Issue #25


by Juan Carlos Lopez

20 Questions with CBBF Figure and Cover Model Roxana Kreklo

Video Interview with CBBF Figure and Cover Model Roxana Kreklo

My Story
by Jean Jitomir

Interview with IFBB Figure Pro Monica Brant

Video Interview with IFBB Figure Pro Kristi Tauti

Roxana Kreklo, Leigh Millican, Hylan Bishop, Lyris Capelle and Kristal Richardson

High Tech Physique Enhancement Clinical Changes on a Contest Diet
by Jean Jitomir

Video Interview with NPC Figure Hylan Bishop

Save Fitness
by Tanji Johnson

Ask Misty
by Misty Green

Video Interview with NPC Figure Leigh Millican

ABC's Wife Swap Features NPC Figure Competitor
by Melissa Johnson

The Road to My First Figure Competition
by Kali Knapp


Save Fitness by Tanji Johnson

I have been competing for 10 years now and have become very passionate about every aspect of the fitness world.  I travel to almost every national show keeping up with what’s new and ever changing.  I am an NPC promoter and judge as well as a Top IFBB Fitness Pro and Figure & Figure Coach.  In addition to competing on the professional level, I am a huge fan and promoter of the sport.  I get asked numerous industry questions and want to be able to discuss all of them!  I will be chiming in monthly to discuss various topics. This month’s topic reflects the rise and fall of IFBB/NPC Fitness.

 The dedicated Fitness athletes of the NPC and IFBB are highly respected and continue to receive amazing support from the fans of our industry. It is always exciting to watch high caliber fitness routines, especially when one understands the discipline and dedication required to achieve such an elite level of athleticism and physique development. It is this unique combination of beauty and showmanship that leads many fans to continue to dub Fitness the most entertaining division of the bodybuilding industry.

Several years ago when Figure became a division in the NPC/IFBB, I did not anticipate the impact it would have on the then-flourishing Fitness division.  Today it is obvious that the number of fitness competitors on both the local and national levels is dwindling.  Competing on stage in the Fitness division is not for everyone.  It requires an extraordinary investment of self in order to train to proficiency in the required disciplines.  The perceived risk of injury, competing and training costs, and the challenging gymnastics, dance, or performance routines may also prevent many women from pursuing an inclination to compete.

Save Fitness!

On 10-11 November, I attended the 2006 Fitness Nationals in Miami.  I was disappointed to see only 32 competitors in the Fitness division; 8 in the short class, 14 in the Medium class and 10 in the Tall class. In addition, while I was very impressed with the Top 5 competitors in both men’s and women’s bodybuilding (all of  whom were dialed in with great muscularity and shape) there were only a handful of Fitness competitors who displayed what I would call the “total package”.  Some were not in adequate condition, while others needed more muscle maturity and posing practice.  There were some routines that were solid but many needed more flow and solid execution of the mandatory moves.  I do not say this to discourage the “new blood” from competing.  Rather, I consider it to be very positive that there are new competitors working hard to get to the next level.  What it does mean, however, is that we do not have enough athletes competing at the local level “ducking it out” for national qualification status, meaning that almost everyone who competes in fitness at the local level can qualify to compete in the nationals. This does tend to diminish the level of competition at the national level.    In addition, several of the top veteran amateur competitors have removed themselves from competition every year. Notably, several Top 5 finishers from the 2006 Team Universe were absent at this year’s nationals.

This begs the question of why Fitness is suffering, as well as what can be done to remedy the situation.  Anything worth achieving takes time, dedication, perseverance, and character. Competing in Fitness is hard work, but the results are worth it!  When training for an elite level it can take a toll on the body, require incredible time management skills to fit in all the training, and motivation and money to continue competing year after year. However, this level of commitment is not unprecedented in our industry.  While I have noticed impatience among Figure competitors to get their pro card as quickly as possible, both male and female Bodybuilders often train and compete for 4-5 to earn their pro cards.  I would like to see more athletes encouraged to compete to achieve their own personal best in addition to the quest for the pro card. When they’re not so burnt out on trying to turn Pro, they may actually become better athletes who can stick around longer and enjoy all the other positive aspects of competing. In my experience, focus on personal achievement (in addition to placing) while remembering your true passion for competing can lead to fun and fulfillment in the Fitness industry. 

In order to help answer the needs of competitors and would-be competitors everywhere, I have launched a campaign called SAVE FITNESS to promote and initiate recruitment of new fitness athletes.  One of the most positive aspects for women considering a future in Fitness is that the chances of earning a Pro card in Fitness is very  high compared to those in the glutted Figure division.  I have met many women who are interested in competing in Fitness who just need some encouragement and formal training. SAVE FITNESS will be about networking and support so that every aspiring Fitness competitor can be on stage within a year, living out their dreams and achieving their goals.  One focus will be on recruiting more junior competitors whose bodies will be ready to endure several years of competing without the responsibilities of family, etc.  Carla Sanchez has done a great job with this group with her show, The Fitness Fiesta! There are plenty of women out there with the talent and background for fitness.  For the sake of our division, I am asking other Fitness Pro’s, Show Promoters, and Federation executives to join me in continuing to find ways to recruit and train these future starlets!

I and other IFBB Fitness Pros, will be having SAVE FITNESS clinics throughout the country to help train and teach new competitors how to compete in fitness and what it will take to prepare.  Please check out  www.savefitness.com  for more information on how to get involved with the campaign or how to get help if you are looking to compete.  Networking is a big part of competing. It’s important to network for resources, opportunities and friends.

Please email me your questions and concerns and topics of interest so that I can address them in future columns.

Yours truly,
Tanji Johnson
2006 Europa Pro Fitness Champion
2006 All Star Pro Fitness Champion
2005 Emerald Cup Pro Fitness Champion
2001 NPC National Fitness Champion

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About the Author...

Tanji Johnson is one of the top level IFBB Pro Fitness competitors in the world. Tanji lives in the Seattle area where she is famous for her amazing posing seminars and also excellent DVD for posing.


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