Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: If You're Happy And You Know It (Flaunt That Shit)

She isn't lacking in the motivation department or anything, but I'm constantly (well, perhaps not "constantly", but regularly) looking for women who may inspire Mrs Swell. And by "inspire", I mean inspire. Not intimidate. Ashley Losee may seem like the kind of inspirational woman who all women should be made aware of, but she's a risky strategy. That is a very high standard of muscular womanhood, and one should tread carefully lest the intended inspiration causes instead a sense of deflation. An "I could never look like that" sense of helplessness. It's a risk I'm not taking, not yet, anyway, so it's far beyond the realms of the IFBB pros that I do my searching.

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And on such that search I came across this exchange...

Anonymous: People keep looking at me because I have big muscles, how do you deal with the attention?

putthatazztowork: I mean, I absolutely love the attention, haha. Looking sexy is the biggest perk to lifting weights, in my opinion... Flaunt that shit!

Anonymous sounds kind of interesting, I thought to myself. Interesting but hardly trackdownable. "putthatazztowork", however, I have just GOT to find out who she is!

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Turns out she is Arianna, a Sports Performance Coach, Personal Trainer and Level 1 Crossfit Trainer from Ireland. And that magnificent, sexy attitude, well it's all there on her Tumblr, and Instagram. And she's got more than a few admirers.

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Anonymous: Seriously, your butt is amazing. ❤️

putthatazztowork: I agree.

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And there are many she admires. But more importantly, there's a lot of actual, properly helpful and down-to-earth advice that she gives, quite freely it seems. A truly inspirational woman. And I suspect, that while you (and I) are looking at her, our poor female muscle lovin' minds brainwashed with our daily overloads of perfect muscular female physiques, that Arianna may not appear too muscular on your (and my) computer screen, but if we walked into her gym we would be surprised how big she actually is compared to all the other women there - and probably ourselves too!

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Sun's not out, guns out anyway.

She's not "perfect", but she doesn't care. It's her happiness with herself, and with her body, that I think, and more importantly what she feels, makes her so sexy.

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And Mrs Swell agrees.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Pic of the Week

Haven't had a "Pic of the Week" for a while, but I could not resist posting this gem.

The term "baseball bicep" is overused. Not in this case though.

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That spectacularly formed muscle is flexed by Vanessa Adams, though sadly not on a park bench anywhere near me, and also sadly, probably not recently either. As far as I can ascertain, the last time Vanessa competed was at the NPC Nationals in 2014. She competed as a Bodybuilder, came 2nd in the Lightweight class, and if you check out some images from that show, you will agree it is sad we haven't seen her in that kind of shape since then. Something of Christi Wolf about her, don't you think?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Is This The Best Exercise Ever? (Don't Try This At Home)

Of course I've persuaded Mrs Swell to give it a go. Problem was that I nominated myself for the role of "the bag", and, sadly, I performed that role less than successfully.

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It's a beautiful sight, all those many muscles tensing at once.

And Mrs Swell was wearing even less at the time of our attempt. Sigh.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Excited!

I'm getting proper excited about me and the missus' Easter break now (and yes, I am aware you are reading this after Easter, well, Anglican Easter anyway, not sure when Orthodox Easter is this year). We fly out tomorrow night, and I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself right now for just having booked us dinner in a local Michelin star place there, and I reckon I'll get myself into town in the morn to pick out a nice figure hugging dress for Mrs Swell to wear on the occasion. I love showing off her hard work.

So, excited.

I'm also excited about some other, more relevant to the blog, things as well. The IFBB Female Bodybuilding contest season starts up again in just over a month with three consecutive weekends of "proper" female muscle in Toronto, Puerto Rico, and on June 10th, Omaha. Aleesha Young is scheduled to compete in Omaha, and if you can't get excited about that, then I don't know why you are here. But I'm also excited about another show which, like the Puerto Rico Pro, takes place on the weekend before Aleesha's comeback. It's the NPC Titan Open at the University of Wisconsin.

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The show will see the return to the stage of amateur Physique competitor Lauren Quinn, who, in case you need reminding, we haven't seen since the Nationals in 2015. Then, despite being (to my ignorant and unqualified to judge eyes at least) the pick of a high quality division, the judges saw fit to only award her 3rd in her class.

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Lauren took a competitive break in 2016, but now she's well on her way to the University of Wisconsin, and she's very excited about it. Seeing progress makes me want to keep going! she wrote recently. More cuts, more veins, and less chub! Two weeks after the Titan Open, Lauren will be at the Jr. USAs. Among others, Kat Secor, one of the two women who finished above her at the 2015 Nationals, reckons in current shape Lauren will be a pro before long, while Stephanie Flesher, another IFBB Physique Pro, recently commented that Lauren would be "peeled to the bone", and looked 4 weeks out just under 10 weeks before her contest comeback.

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So it's not just dirty ol' Swell here who is excited. There is, apparently, general excitement. Check out more of Lauren's 2015 Nationals gallery. Search for a bit of her work with HerBiceps from around that time. Give her a follow on Instagram. I'm pretty sure that before long your own level of Lauren excitement will be rising too.

