By Michael Shivick, Christine R. Walsh, Linnea Sheldon, Bobby Hankinson, and Cherie Ronayne.

Jay Cutler Takes the Mr. Olympia Title — He’s Homegrown, Humble…and Huge

Photo courtesy of

On September 30, 2006, the world chose who would take the uber-prestigious title of Mr. Olympia, the world’s Number 1 ranked professional bodybuilder. They chose Jay Cutler. Does that name sound familiar? We’re not surprised ~ Jay was born in Worcester, grew up in Sterling, and has been standing near the apex of professional bodybuilding for some time now. FLEX Magazine compared his Mr. Olympia victory to the toppling of the Berlin Wall. We’d say it’s more like the time that the Red Sox came back from 3 games down to win the ALCS and subsequent World Series title in ‘04. Having placed 2nd ~ on four nonconsecutive occasions ~ to the reigning 8-time champion Ron Coleman, this year Cutler implemented his own style of regime change. Pulse recently had the chance to hear Jay’s thoughts on The Mr. Olympia competition, nutrition, Ipod tunes, the future, and other good stuff. And for more of his advice on nutrition, training regiments, and supplement, check out

The Pulse: What made the difference between almost being Mr. O in thee past and actually taking home the Sandow trophy this time?

Mr. O: I was slightly bigger and more conditioned than ever before for this Olympia.

Pulse: Take us back through the mind of Jay Cutler in the days preceding the competition and right up through the moment of victory.

Mr. O: 10 days prior I was sick, thinking that I was not going to be able to make it to the stage. I sucked it up and stayed positive and watched my physique slowly improve. As the show approached, I knew that I was at my best ever and it was going to be hard for someone to take me out. Before the winner was announced, I was prepared for my victory speech. I was that sure that I won. After the show, I had other competitions to do. I won three more in Europe. I am still amazed that I have reached my ultimate goal to be the best in the world.

Pulse: What’s your typical daily dietary intake? How do you adhere to such a strict diet?

Mr. O: I eat to fuel my body, not for taste. I’ve followed the same diet scheme for the past 13 years. I stick to moderate protein, and mod carbs, very low fats. I use a lot of different supplements, but stick to a lot of chicken, turkey, fish when I diet for competition…and lots of rice.

Pulse: Where do you buy clothes? So many bigger guys have trouble finding clothes that actually fit, and with your physique…

Mr. O: I have every piece of clothing tailored. When I work out I wear Max Muscle Clothing, which is one of my sponsors.

Pulse: If one of our readers is just starting to get into bodybuilding and can’t afford/isn’t/ ready for the gym, what is the one piece of equipment he/she should invest in initially?

Mr. O: I would say a bar bell with weights. That way you can do presses, squats, dead lifts, and rows.

Pulse: What exercises do you find that most people leave out of their training regiments?

Mr. O: Leg training and core movements: dead lifts, overhead barbell presses (the harder exercises).

Pulse: As a fitness expert, are there any points that you would like to instill in our Pulse readership?

Mr. O: Follow a strict diet, lift weights and perform cardiovascular at least 3 times weekly.

Pulse: Recently, there’s been a debate about how many grams of protein the human body can absorb in a single sitting. Any thoughts on that?

Mr. O: Eat at least 1 gram of protein per lb of lean body mass: a person [who’s] 200 lbs, needs 200 grams of protein. Broken down into 6 portions, or every 3 hours, [it’s]about 33 grams of protein every 3 hours.

Pulse: Do you think that issues like anxiety and poor self-esteem can arise from improper physical maintenance?

Mr. O: I feel most of society is not happy with the way they look, which causes low self esteem…which is why I started weight training.

Pulse: What avenues are you pursuing, in terms of what you’ll be doing when you do decide to retire from bodybuilding competition?

Mr O: I invest quite a bit in different ventures; including real estate, gym equipment, and supplements.

Pulse: What weight would you like to walk around at when you stop competing? What type of exercise routine would you expect to follow?

Mr. O: I would like to be 225 lbs when I retire, followed by lighter workouts and more cardiovascular workouts for my heart.

Pulse: What is it like having been born in Worcester, growing up in Sterling, and then ascending to the throne of Mr. Olympia? Do you still have ties here?

Mr. O: If I stayed in Sterling, I would not be where I am today, but a lot of the values I learned stem from there. I am the youngest ~ and biggest! ~ of 7 children and I still have a lot of family and friends in Sterling.

Pulse: Any advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?

Mr. O: You have to shoot big, dream big, and be prepared to sacrifice a lot along the way to reach your destiny. My life is based upon work and that is it.

