Athletic Women Magazine Blog

Features, News, Coverage on Athletic Women

Category: Bodybuilding (page 1 of 2)

Interviews and photos of women competing in the bodybuilding and muscle world. Coverage includes bodybuilders; bikini, fitness, physique and figure competitors; and fitness models.

Anastasia Rider

Anastasia Rider – Figure Competitor and Personal Trainer

Anastasia Rider shows off abs

What are your stats?

I’m 5-10 and ½. I have to make sure I get that extra half-inch in there. I bulked up to 200 pounds my past offseason, but usually I’m around 177 pounds in a normal offseason.

What’s your age?

I’m 28.

What’s your profession/job?

I used to be a law enforcement officer but I’ve been an independent personal trainer for the past two years and I absolutely love it. It’s my dream job and I don’t see any of it as “work.”

When I was in law enforcement I wasn’t as big as I am now, but I was still large enough to be intimidating. I found that most of the time the people I had to deal with would take one look at me and be very compliant. Though I did have a few instances when I worked in the prison that I had to throw my weight around a bit and my strength would always surprise inmates that I had to use it on.

Anastasia Rider hits triceps

How did you get started lifting weights and training?

I’ve always been into sports and athletics. I got my first gym membership to Gold’s at 17, though I had worked out in the high school weightlifting room prior to that. I loved the gym and the feeling of pushing myself and it quickly became an addiction to constantly try to better myself and push myself harder than the week before

How old were you when you did your first show and did you start in figure?

I did my first show two years ago. I’ve always wanted to do figure. I felt my body type was too large for bikini and the posing isn’t really my style. I may one day transition to physique, but right now I love the figure class and love competing in it.

Were you athletic growing up?

Very much so. The first sport I ever competed in was swimming before I even started grade school. I played soccer, rugby, football, ran track, and used to compete in 5ks and a few 10 mile runs. I’m a lifelong fan of sports and anything involving athleticism.
What are some of your max lifts?

Recently I’ve squatted 315, pulled 405 on deadlifts and benched 225. I know there’s a lot of differing opinions on lifting very heavy in bodybuilding, but I absolutely love the feeling of moving heavy weight, so I choose to do it so I can always stay passionate about what I’m doing in the gym.

Anastasia Rider, big biceps

I’m sure you get noticed in public. Can you share an unusual experience with us? 

I can’t go anywhere without getting strange comments (lol). I get asked if I’m a wrestler almost every day anywhere I go. I think people expect me to be a certain way because of how I look, so strangers are often nervous around me and I couldn’t be a friendlier person in reality (lol).

Do you like showing off your muscles in public or do you prefer covering up?

It depends on the day. The attention from people who aren’t into fitness can be a bit annoying, but when I’m in the gym that’s my world and I tend to wear slightly more revealing clothes there. I like to see what I’m working out.

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

I feel like any time I express interest in something that isn’t fitness related, it surprises people! I have my bachelors degree in psychology and criminology and want to pursue an advanced degree in the field of psychology within the next year. I’m just as passionate about helping people as I am about bodybuilding.

You’re taller than average. What’s the biggest advantage and the biggest disadvantage of this when it comes to A) competing; and B) everyday life?

A) I don’t think there’s much of an advantage in the competition world to being so tall. If anything it makes me work harder which is definitely a benefit. I need to move heavy weight consistently to grow.

B) I never have to ask for help reaching things (lol)! I never have to ask for help for almost anything actually.

Anastasia Rider in dress and heels

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?

My photo albums. Easy answer.

Who is your personal hero?

My grandfather. He wasn’t treated the best growing up by his family and overcame a lot of adversity to become successful. He never let the bad experiences he went through affect how he treated others. I aspire to do the same.

What do you like the most about yourself?

My resiliency. I’ve never given up on anything. I’ve failed plenty of times, but that’s only influenced me to work harder. I’ve never thrown in the towel.

Anastasia Rider hits a pose for the camera

You’ve built a solid fan base. What does it feel like when you read through all your fan comments? When you were younger, did you ever envision a time in your life when you would have all these fans following you, liking you and wanting to interact with you?

Any time people reference my “fan base” it kind of throws me off (haha). I’ve never been about making fans. I’ve just always been myself and I put who I am out there in hopes of inspiring and motivating others to be their true authentic self. I’m forever thankful for every opportunity I’ve been given, but I remain humble because I know I still have so much work to do to change the world in a positive way.

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

Probably a cage fighter! If I’m going to do something I want to DO it all the way. The WWE is awesome, but it’s acting, and there’s no way I could be a ring girl and not want to get in on the action!

Anastasia Rider on social media: 

Follow Anastasia Rider on Instagram.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like our feature on physique competitor Krystia Petrossie.

Thanks to Dan Ray Photography for use of some of these photos.

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

If you enjoyed this article, please check out our Natasha At The Fights – Ring Girl Is A Knockout feature.

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.

