Friday, 9 September 2016

FMS RP2016 Preview: The Queen

MARGIE MARTIN Ms Rising Phoenix 2015


3½ years ago I started this journey, Margie Martin told her IG followers just under a year ago. I loved lifting weight but I loved eating more. But once I made the commitment it was a labour of love. It came with its tears, joys, pains and rewards. This wasn't about just losing weight it was about living a dream. A dream that was so scary I would wake up in tears. The hardest part sometimes is believing in yourself.

And basking in her post-win glow, she had another message, To all my sisters in Iron in every division, every shape, every size... keep being you: fierce and wonderful!

Her off-season began with some time "cha-cha-chillin", and after having competed in all four pro events in 2015 before her triumph in San Antonio, she reckoned she deserved it. She ate chocolate, enjoyed the American football (as we say here) season, looked sensational in everything she wore - "Love how muscle just makes the dress pop!" - and had some wild hair days. But there was no break in her training, no big holiday from work. She was even already looking for improvements. It's Leg Day... Again, she wrote as the winter nights started to draw in. I spent yesterday working on my Deadlift form (I normally just do straight leg only). Now it's time to make them bleed!

At the end of January she was excited to be joining some of her "sisters in Iron" at the first Daily FBB Show in Paris, and after meeting and giving the fans a day to remember, and then "walking all the way up the Eiffel Tower... with my eyes!", she returned home from the City of Love feeling the love. Love yourself completely, she told her followers, reminding them on St. Valentine's Day that "you're the real MVP".

And then she was off on another trip, the FBB get-together put together by Wings of Strength. And the Champ was feeling honoured. And humble. If you had told me that I was spending the weekend with Alina Popa, Helle Trevino, Isabelle Turell, and The One and Only Lenda Murray, I would have told you to stop smoking that stuff, she said. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think this could happen. But today is the day. Thank you to the wonderful people who put this all together.

Winter turned to spring. The temperature started to rise. I love that late night pump, she confessed, her dark skin glistening with sweat, the sight of which got FMS' temperature rising too, as I recall. I want to make these the biggest ear muffs in the world! was how she explained her latest quadgasmic selfie. Swoonarama!

She filmed those quads dancing in the gym, broke at least one heart (mine) showing off a new dress, and, once again, Margie took time to look back at how far she'd come, all the way back to her very first contest in 2007 while she was still working for the US Defense Department in Okinawa, Japan. I ate 3 cans of tuna for 8 weeks with some pop tart binging because I was starving myself, she wrote. It took a long time after that show for me to learn my body but I did and now I'm here.

And then, 12 weeks (81 days exactly) out from the defence of her title at RP2016, Margie starts to really count it down. When I first started I really enjoyed documenting the journey and I plan on doing it again, she explained. Stay tuned.

Just under six weeks later, she looked like this. The work she had been documenting was starting to show results. And she was pleased. Getting closer to the woman I want to see on stage, she said. I can almost taste it. But even before the first six weeks of her "journey" had passed, she had seen another woman onto the stage. Margie had a protégé, and when that protégé got up on the stage at the NPC USAs, it was a bit like seeing the future. Brittney O'Veal - "my client, my sister in Iron" - took the overall title and a pro card, and was immediately dubbed Queen of Glutes by her mentor.

And Margie very much enjoyed the time spent in the Las Vegas heat while she was supporting Brittney, and I for one very much enjoyed seeing her enjoying it. Love the vascularity, she said, providing us with one of our "Picture Perfect" posts in August.

Hard to know where to start with this picture, I wrote at the time. And unusually, I stand by everything I wrote then! As soon as you notice those mighty shoulders, your eyes are drawn to her big juicy pecs. Or her massive arms. Then you're back at the shoulders. Then you notice the quads, but you still can't take your eyes off those biceps. Or the pecs. Muscle everywhere. Prime championship beef.

Margie was not only looking like a goddess, but she was feeling like one. And acting on that feeling to the extent that she had made a little shrine at home. To herself!

And why not? Is that conceited? she wondered, before deciding she didn't care. The quads (becoming breathtaking fast) were getting some IG clip time, she was loving her heart-shaped delts, rating her "diet face" at "level 7" and "not letting up off the gas, keeping the pedal to the metal" with two weeks to go to Scottsdale.

The suit arrived. It's glorious. And as she showed off her current back situation (every bit as breathtaking as her quads) last weekend, Margie, I sensed, had reached the point where the message was no longer for her followers, but by herself to herself.

Just a quick snip on whatever blah blah days before the show, she wrote. I want to say some thought provoking shit but quite often there is nothing but the work. Don't think about it, don't analyze it. Just do the damn work.

Her win last year was unexpected but joyful. After Iris had dominated for so long, here was not just a new Queen of Female Bodybuilding, but a completely different type of champion. Margie is, absolutely, everything that a female bodybuilder should be, everything the fans (even the most so-called "hardcore" fans) could want. All muscle.

And at the same time, as I hope this retrospective of her year as champion has shown, she is every inch a woman, and a gorgeous, sassy, stylish, sexy woman at that.

Will she, can she, hold onto her title in the face of Alina's return? You've only got a day left to find out. It wouldn't be the biggest surprise in the world if she did. After all, champions in bodybuilding (and not just female bodybuilding) are notoriously hard to unseat from their thrones, and let's face it, she's always ready to fight.

But even if she doesn't repeat last year's success, she has been - for one year at least - just the new champion the sport needed. A GREAT champion. Fierce and wonderful.

And with that, FMS will be taking a little break. See you sometime after we've enjoyed Alina Popa, Margie Martin et al in The Greatest Female Muscle Show on Earth - The 2016 Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix IFBB Pro Women's World Championships.

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