Monday, July 15, 2019

Meet, Ryan Becht of Louisville Supplement Store

Ryan & Casey Becht - Louisville Supplement Store

I'm sure many of you have heard, by now, that Rob Nieters sold Louisville Supplement Store. In a short amount of time, Rob, together with Travis Schnell, made a very strong impact on the Louisville fitness scene. These efforts were enhanced with the strong support of (past/present) sponsored athletes likes IFBB Pro Sam Adiki (aka The African Lion), IFBB Pro Wayne Williams, NPC athletes like Jorge Felix, Tracy Cates, Nick Tong, Jay Jones, Rhea Wills, and others. Things were on the up and up, the 2018 feud was over, and the contest season was off to a a great start. No one could have anticipated the sale, much less the sponsored athletes. The good news is, Louisville Supplement Store's doors are open, the sponsored athletes have a bright future, and LSS's new owner, Ryan Becht, will continue to help grow the fitness community here in Louisville and throughout the region.

So who is Ryan Becht?

Ryan, like many of us, is someone who discovered fitness and found a great journey in it. For some of us, the fitness journey took us into media, competing, and/or business, just to name a few paths. In Ryan's case, fitness helped change his life. Some six years ago, he stopped drinking, put all his faith in God, and started training seriously. It was while training, at LAC Westport, that he met Casey. They fell in love, got married, and have a great family (with four great kids, ranging in ages from 5-13). He also met two great friends in Mark Krauss and Michael Dubree, both of whom also reclaimed their lives, much like Ryan had. Mark and Michael also showed Ryan how to train.

As time progressed in both Ryan and Casey's training, she'd go on to compete at last year's NPC Kentucky Muscle, taking 2nd in Figure, and becoming nationally-qualified. As a result, the couple are headed to Miami, FL this year, for the 2019 NPC Nationals, where Casey will compete for an IFBB Pro League Pro Card.

When the opportunity of buying Louisville Supplement Store presented itself, Ryan saw a great opportunity to further the very strong network he and Casey had built. In fact, to quote him directly, "this store is a dream of both of ours and developing an awesome team is paramount. We just want to grow a great company and supply jobs and excellent service and products."

I know that Ryan and Casey will do a fantastic job!! Help me, in wishing them, many blessings and good fortune!! Be sure to visit Louisville Supplement Store, today!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Cory Howell's 2 Scoops Radio

First and foremost, I'd like to say how proud I am of Cory Howell for pressing forward with 2 Scoops Radio. It's very difficult breaking from one's comfort zone, breaking with a routine, and moving forward onto new formats and frontiers. For well over a year, Cory and Ty worked very hard to create something very special on the airwaves. Week after week, they put in a great deal of time, energy, and resources into giving thousands of podcast listeners something to look forward to with each, new episode. After a two month hiatus, Cory moved forward, now with his second episode of the new program in the can.

When we met up, we'd discussed the idea of him flying solo (at least for a while), and how successful it would be. I think the LIVE component also provides plenty of great questions, in addition to those submitted pre-recording. In time, however, I'm sure the traditional podcast format will be offered, as well.

I'd say the hardest part is now behind him. That first episode was probably the toughest, because it broke the hiatus, it ended the silence. With a studio in the works and a good 5-6 months left in the season,
2 Scoops Radio will have plenty to talk about and a who's who of guests to pick from. Anyone who's asked to be a part of this awesome program, would jump at the opportunity. I'm also eager to see
2 Scoops Radio become a major force in Kentucky contest coverage, so I'm hoping our promoters DM/email Cory in the near future.

With regards to sponsors, I truly think companies should look at this program as a great way to get the word out about their goods and services to both the local and national fitness community. From supplement stores, to meal prep companies, to sports massage, suit designers, and baked goods!! Advertising is key and if you don't have money to advertise, then impose a pay cut on yourself, and do right by your business. Businesses no one's ever heard of, are bound to go belly up.

2 Scoops Radio never had sponsors, they never got press passes, and they never got paid for their work. Could you imagine working your tail off for over 50 programs and not getting anything back for it? Could you imagine, on top of that, having to spend your money to host podcasts, buy equipment, and travel to contests (even pay for parking!)? I'd say that would take a toll on anyone.

