San Delivers Results

Hardbody Profile – Surfing Sensation Tia Blanco

I see the name Tia Blanco continue to pop up online and after reading her “Who’s Rad?” profile I knew she was a Hardbody. Women’s Surfing continues to gain popularity and with young women like Tia leading the charge it’s easy to see why. She’s talented, humble, confident but not cocky. Despite still being a teenager she realizes the importance of working out and eating healthy.  She’s the real deal in and out of the water.


When I asked her manager Matt Meyerson how he came to manage Tia and to share his thoughts on the surfing sensation he had this to share…

Tia was brought to me through her coach, Mike Lamm. He expressed that Tia was something special and when I finally got to meet her, I understood. I had been approached by quite a few surfers for representation but with Tia I knew immediately I had to sign her. The fact that she is a true athlete and leads a healthy lifestyle focused on diet, training and eventually qualifying for the world tour was certainly a huge motivation for me to sign her. In women’s surfing the athletes are more often than not over sexualized and there is a lack of emphasis on their ability. With Tia I felt she could be marketed in a completely different light… as a true athlete; the future of women’s surfing. We love having this shining star on our roster and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.

Hardbody Profile – Surfing Sensation Tia Blanco

May 5, 1997

Any Siblings?
1 sister – Aja Blanco

You started surfing at 3 with your dad but when did you first compete in surfing?
I started competing at 12.

What’s been your favorite event/contest so far?
I really liked the last contest that I surfed in. It was the ISA World Games. I got to meet so many talented surfers from around the world. It was also neat to compete as a team representing your country.

Tia represented the USA and finished third in the ISA World Jr final.

Congrats on your placing in Ecuador! How was that experience?
Thank you! Ecuador was an amazing place. The people were super nice and the food was good. I had a great time meeting surfers from all over the world. The best part of it all was cheering for my team! Whenever a teammate did well in their heat we all screamed really loud! I had so much adrenaline and got goose bumps cheering for them. When I made the grand finale it was so awesome hearing my whole team screaming for me! Best feeling ever :)

Where are you off to next?
My next contest will be in New Zealand.

Sweet! That’s not a bad gig. I read you Tahiti is your favorite place to surf, why is that?
Tahiti is such a beautiful place that it took my breath away. The waves I surfed were probably the most perfect waves I have ever seen (Teahupoo, Big Pass, and Haapiti).

Which do you prefer the long board, short board or SUP (stand up paddle)?
I prefer a short board because I love going fast and feeling loose when doing turns.

Stand Up Paddle is getting more and more popular and a great workout. Any advice for those who are thinking about trying it and tips to doing it?
I like SUPing it’s really good excersize but if you’re new at it be careful. You don’t want to hit yourself or anyone else those boards. They are big and can hurt you. Start at mellow beaches :)

Any rituals before paddling out?
I do my warm up that my trainer taught me. Basically, I just warm up certain muscles in my body.

Are surfers athletes?
Absolutely! Sometimes we are put in tough conditions that require you to be in good shape. However, to be at the top of your game ‘surf athletes’ train hard for all conditions.

Is the life of a surfer like it’s portrayed on ‘Blue Crush’?
Haha maybe for some people. I think its different for all surfers. When I was little I constantly watched that movie! I can relate to when she would get nervous and play mind games with herself. Sometimes winning and losing is all in your head!

What advice do you have for other women thinking about trying surfing for the first time?
I would say try on a long board 1st when the waves are really small. Don’t expect anything just have fun and you will easily fall in love with the best sport in the world.

What’s the key to eating healthy on the road, especially when traveling as much as you do?
Sometimes it’s really hard but I manage to get it done. I usually go shopping right before I leave on a trip and stock up on quinoa, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal etc. I think what many people need to realize that you don’t live to eat, you eat to live.

I read that you’re big on the Vegan lifestyle of eating. In basic terms how do you explain eating VEGAN to others especially those who comment on your protein intake?
Haha, I get that all the time. Most people always ask me where I get my protein from. What they don’t realize is that dark leafy greens, beans and nuts have more protein than meat will ever have. Also, plant based protein is a much healthier protein whereas animal protein can lead to different cancers and diseases.

You’re pretty involved in PETA – how did that come about and why are you so passionate about it?
They actually contacted me on Facebook because they heard I was vegan. I love animals and PETA is a movement that I strongly believe in and that I’m really passionate about.

What peaked your interest in health and nutrition, especially at such a young age?
My aunt and uncle. They are my inspiration.

Do you time your meals around your surf?
No I usually just listen to my body. I eat whenever I’m hungry.

Favorite health / nutrition related book that you’d recommend to others?
EAT TO LIVE is a really great book.

Coconut water – love it or not so much?
The funny thing is, I used to hate coconut juice when I was little now I can’t get enough of it.

Do you use almond milk, if so what’s your go to flavor?
I use almond milk all the time I like the plain kind.

