About Tose Zafirov
Bodybuilder, Mr. Olympia Representative, Businessman, Husband, Father
Bodybuilder, Mr. Olympia Representative, Businessman, Husband, Father
Like any other human being, I have ups and downs. It took me a lot of effort, time, and dedication to achieve this success. Discover the most significant points in my life that shaped me into who I am today.
My journey began on 22.01.1978 in Timjanik, a village in the municipality of Negotino, Macedonia. It’s my place of birth, located in the Povardarie wine-growing region. I hold it dear to this day, so I frequently visit.
I started elementary school in Timjanik but was soon transferred to Negotino, where I finished 8th grade and pursued high school. I finished my education in the Ss. Cyril and Methodius High School in 1996. Even back in these days, I was very active and played football as a center.
Once I graduated high school, I served the regular military term in the army of RM These were also the days when I started dealing with bodybuilding professionally.
Only a year after starting my professional bodybuilding career, I managed to land the Junior Champion title. It took hard work and sacrifice, but the achievement justified everything. Winning for the first time in my career is a feeling I will never forget!
Your first win can either satisfy your desires or open new ones. For me, it was the latter. The first win got me hooked up to train harder, eat healthier, and achieve more. So, it quickly led to another win two years after.
Marrying Gabriela was the best decision in my life, and I remember it clearly to this day. We were young and crazy about each other, but our love developed into something much more over the years – appreciation, understanding, and mutual support.
In 2001, I joined the Special Operations Regiment, the main special operations unit of the Army of North Macedonia. During this time, the unit participated in a series of operations during the military conflict in Macedonia in 2001. I was part of the unit responsible for defending my country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity from foreign hostiles until 2006.
I thought I knew what happiness was. But it seems like I didn’t feel true joy until I got my first son. I had Blaze on the 20th of May, 2002, a date forever engraved in my memory. This event forever changed my life and was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Around the 2000s, I achieved my genetic potential and developed an excellent shape to compete in the heavy category.
In the same year, 2003, I won again, earning the title of Absolute Champion in Skopje, reminding me of my first win ever in Struga.
At this point, I felt the confidence to compete with rivals from outside my country’s borders and went on a regional level. I didn’t win, but I felt like I did. After all, third place was a remarkable title, competing for the medal side to side with the best of the best from the Balkans.
Upon leaving the Special Operations Regiment, I got employed in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Macedonia in the security department as personal security of the Prime Minister of the country, where I stayed until 2010.
I waited so long for my dream to come true, and it did. I opened my first fitness center, Gladiator Gym, in 2006 in my place of origin, Negotino. It was a great opportunity for all my dear friends and acquaintances in the area to work out, improve their health, and achieve success.
I had my daughter, Angela, four years after having my son, on the 21st of November, 2006. I finally felt complete and understood why children are the biggest fortune on this earth. Having a daughter was entirely different than a son and opened another side of vulnerability for me.
Shortly after, I decided to open another fitness center in the municipality of Kisela Voda, Skopje. The capital city held great potential; at the time, the market was not as saturated as today. Many young people were looking for space to work out, and there were not enough high-quality gyms.
What happens when there’s demand and no supply? It was time for the third Gladiator Gym fitness center. Once again, it was in Skopje, only in the municipality of Gazi Baba. Being able to provide a space for all enthusiasts to exercise and prepare for competitions fulfilled me entirely. I went to the gyms every day, and I do so to this day.
Since I was spending so much time in the gyms, it was only logical to compete professionally. And not to mention, that’s my life goal. So, I did it! I won again in the heavy bodybuilding category.
I won not one but two awards in Shtip. I was also titled Absolute Champion, which meant only one thing – it was time for bigger and better challenges.
I conquered my country, so the next step was obvious – I was going to compete globally. I first appeared at the IFBB World Championship in Rome in 2009. I was anxious about the outcomes, and when the results arrived, more than proud of my success.
We worked hard, and our input finally paid off. Our country recognized our efforts and high-quality levels in Gladiator Gym, which we pursue and stick to to this day.
Gladiator Gym was going great. However, I never saw it as a business but more as my passion. So, I decided to expand into other industries unrelated to my life’s work. I started my private freight forwarding and international bus transport business in 2010.
