We all know that top level female bodybuilding is a game for the over 35s. Women like Shannon Courtney, a pro in her very early twenties, are absolutely exceptional. And the heavyweight class at the 2013 Nationals was no exception. The top four, Victoria Dominguez, Keli Watkins, Kristine Mele and Jennifer Kennedy are, without giving too much away, in their late thirties. Bucking the trend in fifth, though, was a female bodybuilder ten years younger than her peers, Alyssa Stroud.
Part of the reason why Alyssa has grown so fast in such a short time is down to her early start. She has, in her own words, always been an athlete, and the urge to become a bodybuilder came early too. When ESPN used to air the Mr. and Ms. Olympia shows, I was watching when I was 13 and told my mom I would do that one day.
And here she is.
top: Alyssa the figure competitor, 2008-2009
bottom: Alyssa the bodybuilder, 2010-2012
Starting out in figure at the age of 20, Alyssa had immediate success in her home state of Missouri, and by 2009 she was finishing 2nd at the Jr USAs. I knew eventually I would switch [to bodybuilding] I just didn't know when. I started Figure to get started in doing shows. I knew that I needed to build a bigger foundation. The switch came in 2010 at the NPC Europa Super Show. She won her light-heavyweight class, and the overall title, but it gave her little satisfaction. I was disappointed when I got to the show and saw there was only one middleweight, one light-heavyweight, which was myself, and one heavyweight. In contrast, she was 'ecstatic' to finish 3rd at the NPC USAs the following year as a heavyweight. Being backstage and seeing who I was against, and what 1st [Robyn Mentgen] and 2nd [Kate Cooper] looked like compared to me, I knew going in that if I did well it was 'cause of my structure and symmetry and not my size, so I was happy.
And since then, with a 4th place finish at the USAs last year, and now a 5th place at the Nationals under her weight belt, Alyssa has gone about adding size to that wonderful structure. Her off-season self is truly intimidating. Her legs, in particular, seem to have grown exponentially in the last year or so. 'Mo Muscle' says the T-shirt. She seems to have 'Mo Muscle' with every new photo. And remember, she's only 25. My frame is built to hold mass, she says, therefore I will use what God gave me. I am very competitive, and love the lifestyle that comes with bodybuilding and fitness and will strive to have a better physique/package every time I walk across that stage.
She's holding good on that promise so far.
Imagine Alyssa in about ten years at the age of the other competitors she squared up against in Fort Lauderdale. I know, I know, it's an exciting thought, isn't it?!
And I'll leave you today with this beast in progress training legs back in March while no doubt intimidating the shit out of absolutely everything else in the gym - her beau, Jeremy Abernathy, himself a bodybuilder excepted. Probably.
You can see more of Alyssa's clips on her & his YouTube channel, 2205ams, and follow Alyssa on her website (not recently updated) or on Facebook.