Do you take any vitamins or supplements?
I take Tahitian Noni Juice from Morinda everyday. I use Braggs Aminos, Kal’s Flake Brewers Yeast, cacao nibs, chia seeds and whole flax seeds daily. Most importantly, I think nutrients should come from
the foods you eat.

What would be the Tia Special Shake – ingredients?
Spinach, Kale, dates, carrots and a banana mixed with almond milk and cacao.

Do you prefer to mix a shake?
I use a Vita Mix.

Do you notice a difference in how the food tastes in other countries?
Yes, I definitely feel as if certain foods are better in certain countries. For example, when you go I the tropics, they always have the best tasting fruit.


Surfing is obviously a heck of a work out – what else do you do besides surfing for workouts?
I like to hike, run, do yoga and tumbling.

What would be your favorite?
An hour of hot yoga or hiking

Do you run for time or distance (on the beach)?
I like to run about 4 miles at a constant pace.

What’s your favorite type of yoga?
I love doing hot yoga :)

What type of a cleanse would you recommend to others?
I actually just did a green juice cleanse for 3 days it was really good.

Do you feel like you’re treated differently being “a girl” or do the guys treat you like “one of the guys”?
I think the people that know me don’t treat me different because they know I can surf, but some people assume I can’t and treat me different.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge female surfers face in the industry?
Getting sponsored. There are so many talented surfers now a days with no main sponsor. However, I believe women’s surfing is getting bigger and bigger every day so a lot is going to be changing.

You have a number of sponsors… What advice would you give to other women who are looking for sponsorship…Anything that helped you get big names like Reef?
I would say be nice and humble to every person you meet. You never know who that person is. Don’t think about it too much, just do what you do and work hard.

Tia’s Sponsors
J7 Surf Designs
Daphnes Greek Cafe
Sticky Bumps
Tonic Shop
DFS Movement
Forged in Fitness
RPRT  (management team)

Any advice for women looking to get into modeling…You’ve done quite a bit of it already at a young age – any dos or don’ts you’ve learned?
Make sure you know who you’re dealing with and be confident and relaxed.

What’s your favorite social media outlet?
My favorite is Instagram but I’m required to use all social media. I have a Facebook, Tumblr and I just got a Twitter account.

• Instagram: tiablanco
• Twitter: tia_blanco
• Facebook:
• Tumblr:
• Website:

Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout out to?
I would really love to say thank you to all the people that support me in this world especially my loved ones.

Thanks Tia and all the best!

Check out Tia’s interview with Thanks to Cindy Whitehead and Matt Meyerson of RPRT Management for the introduction and a special thanks to Sina Blanco for the awesome photos. Tia can be reached through for sponsorship and other inquiries.

Photo credits: Sina Blanco

2014 IFBB Orlando Pro Europa Show of Champions Bikini Preview

The 2014 IFBB Orlando Pro Europa Show of Champions Bikini competition has a solid line-up with no clear cut winner. Despite there not being any one odds-on favorite to take top honors there are a few likely candidates to be in the mix for the win. Last year, Courtney King was the winner and the year before that went to Nathalia Melo. It’s safe to say the winner of this show will be in good company with the Orlando Pro title to her competitive resume.

bikini preview

Sarah LeBlanc is coming off her first win as a pro. She took top honors at the St. Louis Pro last month and could likely be the one to beat in this contest. She brings a nicely balanced physique and presents with confidence which has consistently put her in the top five throughout her pro career. Stephanie Mahoe will look to upset LeBlanc’s run at two in a row. She’s coming off a second place finish at the Battle on the Beach. Dayna Maleton has one of my favorite physiques in the division as it has a nice balance of muscle without being too much. When she doesn’t over think her posing and actually smiles, she lights up the stage. She should be in the top callout if she doesn’t scowl at the judges. Lacey Deluca will compete for the first time this year and has been consistently in the top spots her last few shows. Once she changed up her training and nutrition she presented a more balanced physique. If her booty is in check and she brings a tighter lower half she’ll be in the top spots.

Jessica Arevalo will travel across the country for this show and if the long flight doesn’t get to her she’ll be in the mix for the top five. She tends to fair a bit better outside of her home stage of California so she’ll be one to watch. Yarishna has a nice look but will likely be too muscular in her legs compared to the others in this group. Jennifer Dawn found success early in the division and fought to get back into the mix her last few outings. We’ll have to see how she stacked up in this line-up. Candyce Graham has a great physique but we haven’t seen her on stage in over a year. How will the time off effect her? If she’s in shape she could be in the hunt. She just can’t “angry pose” when she takes the stage. Lisette Howard could also be in the mix for the top spots as she was in the mix at her pro debut just a couple weeks ago. Michelle Lewin wasn’t at her best at the Battle on the Beach and dropped to 9th. She’ll look to get back into the top five at this show. This will be her third show as a pro. Ashley Pfaff has a good look and if she comes in a bit tighter than she was in Cali she’ll move up. Jessica Renee also has a good look and just needs a bit tighter conditioning in the lower body to hang in the top three.

