In 1985 Wayne McDonald completed an intensive Applied Science Degree at Victoria University in Melbourne (Australia) studying every element of muscle growth. His graduating research paper to the university was, in fact, the world’s largest research on muscle growth and body composition in female bodybuilders. The study conducted over the last two of his five-year degree gained publication in several journals worldwide and established Wayne as an expert. “My goal at this time, and the purpose behind doing such a massive piece of original research, was to continue study in the United States of America towards a PhD in muscle hypertrophy,” Wayne stated. Getting published research would help him secure the best placing in the ‘publish or perish’ world of academia.
But then, the Australian dollar nosedived against the US greenback and the dream became financially unreasonable. So what was the exhaustive list of opportunities in 1985 one could pursue after obtaining five years of knowledge of how to build bulging biceps? During this time Wayne had been training bodybuilders and also felt impatient at passing on knowledge at the rate of one person an hour. Wayne wanted a vehicle to pass on his unique knowledge. Through magazines, he knew he could touch tens of thousands.
In March of 1987 Wayne McDonald decided to pursue his goal of publishing his own bodybuilding magazine and left Australia for the first time, bound for California and wrote for top bodybuilding and fitness magazines, like Weider's Muscle & Fitness. This gave Wayne the vehicle to meet and get to know the world’s highest profile bodybuilders and identities including Joe Weider and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Wayne interviewed and photographed Mr and Ms Olympia’s. He squeezed in time to include a few up-and-comers, like Lee Labrada. Previously in Australia, Wayne had written for both Australian and English bodybuilding magazines and felt there was room for a better local magazine in Australia. From Melbourne, Wayne received a job offer to manage a government operated fitness centre that he had previously designed while at university. So at 23 years of age, Wayne McDonald returned to Australia, opened the gym and this job financed the launch his own REPS Bodybuilding Australia magazine which ran for six years.
In the role as the publisher/editor of REPS, Wayne realised the true role drugs play in sport. Wayne points out, “I’m not preaching about the obvious multitude of potential health, social and legal problems. Simply, drug use changes the nature of sport and that of competing to a point where for many drug using athletes the challenge and intelligence of competing becomes the drug taking.” He says, “I understand the frustration to improve, which makes an athlete who wouldn’t take aspirin for a headache, buy steroids from a drug dealer. However, I studied physiology not pharmacology, because I love sport.”
Except for three individuals, who without any fanfare, were pushing the natural bandwagon in their own gyms, the idea of natural or drug-tested bodybuilding in Australia was not so much just unheard of, but unthought-of prior to 1991. John Booma from Sydney started running natural contests in his Boomas Gym as far back as 1968. Down in Melbourne, the husband and wife team of Tom and Jane Culic, owners of Tarzan & Jane Gym built their competitions beyond the gym in the late Eighties. For two years they hosted Natural contests like Mr Peninsula, Mr Melbourne and even ran a Mr Australia title – however the shows contained only local (Victorian) competitors.
Three days after running a natural contest in Melbourne during 1990, Tom and Jane Culic disappeared from the Victorian bodybuilding scene. With a small number of natural competitors unsure whether another natural contest would ever run again, the contest photographer Brendan Breen contacted Wayne McDonald and encouraged him to build the natural side of the sport. Brendan pointed out that Wayne was one of few people who could turn “Naturals” into a national concern. Wayne was well known and respected, plus he owned REPS magazine, a vehicle to give the new natural wave in bodybuilding the exposure and awareness it needed to succed.
So the timing was right. When Wayne was encouraged to develop natural bodybuilding in Australia, he was ready to take the challenge and make a difference in the sport of bodybuilding. Wayne relished the opportunity to create an organization, the Australian Natural Bodybuilding Federation (ANBF) from the ground up. On a blank piece of paper he planned a bodybuilding organization calling upon the ten years of experience from training bodybuilders, judging contests, attending hundreds of other bodybuilding shows and receiving a further four years of feedback from the readers of REPS. He was aware, if the sport was to grow, the next step was to build credibility. Wayne wrote a comprehensive drug policy and argued to a reluctant International Olympic Committee (IOC) drug testing arm to step up to the plate and test bodybuilding.
On November 10th 1991, at The Camberwell Centre in Melbourne, the newly established Australian Natural Bodybuilding Federation (ANBF) hosted the first truly Australian Natural Titles. The contest was a massive success, attracting 83 competitors from around Australia and 1300 spectators. Importantly, it was the first contest in Australia to have Olympic standard drug testing of bodybuilding competitors. The Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) had only been formed the year prior and was contracted by Wayne to test the event. This first ANBF contest was a 12-month steroid free event and several competitors returned positive tests for anabolic steroids, diuretics and stimulants. Surprised by the test results, Wayne decided to take a decisive stand on the issues of drugs in bodybuilding and forevermore the ANBF banned all drugs prohibited by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and sanctioned with a life-time ban.
During 1991-1992, the ANBF “natural” status was only 12-months drug-free. Then each year the drug-free requirement increased, until in 1995 when the full five year drug-free minimum standard was reached. The gradual increase of the drug-free requirement was a clever move to reduce scepticism that the ideals of a “drug-free” organization were impossible to achieve in a sport renowned for drug-use. Plus, it gave current and potential users time to consider their path and be able to compete in the new natural movement. For the first time in Australia, young competitors walked into a gym and had two options to take in competitive bodybuilding.