The truth of the matter is, 2SR brings undeniable value to Kentucky's fitness community, creates interest in NPC contests, and could do even more great work, provided they have the right backers. This is all the more reason, that I think the second half of 2019, will be very fruitful for the show, and why I believe Cory will write a new chapter in its history.

All the Best!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Athletes and Promotion

There are athletes who are actively making a name for themselves and there are those who are not. Social media is key, but social media alone won't do the trick. When looking for sponsors to work with, it's very important that you look beyond making a few grand a month, and be sure that you're getting exposure. If you're a Kentucky-based athlete, you must understand that there's a lot more to planet Earth, than Louisville and Lexington.

It always amazes me how few athletes realize their time is limited. Most athletes only have a handful of years to make their mark. Unless you turned pro in your early 20's, time is not on your side. You need to do everything in your power to put yourself on the map. 

I have been working with social media, promotions, and brand development for nearly a decade. I speak on a daily basis to some of the brightest minds in the fitness industry. I like to think I absorb a good bit of that knowledge and one of my biggest goals, is to help athletes I care about; however, as the old saying goes, you can drag a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Sponsors are great, but they have their agenda. As an athlete, you need to have yours as well. If no one knows who you are in TX, CA, NY, and/or South Florida, then YOU need to get on the ball. Kentucky is a great place to live, but it's hardly on the fitness industry map. For most people, KY is hillbilly country, so being a star here, doesn't do much for you in places that dominate the scene. That being said, if you're not even getting the superstar treatment here, then you really have problems. 

Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about; maybe I land all these jobs and maybe my star keeps rising because I have really good hair - or - maybe it's because, I do. I would hate to see a superstar have nothing to show in 2-5yrs. Once you're no longer useful, rest assured, you will get dropped. Businesses are profit-driven; they're not [really] families and they're most certainly not charities. We have some big stars around here, folks like Chauncey, Kevin, Benquil, Myka, Kendall, Jodie and a few others. I hope all of these folks really, truly, make it. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

There's No Comparison!!

You've arrived at the best!! NPC Strong Kentucky is coming up on its first anniversary and it's really stayed the course. Despite some haters, a bad ad account here or there, and even though I've decided to cover less contests in KY, opting for more national ones, the page has blossomed. I can't even begin to say how important the partnerships with our three gym sponsors has been. Powerstation Gym in Middletown, OH, Lift Inc. Gym in Somerset, KY, and The Factory Gym in Louisville, KY, have been instrumental in making this page such a success. 

I am very proud of what's been accomplished and what will continue to be done. We've seen the end of a feud in Louisville, initiating that dialogue, and we're now pushing hard for the return of 2 Scoops Radio. This page is about growth, not drama; when I say I want to expand the NPC, it's not just lip service. 

Thanks to the guidance of my mentor, Gary Udit, and all the hard work I put into this project, I know that come late August, when we really celebrate that first year, it'll be epic. I also plan on bringing you a great meal prep sponsor - a very respected national name - as well as national supplement companies. I'm going to really up this page's game, even more so!

NPC STRONG KENTUCKY - 100% Unofficial, Fan-Based, and ATHLETE-CENTERED!!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Handshakes and Contracts in Modern Bodybuilding

A very famous bodybuilder, who used to wear jumpsuits at expos, and who's very, very strong, once told me he had a contract with a giant supplement company all based on a handshake. For years, the checks always came in, he worked his butt off, and everyone was happy. Then all of a sudden, things started to change, maybe the company sold, and that contract they had was no more (at least that's what he thought). He could have sued, but didn't. I'm an attorney and there have been a great many times, I've salivated at the thought of suing a company (or two). A first year, no a first semester, law school student could unleash a lawsuit on a contract breacher that would make their head spin, but is it worth it? That's what it really amounts to. The cases I've contemplated would cost me more time and effort than they're worth, but what about my friend, whose entire family depended on that money? If the sponsorship is your livelihood, then the stakes are way higher.

Years ago, a person's word was everything. If a man agreed to terms, it was done. It was cast in stone. If a man told you he'd pay, he'd do whatever it took to live up to his promise. It wasn't just about doing the right thing, entirely, it was also about honor, his own personal honor. Those values have been severely eroded today, but there's still people who do business this way. I'm one of them. If you give me your word, that's good enough for me.

