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Olympia 2018 – “Meet The Olympians”

Olympia 2018 – Meet The Olympians

This is the first official event to kick off the Olympia weekend and it’s always worth dropping by for a visit. The Meet The Olympians event provides fans the opportunity to meet some of their favorites as well as interact with them and get a photo or two. Additionally, you’ll always find some impressive physiques in the crowd, particularly as some of the competitors from the amateur portion of the Olympia come out to mingle with the pros.

What better way to start things off than a biceps blast from Sasha Brown, IFBB pro figure competitor and fitness model. You can find Sasha on Facebook.

Sasha Brown, IFBB Pro with a biceps flex

Sasha Brown, IFBB Pro

When I suggested to IFBB pro figure competitor Louise Rogers that we get a flexing shot, I asked her what a strong pose for her would be. She gave me a confident look, smiled and said, “It’s all good.” Hard to argue with that.  Follow Louise on Instagram at Louise_ifbbpro

IFBB Figure Pro Louise Rogers Shows Off Biceps

IFBB Figure Pro Louise Rogers

On the amateur side of the equation, we spotted a trio of Brazilians, including two figure competitors. Camila Lyra (left) placed 4th in figure at Amateur Olympia; Gabriela Consolmagno (right) placed 3rd; in the middle, Camila’s crossfit sister. Impressive trio! Follow Gabriela on Instagram

Camila Lyra (left), Gabriela Consolmagno (right), Camila's Sister (middle)

Camila Lyra (left), Gabriela Consolmagno (right), Camila’s Sister (middle)

IFBB physique pro Melissa Pearo graciously posed for a number of photographers at the Meet The Olympians event. We walked away with a front shot and a rear shot. Follow her on Facebook at Melissa Pearo IFBB Pro

Melissa Pearo Front Biceps

Melissa Pearo Front

Melissa Pearo Back View With Rear Biceps

Melissa Pearo Back View

Although covered up, when Lenka Ferencukova hit a biceps shot for the camera, it almost appeared like the would pop out of her sleeve. You can follow Lenka on Facebook

Olympian Lenka Ferencukova Flexing Biceps

Olympian Lenka Ferencukova Flexing

You can see more photos on our Facebook coverage.

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

 

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

 

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.

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

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

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