Debra Amelio-Manion explains what life is like in a family of bodybuilders

Debra Amelio-Manion explains what life is like in a family of bodybuilders

“Behind all that is successful, there is a strong, powerful woman,” said three-time Fitness Olympia champion Whitney Jones. That statement was an apt way to describe her guest on a recent episode of Femme Flex Friday. The Manion family has been linked to the sport of bodybuilding since the 1970s. Debra Amelio-Manion is the wife of famed photographer and NPC News Online founder JM Manion, and she said their relationship dates back to her childhood.

“I was 15 and my brother told me I had to train. My older brother was training at Manion’s Gym and JM was working there,” she recalled. “We went to the same high school. I was a freshman and he was a senior. My brother told JM to watch over me.

They wouldn’t become a couple immediately, but they started dating and were together for nine years before getting married. Amelio-Manion is also the mother of IFBB Pro League Vice President Tyler Manion. Even when she stayed home and worked as a “home engineer”, she saw the growth of the IFBB Pro League firsthand. There are now 11 divisions in total that feature the greatest physical athletes on the planet. Jones asked her about the most exciting progression during that time, and she was quick to respond in favor of the women’s side of the sport.

“Personally, for me, it’s the six divisions for women. As women, we have something for everyone,” she proudly told Jones. “So we can appeal to every woman, honestly, and that’s the most exciting thing for me.”

Amelio-Manion shared more about how her husband initially courted her back in high school as well as her role in the world of bodybuilding and fitness. Go to or subscribe to the Wings of Strength YouTube channel to catch this episode and all episodes of Femme Flex Friday when they premiere every Friday at 6 p.m. EST.

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