‘Everyone said I can’t do that’: how an immigrant from Belarus became a well-known bodybuilder in the USA

Anton Antipov – known bodybuilder and fitness model, co-founder and co-owner of the fitness club Gee Gym in Miami. He came to the US from Belarus as a teenager and soon received a contract to work in the modeling business. However, after many years working as a model Anton decided to devote himself to his favorite hobby – bodybuilding.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

“It was not like one day I suddenly decided to do sports, says Anton Voice of America. — My father was engaged in gymnastics, dancing, playing football and have always been in very good form. In the 7-8 years I have asked him how to make “cubes” on the belly. And he showed me how to catch up how to do crunches how to do push-UPS. With that I started very early and still doing it. And it turned out my career.”

Anton Antipov is a professional athlete. Here is his story firsthand.

I’m from Bobruisk, Belarus. My younger sister, mom, dad and grandmother all moved in 1996 to new York. Only then we had cassette players and neighbours had brought a magazine with “Terminator,” “Rambo” and other films with Arnold that I continually revised. Sport — that was all I knew. I didn’t know the language the school taught French. Went down my street, looked where the children live, knocking them showed a stick and said, “Huh?”

I was 20 when I went to Manhattan, I was approached by agents looking for talent, new models, new faces. I was thinking maybe something in there? I then said, well, we like how you look right now. I was constantly sent to the salon to dye your hair to support this way: the typical American, as in advertising Abercrombie & Fitch. I wanted to be more brutal, wanted to grow a beard, to shave his head…

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

I was told that in the fitness direction there is no money and you can earn only in fashion. Been shooting, where for an hour I
earned 3 thousand dollars, there were some where 15 thousand per day. But I also quickly and spend: time — and no. This led to problems with alcohol, I drank a lot. Everything was blurry, and my life had little meaning. I don’t feel very well and didn’t understand why I do it.

Once the parents were gone on vacation in the Dominican Republic and invited me along. They were doing their business, and I have a couple days left of all, was found a small part of the island near the water and spent time, watching the sun go down over the ocean and decided to think about how I can become better, more to understand his life, himself as a man…

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

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After some time, I was a bartender and worked in clubs, at the same time was in the fitness Agency. One agent told me that there is an entity that develops a new direction “Beach bodybuilding”. It was in 2011. I was told to wear shorts and to go on stage — not getting ready, I took the 4th place. After that I decided to get ready and I went all the first place. I worked as a bartender, but couldn’t miss work. I was smeared with makeup, went to work in makeup, and then immediately to the tournament. People looked strange when you are in makeup, in the darkness visible only the eyes and teeth. There was no money for a hotel, I slept in the Park: all the makeup and oil after the event, then waited for the finals and received awards. So I won the first four places before I went to the national tournament.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

There are 4 tournaments during the year when you can become a professional. To become, in these tournaments you need to win first place in its category. I have in the category that was 50 people. And the last time I spoke at a national tournament, I took not only first place in its category but also won the whole tournament in the category of “Beach bodybuilding”.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

Immediately after the tournament with his award, I went back to work, again, oil and makeup. I put my Cup on the counter and no one looked strange. There I was making money for the next week, and on Saturday night I finally went home and slept.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

When I was at the Arnold Classic in Ohio, I took 3rd place. On a bronze coin depicts Arnold. And here I stand with the medal after the tournament, and here is Arnold and said, “That’s me!” Shook my hand and we took a picture. The feeling was that a dream come true.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

I didn’t know how to work sponsors. Wrote to these companies and said, “I want to work with you, give me vitamins, sports nutrition and like that.” I always answered, they say, we don’t know if something will be released, that’s all. It was good because I wanted to make my resume, win the tournaments, offered to take shape, and raised money for the organization, just because it helped someone else. I was able to sign a contract with Nutrex Research, which I have already 7 years.

In accordance with my contract, I have to participate in 6 international events where I meet with fans. Manufacturer of dietary Supplements is organizing the stand where are my photos and where I sign autographs, where people can come and meet me. Then I have to publish a post, so I use their social networks to promote the product. The company looks at who you are and what can be useful.

