Life after the Shark Tank

I have been reminded once again that it is SOOO valuable to blog regularly.  How else will I be able to keep track of all my life experiences, AHAs and triumphs? There are so many things I want to share, yet  the most pressing topic seems to be what I consider as my life and career defining experience, inspirations and AHAs.  It starts off as good until I became bait in a shark tank.  Happily I survive it and now I intend to thrive.  Welcome to my blog. Here I go… (again).

This is the story about me and Jeff, why we created the bodyPROUD Movement, and the circumstances that led us to this pathway.

Back in 1997, Jeff heard a voice run through his head speak to him these words “I am going to be the biggest name in natural bodybuilding”.  He had no idea what that meant, no desire to be a competitive bodybuilder, nor did he even understand why he would want that. Yet he felt it as a “knowing” and became inspired as though these words were meant to define his life endeavours.  And so he began…

By 1998, Jeff was producing Canada’s very first physique competition for naturally-trained athletes, finally providing an even-playing field, platform and incentive for people to build their body with out using steroids. I met him after his first show and immediately was on board to help. Within a year, we extended the events all across Canada, introducing a new and unheard of sport to our country.  Over the next decade, we took the sport globally. During this time, we created categories, rules, and drug-screening measures. We built the foundation for physique sports worldwide helping to popularize them and many competitors. Our efforts created jobs for personal trainers, turned individuals into athletes, and helped build the framework for a brand new industry.  For 5 years running, we hosted Canada’s largest consumer fitness expo which attracted thousands — even during Toronto’s SARS scare. We helped unite people of fighting African nations who walked for days to participate in their continental inaugural event.  Many of our international shows were televised with the Canadian ones actually becoming TSN (ESPN’s equivalent) # 1 rated non-live sporting event.

As each production was rehearsal-free, we did encounter some undesirable situations. Those became learning experiences and provided us with reasons to modify and enhance the next events.

In 2007 everything changed for us.  Two major sponsors reneged on their contracts just weeks before our grand finale expo event, making us financially unfit and unable to pay the remainder of the bills.  We had over 400 athletes already registered, two event stages scheduled with activity from morning to night, and a slew of new products and business ventures we were set to unveil.  We continued on with the show, primarily for the athletes who had spent months preparing for it and for the many who bought non-refundable airline tickets.  However, we were in “crises-mode” and despite our efforts and “happy faces” we were unable to pull it off financially. With out being able to spend the sponsors’ agreed-upon dollars, we were no longer able to launch strategic marketing campaigns designed to attract spectators and expo attendees.  As such, we did not profit… far from it. Following that weekend, our whole world turned upside down. We had to give up our home, vehicle, most of our belongings, and the only lifestyle we knew.  We were the ones who had to break the news to our staff hoping they would understand our predicament and hang in as we worked to re-establish the business. Some did, and some didn’t.  Some went on smear campaigns hating us for our own hurt. We were also unable to pay the cash prizes following the drug tests (which we still processed and paid for).  We knew it was not the athletes’ situation to deal with, it was ours, so we chose to honor our commitment in the best way we could: long term payment plans.  After what seemed like an eternity and a lot of personal sacrifice on our part — no haircuts, no “me” spending, no going out, shortcuts on food, avoiding restaurants, etc —  we finally were able to pay the last of the cash prize installments. That was a big relief for us.  Few appreciated it though as most did not know what we went through to make it happen.

You see, we chose to protect the integrity of those 2 companies whose actions led to our situation. After-all we saw them as part of our extended “fitness industry” family and were of the mindset that families stick together in good times and bad.  We also were embarrassed to admit our new financial situation and scared that if we did it would suggest we “failed” and further impact our esteem and our business.  Yet playing in our mind and in our heart was the belief in our abilities and in the visions we had formed.   In the end, though we didn’t open up and people accused us of doing things we never did. Haters pointed fingers. New organizations formed taking advantage of the foundation we laid. False information became rumours. Rumours spread like wildfire. We read repeatedly that we were not good people, and in fact, when I would make a post on facebook, people belittled my integrity and my intentions, and shut me down.  We got threats.  We were scared for our safety.

We were “on-guard” every time we went out, almost like being bait in a shark tank.

We stopped being social, essentially withdrawing from society and became hermits stuffed inside a “too-small for us and our 3 dogs” apartment. We even found ourselves buying into the beliefs others seemed to have about us, going as far as questioning if our actual past intentions were not actually heart-based as we had believed.

