Muscle Sport Magazine

Mike Heretakis – A Pro Bodybuilder in the Making

There’s an old saying, “Youth is wasted on the young” that does not pertain to everyone. Sure, there are certain people on the short side of 20 that take the easy way out, but Mike Heretakis does not fit into that category. The 18-year-old Commack, New York native made his debut on the bodybuilding stage at the 2009 Mr. and Mrs. Jones Beach USA contest on August 9 and although his placing was not where he had hoped, it did not diminish the preparation and dedication that this young man showed in the weeks leading up to the show.

Competing in the Teen division of the Dan Lurie/Steve Michalik-promoted event, Heretakis finished a surprising fourth where it appeared that he should have been the runner-up at worst. Many a bodybuilder – professional and amateur – have asked themselves the same question when they placed lower than they expected: What exactly were the judges looking for?


There was no runaway winner amongst the young men who competed against one another that day and the ‘old school’ judge’s panel – which included Leon Brown and Anibal Sanchez – would seem to have taken the posing routine into serious consideration. Heretakis’ routine was well thought-out and his transitions were smooth. The 5’11”, 190-pound graduate of Commack High School began his presentation in a pose that was reminiscent of the cover photo of Lurie’s “Heart of Steel” book. It was obvious that this routine was rehearsed, something that is lost on many of the bodybuilders of today. “I practiced it for 45 minutes for the last 35 or 40 nights,” said Heretakis.

Using different poses he learned from reading Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding,” Heretakis impressed by utilizing a lost art in today’s sport. It was no surprise to hear that he was first inspired to work out after seeing “Pumping Iron.”


“I just kept telling myself to relax and not to tense up,” recalled Heretakis when asked what was going through his mind when he stepped on stage,” to do it in one fluid motion and act as nonchalant as possible.” When it came time to announce the placing of the four competitors, Heretakis felt utter disappointment that he did not have his name called.

“I felt like I wanted to give up the sport and never try again,” he admitted. “It was very disappointing. My whole family was there and I was the odd man out.” Heretakis felt that way for only one or two days but even during that period of despair he did not miss any workouts. He was back at the Commack New York Sports Club – where he also works as a personal trainer – the following morning. “That’s my therapy, my release.”


It is a that type of mature attitude that separates Heretakis from the slew of young bodybuilders that have come and gone over the years without making a dent. Where many would have given up, he is using this experience as a springboard for future competitions. He has his sights set on the 2010 New York Metropolitan Steve Stone contest and hopes to compete at least one more time before his teen eligibility runs out. With only two years in the gym, Heretakis – who is entering SUNY Suffolk County Community College this fall – has a world of potential that is still untapped.

His shoulder and back development is ahead of the curve and he brings a visually appealing v-taper to the table. By adding some lower body thickness, Heretakis will ensure himself of less disappointing days. If he was able to use finishing out of the top three as an incentive, he’ll have to find something new to bust out that last rep.


Finishing fourth the first time he donned the posing trunks is not indicative of what is in store for Heretakis. All he needs to do is look at Lurie, who had his own tough outing as a teenager in his rookie show. “I finished last – and it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said the 86-year-old legend of bodybuilding of the 1940 Mr. New York City contest.

There are better days ahead for Heretakis, just as there were for Lurie. Their paths have crossed once and their destinies may do the same.


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