That being said, every email, every text message, and every voicemail that manifests the parties' mutual assent, of an offer and acceptance, provided there's adequate consideration, results in a fully binding and enforceable contract. You don't need a formal writing; sometimes, even a napkin with some scribbling on it, is all it takes.

With regards to sponsorships - it's on you. If you're talking about trivial amounts of money, then a handshake might suffice, but you're taking a chance. If it's your mortgage, car note, and/or the sole means for your financial survival, a contract might be the better choice.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Factory Signs The Shredder!!

Big News!! Chauncey "The Shredder" Wilson, your 2019 NPC Kentucky Derby Festival, Classic Physique, Overall Champion, has been signed by The Factory Gym. Chauncey has been all over the news as of late, doing an interview with StrengthAddicts, getting signed by Louisville Supplement Store / Blueprint Supplements, and now inking with the most hardcore gym in the land. Wilson is also sponsored by Zilla Meals, who sponsors NPC Strong Kentucky!

The Shredder, who is prepped by IFBB Pro Jason Theobald, is destined for greatness and I predict will earn his IFBB Pro League Pro Card in 2019. For years, The Shredder has been a major draw in Kentuckyana bodybuilding, from appearing on podcasts, inspiring countless, and being the face of major NPC contests. When a promoter picks a bodybuilder to be the focus of a contest poster, that's when an athlete knows, he/she has hit the big time!

There's no telling what the future holds for this awesome athlete. I know one thing's for sure, signing with The Factory Gym was a great move! Chauncey will be backed by a gym who will do everything to push him into the spotlight, and I know he will also work very hard to promote the gym in and outside Kentucky. 

2 Scoops Radio, NEEDS To Continue

As I'm sure most of you have heard by now, it seems that Louisville's 2 Scoops Radio podcast has come to an end - or at the very least, an indefinite hiatus. The program, which aired weekly, was hosted by Cory Howell and IFBB Pro Ty Robinson, and featured new and established competitors, as well as fitness stars. The program was received very well by the bodybuilding community and also had a close connection to Next Level Sports Nutrition. The collaboration saw them work together often (e.g. the 2018 NPC Kentucky Open, posing clinics, charitable events). As I'm sure everyone knows by now, Ty and Next Level parted ways some time ago. The details of the split are no one's business, but theirs; however, I had a hunch that when said split took place, the program's days were numbered.

When folks change jobs, schedules change, and sometimes outlooks can change as well. I've been there before - both on the employer and employee side - and it's all about regrouping, never skipping a beat, and continuously raising the bar. Unfortunately, the regrouping process doesn't always work well for projects and/or secondary interests. The fitness industry is perhaps the toughest place to make a buck and land on your feet after a career change. I have faith that once things settle, 2 Scoops will carry on - at least that's the hope.

Kentucky needs all the press it can get!!

I've been wanting to do a podcast for a long time. Initially, I was sold on the idea of having a podcast where I had a co-host, a solid backer who'd buy all the equipment and build us a studio, and pay me per show. I share these details with you, because they're part of MY STORY. When my co-host bailed (not his fault, not mine), the backer bolted, and I was left with a great name/url "Bluegrass Bodybuilding" and no direction. That podcast was supposed to LAUNCH in January and here we are in MAY and still no podcast. My friend PJ told me, just this morning, that I should just do it already and I probably will, but I shared this example to illustrate, just how much changed circumstances can alter everything. I will get the podcast out, because I'm Christian Duque, and I don't need anyone or anything to be successful, but it just might take a little longer. 

Here's the deal, 2 Scoops Radio went the distance, for a very long time. In podcast-time, anything double digits, is huge. These guys went at it for a straight-up year and they were getting sandbagged for a big part of that time. I won't say by who, but the fact they couldn't cover contests was/is utter bullshit. They were never in bad standing and they could have always have gotten a press pass. It's simple, you send an email to the NPC National office and they do the rest. Any promoter who listened to anyone but Rick, should have known better. 