We often had a “feeling” that people within our own industry, past friends and business alliances, were in on a scheme against us. Things just didn’t add up… and then one day they did.   Someone from our past contacted us out of the blue and requested a meeting.  He was a FAME World Tour regular who became a business partner on an event and then later went on to produce that event and others through his own business.  He told us  how much he learned from us and respected us as innovators of the fitness industry. [That felt AWESOME and we deeply appreciated it]. He also relayed, either innocently or with purpose, that he, staff members who we let go, and a bunch of grown-ups from various new organizations had decided to collectively gain control of the industry.  ”To Stamp FAME out”, those are the exact words used.  Wow.  Taking that in, we realized that fueling the rumors was a deep rooted intention to gain power. We later heard of the “rewards” being offered to our most accomplished athletes to “switch over” and “publicly denounce FAME”. We finally understood the reason so many people — even those we loved, respected and those who we put time, love and effort in promoting their brand — suddenly went out of their way to turn their backs on us, publicly post accusations on the RipOffReport .com (pun-intended) and hurtful-to-us-and-our-reputation comments on their personal facebook page.


During that period we became extremely disheartened and lost much enchantment in hosting events. We also felt underlying passion still burning at the soul of the productions. This passion sparked our forward momentum allowing us to continue to produce series’ of worldwide events.  However, we lost the desire to reach out to sponsors and no longer wanted to take full advantage of social media. This was reflected in the quality of the productions and the smaller groups of athletes, and we actually felt uncomfortable to even be in attendance at our own shows.  However, as always, watching the athletes in action brought out our heart-felt smiles, and our events became amongst the few times we actually went out and enjoyed socializing.

“For one door to open another door has to closes”

Jeff and I now believe that in life there are certain pathways that are right to follow.  However, if someone is just not getting it, they may actually need to be plucked out of one pathway and placed into their golden one. How that “plucking” happens can be one of any of a thousands of ways.  It just has to happen. In our scenario, our “plucking” just so happened to be by way of our financial upset and other people’s intentions for personal gain.

“Everything happens for a reason”

Although we were not happy with how we were plucked from one pathway to another, we later recognized value underlying what occurred.  No longer having to represent and manage athletes and events, our schedule became clear allowing us the benefit of being able to focus on ourselves, our relationship with each other, and to realign our passion and spearhead our corporations’ strategic growth.  Plus, all this was going on while the very industry we helped create continued to gain momentum (ironically, by the very same people who wanted to “stamp FAME out”) AND many of our athletes still got spotlight recognition and big breaks.  Win-win all around.  Obviously, we were on the Golden Pathway. :)

Having been gifted this luxury of being able to slow-down and sit back we were able to reflect.  It was incredibly eye opening and extremely valuable to our lives. We realized that we LOVE the soul of the events, yet not all aspects of the events themselves.  What had made us happy was providing people with an incentive to transform their body, a way to overcome shyness, an AHA for those with eating disorders to eat well and love their body, a stage where individuals could become performers, a platform for athletes after college, an avenue to rid oneself of medical conditions, a pathway to boost confidence, a life changing experience for teenagers to seniors, a bonding practice for loved ones, and a reason to do something good for oneself and become body proud. On the flip side, we finally recognized the aspects that seemed to side-swipe our passion: people who seemed to measure their self-worth on whether or not they placed as their heart desired;  smiles we saw drop during Awards Ceremonies knowing those people were no longer recognizing their true accomplishments; wraths of those who wishfully believed that our judging panel was out to get them; confusion on why some thought it unfair we charge an entry fee and earn a living off our (well beyond 9-5) endeavors; attitudes expecting even more from us than we were already delivering; unashamed athletes who didn’t seem to appreciate that which we did do for them and their careers; and surprising beliefs of entitlement on what we should do even better. So we set out to tweak, enhance and revamp the events, the industry, ourselves, and our relationships. Once again thanks to our “unpleasant” situation we were forced away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and into a life of seclusion surrounded by the woods, lake, clear sky and healthy air. We thrived in this environment and grew individually and as a couple. We actually discovered ourselves, probably for the first time ever.  Our confidence, once shot, soared in new ways.  We chose to understand why people may have acted out of character and silently forgave them for it.  We chose to continue to love from afar the people who we had assisted and held in high esteem, and gave them their space. We went deeply inwards and chose to accept all that had happened as being for our benefit, and for the benefit of our industry.  We chose to take responsibility for our past actions and realized that even though we felt we were without choices, we did choose: We chose not to share our story.  We chose to keep quiet about what we heard was going on behind our backs. We chose not to challenge the nay-sayers. We chose not to ask for assistance.  We chose to let people believe we were happy and doing okay.  Had we chosen otherwise, perhaps things would have turned out different.  Or perhaps choosing what we chose are the very things that allowed us to continue forward and to grow emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.  In fact, that’s what we believe.  Our hearts are now much more open.  Our passion is realigned AND we discovered how to make the events important societal initiatives to inspire pride, esteem, self-worth, camaraderie, heart-based actions, personal growth, gratification, joy, and celebrations of self.