Taylor Gallagher will be making her pro debut and it will be interesting to see what she brings to the stage. She’s been wrestling in Tampa and the last time she was on a bikini stage was at the 2009 Nationals. Jade Carroll will also be making her pro debut after achieving pro status at last year’s NPC Nationals.

2014 IFBB Orlando Europa Show of Champions Bikini:
1. Jessica Arevalo
2. Yarishna Ayala
3. Stefanie Bambrough
4. Taylor Jade Carroll
5. Nicole Coleman
6. Jennifer Dawn
7. Lacey Deluca
8. Taylor Gallagher
9. Candyce Graham
10. Lisette Howard
11. Sarah LeBlanc
12. Michelle Lewin
13. Stephanie Mahoe
14. Dayna Maleton
15. Bernadett Matassa
16. Ashley Pfaff
18. Jessica Renee

Total Purse – $8,000
1st – $4,000
2nd – $2,500
3rd – $1,500

Pro Meeting / check-in
7pm – Host hotel


2:30pm – Main Stage – Convention Center South Hall A


3:30pm – Main Stage – Convention Center South Hall A

Host Hotel:
9840 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

Orange County Convention Center – South Hall A
9800 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32810
(across the street from the official contest hotel)

For more information visit Use #ORLANDOPRO for all your social media related to this event.

Fitness Expert Bill Phillips Calls BS on NBC’s Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser is a popular show on NBC and as the show has become more popular the weight loss totals have become more extreme. The winner of the last season caused controversy over her extreme weight loss. There were people coming to her defense stating the show is about weight loss and she played to win. Others were concerned for her health and thought it had gone too far. Enter one of the pioneers in the fitness industry… Bill Phillips.

biggest lies bill phillips

Bill Phillips authored the wildly successful book Body-for-life. It’s a timeless book that can help anyone with not just weight loss but also with believing in yourself. Bill voiced his opinion on the show via his Facebook page and it’s worth reading. One my favorite take-aways from Bill’s post is… “Even if you’ve neglected your health for years, even decades, that power to change your health — the power to transform your life — is still right there where it’s always been… within you.”

By Bill Phillips via Facebook

In the wide, wide world of ridiculous diet and weight loss BS, The Biggest Loser’s ‘weekly’ weigh-ins take the cake. If you’re familiar with the TV show then you know it’s not uncommon to see the contestants lose 12 to 20 lbs a week from their exercise and diet efforts. The first time I saw this, I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been researching, practicing, teaching and writing about health, weight-loss, and fitness for over 25 years and I’ve never seen weight come off that fast. It’s something that I get countless, continuous questions about, from my students, clients, and even doctors.

“How on earth are The Biggest Loser participants losing so much weight so fast?” That’s the question that is so often asked. As it turns out, the answer is: “They aren’t.” Let me explain…

You might be surprised to discover that there is a closely guarded secret to those sensational results. You see, a week on The Biggest Loser TV show does not equal a week on the calendar you and I follow. In this case, there’s a big difference between ‘reality TV’ and what’s real. Former contestants have revealed that the length of time between ‘weekly’ weigh-ins can be as much as 25 days, which makes it look like people are losing weight a lot faster than they actually are.

Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello is one of the former Biggest Loser contestants who has spoken out. He explains, “In my series, a weekly weigh-in was NEVER filmed after just one week of working out. In fact, the gap between one weigh-in to the next was up to three and a half weeks. That’s 25 days between weigh-ins, not 7. I had to stand on the scale and was asked to say the line, ‘WOW, it’s a great result… I’ve worked really hard this week!’ The producers made sure that we never gave the secret away because if we did it created a nightmare for them in editing. The shortest gap from weigh-in to weigh-in during my series was 16 days. That’s a fact.”

How does the show get away with something so deceptive and misleading? Simple… it is a fictional TV show and despite the fact that it fits into this new category of ‘reality’ programming, it is not at all required to present factual information. It’s not a documentary; it’s not a news broadcast; it’s not really real.

Kai Hibbard was a Biggest Loser Finalist in Season 3. She recalls, “The meaning of a ‘week’ on The Biggest Loser varied. It could mean 14 days.” Kai goes on to explain that the way the show was edited made it appear that she was losing 12 lbs a week but she says, “Sue me if you want to, NBC, but I’m telling people I didn’t lose 12 lbs in a week. It didn’t happen. After the show aired I’ve had people come up to me crying, telling me how hard they workout and how strict they are with their food and they want to know why they can’t lose 12 lbs a week. I have to explain that it wasn’t a week. And even when it looks like I lost 12 lbs in a week… I was so severely dehydrated at the weigh-ins that it was completely unhealthy.”

Make no mistake, I am always inspired and excited to see people making healthy changes in their lives. Losing weight, overcoming unhealthy habits, starting with and sticking to an intense exercise program… I know from firsthand experience, it’s a lot of work and requires determination, effort, and courage. I commend the participants in these shows for making the bold decision to make a change and for the inner strength that they put into being successful. I have nothing but respect for each and every one of these Biggest Loser contestants. (I think they should be called ‘Winners’ by the way.)

