Athletic Women Magazine Blog

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Emerald Cup 2018 – Claudia Diaz

Claudia Diaz – Overall Physique Champion

Claudia Diaz cleaned house at Emerald Cup 2018. Along with her sword for Overall Physique Champion, she walked away with first in Women’s Physique A and first in Women’s Physique 35+. To top that off, she grabbed a very unique prize awarded for the first time.

Courtesy of promoter Michelle Krack, she won a weekend in Vancouver with hotel and entry fees covered to compete in the 2018 Vancouver Pro/Am & Expo event taking place in Vancouver, BC over the weekend of July 6 and July 7. This show gives Claudia the opportunity to compete for her pro card in women’s physique.

A pretty fair haul for a weekend’s work at Emerald Cup 2018.

Claudia Diaz, Emerald Cup 2018 Overall Physique Champ biceps flex

Claudia Diaz, Emerald Cup 2018 Overall Physique Champ

Biggest obstacle on the road to the Emerald Cup stage and how you conquered it?

I think my biggest obstacle not only on the road for Emerald Cup, but just in the sport, has been not being able to do family things such as going out to dinner for either birthdays, anniversaries or any other special occasions. There have been so many holidays, banquets and family gatherings in the past three years that I have stayed home either because I’m in deep prep mode or had to carry my own food an eat out of a plastic container as everyone else enjoys delicious meals.

Going on vacations have been put on hold because of my goal to become an IFBB Pro. I have to stay on track with meals and training that it scares me to go anywhere and think I might be limited or not in my daily routine. My family has had to also sacrifice a lot in order to support my passion for this sport.

As a mother of two young adults that are still at home and a wife, they would like to have more “fun family time” and I can be so limited, beside the point that I’m very strict on myself and until I obtain that “pro card” I won’t lose any focus. It’s very hard to have a “social life” and most people don’t and will never understand the sport. I’m blessed that my immediate family support me 100% and want to see me succeed.

Emerald Cup highlight moment?

Most definitely when I won the overall and received my sword. I would tell people back at home that I was going to Washington to pick up my overall sword, so it was very nice to see it happen.

Claudia Diaz Facts & Figures

Age: 38

Height: 5-1

Competition weight: 118 pounds

Off-season weight: 138 pounds

Number of years competing: Three years

Occupation: Business owner. I own a coffee shop in my town that has been in business for over 23 years.

Claudia onstage Emerald Cup 2018

Claudia on Instagram 

Go here to read about Figure G Champion Amanda Caresse and her Emerald Cup weekend.

Claudia Diaz showing off her winning form with some biceps flexing

Claudia Diaz showing off her winning form

The Emerald Cup

The 2018 Emerald Cup marked the 36th edition of this venerable show. Produced by the husband and wife team of Brad and Elaine Craig and the rest of the Craig Productions crew, the show features a full slate of muscle and fitness spread over Friday and Saturday.

Emerald Cup on Facebook

Emerald Cup Official Site

Emerald Cup on Instagram

Ashley Kemeny – Muscle and Music

Muscle and music: 23-year-old Ashley Kemeny brings both to the table. On the muscle side, she’s an up and coming figure competitor. On the music side, she sings, plays guitar and she gigs in a band. Let’s find out more about her.

What are your stats?

Height: 5’3

Competition Weight: 120 lbs

Off-Season Weight: 130-135 lbs

Ashley Kemeny Figure Competitor Side Chest Pose

Ashley Kemeny Figure Competitor

What is your profession/job?

I work as a Customs Broker Release Agent.

How did you get started lifting weights and training?

I started training when my significant other and I started dating. He had four years worth of experience, so he helped me out a ton.

How old were you when you did your first show and to date, what shows have you done?

I was 23 when I did my first show, and it was very recent. I competed in The Leigh Brandt Muscle Classic 2018 on March 24th.

Were you athletic growing up?

I did gymnastics for a short period of time when I was younger, and in grade school I was involved in track and field competing in relay races and running long jump.

Ashley Kemeny Single Biceps Pose

Ashley Kemeny Biceps

What inspired you to start competing?

A very good friend of mine just had the right words to say and it made me want to do it.

What is the personal appeal to you of being a strong, muscular woman?

