In the past, FMS has tended to close up shop for weeks over the summer, usually during August. We've tried not to leave you FMS-less on those occasions, and have consequently come up with ideas like Legs Month, August Picture Post, and, last year, While the Slave's Away to tide you over while we're sunning ourselves.
This year we're not shutting up the offices for one long holiday but a series of shorter breaks, but our commitment to give you at least one stunning example of female muscle heat to look at every day remains. So this year it's Summer Breaks, and part deux reviews the recent NPC USAs. We hope you enjoy our selections.
Sadly it's not possible to feature all the wonderful Physique women who impressed at the USAs this year, but today we bring you a personal selection of nine of them.
Winner, Class A
Originally from Puerto Rico, Arlin didn't have to travel far for the show as she resides in Las Vegas. She's also known as Arlin Rodriguez, and it seems she's been around a while (the research team found pictures of her from as far back as 2011). Part of Sierra Magnus' training group, she took first place in the shortest of the four classes. You deserve this more than anyone I know, said Coach Sierra after her win. I'm mostly glad that this weekend showed you just how much you belong in this sport.
Arlin's on Facebook and Instagram.
3rd, Class A
It's not often the worlds of Crossfit and competitive bodybuilding converge, but the 31-year-old Christina Buffington is one Crossfit coach who doesn't mind putting on a sparkly posing suit and showing off all her hard-earned muscles on stage.
Christy (as she's more commonly known) is on Instagram, and as well as Crossfit and Physique, she's a qualified to teach Gymnastics and Power Lifting (though probably not at the same time), and is a keen snowboarder and trail runner. Phew!
4th, Class A
Noted on one of the forums as referring to herself as a "trophy wife", which hardly suggests she is the modest type, Tia-Marie got some fanboy attention towards the end of last year around the time she was finishing 5th in her class at the NPC Nationals for some rather arresting close-up shots of her abs and overall "phenomenal sex appeal".
Images of her at the USAs certainly seem to confirm that assessment. There's a real glint in those deep dark eyes - check the triceps pose in particular, she's enjoying having her body examined while in that position I would say. Hot hot HOT!
Follow the sizzling "trophy wife" on Instagram.
6th, Class A
Recently, a reader accused FMS of "only liking the pretty ones". Well, I ain't about to apologise for that, and I'm afraid that reader's going to have to put up with a few more of those beauties today, none of them more beautiful than Washington state stunner Rachel Gilmore, the last of our picks from the shortest "A" Physique class.
In my defence, it never seems to be the case that these women are just a pretty face, and Rachel is no exception to that rule. Not only does she own her own business - Prestige Nutrition and Fitness - but she's also extremely thoughtful and eloquent about, for example, the process of competing, and its emotional aftermath. You can read some of her thoughts about that here, just one of the many interesting comments this gorgeous woman has put onto her Instagram. And Rachel's also on Facebook.
5th, Class C
And here's another of those "pretty ones", 2016 NPC South Carolina Physique champion Carli Terepka, who finished 5th in her class at her first ever national level show. This is the best I've ever looked in the 15 competitions I've done, said Carli afterwards. The girls in my class were phenomenal and I'm glad I held my own.
She also got to meet Nicole Wilkins. And she got to flex at Caesar's Palace looking downright freaky if I may say so. I'm in a world of my own, says this student nurse.
Check out that world on Instagram.
4th, Class C
After about a minute ten of NPC News Online's backstage video from the contest, Kathy Garza positively lights up the screen. Since the show itself she's been shot by Mr Annie Rivieccio, and the fan forums have lit up for her. She is simply gorgeous, they say, my new crush. I'm in love with her arms, she's pure perfection...
Kathy appears to have come from nowhere to win the Texas State championship last year. And though only 4th in her class at her first attempt at a national level contest, there were many left scratching their heads (perhaps among other things?!) and wondering what the judges were looking for and why she didn't place higher.
She's got a few posts on her Instagram. And star quality.
3rd, Class D
I wonder if Joella Bernard is maybe thinking she should have stuck with the Female Bodybuilding division for just one more year. Having competed as an FBB for (at least) a decade, she made the switch to Physique at the NPC Contra Costa Championships in May this year, and ended up here in a Physique class that had more competitors in it than all the FBBing classes put together. Perhaps Joella is wondering if she'd stuck with her original division she might just be looking at her pro card right now...
She certainly looks every inch the bodybuilder, and even managed a close-fisted double biceps pose - force of habit perhaps - and a mini-most muscular that displays her incredible pecs at their magnificent vein-strewn best. This was her fourth consecutive NPC USA appearance, and the third consecutive time she had finished in the top 3 of her class. The last two times that class has been Heavyweight Bodybuilding. I wonder whether the next time she competes whether it would be better for her to return to the division she knows best. But what do I know?
Muscle (& HAIR!): Joella Bernard, bodybuilder, 2012 @NPC Nationals & 2013-15 @NPC USAs
Joella, a registered nurse, has no social media presence at all apart from a "Star Now" page that doesn't seem to have been updated in the last five years. Still, it does tell us that as an actor she appeared in The Life of MC Hammer, which is some claim to fame! You can, however, find a couple of nice clips of her backstage on the USA Muscle Women YouTube channel. One from way back in 2007, and another from 2010.
6th, Class D
Compare, if you will, on your left, Jennika Hill circa 2014, and Jennika Hill v.2016, on your right. She has gotten significantly larger, notes one eagle-eyed fan.
I wonder if, like Joella Bernard, Jennika was not regretting the fact that she didn't decide to compete as a Bodybuilder here. It was certainly in her thoughts during the off season after she'd found her 7th place here last year difficult to stomach. I have always competed in WPD, she syas on her Team HerBiceps page, but now with me growing, making my off season weight 200lbs, I might be doing Women's Bodybuilding. As I get closer to showtime, we’ll see what division I end up in.
There are those, you know the type, who complain about the tats. "All those beautiful muscles covered in that ugly ink blah blah..." Well, if you can't see Jennika's meaty muscles, my friend, then like the advert says, you should've gone to Specsavers.
2nd, Class D
And finally, the "D" class runner-up, new IFBB pro Jamie Tirabasso.
Figure, NPC USAs 2014, & Physique, NPC USAs 2015
And what a sight she is! With all the wondering about Joella and Jennika and whether they should have stayed/switched to FBBing, it's nice to end with Jamie, who made the switch up from Figure at last year's NPC USAs. She was 3rd then, went one better this time, and will soon (I hope) be lining up that magnificent chassis against the pros.
If you think Jamie looks like she might be tall here (the "D" class is the tallest class anyway) then rest assured, it's not an optical illusion conjured up by her wondrous proportions. Those legs really are that long. Check out this 2014 interview - unless Tammi Bradford is 4ft tall, Jamie must be an Amazonian 6ft at least!!! And remember, this was about a year before she "went Physique". *SWOON!*
Damn! Here I am, getting ready to go away, supposedly banging out a bunch of quick posts to keep you going for the next week and I get all excited and carried away and the next thing I know I've come up with a bloody mega-post for your viewing pleasure!
What was it I was saying the other week about obsession...?