Meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger Convinced Me To Go Natural!
This article is from the www.NaplesNews.com
Like many of his well-sculpted peers, Michael Ferencsik credits Arnold Schwarzenegger with giving his passion for bodybuilding a good, er, pump, some 25 years ago.
Only the meeting actually pushed the 44-year-old Ferencsik, who next month competes in the International Natural Bodybuilding Association’s Natural Olympia IX competition in Australia, away from pursuing his passion for a living.
“He said, ‘Either you compete at that level and do what they’re willing to do or stop dreaming and go on to another career, he remembers. “It blew my mind.”
From that day on, Ferencsik, a Naples resident for the past 17 years after moving from New Jersey, has pursued that dream as an amateur, without the benefit of pharmaceutical performance enhancers.
“I won’t succumb to that for 15 minutes of fame and have it threaten my life,” he said. “I really wrestled with it. I was close to doing it, I was encouraged to do it, and I chose not to. From that day on, I’ve never looked back.”
Ferencsik, who earned his trip Down Under by placing second in his division at the Team USA and Forever Natural Championships in Las Vegas last month, is one of a handful of men and women from the U.S. to compete in the world competition. He will vie with athletes from 37 other countries — all tested every 60 days under Olympic guidelines — for the Natural Olympia title, the world’s most prestigious natural bodybuilding title.
It’s the first such trip for the 5-foot-11, 178-pounder, who competes at around three percent body fat.
“I’m not nervous because I’m dialed into my shape and I know I’ll do well,” he said. “It just depends on how the cards fall that day.”
Ferencsik is also the founder of the Kids Fit Club, which he started last spring to promote a healthy lifestyle for kids age 8-17. He runs one-hour sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Naples Art Center (at 2230 J and C Blvd.), stressing cardiovascular, endurance, strength and speed training.
“Fifty percent of children in the U.S. are overweight, and it’s going to equate to an adult population that has a shorter life expectancy than I do. That’s a sad statement,” Ferencsik said.
Still, he occasionally springs for his 10-year-old daughter Olivia’s Happy Meal after dance practice.
“Keep them away,” he said with a laugh, “and they’ll get it anyway.”
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