Daytona Beach resident Lee Apperson is a professional bodybuilder who has taken on two championship contenders under his wing.
Tammy Butt and Tonya Bauchman aim to win national titles in bodybuilding competitions.
They are off to a good start. The women took first place in their age categories on September 25, with Ms. Butt also becoming the general open figure champion, beating everyone in the National Physique Committee Ultimate Muscle in Lakeland.
Figure competitions are a mix of bodybuilding and fitness. Competitors line up and do a series of quarter turns to the right (forward, left side, back, right side) being judged on symmetry, presentation and other aesthetic qualities, such as skin tone. While closely resembling weight training, the emphasis is on muscle definition, not size.
Mr. Apperson knows what it takes to be a champion. He devoted 30 years to bodybuilding. He was awarded the Amateur Athletic Union Mr. America in 1994 and 1995, the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association Mr. USA in 1996 and the National Physique Committee Mr. USA in 1998. In 2018, at age 60, he placed second. to the International Federation of Pro Bodybuilders. Masters Bodybuilding Competition in Pittsburgh.
He has been a personal trainer, surfer and model for various magazines including People and Ironman. His entire back was rebuilt last May but, after being put on rest for 10 weeks, he is excited to resume training for his charges.
Ms. Butt, 51, works as a nurse at Halifax Health-Brooks Rehabilitation in Daytona Beach. The Daytona Beach resident has been a nurse for 30 years and has worked at Brooks since it opened at Halifax Health.
“I have always been in physical shape. I moved here in 1993 (from Canada) and that’s when I started training at East Coast Gym, ”she said. “I would see Lee (there). I have always worked, but never in the bodybuilding world. About seven years ago a bodybuilder in the hospital asked me if I would be interested in learning more and I said yes, so I started. I did my first competition (Figure over 40) at the age of 44 and I was fourth. It was my goal to improve and start over. I started again at 49 and got second place.
Soon after, she saw Mr. Apperson at Planet Fitness and they struck up a conversation with him agreeing to train her.
“I like fitness. It makes me happy. I love how I feel, ”Ms. Butt said. “I meet great people. I want to feel strong physically and mentally. For me, it’s an anti-stress. You do it because you love it.
Ms. Bauchman, 46, is a personal trainer and esthetician. She also owns a dry cleaning business and helps her fiance with his cabinetmaking business. She has four children and lives in New Smyrna Beach. She has also made fitness a priority throughout her life.
When she was 13, her mother lost a lot of weight after exercising and eating, she said. “From that point on, I was like I loved the way he looked. It’s something in my future that I really want to try to achieve.
After having her first child, she wanted to pursue fitness more intensely, including figure competitions. She also knew Mr. Apperson, but only met him about 12 years ago, when she asked him to train her for competition. They started working out together, training three to four times a week for seven weeks. She did her first show at 36 and won second place. At 40, she took first place and won the general classification.
“It was the moment you were dreaming of,” she said. “And here we are again, we are preparing for this next one. Like Tammy said, we want to look good, we want to feel good. We feel good mentally, physically. It’s a great place to be inside. There are so many people trying to achieve it, but really have no orientation or knowledge about it. When you meet someone like Lee and you have someone in your corner, and Tammy, we’re all in this boat together. It’s a great feeling.
Ms Bauchman admitted in the midst of Covid-19 where she couldn’t work and various surgeries, she took a break for a while but got mad at herself and vowed to come back and work even harder , which she does now.
Although sacrifices are being made for the competitions, Mr. Apperson was quick to note that during the “off season” restrictions could be relaxed. The overall lifestyle would not change, however, and fitness would still be important.
The women follow a strict diet before competition and train five to six days a week at Pro Bodies in Ormond Beach, owned by Frank Fischetti. Daily workouts include morning cardio routines 40 minutes before you eat anything or go to work, and then workouts longer than two hours after a full day of work. Small, healthy meals are eaten throughout the day.
Mr. Apperson likened the figures competition to “a beauty contest with muscle.”
He said, “If you win the national championships, you could become a pro. Both could fit into the professional level lifestyle. They are already doing it. They are both so focused and so strong.
The two women will compete in the National Physique Committee / International Federation of Body Building Daytona Beach Classic on Saturday, October 2 at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.
Ticket prices vary for the Daytona Championships, but the exhibit is free. For more information, visit oceancenter.com.