Honestly, it’s not even the physical appearance for me. When I started training, it never was about getting a “big booty” or getting shredded. My idea of training was to push myself as hard as I could naturally and see how strong I could be. I never realized how much it could do for me physically and mentally in a positive way, and that appeals to me more than anything.

What’s one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?

HAHA! I can make really good turkey noises!

If you were on American Idol, what would you sing?

That’s tough!! It’d either be Foreplay/Long Time by Boston, or In The Still of the Night by WhiteSnake.

Your home is burning down. Family and pets have all made it to safety. You have one chance to go back in and save just one item. What do you save and why?

I would go back for my baby blanket. It’s a treasure of mine and it’s something I’d want my future children to have.

Ashley Kemeny Side Chest Pose

Ashley Kemeny Side Chest

Who is your personal hero?

There are far too many people in my life to be narrowed down to one!

What’s one thing you really like doing that other people would be surprised to find out?

I absolutely love to dance. I like choreographing my own stuff!

What do you like the most about yourself?

I like to see the good in all people.

If you could be a A) WWE Wrestler; B) UFC cage fighter; C) UFC ring girl; what would you choose and why?

UFC cage fighter all the way! I think it would be awesome to learn the techniques and kick ass!

How long have you been playing guitar?

I’ve been playing guitar on and off for 15 years, but I’m no expert! I like using my guitar for songwriting purposes or when I just need to jam.

Are you currently in a band?

Yes, a classic rock cover band called Jokers Hill.

Who are some of your favorites in the music world?

There are too many!! I love anything classic rock. Some of my favorites are: The Guess Who, Boston, Cheap Trick, Heart, Deep Purple, Pat Benatar, etc.

Where can we see more of you?

Workout video on YouTube

I’m mostly on Instagram.

Ashley Kemeny Biceps Pose

Ashley Kemeny Biceps

 

Dee Kela – From Physique to Bodybuilding

Let’s start with your stats.

I’m Dee. I turned 37 not long ago! I am 5-9 tall and off-season weight right now is around 200 lbs. I just started prep for the next show and aiming to get down to 165 lbs. Last time three years ago my contest weight was 152 lbs.

This is biggest I’ve ever been and lean off-season!

I am aiming to get into women’s bodybuilding that is doing a comeback in my country!

Dee Kela Smiling

Dee Kela

What is your profession or job?

For the moment I am independent entrepreneur, I love helping people so I coach athletes, but also just normal people to help them with healthier lifestyles and nutrition.

I have education in cooking and hairdressing, but the last 10 years I’ve been an entrepreneur.

Also I do volunteer work whenever I can. I love helping people and animals without asking anything back!

How many languages do you speak?

I speak fluently English, Russian, Spanish and my mother language is Finnish, but also I do speak a bit of Danish and Swedish.

Where do you live and what countries have you lived in previously?

I was born in Russia (that is why I know the language) and raised in Finland since I was eight, but I have lived independently in US, Spain, Denmark and also travelled a lot in those countries.

My dream would be making a career in US or Canada. My country is very small and with very limited options for being self-employed too!

Impressive Lower Body in Jeans

Impressive Lower Body

When did you start lifting weights and training?

I was 18 when I first went to the gym. I don’t think I knew what I was doing and I might of trained back thinking I’m training chest (embarrassed now), but hey, we all start somewhere.

At that time I met an older, experienced bodybuilder and he taught me everything I know about lifting. He was a very old school type of lifter from the sixties.

I have had of course some short breaks from lifting for different reasons. The longest one was almost one year while I was battling with some health issues in 2009-2010.

Were you athletic growing up and did you play any sports?

I was very athletic back in school. I was a fast runner and I loved basketball. I was very active always!

Did you start in physique, or did you start in something else and switch to physique?

Currently I have had an almost three-year break from competing to grow. I had some health issues that led to hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue, but now I just started prep and we’ll see how everything goes. I could compete after this upcoming summer.

I actually started in WPD. I’ve always had a big build and I want to aim high! I love WPD because it is very feminine and also beautiful. Normal people don’t see it that way, but I think we are all beautiful in the way that we choose to be and whatever is a passion for us, that’s what we should do, not what someone else’s beauty standards are.