Pulse: OK, one final question. Do you wear an Ipod when you lift? If so, what’s on it?

Mr. O: Sometimes. Linkin Park, Journey, Eminem, hip hop.

Nancy Andrews – The WNBF Pro World Champion Dishes on Good Diet 

By Christine R. Walsh

Nancy Andrews is like any other woman. She has full-time job working for her family’s electrical cable company. She has a sweet and inviting demeanor that makes perfect strangers feel comfortable in her presence. She’ll have the occasional glass of wine with dinner and after a long day, can usually be found at the gym. But Andrews is more than just another pretty face; she is a four time natural body building champion.

Andrews, who began bodybuilding in 1994, started out on a very different path.

“I did gymnastics in college,” Andrews recalls. “I competed for the University of New Hampshire, but at that time, I never even lifted weights. I just did a lot of cardio.”

Andrews was working out on a regular basis at the Worcester Gold’s Gym when she was approached by the owner to compete in an in-house show. She and other gym members strutted their physiques to see who was the fittest. Andrews was bitten by the bodybuilding bug during the show and her life began to change.

“The training for bodybuilding and gymnastics is not that different,” according to Andrews. “You have to watch your weight in both and you need to have lean muscle. But in bodybuilding, you need to concentrate on eating fewer processed foods. Pasta, for example, is fine for gymnastics training, but not for bodybuilding.”

When training for bodybuilding competitions, one of the key things to remember, Andrews says, is to avoid food that will encourage your body to retain water. She says that competitors become very disciplined about their diets about two weeks before the actual competition. If they were to try to stick to such strict eating plans all the time, it would have a negative effect on their bodies. Andrews has seen a number of bodybuilders become ill in their quest to lose water weight.

“Some people will use diuretics. It helps them rid their bodies of water, but the diuretics usually upset the body’s water balance. It’s not unusual for someone to be able to lose 10 to 15 pounds of water after using one,” said Andrews. And such a drastic loss could lead to a heart attack.

Andrews is a natural bodybuilder. She does not use any sort of drugs to promote muscle growth. Instead, she relies on a healthy lifestyle filled with exercise and nutrition to help her get the results she wants.

“I know some people who will come and joke that they cheated on their diet and had a big sundae. But you never feel good about eating the sundae the next day. You feel good when you have a healthy diet,” said Andrews.

She’s also quick to remind people that a healthy lifestyle, and not numerous cups of coffee, can increase an individual’s energy.

When she is not running her own competitions, working out, organizing bodybuilding seminars, or helping her family, Andrews likes nothing more than to assist others who are interested in getting into bodybuilding or simply becoming healthier. The 38 year-old is always ready to lend a helping hand.

“I know trainers everywhere,” said Andrews. “Just shoot me an email. Even if you’re in Seattle, I probably know someone there.”

For more information about Nancy Andrews, the upcoming INBF Northeast Classic & WNFB Pro Northeast Figure competition, and the 2007 Pro Series Bodybuilding Figure & Fitness Seminar that she is presenting, or bodybuilding in general, go to

Dr. Rick Silverman
By Michael Shivick

From roadkill to ripped. In his own words, professional bodybuilder and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Rick Silverman “…could easily have been mistaken for something left by the roadside by careless travellers.” The 6’ 1”, 155 lb. Brown University freshman, who would later train in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, go on to win numerous bodybuilding titles (including the 2000 INBF Northeast Classic heavyweight division and the 2000 Superbody Masters , 4th at the WNBF Pro Masters Cup, and 3rd at the WNBF Mr. Universe), and travel the world refining his medical expertise, was a far cry from the muscular and chiseled man whom I had a chance to chat with recently. Outspoken about his views on the complications of drug use in athletes, Dr. Silverman ~ who himself packed on 60 pounds of lean mass muscle without the use of steroids ~ let us tap into his unique frame of reference as both a bodybuilder and a doctor. It’s also more than worth a visit to to learn about his workout routine, published articles, and work with the Worcester-based C.H.A.N.G.E., which provides surgical care to the underserved population in Ecuador.

1. There are differences between, say, an 18 year old and 39 year old body. How should those differences be reflected in terms of workout design and dietary intake?

