Friday, 22 May 2015

Her Abs: Countdown to St Louis

Something I have wanted to do for a while is follow a female bodybuilder from the very start of her weeks and weeks of contest preparations right up to the moment she steps onto the stage. The idea would be to observe her changing body, to watch the muscle emerge as gradually her body fat percentage drops, until all the hard work and self-denial pays off and the finished living sculpture is revealed.

You can. of course, get this sort of thing in real time by following your favourite women via social media as the countdown to their next show progresses, but what I'm envisaging is all the pics placed one after the other in chronological order.

So today's post is a sort of draft of what that might be like. We'll follow - retrospectively - not one but two of the Hot and Hard 100 top 25, Dani Reardon and Loana Muttoni in their final preparations for the St. Louis Pro at the start of April.

The dates are the dates the pictures were posted, but from reading the comments (in italics below the images), there is no reason to believe that they weren't taken and posted on exactly the same days. We begin with Dani, three weeks out.

15th March

imagebam.com
Dani: My current view.

17th March

imagebam.com
Loana: Good night.

imagebam.com
As I was doing cardio this morning I was thinking about how enjoyable it was. Crazy I know but instead of whining and complaining about what I need to do, I embraced it and enjoyed it because I know with every step, with every day, with every rep, I'm a little bit better than I was and a little bit closer to my goals.

22nd March

imagebam.com
Good morning abs.

What strikes me most about this first set of pics is, in Dani's case, how much definition her abs already have and, as far as Loana's concerned, how much of her trademark freaky vascularity we can already see. Of course, neither of them started preparing for this show three weeks before it, but I kind of imagined the definition and the veins would only start to really emerge later. Also striking is Dani's positivity - and she will remain so at all times. I had expected there would be more of what she calls "whining" during the final weeks, but in fact neither Dani nor Loana ever seem less than 100% committed to or less than 100% happy with their preparations.

26th March

imagebam.com
Good morning. Skin like a gum... Love it!

imagebam.com
Nothin' to it but to do it!

27th March

imagebam.com
This is the moment when you feel pleased with the hard work we have done! Thanks to all that are with me. See what I mean? At this point Loana even posts a clip of herself doing some hanging leg raises. She looks kind of tired (though that may be simply because she hasn't had any tan applied yet, so she's much paler than we're used to seeing her). But she's also very focused and in total control of the movement.

29th March: 7 days out

imagebam.com
No carbs, depletion has started.

Loana looks rock hard, like she's skin and muscle and nothing else. And again, because she looks like this at the beginning of the week before the contest (and not, for example, a couple of days before it), this is surprising to me.

And the next day Dani is surprised by the state of her own body!

30th March

imagebam.com
I am officially pumped for this weekend. I don't think I've ever seen these before! I can't wait to see what the rest of this week brings. Only days left until showtime!


31st March

imagebam.com
I can't put into words how excited I am to have received my suit today! CJ has yet to let me down my whole competition career. She amazes me again with another beautiful suit! Proud to say I'm back in red. This may be my favorite suit to date!!!

The suit's arrival marks the beginning of the end of the preparation and the fact that the moment of truth is at hand. But I detect more than just the excitement here. Dani, and as we will see Loana do pretty much the same thing in a bit, seems to treats her suit with a kind of reverence. Carefully laid out against a dark background, it's precious, the tool (or at least one of the tools) she'll use to show off all that hard work.

1st April

imagebam.com
Last training session before the show! I feel great right now. Which is weird considering I don't even know what carbs are anymore. I'm tired and hungry but not phased by it. Going to kill this sesh.

2nd April

imagebam.com
And the process begins...

And I thought Loana had looked hard and freaky at the start of the week!

4th April

imagebam.com
All set for tomorrow!! Number 35.


And finally, it's April 5th: 0 days out

imagebam.com imagebam.com

All smiles on stage, and all smiles backstage...

imagebam.com imagebam.com
5th place.

imagebam.com imagebam.com
And the verdict is... 3rd place!!! Points towards the Olympia, and new friends! Although I didn't punch my ticket yet, I am on my way. Three weeks ago I almost pulled the plug on this show. I was very unsure until about... Yesterday!