Since I left the Ministry of Internal Affairs, I was left with a lot of skill and free time to utilize it. So, I decided to open my private security agency, National Security, operational from 2011 to 2017.
The business was going well, but I never for a second considered leaving my dream behind. So, I never spent a day without training. I was always preparing, so I returned to Italy at the IFBB championship. Once again, I won third place on an international level.
I got not one but two awards. On a European level, I won second place at the IFBB event in Sapri in 2011, which gave me an even greater boost to continue preparing for the next competition.
Yet another competition with remarkable talents and hard work, the IFBB championship in Slovenia led me to earn second place on an international level, closer than I have ever been. I wasn’t disappointed but proud and motivated.
I love my country since it has frequently recognized and awarded me for my efforts. The ‘Best Contestant’ again showed me why I love Macedonia and am a strong patriot.
Any reward earned in Negotino gives me great joy, and I will never stop competing there. In 2012, I earned the reward ‘8th of November’ for Achievements in the Sports Category.
Yet another global recognition; the Maxximum Open international bikini, fitness, and bodybuilding competition brought me fourth place on the winners’ list. What I love most about this organization is that it promotes the development of bodybuilding and fitness in Slovenia and its surrounding.
Gladiator Gym was again recognized as the best fitness center in my country. The nation again showed appreciation for our agenda to promote healthy living and the importance of exercise in well-put conditions, equipment, hygiene, and atmosphere.
It was my third win in the heavy category in my country, yet the first one to be in Negotino. So, it made it more special since it’s near my place of birth, where I have many people close to my heart.
I was declared Absolute Champion for the first time in Skopje in 2003, then in Shtip in 2009, and then again in Skopje in 2014. My shape has changed significantly over the years, but still, I had a winner’s form.
Over the years, my wife has always been working out with me, and we have stuck to the same diet. It’s much easier when you have a partner in everything, especially if it’s your spouse with whom you live. We support each other in everything, and this was the first reward we earned together.
Since we are such a good match in championships, like in our daily life, we decided to participate in a competition together again. I have no words to describe my thankfulness for my partner. She is equally responsible for all my successes over the years – and she’s a champion on her own!
My service businesses were performing exceptionally, so I finally decided to expand into new industries. I entered the hospitality industry with Hotel Park, which has now grown into one of the best hotels in our country. Still, we have other people to thank for that. The same year, I also opened the restaurant Antigona in Negotino.
I have obtained an international reward and an accreditation endorsed by the World Authority of Fitness and Bodybuilding to help my clients achieve their health, fitness, and supporting goals. After two decades of working on myself, I could finally share everything with others and do it right.
I won first place in the heavy category year after year. It motivated me to show up again and again for my country. Of course, I had strong competition, so I couldn’t let myself fall off track; I always had to push and improve.
We marked another win with my wife at the Macedonian Cup in Skopje. It’s the most important bodybuilding and fitness competition in the region where we earned a trophy.
Third parties finally recognized our potential. We needed support, so Kozuvcanka and Sport M Macedonia came through. These sponsors covered everything to 2019, all hefty investments, from travels to competitions, and organized the state championship in Negotino. No words can describe our thankfulness to them.
Indeed, 2015 was a year of business and accomplishments. With the help of my sponsors, I organized a state championship Athlete of Macedonia near my birthplace, Negotino. I am a true believer that when you give, life gives back. So, organizing the event here only made sense.
The reward 8th of November is granted each year to institutions and persons who have made a special contribution to the affirmation of the municipality of Negotino and achieved certain results in their area. This was my second time earning the reward for Achievements in the Sports Category.
I filmed the documentary “Никогаш не се откажувај” or “Never Back Down,” depicting the highest and lowest points of my life. I was finally ready to share my story with the public, hoping it would motivate even the less fortunate to follow my step and never quit on their goals.
2015 was the third time Gladiator Gym was recognized as the best fitness club in my country. I was amazed that, but not really surprised, the gym earned this recognition three times in less than a decade of its establishment.
My first World Championship was in 2009; this was my third appearance in such an event by IBFF. Unfortunately, I didn’t win one of the top three prizes. But losses are part of the process too.
Gabriela and I landed a medal this time at the Macedonian Cup of IFBB. The International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness oversees many of the sport’s major international events, making each win a significant achievement close to my heart.