In 2008, we invited each athlete on stage to share their BodyPROUD Story where many highlighted how they persevered past obstacles; dealt with unpleasant issues; powered through hardships; beat the odds; took charge of their health, followed their passion, became the artist of their physique, transformed themselves much to their heart’s desire, took a leap of self-faith by committing to shine on stage, sculpted their physique into an art form that they are proud to clothe and enjoy, and successfully transformed their physical appearance as well as their health, attitude, body-abilities, relationships, and life. The result? Heartfelt displays of emotion, ‘humanizing’ of tough outer shells, tears streaming from the eyes of both athletes and attendees, and a magical life defining experience felt by most.

Through this we saw the value underlying physique competitions and realized these type of events can build worthy role models for mainstream societies worldwide and superheroes for our youth. It doesn’t matter which organization or event people choose to enter.  What matters is that they accomplished what they did through healthy means after setting personal goals, taking action and accomplished their vision.  They took charge of their lives and emerged victorious.  They lead by example and should each be applauded and celebrated.



The bodyPROUD component in itself also heals competitor vs competitor rivals, removes the notion of judging politics, and creates an environment where people are actually happy for each other’s successes.

With our passion reignited and our vision laid out,  came an intense desire to unify this industry and shine a new light for the athletes.

Enough of inter-organizational politics, finger pointing, throwing people under the bus and baiting them for the
shark tank

. It’s time to appreciate each event for the platform it provides.  It’s time to respect one another and help each other grow. We imagine a world where those who are Pro are Pro across the board.  We imagine a world where physique events are synonymous with self-love, being bodyproud, and respecting others.  We imagine bodyPROUD Showcase events as being a recommended pathway for all youth through out the education system. We can do this, we can make this happen, quicker if we pool our passion and band together as one big team. Later this month, in fact, we have a meeting to discuss this very aspect with leaders of other organizations. We are so excited to finally share our vision and strategies on how to collaborate and significantly benefit all around.


Yes, all this was discovered through inspiration after we “failed” on the pathway we were previously on, and after Jeff heard himself speak those famous-to-us words in his head.  Yes, everything happens for a reason. Forced into introspection led to further inspiration: Inspiration to find added goodness within the industry we helped create; inspiration to benefit the industry we knew we loved; and inspiration to unite the fitness, bodybuilding, figure and modeling industry for the benefit of all involved…

Although Jeff is not “the biggest name” in natural bodybuilding, those words fueled our fire and that’s what led us to where we are right now.  The  journey  continues. Onwards and upwards!

With love and respect,


How to keep fitness resolutions


If you are like millions of other people who woke up on News Year’s Day with a to-do and a not to-do list, this article is for you. Many different surveys on resolutions were conducted prior to the turn of the new year. Two New Year’s resolutions that appeared on most lists include spending more time with family and getting into shape. What these two resolutions have in common is that they require time, planning and commitment. Let’s take a closer look at how to keep your fitness resolutions. Are you ready to make the commitment? If so, get ready to reach your goals!

Make Realistic Workout Plans

You need to better plan your time when it comes to exercising, planning nutritious meals and to spending time with your family. For instance, maybe you can plan some family fitness activities so that you can maintain both your resolutions in half the amount of time. Don’t fall into the trap of planning your workout time around when you have the most energy to exercise. Let me explain. Most people avoid exercising first thing in the morning because they lack the zest or bounce in their step that they feel during their Saturday afternoon workout. Instead, they prefer to plan their workouts during work hours at a nearby gym or in the evening. Both options are great, if you follow through. Since most people tend to repeat their fitness New Year’s resolutions every year, let me ask you a question: In the past years, did you plan to exercise more regularly? Did you follow through? If not, what was the main challenge that prevented you from meeting your goals? Once you identify your limitations, you have also identified your strengths. If you would like to work out during your lunch and make a commitment to following through, obstacles will always arise to alter your plans. To successfully stick to your plans, you should always devise alternative plans which still allow you to make time for fitness in your day. Fitness centers know all about poor planning which is why the January hype is usually cooled by the middle of February. Make realistic plans and the chances of reaching your fitness goals and changing bad habits will materialize smoothly.