Double Biceps Flex

Biceps Flex

What is the personal appeal to you of being a strong, muscular woman?

I love everything about it. It’s not only being strong physically, but it takes one mentally strong person do be able to do what we do and to work hard every single day. It’s not only muscle growth, it’s also growing as a person for me.

I know that this sport has changed me so much to be a better person. I’ve become so humble, so grateful and so proud of myself and how far I can push myself despite setbacks and despite falling. I’ve learned to be so patient and respect my body the way I thought I never could.

“I’ve learned so much about myself as a person, so this is not only about muscle growth, it is mental growth too.”

I’m sure you get noticed because of your physique. What’s the strangest question someone has asked you or the strangest incident you’ve experienced?

I do get stares at the gym and sometimes even at my own gym even though I’m still very feminine.

When I lived in Spain, there weren’t many women that worked out where I worked out, so many times very bluntly I was asked if I was a man or transgender. Sometimes people are very mean. Just today a total stranger called me transexual steroid B, just because I made a comment about something.

But then there is also so many followers and good people that are inspired and ask me to help them. Random people write to me about how much I inspired them to lose weight or not to give up and those are things that I do this for. They warm my heart and make inspire me to work harder.

It is sad that the world is very judgemental because of the choices that we make without hurting anyone and just living our life as we want; but I’ve learned that people will judge you anyway. You are living for yourself not them. I hate negativity and drama so I don’t usually mind these things and just do my own thing, but if I see someone else being bullied I step in.

What are some of your best lifts?

I don’t lift as heavy anymore. Bodybuilding is not powerlifting; it’s more about keeping the lifting form through all the reps without losing the technique. But sometimes I do try if I still have it, so my best squat PR is 330 pounds and same goes for the deadlift. Bench press is not my best thing,so there is nothing to be proud about; but for example, leg press is 770 pounds.

Muscle and Curves Side Shot

Muscle and Curves

What’s one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?

I am a stage one ovarian cancer survivor. I was very very lucky and I am so grateful to be alive.

I was diagnosed at 28, but I was very lucky and went through one surgery and then I had to have a training break for almost one year. It was a hard time in my life, not because of the cancer, but because of not training. I got depressed and I got out of shape, so I had to rebuild my body after all that was over. Took me two years to fix the damage, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

It is easy to be happy because you are so grateful just being here. I have been cancer free for seven years now.

Everything we go through in life prepares us to be what we’re supposed to be as human being.

What three words best describe you?

  1. Genuine
  2. Kind
  3. Hardworking

Do you have any secret hidden talents?

I actually love music and I used to play piano. I do sing too, but it’s not as good as I hope. So I sing only for myself 😀

I cannot get a good workout if I didn’t have my music at the gym. It is a must.

Three things you can’t live without?

I can’t live without goals and dreams. When you stop having them, you’re basically dead inside. You’re never too old to set one more goal, or never too old to dream to become better.

What person or people inspire you and why?

Anyone who has been through a lot and fallen, but managed to get back up. Anyone who never gave up on their dreams. Anyone who has hit rock bottom and managed to keep a positive attitude in life and always sees good in every situation.

Those people are rare warrior souls. One of them is my mother. She is the most genuine and loving person I know, even after everything she’s been through in life. Hi ma! 😉

If you could be a A) WWE Diva; B) UFC cage fighter; C) UFC ring girl; what would you choose and why?

Hmm…well… I would be a very bad diva because I’m not a diva type of person. I’m a very down to earth and humble kind of person. I would suck at cage fighting because I don’t want to punch anyone even if I could get paid. So I guess I have to take a ring girl, because you didn’t gave me more options. 😀

Anything else we should know about you or that you would like to add?

I have a sarcastic sense of humor and I am always always smiling.

If you would like to train or work with Dee, contact her at fitnessbydee@gmail.com

Follow Dee on Instagram

Dee Kela in One-Piece Back Shot

Dee Kela in One-Piece

Emerald Cup 2018 – Amanda Caresse

Amanda Caresse – Figure G Champion 

Biggest obstacle on the road to the Emerald Cup stage and how you conquered it?

The biggest obstacle I faced and endured was self-doubt. You want to believe you have what it takes. You want to believe you can win first place; but personally wanting to stay humble with myself, I was trying to find that balance of, “I have what it takes and I WILL WIN,” and “If I don’t make it, it wasn’t meant to be, I will be okay.”

I learned along the way that it’s okay to think highly of yourself! It is okay to tell yourself you are the best and you will win this. I believe that is the only way you can achieve what you want: to SPEAK IT TO LIFE.

Throughout this show and process I learned there is POWER in my words and there is POWER with the thoughts I choose to let obsess my mind. You either believe in yourself or you don’t. If you can be honest enough with yourself and confront those thoughts and feelings, you will see what you truly believe, and then you go from there. I believed I could. I told myself I could. I spoke OUT LOUD the things I WILL accomplish… and I did.

The law of attraction is powerful. Just make sure you are attracting the right thoughts.

Amanda Caresse Emerald Cup Figure G Champ in Posing Outfit

Amanda Caresse Emerald Cup Figure G Champ

Emerald Cup highlight moment?

Being on stage with some of the best amateur athletes in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, the placing was amazing and such a humbling moment, but the fire I felt being on stage is something I still can not explain.

Not to get too spiritual, but the best description I have tried to put into words was that the heat from the stage lights and the fire inside of me kind of meshed into one, like I BELONG there.

I had no nerves. I felt completely calm. I had a job to do and I knew how to do it, so I felt very confident. I lived this moment in my head over and over. I would see it as I woke up and see it as I went to sleep. Visioning how I wanted to FEEL at check-ins, around other competitors, from backstage, to pumping up, to lining up before stepping on stage and being on stage going through my quarter turns. I LIVED it in my mind over and over.

For new competitors, I strongly recommend this. It made all the difference to my stage presence because I felt ready.

Speaking of my stage presence, I OWE it all to the guidance of IFBB Pro Vanessa Naesheim who was the Emerald Cup 2017 guest poser. She coached me for weeks going into this show.

Amanda Caresse Facts & Figures

Age: 23

Height: 5-8

Competition Weight: 146 lbs

Off-Season Weight: 175 lbs

Number of Years Competing: This was my very first show.

Occupation: Military – Air National Guard; Civilian – Whole Foods Market Produce Team Member

Emerald Cup Interview on YouTube

Follow on Facebook

Follow on Instagram 

Go here to read about physique overall winner Claudia Diaz and her Emerald Cup weekend.

The Emerald Cup

The 2018 Emerald Cup marked the 36th edition of this venerable show. Produced by the husband and wife team of Brad and Elaine Craig and the rest of the Craig Productions crew, the show features a full slate of muscle and fitness spread over Friday and Saturday.

Emerald Cup on Facebook

Emerald Cup Official Site

Emerald Cup on Instagram   

Top 5 Reasons to Attend Emerald Cup 2018

Emerald Cup 2018

This year’s edition of the Emerald Cup takes place on Friday April 27 and Saturday April 28. As is the tradition, the Meydenbauer Center serves as the venue. The show includes bodybuilding, fitness, figure, physique, bikini and classic physique.

Why should you be there?

Top 5 Reasons to Attend Emerald Cup 2018

  1. The promotion team of Brad and Elaine Craig, the best promoters in the business.
  2. Kim Kong Farrison on the mic. The best master of ceremonies in the business. Never at a loss for words, he keeps the show flowing smoothly over the entire weekend.
  3. Entertainment value. You’ll see outstanding guest posers and guest entertainers along with an impressive selection of competitors in all divisions. In particular, thanks in large part to IFBB Pro Tanji Johnson, this is one show that fields a strong fitness contingent on the stage. As a bonus, the Emerald Cup Expo, held in conjunction with the show. Always lots to see at the various booths.
  4. Location, location, location. The Meydenbauer Center makes for a great venue and the city of Bellevue serves as the perfect host city for the event.
  5. The Craig Productions staff. They’ve been doing this for years and they know how to make the weekend run like a finely tuned Swiss watch.

As in previous years, we’ll be there doing show coverage. This year, we’ll be working with bikini competitor, fitness model and Emerald Cup alumna Markie Williams.  Markie will be conducting interviews, including competitor interview and “faces in the crowd” interviews.

See Markie Williams interview from the 2017 Emerald Cup.

Visit our old blog to see Emerald Cup 2017 coverage.

