Monday, 20 February 2017

Then & Now: 1989

In the days before the Hot and Hard 100 voting closes (and you've only got 8 left by the way), FMS likes to avoid influencing your decisions unduly by bringing you some historical, rather than contemporary, female muscle. This year we've come up with a kind of time machine idea, used a random date generator, picked a contest winner from that year, and tried to find out what that special lady from the past is up to now.

Today the year is 1989, and Bernadette "Bernie" Price is NABBA Ms Britain.

THEN

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All-time UK great Bernie finished above the also great Colleen Yates and Beverly Hahn to win her first big title, and the same year won her class at the NABBA Europeans (there's another contest that has sadly disappeared). She won her class at the 1990 NABBA Worlds, and in 1992 was Overall NABBA Ms Universe.

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Boyhood fantasy she was, confessed a Bernie fan in 2007 on the better UK bodybuilding forum. Anyway - where the bloody hell did she vanish to?

Funnily enough, Bernie herself replied:

After I won the World Championships and the Universe, I had a little girl, Hannah who's gorgeous! I had a real tough time giving birth to her because my abs were too tight - the midwives said I was too fit! They were even more surprised when I had a scan and they discovered a six pack on top of a huge bump! Life is really good for me. I have my own business and I'm still training hard in the gym as well as martial arts and yoga (can you be lethal but strongly calm?!!!) and I still miss the smell of coconut oil backstage and the sound of Michael Jackson's "Can You Feel It"...

NOW

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Bernie kept going with her martial arts, and made it all the way up to instructor. As far as we know she still teaches Tai Chi in the Wirral. She is a massive fan of Moto GP, and last year got to meet several of the riders at the British Grand Prix. Lucky fellas!

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Enjoy!

Did you miss Bernie's most recent FMS appearance? Catch up here.

And don't forget to vote!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Beautiful by Definition

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Given the midriffs I was exposed to in my formative female muscle lovin' years - Marjo Selin (above), Sharon Bruneau, (the, I think, somewhat under-rated) Sue Gafner, and many many more, plus all those swimsuits with a big "abs-hole" cut into them - it is hardly surprising that I am, and always will be, an abs man at heart.

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And if I hadn't come across so much evidence to the contrary, I would probably find it all but inconceivable that there are actually men who don't like women with muscular abs. Take this fool for example: I really don’t want to date a woman whose stomach is more chiseled than mine. It’s just not natural to me. I think stomachs should be flat, but choosing between 6-pack abs and a little pudge, and I’ll take the pudge.

Not natural? NOT NATURAL?!

That, I would suggest, is the whole f***ing point, mate.

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A girl with abs would normally indicate to most guys that she cares about her appearance and her health. This is a great quality that guys tend to appreciate.

Ah-ha! Here we go. This is much more like it. Tell me more.

It may actually inspire some of these guys to want to be like the girl. They may want to start working out with her or exercise with her. True. TRUE! In other words, the effect this tends to have can go a lot further than mere physical attraction...

Well yes, I suppose you could say that...

This guy may actually discern these abs as a sign that he wants to get healthier himself. Giving a guy inspiration is always a good thing. It makes the girl special.

Exactly!

She isn’t like just any other girl.

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Indeed. Sadly for the likes of you and me, women who go the considerable number of extra miles for that sculpted midsection are few and far between, but considering how we are hearing women - especially younger women - are spending more and more time in the gym these days, they may not be so few and far between in the very near future.

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Great news for us. Not so much for Mr Pudge Lover.

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Less sarcastically, I'll just agree to disagree with PL. We clearly have a very different definition of female beauty. Mine involves definition, and total admiration for the dedication it has taken her to get her sexy 6-pack, of course. But mainly, and if I sound shallow here it is no doubt because I am, I just LOVE how her abs look.

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For me, they are beautiful. And I LOVE how she thinks they are beautiful too. How much pride she (rightly) has in herself for achieving what so few other women (in history, mind you) have achieved, how she can't resist taking every opportunity to show them off, how she even laments their passing during her off-season as others might miss migrating birds who have nested in their garden throughout the summer only to leave as the nights draw in. [what the f*** are you on? - ed.]

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I feel that if you have time to have 6-pack abs then there’s a long list of other things I’d like to see you focus on too, says Mr Pudge Man. Thing is, sir, there is literally nothing I would rather she focus on, because there is literally nothing I can imagine that would be sexier than waking up next to a woman with a sexy 6-pack.

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Except waking up next to two of them. Or an 8-pack. Or two.

You take my point.

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Sir, you are most welcome to the pudge.