Stay Motivated

Be realistic and true to yourself. If you start and stop exercise programs all the time because something comes up or because you get bored, than you need to find something that keeps you stimulated and involved. You may need to take the plunge and sign up for 10 to 20 personal training sessions at your fitness center or have a trainer visit you at home. You may need to join a fitness center which takes all of the guess work out of exercising and provides free personal coaching to make sure you utilize your time on the circuit. Maybe all it takes is a few minutes a day until you are ready to commit to a formal exercise program. Today, we are fortunate to understand how exercise and healthy eating can impact and improve our health, well-being and quality of life. It is important to make time in your day for exercise. Start by adding a few minutes of exercise to your day. You will feel the difference and you will eventually be motivated to do more.

Before jumping into the shower in the morning, perform 3 sets of abdominal crunches, body squats and push-ups (modified or full body) for 15 to 20 repetitions. If you work in a building, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator as often as you can and walk for 10 to 15 minutes during the day on your lunch hour or after work. At the end of the day when the kids are in bed and you are ready to go to bed yourself, take another 5 minutes and repeat the same workout routine you did in the morning. Try and do it at least four to five times per week. If you are not really into body weight exercises, purchase an inexpensive piece of rubber tubing from your local sporting goods store and perform two to three exercises in the morning with the rubber tubing.
Keep a Journal

Keep a journal of your efforts, challenges and achievements. Most of us need reminders to help us stay committed. My alarm clock rings every morning reminding me of my commitment to work out, my e-mail system alerts me 15 to 30 minutes before any meeting I have committed to so that I show up and my two-year-old son grabs my hand every evening after supper reminding me of my commitment to read to him at least 30 minutes a day, every day. Journaling every evening for 10 to 15 minutes before going to bed is a great way to review your day and to remind yourself of the commitments you were happy to keep and the ones you had to let go. Journaling helps you focus on the present and helps you create a roadmap for the future. I know it helps me and reminds me every evening of my commitment to workout the next morning.
Take-Home Message

New Years resolutions are goals that are accompanied by champagne. Once the glamour of a new year dissipates and you find yourself struggling to keep your goals, follow the three steps above to nurture your commitments. Good luck!

Written by Michael Carrera, fitness guru.

Article courtesy of Truestar Health Portal

Get Your Ds and Ks


Truestar Health
by Dr. Carolyn DeMarco

Recent research has confirmed how important vitamins D and K are indispensable to overall health and specifically to bone health. Vitamin D can be obtained from something as simple as getting daily exposure to sunlight and vitamin K can be obtained from eating deep green vegetables.

Many of us are getting inadequate levels of vitamin D from sun exposure, especially people living in northern climates. Others are not obtaining proper daily levels of vitamin D from their supplements. Both vitamins D and K are fat-soluble and can be stored in the fatty tissue of the body.

“The human body is designed to obtain vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, with only brief exposure providing roughly 95% of the body’s vitamin D stores,” says Sam Graci, author of The Bone Building Solution. He explains, “Exposure of the entire body to sunlight for only 15 minutes a day may produce approximately 10,000 IU of vitamin D a day.”

Graci goes on to say that “sunlight is every bit as vital to your health and well-being as proper nutrition, deep breathing to oxygenate tissues, clean water, deep sleep and exercise.”

A simple way to get vitamin D is to sit in the sun without sunscreen for 15 minutes a day, before 10 AM or after 5 PM with as much skin exposed as possible.

Recent studies suggest that vitamin D3 supports maximal bone-building and bone-repair functions at any age: you must make or consume a minimum of 800 to 1000 IU of vitamin D daily. Experts now recommend 1000 IU of vitamin D for many people.

Vitamin D also reduces fracture rates and is absolutely necessary for the absorption of calcium. According to Graci, “A dietary deficiency of vitamin D inhibits the production of the protein that binds calcium in the intestines so that calcium cannot be absorbed, even if there is adequate intake.”

In February 2006, the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Newsletter ran the headline, “Vitamin D Drives Bone Health.”   The newsletter stated that evidence continues to mount that vitamin D3 plays a critical role in developing bones. Researchers of a recent Icelandic study have concluded that if you are not getting enough vitamin D3, it may not matter how much calcium you consume.

