title.
Bringing back IFBB Championships to Canada the Toronto Pro SuperShow proved to be a great success. A special thanks to Promoters Ron Hach, Carla Heins and Jim Morris, all volunteers and all those who came out to support this inaugural sports weekend. The Toronto Pro SuperShow, Canada’s largest extreme and combative sports was more than a weekend of sports; it was an opportunity to bring world class athletes from 18 different countries together to live their dreams and share their passion for each of their respective sports.
By: Tina Goinarov
ast year, Ron Hache, Carla Heins and Jim Morris brought the Toronto Pro SuperShow to life at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. With uncertainty and everything on the line, the trio were able to bring the fitness and sports industry an event that celebrated and recognized sports under one roof.
businesses and organizations with the latest trends in sports equipment, apparel and nutrition. The EXPO will also be host to industry celebrities, several sporting competitions, and an EXPO stage with tons of action. It is definitely a must see event at $15.00 per day.
With the overall success and positive feedback, Ron, Carla and Jim are set out to do it again - except this time, they are promising it to be bigger and better than last year. So far, they are fulfilling that promise. The Toronto Pro SuperShow along with title sponsor GNC, have put together a huge EXPO that will showcase the leading
INDUSTRY CELEBRITIES Tosca Reno: Tosca Reno is the dynamic woman behind the best-selling Eat-Clean Diet book series, compelling reality TV show and successful magazine covers and inspirational columns. Nancy DiNino: Toronto’s home grown Fitness Celebrity, Nancy Di Nino will bring the backstage pass to the Toronto Pro SuperShow coverage interviewing your favorite celebrity icons and athletes at the Expo and of course backstage at the IFBB Bodybuilding, Fitness, Physique, Figure and Bikini Finals. Kai Greene: IFBB Pro Kai Greene, is not only a dedicated and talented bodybuilder, but he is an inspiration and role model to anyone who has faced hardships or come from a struggle to succeed. He has shown that one can take a bad or hard situation and turn it into something positive and successful. Flex Wheeler: IFBB Hall of Fame Inductee the legendary Flex Wheeler competed as an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder from 1992 to 2003. He won 16 out of his 33 Pro contests including winning the Ironman Pro 5 times and the Arnold Classic 4 times.
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Ben Pakulski: Ben Pakulski is a native of Toronto Ontario. He is not only a well-known IFBB Pro bodybuilder, but he is also a personal trainer and fitness author for various industry media, as well as his own personal page. Having moved to Tampa, Florida with his family, Ben continues to keep his ties with his hometown of Toronto, and give back to the place where it all started. Ben is a hardworking and dedicated athlete, who gets to work in the industry he loves and help educate and motivate others. Hugo Girard: Hugo Girard also known today as the World’s Strongest Man. He was a 6-time consecutive finalist in the World’s Strongest Man competition from 1998-2004. In 2002 Girard reached the high point of his career by winning the 2002 Strongman Super Series overall title. Hugo has also won the World Muscle Power Championships 4 times, in 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2004. Don’t miss the Legends of the Olympia Ronnie Coleman, Phil Heath, Jay Cutler and Dexter Jackson! Over the course of the weekend, visitors will be able to attend the following events at the EXPO and John Bassett Theatre in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
All armwrestlers are invited from novice to expert to take part in the Ironman Open Armwrestling Tournament.
Finally Amateur MMA is in Ontario, and the Toronto Pro SuperShow will be host to the first sanctioned AMMA event! Two very exciting AMMA events will be taking place, on Saturday June 2nd AMMA Ring Sport and on Sunday June 3rd AMMA Tatami Light Contact. Come check out our provinces up and coming MMA stars!
Sweat RX Championships (crossfit competition): COMPETITIONS The Toronto Pro SuperShow IFBB Championships:
One of the main attractions of this event will be the Toronto Pro SuperShow IFBB Championships. This event will showcase the World’s very best professional Bodybuilders. The champions become qualified for the Olympia to be held on September 27-30, 2012 in Las Vegas. The Toronto Pro SuperShow IFBB Championships covers all genres of the physique industry including Men’s and Women’s Bodybuilding, Men’s and Women’s Physique and Women’s Fitness, Bikini and Figure.
