Competitor Spotlight NPC Figure Athlete Samantha Ford

Samantha Ford
Age: 29
Occupation: Nurse
Hometown: Philly area
Years competing: 2
Competition History: (See below)

 9 Competitions, 2014, 2015

First contest big cat 2014 1st place class c
May Lehigh valley 3rd place open figure class c

PA state's first place open figure class c

Xcalibur cup 2nd place open figure class b

August Atlantic City Europa 3rd place open figure class b

Future plans are nationals.

ABFITT: Thank you for taking the time to talk with ABFITT. Can you give us some background information? 

Samantha Ford:  I am 29 year old living in the philadelphia area. I work full time as a nurse. I absolutely love competing and fitness is not only my hobby but my passion. It is amazing how you can transform your body with the right tools along with hard work and dedication. I have a bit of what they call a type a personality and will not stop working towards my goals and improving my physique each year.

ABFITT: What sparked your initial interest in weight training and a health and fitness lifestyle? Can you share with us how this lead to competing?

 Samantha Ford: I initially started weight training and getting into fitness after breaking out of a bad verbally abusive relationship that lasted several years. I was living an extremely unhealthy lifestyle and had began to feel less confident in myself. I used to love to work out, mostly cardio, but had stopped and wanted to get back to a healthier lifestyle. I started going to the gym several times per week and lifting more frequently. I was lifting up to 6 times per week, seeing results that I had never seen before with cardio alone. I started reading fitness magazines and websites to teach myself new workouts and diet ideas. In the back of my head I always wanted to compete. I loved the look of NPC figure competitors and wanted to look like that myself. I started to do my research and attended a local show to see what it was all about. After attending that, I was certain I wanted to do it. I reached out to my aunt who was a bodybuilder to help me get started on a diet plan. After working with someone to assist me with a proper diet, I was amazed how my body looked. Diet is essential to competing; almost 85% of what it is all about. In the beginning, I thought I would just do one show but after my first show I had so much fun I was hooked. I felt a sense of accomplishment I never had felt before. 

ABFITT: What is your take on training?

Samantha Ford: Every time I go to the gym I train with a purpose and that is to be better than I was before. Making every workout count. Training hard is only one of the many pieces to the puzzle when training for a show. The key is always consistency. Sometimes it takes time to see results and you have to be patient. I believe in training every muscle group until failure and I like to change things up so I don't get bored. In addition, I believe you should seek help from a
trainer who has good credentials. The best advice I have for somebody competing is to make sure you have the time, money, and resources to compete before you commit yourself. If you don't, you will be setting yourself up for failure. Competing is a lot of hard work but is well worth it for those who are committed. Also, remember to be patient. CHanges don't happen overnight and reward yourself for what you accomplish. Bodybuilding is more than a sport, it is a lifestyle. That is important to always remember. Love the lifestyle and the results will come.

ABFITT: Talk to us about the importance of nutrition and how you dial it in when preparing to step on stage. 

Samantha Ford:  Nutrition is without a doubt the most important factor when training for a show. Eat clean and follow your plan. When I am prepping for a show and even in my offseason I measure and prepare all my meals in advance so I am always prepared. During my prep I limit condiments and seasoning which is very hard for me.I love my contaminants lol. Always make sure I have enough food on hand so I am prepared for the week and am not running to the store multiple times per week. With my job sometimes following contest diets can be difficult but I make it work. The bottom line is always plan.

ABFITT: Discuss your competition history. Tell us about it and what if any one show stands out the most, for better or worse?

Samantha Ford: I competed in a total of 5 shows one in 2014 and 4 this year. Placing within top 3 in all my shows. I truly love competing and the day of the show when the hard work is done and you can have fun. I say it is almost like the prom for bodybuilders lol. I love getting myself done up and tanned to hit the stage and show of the hard work. It is great to be surrounded by other like minded people at the shows. Several shows stand out to me although it is hard for me to narrow it done because they all stand out from me for different reasons. The first show I need The big cat classic stands out to me because it was where I caught the bug as they say. After doing that show I knew I had to keep competing. The excalibur cup was also a great show for me because I met so many great local people who I am still in contact with. The AC Europa was also A good show for me with a bigger venue and pro show as well I loved being surrounded by top of the line inspiring physiques. I am looking forward to experiencing more show next year:)

ABFITT: Let's talk about your contest prep and how you go about getting in the shape required to be competitive in your class.