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

If you enjoyed this article, please check out our Lauren Brigham Blonde Bombshell Figure Competitor feature.

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

If you enjoyed this article, please check out  our Young Gunz Shannon Thompson feature.

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

If you enjoyed this article, please check out our Cassie Keeping Crossfitter feature.

Originally published August 2016

Young Gunz – Kelsey DeCamillis

This is the second in our series of “Young Gunz” features where we shine the spotlight on up and coming competitors. At 31, you might not think of physique competitor Kelsey DeCamillis as part of the Young Gunz posse, but as she’s never competed before, she makes for a great fit.

What are your stats?

Age 31, height 5-5, current weight around 151 pounds. Stage weight is hard to say! Haven’t had a specific goal weight but my guess is in the lower end of the 140’s.

What was your weight when you were throwing?

Averaged about 180 pounds and 195 pounds at my heaviest.

Physique competitor Kelsey DeCamillis flexing biceps

Kelsey DeCamillis – gun show

Can you give a brief chronology of your athletic history leading up to the present?

As a kid I tried gymnastics/trampoline, and even took a few taekwondo lessons, skied every winter up until about age 11 and also played some softball. Throughout all those years mainly I did a lot of ice skating and figure skated until I transitioned over to hockey. I played from ages 12-17 and my position was defense.

Throughout high school along with hockey I played volleyball, basketball, field hockey, (I even did one season of cross country running just to stay in shape for my upcoming senior year high school season of track & field), and of course the throwing events in track and field (javelin, discus, shot put). I started with javelin when my PE teacher saw me throw a volleyball across the entire gym and encouraged me to try javelin.

That progressed into throwing in all three events and I recognized my strongest potential in the shot put for after high school. I then threw shot put for the Vancouver Thunderbirds and the UBC Track and Field Team from 2003-2005. In 2005, I started transitioning over to hammer throw and moved to Kamloops to train there.

How and why did you make the transition from throwing to physique?

“Competing in physique has meant reclaiming my identity as an athlete. Training gives me the most life. I feel alive when I lift and train.”

I moved to Kamloops in 2005 to begin training in the hammer throw under a world renowned coach with a group of other elite throwers. At the time, I was really struggling with some things going on in my personal life, and the circumstances ended what was just the beginning of a very promising throwing career. I barely set foot in a gym for about 2 years after that and I continued to struggle personally.

Looking back now, although it would have taken some years of training, there is no doubt in my mind that I could have developed into a world class hammer thrower given my body type and gift of brute strength and athletic ability.

I moved back to Vancouver in 2007 to work and try and figure out my life and spent my entire 20’s trying to go back to school to finish my degree, and then after getting rejected from applying to nursing school in 2014 and still just very unhappy, I asked myself if I had it my way, if I could be doing anything right now, what would it be? My answer was that I’d still be throwing and training.

Right then and there I decided to start training full time on my own, learn as much as I can and see how my body responds now and then see about competing in a bodybuilding show. I did as much as I could on my own for two full years before hiring a coach to help take me to the next level and guide me through my first physique competition, and here I am.

How different is training for physique versus training as a thrower?

“Physique training is different in that it is less sport-specific and involves targeting every muscle group and using high volume, heavy lifting and techniques to build and sculpt while creating and maintaining balance and symmetry for an aesthetically pleasing look. I love how physique training includes the powerlifts for continuing to build and maintain my foundation of muscle and strength.”

Training as a thrower was more sport-specific and incorporated more power movements with lifting and focused more on strength training, not so much isolating and sculpting movements, and with training phases changing as the outdoor competitive season approached each year, and definitely no cardio!!

There would be a variety of training that included time spent in the weight room, but also lots of technical work in the circle, tempo runs and sprints, Olympic lifting as well as powerlifting, plyos for both upper and lower body, and overall just centered around a lot of power and speed training.

Does your throwing background perhaps make you a bit stronger than most physique competitors?

I’m not sure that I’m necessarily stronger because of throwing, but deciding to carry on with throwing allowed me to discover my strength in the weight room. I think I do possess above average strength and was born with this gift.

“I discovered how strong I was when I started formal track and field training for shot put where we learned all the big lifts, including all the powerlifting movements and the Olympic lifts. The first time I did a 1RM test for the squat, I squatted 265 pounds. That would have been about 6 weeks or less of formal training at the time in the fall of 2003. Throwing certainly helped build my foundation of muscle and strength.”

What are some of your best lifts?

I’m not sure what my current 1 rep maxes are for these lifts as I’ve been doing high volume work with these big lifts:

Conventional deadlifts: 225-245 lbs x 12-15 reps

Sumo deadlifts: 275 lbs x 12-15 reps

Squats: 225 x 10-12 (last time I tried a one rep max was 275 lbs)

Bench: 135 x 10-12 (last time I tried a one rep max was 175 lbs)

My favorite and best lifts are deadlifts because I can move the most weight on these lifts and there is something so satisfying about moving heavy weight.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Right now in contest prep, I’m up at 4 am to get to the gym for a 5 am cardio party, then I work 8-4 at UBC, and then head back to the gym after work for another few hours of training and typically home late. On weekends, I’m in the gym twice a day still and in between training sessions is where I find the time to cook and meal prep and take care of other errands etc. The days are long and sometimes 20 hours a day for days in a row, but nothing good comes easy and I’m so excited to see how everything turns out for my first show.

