My name is Roman Footnick. I started at Vince’s when I was very young (around 13 maybe).
My dad lived in L.A. and mom in Houston, so my training consisted of INTENSE summers and every holiday school break for years. During the school year training was sporadic due to sports, but when I was 17 I decided I would compete. By 18 I had won a few local bodybuilding and powerlifting contests (Nick liked how I was stronger than I looked).
More importantly I won texas state and lone star state championships at 18 qualifying me for nationals. I did the NPC teen nationals and placed fourth, and felt great about it. It was during this time period that I learned how pharmaceutical BB was for real.
Vince and Nick always told me, but after meeting the other teens and learning what they were doing, and moving to Venice, training with pros and learning what they were doing, and finally meeting with Joe Weider and learning how little “Pros” earn (while knowing how much they spend to be a pro) I decided to no longer pursue hard core bodybuilding (competition).
I’ve been personal training since I was 16, and now help manage a gym here in Houston as well as teach martial arts. I earned my masters in science, and a license to practice acupuncture and Asian medicine as well. I still train – but its not my life, rather it just adds more joy to my life (barring injury).
To say Vince and Nick influenced my life would be a massive understatement. Unfortunately, I sometimes feel I didn’t take full advantage of their expertise and wisdom. They would harp on at me about getting on that old, rickety, wooden bench and bench pressing more than I should “they just tear pecs”…It did. Or “squats will make your ass big”…they were right again. How ’bout “those guys (’80s-’90s bodybuilders) are just tits and asses…you don’t want that”…I thought I did-but turns out I didn’t.
Being so young I was very naive about the drug usage (by everyone). They (Vince and Nick) would go on and on about this body builder, that athlete, or this actor being on steroids or gh. I specifically remember not wanting to believe Franco (still today my BB/PL idol) ever took anything. I kept telling Nick I could be like Franco (we’re both short and stocky – but strong)…and he would laugh and say “Franco’s so wide he can barely fit through the door”,or “he’s as wide as he is tall” as if it was a bad thing. Of course, he would also tell me all those guys (even the Scotts and Pearls) used drugs. I think I was 16 when I overheard Vince say he wasn’t going to allow any steroid users in his gym-don’t know for sure if it happened-nothing seemed to change from my perspective.
I picked up a few “tricks” in all those years of training at Vince’s. But the most important exercise I picked up from Vince’s was…research, experimentation, and creative thinking. That’s what Vince was all about. I think that’s why he seemed so bitter at times, he KNEW what to do but science, medicine, or whatever could not keep up with his findings and theories.