Muscle Sport Magazine

Back from the Brink

Manny Kirby Uses Car Accident as Inspiration for Bodybuilding

This is part of a continuing series provided exclusively by MuscleSport Mag entitled, “This is Your Magazine,” where we profile the every-day athlete. If you would like to see yourself profiled here, please send us your story and photo to

Many kids dream about being as big as the Incredible Hulk, but few actually live it. A young Manny Kirby used to confide to his father about that, and he ended up morphing into Bruce Banner’s alter ego following an incident that was more catastrophic than gamma rays.

12 years ago, the 41 year-old Kirby was involved in a serious automobile accident that left him with a cracked sternum and four cracked ribs (two each in the front and back). Doctors told him that he wouldn’t be able to do anything such involving constant movement such as dancing due to his heart being bruised by his injured ribs.

While some people would have wallowed in their misery, Kirby found a new way while convalescing for over two months. He started reading the writings of Bruce Lee and Mike Mentzer. “Lee’s mental focus on the body astounded me,” recalled Kirby, “and spoke about the mind and spirit.

“Mentzer had the same mental focus, but was more about the mind and pushing beyond your limits,” continued Kirby. “I combined the two and, lo and behold, stepped forth into a gym.”

Kirby – who currently resides in New York City by way of Washington, DC and Minnesota – began training at 135 pounds after losing 15 following the accident. Using all he learned from his readings, he was able to put back on the weight he lost and more, entering his first bodybuilding competition in 1998 at 170 pounds in Minnesota. A 7th Place finish only made him hungry for improvement.

Entering a power lifting competition a year later, Kirby – who currently trains at Steel Gym in Manhattan – placed 2nd and a week later, competed at the Minnesota bodybuilding show again and took home 4th place. Since then, he has competed in six different contests in New York, finishing as high as 2nd on two separate occasions, with the latest being in 2006 at the New York City Department of Parks City-Wide Bodybuilding contest in the Bronx. In his last show, Kirby finished third at the 2008 NPC Empire States Bodybuilding Champions 35 and over category.

With a contest weight of 215 pounds, Kirby – known in some circles as ‘Azifukared – has come a long way since he was hospitalized. While he used to train heavy, he has honed his workout routine a bit. “I’m older now, and I learned from my friend Capriese Murray, who told me I don’t need to train as heavy as I was,” said Kirby. “I have the mass and size, so I don’t need to worry about trying to be so big.”

About as big as a jolly green giant.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *