Fitness enthusiasts compete for title, prestige

Cayla Maurer, Verge Editor

Months of training, dieting, countless hours in the gym and numerous hours of food preparation come down to one night to win the title of Mr. EIU, Ms. Physique or Ms. Fitness.

The 2015 Mr. EIU, Ms. Physique and Ms. Fitness bodybuilding competition is at 7 p.m. Saturday in McAfee Gymnasium.

The Mr. EIU competitors are Joseph Thompson, Alex Wood, Justin Koeckritz, Joshua Hopkins, Cody Sanders, Kenneth Ballom, Taylor Bradley, Alex Westerman, Anthony Day, Cole Younger, James Mariani, Jared Buscher and Kyle Boewe.

The Mr. EIU competition is broken down into five weight divisions: bantam, lightweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight.

The men will be separated into a specific weight class after the last weigh-in Friday.

A winner will be chosen from each division and those five will face off against each other in a pose down for the title of Mr. EIU.

Anthony Day, a senior kinesiology and sports studies major, is competing in the Mr. EIU competition for the first time. Day is the oldest competitor at the age of 25.

“I always wanted to compete, I just felt like I didn’t have the time for preparation to complete what I needed to get done,” Day said.

Day decided he would compete by August 2014 and started prepping in December.

One of Day’s main reasons for competing is to prove people wrong who said he couldn’t do it.

“Nobody believed me, so it was to show them that I could do this if I set my mind to it,” Day said. “There are definitely a lot of haters out there so I just wanted to silence them.”

Day’s favorite thing about preparing for the competition is that he finally got abs.

“When they came in about four weeks out, it was like Christmas day,” Day said.

This is the fifth year of the Ms. Physique competition.

The Ms. Physique competitors are: Amanda White, Sabrina Wallrich, Kristin Stine, Morgan McDermott, Alexandra Stringini and Kaitlyn Corzine.

Alexandra Stringini, a junior kinesiology and sports studies major, is competing in the Ms. Physique competition for the first time.

Stringini is a member of Eastern’s ROTC program that has physical training at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday.

That training is extra to her prep for Ms. Physique. In total, she trains about four hours a day right now.

“The Army wants us trained for endurance and being in the best physical shape possible for readiness for what our job entails,” Stringini said. “My show training is to look the best I can so it’s very different.”

Even though Stringini is very competitive, she attributes her inspiration to her father who passed away in August 2014.

“He said why don’t you body build. You have the perfect build for it; I think you would go really far,” Stringini said. “He believed in me.”

For Stringini, one of the most difficult aspects of preparing for this competition is food and meal preparation.

“I can’t just stop in somewhere and get something to eat because it doesn’t work that way,” Stringini said. “I have to go home and eat or prep my meals for the week on Sunday or Monday.”

Stringini eats six to seven meals a day every two hours.

The Ms. Fitness competitors are Christina DeMuro, Samantha Pentrarca and Kelsie Abolt.

Kelsie Abolt, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, decided to compete in the Ms. Fitness competition after learning that 70-80 percent of preparing is about dieting.

Because of her dietetics background, Abolt was intrigued and wanted to get involved.

“I’ve been able to further my knowledge in nutrition because of bodybuilding,” Abolt said. “It adds a whole other side to the experience.”

Abolt said preparing for this competition has been fun because it isn’t just her dieting, training and preparing alone.

“There is a handful of students you’re doing this with,” Abolt said. “I get excited to go to the gym to see them because we’re all going through the same thing.”

The Ms. Physique competition focuses more on muscle tone, while the Ms. Fitness competition focuses on overall body symmetry.

Both groups will perform a 60-90 second routine showcasing their fitness abilities and posing.

Cody Schut, a graduate assistant for the Campus Recreation Center, is this year’s coordinator of the Mr. EIU, Ms. Physique & Ms. Fitness competition. Schut said this year will be very competitive for the title of Mr. EIU in regards to the weight classes because the competitors measure up similarly.

This year’s judges are Chad Graham, the ’97 Mr. EIU winner, Shannon Siemer, an International Federation of Bodybuilding professional, Tom Leon, a two-time competitor in Mr. EIU and James DiNaso and Jennifer Carter, co-owners of The Body Club in Charleston.

All judges are graduates of Eastern.

Tickets for the competition are $5 at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Cayla Maurer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]