The problem is NOT with the people featured on the show. The problem is the system behind the scenes. The producers, not medical experts, control how the show goes during taping, editing, and what is packaged and delivered to the networks. The producers’ job is to deliver a program that the TV networks can promote and broadcast to draw big ratings from. The TV networks job is to attract the most viewers possible to maximize the advertisers’ financial investment. That’s simply how the entertainment business works.

Unfortunately, millions of viewers who watch shows like The Biggest Loser are unaware that what they are seeing is at least in part, make believe. If I hadn’t worked in the industry myself (producing documentary films, videos, TV specials) I would probably take what I see on these shows at face value also. But, through my experience, and hearing from TV weight loss show contestants themselves, I know that there’s some very misleading, and even dangerous information being presented.

As I see it, the unrealistic and untrue depiction of exaggerated weight-loss results on shows like The Biggest Loser is creating a big problem. These shows, which have the potential to do so much good, are ultimately doing a disservice to their viewers by misleading them.

What I do like about TV shows like The Biggest Loser is that it brings attention to the incredible ability we each have to make stunning changes in our bodies and lives. This gets many viewers motivated and moving. Getting someone started is just the first step though. Keeping them going and helping them stick with a good exercise and nutrition program long enough to personally experience positive and healthy results is the biggest challenge. And the key to keeping people going strong is mostly about mindset — we have to help them stay positive and feel good about their progress and results.

In the real world, burning off 2 lbs of unhealthy bodyfat a week is something you should be very proud to accomplish. But for millions of viewers of weight-loss TV shows, 2 lbs of fat loss a week seems like a failure and reinforces the false belief that far too many have, which is that they can’t be successful at transforming their health. But the fact, they CAN! Just because it doesn’t happen at the pace you see on weight-loss TV shows, doesn’t mean it’s not working for you and that you’re not on your way to an incredible transformation.

At my Transformation Center in Colorado, we’ve helped dozens of people become over 100 lbs lighter in less than a year. The average weight-loss for someone who is getting great results from their exercise and healthy eating program is 8 to 12 lbs per month (not per week!). I like to see my clients reducing their overall weight by 1% to 1.25% per week until we hit a healthy goal weight. Losing weight faster than that almost certainly means that your body is sacrificing muscle mass (and also bone density). When we lose muscle, the metabolism goes down and we become less efficient at burning calories and producing energy. It takes a smart plan, followed consistently, to lose bodyfat while strengthening muscles and improving energy.

I’ve written about this topic in my books Body-for-LIFE and Eating for Life and regularly discuss it in my blog at and on Facebook at ‘Bill Phillips Transformation.’

It’s an unfortunate ‘reality’ that so much of what is published in magazines, broadcast on television, and written on the internet is complete and utter bullsh*t when it comes to diet, exercise, and fitness. In 25+ years as an author, teacher, and coach, I’ve seen countless fads and frauds come and go. What I’ve been able to conclude — what stands out as the fundamental facts to me — is that each of us have an incredible, God-given ability to restore our health, rebuild our bodies, and renew our lives that can’t be bought, can’t be sold, and can never be taken away.

Even if you’ve neglected your health for years, even decades, that power to change your health — the power to transform your life — is still right there where it’s always been… within you.

Yes, you need accurate information, scientific facts, and a knowledgeable coach, trainer, or mentor who can point you in the right direction and help you steer clear of the nonsense, pitfalls, and obstacles. And yes, reclaiming the healthy body and life that you were meant to have all along will take sacrifice, effort, and determination… but the rewards you’ll earn, no matter how long it takes, will be more than worth it!

Lead image via Bill Phillips Facebook.

Updated 2014 Arnold Classic Brasil IFBB Competitor Invitation Lists

The 2014 Arnold Sports Festival Brasil will be held April 25-27, 2014 in Rio de Janerio. After a wildly successful event in 2013, the expo and events are moving to a bigger venue. One of the highlights of the weekend will be the Arnold Fitness Brazil and Arnold Classic Brazil. Ryall Graber will be back to defend her title in the fitness division and three’s been a few changes to the lineup since they were originally announced.

2014 Arnold Classic Brasil IFBB Competitor Invitation Lists

Updated 2014 Arnold Classic Brasil IFBB Competitor Invitation Lists
Myriam Capes is still nursing an injury that forced her to withdraw from the Fitness International last month in Columbus, Ohio. Michelle Blank suffered a broken foot during her Arnold routine and is on the road to recovery which will keep her out of this show. Fiona Harris was also on the original list but will no longer be competing. Added to the Fitness line-up was Tiffany Chandler.

Bethany Cisternino and Regiane DaSilva are the highest ranking fitness competitors in the line-up and will be the biggest threat to Ryall’s title. Don’t sleep on Melinda Szabo after an impressive performance in Columbus.