Moreover, on what could very well have been their last episode, Cory shared some of the reasons he didn't cover the Derby (e.g. the grueling process of getting media credentials [which it's not], paying for tickets, and paying for parking). That made my blood boil! Had it not been for RD Caldwell Jr. and several other friends of mine in the industry, I too, would still be paying for everything to add value to promoters' contests.

Media does not pay for tickets. Media ADDS VALUE to contests. The more BUZZ a contest has, the easier it is for a promoter to  sell more booths, sell more tickets, and get more Competitors to enter in the future.

I remember last year, when the 2 Scoops guys thought they could cover the Tricky and when they were told they couldn't; they actually had to relay the news to their audience, just days before the contest, on one of their episodes. That's a humiliation they should NEVER have had to endure. That being said, I can't be a hypocrite. At the time, I was a part of that STUPID supp shop feuding, buying into without questioning, and even asking for seconds. Now, looking back, I'm disgusted and anyone who tries to pull that crap again, I'll take on - and I'll win. That crap is over. That feud is pretty much dead and both sides are open to dialogue and dialogue will happen, when the time is right.

Cory and Ty went through a lot, but I strongly hope they'll meet and talk. I have already pledged to help in any way I can. I made the pledge privately to Cory, but I make it publicly from here as well. Private pledges mean little. I want the world to know, I'm here for you guys, just let me know. I also implore everyone reading this to Inbox and DM these guys and let them know you want the show to to continue. If weekly is too much of a pain the ass, then do 1 monthly podcast. If you can't both get to the studio, record it remotely. I've been a guest on a million podcasts where all I do is call in. Ideally, you want both hosts in the same studio, but beggars can't be choosers. Wherever you tape it, we'll listen - myself included. I'm a 2 Scoops Radio, FAN!

One last thing, 2 Scoops Radio IS Cory & Ty. I commend Cory for calling it quits - or going on hiatus - as opposed to finding a replacement for Ty. I don't think that would've been the right move. That being said, I'd like to see the Gains Train hit many more stations in the future. It's my hope that the show carry on. Try to talk fellas, don't stop now. 

All The Best, 
Your Friend,

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

CBD Protein Comes to Louisville Supplement Store

If you're stressed out - all the time - like I am, then this is music to your ears. Blueprint's Rob Nieters first tried CBD just nine months ago and in a short time, has invested a great deal of time and resources into having one of the widest selections of quality CBD products on the market. Louisville Supplement Store offers everything, imaginable, from vapes to lotions to now, protein powders!!

LSS has two great protein products, now available, a 3,350mg Cbd whey in 3 flavors
and a 1,675mg Cbd whey in 2 flavors.

I don't know about you, but 1-2 scoops of either, would not only feed hungry muscles, but would make one heck of a great meal before bed. Maybe include a tablespoon of peanut butter or some oats, depending on where you are with your macros, but you could have DEEP, RESTFUL SLEEP AND GROW!! Sounds pretty damn good to me!!

Be sure to head over to Louisville Supplement Store at 9407 Westport Rd Ste. 123, in Louisville, KY, today!! I have a feeling you're going to love it there!!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Next Level Sports Nutrition, Title Sponsors, 2019 NPC Kentucky Open

First and foremost, let me just say how happy I am to report this piece of news. Next Level Sports Nutrition is now, the official title sponsor of the upcoming, 2019 NPC Kentucky Open and Kentucky State! This is literally a match made in heaven, and here's why.

Gene and Tina Goode are shining examples of how contest promoters in the NPC should operate. They go the distance to ensure the highest level of customer service, from their family of staff, their iconic stage, and their constant giving back to the fitness community. You can see Gene and/or Tina at NPC seminars, posing clinics, in-stores and community events all throughout the state. They also go to many of the big shows, out-of-state, like the NPC Teen, Collegiate, Masters Nationals, the North American Championships, and others. They're two of the hardest working promoters in the business and they've really been through quite a lot the last two years, from losing their beloved venue in Frankfort, making a costly move to Owensboro, and now settling in their new home venue in Lexington.