Keep checking back here at our new home to see coverage, photos and video from Emerald Cup 2018.

For everything show related, visit the official Craig Productions website.

Follow the Emerald Cup on social media

Emerald Cup on Facebook

Emerald Cup on Instagram

Emerald Cup on Twitter

Emerald Cup 2018 Poster

Figure Competitor Steph Ferris On The Path To Excellence

Things you didn’t know about Steph Ferris:

  • She loves the Marvel universe and superheroes – Jessica Jones tops her list of favorites.
  • Getting asked for ID is a common occurrence. Yes, she really is 27. No, she doesn’t look it.
  • She’s a figure competitor, but she’s never set foot on stage. Hard to believe especially considering the more than impressive physique she’s crafted.

Figure competitor Steph Ferris started on her path to excellence as a gymnast. Over time, injuries took a toll on her body. This led her to start weight training to build up her strength. In 2013, she became a certified personal trainer.

Fast forward to 2018. May 12 marks the date when Steph steps on stage for her figure debut.

Steph Ferris Figure Competitor Posing in Bikini

Steph Ferris Figure Competitor

Steph Ferris by the numbers

Age: 27

Height: 5’3

Competition weight: probably around 134 lbs

Off season weight: 149 lbs

What are your goals as a competitor?

I think most serious competitors dream of turning pro one day and that’s definitely a goal of mine.

What is the personal appeal to you of being a strong, muscular woman?

I like that my body is a physical representation of my inner strength and resilience.

You must draw attention because of your physique. What’s the strangest question someone has asked you or the strangest incident you’ve experienced?

I do find myself in awkward situations sometimes. The strangest thing is when people just feel the need to throw comments at me when I’m casually walking down the street. Like, “Holy cow, you’re so built.” or men who say “You’re bigger than me. All we notice is your shoulders from miles away. Don’t get any bigger.”

I have just learned that these observations come with it and have grown accustomed to being put on the spot.

Steph Ferris Impressive Back Flex From Rear

Steph Ferris Impressive Back

What are three things you want people to know about you?

  1. I really care about how I influence people.
  2. I am passionate about whatever I put my mind to.
  3. I always try to find a way to work through a difficult situation.

Three things you can’t live without?

  1. Music.
  2. Faith.
  3. Deep tissue massages.

You have $10,000 to donate to charity. Where does it go and why?

Probably to Food Banks Canada. I think having food is a basic need that everyone deserves to have met, and many people are not aware that poverty exists even within developed countries.

What person or people inspire you and why?

Many people have inspired me!

Kai Greene is definitely one of them. He came from nothing and defied many odds to get to where he is. His resilient mindset is inspiring to me.

Last year’s Miss Figure Olympia Cydney Gillon is another one. She is a young, hard-working athlete and extremely genuine person. She definitely keeps me pushing on my rough days!

Steph Ferris Impressive Arms Bare Arm Showing Muscles

Steph Ferris Impressive Arms

What do you like the most about yourself?

I’m extremely loyal – a tough quality to find these days.

If you could be a A) WWE Wrestler; B) UFC cage fighter; C) UFC ring girl; what would you choose and why?

UFC cage fighter! Martial arts fascinate me (I did some kickboxing in my teen years). The mix of speed and agility required make it an all-around awesome sport.

Follow Steph Ferris

Steph Ferris Instagram

Steph Ferris website

Steph Ferris on YouTube

 

Talla Amini – Bikini Competitor and Fitness Model

By day, 30-year-old Talla Amini teaches first grade. After that, she morphs into Talla Amini, bikini competitor and fitness model. Along the way, she still finds time to work with her own project, Talla’s Fuelicious Eat to Grow Desserts.

Talla Amini, Bikini Competitor and Fitness Model Posing in Bikini

Talla Amini, Bikini Competitor and Fitness Model

What are your stats?

Age: 30

Height: 5-5

Competition weight: 115 pounds

Currently you compete in bikini. Do you plan to continue in bikini? 

I plan to crossover in 2020-2021 to figure.

How and when did you get started lifting weights and training?

I started lifting weights when I was 18 when I joined a bench press after school class, which was the first time they had that class as an option in Washington State. I was able to do bench press and leg press and I found it very motivating and I felt strong as a woman, though I was just one of two girls in the class! Then as I was attending the University of Washington, I worked at many gyms along the east side of Washington, including Golds and many others.

