Sunday, 4 December 2016

From Birmingham to Miami: The Women of the 2016 NABBA Universe & NPC Nationals

Every day this week, one of the women who competed in one of the Toned or Trained Figure classes at the NABBA Universe in Birmingham, UK, on October 29th. And from the NPC Nationals in Miami the following weekend, every day we'll enjoy one of the Female Bodybuilders or Women's Physique competitors, all trying to win their IFBB pro cards remember, taken from among the four classes in each division.

I'm not trying to compare and contrast the women or federations, or make any points here, I just thought it would be a bit different. And it gives us the best of both worlds too. While footage of the NABBA ladies' routines is plentiful, there are few pics. From the NPC Nationals the reverse is true. Little video, many pics. So, by doing it this way we get to enjoy some muscles in motion, as well as a selection of contest photos.

Today, the Trained Figure and Female Bodybuilding overall champions.

Crowned in Birmingham...

Ms Universe 2016

NABBA Ms Northern Ireland, Ms Britain, and now Ms Universe, and all in the same year (oh, and PCA Ms Ireland, by the way). Five contests in 2016, and four titles for Emma Gormley. To put her win in context, the last time a British woman won the Overall title at any international NABBA event was four years ago when Leslie Ann-Armstrong (also from Northern Ireland) won the Worlds. The last time a British woman won a NABBA Universe title was way back in the 1990s - when Julie Abel was Physique (ie. Bodybuilding champion). The last British woman to win the Overall Figure Ms Universe title was Helen Maderson in 1991, 25 years ago.

How did she celebrate her momentous achievement? Well, according to the blog of the Pro Gym in Derry, where she works, Emma was back at work the following Monday, and it was business as usual. She opened up the gym at 7am, took a PT client through her paces, hoovered around my feet and then bounced off upstairs to take care of something else... See Emma previously this year on FMS (when we discovered she had won her Northern Ireland title less than a year after giving birth to a daughter and that her contest prep coach is a very familiar name). Watch her performing her routine from that slightly different angle here, posing down against Cinara Polido for the Overall win here, and being interviewed fresh off the stage here.

And crowned in Miami...

NPC Nationals Women's Bodybuilding Overall Champion 2016

I'm a real bodybuilder now! Chareece told her Instagram followers after her win. Victory is mine today! This was Chareece's third Nationals, and as far as I know her fifth national level show. She'd always previously competed in Physique, twice finishing 5th. Becoming a "proper bodybuilder" has worked out, the second year in a row that the Lightweight champion has won the Overall title at the NPC Nationals.

Taking inspiration from Lenda Murray (the victory pose we featured from Chareece last week is pure Lenda), she says that you shouldn't have to sacrifice beauty and femininity - this is Female Bodybuilding. Now with this goal taken care of Chareece has got her sights set on another, and you might be disappointed to hear it isn't competing as a pro. Well, not immediately anyway. Instead, she'll be finishing her degree. I'm a Strong and Smart Black Woman, she says (her capitals). Believe.


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