2017 Hot and Hard 100 voting - 9 days left.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

On Display

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This gem turned up on the forums recently, the owner of the beautiful back unknown. The picture bears all the hallmarks of The Madness. It's slightly blurred, slightly shaky, apparently shot surreptitiously. A female muscle head unable to stop themselves capturing "the day I went to the store and found the woman of my dreams there".

I think I would lose it right then and there if I actually saw this! reads one of the many comments that now accompany the image. Sympathy for The Madness. We know we would do what is technically the "wrong" thing and invade this woman's privacy too.

Never seen anything like this at my local 7-11, laments another. And there's the rub. Been lovin' female muscle a long time, and I can count the number of times I've come across a proper muscular female in a public place on the fingers of one hand. Or maybe both hands, but less than 10 sightings in 30 plus years is not a great average, is it?

Every time it is deliciously exciting. Every time I fall foul of The Madness, and though I've not always been as fast with the camera as our convenience store photographer, I have found the urge irresistible on occasion, and have a little collection of self-snapped muscular calves to show for it, which I'm not too proud of (but will never delete).

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I didn't take this one. I'm not nearly that good!

I'm never going to run into Kashma by the car park. I'm never going to stop at a red light and see Sarah Bäckman waiting to cross. I'm never going to go and pay for my parking and have to wait, open-mouthed, while Linda Durbesson gets her ticket.

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However, with a little creative thinking, and drawing on my own experiences, I can imagine how exciting it would be to do so, and after some consideration agree with the forum poster who "would lose it right then and there". It is probably best for all concerned that my public sightings of muscle women have been extremely rare!

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I mean, Valeska Bruzzi here looks a tad startled by whatever the whoever who is not taking the picture is doing. Are they up a tree? She seems to be looking kind of upwards. Anyway, poor thing looks so startled that she's about to take her tight tiny shorts off, and I know I would hate to be responsible for that, wouldn't you?

Fortunately, muscle women don't need us to take surreptitious shots of them for us to see them out and about in public places, and while I'm sure we've all heard plenty about those who cover up their muscles in public to avoid attracting attention, there are plenty of muscular women who are more than happy to put it all on display.

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Women like Aida Enoki Linares (and that guy's face says it all).

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Aida was Peruvian Physique champ in 2015 (not sure since then - she has a 0 posts 800+ followers Instagram and a rarely updated Twitter), and I think these pics are from around the time she won that national championship. Not shy though, is she? And not short of admirers eager to get a souvenir of the evening they ran into the woman of their dreams showing off all her contest ready muscles. And - guy in the photo two up excepted - note they don't seem to have not lost it right then and there!

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Surrounded by drooling men...

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And the odd woman too.

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She's at or outside a Fitness Expo it seems, not the most hostile territory for a muscular woman, and she's making the most of it, loving the attention her muscles get her, revelling in her "otherness", the fact she's so special, so unique. And that confidence, that pride in the muscular physiques they have built, is exactly what I think makes the muscle woman in public candid (how niche are we this week?) so arousing.

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Even if she's not overtly flexing (as with above, left to right, Georgia Sims, Maggie Nichols and you know who), what she's wearing has been carefully chosen to show off her muscular assets. Out and about she goes - and let the gawping begin!

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They must know, right? Know that for every snigger or hurtful remark there are just as many guys (and girls) who are in total awe, and who will, as soon as she goes out of sight, need a trip to the nearest bathroom for some alone time (probably just the guys that one), and who will never ever forget the moment she walked by.

Or bought food.

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Actually, this makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Gym, sleep... what's the other big thing in a muscle woman's life? FOOD! Of course! Source of protein and, er, other stuff.

She's hungry, sometimes very hungry. We started in a convenience store, we now move on to the supermarket, and look, she's showing off her veiny arms in the cereal aisle, and doesn't seem too displeased to be having her picture taken...

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Where else can the chances of encountering a muscular female be so high?

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Oh, right. Food again.

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And look how much of it! Rhi Rhi (above) - I don't know much about her but I know what I like - looks like she's going to be there a while (I am assuming she eats in the style of the lady she appears to be), which gives the guy in red behind her a fair amount of time to convince his buddy to swap places. Hope he's got some money.

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And apparently, as well as the food, a drink or two is not considered the worst thing in the world either. Apparently, it's quite common for alcohol to be consumed backstage before contests. For real. A glass of wine for a better pump, says Vicky Moutopoulou (below), which can only mean she intends to treat the rest of the restaurant to her muscle goddess muscles swelling up as the evening progresses.