I started the first academy for fitness trainers in Macedonia in 2016. FitBiz Academy was a true revolution in our country, hosting reputable names as lecturers, including Krasi Sarafof, Ljubivoj Bakic, Roni Kovacic, Vanja Kovacic, Milan Savic, Suncica Savic, and many more successful individuals from the fitness and bodybuilding world.
Only a year later, after dedicating time and hard work, I climbed from 10th place to second. While I didn’t return home with a trophy, I was closer than ever.
Pro-am sporting events welcome both professional career athletes and amateurs. I earned a Pro-Am from IBFF in 2016.
I got my international certificate as a personal trainer earlier in 2015, so the next step was to get licensed as a referee, and I did it!
SportLife is one of the oldest and most popular betting platforms in Macedonia. It offers excellent support for sportspeople and innovative ways of engaging with matches and earning bonuses. I am very thankful they have supported me through my journey for years.
Supplements can play a key role in the body’s development and recovery, especially through some of the heaviest workout routines. As such, you need to know exactly how to take care of it, and I am happy to say that the Strongest Shop has been taking good care of me for years. It’s Macedonia’s all-in-one shop for all training needs, from supplements to gear and equipment.
Soon after getting a license as a referee, I put it to work. I was appointed as an IBFF referee in Hungary.
All IBFF Pros must first earn an IBFF Pro Card by winning a regional contest weight class, and the preliminary process doesn’t stop there. So, invites to this championship are not given but earned. Fortunately, I qualified and won fourth place at the Pro World Championship.
Mr. Universe is a Pro/Am competition at the Universe Championships annual bodybuilding event. Gabriela and I worked hard to earn these titles and came out in fifth place.
Apart from the Mister and Miss Universe Pro titles, we also competed for Mister and Miss Galaxy Pro and earned sixth place in Italy.
Cosmos Group is the general representative for Macedonia of Redist Professional, Red One USA, and AC Class brands that are most widespread worldwide, with a German or European quality license. We partnered to bring a new perspective on the importance of self-care, as fitness only takes you so far.
The brand was founded on the principle that the impact of custom tailoring should be affordable for aspirational men and women who value making a strong first impression. Signori has enabled Gabriela and me to look modern and dignified while presenting ourselves at all events in the field of fitness and bodybuilding and other formal events of everyday life.
While I love traveling to compete worldwide, I will never miss out on local and regional competitions. I competed in Cuprija at the IBFF and landed fifth.
During this time, Gabriela and I were in our best forms. Since we were preparing extensively for Italy, we decided to pursue competing as a couple and appeared at the International Pro Division in our neighboring country, Serbia. We got the second-best title.
My quests continued, and my next stop was the European Pro Competition. I experienced somewhat of a setback. Still, I was happy I competed in the first place.
A couple that competes together stays together. Yet again, we returned to Italy, and this time equally successful as the last.
I began closely cooperating with Kevin Levrone, an American IFBB professional bodybuilder in the IFBB Hall of Fame, in 2019. He built the Levrone Series of supplements to help aspiring bodybuilders reach their goals and get their way up to the top of the bodybuilding chain. I use these supplements for their optimal quality based on rigorous science and life experience.
And finally, this was when things started going in the best possible direction. I landed my first trophy outside my country. I had extensive experience, and each competition was of great importance. However, this time, I truly felt like a winner and a respected bodybuilder worldwide.
Undoubtedly, 2019 was a very successful year, preparing me for something much bigger. I earned second place at the IBFF Slovenia Open 2019, a competition with 25 categories.
That same year, I also competed in Italy at the European Championship, surrounded by exquisite professionals, each in their respective category. I was amazed by their achievements and more than happy I managed to place fourth.
I competed for Mr. Universe at the same championship in Taranto and landed a sixth place in this category.
I returned to Hungary, hoping for another trophy, but the third place at the Pro Predator Classic IBFF did it as well.
I wrapped 2019 as successfully as I started it, with sixth place in the IBFF Pro World Championship in Slovenia.
2020 was indeed a turning point for my professional career, and HE Group marked a good start for business. I formed a partnership with a company with young and enthusiastic professionals willing to take fitness to another level and achieve a worldwide fitness revolution together.
Soon after, I competed at the Mr. Olympia Amateur competition in the US. It was my first competition outside the borders of Europe and a life-changing experience for my wife and me. We met the owners, the representatives, and the most successful athletes, which was indeed a dream come true and the start of many successful collaborations and opportunities.
