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Mark Ottobre and Janet Kane: What it takes to be a Champion Figure Competitor

At 43, Janet Kane is one of Australia’s most successful female bodybuilding competitors. Her coach Mark Ottobre, is fifteen years her junior.

Mark and Janet share a drive to achieve what has not been achieved and the parallels that can be drawn between them are uncanny. Some might call them driven, obsessed or ruthlessly dedicated, but the bottom line is where others see impossible, Mark and Janet see possible.

janet kane

Here, Mark and Janet give insight into a unique coaching relationship that is shared by far and few.


I first met Janet Kane training. She was doing bicep curls and my training partner at the time went over to correct her form. Janet introduced herself and quickly mentioned that she was training for her first comp. I wished her luck and went on with my training. That was in 2006.

2007 was an interesting year. Both Janet and I were competing at the same show. With our legs up against a wall, chilling out backstage, I playfully started to suggest Janet didn’t train hard and it was easy for her. I must have sparked something in her, because very quickly she turned it around and we became training partners.

The next week, we started training together. Having trained and trained with a number of competitors, I thought to myself, ‘lets see how long Janet lasts and if she can keep up’. It wasn’t long until I found Janet had the same mindset and attitude towards training as I did… Leave no stone unturned and always do your absolute best.

Janet and I trained together for a number of years until she came to a point in her competitive career where her training had to be grossly different than mine. It was then when I really took on the ‘coach and trainer ’ role. At the time, I had trained many competitors, but none at the level Janet was at. I started to doubt my abilities of training and programming, but it was Janet who entrusted and encouraged me; “Mark, you know exactly what to do”.

Janet won her second Australian title that year and it removed all doubt in my mind towards my own knowledge and application of how to train a female figure athlete.

Each year as Janet steps up her game as a competitor, I step up my game as a trainer and coach. Janet has travelled the world to compete. I have travelled the world to learn and bring a greater degree of knowledge and wisdom to her training and competitions.

Janet is well on her way to achieving her vision of becoming one of the most decorated Figure Champions of all time. Having won four Australian titles and 3 INBA Olympia titles, she is considered one of the top figure competitors in the country.

I can only think, thank you Janet Kane for believing in my ability. Along the road to any goal you will always encounter naysayers. Well Janet has proved that for all the naysayers, you will never exhaust a flame that is lit by possibility. 


The saying goes, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’.

Janet Kane IBA
Janet Kane, 2006 backstage at her first competition before standing working with Mark


Well that’s our relationship entirely. Mark appeared when my training needed him. I had outgrown my knowledge, and then it appeared in the life form of Mark Ottobre. 

Very quickly we ‘got’ each other, and our mutual purpose to achieve beyond the achieved. We have always been equally committed and I have to giggle at our minds connection. To turn up to training in the same colours, all unplanned of course, was a sign that we were too alike and also very funny. Red on leg days showed our intent! We even understood each other’s limits and capabilities without words. A simple look and our minds were read. It was truly uncanny. This still occurs. 

It is still our intent to grow with our knowledge in performance, both from my training perspective and Mark’s coaching perspective as my constant desire to improve challenges him to seek more. The belief we have in each other is a trust that is earned from respect and results, and so our relationship continues. 

Since beginning as training partners in 2006, to coaching in 2007, the last six years has seen many achievements that I am truly proud of. They are a credit to Mark’s knowledge and both our commitment. 

Natural Bodybuilding is a complex sport. It’s training methods, nutritional and environmental issues are always evolving. 

Women particularly require different methods in all areas, and while some traditional styles may work for some, it is going beyond these styles that both Mark and I seek. His analytical approach to what has worked for me has assisted him in writing the recipe to achieve further. 

Many can achieve a major title and kudos to them, as I know the efforts that go into being the best in your chosen sport; but it is not often that I see athletes coming back year after year. To be the best is one thing, but to improve again and beat yourself when you are at the top is where another challenge lies. Mark has brought this out in me. 

The sport must be a passion, but also a lifestyle to make it sustainable. It’s not an easy one I admit, and that’s why I find it so rewarding. 

I feel very fortunate to have met Mark and challenged him from the outset. It is a connection that has no doubt been the driving force in my competitive journey and figure career. 

Where most people read ‘impossible’. 

We read ‘possible’.

By Mark Ottobre and Janet Kane

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