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 stoic aims and ideals expressed in the sport of natural bodybuilding.
In the last three to four years there has been an explosion of competitors in the ‘Model’ ranks which grew so rapidly that we now have different types of models as in ‘Bikini’ and ‘Fitness’, this has generally led to growth in competitor numbers and audience at competitions across Australia.
In 2010 Ron Ziemiecki joined us after long stints in other Federations, the experience he brought to INBA Australia was immediately felt in many areas. After two years of working side by side with INBA founder Wayne McDonald, Ron finally ascended to the top spot under the title of INBA Australian Events Director whilst Wayne has become increasingly more active overseas in his role of INBA World Vice President.
On a structural level, we are a unique association, the only truly 100% democratic association in the world where the promoters 100% make the rules and decide the future of the association without any interference from the National Head Office whose sole function is to liaise with the International body which consists of just over 50 countries worldwide now.
We are in our 3rd decade of competition and have 8 separate state and territory associations, each has their own internal structure, we meet every year for an AGM where each state or territory has a vote on issues of national importance.
We run in excess of 40 competitions every year in two six monthly seasons with each culminating in a nationally ranked event that qualifies for an international event. Our calendar is structured in such a way that all competitors have the next level of expertise to shoot for until they get to become the best amateur in the world in their particular division. INBA Australia is a very well structured organisation with room to grow and evolve.
Our Australian website is the most visited in the world in our space according to Google Analytics with over 7.79 million unique visitors since July 1st 2010. We have over 27,000 likes on our announcements Facebook page and 5,000 friends on our Chat Facebook page, we have nearly two dozen Facebook pages in total and are very involved in information technology, being the first association to be 100% fully computerised in terms of membership and event registration through our IT partners, iCompete. iCompete/INBA Australia is now a 100% paperless association which is also helping us reduce our Carbon Footprint.
Our competition record is the 2014 INBA Queensland State Championships where 557 individual athletes participated and when you take into account crossover between divisions that worked out at 1,030 individual performances. This was achieved by having a wonderful working committee, meticulous planning and finished exactly on schedule. With true modesty there is simply no denying that Australia is by far and away the greatest natural bodybuilding nation on Earth and we are justifiably proud of that distinction.
iCompete/INBA Australia are a multi focused association where we not only conduct sporting events but also oversee accreditation examinations and teaching, plus work with various groups towards trying to reverse the epidemics of obesity especially in children and diabetes. We launched a new sub-division called ‘Bikini Momma’ which was directly conceived as a carrot to temp mothers back into health and fitness, with the belief that if the mother of a family was eating well and exercising then there was a good chance the rest of the family might follow her example. We also launched the iCompete/INBA Angels to raise awareness and funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia. Our community involvement continues long after the screaming for our loved ones on stage has ended.
We always look forward to a bright future, we're always ready to change course as trends ebb and flow become popular and then fade. There is no absolute set of rules, no views or opinions set in concrete, iCompete/INBA Australia knows well that to continue as number one for the next couple of decades we need to heed to voice of the people and be prepared to accommodate a changing and evolving future. We are armed with the brightest people, we fare-welled some dear old friends, welcomed new life for many of our members who have started their families and the wheels continue to relentlessly churn. Above all else the one underlying sentiment of our founder Wayne McDonald is that we STILL have a level playing field and that will never change.
2016 - iCompete/INBA Silver 25th anniversary
2016 marks our 25th year of consecutive natural competitions and we've got some amazing things happening to help us celebrate. Our Silver Anniversary means a great time to be an iCompete/INBA member. Despite a few name changes over the decades, the core belief that we are all entitled to a level playing field and a determined belief to continue to be the most dominant association in the world has kept us at the top.
Three of the important events that will help us celebrate our 25th anniversary will be the release of iCompete2 which will revolutionize the industry even more than it already has. The major rebuild will be released sometime just after the Christmas, New Year period and will incorporate all of the existing features of iCompete but also include more than you ever thought possible. iCompete2 is the ultimate game-changer - look for news updates prior to the worldwide release.
One of the biggest news stories will be the running of the 2016 iCompete/INBA Australian Championships in Sydney. Way back in 1991 when it all began Victoria was more or less seen as the centre of the universe, well at least for Australians, however in recent years NSW has established itself as a juggernaut state and has won the right to stage the 25th running of the Australian Championships in Randwick on 16th October, 2016. This will be the ultimate event on Australia soil and the best way we can think of to celebrate a quarter of a century of natural bodybuilding and fitness model competitions.
However, as they say in the classics, there is more!!! To truly celebrate as the 2016 year comes to a close, we are going to have a COMP/PARTY in Bali. Yes, Sam Attrill will hook up with Ade Rai for the Bali Paradise Championships two weeks after the Australia on 29th October, 2016 for what will be the greatest invasion of Australians anywhere in the world EVER!!! We have already linked with the most powerful trainers in Australia who have all pledged large teams and we are expecting between 300 to 500 fit and health (and clearly natural) Australian bodybuilders and fitness/bikini models to compete and then to party - long and hard - as we truly finish off 2016 with a BANG!!!
THEN THE WORLD CHANGED FOREVER
iCompete Natural Announcement (Monday January 23, 2017)
The 8 State Presidents and 20 Promoters of INBA Australia are excited to announce today we officially relaunch our Australian organisation, our 50 events around Australia and Season A & B International events as iCompete Natural, using the acronym ICN. Over the coming weeks you will see the rollout of ICN and iCompete Natural branding across our organisation. iCompete Natural is the perfect affirmation every drug-free athlete wants to proudly stand behind and represent. Our longer serving Members know iCompete already as the branding and innovation that has driven our success over the past four years and helped drive Australia as the largest and best natural organisation in the world.
Natural bodybuilding was founded in Australia by Wayne McDonald 26 years ago and iCompete Natural is led by the same person. While iCompete Australia retains all our current Presidents, Promoters, structures, professionalism and commitment to drug free competition, we are expanding globally with overseas Presidents and Promoters who are dedicated to delivering the same experience you enjoy in Australia by adopting our successful blueprint. For 2017, we already have 15 countries committed to promote and run their events as iCompete Natural. The expansion of ICN brings a new and exciting terminology, Muscle & Model World Alliance showing we are capable of equally covering the many types of categories and competitors we cater to. ICN future strategy has been carefully and thoroughly planned to turn our sport and movement into a worldwide powerhouse. $1 million dollars has been invested in our technology development and human resources.
iCompete Natural is a 24/7 international organisation with 8 full time staff in addition to our many extraordinary promoters. www.icompetenatural.com website and social media will be available in 22 different languages. While we already have 13,000 members spread over 41 countries, which has become the world largest fitness social media site. Join instantly at www.icompetenatural.com as social media membership is free and we look forward to seeing your posting and photos. We have a global promotion targeting 10,000 media outlets next month to announce the arrival of ICN that will take fitness anywhere in the world into the future.
ICN is therefore proud to bring you a new concept and title to achieve this June. We have created WANT which stands for World Amateur Natural Titles and are hosting the inaugural event in the most amazing world designer resort in Phuket, Thailand across June 23. 24 and 25. As an amateur title you only need to compete in any ICN 2017 Season A contest to qualify. In addition, we have created a new Professional event called the Southern Universe PRO Championships run in conjunction with WANT so the whole fitness family can enjoy something special together. WANT event details and event registration will be online in February. We thank you for supporting us as INBA Australia in the past, and look forward to delivering so much more now as ICN iCompete Natural.
The story will continue .. .. .. .. ..