Theresa Ivancik: From cardio freak to champion professional bodybuilder

We are in an era of "mass monsters" for both men and women. The size of many top professional bodybuilding competitors can be astonishing. However, this doesn't apply to Theresa Ivancik (I-Van-Sick), who at 5 to 6 inches and 150 pounds is not small but not as tall as many of her competitors.

Theresa reminds me of someone like Frank Zane, whose strength was excellent aesthetic balance, symmetry, and conditioning that enabled him to defeat much larger competitors. Frank was also a master of presentation, and Theresa worked hard on that. "I have a posing trainer and I love to incorporate a lot of the classic bodybuilding poses from sport history."

That paid off for Theresa. At the Chicago Pro 2020 she not only won the show, but also the Best Poser Award.

"We're all limited by our genetics," she says, "but until you try hard enough, you never know exactly what your limits are."

Success in bodybuilding is a combination of hard work and genetics. You can't change your genetics, but you are in control of how hard you try.

Courtesy Wings of Strength


I grew up as a highly active kid and kept running around looking for something to do. I got my first job when I was 16 and I remember coming home after work and going straight to my room (which I shared with my sister) and doing Tae Bo at 10 p.m. while she was sleeping.

I would even come home and run a run during breaks since I lived so close! It was then that my fitness addiction really started. I just loved how I felt after training! I was on the Butler Sequinette Dance Team in high school and loved every minute, loved to dance, but never did any exercise. Then after graduation I didn't know which career I really wanted to pursue. thing seemed interesting to me at all. My boyfriend got me a job at a local gym at the front desk and I loved it !! I enjoyed the people; The atmosphere and it really didn't seem like work at all!

I was a cardio freak then and I didn't touch any weight and eat very little. One day I was looking through Oxygen Magazine and saw pictures from a competition. I was instantly inspired by the way these girls looked. I figured one day I'll do this, I'll compete !! I wanted to go the distance, I wanted what these girls had !! My vision was to become a professional athlete and possibly have the honor of stepping on the Olympic stage!

THERESAIVANCIK4 Courtesy Wings of Strength

I also wanted to own my own gym and one day be a personal trainer. I finally found something that I was interested in! So I was told to go see this local trainer. Jeff Harlan for doing the competition preparation. I did it, but it wasn't long before he told me to eat. Since I'm a cardio freak and also have bulimia, I thought he was crazy. So I didn't consult him any further. Then in 2006 I started training in my basement on my own for my first competition.

Shortly thereafter, in 2007, I took part in my first figure competition, followed by two more - preparation with tips and information I got from reading magazines and on the internet. I took first place on my first show but still didn't look what I really wanted to look! It was seven years later when I met Coach Jeff Harlan again and told him I was ready to do it! He started training me and over time we developed a personal relationship.

Jeff is still my trainer, but now my friend and fiancé too.

May 2008 was my first big show with a much stricter diet and more intense training. From then on, my friend (the trainer) and I have been together ever since. I got a personal training job with him after he helped me with my certification. Which then led to the fact that we had our own gym, two of the three goals had now been achieved, everything except the Pro card!

In 2010 I decided to do bodybuilding. I loved hitting the weights and I loved the feeling of lifting heavy. The crazy pumps and the harder, intense workouts were extremely addicting. I attended my first bodybuilding show in Pittsburgh at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum.

I also took my 83 year old grandfather Pete Ivancik to compete in the Mr. Pittsburgh Masters over 80 class for the first time. It was so rewarding to see his face light up as he won the title and held up the huge trophy and most inspirational plaque. That day changed his life forever. It brought out a different aspect of his personality in him, something I had never seen! We both shared this phase together for our first bodybuilding competition !! He kept pumping and training with weights until the end of his life.

THERESAIVANCIK1 Courtesy Wings of Strength

We lost my grandfather at 91, but I'm still motivated and inspired by his example.

Bodybuilding has changed my life in many ways. From the people I've met to the places I've been. I am here to inspire others and help them achieve their goals that they once thought were impossible! I am living proof that you never really know what is possible. ! It mainly depends on how much you want it!