Well, I did not get that from her comments on the posts - was she writing all those positive things (did she have to write them?) just to convince herself to keep going?

I am very happy and grateful for the placing I was awarded and I am glad I pushed through and made it! This was not my show to win, but there is one out there for me. And when that day comes, it will be sweet. And I won't want it to happen any other way. So now I head back to Orlando with new friends and new lessons learned. Today was a good day. Now, time to finally sleep.

So there, sort of, are two competitors' stories.

Like I said, today's post has been a kind of trial run for a possible (and possibly epic) future post, so comments and suggestions on this are particularly welcome.

Galleries of Dani and Loana and all the other St. Louis Pro competitors are here.

Enjoy!

The answer to Sunday's quiz: Katie Sauter, Candrea Judd-Adams and Jehina Malik were the three who did not place. The correct order for the other five is: Fabiola Boulanger (6th), Jessica Gaines (7th), Marcie Simmons (8th), Margarita Charaim (10th), and Tracy Hess (15th).

Did you agree with the judges?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Her Abs: Mrs Fitness Freak

imagebam.com

Since around the beginning of the year, images of this woman, and in particular images that showcase her somewhat exciting abs, have been all over the forum boards, the chatrooms and the Tumblr/Twitter/Instagram feeds, raising heart rates (among other things) right here in the FMS office and all over the female muscle lovin' world.

imagebam.com

She is "a goddess", "a firestarter", a "mega bomb". One fan calls them (her abs, that is) "a beautiful canvas", though he doesn't say what he wants to paint on them [easy! - ed.], others that they "must be kissed", are "world class", "magnificent", "perfection".

imagebam.com imagebam.com
imagebam.com imagebam.com

The name of the lady who's caused all this excitement is Pauline von Schinkel (or at least that was her name until quite recently, but more about that in a little while).

imagebam.com

I guess, going solely on the name, that she is from Germany (or Austria, or possibly Switzerland). I imagine, from the pictures, that she's not the world's biggest fan of underwear. I also imagine (again, I'm just getting this from her pictures) that she is completely and utterly enamoured with muscle, and that she absolutely adores showing off her abs and all of the rest of her sexy muscular body to the world.

imagebam.com imagebam.com
imagebam.com imagebam.com

Anyone else get that impression?

imagebam.com

Anyway, moving on from the stuff I imagine, Ms von Schinkel has got herself married. And if you want to find all her latest stuff, the place you need to go to doesn't bear her name, but the title Mr and Mrs Fitness Freaks, the Instagram she shares with her (ripped) husband. Fortunately, he doesn't take his shirt off as much as she takes off her sports bra. They are prolific in their posting, with many (and I mean many) images of themselves going up every day. At the gym, at home and, er, well, actually they seem to be the only two places they ever go, anytime is a good time for an "abs check".

imagebam.com

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Her Abs: 6x6

De La Soul taught us that 3 is The Magic Number, and far be it from me to contradict that, but for an old abs fan like me, 3 just won't cut it (get it?). I need 6. At least!

And thankfully, there are more than a few wonderful women out there who agree, and who absolutely will not stop until they have achieved that perfect number.

Today, FMS brings you just 6 of those many wonderful women.



NATASHA AUGHEY

imagebam.com

Some up-and-coming muscle women take a while to grab the collective attention, some cause a stir almost immediately. And then there are those who set the forum boards aflame and make the female muscle lovin' world go completely mental at first sight. Canada's Natasha Aughey is most definitely one of the latter category. Since around the middle of last year the brethren have been falling over themselves for this "beautifully sculptured" 22-year-old. We've marvelled at her Wonder Woman shower curtain (get it?!), we've swooned at her "Liv Tyler if Liv Tyler worked out" looks...

imagebam.com

Interestingly, she rarely takes a selfie that shows off her tattoo, in fact she seems a little self-conscious about it. Not saying that's a good or bad thing, nor that the tattoo is good or bad - just saying it's interesting. I wonder why Natasha feels the need to (usually) snap herself from an angle that hides it. Mmmm, she's mysterious too...

imagebam.com

Her midsection is developing just as fast as the rest of her is (the above pic is the most recent), but obviously we're just teasing a little bit here. There is very much more of Natasha to enjoy than her work-in-progress abs - not least her eye-popping thighs and her fine, flowing dark locks (and that shower curtain!) - so you'll probably want to drop by her Instagram at some stage to get a fuller picture of this future goddess. And for those who like to know all the stats, she also has a Bodyspace profile. And you can bet your mortgage there'll be more Natasha coming your way on FMS very very soon.


