5 Things To Thank My 5 Coaches For, Today

Coach Marc and I at the 2001 IFBB World Championships
Coach Marc and I goofing around at the 2001 IFBB World Championships


I’m a reflective kinda gal.

And, yes, at year’s end it’s not lost on me to reflect.

I’ve been thinking about my Coaches a lot. And so, this one is for the Coaches – my Coaches.


While warming up for my deadlift training yesterday, a young guy approached me and said, “Do you compete?”

“Yes.” I stated, smiling. “In powerlifting”.

He nodded, “You are very strong.”

I smiled, again. And, as he walked away I remembered another time when I was asked a very similar question.

“Have you ever thought of competing?” a local gym owner asked of me.

“Competing in what?” I queried.

“Bodybuilding!” was her response.

That dialogue occurred twenty-three years ago.

At that time, I was told that once I competed in bodybuilding, I would either compete wholeheartedly for years to come, or never compete again.

Guess what happened?

14 years of competing at the highest amateur levels of the IFBB were some of the best experiences of my life.

Flash forward to the last six years of my life and I’ve experienced some incredible competition moments on the IPF powerlifting platform.

It’s not just about competing.

I’ve often talked about how –for me – it’s about the people.

And, if it weren’t for a specific group of people – MY Coaches – I would not be where I am today.

As I take stock of 2016 and all that I’ve learned, I want to give kudos to the Coaches who’ve taught me over my years in the Iron Game.


The 5 things that I am thankful my Coaches taught me:

Thank you for…

  1. Telling Me It Would Be Hard –and it was! I vividly recall my preparation for my first bodybuilding contest. Upon committing to the concept, I truly had no idea what was in store – remember, the year was 1993 and I couldn’t just ‘google’ bodybuilding contest prep! I went about my training and diet (written out on a piece of three ringed note book paper) and hoped for the best. When I finished my school year, I returned the gym in my hometown and met with my coaches, Janice and Andrew Box. I was on track. We were 12 weeks out and it was time to add “cardio” to my regime. No big deal, right? Ha! My enthusiasm quickly diminished and within a few weeks I was draggin’ my ass – just as I was supposed to be. To say that my first contest prep was difficult would be an understatement. It was hard – and my coaches warned me it would be! Did I let it discourage me from pressing on, or competing again? Well, you know the rest of the story …


  1. Telling Me That I Could Do It –especially when it was hard! The art of coaching is something that I continue to learn. Understanding how to coach each individual athlete under ones tutelage is an extremely difficult endeavor. How is an athlete motivated. How does an athlete best learn. What does an athlete need from the coach. Each coach that I was privileged to learn from was different, yet each of them spoke to me – figuratively speaking – in the way that I best responded. Whether it was a moment of praise, motivation, instruction, correction or, even managing a meltdown (thank you bodybuilding), my Coaches somehow knew exactly what to say and what to do. Their collective belief in me stands as one of the all-time most important pieces of my journey in the Iron Game.


  1. Providing Me With The Best Programming. My Coaches shared their knowledge, expertise and sometimes just their ideas with me. They crafted plans and programs, reviewed and revised those programs and troubleshot –a lot)! I put my trust in them, and I reaped the benefits of their talents.


  1. Setting an Example. Each of my Coaches has not only been a coach, but also a mentor. Coaches can come and go, but mentors are few and far between. How lucky have I been to have had the Coaches and mentors in my life. Their abilities to Coach as they did, propelled me toward my own career in coaching. They taught me how to impart knowledge, how to guide, how to become better. And, importantly, they had gone before me in the process, and set an example for me as something to aspire to.


  1. Teaching Me How to Become Masterful. Whether posing on the bodybuilding stage, or performing a Romanian Deadlift in the gym; squatting for sets and reps, or accomplishing a PR on the powerlifting platform, mastery might be elusive, but it’s the ultimate goal, and it is so rewarding. And, it’s what drives me to continue my journey in the Iron Game.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my coaches more specifically.

Thank you…

Penny Gordon, my first basketball coach, for teaching me and encouraging me toward my strengths. As a 12 year old, ‘four foot eleven’ point guard that meant penetrate, and dish! To this day I realize that I am doing exactly just that – metaphorically speaking. I seek out knowledge and experts and then “pass” that information back to my Iron Sisters™ community. Thank you for instilling this strength in me, Penny.


Andrew and Janice Box, my first bodybuilding coaches, for introducing me to the sport that shaped the rest of my life. I learned how to train, how to eat, how to change my body composition and how to perform onstage. As a young 20 year old, I owe my love of black coffee to Janice, (not an unimportant thing in the grand scheme of life), and the joy of posing and perfecting my presentation to Andrew. I became the Champion I was, because of you both. And because of this, I gained my belief that the bodybuilding stage – and now the powerlifting platform – is for everyone. Thank you Janice, and thank you Andrew.


Marc Sauvestre, my ‘next level’ bodybuilding coach, for sharing the art and science of training with me and encouraging me to share it with others. Thank you also for giving me the chance to stand onstage with the best in the world. We won National Championships, but more importantly, we celebrated the accomplishment of implementing our plans en route to the stage. I have more memories than photos of these experiences, but that is truly all I need. Merci, Marc.


Kimberly Walford, my powerlifting coach, for teaching me the mindset of a champion in every nuance of our training. We’re only 2 years into our relationship, but I have learned so much about gaining strength and becoming a better powerlifter from Kimberly, that it rivals my entire twenty-three year learning curve in the Iron Game. I continue to be excited for where we are headed next! Thank you for your unwavering belief in me, Kimberly.


If you’ve hung around me for awhile, then you’ve heard me say this before: My high school basketball coach Peter Ewing – who also instilled unwavering belief in me – preached, “A long time after you’ve forgotten the scores, you will remember the people.”

As we wrap up 2016, and as you do some reflecting and remembering, don’t forget your Coaches.

Have you thanked your Coach(es) lately?

Remember, the thought DOESN’T count!

Thank them, just like I did, today.

Or, as Coach Dan John writes in 10 Skills For Any True Coach, “Take a Moment to Appreciate Those Who Came before You: Thank your folks, thank your coaches. They won’t be around forever. Leave a legacy and make a difference.”



Frances Manias, Physique Coach© and Iron Sisters™ founder, has been coaching physique, fitness, powerlifting and performance for nearly 23 years. No one in Canada has won five National Bodybuilding Championships AND two National Powerlifting titles, nor represented Canada in both the IFBB World Bodybuilding Championships (7 times) and IPF Powerlifting Championships (twice). Frances is most proud however, of the efforts and successes of her clients. Although the bodybuilding stage or the powerlifting platform might not be your cup of tea, Frances believes that success in fitness is for all.