Samantha Ford: Contest prep is when I become even stricter with my diet. Eating as clean as possible and following my plan to a T. I also switch up my cardio to burn more calories and keep my body burning fat. During prep I do higher reps with my weights and train my abs more frequently. But during prep the main focus should be on your diet. Although you are ultimately the one responsible for getting yourself in contest shape it is vital to have a coach to tel you where you need to improve and recommend the proper diet. Believe ,me even the pros do not go into contest prep alone. Another important part of contest prep is getting enough rest because believe me you will be tired at times. You may not have as much energy to do extracurricular activity but during your prep you main focus should be dialing it in for the show.

ABFITT: How do your friends, family feel about your contests and getting in such great shape to compete?

Samantha Ford: My family and friends definitely do not understand the whole process of prepping for a show and my lifestyle but they are supportive. For instance when prepping during the holidays they don't understand why I just cant have one glass of wine or chocolate etc... They are proud of me for my dedication and how far I have come. Although the do not understand they respect it and are amazed by the willpower practiced during prep. I am very grateful for my family and friends support.

ABFITT: I see so many wonderful photographs of you, from friend of abfitt and top fitness  photographer Spencer Jung of Can you tell us how you met Spencer and how your friendship developed?

Samantha Ford: Spencer was the photographer at my first show and had took so many amazing stage shots and I had also heard about him on facebook and through other competitors / trainers.. After getting myself It contest shape I wanted to capture myself at my best with more than selfies as spence says lol. Worked with him for a shoot and ended up doing more shoots. As a first timer working with him he made me feel comfortable. He is not only a good photographer but has been a great supporter throughout my competitive season.. He has has captured me at nearly every show and has noticed the changed I have made. Looking forward do to doing more shoots next year.

ABFITT:  Any thought on this years Nationals and that IFBB pro card?

Samantha Ford: Going to nationals and doing well is my ultimate goal this year. Of Course I want my ifbb pro card weather it comes this year or the next I am willing to . I am super excited to take my physique to the next level. Body transformation is the most exciting to me. Goal is always to be better than yesterday!. I am excited now to be a part of team biggie smalls. Hoping to bring a new and improved package 2016.

ABFITT: So what’s next?

Samantha Ford: Right now I am in offseason putting on some more muscle to be competitive at national level. I plan on hitting the stage in late spring or early summer to fight for that number one spot and that IFBB pro card!

ABFITT: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, I wish you the best to come in the new year and be certain Abfitt will keeping an eye out for you this season. Visit us 

James Kinthiseng Has His Eyes Set On The 2015 NPC Junior USA's And An IFBB Pro Card


Name:    James Kinthiseng
Age: 32
Years competing: 1.5
Sponsors: Nobullsupplements and PsychoGear Clothing
Competition History: 2013 Mr. Syracuse, Usbf Pro Npc Mr. Buffalo. 15th at 2014 Team Universe

ABFITT. Can you give us some background information?

JAMES: I've always had a passion for working out just not so much for dieting. That all changed when I decided to start competing. I never imagined in a million years that I would ever look the way I do now. Now I love and breathe health and fitness and I just want to inspire and motivate others to change their lives for the better.

  ABFITT: What sparked your initial interest in weight training and a health and fitness lifestyle? Can you share with us how this lead to competing?

JAMES: Honestly I always wanted to look like my father growing up. He always was very fit and it showed and I strived to look like him so that's when I first started working out when I was probably 13 years old.  I started competing because I wanted to see how I stacked up against my peers.  I wanted to see if I had what it took to actually compete because I recall numerous times I would attempt to start a diet but I always failed in the past to stay on one.

