©Jack Fritscher. See Permissions, Reprints, Quotations, Footnotes
I wrote this feature article as a kind of stunt to pump up in a straight legit physique magazine the very private muscle-affair Jim Enger and I ran as lovers for almost three years in my bedroom. People often ask me if Jim Enger is the basis for the character of “Kick” in my novel, Some Dance to Remember. The book is fiction.
Jim Enger, a California bodybuilder from Alabama, recently won the first physique competition he ever entered At 5-7, and 178 pounds, Enger took his first contest “hands-down” according to judge bodybuilder Rod Koontz. The AAU Junior Mr. Iron Man contest was sponsored by Roger Metz at Oceanside. Enger also won the trophy for Most Muscular.
An instant crowd pleaser, Enger was invited back to Oceanside to guest pose with black physique star Tony Pearson. Roger Metz knows how to pump excitement into his fast-paced physique contests.
NO OVERNIGHT SUCCESS
With past experience in the Florida gym business, Jim Enger is now a successful Los Angeles general contractor, who divides his time between LA and San Francisco. He has coached bodybuilders. He designs and constructs buildings. Both require his eye for size, definition, and proportion. Enger feels a tape measure is more important to him as a contractor than as a bodybuilder.
To him, a man’s ‘look’ in the mirror, like his ‘command presence’ in person is better judge than any tape. His theory works in practice. His physique, like his buildings, projects a certain “look” achieved through pumping iron since he was a serious teenager. His family, in fact, still lives in the house Jim designed at the age of twelve.
BEST BODY PARTS
Enger’s favored body parts are also his competitive strong points: arms and calves. At his second contest, the 1979 AAU Mr. West Coast in San Jose, Enger placed secondafter first-place winner John Brownand literally walked off with the trophy for Beat Legs in nine states. Jim had long considered entering physique competition, but waited until he lookednot measuredas he wanted.
MOTIVATION: FEELING GOOD
Of the current physique champs, Jim salutes without reservation the polished, but severe and brutally masculine, presentation of Mike Mentzer. Mentzer’s “look” is one of several that motivate Enger’s heavy training. He is as “up” on his muscle work as he is on his contracting work. Jim dedicates himself totally to what he feels good about. He maintains high-energy and high-intensity motivation!
He finds his family and friends supportive of his special need for gymtime, diet (he grazes six times a day), sleep, and recreation as authentic as his Harley Sportster.
“Bodybuilding,” Jim says, “takes eight days a week of discipline; some sense of the joy of muscle; and some lucky genes in your jeans. Heredity counts for a lot.”
His recent contest victories have added further motivation to push the building of his body as far as it can go.
Often asked about competing by men figuring their own contest chances, Jim, no longer a novice, suggests: “A man should attend regional contests. He should pick up on the feel. He should begin to get a confident handle on his own size, definition, and symmetry. He should check out in the mirror and with cameras to see if his own ‘look’ is closing in on presenting to the audience the ‘look’ they expect of a competitive bodybuilder.”
PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE
Jim Enger is goal-oriented. He works hard on his posing presentation to insure that his private gymtime “reads” effectively in the hot lights of public competition. His personal pursuit of excellenceeven more than any contest datemotivates his driving his maroon Corvette off to the gym for his four-day-a-week split routine. That routine, about eight weeks before a contest, kicks into six days a week. Special diet changes coincide with his beefed-up workouts. “You can’t,” Enger says, “get out what you don’t put in.”
“But,” he says, with the blond mustached grin of the Marine PT instructor he recently was, “forget about chasing bigger and bigger size for its own sake. You can’t flex fat. Work on defining muscle with cuts, vascularity, and overall proportion.”
QUESTIONS? ENGER’S ANGLES
Jim Enger, front to back, has a serious body: absolutely serious arms, truly serious abs, very serious calves. Yet he smiles easily. If a man asks him for advice he handles the questions with answers that have worked for him. Enger is a man whom other athletes find easy to approach. He fields requests for physique coaching like a pro.
“Hey man!” a guy asked Enger at Metz’s gym, “How long have you looked like that?”
“Just today,” Jim said. His body, like his philosophy of life is a savored celebration of the moment existing right now. He smiled then repeated, “Just today.”
Both men laughed and then spent a good dozen minutes as Jim shared some real stuff on diet and the art of championship physique maintenance.
Editor’s commentary: in late-breaking news, Jim won the Mr. Western California AAU title for 1979 in which he also whipped away with three trophies for the Most Muscular, Best Legs and Best Abs awards. A training story will appear in a future issue.
© Jack Fritscher