2014 Arnold Fitness Brasil Competitors
Marta Aguiar
Tiffany Chandler
Bethany Cisternino
Regiane DaSilva
Ryall Graber
Amanda Hatfield
Whitney Jones
Babette Mulford
Diana Monteiro
Danielle Ruban
Melinda Szabo

The Men’s lineup has a few changes as well. Baito Abbaspour, Julio Balestrin and William Bonac have been added to the list since it was announced in February. Roelly Winklaar and Hidetada Yamagishi have been removed from 2014 Arnold Classic Brasil IFBB competitor lists. Roelly suffered a motor cycle accident which forced him out of the Arnold Classic in Columbus and Hidetada made the move down to the 212 division.

2014 Arnold Classic Brasil Competitors
Baito Abbaspour
Julio Balestrin
Lionel Beyeke
William Bonac
Jonathan De LaRosa
Marius Dohne
Toney Freeman
Michael Kefalianos
Martin Kjellstrom
Steve Kuclo
Juan Diesel Morel
Ed Nunn
Ben Pakulski
Robert Piotrkowicz
Fred Smalls

Ana Paula Leal
Savaget Promotions

Bob Lorimer
Arnold Sports Festival

Brent LaLonde

Lululemon Pledge – Spray on Pants

Late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel is known for taking news topics and adding his own twist. That darn Jimmy is back with a spoof ad for the popular clothing line, Lululemon. Check out “Lululemon Pledge – Spray on Pants” in the video below.


A lot of schools are banning female students from wearing Lululemon yoga pants because they’re too form fitting, and just when you thought it couldn’t go any further, they’ve come up with something even more revealing.

Jimmy Kimmel Live – Lululemon Pledge — Spray on Pants

Janet Layug Wins 2014 IFBB Battle on The Beach Pro Bikini Results

The 2014 IFBB Battle on the Beach played out as most thought it would at least for the most part. Janet Layug, competing in just her second pro show, took home top honors and a ticket to the Bikini Olympia contest. Janet took top honors at the 2013 NPC Nationals and quickly became a fan favorite. She finished 8th in her pro debut earlier this month but she faced the best in the division at the Bikini International.

Janet Layug

Look for Janet to be in the hunt for the top spot again in a couple weeks when she competes at the Orlando Europa. She’s one of the taller competitors and can hold her own at the Olympia if she continues to fill out her frame. Coming in second was Stephanie Mahoe and in doing so collected more points towards the Olympia Series. Angeles Burke was third and Callie Bundy finished 4th in her pro debut. Rounding out the top five was Jessica Renee. Surprisingly not at her best was Michelle Lewin who had beaten Janet last year when the two were amateurs but missed the top 5 this time around.

Just four women entered the Pro Masters Bikini and Amira Lamb left with the win. Janet Lynn West was second, Nathalie Mur third and in fourth was Michon Leddy.

2014 IFBB Battle on the Beach Pro Bikini Results
1. Janet Layug
2. Stephanie Mahoe
3. Angeles Burke
4. Callie Bundy
5. Jessica Renee
6. Noemi Olah
7. Gigi Amaurao
8. Alexa Hotaling
9. Michelle Lewin
10. Asia Mendoza
11. Amira Lamb
12. Bernadett Matassa
13. Nathalie Mur
14. Michon Leddy
15. Stafanie Bambrough
16. Kamilah Powell

2014 IFBB Battle on the Beach Pro Bikini Masters Results
1. Amira Lamb
2. Janet Lynn West
3. Nathalie Mur
4. Michon Ledd

Next up for the IFBB Pro Bikini women is the Orlando Europa in two weeks.

SHOCKER in Sacramento – 2014 IFBB Governor’s Cup Pro Figure Results

The women of the IFBB Pro Figure division were back on stage in Sacramento, CA. The 2014 Governor’s Cup had 27 women in the show but only one would punch their ticket to the Olympia stage. The odds-on favorite heading into the show was Vegas resident Mallory Haldeman. Haldeman, at least on paper, was the one to beat having finished fifth at the 2013 Olympia and before that had two back-to-back wins. When the top five placings were announced many were shocked.

sacramento results

Jessica Graham was crowned your 2014 Governor’s Cup Pro Figure winner. Who is Jessica Graham? Great question.

This was Jessica’s IFBB Pro debut and flew under the radar to most, myself included. She put together an impressive amateur resume over the years before turning pro last summer. Graham turned pro at the 2013 NPC USAs last July by winning the C height class. She was the 2012 NPC Contra Costa Champion and took first at the 2009 NPC Sacramento. The win qualifies her for the 2014 Olympia in Las Vegas. Congrats to Jessica on doing what few have done… win their IFBB Pro debut.

Rounding out the top five were Allison Frahn, Krista Dunn, Monica Labriola and Linda Andrews. Each of these women earn points in the Olympia Qualification Series. Krista went on to win her first pro show in the 2014 IFBB Governor’s Cup Masters Pro Figure. While there is no Master’s Olympia Figure event, she does pick up some prize money and bragging rights.

Haldeman not cracking the top five was shocking but also surprising was last year’s runner-up Wendy Fortino finishing 15th this time around. It’s a reminder you never know what can happen on any given show.

