Local gym pumped up for bodybuilding championship

By on November 2, 2016
Amanda Malone, a local NABBA competitor, often trains at Iron Fit Gym. She won “overall bikini” last year, and is competing this year for the title of “Ms. Figure America.”

Amanda Malone, a local NABBA competitor, often trains at Iron Fit Gym. She won “overall bikini” last year, and is competing this year for the title of “Ms. Figure America.”

NABBA USA’s National American Pro Show & Bodybuilding Championships will be held beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Spooky Nook Sports Complex, 2913 Spooky Nook Road, Manheim.

Although it’s a national event, it has a local connection. Event organizer and CEO of NABBA USA (National Amateur Body Builders Association) John Lukas is also the co-owner of Iron Fit Gym, Lititz, which is also sponsoring the event.

He explained that NABBA is a worldwide organization, and the first place winners will compete in Europe at NABBA Universe. The title “Mr. Universe” is bestowed at that event. The first to hold the Mr. Universe title was the late Steve Reeves, who may be familiar from his role as Hercules in movies from the late-1950s and early 60s. Actor and former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, also held the Mr. Universe title.

A long-time body building competitor, Lukas became CEO of NABBA USA about two years ago and brought the national championships to the area last year. Last year’s venue was the Manheim Township Middle School auditorium.

“I didn’t know what to expect for the first year. It was a great place and the people at the school were great to work with, but we really needed more space,” he said, “I thought Spooky Nook, which is all about sports, would be a great fit.”

“We are excited to be bringing another new event to The Nook,” said Alyssa Matangos, Nook Sports communications and public relations manager. “The NABBA Universe Qualifier not only represents a new sport for The Nook, but also showcases the versatility of our event space. The Nook continues to grow and expand as a large sporting and event venue, and we are eager to bring additional events to our facility.”

Lukas expects about 100 competitors and about 1,000 spectators.

“What makes this show special is that the best physiques from around the country are competing,” he said.

Among the competitors are about 25 from the county including six people who train at Iron Fit Gym.

“We take workouts very seriously here. Many of our clients are regular folks wanting to be fit, but we’re also a one-stop shop for people who focus on body building,” Lukas explained.

Corey Pickel, local fitness professional and entrepreneur, did his first competitive show this summer.

Corey Pickel, local fitness professional and entrepreneur, did his first competitive show this summer.

He pointed out that one of his personal clients, Jim Everton, was the overall winner of the Nationals in 2015 and is representing the United States this year competing in the Universe in England

Iron Fit not only has a gym area that’s setup for body building competitors, but there’s also a special mirrored posing room, a spray tan booth and counseling for diet and nutrition Lukas has also added several Iron Fit categories and titles that are open only the Pennsylvania residents.

“I want to encourage the sport to grow, and these categories are a way to introduce local competitors to the competition,” he said.

Lukas encourages spectators to attend the championships. He explained that the pre-judging, when competitors come on-stage for judging, is the “meat and potatoes” of the event. That part of the competition begins at 10 a.m. There’s also a freestyle show at 4:30 p.m. that will feature special lighting and music from a DJ.

Tickets for pre-judging are $25. Tickets for the evening show are $30, while tickets for both events are $45. Tickets sold at the door are cash only.

For more information about the NABBA Pro Show & Bodybuilding Championships, or to prepurchase tickets, visit nabba.com or Iron Fit Gym’s website: teamironfit.com.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

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