  ABFITT: What is your take on training? What has worked best for you? With so much information available to people looking to start, what the best advice you can offer?

JAMES: Currently I utilize a push/pull split with legs on the third day with a off day after that and then I start the cycle over again.  The best advice I can give is everyone is different and responds differently to workout methods, supplements and diets. Everyone is different so a cookie cutter approach to everything will never work. Trial and error is the only way to truly learn.

 ABFITT: Talk to us about the importance of nutrition and how you dial it in when preparing to step onstage.

 JAMES: "You can't out train a bad diet." I never knew how important nutrition was until after I completely a contest prep. It's awe inspiring how food science works with the human body. I follow a flexible dieting approach but I hit my macros exactly and I eat the same way up until my show. I cheat/refeed twice a week. I don't mess around with any of the peak week stuff except  I tweak my water. I figure if you diet up and make progress up until your show, then there's no need for peak week tactics. Just keep it simple. Stick to what got you there.

ABFITT: Discuss your competition history. Tell us about it and what if any one show stands out the most, for better or worse?

JAMES: I have had a very short competition history.  My worst experience was at the 2014 Team Universe. I failed to complete a mandatory back shot because I took to long completing a side pose that the judges didn't ask for when us competitors first walked out onstage individually. So because of the that I didn't listen and do what the judges ask for, I paid heavily for it. Because I didn't have a back shot for the judges to see, I then didn't get a proper call out. So now it's redemption time for me. I have a huge chip on my shoulders and I want to show the world that I have what it takes to turn ifbb pro someday.

 ABFITT:  Can you discuss your experience competing on the National level?

JAMES: Come prepared and be stage ready week in advance and practice posing. With so many competitors it's easy to get lost in the shuffle because everyone looks good. But I feel if you practice your posing and wow the judges by standing out, they will bold very well for you. Another thing bring enough food.  You don't always step on stage at the times they have mapped out. If it says physique is going on stage at 10am, we'll be prepared to go then or at 1pm. Adjust accordingly and plan for worst case scenario.

 ABFITT: How do your friends, family feel about your contests and getting in such great shape to compete?

JAMES: Everyone is very supportive and it helps because we all know how grueling contest prep can be sometimes. It take incredible discipline to stay on track  and I think everyone realizes that and it inspires them to take control over their only lives for the better.
The best thing you can do for yourself and for those who love you is build the life you want and prove to those who love you that supporting you was worth their time and energy. That's why I work so hard.

 ABFITT:  What is some advice to guys who may be contemplating giving Mens Physique a try.

JAMES: Just have fun with it and always practice your posing.

 ABFITT:  Any thought to tying for an IFBB pro card?

JAMES:  I dream about it night and day. And I'm working hard to make it a reality. "Winners are not those who never fail, they are the ones who never quit"

 ABFITT: So what’s next?

JAMES: I plan on doing the Jay Cutler classic to warm up for nationals and then flying down to South Carolina to compete at junior usa"s  at the end of May and then competing at every national show this year to try to get a pro card.

 ABFITT: Thank you for taking the time to talk with Abfitt. (For more information on James please see his personal links above)


Abfitt training & consulting services can be reached at for more information

46 yr old Physique Competitor Trisha Smick, Will Be Attempting To Secure An IFBB Pro Card Early This Summer At Masters Nationals


Name:       Trisha Smick
Age: 46
Years competing: 2
Sponsors:  Spartan Nutrition. Dr. Susan Hughes
Competition History:
2014:  NPC Golds Classic, Physique 2nd Place
2014:  NPC Natural Mid-Atlantic Classic; Physique 1st Place
2014:  NGA Mr & Ms. Natural Philadelphia; Physique 1st Place
2013:  OCB Battle for The Belt; Physique 2nd, Bodybuilding 3rd Place
2012:  INBF Amateur World Championships; Fit Body (Physique) 2nd, Figure 2nd Place
1994:  WNBF Pro Ms. Universe, Women’s Bodybuilding 6th Place

ABFITT: Thank you for taking the time to talk with ABFITT. Can you give us some background information?

