This Saturday, Eric “Fitman” Brown, owner and founder of the Fitman Performance and Physique Center in Roslyn, will make his debut in the professional ranks as a natural bodybuilder.
The event, known as the National Gym Association (NGA) Mr. & Ms. Natural Philly Pro/Am Bodybuilding & Figure Championships, will take place at the Radisson Hotel Philadelphia Northeast (2400 Old Lincoln Hwy, Trevose). Pre-judging for the event starts at 11:00am, and the finals begin at 3:00pm.
For Eric, fitness was a centerpiece of his childhood, and bodybuilding became a source of inspiration to push his own limits.
“I was a skinny, small kid. My dad was a former Penn State offensive lineman during their heyday in the late 1970s, and my brother was an offensive lineman for Villanova in the mid-2000s, so we always had that good natured competition in the home,” Eric said. “My mother is big into football and basketball and my sister developed an interest over time as well. I come from a sporting family with
my mom as the top fanatic.”
“I was also into comic book characters and professional wrestling, so that was part of the motivation. I wanted to look like them,” he said.
After an NCAA track and field career at East Stroudsburg and West Chester universities, Eric needed another way to compete. After discovering natural bodybuilding in 2010, he fell in love with the lifestyle.
Unlike many competitors in the sport, he chose the healthy, natural route and has never engaged in the use of anabolic steroids or prohormones.
“I wanted to do everything naturally and see what I could actually build. I began to see small, physical changes over time, and it gave me confidence. As the small kid growing up I was a target for the jocks and the bullies. The weights gave me a confidence that I did not possess back then,” he said.
He hopes to take that confidence to the Mr. Natural Philly podium this Saturday. As an amateur in 2022, and after 12 years of training, Eric won first place (the overall) at the event to become a pro in the bodybuilding and classic physique divisions. This year, he’s entering the professional division, which promises more competition and steeper rewards.
“Winning that title of Mr. Natural Philadelphia meant the world to me because it was the first goal I ever wanted to achieve in competitive natural bodybuilding,” he said. “It took 12 years, but this sport is all about giving a consistent, quality effort over time. Every year of effort was worth the reward.”
When Eric isn’t training for a competition, he’s helping others reach their fitness goals at his Fitman Performance and Physique Center in Roslyn. He’s been a certified performance and nutrition coach since 2009.
“Personal training started out as a side hustle, but my passion for fitness took over, and I decided to go 100% into that world,” he said. “In 2016 I committed to the process of opening my own facility. We opened our doors in January 2017. Other than the pandemic years, business has been great. We’re coming back even better than before the shutdown. Whether you’re moving forward one inch or one mile, you’re still moving forward.”
Through all the ups and downs, Eric credits his wife, Shekhinah B., as his biggest supporter.
“We first met in Philadelphia on September 15th, 2013. We both have the same goals of continually cultivating our marriage, attaining success, and living life on our terms. She’s been pushing me throughout the process. She keeps me motivated,” he said.
For more on this Saturday’s Mr. & Ms. Natural Philly competition, you can check out the flyer below, or click here. For more on the Fitman Performance and Physique Center, which is located at 1518 Easton Road Unit #10, in Roslyn, you can also check out these videos or visit his website at FitmanClassicBodybuilding.com.