Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Strength & Power at PSI

I have embarked on a strength and power training program at The Phillipi Sports Institute, PSI, in Las Vegas, Nevada for the summer. Mark Phillipi, the owner, is a world class strongman, and has the best, state of the art hardcore training facility in all of Vegas. Mark's staff, are degreed, certified, and highly experienced and knowledgeable in strength and conditioning programs for various athletes. He hand picks and screens his staff, and they all adhere to a very high standard and work ethic, yet are encouraging and friendly.

There is a diverse group of athletes at the gym, comprised of professional basketball, football players, mixed martial artists, young athletes, retired athletes, and anyone wanting to get better. The energy of the gym is train hard, heavy, and fast. It has an atmosphere of athleticism and camaraderie that makes you want to go all out, despite the fact that the gym has no air conditioning and the only salvation to the relentless Vegas heat are a few big fans and on some days, a few less people training.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Red Rock State Park, Las Vegas, Nevada Revisited

I appreciate all of you, my friends that have written me to advise me that you missed my blogging! That means a lot to me. I find it cathartic to write, and I really miss it when I do not make time. It keeps me focused, grounded, and centered in my life. You know who you are, those that have taken the time to write me and let me know.

I have lived in New Mexico for the past 20 years, and that has entailed much hiking, climbing, and mining. For the past five years, I have chosen to live a more cosmopolitan lifestyle, opting to spend more time in concrete jungles than desert landscapes. My passion for the desert is something that will never die, however. Some of my best photoshoots have been with both professional and amateur photographers in New Mexico and Nevada. I particularly enjoy the white gypsum outcroppings of the Zia Pueblo region in New Mexico, as it makes my brown skin stand out even more. And, some of my favorite rocks are situated in what I call my backyard now, Red Rock Canyon State Park right here in Las Vegas, Nevada. The reddish brown sandstone reminds me so much of my skin color, that I feel like I am part of the earth, and I really love the look and the feel of these rocks. I find that outdoor shoots are where I belong, favoring them over indoor shoots. I enjoy the hike in the desert heat and finding fun rocks to play and pose on.

This photo was taken two days ago by a friend of mine, George Kontaxis. For years, I have admired George's work. He has a natural "eye" for what looks good and has his own artistic flair. Whenever I admire a photographer, I get a bit starstruck of their talent, and this sometimes makes me too nervous to shoot, and I sometimes lack creativity. This happened when I worked with the late Douglas Kent Hall. I get mesmerized by the artist at work, and lose track of myself. At the end of the day, they are only human. As George and I sat out on the rocks after this photo was taken, we chatted about the evolution of our lives as both photographer and model. We shared common stores about being smitten by people in our industry, and then, when we finally do get to work with them, we find that they are just as human as anyone else, perhaps to a flaw, if that makes sense.

George and I talked about what we have achieved in our short careers in the physical culture industry, and where we are heading. We initially met in 2003, at the USA Bodybuilding show here in Las Vegas. I still remember George, and he was just a young man starting a photography career, and I was just starting my bodybuilding journey. We both have come a long way in the past 7 years, and we have a mutual respect and admiration for how far along we have come.

All you have to do is take a look at some of my photos from the early days, in 2003 from Bill Dobbins in Red Rock State Park. It was just after my first bodybuilding show, and I weighed in at around 175 pounds. In this photo, I weighed right at 200 pounds. Hence, the title of this post, Red Rock--revisited. I hope you enjoy the evolution of my physique and lifestyle as much as I have enjoyed the journey.

I have a feeling, the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer is here!

I know it has been a couple of months since my last post, so please forgive me! I am so wrapped up this early summer in my training and living in Las Vegas that I find myself neglecting the poor Steel Universe blog! But, I will be spoiling you with lots of fun photos and stories of my life, so do not throw in the towel on me!

I had the opportunity to go to Los Angeles last month, and I got to meet some of my favorite girlfriends, which also happen to be some of the most famous Amazons on the planet in our niche of the Universe! From left to right, Yours Truly, Rebecca Swanson, Strongest Woman Ever, Kristal Toscoe, aka "Buffbunny", and Nikki Fuller, IFBB Pro/actress. We all average between 5'8-5'9 and weighed between 180-215. So, that averages out to 200 lbs a piece.

We had dinner at "Ago", an Italian restaurant in the Beverly Hills area, but we got such lousy service, I was embarrassed. It took us nearly two hours to get our food, and we were all out with health conscience folks and athletes that love food. I found out later that the restaurant is owned by Robert DeNiro...for shame! I was shocked at such lousy service, and our food was horrendous. Luckily, we had a good negotiator at our table and we only paid for our wine and appetizers. I am glad that everyone at the table were all close friends, and the company was all that mattered. Nonetheless, I hate when this happens.

I will post more later about my training and my doings this summer. Things are going very well, and I am getter stronger and harder than ever. You will see.