The fitness industry is loaded with movers and shakers. From gym owners to event promoters, the global fitness community is built on the shoulders of men and women who eat, sleep and breathe a lifestyle that continues to grow in popularity. As part of Digital Muscle’s ongoing coverage of the world of fitness, it’s our pleasure to shine a spotlight on selected fitness industry leaders.
This week, the spotlight belongs to Jack and Ann Titone, a Missouri based power couple who have dedicated themselves to creating opportunities for athletes throughout the entire midwest region of the United States. As a District Chairman for the National Physique Committee (NPC) Jack spends most of his time planning and promoting bodybuilding, fitness and physique events for athletes of all levels. Ann, a former IFBB Pro Figure champion, is right by Jack’s side following a competitive career highlighted by six professional titles and several Olympia appearances where she cemented her status among the best in the world.
Their Dungeon Gym, located in Arnold, Missouri, has become a training sanctuary for those in search of a hardcore experience. When their not in their gym or promoting one of their many events, the Titone’s can often be found seated at the judges table for many of the world’s premier IFBB Pro League sanctioned events.
We recently caught up with Jack & Ann for a look inside a family business that keeps them well positioned on the front lines of the worldwide fitness movement.
Jack, How did you begin your journey in the fitness industry?
I got started all the way back in 1986. I began helping out at events under the NPC Chairman Mike Barberi. Those responsibilities grew into contest judging in 1987, but it wasn’t until 2008 when I promoted my first event. Things have grown quite a bit since those days. Ann and I have now promoted close to 100 events spanning the last 11 years.
How did you guys meet and when did you get married?
We actually met at the worst place to meet someone….a bar! Seven years later we got married in Las Vegas. All told, we have been together for close to 20 years.
Ann, you were a tremendous competitor. What do you miss most about those days on stage?
The process of always bettering yourself. The improvement of the physique and challenging the mind to overcome and adapt to the struggles of improvement. Everyone always focuses on the outcome and the photos. But for me, it was always about the process….and that’s what I miss the most.
What are some of the unique elements that you both try to bring to the events you promote?
With us, we always try to improve no matter what we’re doing. Our incredible team here in the midwest brings an element of experience and professionalism to the table. Our number one objective is to cater to the individual athlete and give them the type of experience they deserve. Our athletes work hard and they deserve to be well taken care of.
What advice would you give to up and coming promoters about building a successful business for long term growth?
Patience is the key. Give yourself three years to see a return on your investment. It takes a lot of hard work and many will pull the plug too soon, before success has the chance to happen. Be prepared to outwork everyone and never quit improving. That’s the best advice we can give to anyone who wants to get in this business.
It’s no secret that the NPC is the most powerful competitive physique organization in the world. What makes the NPC so special?
To be completely honest, we’ve been doing it longer and better than anyone else for many years. The attention to detail, the staff, the judges all have compiled years of experience. It all adds up to a better experience for the athletes who walk on our stages. Jim Manion has built something incredible. Truly the gold standard and that’s why it remains the biggest and the best – year in and year out.
Tell us a little about why you opened the Dungeon Gym and what makes it unique?
Ann wanted a place for her clients and competitors to train in an environment that was conducive to our industry. The corporate gyms like to frown on our type of athletes and our training methods. Having an old school gym was her dream and The Dungeon is a great home for anyone looking to get to an entirely new level, both physically and mentally. Stop in and see us if you’re in the neighborhood.
What’s changed the most about the competitive physique industry since you guys first arrived?
The physiques have changed as well as the mindsets. The need for instant gratification! The kids today want everything now. Unfortunately, we see less proper dieting and training. Cheating methods and shortcuts have become the way of the new world. But less is better. Bodybuilding is an art form. Let’s remember it takes time to make a masterpiece!
For more information about NPC Midwest events or to reach Jack & Ann visit them on Facebook!
Dan Solomon Goes One-On-One with Jim Manion
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