What was your first show and how old were you?

My first show was the 2014 NPC Ironman Championships. I was 26.

Were you athletic growing up?

Yes. I grew up dancing – mainly ballet and choreography. Also played tennis and a lot of swimming.

What are your goals as a competitor?

To inspire as many people as I can. I want women to workout for themselves, not for what they feel the opposite sex may find attractive, but to do it for them, and feel strong and secure in their own bodies.

Favorite cheat meal?

Sushi and cannoli for dessert.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise people if they knew?

That I love opera music. I love to workout to classical music or opera.

Three things you can’t live without?

  1. Cannoli.
  2. My journal.
  3. Trident pink bubble gum.

Most exciting/thrilling thing you’ve ever done in your life?

The most exciting thrilling I have ever done in my life is take a chance at competing. I have always been very scared to be in front of tons of people, so just by getting on stage I conquered a lot of my fears.

Talla Amini Gun Show with Talla Flexing Biceps

Talla Amini Gun Show

What’s something you’re not very good at, but you’re committed to improving over the next year?

Transitions of posing and performance is what I want to improve. I am committed to being more confident on stage.

When you think of a successful bikini competitor or fitness model, who comes to mind and why?

Tanji Johnson, because she has inspired so many women and men in all divisions. She has also had the biggest influence on the fitness division and the other divisions as well. Her character and grace she presents on stage and with her teammates and clients is like none other!

If you could be a A) WWE Diva; B) UFC cage fighter; C) UFC ring girl; what would you choose and why?

UFC Cage fighter, because I think it’s highly important for a woman to know self defense mechanisms and know how to throw down!

Find Talla Amini on social media:

Follow Talla on Instagram

Follow Talla on Facebook

Follow Talla on Facebook fan page

Talla extends a special thanks to her sponsor Dave Palumbo, CEO of RxMuscle and founder of Species Nutrition.

Crystal Trace – One Strong Woman

Crystal Trace is one strong woman. She lifts heavy weights. Very heavy weights.

Crystal competes in powerlifting. Although new to the sport – “I competed in my first novice comp in July 2015 and arrived on the powerlifting scene with a 385 kg total. I got noticed. And I was bitten by the powerlifting bug. It was a beautiful moment.” – she’s put up some big numbers.

At a weight of 165 pounds, she boasts a 441-lbs squat; a 221-lbs bench and a 424-lbs deadlift. In training, she’s put up even bigger numbers and is ready to break her personal bests.

“I have a competition on 16 March, 2018. I’m confident I will crack a 500 kg plus (1,102 pounds) total.”

Powerlifter Crystal Trace flexes her biceps

Powerlifter Crystal Trace

Were you athletic growing up?

Not really. I played a few sports, tennis, netball, I enjoyed athletics. But I wasn’t really that good at it.

How did you get started lifting weights and training?

From the age of 16 I was in the gym. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but as I’d struggled with my weight since I was about 12 years old, I knew that moving my body was a key to making changes. I wasn’t consistent and I never really got anywhere with it.

When I was 26, I met my now husband. He went to the gym every day at 6 AM. I started going with him.

I spent the first 6 months on the treadmill. Then I got a trainer and started doing boxing. Eventually I started training with weights.

I cried during all of my initial sessions. I hated it. I felt like it wasn’t doing anything because I didn’t sweat that much. I’m not sure when I started enjoying it – I guess I noticed my body changing and I started asking about the girls I saw in the gym that were getting ready to compete.

I asked my trainer often if I could enter a show. He never answered the question. After about three years of training, I asked again. This time he answered and he said I was ready!

You started in figure and moved to powerlifting. When did you make the change and what prompted your decision?

My last figure competition was in September 2014. The day after the show I turned 30. It was in that moment that I decided that I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life worrying about and being judged on my physique. I promptly set some strength goals around the three big lifts (squat, bench, deadlift).

Crystal Trace as a figure competitor onstage flexing biceps

Crystal Trace as a Figure Competitor

Where do you live?

Adelaide, South Australia

What is your profession/job?

Personal trainer. I used to work for the State Government, but training is my passion and it made sense to start my own training business.

