As always seems to be the case (and perhaps for reasons that have been discussed on FMS passim) if you've been wanting news of British muscle women, the best place to look recently has been the regional rather than the national media.
May has been a particularly bumper month, and in case you missed them, today we bring you news of three of the women who've got some recent regional love.
Glastonbury bodybuilder Jane Carter makes stunning return to competition, reads the headline in the Central Somerset Gazette from May 9th, and I'm already wondering to myself if I've heard the name before, though I'm pretty sure I haven't.
Turns out Jane was returning to competition after a four-year break. And how. First up, she booked her place at the UKBFF British championships by finishing 2nd in her category at the Portsmouth Qualifier. Then she won a NABBA Britain qualifier in Exeter, at the very same venue where she had won her first competition - 19 years ago!
To go back and win again was a dream come true at the age of 44 and after having a family, she told the Central Somerset Gazette reporter. It was a sell-out, an amazing atmosphere, and the judges were very pleased to see me return to the stage as some of them had judged me all those years ago when I first started in my 20s.
Turns out that competitive debut was back in 1996 and kick-started a long and distinguished career that (as far as I've been able to ascertain) includes two British and one World title. Now I'm thinking I really should have heard of Jane Carter before.
If you're in the Yeovil area though, you probably have heard of Jane Carter, or at least you know where the gym she runs with her husband is. Slim Gym Personal Training advertises sessions with "British Professional and World Physique Champion" Jane Carter, and her profile on the gym's website lists over 25(!) contests from that debut in 1996 up until she took her break in 2010.
Well, at least we've heard of her now!
At least there's no reason to feel guilty about never having come across Bolton's Samantha Egan before. The 24-year-old had won her (Bikini) class at the UKBFF North West in her very first competition, as was reported by both The Bolton News and (with exactly the same story and picture) This Is Lancashire on May 7th.
The following day, this regional story went national, picked up by the seemingly ever female muscle hungry Mail Online with more pictures of Samantha, more details of her "gruelling regime" and the headline: Female bodybuilder who eats SIX meals a day to bulk up and maintain her rippling abs wins first ever muscle contest.
What both articles fail to mention is Samantha's crush on FMS fave Sexy Sophie Arvebrink, who provides both inspiration - I'll be channelling my inner Sophie doing my chest and arms workout today - and a means of reminding herself how far she has yet to go - When you feeling cocky noticing a new vein at the gym, come crashing back down to earth when you see a picture of this girl [Sophie]. However, the Mail was certainly correct to point out that Samantha's abs do, indeed, ripple.
You can follow Samantha on Instagram.
And finally today, courtesy of the Derby Telegraph on May 18th, Suzanne Stirland, a UK champ and pro bodybuilder who competes on the drug-free side of the sport.
At 47, and the mother of an 11-year-old daughter, Suzanne is a walking, talking, lifting and flexing advertisement for the benefits of the sport, though her daughter didn't always appreciate her mother's achievements - or "otherness". At first she didn't like it because I looked so different to the other mums at school, says Suzanne. Now she's proud of what I'm doing. I bet she looked different, and no doubt she still does!
Suzanne has been going to the gym for the best part of 20 years, but it was only in 2009, the article tells us, that she started bodybuilding to compete. Success came quickly, and last year she won the British title and followed that up with a third-place finish at the World Championships in Boston on her pro debut.
Suzanne now plans to get that world title later this year. All the hard work is worth it when you are on stage, she says. It's an amazing feeling to know that you have achieved perfection, you have sculpted it. The ultimate achievement would be to win the World Championships. And you can follow Suzanne in her bid on her Facebook.
Well done to the regional media once again!