Trisha Smick: I’m am a 46 year old Women’s Amateur Physique Competitor, Married 13+ years and a proud Mother of 3 beautiful children; Trevor 12, Sierra 8 and my baby Haley 5.  I live in NJ approximately 25 miles outside of Philadelphia.   I’m the youngest of 6 siblings and the only one to graduate college.  I attended Penn State University graduating within the top 10% of my class in 1991 with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science.

ABFITT: What sparked your initial interest in weight training and a health and fitness lifestyle? Can you share with us how this lead to competing?

Trisha Smick: My initial interest in fitness sprouted in early high school when I struggled with my weight and body image.  I joined a local fitness club within walking distance where I enjoyed circuit training and aerobics.  I would rush home from school, run full speed from the bus stop to change and make it just in time for class.  By the time I was a senior in HS, I was teaching aerobics and “personal training.”  Although initially motivated by a need to lose weight, these early experiences sparked my overall passion for health & fitness and ultimately laid the foundation for my pursuit of a degree in Exercise and Sport Science.

However, it wasn't until post-college 1992, following a difficult life event, that I began dedicating myself to the sport of physique competitions.  As a distraction, a friend and personal trainer Todd Zabielski, invited me to attend a physique competition for a female client.   As a fitness enthusiast I understood the discipline & tenacity required to step on that stage prepared!  That night, I told Todd with such conviction “I can do that and I want to do that” and 3 months later I did.  I had a great showing my first time out and continued to do well during my next few outings.  Soon thereafter,  I earned my WNBF Pro Card and went on to place 6th at my first pro show, WNBF “1994 Ms. Universe” in NYC.

Following the Ms. Universe at age 26, I stopped competing altogether for 18 years.  I found myself quietly struggling with accepting the concept that I will likely never be “THE BEST,” and there would likely always be someone better than me, so “what’s the point”?  This destructive all or nothing mindset left me feeling deflated and defeated.  Although I continued to “train” for the next few years, as my family grew so did my distance from the gym.  At 33 following marriage and the birth of my first child, I stopped altogether and did what way too many women do that I strongly urge against; i.e., In becoming a wife and mother my life revolved around everyone else’s needs but mine and in the process I lost “ME.”

Ironically, It took another difficult life event to get me back to the gym and the roots of the sport.  In early 2010 my mother’s health declined eventually leading to her loss of life in 2012.  Witnessing her painful decline and accepting the inevitable outcome on my best friends life was a tremendously painful process and had a detrimental impact on some interpersonal family relationships.  I needed, and continue to need to this day, a productive outlet for my pain and angst.  As a result, I turned to the sport I knew I could count on like I did so many years ago.  In May 2011 I walked through the doors of a gym again and stepped on stage 1 1/2 years later at the 2012 INBF World Amateur Championships, placing 2nd in both Figure and Fit Body (Physique).

So what’s different this time around?  I now realize that while this sport can summon so many of our core strengths, oddly many of our insecurities surface as well.  But, I have the maturity and wisdom now to embrace the concept that this sport is not about anyone else but me; It is my journey!  As I enter each new day I strive to leave behind an older version of myself to unveil an improved one; a version that has learned from both her mistakes and triumphs of yesterday.  So, it really doesn't matter if I am “The Best” as long as I am “My Best”!

ABFITT: What is your take on training? What has worked best for you? With so much information available to people looking to start, what the best advice you can offer?

Trisha Smick: As a natural athlete, the “more is better” approach does not work for me.  Rather, I am a proponent of training smart and hard with brief, focused sessions and plenty of rest to ensure adequate muscle recovery.   I prefer training heavy using big basic compound movements complemented with ancillary isolation movements.  I also incorporate supersets and/or drop sets to create variety when needed.  I hit each body part hard weekly on a 4 day split designed around addressing my weak areas first and foremost.  I incorporate supplements such a Creatine, Glutamine, and BCAA’s, to name a few, that assist with strength, endurance, protein synthesis and muscle recovery.

