Friday, 21 July 2017

She's So Shredded: Pauline Nelson IFBB Pro

My plan was to come and take the whole show and I did it. I did it.

The "show" in question was the NPC Teen Collegiate & Masters National Championships, and while Pauline didn't make much noise in the Teen and Collegiate classes, she ruled Masters Bodybuilding. Three Heavyweight plus three Overall titles in three different age groups - over 35, over 40 and over 45. She left with six trophies and a pro card.

About time too. FMS has been mad about Pauline (whether she's training, competing, or just rocking up to show her support at a show in some killer outfit) for a few years now. What she has achieved with her mother-of-four body is nothing short of mind-blowing. And there is something pleasingly old(ish) school about the level of conditioning she consistently achieves for contests, harking back to the days when FBBs turning up at contests with visible abs was the norm rather than the exception.

I will train six hours a day and I will do that for seven months straight, she says. My coaches think I'm crazy, but I'm not. And next this 48-year-old force of nature wants to use her brand new pro card in less than a month and compete at the Tampa Pro.
Applications for the post of Pauline's "trophy carrier" are now, sadly, closed

What's another four weeks when you've already done seven months?!

Watch Pauline's post-show interview with NPC News Online here.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

She's So Shredded: Lindsey Angel

Close-up, uninhibited, "how did that get by the censors?" shreds from the UK's most successful Trained Figure competitor at this year's NABBA Worlds, Lindsey Angel.

Lindsey has become a shredded, thong-wearing freak in just over two years' of lifting. When they say it takes years, yes, it does, she says. But it's also possible to do this in two years, she adds, somewhat confusingly. So, two years then, and Lindsey is the living proof. I have spent my life training in a ballet school, then doing other sports and pole fitness, so they too were developing my muscles. Oh right, now I see.

Here's Lindsey's glute-tastic routine from Russia. She was 3rd in her class.

Follow her on Instagram.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

She's So Shredded: Jodi Boam

I LOVE contest season. Muscles at their sharpest, veins at their thickest. The pre-contest pumps. Striated pecs, striated glutes. The backstage shenanigans. Glistening tanned, oiled bodies pumping up. Muscles at their best, at their most beautiful.

That's me, not Jodi, saying that, but I get the feeling she loves contest season too.

And this season, it's been a pleasure watching her prepare her gorgeous body with her usual dedication and precision, and a pleasure seeing the images of her competing. First, it was Toronto, a show she had previously won back in 2012. This time around she finished 3rd, for the first time since the year she won that title, in Fitness.

Hotel room shenanigans ahoy!

More recently, in Vancouver, she won the Physique class and booked her place at her first Physique Olympia and her first Olympia since her Fitness appearance in 2012.

The lines between the different divisions may continue to blur, but there was nothing less than razor-sharp about Jodi's muscles before, during or after either of her shows.

I'm honestly speechless, mind-blown and overwhelmed, she wrote after her victory. I came into this show with zero expectations, I just wanted a new challenge for myself. Not once did I ever think I'd be leaving saying I've made it to the OLYMPIA!!!

So that's one more contest for me (and Jodi) to look forward to this year.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

She's So Shredded: Mariša Golob

On her Instagram there's a really quite disturbing image of a young, cute, feminine face photoshopped onto an undeniably muscular but somewhat chubby male body. What people think I look like when I tell them I'm a powerlifter, says Mariša Golob.

Click here at your own risk.

I did warn you it was disturbing.

Anyway, me, you and the female muscle lovin' brethren in general are all much too enlightened to have that preconception, but that doesn't mean we don't have a preconception of what a female powerlifter looks like, and it's not (I imagine) the kind of look you would expect to find in a week of posts entitled She's So Shredded.

But Mariša is not your typical powerlifter.

Her Wikipedia entry (which is extensive) calls her "the most successful and decorated female in Slovenian powerlifting history", and details the 27-year-old law student's tally of 37 gold (plus one solitary silver) medals at European and World level.

All have been won in the last five years.

Why so shredded then?

Well, I'd hoped at first that Mariša was going to start doing what our Hot and Hard 100 Top Brit Corinne Ingman does and marry a powerlifting career with a competitive Bodybuilding one, but I've found no evidence to suggest that my dream of her all tanned and oiled, glam and suited and flexing her delicious and powerful body is going to be coming true anytime soon. What I have found out though is that this, as Corinne might say, "royally peeled" look is a fairly recent development - she hasn't always looked quite like this - and is all in aid of ensuring that Mariša makes a particular weight class. She says she is "kind of diggin' these pre-competition shreds".

Swell is very much diggin' them too.

Follow Mariša on Instagram.

