Tony Ardolino, 2nd place in the bathing suit competition and wins Mr. Gay USA pageant

Tony moved here from a somewhat small town in Maine with a dream of becoming Mr. Gay World USA.
Even though he made decent progress on training on his own he held back because he was afraid of getting hurt training by himself and needed someone to help bring his physique to the next level.

He was a bit torn between me and another personal training studio nearby in Boonton and saw me training inside and decided to take me up on my personal training free trial.

Some of the obstacles that came up before we even started were neither of us had done this before (some compete year after year) and he only had 2 days per week where he could come and train with me. So I needed to create a customized program that was complete and ruthlessly efficient that would still bring him the kind of results that would make him a contender. There was no room for error or filler exercises.

I had put together a program that in just 2 days per week would cover his entire body.

I knew we had to train:

  • upper-body push (bench press and military press)
  • upper-body pull (chin ups)
  • hip dominant movement (hip thrusts)
  • knee dominant movement (squats).

And I had to have a strategy to progress each of them to bring the best results possible, as fast as possible.

The competition was stiff. We were up against 50 other contenders each of whom had won in their state who also had the same dream and some had resources we didn’t have. Some would spend thousands upon thousands upon thousands on having pageantry coaches, professionally made costumes, and having performers on stage with him.

Tony had me, his work ethic, a wonderful singing voice, his creativity, and a DIY costume he put together himself with things bought at the dollar store.

But I like to think I’m good at what I do, and Tony is a hard worker. He traveled all the way from Andover 40 mins each way and showed up each day ready to bring me his best. Doing this despite the pressures of work and having a princess business (he had to stay in Florida for about a month on a work assignment), going through a breakup, and losing loved ones along the way.

But the program I designed for him gave him significant increases of strength like doing 20 consecutive reps with 15lbs heavier than his previous Bench Press 1RM among other increases in overhead pressing and squatting and full body strength.

Not only did his entire body get much stronger but he developed a balanced and toned physique that won him 2nd place in the bathing suit competition. Beating out Instagram influencers with millions of followers. He even got a modeling contract out of it.

Picture from Tony’s Instagram

The strength increases not only gave him the physique he needed to not just be a contender, but also the self-confidence he needed to be true to himself and win the whole thing.

In truth, I believe it was Tony’s authenticity that won over the judges. Instead of trying to be what he thought they would want, he had the confidence to be himself, to be who he was meant to be…which in the end is what they actually wanted.

Mr Gay usa trains at Eric Moss Fitness
Tony being crowned Mr. Gay USA

Now, he is going to represent the United States taking on the winners of the other countries. He’ll have a team behind him and hopefully, I’ll still be the one in charge of making sure his physique is as perfect as possible.

What comes next? World domination.


Tony has now come back from his trip to represent Team USA in South Africa at Mr. Gay World and I got the debrief from him.

He won all of the physical challenges and went further than anyone representing Team USA had ever gone before. He was just 1/10th of a point shy of winning the whole thing. Sometimes the difference between 1st and 2nd place is due to circumstances outside our control, but we did the best that could possibly be done going the distance and becoming the first runner up.

Tony Ardolino competing in South Africa

“Haha well I won First runner up. Haha by a point of a point. But my body looks great so I couldn’t be happier. Haha thanks team USA!”

Tony Ardolino via text

We went the distance. What’s next? We shall see.

Eric Moss is a personal trainer in Boonton and doubles as a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, and motivational speaker. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.

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