There are differences between an 18 year old and a 39 year old body, true. There are also difference between one 18 year old body and another 18 year old body, making generalization difficult. Some general concepts, however, have to do with metabolic need and hormonal milieu, which vary to some degree within a specific age group, but vary more across age groups. In general, an 18 year old will have healthy measures of all of the essential hormones for growth, development and metabolic maintenance, whereas the 39 year old may be seeing some age-related changes in these levels. Men typically have lowering testosterone levels, making maintenance of lean mass tougher, and muscle building tougher still. Women who are moving from their thirties to their forties have the added confusion of menopause to confound their efforts. With age, individuals may find that fewer calories are needed to maintain similar weight/lean mass. Similarly, in order to stay relatively lean, older individuals may need to focus more on the makeup of their diet ~ complex carbs rather than simple, more protein, less fat. A person who as a teen could eat McDonald’s out of house and home may find that in his or her forties, he or she must diet carefully and train aggressively to keep from getting fat. Similarly, recovery as a teen is second nature to the young, growing, developing body. With age, however, more time for recovery must be allowed to prevent overtraining.

2. How can people who can’t seem to “eat right” get themselves on track…and stay there? How can we train ourselves to eat for fuel and nutrition, not for just taste or comfort?

It’s a mental issue that has to take its direction from within. If one understands the concepts of stress and recovery, and the importance of nutritional support to the recovery process, then attention to proper nutrition will follow. By the same token, many bodybuilders diet on food that is flavorless. But [flavors from] herbs don’t add calories, nor do salt and pepper. Food that tastes good, but is clean in terms of fat and carbohydrate content can be just as effective on a diet as food that tastes bad. Dieting is about discipline, not torture. Similarly, “cheat meals” or “cheat foods” are to be avoided, but can also be used as an incentive. Sometimes, you just need a reward for being good. The key is to understand that the reward is just that—something which can occasionally give you a little lift to get through a tough patch in the dieting process, but not a key to a flood gate! In the end, very smart people may possess great knowledge about nutrition, yet still suffer from poor nutrition. Learning about what’s good and bad is only the beginning. Learning to pay attention to that knowledge is the second phase required for success.

3. I have heard many people speak of “listening to your body”, in terms of how hard to push yourself in the gym, how much to eat in a sitting, etc.. What does “listening to your body” mean to you?

Each individual will respond to various stimuli in different ways, and ideally, he or she will pay attention to that response, and proceed accordingly with further training efforts, or in satisfying nutritional needs, as an example. Of course, not all of us are such great “listeners.” If your body is telling you to eat the fourth cupcake and skip training for another month, perhaps you need a hearing aide. Similarly, if your body tells you that two more hours of cardio and not eating for the third day in a row is the right thing, you might likewise need to replace a speaker. Seriously, presuming that one has a good understanding of nutrition and exercise principles, adhering to a specific regimen in the face of poor results would suggest alteration of that regimen. This is what I think of as listening to one’s body. Likewise, if you’re sick, perhaps you should take an extra day of rest, or go light on exercises for a few days. If you feel pain that isn’t the type of pain that’s characteristic of a good workout, then again, your body may be telling you about an impending injury, rather than a good muscular “burn” from an exercise. Basically, the idea is that your body will provide feedback, and you should use that feedback to adjust your training and nutrition accordingly.

4. What changes have you noticed on the bodybuilding scene in the past decade or so?

In the twelve or thirteen years that I have been involved with the sport, there have been some notable changes. Although steroid use in general is probably as common or more common than ever, the drug-free movement in bodybuilding has gained some momentum, and organizations that focus on an approach that’s healthier and more fitness-oriented have sprung up all over the place. I think that this makes the sport more accessible to the general public, since most people would like to look lean and fit but very few want to look like most IFBB pros. Generally speaking, though Americans have gotten fatter over the years, there is more attention to health and fitness. Perhaps there will be a point where the message gets out loud enough to overcome our “fast-food” national mentality, and the obesity trend will reverse. On the down side, however, I think that our consumer-driven and image-driven economy has created a situation where young people get into fitness or bodybuilding activities for reasons that aren’t necessarily motivated by health and fitness goals. Because young people tend to be incredibly impatient, and also because performance enhancing drugs are everywhere and getting a lot of attention, I fear that steroids and other such drugs may become a greater problem, not for bodybuilding necessarily, but for society as a whole.

5. In an article on, you said, “You can imagine the grief I get as a result of my bodybuilding activities ~ not the most intellectual pursuit.” I disagree. Doesn’t it take quite a bit of determination and metacognition to accomplish what you’ve accomplished and what others in the fitness field have accomplished?