2014 IFBB Governor’s Cup Pro Figure Results
1. Jessica Graham
2. Allison Frahn
3. Krista Dunn
4. Monica Labriola
5. Linda Andrew
6. Mallory Haldeman
7. Tamara Sedlack
8. Julie Mayer
9. Jennifer Brown
10. Michelle Shephard
11. Alessandra Pinheiro
12. Patty Zariello
13. Danielle Kiffer
14. Tina Bozman
15. Wendy Fortino
16. Nancy Bowlin
16. Beckie Boddie
16. Vickie Dowell
16. Dawn Fernandez
16. Vera Mallet
16. Lisandra McGrath
16. Christina Reed
16. Marcee Renee
16. Bojana Vasiljevic
16. Emily Zelinka
16. Kimberley Doehnert

2014 IFBB Governor’s Cup Pro Figure Results – Masters
1. Krista Dunn
2. Monica Sanchez-Labriola
3. Linda Andrews
4. Tamara Sedlack
5. Julie Mayer
6. Jennifer Brown
7. Michelle Shepherd
8. Alessandra Pinherio
9. Tina Bozman
10. Patty Zariello
11. Danielle Kifer
12. Dawn Fernandez
13. Marcee Renee
14. Christina Reed
15. Vera Mallet
16. Kim Clark
16. Kimberley Doehnert
16. Vickie Dowell
16. Lisandra McGrath
16. Kim Seeley
16. Nancy Bowlin

Read the show preview here.

SELF Magazine Inadvertently Snubs Cancer Runner’s Tutu

Oops. SELF magazine started quite the sh*t storm this week and it stems from their newest issue. Monika Allen received a phone call from SELF asking her permission to use a photo of her running in a tutu. She’s smiling and dressed as Wonder Woman in the photo. No biggie, right? Pretty sweet to have a magazine want to run a photo of you. Well by itself it’s a cute photo and a fun opportunity to be in a major fitness magazine but when you put it into the context which it was used… well that’s where things get ugly.

tutu runner
The photo runs in the magazine’s “+BS METER” which states the page is “Our SELF-y guide to what’s legit and what’s lame this month”.

tutu runner

“A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC’s Central Park, and it’s all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster. Now, if you told us they made people run away from you faster, maybe we would believe it.”

After seeing how her photo was used, Monika was understandably upset. She told a San Diego news station she wore the outfit during the marathon because it gave her motivation and came in the middle of chemotherapy. Yes, Monica is a cancer survivor and part of GLAM RUNNER. Glam Runner was founded in 2011 as a way to “bring more fun and GLAM to running while raising money for Girls on the Run of San Diego.”

Their website’s about us says, “Girls on the Run is a life-changing 12 week program for girls 8-13 years old that encourages positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development, all while training the girls for a 5K race.”

After this news went viral SELF POSTED this on their Facebook page.

The messages of support for Allen on the Glam Runner Facebook page continue to pour in. The Glam Runner Facebook posted their response.

The folks on twitter haven’t been as forgiving and kind…

Screen capture via
Photos via Glam Runner.

2014 IFBB Governors Cup Competitor List & Preview

The 2014 IFBB Governors Cup will showcase an open and master’s pro figure competition. The event will be held in Sacramento, California on March 28-29 in conjunction with a NPC event. There are currently 27 women slated to compete in the open pro figure with one Olympia qualification up for grabs. The Master’s figure has nearly 20 women entered despite there being no Olympia qualification for the win.

2014 Governors cup

The odds on favorite has to be Mallory Haldeman for the win. Mallory opted out of competing in the Figure International earlier this month and this will be her first time on stage this year. She’s a top six Olympia competitor and the one to beat. If she’s brought her back up a bit and can remain calm while posing she’ll be your winner. Mallory tends to shake and look nervous while on stage but has continued to improve with each show. Look for local California girl, Wendy Fortino to be compared for the win as well. Wendy brought a great look to this stage last year and should compare well to Mallory. The two squared off last year but Heather Dees took top honors. Heather will not be competing this year so look for the two of them to be the ones to beat.

Allison Frahn will likely find herself in the top callout but won’t have quiet the same amount of muscle in her lower body as Mallory and Wendy. Julie Mayer, Monica Labriola and Patty Zariello could also be contenders for the top callout. Krista Dunn will look to get back in the mix and had a great season in 2013. There are a number of women who could shake things up for the top five but Mallory Haldeman will have to be way off her game to lose this show.

2014 IFBB Governors Cup Pro Figure
1. Linda Andrew
2. Beckie Boddie
3. Nancy Bowlin
4. Tina Bozman
5. Jennifer Brown
6. Kim Clark
7. Vickie Dowel
8. Krista Dunn
9. Dawn Frenandez
10. Wendy Fortino
11. Allison Frahn
12. Jessica Graham
13. Mallory Haldeman
14. Danielle Kifer
15. Monica Labriola
16. Vera Mallet
17. Julie Mayer
18. Lisandra McGrath
19. Alessandra Pinherio
20. Christina Reed
21. Marcee Renee
22. Tamara Sedlack
23. Kim Seeley
24. Michelle Shepard
25. Bojana Vasijevic
26. Patty Zeriello
27. Emily Zelinka

The Master’s Figure competition will be a competitive group. Master’s Figure has proven far more popular than Master’s bikini. Many of the women in this line-up can and do hold their own in open events.