In my opinion, execution of a training protocol is only 50% of the success equation.  The other component is mentality and establishing what I call the “mindset of a champion.”  I have a mental rolodex of positive affirmations paired with positive visual imagery that I call upon to create an intense focus prior to and during my training.  As Muhammad Ali states, “It is the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief.  And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, great things begin to happen!”

My advice to beginners embarking on their fitness journey - educate yourself and become a student of the sport.  Or, find a trainer or a mentor that can teach you and get you started with an effective strategy designed around your fitness goals.  Once goals are identified and strategy established, DO NOT be inconsistent, make excuses, or be a weekend warrior.  Execute your plan with steadfast commitment, be patient, trust the process and results will follow!  As Bruce Lee states, “Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity.”

ABFITT: Talk to us about the importance of nutrition and how you dial it in when preparing to step on stage.

Trisha Smick: Nutrition; what, when and how much is absolutely 1000% critical when preparing for stage.  I work closely with my Coach, IFBB Pro Vilma Caez, to manage my nutrition all year. Monitoring and modifying caloric intake/expenditure and macro nutrient intake (carbs, proteins, fats) while observing the physique changes that ensue, is critical in determining off-season and contest strategy to dial my physique into stage ready condition.  Since calories/carbs are kept relatively high, cardio sessions kept to a minimum and we typically avoid the need to carb deplete or cut water, prep is very manageable as strength and energy are sustained and I’m often asked, “How are you so Happy?”

Aside from pre-contest, eating a clean gluten free diet is a lifestyle that I enjoy all year.  Not just because I feel and look better, but eating clean and gluten free enables me to manage my Celiac’s Disease as well as Lymphocytic Colitis.  Overall, I avoid almost all processed foods and lean toward simple foods with minimal ingredients.

ABFITT: Discuss your competition history. Tell us about it and what if any one show stands out the most, for better or worse?

Trisha Smick: Coming off an 18 year hiatus I wasn't sure which division would best serve my physique.  Upon experimenting with figure, physique and bodybuilding, it became clear that WPD is where I would thrive.  Although figure was a viable option, I lacked some of the strong classic v-taper characteristics and I wasn't able to highlight or be rewarded for my muscularity.  In bodybuilding, I simply lacked the muscle mass to be competitive.  Physique is the perfect blend of both worlds where I can be rewarded for my moderate muscularity, sharp conditioning as well as my stage presence and presentation with a choreographed routine.

Up until October 2014, I competed in only natural bodybuilding sanctions (OCB, NGA, INBF, WNBF) where polygraph/urine testing for performance enhancing drugs were routine.  In October 2014, I competed in my first NPC competition and although initially intimidated, my coach reassured me that I had all the makings to do well in the NPC.  I feel good about the NPC and I’m excited to continue my loyalty with them as I pursue my IFBB Pro Card.

Many would be surprised to learn that I have stage fright, sometimes to the point of “performance paralysis.”  I tend to experience anxiety when on stage alone as the center of attention. I’m more at ease when surrounded by other competitors; i.e., during pre-judging.  Sometimes I experience cold sweats, racing heart, loss of concentration and difficulty breathing  in varying degrees.  I work super hard on preventing this from happening and affecting my performance by calming my state of mind through positive self talk and visual imagery.

So, regarding a show that stands out; I would say there are two and both experiences were related to stage anxiety; the 94’ Ms Universe and the 14’ Golds Classic.  Being fully aware of my stage anxiety, I over-prepare for anything and everything stage related; from walking out, mandatory posing, individual posing routine, to a class pose down, etc. so everything becomes very intuitive. At the Universe and Gold’s I completely blanked either just prior to or during my performance.  However, due to the hours upon hours of practice, self talk and visual imagery, I was able to calm myself enough to regain my composure and execute flawlessly.