I have the second contract that I signed 4 years ago, with monthly payments. I work as a model, and do the same thing — promote the company in his instagram, on Facebook. The company produces sports stuff.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

Now I have no alarm quietly get up at 6 o’clock in the morning. The first thing I do is go to the gym: go to the track, work out abs and do cardio to sweat and burn a few calories. Then the first meal, then I respond to emails.

The first meal I have looks like this: 12 protein and 2 whole eggs. People watching: here’s Breakfast. And I look: carbohydrates, fats, proteins. For me it is not food, just calories. When I travel — and I travel a lot, bought ready meals, the company of my friend from Texas, which deals with the delivery of such food. You just throw them in the microwave for 30-60 seconds and they are ready. My approach to vitamins and minerals. There are vitamins that you can get from food, and there are those who do not get it. With Breakfast I take supplements for digestion, for the heart, for maintaining muscle volume.

At work I prefer to keep on hand a jar of protein instead of carry a chicken or meat, and simple carbohydrates — rice cakes. When there’s no time even to warm up their food, I quickly made myself porridge with baby rice and sweet potatoes. I mix two different carbohydrate and add a little protein.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

Reminds me of the mess of the Soviet Union. My daughter, by the way, such compounds are not fed, mom feeds her breast.

My life has changed: I have a daughter, have your own business. This all happened in the last 5 months. My bride’s name is Nastya, and her daughter’s name is Ava.

“We communicated through instagram and found out that we have many common interests. So we started to communicate more often and poobshalas to the child,” with a smile said the bride of Anton Anastasia Skachkova.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

In 2012, a month before my first competition was a major trauma — continues to Anton. I trained and I jumped the two vertebral discs during exercise. I couldn’t get out of bed for 2-3 weeks. All said, saying, he has gone the distance, his back will never pass. But I still went on stage and took 4th place. Over time, the condition began to improve. I try a lot and give myself a month: if it works continue, if it doesn’t — stop. If I do those things constantly, you feel good.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

My approach to everything, which in English sounds like: “Mind over matter” (“Mind is stronger than matter”). In fact, I can accomplish anything if you put your mind. If I’m in bed and can’t get up, I forced myself to get up, I know that I will get up, go what I can do.

To open the gym I always wanted. Always wanted to have something of their own, to teach the people, wanted a place where I can feel comfortable with and train. And here right before my daughter was born, I wrote friends — they know I also want to open the gym as they are.

“Initially the idea was to create a dedicated room for speakers, athletes, — says Elena Panina, co-owner of Gee Gym. — We set the stage to prepare for the competition. We have 24/7 access to the gym, a special light for photo shoots. We tried to make the family situation, make every customer feel at home.”

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

Our concept is this: man is signed and we have to be here to sign it — continues to Anton. After that, as club members, we do not need them. Man comes into the room, he has his own key at any time to train and do what I want here. People say they’ve never seen anything like it. Customers already more than we expected.

“Most of the clients became members of our club because Anton is a well-known personality in the sports world, he has a lot of fans, — says Elena. — There are those who only came because they’re fans of Anton”.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

My clients see how I train and it’s already half-solves the problem with their motivation — continues to Anton. I give them the push that they need. I create an idea how you can promote a hall, negotiate with photographers, writing to customers, consider how to advertise and with whom.

When I started, I wanted to have my name brought me money, not a career. The same thing we want to do with the audience. To the name of the hall we were making money. While we opened a month and just think, what ideas one can invest here to have a good profit.

'Все говорили, что у меня не получится': как иммигрант из Беларуси стал известным бодибилдером в США

Photo: scenes video voice of America

I was told that I can not become a professional, that I will not be on the cover of the magazine that I’m not going to sit here and make money at it. All I have has come true — I was told that will not work. I just wore headphones and listened to nobody. Even the parents said it would be better if I became a lawyer. Now my mom is the first person who goes to the store, buys a cover with me, comes to work and says, “This is my son”.

We must listen to only yourself and all.