Monday, 18 July 2016

Obsessions New & Old: "The One"

It was only as recently as April this year that pictures of Cassandra "Cass" Martin started to appear on the forums. And she's already quite a female muscle celebrity.

Her Instagram @casssmartin (the extra "s" is for "sizzling hot", one fan reckons), already has 92,000 followers, and not all of them are wide-eyed female muscle heads like you and me. Her social media popularity (and perhaps her looks) has quickly led to all sorts of fitness-related sponsorship - many of her Instagram posts feature some kind of product or other, everything from clothing to drinks containers.

She's clearly been lifting for a while but is just starting out in the industry. She's just 20, and although she describes herself with the one word we all love hearing - "Bodybuilder" - she has never (as far as I know) competed as a bodybuilder or anything else. Nor does she (again, as far as I know) have any immediate plans to do so.

Actually, she is quite mysterious. I have been all over her Instagram since I first found her on the forums and I can't tell you where she's from exactly. And I'm not the only one who's in the dark. There's a fan on the forum whose first rules is who asks, about once a month, if anybody knows what her plans are and has never received a reply. She keeps her cards close to her impressive chest. And somehow this lack of information, this mystery (on top of those looks perhaps) make her all the more alluring.

One thing that everyone knows about her though, mainly because she's quite happy to share it, is that she is freakishly strong. 130lb dumbbell rows, 90lb dumbbell chest presses, 315lb deadlift... Tried the 75s today, Cass told her followers a couple of weeks ago. Only got 3, so I dropped back down to the 70s for reps. Next time you are in the gym and there aren't many people about, try picking up two 70lb (just over 30kg) dumbbells and doing seated shoulder presses with them. Then try it with 60s.

If the above paragraph gave you the impression I have tried some of Cass's lifts myself, then I'm sorry to disappoint you but I've been lifting for a while and I know my limits and I don't want to be wheeled out of the gym and into an ambulance. Others , though, are not so savvy. I tried a few of her lifts, one fan revealed last month. A few I managed - with great difficulty. Other lifts I couldn't even do, especially the rows. I probably outweigh her by 100lbs [45kg]. She's so f**king strong it's mind-boggling.

And of course the other thing we all know about her, simply because we all have access to her photos and clips, is that Cass is a remarkable beauty. An absolute stunner.

She's so good-looking, in fact, that the thought has crossed my mind that she actually doesn't exist and is a sophisticated computer-generated avatar designed by a marketing company to get us to buy all those products she endorses. Kind of like that CG woman the guy falls in love with in that film (whose title escapes me).

Not, I grant you, very likely, but I have another theory about Cass, and I promise it's better than that. It concerns one of our collective obsessions - the "Obsessions" of the title of this week's posts are not only mine, you see - the emergence of a female bodybuilder who will take the sport back into the mainstream. AKA "The One".

Once upon a time, it was Cindy Phillips. More recently, it was Shannon Courtney. There have been others, those that combine a mainstream beauty with a truck load of muscle and remain - at least in our eyes - feminine with it. Now, I have some serious reservations about this whole idea, the first of which would be that even in the so-called Golden Age of Cory Everson et al, female bodybuilding was never really mainstream in the first place. But let's say it was, and let's say it is possible one woman can take it back there. It hasn't happened with any of the candidates we've collectively assigned that role to so far. My theory is that Cass Martin will be our next.

I haven't seen anyone tout her as the new "One" yet, but I bet it's coming. I don't like women with muscles but for you I'll make an exception, reads one comment on Cass's Instagram, the author no doubt intending to be a lot more complimentary than he actually is. More importantly though, this is exactly the kind of thing that makes us fans suspect that Cass could be on the verge of cracking the mainstream.

She isn't. Nor was Cindy Phillips, Fabiola Boulanger, Kris Murrell, Gina Davis and nor was Shannon either (see She's Not the Messiah, She's a Very Beautiful Female Bodybuilder for more of FMS' take on this). Cass, as far as I can tell, is not thinking much beyond new PBs for her lifts and bigger muscles all over as a result. She is, in her own words, just "putting in the work", and this is very much working for her so far.

She's already shown that she can create a very nice career for herself without ever stepping onto a stage. It's working for Sophie Arvebrink, for example, and coincidentally it wasn't that long ago yours truly was utterly obsessed with her.

So, tempting though it might be to think otherwise, Cass Martin is not "The One". Sorry to those who still dream of Rising Phoenix coverage in national newspapers or whatever "mainstream acceptance" means to you. It ain't going to happen via Cass or anyone else. But - however inappropriate it might be for me, a man of advancing years, to be so enamoured with a woman of 20 - definitely one of my latest obsessions.

Sorry Sophie.

Obsessions all week on FMS. Old, new, borrowed...

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