ABFITT: How as a mother of three do you find the time to plan, focus on contest prep and compete?

Trisha Smick: Well, Its not easy or perfect but it’s manageable as long as you make it a priority and don’t allow yourself, or anyone else, make you feel guilty!  First and foremost, I embrace the concept that I count too and to be a “better mom” I need to be a “better me!”  Being healthy, looking good, fulfilling a passion and serving as a role model for my children makes me a “better me.”  I schedule my training just as I would any of my kids activities and strive to stick to the plan.  Sure, as a Mom you need to flex based on family demands, but overall if you establish a realistic plan sprinkled with a little bit of flexibility, it should work most of the time and that’s good enough for me!

Regarding contest prep, because I usually stay within 5-7% of stage weight my prep is short and therefore fairly pleasant.   Typically my children don't even realize I'm prepping until the final two weeks, at which point I sit with them and share what to expect and how Mom may need their support.  Speaking of support, never underestimate the value of a strong support network and the impact it can have on your prep.  I’m not afraid to ask for help, I just don’t do it very often but when I do I pick my shots and make it count.

ABFITT: How do your friends, family feel about your contests and getting in such great shape to compete?

Trisha Smick: I would say that out of all of my family and friends the ones who are most enamored by me
being a physique competitor are my two little girls, ages 8 and 5.  They are so proud to see Mommy on stage performing and love holding the trophies.  Hopefully there’s more than one trophy otherwise they fight the whole ride home!   More importantly, they truly enjoy the process with me.  I recall a few preps while waiting with them for the school bus, they would lift my shirt, count my abs and were excited to see the number of visible “squares” (as they put it) increase weekly.  They get a kick out of mimicking me and watching me practice my routine in the driveway or while cooking where my reflection is visible on the face of appliances.  My 12 yr old son on the other hand is another story.   Understandably, he’s at an age where kids just want to fit in and be like all the other kids.  Having an athletic and muscular Mom who doesn't quite look like the other Mom’s as he states, is embarrassing.   For example, when picking him up from school in gym clothes, he got texted by friends asking “who’s that,” and he responded that I was his Aunt  LOL - lesson learned and note to self; don’t pick Trevor up from school in gym clothes.  My Husband, friends and family overall admire my dedication and commitment and support my passion for the sport.

ABFITT: I see so many wonderful photographs of you from a friend of abfitt and top fitness  photographer Spencer Jung. Can you tell us how you met Spencer and how your friendship developed?

Trisha Smick: Spence is an NPC Photographer providing stage photography covering many regional NPC competitions.  In May 2014, I competed in my first NPC Competition.  I decided to order some pics following and contacted Spence for the first time.  He said, “Oh, I remember you, you stood out, your posing was great, were you ever a ballerina”?  What’s not to love already about Spence!!!  So, that was the beginning of our friendship.  I can always count on Spence to capture me at my best whether on stage or during a photo shoot.  He has been a great supporter and has contributed to my pursuit of climbing the competitive physique ranks.  Thank You Spence!  xo

ABFITT:  Any thought to tying for an IFBB pro card?

Trisha Smick: Absolutely YES!  I will be attempting to secure my IFBB Pro Card early this summer at Masters Nationals and possibly Team Universe.  IFBB Pro Card or not, I am hoping that 2015 is my year; a year of progress, growth and development

ABFITT: So what’s next?

Trisha Smick: To focus on being my personal best; as a mother, wife, competitor.  Making those I love proud.
To continue to better balance my competitive passion with my family/personal life.
To inspire women who doubt they can achieve their fitness goals whether due to age, family demands and/or commitments.
To stay mentally grounded and keep it in perspective; focus on the journey, not the destination.
To continually learn from the cues my body provides to spawn new development and growth

ABFITT: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, I wish you the best to come in the new year and be certain Abfitt will keeping an eye out for you this season. Visit us

 Special thanks to Spence.