Not to be out done by the IFBB Pros, the Toronto Pro SuperShow will be host to the OPA (Ontario Physique Association) Provincial Championships. Here the very best in our provinces amateur bodybuilders will be competing to qualify for the Canadian Championships. This year Kai Greene will be demonstrating one of his very unique posing routines as guest poser.
Ironman Open Armwrestling Tournament:
Armwrestlers it is time to hook-up, with cash prizes to top 25 finishers this in one match you don’t want to miss.
The Sweat RX Championships will take place June 1,2 and 3 at the Toronto Pro Supershow, and will be the biggest event to hit the Canadian CrossFit Community outside of the CrossFit OPEN and Regional’s. Athletes will have 3 exciting divisions to compete in - Affiliate Throw Down (teams of 6); Masters Cup; Individual “Best of the Best” qualifiers. When the dust settles the top 5 placing teams in the Affiliate Throw Down- RX’d and Scaled division, as well as the top 5 in the men’s/women’s Masters Cup, will qualify for the finals to be held Aug.17-18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In addition not to be missed is the Kaizen 50/50 Sledbarrow Challenge.
Ontario Strongman Challenge:
Challenging their bodies to the extreme, watch our Ontario Strongmen push their limits at the Ontario Strongman Challenge. Strongmen will be challenged by a grueling Farmers Walk, a full body engagement for the Atlas Stones, a punishing overhead medley, a not so fun Tire Flip, a humbling Crucifix with dumbbell and of course no Strongman event would be complete without a 1-ton Car Dead Lift.
Trampoline and Tumbling Competition: There is a certain wow-factor watching these athletes launch themselves into the air performing incredible stunts. This provincial qualifier will showcase the provinces very best trampoline and tumbling gymnasts.
Toronto Weightlifting Championships: Schedule Witness the strength and power of Olympic Weightlifting at the Second Annual Toronto Weightlifting Championships held once again at the Toronto Pro SuperShow EXPO. This event will take place on Sunday June 3rd. Learn what Olympic Weightlifting is all about by attending an interactive demonstration on Saturday June 2nd.
Toronto Pro SuperShow Boxing Showdown:
The Toronto Pro SuperShow Boxing Showdown will feature the very best amateur boxing from junior to senior boxing. This promises to be a non-stop fighting event.
Toronto Pro SuperShow Kickboxing Tournament:
The Toronto Pro SuperShow is very excited to once again a host The Toronto Pro SuperShow Kickboxing Competition.
Powerlifting Invitational Competition: 300kg squats, 262kg deadlifts, 175kg bench press, it is all in a day’s work of regular training at the gym for a powerlifter. This may seem extreme to many, but to them training regularly with some of the strongest people is just natural. This Powerlifting Invitational will feature the countries strongest and most powerful lifters! Bigger and better -- Achieved! The events that will be at the Toronto Pro SuperShow June 1-3 2012 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre are sure to please all sports fans and fitness enthusiast alike! For more information and tickets, check the Toronto Pro SuperShow website.... www.torontoprosupershow.com.
EXPO Show Hours:
Friday, June 1: 1:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. Saturday, June 2: 9:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. Sunday, June 3: 10:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.
All weekend long:
Featuring a huge health & fitness EXPO IFBB Pro Women’s Bodybuilding, Physique, Bikini, Figure & Fitness, Sweat Rx Challenge, Trampoline & Tumbling, Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, Armwrestling, Boxing Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Amateur MMA Oxygen Women’s Fitness Model Search, MuscleMag Women’s Bikini Model Search, Reps Men’s Fitness Model Search.
Toronto Pro SuperShow Highlights: Saturday June 2, 12:30p.m. to 1:15p.m. & Sunday June 3rd 10:45a.m. to 1:30p.m. Tosca Reno motivational seminars on Eating Clean.
Friday June 1, 7:00 p.m. Toronto Pro SuperShow IFBB Pro Championships featuring the finals for Women’s PRO Bodybuilding, Women’s PRO Physique, Women’s PRO Bikini and Women’s PRO Fitness. Saturday June 2, 7:30p.m. Toronto Pro SuperShow IFBB Pro Championships featuring the finals for Men’s PRO Open Bodybuilding, Men’s PRO 212 Bodybuilding, Men’s Pro Physique and Women’s Pro Figure. Saturday June 2, 2:00p.m. Ontario Championships featuring the provinces best Male and Female Bodybuilders, Fitness, Figure and Bikini Girls and introducing the Men’s and Women’s Physique. Saturday June 2, 7:00p.m. Fight Night: Featuring the provinces very best Boxers and Kickboxers. Canadian Titles and North American Titles to be awarded. A US vs. Canada showdown.
