ACHIEVERS

A blog featuring the competitive achievements of athletes from the Next Level and the PhysiQademy. It's our alumni, coaches and resource partners putting hteir experiences with our program into action and performing at their best.

BODYBUILDING: Alireza Rouhani earns Pro Card; Coach XN returns to competition!

2014 OCB YANKEE CLASSIC BODYBUILDING COMPETITION
JULY 19, 2014 • NEWBURYPORT, MA

Proud coach.  Thrilled athlete.  Big-ass sword.  It was a day of remarkable effort all around.

"I can't tell you if you have a shot at winning because we don't know your odds until you get to the contest," Coach Christian Matyi, aka "XN," told Ali days before the 2014 OCB Yankee Classic Bodybuilding Competition.  "But I can say this: your body is of the quality that wins shows.  You are going in with at least that caliber."

The words, while avoiding predictive claims, nonetheless held a nugget of prognostication because Alireza not only won the Overall Prize in the event but also earned his Pro Card for the IFPA, entitling him to compete as a professional bodybuilder.

Both Ali (Atlas, Spring '14) and his coach XN competed in the competition.  And not only that: in the same class.  The class' official name was "Class C," which is essentially the same as saying "Men's Tall."

This was only Ali's second contest, which show how dedicated to his craft he was this past 8 months.  While he is planning on competing again in the near future, he will probably wait a little while before turning pro in order to get more practice under his belt.  Pro card or not, he is still new to the game, and few advantages secure success like a bank of experience.  

 It was not an easy walk to the end.  While bodybuilding symbolizes great power, it was an inner strength that was required this day to maintain a positive focus on what can be learned rather than just on what can be conquered.

It was not an easy walk to the end.  While bodybuilding symbolizes great power, it was an inner strength that was required this day to maintain a positive focus on what can be learned rather than just on what can be conquered.

The thrill and pride for Ali was through the roof.  He is one of the few Iranian men to turn pro in the IFPA, which is a huge boon for the bodybuilder.  His country's pros tend to be primarily non-drug-tested champions, so being one of the few from his homeland with a drug-free distinction is a particular point of extra pride!

Meanwhile, Coach XN is back after over two years of hiatus.  He lost his father, Philip John Matyi to Pancreatic Cancer in 2013, and had taken time away during the illness and after the passing to mourn.  But coach XN often remarks: "I came to learn what to give me, but I stay to learn what to give them," so while he was a far cry from his "best," he nonetheless held his own.  In the end XN was awarded the prize he typically most seeks anyway: the Best Poser prize, for a routine that is posted below,


ALI  & XN IN THE MEN'S OPEN CLASS "C"

Ali & XN side-by-side 

Ali in the Men's Open Class C

XN IN THE MEN'S OPEN CLASS "C"


Christian Matyi, aka, "XN"'s Posing Routine


ALI WINS THE MEN'S OPEN CLASS "C"


ALI COMPETES IN THE OVERALL FINAL ROUND


Ali in the Overall Free Posing


Ali Wins the Overall Prize and is awarded his pro card!


THE POWER OF TEAM

BODYBUILDING: Ali from Atlas wins at his first bodybuilding contest

While Chris McGann was the first athlete from Atlas to compete in the recent Hudson Valley StrongMan, it was Alireza Rouhani who was their first bodybuilding competitor.  He entered two classes at this year's OCB Spirit Of America; Men's Novice Tall and Men's Open Tall.

Ali's passion for bodybuilding began in his him city of Tehran (yes, as in Iran), so he thought it would b only fitting to thus choose the "Spirit of America" for his debut in the sport.  (Ali possesses a charming self-effacing humor that even plays through the bilingual.) 

Ali is a monstrous competitor, entering the show around 210 lbs. at a shredded 6'0".  His is a body who's shape represents what a lifetime of dedication to drug free strength sports can achieve.  

We were excited to see Ali win the Novice Tall class and come in a solid third place in the Men's Open Class.  This is a grab achievement for any first-timer, and we're excited top see where Ali takes his learning in the next few months as his competitive season continues.


ALI IN THE NOVICE MEN'S TALL CLASS

NOVICE MEN'S TALL AWARDS

 
 

ALI IN THE MEN'S NOVICE OVERALL ROUND


ALI IN THE MEN'S OPEN TALL CLASS

MEN'S OPEN TALL CLASS AWARDS

 
 

ALI'S ROUTINE

BODYBUILDING PRO Jesse Wilson earns ANOTHER pro card

After being with him at his second pro-card win ink it is impossible to express the profundity of gratitude our program has for Jesse's continued participation, support and motivation of our athletes.  We would not be who we are were we not blessed to have this remarkable man among our midst.  

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BODYBUILDING: 2013 OCB Yankee Classic

Each year the "big summertime contest" for New England natural physique athletes is the OCB Yankee Classic.  The Next Level has brought competitors to this event frequently over the past ten years, with quite a few success stories.

This year we had four competitors in the event, three Next Level Team alumni and one PhysiQademy 103 level competitor:

The highlight of the day was seeing Stephen Cyr and Phil Biondo compete head-to-head for the overall Novice Class champion.  This would have been thrilling regardless – to have teammates competing for the top prize together – but there was a back story which makes it more compelling. A year ago, at the 2012 Yankee Classic, Stephen and Phil vowed to both win their respective Novice classes to get a chance to compete against one another in an overall title.   Obviously, they achieved their goal!  Once again, working together proves to be a better solution than isolation, which is why it remains such a stalwart foundation of The Next Level's coaching principles.

As a side note, Head Coach XN was invited to be the emcee for the awards and routine presentations.   

It was a profoundly proud day for everyone involved, and a great reinvigoration for the program moving forward into the Fall of '13. 

PHIL BIONDO • NOVICE "CLASS A"

STEPHEN CYR • NOVICE "CLASS B"

PHIL BIONDO • OPEN CLASS

STEPHEN CYR & PETER MUNOZ-BENNETT • OPEN CLASS

POSING ROUTINES & STAGE WALKS

STEPHEN CYR • POSING ROUTINE

HOLLY LINDGREN • STAGE WALK

PHILIP BIONDO • POSING ROUTINE

PETER MUNOZ-BENNETT • POSING ROUTINE

PHIL BIONDO versus STEPHEN CYR • NOVICE OVERALL

Steve-O and Phil both vowed at the 2012 OCB Yankee Classic to return in 2013 and both win their Novice Classes for a chance to go head to head for the Novice Overall.  By working together they made their dream come true.  

VICTORIOUS!