In 1992 Wayne took the first Australian team of five Natural competitors to America to compete internationally. And Australia was immediately a force in drug-free bodybuilding. John Papilia, who had won the ANBF’s first 1991 Natural Mr Australia Title, won the 1992 International World Natural Title in California. In doing so Papilia defeated USA Natural Star Mike O’Hearn, who still graces the covers of bodybuilding magazines and plays Titan on US Gladiators. However, this international event was undeveloped, and basically held in a basketball court, so Wayne devised the World Natural Cup and held the first major international event outside America in Melbourne during 1995. This helped the unity of natural bodybuilding around the world and the development of the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA).
From one contest in 1991, the ANBF quickly expanded to twelve events covering every State in Australia (except NT) and became the country’s largest bodybuilding organization. In 1998 Wayne was officially recognised as the INBA World Vice-President and in 1999 joined with some 20 other countries and changed the name of the Australian Natural Bodybuilding Federation to the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA).
In 1998 INBA created the annual Natural Olympia contest which grows in statue every year as the Pinnacle Natural Title in the world. The first Natural Olympia was held in Greece, in respect to the origins of pure sport and athleticism, and Australian athletes joined 160 others at the inaugural event. Australia’s Keith Bullock, possibly the world’s greatest natural bodybuilder defeated all before him winning the amateur Natural Olympia Champion Title and a week later taking the Professional Natural Universe in Las Vegas. Keith last competed in 2001 winning the Professional Natural Olympia in Honolulu before resigning from competition. Yet even now, the Champ retains his 107kg physique in contest-ready condition year round (and 5% body fat). The INBA Natural Olympia is also unique inasfar the contest travels the globe; been hosted each year in desirable locations like Hawaii and Las Vegas.
The success of INBA was such that by the turn of the last century the emphasis of Australian bodybuilding had made a definite turn towards drug-free competition. In 2003, INBA smashed Australian records by receiving over 200 competitors in their Australian Titles. For a sport where 30-odd competitors is the norm, over 200 participants in an Australian bodybuilding contest is “success” in headlights. Interestingly, in this year and for the first-time, the largest bodybuilding organization in Australia (INBA) recorded more female members (52%) than male members. So much was the growth of females in the sport by 2003 the first female-only bodybuilding event was organized by the then Australian Vice-President, (now INBA Australian President) Tony Lanciano. Every year the All Female Classic produces an amazing event, loved by those who enter and now stands as a unique symbol for female sport. The sport of bodybuilding in Australia since 1990 has changed dramatically. Who would have imagined, that in one decade, male domination in the sport of bodybuilding would be seriously challenged by female competitors, and the advocates of chemical bodybuilding move to the back-seat.
The corner stone of natural bodybuilding is catching and eliminating those who breaches the trust of their fellow competitors. Since 1991, INBA has used ASADA as our independent drug testing body, a relationship that now spans 20 years and stands as one of the longest lasting in Australian sport. In 1994 when WADA (World Anti Doping Authority) came into force, INBA was the first natural bodybuilding organisation to become a world-wide signature to the Code. At our inaugural contest in 1991 two competitors failed and were banned for using anabolic steroids. INBA, year in year out, has ousted anyone who violates our drug free policy. ASADA drug test findings recently published show INBA is the most successful drug detection sporting body in Australia. During the 2008-09 financial year ASADA conducted 7,498 tests over 100 sports resulting in 29 drug test violations been registered. Of those 29 positive tests involving 12 sports, INBA finished at the top of the sporting table recording 10 positives (35%) from our testing. Above the requirements for sanctioning cheating athletes, INBA ban cheats from our stage forever and in 2010 will publish their photos on our Hall of Shame to act as the ultimate deterrent.
In 2009 Australia hosted the Natural Olympia over 4 days on our Sunny Gold Coast. The contest smashed any existing Natural bodybuilding records fielding 352 competitors from 20 countries and proudly run by INBA Australia to a stop-watch program. INBA Australia has maintained an alluring traditional of taking strong and spirited teams overseas to compete against the worlds best. In 2009 the Australian Team of 200 INBA competitors descended upon the Gold Coast forming a sea of green and gold that was breath taking for us to behold. Been part of an Australian Team and wearing the “Green n Gold” overseas or at home is an experience that each and all competitors should experience. In an individual pursuit such as ours, the opportunity to be part of a Team is rare and the feeling is enormous. Make the opportunity one of your competitive goals.
Innovation has been part of the INBA approach to become and remain the world-wide leaders in Natural Bodybuilding. INBA is the largest natural organisation in the world promoting drug free competition in 40 countries and expanding through Europe and Asia. INBA will continue its organic growth, reaching for greater heights and make the sport appealing by evolving, moving with the times. INBA will create more excitement for our competitors, better events to make competing more rewarding. We are happy and grateful to do so for drug-free athletes who represent the stolic aims and ideals expressed in the sport of natural bodybuilding.
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