Yes and no. Certainly, training smart, eating smart, doing all of those things right which are required of a competitive bodybuilder, those factors involved a lot of thought. But going to the gym, for me, has generally been a time to zone out a bit and focus on a non-intellectual pursuit. Strangely, in the past year, I’ve taken to listening to NPR podcasts on my iPod, an activity that is hardly non-intellectual. But it’s still an escape from work and my other responsibilities.

But I agree that weight training and bodybuilding is underestimated in terms of the intelligence required to get great results, whether that intelligence is inherent in the individual bodybuilder, or whether it is supplied by a trainer or nutritionist.

6. Is there anything else we should know?

There’s always something else, but I’m not sure if I know it either…

And here’s a bonus for our web-readers, Part II of the interview with Rick!

Rick Silverman: The Interview Part II.
By Michael Shivick

1. Tell Pulse’s readers little bit about your book, “Muscle over Myth.”

“Muscle over Myth” is a booklet that was put together as a “give-away” to customers and clients by SportPharma, the supplement company that sponsored me during my early years of competitive bodybuilding. When they approached me about writing the book, they didn’t realize that I actually enjoyed writing, and had, in fact, written many brief articles about my thoughts relating to many aspects of bodybuilding in general, and my experiences in bodybuilding in particular. As a result, the book is really a reflection on the experiences I had as a fitness enthusiast evolving into a bodybuilder, and how I managed to become reasonably competitive in spite of my hard-gainer history. It focuses on what I was doing at the time in terms of training, nutrition and supplementation, while providing guidelines for individuals at many levels of the sport, from beginner to more advanced. Even now, when I look at it, it’s really a nice little basic guidebook with all sorts of useful information about bodybuilding.

2. As a fitness expert and a doctor, are there any points that you would like to instill in our Pulse readership?

I wish it were possible to reinforce the concept that bodybuilding isn’t just about looking good, but rather that the principles that are useful to bodybuilders can be good for one’s health as well. Certainly, I’m not talking about what goes into preparing for a bodybuilding contest, since the extremes that are involved in many elements of sporting competition would not necessarily be the healthiest ways to approach life in general. But following good nutrition and exercise principles is a good idea for anyone, not just for bodybuilders, and in the end, there’s a health benefit ~ in addition to the fact that you look better.

3. What has bodybuilding contributed to your comprehensive knowledge of the medical model?

In fact, there are a few things I’ve observed in bodybuilders that I’ve translated into my work as a plastic surgeon. Most notably, I’ve noticed in some competitors how tight their skin is even after dropping anywhere from 50 to 80 pounds for a contest. In many of our patients who have experienced massive weight loss, their skin hangs from their body and never tightens up, even after modest amounts of weight loss. Based on my observation, it’s my feeling that the skin can be tightened without cutting it out by significantly decreasing the subcutaneous fat, just as a bodybuilder does for a contest. By doing liposuction with a very small cannula, very superficially, the skin will tighten more than might otherwise be anticipated. I’ve had some very reasonable successes using this approach, especially in men with gynecomastia related to obesity. Other places where I’ve found useful tools in bodybuilding include some nutritional issues. Many people don’t eat enough protein, and I’ve had patients use protein supplements, particularly older patients with various wounds that heal poorly. Most of them continue with the protein supplements even after they’ve healed and are no longer seeing me. Finally, I encourage many of my liposuction patients to include resistance training in their fat (as opposed to weight) control regimen, since this will help them maintain stable lower levels of body fat to give them a longer-lasting great result.

4. Can poor physical maintenance affect a person’s mental and emotion state?

I’m a strong believer in the link between the mind and the body. This works in both directions, with mental distress contributing to physical issues, and physical issues contributing to mental ones. Many people will tell you that when they’re depressed, they feel fat and ugly. In my case, having struggled to gain weight over time, I usually feel skinny and weak when I’m depressed. Likewise, when my muscles are full and pumped, and I feel better about how I look, and usually feel better about myself.

5. You have worked as a doctor in the US, Taipei and Melbourne, and have flexed your altruism with the world’s underprivileged in Ecuador and here in the US. What have these experiences taught you about people, in general?

When one has the opportunity to travel and study overseas, or even more, to work, as I do each year, in a developing country like Ecuador, one can’t help but recognize how blessed we are to have the resources we have in life. Yet even in places like Ecuador, and in Africa, where I spent two months as a medical student many years ago, people with far less are still extremely generous with their hospitality and kindness. This goodness–this “humanity”–frequently gets lost in our fast-paced world which is so often overwhelmed with the next “American Idol” or the latest scandal in Washington. For the most part, people are basically good, and they want to do good things, both for themselves and for those around them. Anyone who has had more than just a passing experience overseas grows to understand this. Unfortunately, government, business and industry, religion, and so many other forces interact to bring out the worst in people, rather than allowing the best to shine through. Over and over again, we hear stories of supposed “enemies” who suddenly resolve their differences when they interact on a more personal basis. More often than not, they probably discover that they don’t really have many differences when they are interacting one on one. This is what one learns, traveling both in the US and abroad. If only our leaders could learn the same in their travels!

