I Vant To Pump You Up

By Alex Suskind

Published September 02, 2009, issue of September 11, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former weightlifter, once said this about body fat and exercise: “It’s simple. If it jiggles, it’s fat.”

Effi Kivelevitz
COURTESY OF IAFBB
Effi Kivelevitz

For Effi Kivelevitz, extra adipose is one thing he does not have to worry about.

Kivelevitz was named the overall winner of the Israeli Amateur Federation of Bodybuilding’s Mr. Israel 2009 contest on August 22. He began entering bodybuilding competitions only two years ago.

Born and raised in the United States, Kivelevitz is a former yeshiva bokher who attended Jewish schools in Pennsylvania and in New York City.

“I wasn’t a very religious yeshiva bokher. I was observant — I studied for a few hours every day, [and] in the afternoon we had secular study,” Kivelevitz told the Forward.

Although he exercised regularly, Kivelevitz didn’t get into competitive bodybuilding until he met former Israeli Olympic bodybuilder Amit Sapir, who became Kivelevitz’s training partner and created a weightlifting and dieting program for the future Mr. Israel winner. (His workout plan for this year’s competition consisted of a strict diet as well as workouts of two and a half to three and a half hours, six days a week.)

Kivelevitz, who still prays daily and attends synagogue once a week, had this to say about the crossover between religion and weightlifting: “With religion, you have a structure in life, and I was able to translate that into my training…. It is the same way that when you are observant, you can’t eat certain foods… so I was used to those types of restrictions and I was able to translate it into getting ready for a show.”

The 34-year-old Kivelevitz is now hoping to compete in the United States. To keep up his winning ways, perhaps he can take note of more Schwarzenegger words of wisdom from an exchange in the 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian.” When the Mongol General asks: “What is best in life?” Conan responds: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.