After doing several shows and learning more about nutrition and exercise, I hired my current trainer Brian Hoydic in 2016. Together we achieved my third goal and I am now a professional IFBB bodybuilder !!! In 2019 we won my second professional show at the rfolk Pro and took six places in the world at the Rising Phoenix World Championships. Then, in 2020, we won my third pro show, received another invitation to the Rising Phoenix - and are now qualified for the 2020 Olympics and the return of the Woman Olympics!

My next journey starts here, now with a new goal: to be the best in the world one day !!!! I learned not to follow my dreams, but to chase them! You get a life make sure you live it to the fullest every day!

I would like to thank the IFBB Professional League and my sponsor Wings of Strength !!! Thank you Jake Wood, Lenda Murray, Alina Popa and the entire Wings of Strength crew for making all of this possible! What you have done for female bodybuilding and the sport has been amazing! We all appreciate that you give us the opportunity to fulfill dreams and inspire the world!

A vision is the art of seeing the invisible! Believing in yourself is the first secret of success!

Theresa's website:

Competition / Events:

  • 2020 - IFBB Chicago Pro - 1st place - Olympic Qualification 2020 - Best Poser Award
  • 2020 - Sponsored Wings of Strength Athlete
  • 2019 - IFBB Rising Phoenix World Championships - 6th in the world
  • 2019 Rising Phoenix - Top 5 Best Posers
  • 2019 - IFBB rfolk Pro - 1st Place - Qualified for Rising Phoenix 2019
  • 2019 - Sponsored Wings of Strength Athlete
  • 2018 - Model for the below we are women - published book
  • 2017 - Model for Wings of Strength music video - Legacy Woods
  • 2017 IFBB Arizona Pro - Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix World Championships
  • 2017 BC3 College Honored Guest Speaker - rm Breaking Sociology Course
  • 2017 - IFBB rfolk Pro - 2nd place - Qualified for Rising Phoenix 2017
  • 2017 - Filmed pilot for "Buff Dynasty"; Reality TV show with Lenda Murray
  • 2016 - NPC Miami Nationals - Heavyweight - 1st place - IFBB PRO CARD
  • 2016- NPC Mid Atlantic Grand Prix - Guest Poser
  • 2016 - Pittsburgh Sports-Line Channel 21 television show
  • 2016- NPC rth American - Physique - 8th Place Pro Qualifier
  • 2016 - NPC USA Championships - Heavyweight - 2nd place Pro Qualifier
  • 2015 - NPC Miami Nationals - Heavyweight - 2nd place Pro Qualifier
  • 2015 - NPC IFFBB rth American Heavyweight - 1st Place Pro Qualifier
    2015 - NPC IFBB rth American - Physique - 4th Place Pro Qualifier
  • 2014 - NPC Great Lakes Championships - Guest Poser
  • 2014 - NPC USA Championships - Heavyweight - 3rd Place Pro Qualifier
  • 2014 - NPC Pittsburgh - Heavyweight - 2nd Place National Qualifier
  • 2014 - NPC Perfect Posing DVD - model for female bodybuilding
  • 2014 - Featured Female Bodybuilder Role - Mike's Hard Apple Ale Commercial
  • 2013 - NPC rth American Heavyweight
  • 2011 - Honored guest speaker at my 10 year class reunion
  • 2011 - NPC Bill Grant Classic - Heavyweight - 1st place and overall winner
  • 2011 - NPC Junior Nationals - Heavyweight - 5th place
  • 2011 - NPC Pittsburgh - Heavyweight - 2nd place
  • 2010 - NPC Pittsburgh - Heavyweight - 3rd Place
  • 2008 - NPC Pittsburgh - Figure - 6th place
  • 2008 - NPC Upper Ohio Valley - Figure - 3rd place
  • 2007 - WNSO Fame World Tour - illustration
  • 2007 - NPC Mid Atlantic Grand Prix - Figure - 2nd place
  • 2007 - NPC Pennsylvania Championships - Figure - 1st place

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