Athletic Women Magazine Blog

Features, News, Coverage on Athletic Women

Category: Interviews (page 1 of 2)

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

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.)

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.

CJ Schouten – Fighter and Self-Described Nerd

 

In the ring, CJ Schouten may be a fighter, but outside the ring, it’s a different story.

“I’m pretty much a huge nerd when I’m not punching things. I absolutely love playing with Lego. I have a rock collection.”

CJ Schouten – Stats

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5-4
  • Fighting Weight: 125 lbs
  • Walking Around Weight: 137 lbs
  • Fight Record: 3-0 (kickboxing)

Were you athletic growing up and if so, what sports?

When I was 7, my brother started Karate. Being the younger sibling thinking he was super cool, I absolutely had to as well. At 11-years-old I entered my first tournament and got hooked on competing. For the next 10 years I heavily competed in Karate, earning my black belt and a place on the Canadian National Team.

What motivated you to start training and eventually step into the ring to fight?

I’ve been in martial arts all my life. It’s more than just loving the sport, its simply a part of me. When I was in post-secondary (first a B.Sc. in Geology from UBC, then an Adv. Dip. In GIS from BCIT) I had to take time off training, and although it was necessary to get me to where I am today, there was always something missing. Just over two years ago, I stepped into Lions MMA and knew I had to get back in the ring. I haven’t looked back since.

What are your goals as a fighter?

“To transition into MMA. To be the best, not just compared to others I compete against, but the best against myself.”

What is your profession/job?

GIS Technician for the City of Vancouver, Park Board.

Favorite female fighter and why?

I actually don’t have one… There are a handful where I can appreciate their skills and respect what they have done to get to where they are but I couldn’t name one as my favorite.

CJ Schouten kickboxer in the ring with arm raised in victory

CJ Schouten for the win

Your home is burning down. You can save only one item. What do you save and why?

“My baby blanket. Yes I said baby blanket. It is pink, fuzzy and has a unicorn on it. I’ve had it all my life.”

Best gift you’ve ever received?

I got a Century Bob XL a few years ago and it’s set up at home. Great for taking things down a notch and working on some specifics.

Anything else that you would like to add?

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of my coaches and teammates at Lions MMA. I am grateful to be a part of this team.

Where can we see more of you?

YouTube for highlights of CJ’s Nov 2017 victory

Instagram – Although this is mainly pictures of my dog. He is my lazy fur baby.

Krystia Petrossie – Physique Competitor and Muscle Model

We interviewed Krystia Petrossie, physique competitor, in September 2016.

Let’s start with stats.

  • Age 30
  • Height 5-1
  • Competition weight 125 lbs
  • Off-season weight 135-140 lbs.

Show off your muscles in public or cover them up?

I like showing off my muscles cause I work so hard for it. However, sometimes it can be a bit mental when I get a lot of stares when walking through public places, but I take it as a compliment for all my hard work and dedication.

How did you get started lifting weights and training?

I started lifting weights as a pastime and just missed the feeling of being competitive and reaching a goal. That’s when I decided to hire a coach and compete in my first figure competition. After competing in figure, I realized my heart was into physique. The routines really caught my eye.

What inspired you to start competing?

I actually had a few friends who competed for years and they inspired me to compete. I loved the look of lean muscle. Nutrition is really where I needed to focus to change my body composition.

Do you like to lift heavy and what are some of your best lifts?

“I love lifting heavy weights especially in a gym where I can lift heavier than most people in the gym (especially some of the guys haha). It makes me feel so empowered as a woman. Some of my best lifts are bench press, leg press and squats.”

How old were you when you did your first show?

I was 26, so I’m fairly new to the sport.

What’s your athletic background?

At age 10 I was a highland dancer world champion. Then I gave up dancing to play basketball and soccer in high school at a division 1 level. I became athlete of the year two years consecutively and ranked top three in Nova Scotia for shot put in track and field.

I continued my athletic career in university soccer for three years, then decided to move to Alberta after receiving my degree in kinesiology. That’s when I started my personal training and nutrition company with my partner Laura Borchuk. Now we’re coaching clients in competitions as well. We just recently had a client turn pro this weekend at the WBFF Worlds Toronto show.

Krystia Petrossie, physique competitor, biceps flexing

Krystia Petrossie, big biceps

What are your goals as a competitor?

To look better each time I step on stage. Ultimately I want people in and out of the industry to look up to me as a great role model. I want to ensure anyone, whether it be weight loss or competing, that they can achieve anything they put their mind to as long as they’re living a healthy lifestyle.

What do you think is the strongest part of your physique?

“My legs. After 10 years of highland dancing and soccer training, I would say my legs are definitely my strongest attribute.”

If you could change one thing about your physique, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I love how I look and feel. I think it’s important as a competitor that you’re training to achieve the look you want, not trying to achieve the look someone else wants. Stay true to yourself.