2014 IFBB Governors Cup Pro Figure – Masters
1. Linda Andrew
2. Nancy Bowlin
3. Tina Bozman
4. Jennifer Brown
5. Kim Clark
6. Kimberley Doehnert
7. Vickie Dowell
8. Krista Dunn
9. Dawn Fernandez
10. Danielle Kifer
11. Vera Mallet
12. Julie Mayer
13. Lisandra McGrath
14. Alessandra Pinherio
15. Christina Reed
16. Marcee Renee
17. Kim Seeley
18. Michelle Shepherd
19. Patty Zariello

For more information visit

2014 IFBB Battle on The Beach Competitor Lists & Preview

The second annual IFBB Battle on the Beach is a women’s only event held in Daytona Beach, Florida. The IFBB portion of the event will feature bikini and master’s bikini. The amateur portion will showcase fitness, figure, bikini and physique. There are 15 women slated to compete in the pro bikini and just four in the master’s bikini competition.

battle on the beach

The match-up to watch has to be between Michelle Lewin and Janet Layug. Last year, the two women squared off as amateurs in the NPC Florida Cup. They both won their height class and Michelle went on to win the overall title at that show. Michelle successfully petitioned her country of Venezuela for her pro card after the win. Janet went on to win the overall title at the NPC Nationals and made her pro debut at the Bikini International earlier this month. Michelle has more muscle on her frame than most of the other women in this show but she carries it well and it’s not over the top. If her legs are a bit smaller than last year she could win this show. Janet will be one of the tallest women in the group. She’ll need to come in with a fuller look than we saw at the Arnold. I look for it to be a rematch between the two of them for the win but this time an Olympia qualification is on the line.

Gigi Amurao will likely be in the first callout and if her legs are down in size she’ll be in the hunt for a top spot. Jessica Renee has a good look and if she can nail the little details with her hair and makeup she could be in that first callout. Look for Stephanie Mahoe to also make a run for the top three if she too has the little details right specifically with her tanning. Making her pro debut, Callie Bundy will be one to watch as a top five contender. Don’t sleep on the blonde beauty, Noemi Olah. She relocated to Florida last year and will be a contender here.

2014 IFBB Battle on The Beach Pro Bikini
1. Gigi Amurao
2. Stefanie Bambrough
3. Callie Bundy
4. Angeles Burke
5. Alexa Hotaling
6. Amira Lamb
7. Janet Layug
8. Michon Leddy
9. Michelle Lewin
10. Stephanie Mahoe
11. Bernadett Matassa
12. Asia Mendoza
13. Nathalia Mur
14. Noemi Olah
15. Kamilah Powell
16. Jessica Renee

The master’s bikini division has yet to pick up momentum in the pro ranks. There’s no Olympia qualification on the line but it does give the women another opportunity to compete. This will be the third Master’s pro bikini competition of the year and the previous two
shows only had one competitor.

2014 IFBB Battle on The Beach Pro Bikini Pro – Masters
1. Amira Lamb
2. Michon Leddy
3. Nathalie Mur
4. Janet Lynn West

Visit for more information.

Top Fitness Pro Tanji Johnson Switches to Women’s Physique

Top IFBB Fitness Pro Tanji Johnson announced that she would will be switching divisions. Now before you get your workout shorts in a bunch, hold on. She’s not leaving the Fitness division for good. The Washington native is taking advantage of the wildly popular Emerald Cup adding a pro show this year. Tanji shared the news on her Facebook page.

tanji johnson

Excited and happy to announce that I will be making my Debut in Women’s physique in the Pro Division at the 2014 Emerald Cup on 26 April. I am NOT retiring from Fitness, I just want to represent the NW as we bring back a Pro show to the northwest (which has been since 2005). This is also going to be a tribute for me to celebrate the heart of our sport…Bodybuilding! I love weight training and being fit for life and going to have a blast flexing and smiling and influencing others towards a life of health and fitness! Thank u in advance for ur love, support and encouragement!

What happens if she qualifies for the Olympia in Women’s Physique, will she choose WPD over Fitness? I asked her this in a brief interview and she assured me, “I will definately be doing Fitness at the Olympia.” The 2013 Fitness International Champ shared that her training for this competition will be different. She said, “I will be training more like a bodybuilder, heavier weights and less athletic performance training.” It will be interesting to see what her physique looks like compared to this year’s Fitness International. When it comes to the diet Tanji said she it will be stricter and will implement more cardio to complement the change in training. She went on to say, “My plan is to come in my best condition ever (glutes & back) and then bring THAT package to the Olympia with a physique that I’ve never shown on a fitness stage.”

tanji previewTanji making her announcement online. 