MTM Mobile delivers the newest technologies, smartphones, and innovative services with excellent value for money. They have been my friend for long years. However, since my project went online, it only made sense to partner with them and receive digital goods and support for my daily needs.
International Slavic University G. R. Derzhavin is one of the first private universities to launch in Macedonia. They recognized my potential and offered support for my project with a focus on educating the youth on sports psychology. At the same time, I began my studies at the University to expand my knowledge in this field.
Pulse Fitness and Spa is one of Macedonia’s most successful fitness clubs, with an ultra-modern building in Strumica. We share the same vision regarding evolution in the fitness world, so we have partnered to promote a healthy lifestyle and help people change their lives. Alone, we can do so little, but we can achieve so much together.
I joined IPA, the International Police Association of Macedonia, in 2021 and was simultaneously acknowledged as the Athlete of the Year by the organization. I was honored to receive a special badge as a senior IPA official with the number 7,000, becoming one of the nine officials in the country.
This is what I considered to be one of my last competitions. I intended to retire. However, you’ll discover that soon, my plans changed. I saw an entirely different perspective and decided to continue competing professionally, even more than before.
Less than a year after competing in the US, I was recognized by one of the most important organizations in the world of fitness and bodybuilding. I was happy to meet one of the most important representatives, who paid me a visit to Macedonia. I signed an official agreement and became a representative of the Mr. Olympia Academy in Europe.
Once again, I competed at Mr. Olympia; this time, it was in Orlando. Since I came back after a year, I had already established contacts. I was one of the VIP guests at the gala night, and in the finale, I met more representatives, athletes, and contestants on a similar journey as mine.
Margir is one of the best butcher shops in Macedonia, established in 1939. It has a remarkable reputation for high-quality meat and a team of the best butchers in the area. We have been eating its fresh meat and products for a while now, which has helped me immensely with my progress and health.
I signed another contract with Mr. Olympia, becoming an official brand ambassador of Olympia Gear. I am proud to say that I am the first person from Europe to sign such a contract with one of the most renowned brands for athletic and fitness wear.
Followed by a series of contracts; I also signed as a new coach for Mauro Sassi’s Team Stones in January. It’s a true honor to stand side-by-side with the world’s most renowned names in bodybuilding. Their figures, way of living, and training inspire me to work on myself even more and improve my form.
Indeed, 2022 was good for business and the year I formed some valuable partnerships. However, it was also good in terms of medals and competitions. I started off strong by ranking as one of the top five winners at the Mr. Olympia Amateur championship in August in Bucharest, Romania.
Shortly after, I went to Rome in November, where I competed at the NPC Masters Championship and ranked in the top five. It was an experience like no other because I went there with my wife and some of my dearest friends. We returned to Macedonia with five medals that we had earned proudly under the flag of our homeland.
Evidence for Success
I can trace the beginnings of this partnership to the Mr. Olympia competition in the US in 2020, where I met like-minded and motivated individuals in the fitness industry who recognized my potential, upon which we started our business cooperation.
Becoming the person in charge of the Mr. Olympia Academy in Europe and a Mr. Olympia Brand Ambassador gave me the needed boost.
Now, I am more ready than I have ever been!
I was born in Macedonia, I have lived and won for Macedonia.
While I had many opportunities to leave my birthplace, I have always decided to stay and build a better life for myself, my family, and all Macedonians. I have always represented my country in the best possible light everywhere I have performed on stage worldwide, and I am so proud of it.
I have protected my country and worked in various positions for Macedonia, from the army to the prime minister’s personal security. Most recently, I have also become a part of IPA-Macedonia and earned special recognition from the organization.
I am a proud husband of Gabriela and a father of two, Blaze and Angela. My family is my solid rock and my biggest support in training, motivation, and competition preparation. My friends are also a key component of my life, as we are here for each other in good and bad times.
In my free time, I love to watch documentaries and browse the web to discover the next best thing in nutrition, supplements, and workouts. I am also very active on social media platforms, so feel free to follow me and get a sneak peek into a day in my life.
You won’t find junk food in our home, and we frequently train together, whether it’s in the gym or nature. We do it for fun!
You won’t find junk food in our home, and we frequently train together, whether it’s in the gym or nature. We do it for fun!