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And enjoying it.

When the wine starts working, she says, veins popping on her beautiful bicep...

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I would definitely lose it right then and there!

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Whole Spectrum

So I'm chatting to this female muscle head, last week I think it was, and he says he is new to the chat thing (which is fine, we've all been there and if you haven't you are going to be) and then he tells me, most emphatically and it wasn't as if I'd asked or anything - that he's "really only into the big girls, the beasts, the bodybuilders".

Sigh.

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Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the big girls too. What made me sigh was that he had felt the need to exclude every woman from Physique on down - and in case you hadn't noticed, these days, that's the vast majority of muscular women - from the discussion. Intentionally or not, he's just dismissed most of the female muscle world.

Sigh.

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The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.

I'm no great fan of G.K. Chesterton's, but what an inspired observation. My new chat buddy, and a whole lot of other so-called female muscle fans, would do well to ponder it. I fear that we, the collective "we", are in real danger of losing our sense of wonder.

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If I may... Once upon a time my only source of female muscle images was the mainstream bodybuilding magazines. If you were lucky there was a feature on a female bodybuilder, probably training in inappropriate gym wear, tanned, oiled and glamorous. There might be a handful of other pictures of FBBs in the rest of the issue. If there was a contest report from the Olympia or whatever with a picture or two of the top 10 on stage, it was a bonanza. When I discovered Women's Physique World I was in heaven, but even so, how often was that published? Once a quarter? Hardly a glut.

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Now, you could find as many new pictures in an hour as you could in the average issue of Muscle and Fitness or Musclemag back then. You could easily find as many new images as there were in your average quarterly WPW in a morning. Easily.

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Don't get me wrong, I am not saying the old days were better. They weren't, trust me. Fewer women, fewer images, and it was damn stressful going up to the cashier and laying down an issue of Muscle Training Illustrated, let alone an issue of WPW (or Muscle Elegance for that matter!). Now I don't even have to move more than a finger. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of images are delivered to me every week - and all I had to do was click a follow button. It's female muscle lovin' heaven. And it's here. Now.

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I wish more of us would appreciate that fact, and appreciate the women in a more inclusive way. Yes, we all have our favourites, of course we do. I have a thing for Mediterranean women full stop, and so muscular Mediterranean women are about as good as it gets for me. I also have a thing for black female bodybuilders, for Tina Nguyen, for Dani Reardon, for topless back shots and perfect abs and no I don't care if they have tattoos or implants or they are "only Figure" (how insulting!).

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I have a thing for Bikini girls with visible abs and veins on their arms, and a thing for the gymnastic fantastic Fitness competitors, and for clips where FBBs are walking in heels, and if they are walking in a public place so much the better. I love ripped women posing in little more than string, I love amateurs who I've never heard of and will probably never hear of again flexing their little muscles with such pride, and almost every picture I've ever seen of Dena Westerfield and Colette Nelson.

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I LOVE defintion and freaky pecs and glutes and muscle control. I love legs that are cut to feathered ribbons, and big, vascular calves. And I also love big, tree trunk off season legs that bulge out of gym shorts or stretch lycra to its limit. Give me selfies, candids, contest shots, pumped and sweaty at the gym, or all glammed up. Give me those who are just muscular enough to count as muscular, give me the big girls, the beasts, the bodybuilders, and every gorgeous wondrous muscle woman in between.

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I am aware that not everyone is in the fortunate position I am of being able to dedicate so much time and effort to making sure I have as much female muscle input as I can handle - maybe then it's not just my pleasure but my responsibility to make sure that FMS brings you as broad a range of the female muscle spectrum as possible.

Tough job, but someone's got to do it.

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Epilogue

Turned out that when my new chat buddy said he was "really only into the big girls, the beasts, the bodybuilders", well, that included Dani Reardon, Erica Blockman, and Anastasia Papoutsaki (all Physique), Natalia Coelho and Ashley Losee (Figure), and a handful of other women who neither compete in "Female Bodybuilding" nor would, for the vast majority of female muscle heads, be classed "big beast". So, it transpired, his spectrum of female muscle appreciation was actually a lot wider than he had originally claimed. His sense of wonder not as stunted as I had first feared.

Phew!

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And, if Hot and Hard 100 voting received so far - THANK YOU! - is anything to go by, the whole spectrum will once again be in evidence when we add up the votes and compile our 2017 Hot and Hard 100. Just 11 more voting days to go. Want to make sure your favourite ladies are represented? Get busy making your list then send it to 6ft1swell@gmail.com or via the comment box below this or any FMS post.

Enjoy!