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Enjoy!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Stronger Than Me

Mrs Swell is a competitive sort. From big contracts to trivial knowledge, she likes to win, and she very much takes that spirit into her workouts. Me, I don't seek to up my PBs, it just kind of happens, but the lady is always looking to go heavier, for more reps, with better form. Is she stronger than me? No. Not even close, but she does make more progress more quickly, so perhaps I should be looking over my shoulder a bit more!

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Today I thought we might dip into the world of powerlifting, where you will find women who are shifting the kind of weight that others can only marvel at. If, as people are always saying these days, strong is the new sexy, then women like Crystal Tate (above) could make a reasonable claim to be the sexiest women in the world.

Tate weighs in at 198lbs (just about 90kg), which makes her about 10 kilos lighter than yours truly. However, she did a 700lb (317kg) squat at the end of last year, and in March at the Arnolds performed a world record 600lb (272kg) deadlift.



Tate is one of eight women "who squat weight that makes spectators' jaws drop" recently picked by the powerlifting blog BarBend. "These are female athletes who can be described in many ways, but usually incredible is the best word for it."

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These include Kristy Hawkins, familiar to FMS readers (most recently seen here on Then & Now: 2007), and Becca Swanson, also (briefly) once a competitive bodybuilder, who has deadlifted more weight (672lbs/304kg) than any other female on the planet, as well as performing an 843lb (382kg) squat back in 2010.

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And among BarBend's picks from the lighter weight classes, we find women who don't conform to the popular image of a powerlifter, but can nevertheless squat between three and four times their own bodyweight. Sweden's Isabella von Weissenberg, for example, is a two-time European champion with the looks of a model and a squat of 424lbs (just over 192kg), a world record for her under 72kg weight class.

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My personal favourite though weighs in at just under 60kg (132lbs), not much heavier than Mrs Swell. From Austin, Texas, Nicole Gonzalez, aka Nikki Gunz, has a competitive 410lb (186kg) squat, Erica Blockmanesque looks, AND abs!

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Sthenolagnia - sexual arousal from displays of strength or muscles.



Replace the "or" with an "and" and Nikki's appeal is very apparent.

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Enjoy!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: DIY

There was, I believe, a male guest poser as well, but Karina Nascimento didn't need to do much to get her female guest posing slot filled at the recent show which bears her name. She did it herself. Fortunately, the cameras were there. As you watch Karina in her non-regulation posing suit, think 44 years old. Think mother of three...



Enjoy!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: missxashley

Passport done. I'd half expected in our post-Brexit (or at least post-invoking Article 50) world, that it might have a different, non-EU cover - red, white and blue perhaps? - but no. Same old. Mind you, come 2019 or whenever this nightmare is supposed to begin in earnest, there might not be so much blue in flag anyway. But I digress...

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Yesterday, I wondered if I might find some inspiration for today's post while I was waiting for my passport to get sorted, and lo, it came in the heaven-sent form of Ashley Losee, formerly Ashley Sneathen, aka "missxashley" (on Instagram).

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The next couple of weeks might be all about quality time with my lady, but the last few have been all about me spending quality time with Ashley before, during and after her second ever pro show - the recent Figure-only IFBB Governor's Cup in California.

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So lean, so gorgeous, so totally into herself... I still can't quite believe Ashley received just one solitary vote apart from mine in our recent Hot and Hard 100 poll. You can consider this the start of my campaign to make sure she's well in next year.

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I have got some great ideas from Ashley re outfits I should buy for Mrs Swell. I picked up (among other things) some very tight shorts for her to wear on our hols after I'd been to the passport office yesterday actually. Wasn't thinking of Ashley at the time, but revisiting these pics now I can't help but think she's responsible. If the wife can pull them off with half as much aplomb as Miss Ashley does, I'll be a very proud man!

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Enjoy!

See also Ashley previously on FMS.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: India

OK, so as I said yesterday, Mrs Swell has sprung an Easter surprise for yours truly in the shape of a two-week sunshine break. Bit of a spanner in the works though because ol' Swell's passport has only gone and bloody expired. The joys of the passport office - not to mention the "fast track" fee - await me today. Anyway, as I also said yesterday, don't blame the lady if, for a while, the posts are not of the usual standard.

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Today, a brief trip to India. Again.

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It's not that I'm particularly interested in the country's muscle women, it's just that the size of its English language media makes it so much easier for me to keep my eye on the Indian scene than it is to keep track of developments in, for example, South Korea.

And that media is churning out female muscle stories at the moment.

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Front and centre for some of that attention is, of course, Deepika Chowdhury, India's only IFBB pro. Her 7th place in the Arnold Australia last month was widely reported in the online Indian media, even as she was bemoaning how unknown she remains. I am the only Indian woman to represent the country, but not too many people seem to be even aware of this sport, said the molecular biologist from Pune.

