Saturday, 21 January 2017

Whatever You Do, Don't Give Up!

If your New Year's resolution - one of them anyway - was to get yourself (back) to the gym, then, statistically speaking, today - 21st January - is the day you give up.

FMS is here today to tell you that you are making a mistake.

Do you really want to turn your back on all these magnificent sights?

Granted, the chances of you seeing Anastasia, or Emeri Connery, or Gracyanne at your gym are, unless you are a citizen of one of the world's female muscle hotspots (Brazil, Miami, Rochdale etc.), approximately zero, but that doesn't mean there haven't been more modestly diverting sights at your local in your three weeks of toil so far, does it? And if you give up now these women will never get a chance to know you.

Seriously though, you are making a big mistake.

True story. June this year I was deadlifting an (after 5 years of steady lifting) unembarrassing weight. A woman who I'd been on nodding acquaintance with for a while asked if she could share the bar. She's not the best-looking nor the least married woman in the gym, but she's got muscle (and a rather shameful bit of Facebook stalking at a later date revealed she had achieved quite the transformation after 3 kids and 25 years without physical exercise). Anyway, we get talking and she tells me she's been following a programme she got off the website of Pauline Nordin.

Do you know her?

Do I know her?!?!

Yes, I do, I answered, and I think she's amazing, don't you? And that, dear readers, is how, for the very first time in my life, my knowledge of female bodybuilders proved not just handy, but actually gained me kudos. In the real world! It was quite a thrill.

Give up now and you'll never be asked if you know Pauline Nordin. Or Kim Perez. Or Karolina Holubcova. Or Jodi Boam. Never. Ever. I absolutely guarantee it.

Not in the real world.

True story - as told to me. A reader, just like you, made a slightly more sensible decision to get lifting in a serious way about six months ago (more sensible for starters because the gym is a lot less crowded in July than in January). Now this fella likes a session. And he's found, as his physique has developed for the better, so the experiences he's had from sessions has improved. Exponentially in some cases. And while the women haven't even mentioned his new muscles - perhaps compared to the men they usually hang around with we're all the same unhuge type! - his theory is that his confidence is sky high and that's why he's suddenly a punter who gets a bit extra.

Yes, I hear you, you don't do sessions, so this has nothing to do with you. Well get this, these powerful alpha women who do, well, in case you hadn't noticed, they're women. All women are going to pick up on the extra confidence you will get if you stick at it long enough. I know that, our sessioning reader knows that too, and so does every guy who's ever built himself a muscular physique knows that. And you will too.

Don't give up.

Already got a partner, already got a wife? Don't you wish they would lift?

Newsflash! Lying around the house surreptitiously perving over female muscle blogs (even those of the highest quality) and other sources of material for your viewing pleasure is not, research suggests, the best way to make that happen. Going to the gym yourself, getting in shape, looking good, feeling good... Apparently, this is not just one way of persuading your significant other to get busy becoming your significantly buff other, it's the ONLY way. Worked for me. Worked for Jackie Hague's husband. And for all those other bfs and husbands whose Bikini or Figure or even bigger wives and girlfriends tell interviewers "it was my man who first got me lifting" or similar.

It's never going to happen if you give up now.

And even if that never happens at all, your gf/wife never joins you at the gym...

Nevertheless, you do, in fact, continue to chisel away at your body, eventually sculpting a physique you take every opportunity to show off, don't you think you are going to like it, don't you think it's going to be a thrill when she looks at you with exactly the same kind of desire with which you've been looking at the beautiful, muscular, sculpted physiques of the women we've featured here today?

Whatever you do, don't give up.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Tube Watch

FMS picks a few of our favourite new clips from YouTube from around the Christmas period for your viewing pleasure as a new, irregularly regular post makes its debut.

Welcome to Tube Watch.


Finally put up on December 28th, FMS Woman of the Year, Corinne Ingman, poses her way to victory at the WFF International World Championships. Corinne reckoned she "could have been a bit sharper" on the day, we say just look at those LEGS!!!

See also: the comparisons and the awards from Corinne's class.

For Your Consideration

FMS has bigged up the genius compilations of Valya Arn before. Pleasingly, the channel's output has become ever more frequent since. Of the several edits posted in the last month or so, FMS particularly recommends this offering from December 28th for many reasons, one of which would be that it has got Nicky Foord in it.


Another channel that puts together outstanding compilations, Ultimate Muscle, posted a number of clips mid-December from the 1989 NPC USAs under the tag "Ultimate Muscle Classics". FMS recommends checking out a young(er) Michelle Ivers, beautiful Julia Kover, Drorit KernesDonna Barentine and many more.