According to Andre Picard’s recent article in The Globe and Mail, “The lack of sun exposure which causes vitamin D deficiency contributes to a number of serious health problems including rickets (a once common bone condition in children), osteoporosis, broken bones in the elderly, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and some forms of cancer, notably colorectal.”

Researcher William Grant estimates that up to 80 to 90 % of North Americans are chronically deficient in Vitamin D.

More and more research is also proving the importance of vitamin K in bone building. Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is found in any green vegetable containing the green pigment chlorophyll and its water-soluble derivative, chlorophyllin. The darker the green vegetable, the more vitamin K it contains. Vitamin K1 requires the presence of friendly bacteria in the intestines to be converted into the more biologically active form called K2. Vitamin K1 is water-soluble and cannot be stored in the body

According to the latest research cited in Graci’s book, vitamin K2 increased the levels of three proteins that act as “chaperones to escort dietary calcium ions into cyclic bone building.”

“If you do not have sufficient vitamin K3 status”, says Graci, “calcium may deposit in your arteries, your heart and your brain and contribute to strokes, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.” It also appears to play a major role in the healing of fractures. A large-scale study of women and nutrition found that those who had at least 100 micrograms of vitamin K in their diet were almost 1/3 less likely to experience fractures.

Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, whole grains, butter eggs, fermented soy foods and green drinks. It is recommended that you get 120 to 150 micrograms of K1 a day and that you try to maintain healthy bacteria in your gut.

For more details or to order Vitamin D or K visit:


True IQ - in a word AMAZING


I have been using a new product and am amazed at the results I have seen!

True IQ essentially provides nutritional support for increased brain energy and neurological function. I have experienced increased energy, increased mental alertness and a euphoric feeling that makes me feel like I can do anything! If being lazy is on one side of the scale, then True IQ is at the complete other side!

I recently saw the movie Limitless and can describe my experience on True IQ to be similar! The movie is about a “super-drug” that allows people to use 100% of their brain and accomplish incredible things! Well, I felt that way!

All day my focus remained intense. I lifted more weight, and for more reps during my workout, and my overall mood has been beyond incredible!

Here is some info about True IQ. If you are interested in purchasing click on the bottle below, and step into a whole new world! WOW!


  • Supports the production of dopamine for proper brain energy
  • Assists in the regulation of the nervous system
  • Supports proper neurotransmitter production
  • Assists in the body’s adaptation to stress


  • Phenylalanine for proper nervous system function
  • Tyrosine to support the production of important brain neurotransmitters
  • Rhodiola to support the body’s stress response
  • Methionine and octacosanol for additional neurological suppor

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects brain processes that control movement and emotional response, and is the source of brain’s power and energy. TrueIQ has been specially formulated to support dopamine production for a more energetic brain. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that must be obtained through the diet. Found primarily in high protein sources such as meat and eggs, it plays an important role in regulating the nervous system. DL-Phenylalanine can be used to metabolize two distinct chemicals. Both the D and L forms can be converted to phenylethylamine, which may have regulating effects in mood and feelings of well-being. The L form can be converted to tyrosine, an important amino acid used to produce certain neurotransmitters. Tyrosine is a precursor to important neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). The synthesis of these neurotransmitters is limited by the rate of tyrosine entry from plasma into the brain. L-tyrosine is a conditionally essential amino acid that can be manufactured by the body from the essential amino acid phenylalanine. Therefore, adequate tyrosine production depends on a sufficient supply of phenylalanine in the diet. Rhodiola rosea is found in the arctic mountain regions of Siberia. As an adaptogen, Rhodiola is thought to increase the body’s resistance to biological and chemical stresses, and thus stimulate a person’s general vitality, both physical and emotional. Methionine, an essential amino acid and octacosanol, a compound found in vegetable oils, are included to provide additional synergistic support to the brain.

Visit to learn more and purchase today!

Watch this Video to learn more about True IQ

Jeffrey Kippel

FAME Media Group Inc.

Corporate Consultants & Brand Strategy Specialists

“We Connect Fit People”

Mission Statement

FAME Media Group assists, unites, promotes and/or represents Brands, Products, Companies and Individuals who inspire, influence, and empower Fit People: Head to Toe, Mind to Heart, Inside and Out — and are Socially Conscious, Environmentally Responsible, Forward Thinking, and, of course, Passionate about what they do and why they do it.

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