6. Who is/was your bodybuilding idol?

Unlike many young men who discover bodybuilding as teenagers and focus on a specific bodybuilder or two, I tripped over bodybuilding in my 30s, and on the prompting of friends and patients, decided to give it a try. Two of the people who were a part of that journey are Jay Cutler and Nancy Andrews, both of whom are idols for many men and women the worldwide. Because they’re my friends, it’s hard for me to say they’re my idols, though I have a deep respect for both of them, for their accomplishments, and especially for their approach to the sport of bodybuilding, which has been with great dedication and determination. At the same time, they have both remained grounded, working hard for the sport and to promote healthy ideals and causes beyond the world of bodybuilding. Another person who represents that concept for me is Lee Haney. What he accomplished in bodybuilding is admirable, but what he continues to do as a human being is exceptional. As for a favorite physique…I think that Flex Wheeler at his best probably still gets my vote.

7. If one of our readers were just starting to get into bodybuilding and couldn’t afford/weren’t ready for a gym membership, what is the one piece of equipment he/she should invest in?

Hmm, one piece of equipment. And I presume that can’t be something like a “BowFlex” machine. This may sound a little strange, but I might suggest that for the beginner with minimal funds, purchase of a chin-up bar might be as valuable as anything. Many exercises can be done using body weight along with the things around us. The chest can be worked with pushups, which also hits the triceps. Shoulders can be trained that way by putting the legs up against a wall and doing “push-ups” in a more vertical plane. Back and biceps can be trained very effectively with a chin-up bar, varying the grip for variety. That leaves legs, which can be trained with “sissy squats,” walking lunges, and a variety of other exercises that train one leg at a time in order to provide adequate resistance. The addition of a second item of equipment, namely some exercise (rubber) tubing, also quite inexpensive, can give additional options for resistance which more than offset the price.

8. What exercises do you find that most people tend to leave out of their training regiments?

Legs, of course. People find excuses, because leg training hurts. But there’s a reason for that. Legs make up a large amount of the body by weight, so training them is fairly exhausting when done properly. That’s the downside. The upside, however, is that legs, being such a large muscle group, utilize a lot of energy. For people who struggle with weight control, training legs is key to keeping body-fat lower, since they burn a lot of energy when they work. I always tell patients who obsess over cardio, that doing cardio burns fat for the time they’re doing the exercise. Training legs burns fat for days…

9. What changes have you noticed on the bodybuilding scene in the past decade or so?

In the twelve or thirteen years that I have been involved with the sport, there have been some notable changes. Although steroid use in general is probably as common or more common than ever, the drug-free movement in bodybuilding has gained some momentum, and organizations that focus on an approach that’s healthier and more fitness-oriented have sprung up all over the place. I think that this makes the sport more accessible to the general public, since most people would like to look lean and fit but very few want to look like most IFBB pros. Generally speaking, though Americans have gotten fatter over the years, there is more attention to health and fitness. Perhaps there will be a point where the message gets out loud enough to overcome our “fast-food” national mentality, and the obesity trend will reverse. On the down side, however, I think that our consumer-driven and image-driven economy has created a situation where young people get into fitness or bodybuilding activities for reasons that aren’t necessarily motivated by health and fitness goals. Because young people tend to be incredibly impatient, and also because performance enhancing drugs are everywhere and getting a lot of attention, I fear that steroids and other such drugs may become a greater problem, not for bodybuilding necessarily, but for society as a whole.

Grandmaster Jae H. Jeong and his US TAE KWON DO Centers
Developing Sound Minds and Sound Bodies
By Michael Shivick

It’s “Eat, Sleep, Tae Kwon Do” for Grandmaster Jae H. Jeong, 5-time Korean National Tae Kwon Do champion. Master Jeong, who came to Worcester via NYC via (originally) South Korea, graduated from the prestigious Yong-In University in South Korea’s capital of Seoul with a major in Tae Kwon Do and brought his experiences training back in his native country to the two US TKD Centers he runs here in Central MA.

