Muscle Sport Magazine

Rusty Russo – A True Inspiration

As Rusty Russo relaxed on the sand a few hours prior to the 2009 Mr. and Mrs. Jones Beach USA bodybuilding contest, he had no problem with the decision he had made. Even with a full year of training and four months of dieting under his belt, he knew that he would walk off the stage for the last time once it was over.

“I’m out here to win today,” he said. “Winning is all well and fine but this is my last competition.”

Coming out ahead is something that is important to Russo, but what he has already endured in life pales in comparison to posing on stage. A three-time cancer survivor, the 60-year-old Long Islander knows a thing or two about winning an uphill battle.


Beginning in 1991, Russo went through a 16-year journey that did not always appear to have a happy ending. “I had three different cancers, they weren’t all the same,” he recalled. “The last one, the lung cancer, was the toughest because I had to go through chemo. But each and every time I kept going back to the gym, kept exercising as much as possible and I wasn’t going to take this lying down.”

Crediting what he called his “team,” Russo gave a lot of admiration to his doctors, nurses, friends and family, especially his wife Wende. “[She] was great about everything,” he said. “She helped me a lot. You can’t do it alone. You need support, and with that support you can battle and fortunately for me I’m standing here today.”


Incredibly, Russo started training for his first show the day he began chemotherapy. 23 months after his surgery, Russo was competing in the 2007 NPC Eastern USA. While that may seem like quite an accomplishment, being clean from any cancer eclipses that. “I’m almost at my five-year benchmark,” Russo said with a deserved smile.

Russo went on to compete in the Masters 50 Plus and 60 Plus divisions and although he may not have left with a trophy under his arm, he received the loudest ovation of the day at the outdoor show when he was given the Survivor Award.


In addition to being an inspiration to us all, Russo is also a certified personal trainer and author. He penned his memoirs of the battles that he won, entitled “Three Strikes You’re In.” The book is available on as well as

Be sure to visit his official website,


I`m a certified personal trainer, training men and women of all ages.  I will train you in your own home or at the gym of your choice.  Also certified in nutrition,  I offer a great weight loss program that won`t leave you starving.  A buddy system, where two people can train during the same session for a discounted price,  is available.  Want to bulk up those muscles or just tone them?  I can help.  Results are guaranteed.  With my training and nutrition program you will feel healthier,  look better and have a more positive general attitude.

(From Rusty Russo’s website)


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