Dexter ‘The Blade’ Jackson won the Mr. Olympia title
The current Mr. Olympia Phil ‘The Gift’ Heath was a
4 x Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler is known as one of the most
Former football player and police officer, 8 x Mr. Olympia,
in 2008. As a child Dexter was a 4th-degree black belt,
varsity basketball player, who turned to bodybuilding in
recognized and personable bodybuilders to date. He has
and record holder for most wins as an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
break dancer and a Gymnast. He first started competing
2002. He has quickly has become one of the best IFBB
several clothing and bodybuilding apparel lines that he
(26), Ronnie Coleman, also known as “Big Ron”, turned Pro
professionally in 1999, since then he has won 14
Pro bodybuilders since earning his Pro status in 2005.
either endorses and supports and is sponsored by one
in 1991 at the World Amateur Championships and competed
professional titles include the Arnold Classic 3 times.
He has moved up quite quickly in the sport, and made an
of the biggest brands in the industry. 2003 was declared
until 2007. Ronnie Coleman to this day, remains one of the
impression in the industry in 2008, when he placed 3rd in
by many industry writers as “the year of Cutler”, as Jay
most recognized bodybuilders and name in the sport.
his rookie debut at Mr. Olympia; he was the first rookie to
competed in 8 different shows.
ever do so.
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Kaizen 50/50 -
Are you up for the Challenge? 1
Start from a standing position.
Once your timing official instructs you to begin, quickly position yourself in a Sledbarrow deadlift position.
From there smoothly jump your feet back into a plank position making sure to keep your core engaged.
Once in the plank position proceed to perform a full pushup. The end point of the pushup will be judged once your shoulder falls below your elbow level.
Once the pushup is completed jump your feet back into the Sledbarrow deadlift position.
Once setup in the deadlift position, perform a vertical jump and look to achieve ‘triple extension’ of the hip, knee, and ankle.....much like you would during a power clean.
3 Each athlete must complete all 50 Sledbarrow burpees prior to moving onto the Sledbarrow bent-over backrows.
“Test your Mettle”. Register to compete in the Kaizen 50/50 Challenge at the Toronto Pro Show June 1,2,3 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre . Win cool prizes and qualify for the final’s to be held Aug.17-18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (canfitpro).
t’s a t’s a bird. It’s a plane. No -- it’s a whopping 15,000 pound shipping container delivered to Yonge Dundas Square early this year courtesy of Reebok, brought to change the way the world thinks about fitness. What emerged from the container definitely changed our perceptions of working out.
Go to www.sweatrxchampionships.com to register and for more information.
To register to compete in the Sweat RX Championships go to www.sweatrxchampionships.com
A flash mob of 250 decked in Reebok gear showcased an impressive CrossFit routine that demonstrated the community, competition and camaraderie that this growing fitness movement delivers. It also showed that fitness is something that can be done anywhere and anytime and that it doesn’t have to be a boring solo chore. If you’re not familiar with CrossFit, the unique strength training and conditioning regime that’s currently offered in over 3000 affiliate gyms (almost 200 in Canada alone), trust us when we say it is absolutely a sport.
When performing the bentover backrow, face the opposite direction that you did during your burpees. Maintain a flat back with a 45 degree hip and knee angle.
The CrossFit Games, sponsored by Reebok since 2010, crowns one man and woman the super impressive title of “Fittest Man or Woman on Earth” each year! If you’ve been looking for a fitness regime that’s as engaging, supportive and competitive as your favorite team sport, CrossFit is definitely for you. To learn more about CrossFit check out www.sweatrxmag.com or visit your local CrossFit Affiliate. June 1,2, and 3rd don’t miss the Sweat RX Championships, a CrossFit competition like no other. Come watch CrossFit competitors, flex their athleticism in an intense circuit of squats, pull-ups, barbell snatches, pushups and more in an inspiring competition. To register to compete go to www.sweatrxchampionships.com
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Brought to you by Sweat RX Mag Canada’s First and only CrossFit Magazine. www.sweatrxmag.com
Row the Sledbarrow until your Each rep is completed when elbows clear your back level. the athlete lowers the unit back to the starting position. Proceed to the next rep without banging or bouncing the weights off of the floor.
