NPC Fresno Classic: These trophy wives are a body of work

Ripped by Rivas Training Center owner/trainer Sal Rivas is flanked by figure competitor Julie Gallardo (far left) and bikini competitor Lore Ceballos (far right). Behind him is physique competitor Janet Guzmán.
Ripped by Rivas Training Center owner/trainer Sal Rivas is flanked by figure competitor Julie Gallardo (far left) and bikini competitor Lore Ceballos (far right). Behind him is physique competitor Janet Guzmán.

Watch out, the trophy wives are on the prowl.

▪ Julie Gallardo would rather compete in a different bodybuilding category, but is settling for the figure competition.

▪ Lore Ceballos wants a sword, which goes to the best of show.

▪ Janet Guzmán – who trimmed 100 pounds in about four years – has the coveted International Federal of BodyBuilders (IFBB) pro card she pocketed last November in Singapore, but wants to keep pushing herself.

Gallardo and Ceballos will be among 200 competitors in Saturday’s (April 27) NPC Fresno Classic at the Fresno New Convention Center. Guzmán, who is also a trainer, will compete in San José in June.

The three train at Ripped by Rivas Training Center in Visalia.

Guzmán, a 35-year-old mother of three whose husband is a special education teacher, lives in Tulare.

Five years ago, she weighed 220 pounds and admits to having had an eating disorder.

Four years ago, she hooked up with Rivas and began training and changing her eating habits. She met the trainer through a friend, and he convinced her to give bodybuilding a try. She had no intentions to compete in a bodybuilding show.

Guzmán, a social worker who retired in January after 19 years, remembers her first competition.

“I totally sucked!” said Guzmán, who prefers to compete away from home.

Last November, she earned the coveted pro card in Singapore. Last year, there were only 89 of those cards given out worldwide last year.

“We have the only woman with a physique pro card in Visalia!” said Rivas.

The pro card means she will compete only against the best now, and there are monetary rewards.

“It’s a huge reward,” said Guzmán, who has had two C-sections. “It’s awesome that I got it.”

The Dinuba High graduate earned a degree in social work and education. Her life changed when she decided that being overweight was not a good choice.

“You can’t take care of someone if you don’t take care of yourself,” she said.

Her husband was hesitant at first about her competing but changed his mind quickly.

How about eating healthy?

“It’s a challenge. It’s definitely not easy,” said Guzmán, who is 5-4½ and weighs 148 pounds.

She admits to having a sweet tooth, but “carbs is what my body craves.”

Ceballos has her eye set on a sword

Ceballos, who won her bikini category at last year’s NPC Fresno Classic, is hungry for the best of show which goes to the top bikini competitor regardless of division.

“I want to bring a sword home,” said the 33-year-old Tulare resident who will be in her eighth competition. This will mark her third Fresno event.

She is happy competing in the bikini division. “It’s more me,” said the mother of two.

Her husband is a police officer.

“The competition was new to both of us,” said Ceballos about her husband’s initial reaction to her competing. “Now, he’s super supportive.”

Ceballos is 5-4 and weighs about 125 pounds, but drops to 115 pounds for the competition.

A 2004 graduate of Parlier High, Ceballos never got involved in sports. “I never lifted weights before I got here,” she said.

She heard about Rivas from one of her sisters and decided to go for it.

“I needed to do something for myself,” said Ceballos, who has competed in Las Vegas, Miami and Hayward.

Her goal is to win an overall title and the sword that goes with it.

“I know exactly where the sword is going to go,” said Ceballos, who has space on her trophy shelf at home.

Once the competition is over, Ceballos plans to take a 2-year break because of the grind of eight competitions in three years.

Nursing student ‘hooked’ on competition

Gallardo, a 30-year-old nursing student from Dinuba, began bodybuilding 4½ years ago. She has placed among the top two in her last two competitions.

“I needed something more to push me,” said the mother of three. Up until then, she worked out on a regular basis but felt she was missing out.

At 5-feet, 110 pounds, Gallardo easily develops muscle, which is why Rivas determined she’d be better in the figure competition. She finished among the top 10 in the nation at a Las Vegas competition in one of her first competitions.

“It got me hooked,” said Gallardo, a 2006 graduate of Dinuba High.

“My goal is to finish school and become a nurse,” she said. “Getting a pro card would be awesome.”

Her husband, a corrections officer with the state, “has always been a supporter.”

‘Women are more coachable’

Rivas’ training center will have 23 competitors at Saturday’s show, of which 20 are women.

“Women are more coachable,” said Rivas. “They don’t have that nonsense of ‘I know everything.’”

Men, said Rivas, “are stuck in their ways and think they know everything.”

Succeeding is easy, he said, as long as the women and men “listen to me.”

“I’ll get them to where they need to go,” he said.

2019 NPC Fresno Classic

When: Saturday, April 27, 2019

Where: Fresno Convention Center, 848 M Street, Fresno

Time: Prejudging at 9 a.m.; finals at 6 p.m.

Cost: $30 for prejudging; $35 for finals

Competitions: Bodybuilding, bikini, figure, men’s and women’s physique, classic physique