However, one does not simply awaken one fine morning after graduating from university and find oneself a Grandmaster of two US TKD Centers. Master Jeong’s journey from the stringent extrinsic motivators of South Korean training to a much-less restrictive American culture would be killer material for any Hollywood producer, and is at the very least inspirational to his many students and the Black Belt instructors he employs at the Centers.

So what is TKD? It originated in Korea, and is more centered around kicking than are other martial arts forms. World-wide, more people study TKD than all other martial arts forms combined, probably because of the manner in which it can help people improve their balance, flexibility, self-control and self-defense abilities. Master Jeong explained that TKD competition takes place in a traditional martial arts sparring style, with competitions a la The Karate Kid (although obviously more realistic!), and has been a medal sport in the Olympics since Y2K. What is the essence of TKD? According to the Master, it’s “Fun!” He added that the study of TKD is great for individuals looking to build confidence and “inner strength.”

Practicing TKD gives anyone the opportunity to become more physically and mentally able, yet also teaches these abilities through “natural” motions, perfect for those not looking to get bogged down with tons of equipment and accessories. These motions are good for individuals who need to be careful about how much wear and tear they put on their joints. And, as the Centers’ website offers, “…for thousands of years, martial artists have enjoyed the calm peace of mind and harmony that come from controlling one’s thoughts and actions. You can possess this same control and take charge of your stress.”

All students at his US TKD centers work at their own pace, and Master Jeong even offers a trial program for people who worry that they are too out of shape or unathletic to get involved. Because “…youth are more [physically] capable than those over 30, who are more mentally capable [than the youth],” US TKD offers specialized classes for children. In addition to offering the typical benefits of TKD, they encourage certain parts of children’s brains (namely the motor cortex and corpus collosum) to reach their full potential during this critical developmental period. Lessons also better prepare children ~ as well as teens and adults ~ to be able to resist negative peer pressure, overcome shyness, stand up to bullies, speak up for themselves, and be more comfortable in social situations.

In addition to traditional TKD training, the Centers teach cardio-kickboxing classes for those who want to turn it up a notch, with high-energy classes available for advanced hearts. US TKD also offers a children’s summer camp, where your child can spend a week learning the ancient traditions of the “Hwarang,” or flowering youth, the Korean children who for thousands of years have excelled in beauty, bravery, and Military Arts ~ la creme de la creme.

However, US TKD is more than just a place to reinvent or simply improve oneself ~ it is a place that encourages giving to others as well. Master Jeong puts together an annual fundraiser, his Kick-A-Thon, where participants are challenged to make 1,000 kicks in an hour. Proceeds have gone to benefit The United Way of Central Massachusetts, Why Me, Inc., DARE programs, and The Fallen Fire Fighters Fund.
Whether you are looking to get in shape, learn self-defense, stretch, or find a sense of calm in a hectic world, TKD and Master Jeong can help you achieve these goals “from the inside out.”

For more info, including schedules, FAQs, photos, and instructor bios, visit You can also contact the Worcester TKD Center (141 Main St.) at 508-767-1717 or the Shrewsbury location (370 Boston Turnpike) at 508-792-5534.

Amanda Smith – Fitness, Gymnastics, Competition and Strength Skills
By Linnea Sheldon

Fitness competitor Amanda Smith of Framingham currently works for Cathy Savage Fitness (, an organization that teaches women the ins and outs of competitive fitness competitions, as well as how to become a figure athlete, model, bodybuilder, dancer, or cheerleader. As a posing specialist for NPC (National Physique Committee) and OCB (Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders) federations, she helps other competitors perfect their routines. The 26-year old is also a gymnastics specialist and strength skills instructor. When we called Cathy to connect us with one of her most talented girls for an interview about what it’s like being immersed in the world of fitness, Amanda’s name was first on her lips.

Pulse: Tell us a little bit about what your job entails.

Amanda Smith: I teach and help improve a competitor’s posing. Posing help improves stage presentation. I also teach gymnastics to those who want to incorporate tumbling and gymnastics skills into their fitness routines. The same goes for strength moves. I like to teach the mandatory strength moves for the NPC federation and then move on to more difficult strength moves.

P: How did you get involved in this particular area of fitness, and when?
AS: I was a competitive gymnast all the way through college and I missed being competitive. I have been competing in fitness for two seasons and working for Cathy Savage Fitness for one season.
P: You started winning awards back in high school, right? 

AS: My senior year of high school, I was named Senior Gymnast of the Year and I won the all around in the state individual high school meet. This was a huge accomplishment because I had injured my knee the year before and was to have surgery right after my senior year was over. I pushed through the year and won the state title. From there I went on the place fourth in the all around in the High School Senior National Championship. For fitness I placed 5th at the Fitness Atlantic show in May 2006.