With the growth of physique, do you think women’s bodybuilding will survive and does it have a future?

I truly believe female bodybuilding will start to decrease more and more as women’s physique continues to grow.

Favorite female competitor and why?

Juliana Malacarne. She has an amazing overall physique – very symmetrical and feminine. From the time she hits the stage, she is just amazing to watch.

What’s your favorite cheat meal?

Five guys and fries 🙂 and then a small cotton candy ice cream for dessert.

What is your profession?

I am the owner of Kustom Lifestyle and Fitness, a personal training and lifestyle coaching company. We provide exercise and nutritional programs to our clients within Canada.

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

“I have a big heart and old soul for everyone around me. I always put everyone else before myself. I love helping people.”

What three words best describe you?

Passionate, competitive and energetic.

If you could be on just one magazine cover, what’s your choice and why?

Women’s Health and Fitness because I feel like I could be an incredible role model to the fitness industry. Not only do I display the bodybuilding look of lean muscle, but I also help people on a regular basis achieve their fitness goals.

Krystia Petrossie – physique competitor

Want more?

Facebook

Company Instagram

See Krystia’s YouTube video

Krystia Petrossie, physique competitor posing in shorts and heels

Krystia Petrossie, physique competitor

Lauren Brigham – Blonde Bombshell Figure Competitor

Lauren Brigham is a figure competitor and fitness model.

What are your stats?

Age 29; 5’6″ tall; competition weight 130-135 lbs; off-season 145-150 lbs.

Figure competitor Lauren Brigham posing and flexing biceps

Lauren Brigham – figure competitor

What is your profession?

Personal trainer, sports massage therapist.

How did you get started lifting weights and training?

“My middle school nickname was chunky monkey which gave me the motivation to lose weight and become athletic. I started personal training at 18 and became intrigued with the competitive lifestyle. I competed in my first show when I was 24 and I’ve been hooked since.”

What inspired you to start competing?

I loved the dedication and purpose of the competitive lifestyle. I wanted to find that purpose and dedication for myself.

Were you athletic growing up?

I played soccer and ran track in high school, but really became interested in health and fitness in college.

Biceps flex from figure competitor Lauren Brigham

Lauren Brigham – biceps

What are your goals as a competitor?

To better myself and improve every season. To feel proud and accomplished each year on stage.

What’s your favorite cheat meal?

I absolutely love sushi!

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

“I am obsessed with mini pigs. I just adore pigs so much – no idea why.”

Favorite female competitor?

Nicole Wilkins. She is simply an amazing and beautiful competitor.

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?

I would save my huggie. It’s a little pillow I just can’t sleep without

What three words best describe you?

Passionate, genuine and hardworking.

Where can we see more of you?

Facebook

Instagram

Snapchat: @lebrigs

Check out Lauren on YouTube

Figure competitor Lauren Brigham posing in dress and heels

Lauren Brigham

Originally published February 2017

Young Gunz – Shannon Thompson

This is our first feature in a series we’re calling Young Gunz that will put up and coming competitors in the spotlight. To kick things off, 19-year-old figure competitor Shannon Thompson.

“Hi. My name is Shannon Thompson and you should follow me because I want to inspire other young women to overcome their weaknesses and follow their dreams and passions.”

Let’s start with your stats.

I’m 19, 5-8, 135 pounds competition and 150 pounds off-season.

How did you get started lifting weights and training?

I struggled with anorexia in my early to mid-teens and became an avid runner to burn massive amounts of calories, but I was much too weak to run the distances I was running and an injury stopped me from running when I was 16.

I began lifting weights to build up strength so I could run again and I fell in love with the weight room and have never looked back.

19 year old figure competitor Shannon Thompson biceps flex

Shannon Thompson – figure competitor

How long have you been training?

I’ve been training for almost four years, but I’ve only really decided to become serious about bodybuilding in the last year or so.

How old were you when you did your first show?

“I was 17 for my first competition.”

What inspired you to start competing?

I admired the drive and dedication of other competitors I followed on social media and I wanted to see what my body was capable of.

If you could change one thing about your physique, what would it be?

Either a wider back or leaner legs.

What do you think is the strongest part of your physique?

Definitely my shoulders. I’m very proud of this as they used to be one of my weakest points.

What is your profession?

I’m currently unemployed, but I’ll be going to college in September for a bachelor of sports and fitness leadership.

You have all your expenses covered to spend your perfect day. What would you do?

I would spend the day in New York with my mom shopping, eating tons of interesting food and seeing a Broadway play.

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?

I feel kind stupid saying this, but I would save my cell phone.

If you could look into the future and see yourself at age 50, what would you want to see?

I hope to be an IFBB figure pro, an inspiration to many people with a happy family and a beautiful home somewhere in British Columbia.

See Shannon on YouTube.

19 year old figure competitor Shannon Thompson posing in jeans

Shannon Thompson

Originally published August 2016

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