Speaking of hard work, Sean and Amy of NLSN are two incredibly hardworking business owners in the fitness industry. After successfully owning and operating multiple stores in Louisville, they've expanded to Lexington. They also have an undeniable track record of creating opportunities for countless Kentucky athletes, both at the amateur and professional levels. The 502 Wrecking Crew put  many athletes on the map and gave them their big break. In addition to everything I've stated here, I also have great respect for both Sean and Amy, for giving IFBB Pro Kevin Johnson a real chance. Of all the athletes they signed, this one particular signing cost them a lot of headaches, blowback, and drama, but they put 100% of their efforts behind him and never looked back. That's the kind of heart you just gotta respect.

Kevin Johnson has a real future - he could very well be one of the few bodybuilders of his day, to make an indelible impact on the sport. He's not only a gifted poser, but one look at what 2x Women's Phyisque Champion Sarah Barnett accomplished over the last month at the Europa Orlando and the Kentucky Derby Festival Championships, and it becomes crystal clear, you're dealing with a very talented athlete. 

In closing, I hope you're all very excited about the coming contest. I have a feeling the Kentucky Open is gonna take it to the - NEXT LEVEL - in LEXINGTON :) 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sarah Barnett Repeats at the NPC Kentucky Derby

Contest prep guru, Tyler Bedson, hit the nail on the head when he spoke about Sarah Barnett's will to win. "Her consistency and desire to win shows, grows more and more, with each passing day." Bedson has coached Barnett to another Overall Win in Women's Physique, this time at the NPC Kentucky Derby Festival Championships. Before that, Bedson coached Barnett to a big victory at the Europa Orlando, some 800 miles away, in Florida. The Bedson/Barnett collaboration is unstoppable, as eyes on the national scene are now fixated on the Next Level Sports Nutrition athlete. Her road to pro is clear-cut and undeniable. Now it's time to push her on all fronts, with an aggressive marketing campaign, the likes of which the 502 Wrecking Crew is famous for.

That being said, a big part of the credit is owed to IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Kevin Johnson, who created Sarah's very moving posing routine. The song selection was perfect and Sarah presented a routine hugely artistic and perfectly executed - it told a story better than words ever could. Kevin is an absolute genius, but beyond that, he's a true artist. I watched the 40 second clip, no less than 15x straight, over and over and over again; it was really emotional. I honestly loved it and simply can't say enough about it. 

Kevin Johnson is the greatest poser and posing coach in Kentucky. 

Other folks who brought fantastic physiques, and who we will be looking to do interviews with at The Factory and Lift Inc, included  Tiffany Davis (a novice competitor that cleaned house!!), Rachel Jensen (who won Class F, Open Bikini), Total INSANITY between The Shredder - Chauncey Wilson and Cody Nolen, and a big win by MPD Competitor Tracy Cates, and others!

Unfortunately, and as suspected, there was zero media coverage at this event. We won't dwell on this embarrassing note, but will say that good customer service, demands that one of Kentucky's largest contests, invest in having press for the competitors.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Sarah Barnett - A Name to Watch at the NPC Kentucky Derby Festival

Next Level Sport Nutrition's Sarah Barnett's big win at the Europa Orlando made headlines, with people all throughout Kentucky cheering her on. Backed by her well-respected and sought-after guru, Tyler Bedson, this looks to be a very promising year.

Although many competitors in Kentucky won't drive more than an hour away for an NPC seminar, let alone to compete, Barnett scored a huge win at a contest over 800 miles away!! She got on a stage where no one knew her, with competitors she'd never met, and she dominated!!

When I asked Sarah about her stellar placing in Orlando, here's what the champ had to say:

"Winning the Europa Orlando was a really cool experience. It allowed me to see all of my hard work come to fruition. But I know that the work is not done as we enter in to the last week leading up to the Ky Derby show. This is a tough show, and I know the competition will be stacked. I have no idea who I will be up against, but I know it will be a tough battle regardless."

One of the things I really like about Sarah, is her mindset going into this contest tomorrow. Most people might have a big head after winning a show like the Europa Orlando, but not Sarah. She recognizes she's up against great athletes, she knows what she brings to the table, and she's ready to fight for the win! This contest is also closer to her heart, as this is where she's from, where she lives, but to be sure, I wanted her to share, directly.