P: How do you balance your work as a physical education instructor with your demands as a competitor in the fitness industry?

AS:  It is fairly easy to balance. My job has me on my feet all day long, actively engaged with my students so I am constantly moving. Being a healthy and in-shape role model for my students helps me to stay on track with my fitness lifestyle.
P: What keeps you going?

AS: First, I enjoy being a role model to my students. I also feel much better about myself when I have been working out. I love to lift weights. I love to feel my body getting stronger. I also like to see the results. It lets me know that all of my hard work and dedication is paying off. I enjoy setting and achieving goals for myself. Being a fitness competitor can be mentally and physically challenging. However, I have always enjoyed a challenge.
P: What are your eating habits?

AS:  I try to follow a pretty regular schedule of 5-6 meals per day all of which contain protein and either a fruit or a vegetable. About 3-4 of my meals contain a carbohydrate such as oatmeal, brown rice or sweet potato. One of my meals contains a good fat such as flaxseed oils or some almonds. Do I ever eat chocolate? Yes, I love chocolate as long as it is in moderation.

P: What can the rest of us take from your style of fitness training and incorporate into our everyday lives?

AS:  The type of fitness training that I do can relate to many activities. The majority of the exercises are used to strengthen your core and to help prevent injuries. The exercises also help to keep my body well conditioned and muscular. Most of the exercises involve no or equipment that is easy to store and take with you wherever you go. The exercises can be done at home or in a gym and that makes them very convenient.

P: Do you think you will see any long-term drawbacks to your current routine?

AS:  I do not have any concerns about what will happen when I slow down my routine. I know how dedicated I am to working out, feeling good and being healthy. It is a lifestyle that I have incorporated into my life. Even if some things changed such as my gym routine, I will still remain healthy by eating the appropriate foods, I will continue to work out and stay involved with my friends in fitness.
P: What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with weight, as some of our readers might be?

AS:  Be patient. Even if you are eating healthy and working out changing your body takes time. Try to keep your meals clean and maintain a consistent schedule. Follow the schedule even when times are tough. Always remain positive. If your mind is not right, it is hard for your body to be right. It will pay off in the long run.

Weighing the Benefits of a Custom Diet
Our Interview with Dr. Joe Klemczewski, “The Diet Doc”
By Bobby Hankinson

It’s February and that means one thing: the lofty New Year’s resolution that seemed totally attainable on, say, Jan. 5 is slowly sneaking out of reach… Have you snuck more than a few extra carbs? Getting tired of that cabbage soup? Are you sick of those chalky shakes? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

“We live in a society where two-thirds of us are always on a diet and two-thirds of us are overweight,” says Dr. Joe Klemczewski, better known as “The Diet Doc.” “At the same time, 95 percent of dieters will fail on their diets.”

Klemczewski believes the reason people have such a problem keeping off the pounds is consumers’ demand for something “easy.” According to his theory, the industry responds with promises of melting away those pounds rapidly, not mentioning that with almost all quick fixes, the pounds will pack back on just as fast.

That doesn’t mean your pursuit of six-pack abs or buns of steel is totally hopeless, though. Instead, with his Metabolic Transformation Program, Dr. Joe aims to gives his clients a personalized plan to help lose the weight ~ permanently.

Based on your body type, genetics, activity level, and goals, Klemczewski crafts an individualized nutrition plan. He makes keeping the weight off easy with flexible ranges to maximize your metabolic rate. He also provides unlimited e-mail assistance to answer questions and give his clients the support they need. Using his program, people learn how to choose the right food in the right portion. “At the end of the process, they become their best nutritionist.”

Klemczewski is pretty confident that for $1,000 per year, his program can help almost anyone succeed. “Honestly, if I don’t have somebody successful, it’s because I lost them at the initial meeting.”

Don’t let the price-tag throw you. Klemczewski has had plenty of experience to make his guidance worth every penny. He finished his undergrad in physical therapy at the Indiana University School of Medicine and has a Masters and Doctorate in heath and nutrition related fields. But before he was hitting the books, he was hitting the gym.

He first got interested in fitness as a kid while playing baseball. His interest in athletics coupled with inspiration from the “Conan” and “Rocky” films, quickly led Klemczewski to weight-training. After a stint in the Air Force, he pursued body-building professionally, competing in Mr. International and Mr. Universe. He also bought a small gym and founded a supplement company. Over time he began to receive national attention for writing fitness articles. When the supplement company closed, he moved to consulting full-time.

