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.

STRONGMAN: Nick Cambi places fourth in the Arnold World StrongMan Competition

Master of the "Donkey Kick Circus Dumbell." 

Very little needs to be said other than congratulations and holy crap.  After years of dedicated hard work, Next Level alumni Nick Cambi (Wolfpack) places fourth among heavyweight competitors at the 2015 Arnold Sports Festival's World Strongman competition.

One of the most prestigious names in physique & strength sports competition, we are doubly proud and impressed because Nick accomplished this feat without the use of drug assistance.  He represents what staying the course and committing with passion can bring to a person.

One of the things we love the most about Nick is his sense of humor, which always prevents him from getting too mired and bogged down while he forges ahead.  And the video he compiled of his competitive highlights shows that love of laughing right alongside his love of lifting achievement.

Congratulations, Nick.  We're so glad "we knew ya when."  And were excited to see where you head next!

STRONGMAN: Congrats to Next Level Alumni competing in the StrongMan Nationals tomorrow!

We often remark: "the best results will not come for athletes while on a Next Level team, but afterward." While so many of our alumni athletes embody this look-to-what's-possible-next philosophy, some really shine in their accomplishments.

And this year we are wishing best of luck and godspeed to three such high-achievers who we're humbly flattered to have been connected with "way back when." Seems our alumni will be competing on the national stage at the StrongMan Nationals tomorrow (as of the time of this post).

Gina Melnik (The Drive(n), 2008), Ryan Aruck (The Beast, 2011), and Nick Cambi (Wolfpack, 2012) are all out in Reno, Nevada and prepping for their big day tomorrow.

Guys, the ranks of The Next Level — indeed, of the whole PhysiQulture Collaborative — are ecstatic for you! Just being there is an accomplishment in different ways for each of you (even though you perpetually make it seem easy!). We're humbled, honored and flattered to have been on any part of your remarkable paths!

Now go tear shit up! We're looking forward to hearing the highlights!

(Oh, and equal congrats and luck sent to some of our closer allies who will be there as well! (We're looking at you, Gina and Dawn, as well as a handful of other friends!) We know you'll smash it up!!!)


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


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 side-by-side 

Ali in the Men's Open Class C


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



Ali in the Overall Free Posing

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


IMAGE: Will's bodybuilding gains him his first foray into modeling

The network of The Next Level and the PhysiQulture Collaborative has helped many athletes bring their physique work to the world of modeling.  Recently, bodybuilder and strongman Will Pirelli (The Beast, Spring '12) had his first chance to work as a model for Dazed, a hip, urban style website based out of New York.  

His job?  Modeling a gigantic utility bag.  The concept was to show that this bag is good for anyone – even a muscle dude who wants to tote a chick!  (Yes, he is literally holding a woman up with one arm in this shoot!)

You can see his work here.

Great work Will!  We're sure more is to come!

STRONGMAN: Next Level Alumni destroy Mass State StrongMan

Ryan Aruck and Stephen Cyr (from The Beast, 2011) along with Nick Cambi and Corey Bruckler (from Wolfpack, 2012) all entered the NAS Mass State StrongMan at Total Performance Sports in Everett. 

The guys are in great spirits and are in good standings. Updates coming after the last event. 

Ryan and Steve work on their tans. 

Ryan and Steve work on their tans. 

Large mammals were spotted. 

Large mammals were spotted. 

The face of intensity. 

The face of intensity. 

Steve tells the new guys where they can go to get muscles. 

Steve tells the new guys where they can go to get muscles. 

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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BODYBUILDER/STRONGMAN Phil Biondo In Television Commercial

While Phil Biondo (The Beast, Advancement) has moved on from the ranks of the Next Level, he nonetheless remains in close contact and consultation with the program via The PhysiQulture Collaborative network.  Yet at the twilight of his long tenure with the Next Level he nailed one last accomplishment: staring as "Unnamed Jock Buddy #1" in a local Vermont public service television commercial.

The commercial was for drunk driving, and airs frequently on local Vermont cable channels.  While his acting and modeling are now an adjunct to his passion for bodybuilding, his love of performance in bodybuilding helped him logically transition to this start in acting.  

Plus, he plays the "bad influence" friend.  Which is always cool.

Bodybuilder Markus Ricci on Two Magazine Covers For Feb 2014

The Cover of DNA Magazine, February 2014

Next Level alumnus Markus Ricci is a bodybuilder first.  But he is also a model.  

The ranks of bodybuilding are filled with starstruck, hopeful young men who think they will someday be "discovered" and put in magazines.  The sad truth is only a small percentage ever are.  Muscular guys with terrific bodies are dime a dozen in the modeling world, and not a few dreams are quickly squelched when the reality of the file settles in.

Yet Markus has drive and talent beyond the average bodybuilder – not to mention some mind-boggling genetics on his side.  He has parlayed his love of bodybuilding to a successful modeling carer.

This past February 2014 Markus landed himself on the cover of two national magazines.  The cover is really the highest magazine achievement, and it looks like Markus's lot of bodybuilding has helps him pave his way to grab accomplishments off the stage.

Nice work, Markus.

From Markus' photo shoot in the February 2014 DNA MAgazine.

The cover of Wire Magazine, February 2014.

The cover of Wire Magazine, February 2014.

Adam Roc Rose Models For First Book Cover

The book jacket for "Finally Home."

Some bodybuilders just have "it."  Other bodybuilders work their asses off for "it."  

Working is what Next Level alumni Adam Roc Rose (United, 2010 and Shadow, 2011) has been doing for the past 2 years.  Adam has parlayed his excellent bodybuilding work to modeling, and has recently hit a new milestone in his efforts: his first book cover.  

Adam's philosophy is to keep his range wide, his sense of humor sharp and crate opportunity for himself through hard work.  And that is what has landed him the work.

Being a bodybuilder, it should come as no surprise that it is the cover of a romance novel.  The book, "Finally Home" by Ann Vaughn, was released in early March 2014. 

STRONGMAN: 2014 North Carolina StrongMan


Huge congratulations to Next Level alumni Nick Cambi, the "Large Mammal," (alumni from Wolfpack) for his win at the 2014 North Carolina StrongMan on February 15.  

Nick came in first place in the Men's Under 231 lb. class, his second win in a statewide event (Massachusetts being his first first). 

Nick compiled his usual highlight reel.