All the ladies are impressive one way or another, but no one - no one - has ever posed quite like Yolanda Hughes. She finished 5th in the Heavyweight class that year.

Imagine that!

I think it's a bit sad the last 20 seconds or so of the clips are given over to self-promotion for the channel. If a clip is advertised as 2.08 long, but actually finishes after 1.48, I have a tendency to feel a bit cheated. I think these clips, and Ultimate Muscle's edits in general, are far too good to need any of that sort of thing.

Just saying.

For Your Consideration

If you like to imagine that you could do what those female muscle photographers do, check out J.M. Manion working harder than any man has ever worked as he shoots Bikini Queen Yarishna Nicole Ayala in Puerto Rico earlier this year. The clip, posted on Christmas Eve, is "Part 2". The first installment was posted way back in August.


Cris Goy Arellano was your, the FMS readers, choice last year. After a comparatively quiet 2016, will she hold on to her crown in 2017? This preview clip from Double Biceps, posted on 21st December won't, I imagine, hurt her cause any.

Tube Watch will return.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Woman of the Week: Marina Keemann

I first came across NAC physique competitior Marina Keemann thanks to the genius that is Hemuvisa. There she was, all hair and ripped muscle, four minutes into his 2016 FIBO edit last April. Jaw to the floor. The tan, sexy bulging glutes packed into pink leggings. The belly piercing and the ripped abs framing it. And OMG the HAIR!

It took me a while to get round to actually tracking her down, but finally, here she is on FMS our very first Woman of the Week, a new regular (but not in fact weekly) post.

Here she is. Marina. Her muscles. And that hair.

I am a sucker for long frizzy curls even when they're not attached to such a sexy muscular body. And Marina's go down all the way to those sexy bulging glutes...


Marina, now in her late 30s, has been fascinated by muscle since she was 11. Inspired by Arnold - "my role model then and now" - she joined a gym as soon as she was 18.

She competes in the NAC federation, where even the Bikini competitors are ripped, and in 2016, Marina had a good year. She was runner-up at the German Masters, and 3rd at the NAC World Championships in the "Ms Physique" category - think IFBB Physique with a few more striations, and fewer posing and posing suit restrictions.

I'm so glad I've found her! Thank you Hevumisa!!!

Here she is at the 2016 NAC Worlds.

There's also her routine at the German Masters to enjoy, and after that you might like to check out a 10-minute training clip of Marina from 2015. If your German is flie├čend genug, or you just really like watching gorgeous muscle women speaking a language you don't understand, you should check out this interview with Marina too.

And she's on Instagram.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

FBBUK: Brittany Rhodes and the BBC

Over the last few years, the number of young women in the UK taking up bodybuilding has increased dramatically. With a similar growth in interest across other forms of strength training, and weights starting to replace the treadmill as the new fitness norm, Adele Roberts wants to know why strong is now better than skinny for so many young women.

Adele, a former competitive bodybuilder, has spent 30 days following a strict diet and fitness regime in a bid to discover what it takes to become a superwoman.

Is this an empowering method for young women to take control of their bodies, or merely another fitness fad, causing women to question their natural body image? With help from personal trainers, competitive bodybuilders, doctors and dietitians, and those closest to her, Adele pushes herself to the limits to discover what she gains and loses, mentally and physically, during her month-long bodybuilding challenge.

As programme synopses go, that for Why Women Want Muscles (first broadcast on BBC Radio 1 Xtra at the beginning of December, still available to listen to/watch on the BBC iPlayer), was definitely one of the most interesting I have ever come across.

Roberts (above), as the programme reveals, had competed briefly many years ago, but is much better-known now as a BBC Radio DJ and former Big Brother contestant.

During her 30-day challenge, she gains muscle and shape, but the transformation went more than skin deep. The most important part of this transformation to me is I how feel inside, she revealed on her Instagram. I should have done it a long time ago.

Along the way, Roberts meets, among others, NABBA Toned Figure athlete Clair Willie, and is trained by UKBFF Bikini athlete Phoebe Hagan. But without doubt the star of the show - especially, as the camera absolutely loves her, in the shorter, for-TV version of the programme (Get Muscly in a Month), is another NABBA Toned Figure athlete, the 2016 NABBA Miss Toned Figure UK, Brittany Rhodes.

The 24-year-old recruitment consultant from Yorkshire only started lifting a couple of years ago because she thought she was too skinny. I was a size zero, she says. I lacked confidence. I wanted to actually have that curvy figure and that's why I got into training. I caught the bug and much to my delight it seems to be one I can’t shake.

