Bodybuilding can sometimes seem like a different world.
The average person is flipping through channels, comes across a fitness competition on ESPN2 and can't believe someone can look like that.
There isn't much thought about the hard work and dedication necessary to get a body to look that way or to the stories behind those competitors and how far they've come. Shayne and Kate Cahill, the lead trainers for Team Asylum, know all about these stories because they have 18 individuals training who each have their own.
"We called it Team Asylum because you have to be crazy to do this kind of thing," Shayne Cahill said. "It's been amazing to watch the transformations because this group is so tight."
Ken Collins has been the prototypical success story under Team Asylum. When Collins began working with the Cahills and Progress Personal Training, he weighed 318 pounds. Now, only weeks away from his first bodybuilding competition, Collins is down to a lean 190 pounds.
Shirley Madera, who was one of the advocates of starting a new fitness team, began working with Progress Personal Training about three years ago. In that time, she has lost more than 100 pounds, going from 260 to 133. She also will be competing this month at the Greater Gainesville Championships on Oct. 18.
"Working with Team Asylum had me not only a better person, but a better mom and a better wife as well," Madera said. "I am kind of nervous (to compete), but I am really looking forward to it."
It would be easy to not expect much from this group of amateurs, most of whom have never competed on stage before. However, Shayne Cahill is surprisingly confident in his team and even foresees a time when the goals will be much larger.
"I actually am very confident that we are going to come home with some trophies," Shayne Cahill said. "I feel like a father whose kid is going to come home with the MVP."
Not all of the members of Team Asylum are new to bodybuilding. Shane Tarbox has been competing regularly for some time and came away with the titles of 2008 National Physique Committee Central District Light-Heavyweight and Overall Champion during a competition in Plant City in June. He also took second place at the NPC Typhoon Bay Bodybuilding Championships at Gaither High in September.
James Sposato, the team's oldest competitor at 46, competed at the Southern States Bodybuilding Championships this year and won the 2006 Debbie Kruck Classic Over-40 title. Michael Cardillo is the 2006 Masters Champion.
As long as they work hard, young members do well at Team Asylum, too. Madera's daughter, Ariel, 15, also works out with the group and is planning to compete in multiple fitness competitions in 2009. Shayne Cahill doesn't have any problem with getting youths involved if it's done correctly.
"I've been working out since I was 12 years old," said Cahill, 37. "I would recommend that people wait until they are at least 15 years old before they start pushing significant weight, but if it's done right, it can be a great experience."
There is a level of excitement and nervousness bubbling under the surface as the Greater Gainesville Championships near, and a great experience is what most members of this group have had as they've trained as a team the past four months.
"I've never done anything like this before," team member George Martins said. "As far as the experience itself, I am really looking forward to it, and I think it will be a lot of fun."
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