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Given that in pretty much all of the rest of the world the situation is exactly as she describes it, I reckon Deepika should think herself a bit luckier than she does. No British woman has ever had their bodybuilding triumphs - not to mention a 7th place! - reported in the national media as far as I know - at least not in a story written specifically about the contest they've competed at. Local media, yes, often, but national media coverage is unheard of. And though I'm sure it is true there is a lack of public awareness in India, the media seem to be doing all they can to rectify that.



101 India's mission, they say, is to report on "India's evolving subculture scene - people whose beliefs, values, styles, and attitudes differ from that of the prevailing culture". Expect a few more muscle women on their YouTube channel in future.

Beauty of it is, I've been pretty much following Indian FBBs for the best part of two years now, and new names, like Yashmeen Chauhan Manak, just keep popping up all the time. Similarly, nor had I come across fitness model Ankita Singh, whose muscular beauty headlines today's post, before I read about her on the female-centric and somewhat bizarrely-titled Indian news website The Ladies Finger.

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Same article, and I find another new name - Karuna Waghmare, who, as you can see above, is not one of those "small b" bodybuilders. Her chest and calf muscles ripple even when she’s simply sitting across from me, gushes the article's author, Chatura Rao, who does an excellent job with it, speaking to a variety of women - including the ubiquitous Deepika Chowdhury... I touch her arm in greeting when we meet and feel the warm firm muscles, writes Rao. Read the whole piece (gushes and all) here.

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A similar theme to Rao's piece can be found in a report by Delhi-based journalist Ravinder Bawa, ie. it's all about breaking down barriers in a traditionally conservative culture. Female bodybuilders in India have ignored criticism, she writes. It will take sometime before the sport becomes common among women, but until then many are overcoming milestone after milestone to make a path for others. And you can watch her report (with footage of a national-level contest including, among others, teenage sensation Europa Bhowmik - see previously on FMS) on CGTN America.

Enjoy!

And tomorrow? Who knows?

I'll probably have time to jot some ideas down at the passport office though...

Monday, 17 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Because She Can

OK, so Mrs Swell has surprised me by booking a two-week break to the sunshine. Love her to bits, though she can at times mistake the fact that I am self-employed for being able to take time off whenever I want. Anyway, I shall be busy buying her some new outfits for the beach before we go, and then we're away, so posts may be a bit thin, or lack the usual diligence for the next couple of weeks. But don't blame the lady.

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Thoughts of the beach led me to Claudia Bonavoglia showing it off. Don't think I've posted these particular pics of her before, but I may be wrong. Anyway, here's Claudia, not letting the fact that she is in a chair stop her from giving her sizzling Brazilian body a quick workout. Or, as one forum wag put it, Why sit when I can train triceps and abs? It's a nice dream to think I'll get to feast my eyes on a sight like this while away...

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Enjoy!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Champion of the Day: Shanique Grant

2017 IFBB Karina Nascimento Classic Physique Champion

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The fact that she proclaims herself to be "The Future" and/or "The Real Fitness Beauty" suggests (to me at least) that Shanique Grant may not be the most modest of people.

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Having said that though, there isn't much that she's got to be modest about.

A Figure pro at the age of 19, her first year and a bit competing as such now look positively downbeat compared to the rest of her career, even though she never failed to finish outside the top 6. Judging feedback suggested she move up a division, and when she did, at the New York Pro last year, she triumphed at her first Physique attempt. Then, just weeks before her Olympia debut, she was the victim of an attempted mugging. The knife wounds kept her sticking to her prep, and she decided if she wasn't going to be at her absolute best, the Olympia would just have to wait.

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Now, in 2017, for her second Physique show she chose the recent Karina Nascimento Pro in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And yes, you guessed it - another win for Shanique.

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So, to recap. Thus far only two things have delayed Shanique's seemingly inevuitable rise to the top of the female muscle world: a) having "too much muscle", and b) a mad, knife-wielding maniac. Reason enough for her apparent lack of modesty. But then there's the incredible genetics, which, allied to all her hard work, have blessed her with such a uniquely proportioned physique. Wide at the top, itty bitty in the middle, and flaring out all over the place at the bottom. And she's no plain Jane either.

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In fact, it's been confided to FMS by one of Shanique's erstwhile Figure rivals that she is, in the flesh, so devastatingly sexy (if you are a fan of the muscle, that is) that standing next to her on stage can bring quite the swoon over her fellow competitors. Maybe that's Shanique's secret! She's so sexy it hurts the performance of others...

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Check out Shanique's presentation along with all of the Physique line-up at Karina's show. Now Rosela Joseph (who finished 2nd) stands on her head at one point in her routine, but Shanique just kind of struts on, bends her knees, poses a bit, flares her lats and thighs. Turns round, does similar. Then there's the abs and thigh. Now is it my imagination or does she not even bother really flexing those abs? Like she knows that they are by far the best in the show even when relaxed, so why try harder?

Shanique's at 5.05. Rosela stands on her head at 13.25.



She's qualified for the Olympia now. I hope she has better luck in the run-in than she did last year, and you too can make sure she's keeping safe by following her Instagram. Given her record at Physique contests till now, she might be a real contender.

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And I reckon she knows it.

Congratulations Shanique! (I'm sure you are very nice really)