Storm shake-up brings former bodybuilder to town

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 22, 2005

State middleweight champion from ‘00 becomes a personal trainer at local health club.


Sports Editor

LAPLACE– Not many would’ve guessed that a flooded New Orleans could actually make some of our River Parishes residents healthier. But the addition to our local area of New Orleanian Milton Berry may do exactly that.

A former bodybuilder with national competition placements and a string of appearances in noted muscle magazines and on television, Berry has learned the ins-and-outs of fitness and diet and has been lending that knowledge to health club members as a personal trainer. But with the damage and struggling recovery of the New Orleans and surrounding areas, the gyms at which he was instructing have yet to reopen. A Lafayette resident for the last several years, Berry said that he’s just trying to do his part to help in the rebuilding process by returning to work as near to New Orleans as possible. And with family who live in the River Parishes, Berry checked out the area and joined up with Shannon’s Health and Fitness in LaPlace.

&#8220A lot of people from around [New Orleans] came down this way. This is just kind of an opportunity to give a little somethingŠ.”

At 5’3” and 39 years of age, Berry would make a caricature artist ecstatic. His chest is as wide as it is imposing and his shoulders, well, it’s hard to tell where exactly they begin because of his traps. He said that he used to regularly bench press 405 lbs. and squat 550, though he never actually found his max. At one competition during his career, he said, his waist was 27 inchesŠ as were each of his legs.

&#8220Yeah, that was like a perfect proportion.”

Married to Stacey Berry for four years, as of March he made sure to point out, Milton said he took up bodybuilding more out of curiosity and hobby than anything else.

&#8220I been working out for years. But I got serious about five years ago. I just wanted to see how I would look. From there I just went straight into it.”

He developed quickly in the world of bodybuilding, going from regional shows such as the Greater Gulf States, where he took the overall winner in ’96, to the national stage where he placed fourth in the NPC national competition in ’01. He has appeared in magazines such as Flex, Ironman, Muscle Mag and has been in competitions broadcast on Fox Sports and ESPN. But he said he got out of it after the ’01 NPC show because the national competitions are too demanding.

&#8220That last show really took it’s toll. You have to live for it. And it’s like, you wind up neglecting your family and things. I met up with my pastor, [Rick Carter] out in Lafayette. He showed me a whole lot.”

Berry said that he grew up on the West Bank and graduated from L.W. Higgins where he was involved with football, track and wrestling. His mother, Abergaile Bowman, lived near Elysian Fields before the storm and had relocated to Memphis with his stepfather Murphy Bowman, who passed away this week.

&#8220He came to my first show that I won,” Berry said of his step-father. &#8220When I was on-stage, through all these people I saw him. This is a tall grey-haired man I’m talking about, You just couldn’t miss him.”

But it was his mother that encouraged him to be athletic.

&#8220She started me off with it. She taught me how to play football man. And how to do push-ups.”