I LOVE it. It takes a special mindset, discipline, patience, and consistency to compete. Bodybuilders are a special breed. We have goals that we are determined to reach, no matter what. This sport has taught me more about myself than any teacher, friend or family member ever could. Finally I'm a woman happy in her own skin.

Brittany uses social media to spread the pro-lifting message as loudly as anyone, and she was a keen participant in Adele Roberts' documentary, which concluded that this trend for bodybuilding among young women in the UK is much more about self-confidence, self-reliance, and empowerment than it is about muscles. I feel really privileged to be able to express my views about why women choose to bodybuild in this way, Brittany told her Instagram followers. It's time to lift women up!

Her message has got her a lot of followers, the vast majority female - I wouldn't want to be a 20-something man and read Brittany's posts every day (eg. I think we say "oh man" to express disappointment because men are so disappointing; eg. call a man by the wrong name today to remind them how unimportant they are, etc. etc.). I reckon that would have made young Swell have some kind of crisis of confidence. In fact, I'm not entirely sure it isn't giving me my own mid-life crisis of confidence now!

After competing for the first time in in 2015, last year saw Brittany take 4th place at the NABBA England and 3rd at the NABBA Universe in October, and then came NABBA UK win at the beginning of November. Everything is slowly coming together, she says, and I'll be chasing trophies in 2017. This is truly the start of an amazing journey for me and I can’t wait to see how far I can take it... I'm beyond excited!

She's part of something that has, it seems, stopped being a trend, and transformed into a full-blown movement for young British women. Seriously, if she doesn't inspire young women in the UK, young women all over the world even, to transform their bodies and find self-confidence, self-love, and the kind of inner contentment that Adele Roberts found during her 30-day challenge, then I don't know who will.

Here's Brittany at the 2016 NABBA Universe.

So, chaps... who's "beyond excited" now?

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Most Glamorous Night of the Year

Once again, the FMS New Year's Eve party was the female muscle place to be as we said goodbye to 2016 (good riddance, perhaps?) and "How you doing?" to 2017.

And once again the ladies didn't disappoint, even those who couldn't make it.

I'm not into the partying anymore, explained Rosie in her RSVP. Quiet night in for me, but I never miss an opportunity to get dolled up, so, I'll be there in spirit, sat in my house in my gold dress and full hair and make-up. It's New Year's Eve after all!

Maybe next year, Rosie. You were much missed.

Still, despite Rosie's absence, there was more than enough female muscle glamour to keep the paps busy and the FMS staff making regular trips to the bathroom.

Angelica Enberg "showed off her muscular curves in figure-hugging grey", according to Hello! magazine. Danni Teresa, despite the cold weather, was determined to show off her gains. My arms have really come on, don't you think? she told OK! magazine's reporter on the night. No way were they coming covered up to this party.

Puerto Rican Queen Yarishna Ayala dressed (for her) in a surprisingly modest style, but her Bikini body nevertheless impressed Closer's reporter so much we had to show the poor young man the door long before the clock had struck twelve. Meanwhile, our own photographer managed to catch Mmmmonique Jones - stunning in red, white and blue - in one of the rare moments when she wasn't dominating the dance floor.

Many ladies of muscle flew in from the US, so London's hotel rooms were busy with FMS' guests getting themselves dolled up. Selfie previews were requested, which as well as ramping up the anticipation and excitement before they'd even arrived, allowed us to advise them if they planned to wear anything that C. Moore Glootz wouldn't be able to handle, thus preventing any of the undignified scenes that marred 2015's event.

Beautiful Lacey Dunn, Jodi Miller, Maria Luisa Baeza Diaz (just) and Nicole Wilkins all got the FMS OK for their classy outfits in advance on the night, which isn't to say that C. Moore didn't get up to any shenanigans at all on the night, as his pic (below) of the bootilicious Kathryn Drayton proves. To get it, naughty C. Moore only went and glued poor Kathryn's iPhone to that log table. What a scamp!

Of course, there's much competition among the ladies to get themselves on the covers of those gossip magazines, and this year's models turned out to be the glorious Eleonora Dobrinina, who made the January cover of Heat with her big blond curls and "Snow White" see through (trust me, it was totally see through) top, and in a bit of a coup for the girl (and the office), Sara, our very own FMS intern, found herself the face (and body) of Now magazine's coverage of the event. We will all be sad to see her go, but agents haven't stopped ringing since the magazine hit the stands. Clearly this little lady is destined for bigger and better things than doing Swell's filing. Sigh.

FMS would like to thank all the ladies for making our annual shindig - once again - such a night to remember. With their strength and power and glamour and beauty, these goddesses have proved once again that muscle women really do have it all.

And to our dear readers, a belated Happy New Year!

We wish you only the (biggest and) best in 2017.