Enter to Win and Prove your Fitness www.sweatrxchampionships.com
If you think you’ve got the wind’ enter to win the Kaizen 50/50 Challenge
How it works:
The Kaizen 50/50 challenge brings you the most unique single event contest that will “Test your Mettle” unlike anything you’ve experienced ... The “Kaizen 50/50” Challenge powered by Sledbarrow and sponsored by Kaizen will prove who really runs the playground.
Perform 5o burpees and 5o bent-over backrows to completion in your fastest time. The Kaizen 50/50 Challenge is an individual national competition that will be held alongside the Sweat RX Championships including the qualifiers held in each of the 5 participating regions.
Endurance athletes, MMA fighters, emergency services personnel, and CrossFitters alike have all used the ‘burpee’, a bodyweight exercise, as the Litmus Test for fitness prowess. ‘Kaizen’ 50/50 challenge takes the capabilities of the bodyweight burpee and cranks the difficulty up 10 fold by adding a ‘Sledbarrow’ into the mix!
The men’s standards will be 1 x 45 lbs weight on each side handle with 2 x 45’s plus 1 x 25 lbs weight in the front. Females will use 1 x 25 lbs weight on each handle and 1 x 45 lbs plus 1 x 25 lbs on the front.
Product Reviews Decimate Powered by Con-Cret Cygen Laboratories The Best Just Got Better. Cygen Laboratories Decimate now contains 1500mg of Con-Cret Creatine HCl per serving, making it the most complete concentrated pre-workout formula ever created. With clinically proven doses of Creatine HCl, Arginine AKG, and Beta Alanine, Cygen Laboratories Decimate is the last preworkout you’ll ever need..
With vitamins and powdered mushrooms, this smoothie works like magic. With competition, and the hunger to win just ahead of us, now is the time to boost up your immune system. Jennifer Italiano, owner of LIVE Food Bar in Toronto, shares this yummy, fruity smoothie with us. It packs an immunity building combination of vitamin C, echinacea and cordyceps, a medicinal mushroom, purported to energize, enhance and strengthen the immune system.
Immune Smoothie Juice of one orange 3 – 5 strawberries, depending on size, green part removed 1 banana, peeled 1/4 tsp vitamin c powder 1 drop echinacea tincture 1 cordyceps capsule opened, powder added, capsule discarded 1/4 cup of ice (optional) 3/4 cup of milk of choice: soy, nut, dairy Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Drink up and enjoy!
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Top Products – Cygen Laboratories Multipack Website: www.cygenlabs.com Cygen Laboratories Multipack is a complete source of essential vitamins and minerals designed to enhance both your performance and your overall daily health. The unique blend of ingredients will not only assist by increasing the absorption of essential nutrients from foods and other nutritional supplements, but will also increase energy levels and immune function.
is smile said, “I’m strong, I’m successful, but I’m still a nice guy.” His blue checked shirt, purple blazer, and yellow hankie said, “I’m my own man.” Most of all, his achievements said, “I am the stuff that legends are made of.” Bob “Tough Love” Kennedy founded a formidable fitness empire that will live long beyond his 73 years. The international fitness icon and Caledon, Ontario resident succumbed on April 12 to a battle with cancer.
Kennedy is perhaps best known as the founding publisher of MuscleMag International, which premiered in 1974. But two years earlier, he began his star trajectory by using all the money in his checking account (about $480) to start a business developing and selling correspondence courses in fitness, nutrition, and yes, bodybuilding. With no previous experience in publishing, he made a bold decision to launch the publishing company that would become the centerpiece of a long and successful career. The 80s and 90s saw an explosion in growth of the enterprise, and for a time, Kennedy even operated a chain of fitness stores and a clothing line. Almost 40 years after its kitchen-table start, the publishing company that bears his name—Robert Kennedy Publishing (RKP)—still produces MuscleMag, along with several other fitness-related magazines, and has released hundreds of books. A prolific writer, Kennedy authored over 50 books himself, several of which landed on the New York Times bestseller list, including Hardcore Bodybuilding, Reps!, RockHard!, Beef It! and Pumping Up! He earned credibility and respect not only among athletes, but also with scholars in exercise physiology, who admired his insistence on using the best available science to inform his writings.
