Tony Page: Surrounded by Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding for me is not only my hobby but also my way of life. I started weight training when I was 18 years old. People may have laughed at me when I first entered the gym for the first time. At 6' foot tall, I wore my hair in a long ponytail and weighed 135 pounds. I was playing guitar off and on in local bands at that time and never dreamed I would ever pursue bodybuilding.
After 2 to 3 months of training by myself I started to train with my older brother. My brother, being a hardheaded power lifter, pushed me to new limits which I wasn't used to. This is when training started to make sense to me. He made me realize the importance of training with heart. I then trained and pushed myself with extreme intensity when I was in the gym.
After 3 years of training under my belt I decided to give bodybuilding a shot. It was hard to find someone to help me because at my gym I was training there were only one or two bodybuilders who competed and they were busy with their own schedules. So, I met with a guy who was willing to help me out for free if I drove 45 minutes up to his gym. He gave me advice, a 12-week diet plan, posing practice, and routine advice. My first show was a local contest called the Yankee Classic, which was put on my Bob Gormely of the A.N.B.C. (American Natural Bodybuilding Conference). I placed 3rd in the Novice Class and 4th in the Junior Class and took Best Poser in the Junior Class. I was very pleased.
To help me get there I got help from Skip LaCour, one of the best natural bodybuilders in the world. He and I had a few telephone conversations where he offered me assistance with my diet, workout routine and goals. Skip is a great guy. Even though we did not see eye to eye on everything. Skip is an honest guy and spent many hours on the phone to help me do the best I could. I followed his diet plan for 14 weeks. I competed for the first time in the 2001 Musclemania Atlantic competition and placed 3rd in the Junior Class. I was disappointed; I really felt that was not where I wanted to be at that stage of the game. I did however learn from competing in the Musclemania show because the competition was so incredible and to be a real contender I must devote my time and effort to improve myself.
I still felt somewhat empty because I had not yet won my class in a show, even though I had only competed in 5 shows. Then it happened! Two weeks after the Musclemania Atlantic I competed in a NGA (National Gym Association) show in Rhode Island. I took 1st Place in the Novice Class! This was a huge stepping stone for me. I had proved to myself that if I wanted something bad enough I could not roll over and die or give up on myself. Instead, I had to turn up the intensity so that I could go into every contest with my head held high knowing I had given it my all… no matter what place I took. After my first win, things started to fall into place for me. I started to work harder and harder doing better in each contest I entered.
In 2002 I met up with a personal trainer the name of Kevin Topka. Kevin is a top-level amateur bodybuilder in the Musclemania and a Professional in the N.A.B.F. (North American Bodybuilding Federation). Kevin lives about 2-1/2 hours away from me but that does not matter because to become one of the best I must train with the best. Kevin is a generous guy. He helped me change my diet patterns, which have been a major change in my physique. Although I feel I am largely responsible for the changes in my physique, I owe a lot of credit to Kevin for showing me how to use the right tools to accomplish my goals. Becoming a real quality bodybuilder became a reality for me in July of 2002.
I entered the Yankee Classic again in 2002, but this time not in the Junior Class, I entered the Men's Open Tall Class. It was a huge change for me. I knew if I really wanted to step it up, I would have to compete in the Open Class. Things went very well. I placed 2nd in the Men's Open Tall Class and almost took the whole show but I was beat by a shorter, more experienced bodybuilder.
A week later I competed in the N.A.B.F. Junior Nationals which was tough since I had just competed the week before. I placed 4th in the Light Heavy. My placing slightly disappointed me but only fueled the fire for my last contest of the year, the 2002 A.N.B.C. Junior Nationals. I went into the Junior Nationals extremely confident and more ready than I had ever been in my life. I placed 1st in the Open Men Tall Class and again got inched out by a more experienced bodybuilder for the overall title.
In 2003, I again worked with trainer Kevin Topka and we both competed in the 2003 Musclemania Atlantic competition in New Haven, Connecticut. I placed 3rd in the Men's Open Light Heavyweight class. I was pleased with my placing considering the level of competition at the show was incredible!
I run and operate a nutrition supplement store called "Maximum Nutrition Center" and do personal training on the side. As you can see I am surrounded by bodybuilding and would not want it any other way. Bodybuilding has helped me with many important decisions I have had to make it my life. It has taught me that if I want something bad enough I must dedicate myself and work as hard as I can to accomplish my goals. It has helped me land a terrific job that is based around what I lave to do.
As for the future my bodybuilding career goals I would like to become a Musclemania Pro. My next shows include the Musclemania New England held October 11, 2003 in Boston, Massachusetts and the Musclemania World Championships in November in Redondo Beach, California. It is going to be a lot of hard work and dedication and I may not have the best bodybuilding genetics but I have the heart! Not to mention the self-confidence! My willpower has developed a mindset that tells me to go for my dreams and not let anything stand in my way. I look forward to what the future has in store for me because I know bodybuilding will be a huge part of it!
- Tony Page