"Competing in KY is important to me because it allows those that have supported me throughout this journey the opportunity to come and watch and see what show day is all about. There are quite a few people that don’t know too much about the sport that have been very supportive, so I am happy that they will be able to come and experience the day for themselves. While I enjoyed competing out of state, I also like to make sure I am supporting the events in my home state as well."

I am, personally, hoping for a repeat, and let me tell you, if that happens, Sarah will be on her way to earning a Pro Card in 2019. The Florida win, alone, puts her in position, but repeating in Louisville, that would create a literal industry wave that she could ride to the Pro Qualifier of her choice! I couldn't put the finishing touches on this article, without the words of the great Tyler Bedson. In fact, I'll close with them.

 "Sarah has a high quality work ethic. Her consistency and desire to win shows, grows more and more, with each passing day. Together we’ve been able to effectively communicate and overcome any challenge presented to us!" - Tyler Bedson

Thursday, April 25, 2019

NPCStrongKentucky Welcomes Powerstation Gym

After our wildly successful seminar featuring our NPC Mid Atlantic Zone Chairman, Gary Udit, in Newport, I have been eager to create a stronger presence in Northern Kentucky, as well as a foothold in southern Ohio. The goal is to create an unofficial, athlete-centered force, zealously loyal to the NPC, that will help grow the sport and push forward with Gary's commitment to customer service - always putting the competitors first. 

I have been extremely fortunate to find someone I trust and who I believe in 100% in the area, in Jason Theobald. In addition to my friend William Gage Miller, who's done a great deal and who I will continue to rely upon, Jason will also play a very key role. We started talking right around the seminar and have spoken at great length over the last two weeks, further defining what it is we'd like to accomplish. Jason is a driving force in the sport. He's a pro athlete, WIDELY respected and sought-after guru, co-owner of an amazing supplement company and a true believer in growing the NPC. 

The addition of Powerstation Gym is absolutely huge!! It's a facility with a Mecca-like vibe, with tons of amazing equipment, and very big names that train there. It's also strategically located, just around 50 minutes from Cincinnati/Covington, 35 minutes to Dayton, and about 80 minutes to Columbus. This is precisely the kind of foothold we wanted in Ohio, with an undeniable reach into Northern Kentucky. We really hit a home run here!!

There's a lot being discussed and planned. For now, I'd like to thank and commend my friend Jason Theobald, welcome Powerstation Gym, and wish you all, the very best!!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Where's the Media?

Imagine you're a competitor and you're getting ready for a contest, maybe it's the biggest in your state, and you've really invested a lot into it. You've hired a coach, you've altered your eating, you've purchased suits, accessories, taken time off work, booked a hotel room and paid entry fees. Nothing is going to stop you. You have, what's often loosely referred to as, tunnel vision. You're a man/woman on a mission. 

You get to the contest and look your best. You're on time for check-ins. You've got your number, your info packet, you get a great night's sleep. You're on time for tanning, you're early for the athlete's meeting, you really walk away feeling confident. You take the stage at prejudging, nailing those mandatories, holding your peak, looking very sharp, standing tall, confident. Life is good. 

You don't get lost, afterwards. You eat a sensible meal. You're back, early, for the night show. You win your class! You win the overall! You want to tell the world about your journey, about how you conquered your demons, overcame all the obstacles; you want to thank all those who helped you, you want to announce your next show, thank your coach, send love to your family, but wait... there's no media, there's no one to ask you how you did it, no articles will be written about you, no videos will be blasted all over social media. I guess you could ask your friend to point your phone at you, provided you have a friend. Maybe you just prop your phone against someone's rubber dumbbell and give a speech. Maybe you just hold your phone in your hand, trying to gather your thoughts for a 15 second story or a 60 second post. That'll be the extent of your media coverage.

Promoters who truly care about customer service, should strive to have media. Sometimes there's no media around - that does happen - but where there is, they should at least try.

Great media brings a promoter great value. Solid media means the show will gain popularity and a good promoter can easily market that popularity to sell more booths, get more competitors to enter, and sell more tickets.

Great media also makes for very happy competitors.

Sadly, some contests are more about the promoters, than they are about the competitors. This is why so many contests don't have press, don't have guest posers, and charge competitors, their trainers, and their families for absolutely everything. Customer service hasn't just taken a backseat, it's been thrown in the trunk.