Kennedy’s wife, Tosca Reno, herself a best-selling author of the Eat Clean Diet series, and one of the athletes whose career was springboarded by him, calls him “the life force I needed to discover myself.” And judging by the tributes that are being logged on Facebook and in personal fitness blogs around the world, that’s what he was to legions of others. His editorial column in MuscleMag, dubbed “Tough Love,” was a regular source of inspiration to thousands of readers. A tribute page set up on the publishing company’s website garnered over 3,000 comments in its first six hours. Long-time friend Arnold Schwarzenegger flew across the continent on Easter Sunday to be at Kennedy’s side after receiving a call from Reno that the end was near. As Arnold knelt by the bedside, he and Kennedy locked hands and shared a few memories and a final flex. In a statement released shortly after his friend’s death, Schwarzenegger said, “Bob was a great friend and a true fitness icon,” Schwarzenegger said. “He spread the gospel of health around the globe, and his impact can’t be measured. I will miss Bob, but there is no question that his legacy of a fitter and healthier world will live on.” Clearly, the admiration was mutual: Kennedy kept a photo of himself and Arnold in his office. A reminder of better days, the image captures the two powerhouses in a characteristic flex-off. (Not one to go down easily, Kennedy could still pump out 26 reps with 400 pounds on the leg press just four months before his death.) Born in Germany in 1938, Kennedy grew up in England. His fitness obsession took hold early.As teenagers, he and life-long friend Gino Edwards (a.k.a. Johnny Fitness) engineered several broomsticks-to-barbells inventions, hitchhiked to bodybuilding events, and pored over muscle magazines together. But he had an artistic side too, and after he completed his schooling, he taught art at a tech
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college in London for eight years. At 29, he moved to Canada and continued teaching art for five more years before making the leap to entrepreneurship. He combined his passion for fitness with his artistic talents in photography to bring up-and-coming athletes into the public eye. Torrie Wilson, Trish Stratus, Vicky Pratt, Cory Everson, Roland Kickinger, Tosca Reno and Ronnie Coleman all were discovered by Kennedy. And few of his fans know that he had a sort of artistic alter-ego: he painted hundreds of works under the name Wolfgang Kals (likely a nod to Austrian roots on his father’s side). Pop icon Michael Jackson was a favorite subject, and several of Kennedy’s paintings of the star are slated for exhibition in the Jackson Museum. There’s no denying that Kennedy moved in some elite circles. He’d been friends with Schwarzenegger since the bodybuilding giant was 18, long before his Mr. Universe and seven-time Mr. Olympia titles; and he counted J. Paul Getty among his close friends. But in spite of his star status—or perhaps because of it—he enjoyed being a “regular guy” at home. Reno recalls, “We felt peace here ... being able to come to Caledon and mix in and go to Tom’s Family Diner, and be with regular people and not be scrutinized or hounded for something—it just felt really comfortable.” And although Kennedy appreciated the private space and freedom to take off his “fitness guru” hat and enjoy nature, his art, and his family, he was far from stand-offish. He had a reputation for reaching out to people who were struggling. He had known his share of personal hardship, too. He and his only son, Braden, survived a major car accident when Braden was 11. His son suffered brain damage and required around the clock care until his death at age 23. Reno believes that this experience endowed Kennedy with the ability to recognize others’ suffering and to reach out. Reno, who now takes the reins at Robert Kennedy Publishing, is confident that her husband’s legacy will continue to bloom for many years to come. Ironically, Reno received the first copy of his final book, Bull’s Eye: Targeting Your Life for Real Financial Wealth and Personal Fulfillment, on the day of her husband’s funeral. The book will be launched in June at the Toronto Pro Show bodybuilding event. Besides his wife, Kennedy leaves behind four daughters and innumerable fans. Reno is determined that, despite the massive grief brought by his untimely death, “the grace will come from seeing all the miracles we have planted together bear fruit. Robert would have loved that.”
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