What drives you to keep pushing forward, training and going to the gym?

Initially I loved the feeling of getting stronger, then I loved that I was able to inspire other women to get stronger and lift weights. For the last year, I’ve had my sights on achieving a 500 kg total. And I still love inspiring and encouraging other women to lift heavy things!

What is the personal appeal to you of being a strong, muscular woman?

“I just love being strong and I love chicks with muscle. In my opinion, strong and musclely is the new black! And it’s never going out of fashion!”

Do you have a story you can share about how people react to you?

Gosh, so many stories. Guys are really funny – they often can’t understand how a woman can be stronger than them. Some feel intimidated, threatened. Others love it. Sometimes I train in a commercial gym setting – you see the guys (and the girls) watching you. Put 20 kg plates on the bench press and most guys will rush over to your aid thinking you are going to drop it on yourself!

What three words best describe you?

Determined, dedicated, consistent.

I’m sure you get noticed in public because of your physique. What’s an unusual incident you’ve experienced?

Most recently I was at a commercial gym that my friend works at. One of the male trainers commented to her that he wouldn’t know how to be with a woman like me in the bedroom because I’m so strong. It was an odd comment. It made me laugh!

The powerful upper body of Crystal Trace

Powerful Upper Body of Crystal Trace

Three things you can’t live without?

  1. Lip balm
  2. Coffee
  3. A good pillow

What’s one thing you really like doing that other people would be surprised to find out?

I recently started collecting crystals (I call them rocks). I really love learning about the different healing powers of crystals and how to harness them to achieve transformation, harmony and balance in my life.

If you could be a A) WWE Diva; B) UFC cage fighter; C) UFC ring girl; what would you choose and why?

UFC Cage Fighter – those chicks are total badasses!

Anything else we should know about you or that you would like to add?

For anyone thinking about getting in shape or getting stronger, find a good coach, work with them, do the work, trust the process and only listen to one person at a time. You will only confuse yourself by trying to take advice from multiple people.

Social Media Links:

Follow Crystal on Instagram

Follow Crystal and Strength Lab on Facebook

Follow Crystal Trace on Facebook

Visit Strength Lab website

Crystal on YouTube lifting heavy and crushing a watermelon 

Crystal Trace By The Numbers

Competition Squat: 200 kg

Competition Bench: 100 kg

Competition Deadlift: 192.5 kg

Most recent training lifts:

Squat: 202.5 kg

Bench: 100 kg

Deadlift: 195 kg

Age: 33

Height: 5-6

Weight as figure competitor: 132 lbs.

Weight as powerlifter: 165 lbs weight class (I prefer this strong, muscular, feminine physique.)

Emerald Cup 2018 – Get Ready!

Once again, it’s that time of year when the Emerald Cup rolls around. This is a “must see” if you’re in the Pacific Northwest, whether on the Canuck side of the border or the US side of the border.

This year’s edition of the Emerald Cup takes place on Friday April 27 and Saturday April 28. As is the tradition, the Meydenbauer Center serves as the venue.

The show includes bodybuilding, fitness, figure, physique, bikini and classic physique. Along with the show, a great expo to take in both Friday and Saturday.

You can find out more about the Emerald Cup and all the other outstanding Craig Production shows at the official website http://craigproductions.com

Follow on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/craigproductionsmuscleshows

https://twitter.com/emeraldcup

https://www.instagram.com/craigproductions

Check our old blog to see coverage of Emerald Cup 2017.

Chyna: Do Not Handle With Care – This Is No Fragile Lady

“Don’t go. We’re interested in you.”

These five simple words stopped Joanie Laurer, AKA Chyna, from embarking on a pro boxing career and plying her trade as the female heavy for the WCW.

“I knew the WWF was interested in me, but I started to lose hope about getting hired. I was called by the WCW and I was going to attend their television show and come out as a tough girl.

“I was driving to Alabama and I stopped by the WWF pay-per-view to say hi to Hunter Hearst Helmsley and somebody stopped me and said, ‘Don’t go. We’re interested in you.’

“I was about to have my first professional boxing fight. It was scheduled for a month after the WWF hired me,” explained the raven-haired Chyna about how the door to her superstar status in the WWF swung open.