What are your goals as a competitor?

The ultimate goal from this first show is to qualify for BC Provincials, then qualify for nationals, and then see how far I can take this. I believe I found the right coach to help guide me there: Darren Toma – Custombuilt Training.

I always thought I’d be a professional athlete even as a young kid and it was always the sport that I was excelling at the time: first figure skating, then I thought maybe hockey, and then settled nicely into track and field. Of course hammer throw was going to be my best chance at that. However, things did not work out the way I thought and that has always been a huge sore spot in my life. I have unfinished athletic business, so here I am and I’m going for it, full force.

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

“I love my back. I also think my legs are a very strong part of my physique.”

What inspired you to start competing?

I got back into training full time for the sake of saving myself from myself. Also, that time in my life when track ended abruptly has always been a sore spot in my life and I thought if certain things didn’t happen, I probably could have made it pretty far in hammer throw. For me, having unfinished athletic business has inspired me to give myself a second chance at fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a professional athlete.

It has been a thought to do a bodybuilding show for at least four years now, when my interest was sparked to do so by a co-worker at the time who was prepping for a figure show. That’s when I started considering this as something I could excel at now.

What is your profession?

I currently work for Vancouver Coastal Health at UBC Hospital as an administrative secretary for a provincial psychiatric program. I also recently earned my personal training certification as I think a fitness related career is the direction I’m headed. I just love being in the gym; it’s my happy place.

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

I don’t own or use a hair brush! But maybe I should…

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

I have no idea. I’d probably freak out and just flex.

Your home is burning down. You can go back in and save just one item. What do you save?

An opal necklace.

What three words best describe you?

Strong, sensitive, funny.

Where can we see more of you?

Kelsey slideshow on YouTube

Instagram

I’m on Facebook as well. I think everyone will be seeing a lot more of me after this competition.

Physique competitor Kelsey DeCamillis back flex

Kelsey DeCamillis – physique competitor

Read another article on Kelsey

Originally published October 2016.

Cassie Keeping – Crossfitter

We had the opportunity to work with Cassie Keeping on a cool fall day in October 2014. Although Cassie might not bring as much visible muscle to the table as some of the muscle competitors do, the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly comes to mind with her.

Cassie definitely wowed us with her strength and athleticism. Most athletes would have their hands full trying to keep up with this crossfitter. In our ongoing Grip Strength Challenge, she blew the field away, finishing second only to powerhouse physique competitor and world-class wrestler Shayla Turcotte. It will be interesting to see if anyone passes Cassie.

Vital Statistics:

I’m 5-8, I weigh 146 pounds and I’m 25-years-old.

Athletic Background:

I started track and field when I was around 15. I am an eight-time national qualifier; a four-time All American; and I hold a couple of records at my university. In college I competed in long jump, sprints, hurdles and I would run relays if they needed me.

I’ve competed in a couple of crossfit competitions, finishing second in one and ninth in the other. I competed in the Femsport 2014 Vancouver Open and finished second.

Crossfit competitor Cassie Keeping double biceps flex

Cassie Keeping Crossfitter

Athletic Goals:

At some point I would like to look into bikini, figure or physique. I would like to try because it looks like a pretty good challenge and I like to be challenged.

I think I would like to do figure because I have a very developed and strong lower body. As far as my upper body goes, I would have to gain some biceps and triceps. Right now my lower body is figure and my upper body is bikini.

Training for figure would be different. For crossfit, you have to be functionally strong, walk on your hands and do handstand pushups; but for figure I would be more focused on developing my muscles versus seeing how strong and athletic I could actually be. I could be super strong and athletic but might not look it, so I would have to work on my upper body and actually show that I have some biceps muscles for figure competitions.

Occupation:

I’ve been a personal trainer for about six months now and I love it. I don’t think I would want to do anything else with my life. I love it because I’m being constantly challenged by my clients and also challenging my clients. I’m showing them that they have someone that believes in them and they are constantly pushing themselves to new limits that they didn’t believe they could reach. It’s always motivating to see someone do something that they didn’t believe they could do. It’s inspiring.

Pet Peeves:

I hate shopping for jeans because it makes me feel super fat. It’s because I can’t fit my ass or my quads into jeans, but I can fit my waist into them. Someone needs to come up with jeans that fit athletic women, not just skinny women.

See Cassie on YouTube

See more Cassie at Athletic Women Magazine

Crossfit competitor Cassie Keeping shows off her quads

Cassie Keeping – check the quads!

Originally published March 2015

Older posts