His website,, also has a Perfect Peaking Program for bodybuilders and fitness models. He believes online programs like his are the future of fitness. “Online coaching — that’s the trend; it’s the way to reach more people.”

For someone who’s dedicated so much of his life to health and nutrition, he still treats himself now and then with pizza and desserts. “I eat healthy 80 to 90 percent of the time, but I indulge a lot more than you think,” he said. “It’s not the rule, it’s the exception.”

It’s that kind of flexibility that makes his program so successful. A diet that keeps you in Mr. Universe-ready shape and allows for the occasional slice of extra-cheese? There’s a diet I could stick to all year round.

Dr. Joe, who lectures across the country, is a familiar face to the Central MA fitness community. He has spoken at Gold’s Gym in Worcester, Core Fitness in Shrewsbury, Auburn Wellness Center in Auburn and the Holiday Inn in Worcester. In January, he returned to lecture about peaking and nutrition at the Nancy Andrews Pro Series Camp.

Teri Almquist – Praising and Practicing Bikram Yoga
By Cherie Ronayne

Meet experienced Bikram yoga practitioner Teri Almquist. Just one look at her and the energy and charisma that spontaneously bubble forth and you’ll know what Bikram yoga does for her. Teri is what you and I would call a pro, having practiced for several years herself before going to Bikram teacher training (an intensive 500-hour, 9-week long program) and then adding in teaching at multiple locations.

First, a little background about Bikram. Bikram yoga is a form of hatha yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury. The 90-minute classes, held in a heated room, consist of the same 26 postures, repeated twice, and are appropriate for people of all levels of experience. The heat is the defining element that makes Bikram different from all other types of yoga. For Teri, as for many others who swear by hot yoga, other types don’t compare. As Teri puts it, “I really need the heat to feel good.” The room is heated to allow for deeper stretching and to protect the muscles. It increases the heart rate for a better cardiovascular workout. And yes, it can be daunting initially, getting used to the 102 degree temperature. The Bikram (Hindu philosophy) thought process does not include superlatives. You just practice yoga, doing the best you can with the body you have on that particular day. There is no standard of comparison except with yourself, and perfection is not in the vocabulary. “Even teachers are students of the lifelong practice, so no pros, it’s a practice not a perfect, explains Teri. “You’ll get 100% of the benefits by simply trying the postures and doing the best that you can” is a class mantra. The benefits are well documented, however, and well worth it.

Take Teri’s story for example. Teri came to Bikram yoga by way of a serious injury sustained while on the job as a Mental Health Care worker in 1990. A client grabbed her hair and sweater, jerking her head violently backwards, then fell, still holding onto her hair. It took about twenty minutes before he finally released her but by then the damage was done. The next morning she was unable to get out bed. The ligaments and tendons in her neck were torn and several vertebrae were compressed. Eventually, after many doctor visits and much physical therapy, she was pronounced healed by several doctors, yet was still unable to move her neck and still suffered from chronic headaches and pain. Her options didn’t look very good.

As she tells it, one of those options for “fixing” her neck “…was to put rods in my spine to support the neck. I didn’t like that option.” Enter Bikram yoga. Teri’s sister was using it to help relieve scoliosis symptoms and suggested she try it too. “I knew in my first class that this would fix my neck. Teri is certain that Bikram yoga healed her body by allowing the scar tissue that developed as a result of her injury to start moving: “It’s the heat that helps scar tissue stretch. The heat is one of the great things about this yoga, it helps the body stretch without pain or injury and brings more blood to the muscles to help them stretch too.”

After nine months of regular hot yoga practice, Teri attended a seminar presented by Bikram’s wife and decided to enroll in teacher training. All teachers of Bikram yoga must complete this intensive training, so she left her day job and went to LA for training. There has been no looking back. Evidence of her old injury is non-existent. She is happy, confident and the picture of health. She also has a vibrant magnetism that attracts student to her. It may be her sense of humor while teaching (the class is work and jokes are definitely appreciated ~ my personal favorite is her reference to the bootay as “Ben and Jerry”) or it may just be the aura of having been healed and the genuine belief and enthusiasm for Bikram yoga it produces. Either way, she is a success and her students can only benefit.

In addition to teaching in West Roxbury, Swamscott and Nashua, NH, Teri teaches locally at Bikram Yoga Aubun, 567 Southbridge St. in Auburn.

If you’d like to practice with Teri, check out or call (508) 832-9642. She’s also about to open her very own studio, Bikram Yoga Merrimack Valley.