TRADING PLACES

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Bodybuilding is going mainstream — at least for an hour of prime-time television. On an upcoming episode of ABC’s “Wife Swap,” a “trophy-winning professional bodybuilder who encourages competition and demands perfection from her family” swaps lives with “a family of little people who refuse to take life too seriously and strive to be average.” The episode will air Monday, January 15, at 8 p.m. eastern standard time.

Ohio bodybuilder/figure competitor Melissa Johnson, 33 (2006 Ms. Northern Natural USA), her husband, Scott, and their three boys, Kane (13), Kohl (12) and Kolin (10), will be on the show, as Johnson swaps places with Diane Allemon, to live with Diane’s husband Bernie and their two kids in Michigan. Under the premise of the show, two families with very different values are chosen to take part in a two-week long challenge; the wives from these two families exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover just what it’s like to live another woman’s life.

According to a press release from ABC, Melissa is obsessed with working out, appearances and winning. Teaching her children that perfection is everything, she demands that they get straight A’s, encourages competition between the boys, and even sets out “perfect” clothes for them to wear each day. They are seldom rewarded for their hard work and long for simple items like cell phones.

Meanwhile, the Allemons scorn the idea of perfection and prefer to celebrate being average. They go with the flow and try to enjoy each day without stress. Bernie uses his small stature to his advantage and takes side jobs in entertainment and promotions, donning costumes to play leprechauns and sport mascots. Diane thinks life is too short to “sweat the small stuff” — she never puts pressure on her kids to do well in school, sets no bedtime and saves the household chores for another day.

Sure, bodybuilding fans may have to suffer through some of the typical stereotyping of our lifestyle during the program, but it could well be worth checking out. And for more on Johnson (pictured on the home page with her trainer Dave Liberman, and above winning the Ms. Northern Natural USA), visit her online at www.melissajohnsonfigure.com.

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