Monday, 17 July 2017

She's So Shredded: Lauren Howe

Veins are ready to party, noted NPC Figure competitor Lauren Howe, not long before she tanned up and glammed up and took to the stage at the NPC Universe. [My] best conditioning to date, she thought. No matter the outcome I'm proud.

And so she should be. That is one hell of a shredded physique this new Figure pro took to the contest. And "the outcome", left her "ecstatic". Class and Overall winner.

As usual, not the world's greatest interviewer. But we don't really care about him, do we? Just look how damn BIG she is - the sheer SIZE of those shoulders and arms.

And those VEINS. Damn! NPC Figure? Not for long.

Check out Lauren's progress since her 2014 Lackland Classic debut.
Lauren's progress - top: 2014 (left) and 2015; bottom: 2016 (left) and 2017

And, if you had the sound on during the clip you'll know this, she isn't planning to take much time off before putting that pro card to use. Just a few weeks in fact. Less since the time of writing is a good week after her Universe triumph. Next stop, the San Antonio Pro. A short trip for Lauren (you will also know this if you etc.) because San Antonio just happens to be where lives. Can she be so shredded again?

Not long before we find out.

Lauren is on Instagram.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Chicago 2017: Elena Gets Her Wings

I had been looking forward to the brand spanking new Ms Wings International ever since it was launched last autumn. The possibilities for the line-up were mouth-watering - Elena, Natalia, Flores, Carla Maria, Kashma, perhaps a Brit or two (Sarah Williams, Christal Cornick), Europeans, Asians, Australasians, Canadians...

My female muscle imagination ran riot.

And I was not alone. A "Ms Wings International Wish List" thread was opened on one of the forums, and the collective imagination got busy. Pauline Nelson and Jessica McKenzie were popular choices from the US; the thought of Canadian Peak Queen Michelle Russell flexing next to Elena and Flores got a few pulses racing; and forumites from South America, Asia, and Australasia threw in their own faves from their region. It was hoped, generally, that if the contest was truly a global one that it would reignite interest in the sport in every continent, and halt the decline in amateur FBBing in places, such as Scandinavia and Central America, where it once flourished.

Whether this will indeed be the contest's effect only time will tell. The line-up was, ultimately, neither as international nor as studded with "star" names as the "Wish List" would have had it. Oana was the only European, Dee Vasconcelos the only South American, Siufung Law the sole Asian, and Tui Schwarze of New Zealand the only woman from there or Australia. Natalia was, at one time, down to compete, but withdrew after the Omaha Pro. Whether she did so after seeing Aleesha's placing there or whether the timing was coincidental FMS does not know. Either way, no Natalia, no Flores, no Kashma. And no Pauline Nelson, no Jessica McKenzie, no Michelle Russell. Not for the first time the FBB genie refused to grant our collective wishes!

The good news was that weight classes were in. Three of them - Light, Middle, and Heavy. Dee Vasconcelos (see FMS passim) won the Lightweight class; Natascha Donald the Middle, and, as expected, Elena took the Heavyweight and Overall titles. All three got pro cards, Elena got an invite to the 2017 Rising Phoenix as well.

Coverage of the event has been sketchy to say the least. Thankfully there's a few Mr Rivieccio photos, because otherwise all I'd have to post would be Elena cosying up to the great and the good backstage (or perhaps they're cosying up to her, whatever). Even Maximum Muscle Report, which has extensive galleries of everything else that went down in Chicago, only has a few pages of low-res comparison shots from Ms Wings. And I've entirely had to rely on fellow obsessives' knowledge of the event, on the information they have managed to track down, to get the complete results.

The plan back in October was that the winner would, the following day, compete with the pros in Chicago. Perhaps not an ideal scenario for the woman in question, peaking two days in a row is, I imagine, more than twice as hard as peaking at the right time for one day, but that was the plan. The plan they announced. It was news to me that Elena had, in fact, won her ticket to the Rising Phoenix, and although I wouldn't for a moment say she didn't deserve to be there, I think I might feel differently if I were a veteran IFBB pro who has just missed out on qualification for the last couple of years looking at Elena getting all cosy with the great and the good backstage in Chicago.

After 10 days of no diet and no training I'm ready to move on to the next step, wrote Elena at the start of this week. Looking forward to seeing what we can improve. I'm already looking forward to how Wings of Strength might improve on this inaugural Ms Wings (International or Classic, whatever the name was in the end) in 12 months' time.

Nevertheless, I don't wish to sound all negative and ungrateful - though I fear this is exactly how I am sounding! Once again, Wings of Strength have made something for Female Bodybuilders where there was nothing before. For that, Jake and Kristal (especially Kristal, who, by the way, may well be the subject of her own FMS post before long, I find if I can't get a woman out of my head, doing a post about her is the only way forward) deserve our thanks and congratulations at least as much as Dee and Natascha and Elena and all the women who took part in this historic event do.