FRIDA PAULSEN

Flex vs. No Flex

imagebam.com

We noted on Monday that whatever you might think about the division, a Bikini competitor's abs can be mightily impressive. Frida Paulsen provides yet more evidence. She's Sweden's most successful Bikini athlete, having won the Loaded Cup and Swedish Grand Prix titles already in 2015. "Flex" is on the left, by the way.


VANESSA HILL

imagebam.com

Next up, FMS' favourite Colombian-Trinidadian Bikini athlete, and her abdominal progress. Above, the muscle (and those veins) have started to emerge...

imagebam.com

Deeper cuts. You can see the obliques (and even more of those lovely veins) now...

imagebam.com

And soon afterwards, well, just in time for her photo shoot anyway, there they are in all their six-pack glory. She can't stop looking at them (or at least that's exactly the impression the photographer wants to give us), and to be honest, neither can I!


BROOKE WALKER

At last!

imagebam.com imagebam.com

I tucked these two divine images into the "Who Is?" folder (along with a few others of the same woman) some time last year. It's taken a while to put a name to the (drop dead gorgeous) face and (volcanically hot) muscular body but last week I was finally able to do so, and it's Brooke Walker, Miss Arkansas Women's Physique 2014.

imagebam.com imagebam.com

She also competed in August last year at the North Americans, finishing third in her class. And if she looks a little on the lean side for a Physique competitor, well, that may be because as little as five months previously she had been competing in the Bikini division. And if you think that's impressive progress, take a look at her now...

imagebam.com

Brooke, who's originally from Texas, will turn 25 in July. She has her own website and she's on Instagram. And you might also want to check out a workout and interview clip made a week before she competed (in Bikini) at the 2014 Arnold Amateur.


ALIONA MERIACRI

imagebam.com

Apparently, this beautiful vision of beauty and muscle is Aliona Meriacri. Sounds exotic, doesn't she? I believe she is based in the US, possibly Florida or possibly wherever Burlington is, but I'm really not in the mood for digging right now, all I want to do is have a good long hard look at Aliona and those killer abs of hers.

imagebam.com

Here she is, strong legs gripping the punchbag tight and working her sexy midsection. Up and down she goes, her abs fuller and harder with each full, slow movement...

imagebam.com

And here she is later, abs flex and hand bra. It's Aliona's softer, more sensual side all right, but there's nothing soft at all about that sensationally sexy six-pack. I may not know where she's from, whether she competes, if she has a Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, or anything in fact. But I do know what I like, and Aliona is it.


NATALIA ZARDON

And we leave you up close and personal with La Zardon.

imagebam.com


More abs tomorrow. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Her Abs: Look Who's Back

So the plan was to post some '80s female bodybuilder abs today, call it Retro Abs or something like that. But then the past turned up in the present. Not quite from all the way back in the '80s, but definitely from long enough ago to be considered "retro"...

LOOK WHO'S BACK!

imagebam.com

Last seen at the 2009 Ms International, Isabelle Turell was planning to compete this month. Whether that is still a realistic option given how much money she has raised compared to her GoFundMe target, I can't say. The latest gossip on the boards is that she will be trying for the Tampa Pro in August now, but I can't confirm that.

imagebam.com

What I can say though is that if her Instagram posts are anything to go by, when she takes to the stage again, she'll be looking better than ever. And that, if you recall how good she looked back in her pomp, is really saying something.

imagebam.com imagebam.com

Given it's May now and Isabelle is (possibly) not due to compete till August, we may yet see abs with such crevasse-like muscle boundaries that they will (and I feel I'm committing treason just by thinking this) even rival those of the Abs Queen herself.

imagebam.com

Now that prospect has got to be worth a bob or two.

Go fund her!