WWF Superstar Wrestler Chyna, 5-10, 196 lbs, Circa 1999

WWF Superstar Chyna, 5-10, 196 lbs

Hard work, determination and belief in herself paved the way to her role as the menacing, glowering Chyna, who patrols the squared circle in front of sell-out audiences everywhere. And don’t think she’s just a ringside ornament with bulging biceps. This 5-10, 196-pound athletic entertainer routinely steps into the ring to mix it up with the behemoths of pro wrestling, sometimes even scooping up her male adversaries and sending them crashing to the canvas with thundering body-slams that show no respect for their gender.

From Fitness to Pro Wrestling

Before her present status as arguably one of the most recognizable female athletes on the planet, Chyna made her mark in the fitness world. At 170 pounds, she dwarfed her fellow competitors.

“The things you saw me do, the fitness shows and even the boxing – I really enjoyed the boxing – were more stepping stones or attention getters. I never really wanted to do them or excel in them, but I knew I could do them and I also knew while doing them that I was out of my element, but I knew people were going to notice me, which in turn would help me get here.”

Chyna’s transition from the fitness stage to the wrestling ring began at Walter Kowalski’s school where she learned the techniques of the pro wrestling business. She felt there was a market for her look and that pro wrestling was the vehicle to introduce that look to the public.

Less than two years after starting school – Valentine’s Day February 14, 1997 – Chyna debuted in the WWF.

Chyna in the WWF

“I knew the WWF was number one. The WCW had always seemed kind of like a fad to me. They were doing very well in the ratings, however, I felt that from what I saw on TV they weren’t using the women the way that I wanted to be used. I saw them being used and spit out very quickly in matches.”

Chyna felt women in pro wrestling could be portrayed as something other than bimbos. She wanted to play a character that could make an impact and the WWF seemed to be on the same wavelength in terms of how they wanted to present her. The strategy obviously works, because in the past year-and-a-half, she’s been the only woman that’s been on every road date in the WWF, an achievement that speaks volumes about the popularity of her brooding character with the massive biceps that would be the envy of most any bodybuilder.

Chyna The Road Warrior

Of course, her superstar status does not come cheap. Life consists of endless travel, impossibly long days extended by the demands of personal appearances and autograph sessions, and trying to find restaurants that serve up a healthy fare. Fortunately, she enjoys the life of a road warrior.

“One day mixes into the next and you go to the hotel room you were in the night before because you’ve forgotten you’re in a new hotel. It’s pretty wild.

“I think it’s very difficult for me being the only woman. There’s a couple of other women, but they’re not really full-time. I do okay because the guys respect me and I get along very well with everybody.

“I’m very straight-laced. I stay out of the way of everything. When most people go down to the bar at night, I go to my room. That way I never get myself into trouble and I can show up to work and be friends with everybody and it never puts me in an awkward situation. And it’s worked.”

To keep her sanity intact, Chyna gets into the gym as much as possible while on the road. On the nutritional side of things, MET-Rx is a constant travel companion.

And of course, the million dollar question: When will we see Chyna in the ring battling one of the WWF femme-fatales in a wrestling match?

“I really don’t want to do that. I don’t think women’s wrestling works. There’s not an availability of women that are good workers. I think that most men, if they watch women in the ring, it’s because they want to see a nice body, not wrestling.

“I didn’t enjoy wrestling and I don’t want to do it, because that would take me from the main event to working with maybe a couple of girls – if we could find them – that are half my size and it would put me on opening card matches. Why would I do that? I don’t think people would want to see me do that, unless I just went out and squashed somebody, which doesn’t help me.”

But again, this is the WWF, where entertainment reigns supreme and where all manner of wild and wonderful antics takes place. Is it so much of a stretch to imagine that the head honchos of the WWF might one day decide that it’s time for this hulking grapplerette to step into the ring and crush someone?

Chyna’s loyal minions eagerly await this display of feminine pulchritude.

WWF Wrestling Superstar Chyna Cover Shot Fighting Females Magazine Spring 1999

Chyna Cover Shot Fighting Females Magazine

Click to see Chyna slideshow photos on YouTube.

Note: I interviewed Chyna for Fighting Females magazine. Original article appeared in the Spring 1999 issue.

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