Along with training for next month’s Emerald Cup she is helping train over 50 competitors who will be in the NPC portion of the show. You can keep up with Tanji on Facebook, twitter and


‘Too Fit’ – Reverse Discrimination at Planet Fitness

How far will Planet Fitness take their ridiculousness? The gym chain with over 5 million members claims to have a “Judgement Free Zone” but that apparently only applies if you’re an out of shape member. Recently, a California woman was told she was intimidating people with her toned body and was told to put on a tshirt. Let’s be clear, she wasn’t in a scantily clad outfit. No, Tiffany Austin was wearing a pink tank-top that showed her midsection and a pari of capri pants.

planet fitness

Tiffany joined Planet Fitness to get back into shape after a car accident. She hit the gym for her workout on the treadmill but it was cut short when she was told she was violating the dress code. Tiffany was asked to put on a tshirt and she agreed. While waiting for the “approved” apparel she was approached by another employee who took issue with how she looked. It was then that she had enough and left but not without getting her money back and canceling her membership.

Austin said, “Really I felt like intimidated and harassed by the place that says ‘No intimidation.’” She goes on to say with a laugh, “I don’t feel like it’s anything crazy, but I mean you tell me if it’s burning your eyes.”

too fit planet fitness
The “Judgement Free Zone” policy claims to ban “gymtimidation” but it appears the staff doesn’t have to follow the same rules its members do. Shame on Planet Fitness for shaming Tiffany Austin and other members like her.

too fit

2014 St. Louis Pro Competitor Lists & Show Preview

The 2014 St. Louis Pro takes place on Saturday, March 8th and it has a very competitive line-up in every division. The IFBB Pro portion will feature Bikini, Figure and Women’s Physique. The event is held in conjunction with a NPC competition that is sure to highlight some up-and-coming competitors in the amateur ranks. Jack and Ann Titone always put their heart and soul into promoting this event and look for the athletes to be well taken care of throughout the weekend.

st louis pro

Twenty four women are signed up to compete in the Figure division. Candice Lewis has to be the one to beat in this line-up coming off from her fifth place finish at the Figure International. Look for Dana Ambrose, Victoria Adelus, Krista Dunn, Allison Frahn, Natalia Waples and Monica Lebriola to be in the mix for the top spots. This is a very deep line-up in just the second pro figure show of the year.

2014 IFBB St. Louis Pro Figure
1. Victoria Adelus
2. Dana Ambrose
3. Leah Berti
4. Kim Clark
5. Angela Coleman
6. Vicki Counts
7. Jill Dearmin
8. Krista Dunn
9. Allison Frahn
10. Maria Garcia Sanchez
11. Dawn Hinz-Pugh
12. Jennifer Iratano
13. Monica Labriola
14. Candice Lewis
15. Gretchen Lichtenstein
16. Very Mallet
17. Samantha Maycock
18. Julie Mayer
19. Linda Potter
20. Christina Reed
21. Marcee Renee
22. Agnese Russo
23. Kim Seely
24. Natalie Waples

The IFBB Bikini competition will also be very competitive. Look for Jessica Arevalo, Sarah LeBlanc, Ashriel Osgood and Sandi Fortsythe to be your top contenders. There’s no clear cut favorite so the top five could be anyone’s game. The winner qualifies for the Olympia while the remaining top five collect Olympia Points in the ongoing Point Series, where the leader at the end of the year gets a ticket to compete at the big show. Jennifer Andrews is not slated to compete and defend her title.

2014 IFBB St. Louis Pro Bikini
1. Jessica Arevalo
2. Alexis Burke
3. Sandi Forsythe
4. Dana French
5. Janet Harding
6. Terri Krevitz
7. Jessica Landry
8. Sara LeBlanc
9. Linda McKown
10. Raphaela Milagres
11. Ashriel Osgood
12. Caryn Paolini
13. Kamilah Powell
14. Kristie Trasey
15. Michelle Trasey
16. Katherine Williams

The Women’s Physique competition get started with a solid turn out for 2014. The winner will head to the Olympia Showdown and the top four will collect points towards the Olympia series. There’s no odds-on favorite to win the show and the top five could go a number of ways. There’s a mix of physiques and depending on what look is presented, the judges could have their hands full with deciphering this line-up. Great to see a good turn out for the division to kick things off.

2014 IFBB St. Louis Pro Women’s Physique
1. Lisette Acevedo
2. Misty Ali
3. Shannon Byers
4. Ana Paula Da Silva
5. Danielle Deck
6. Marnie Holley
7. Anna Marie Kam
8. Anne Marie Lasserre
9. Jayla McDermott
10. Delia McNeil
11. Frida Palmell
12. Danielle Reardon
13. Jennifer Robinson
14. Leonie Rose
15. Lise Thexton
16. Tracy Weller

FRIDAY March 7th 2014
5:00pm at the HOST HOTEL
Chase Park Plaza
212 N. Kingshighway
St Louis Mo 63108

FRIDAY March 7th 2014
6:00pm at the HOST HOTEL
Chase Park Plaza
212 N. Kingshighway
St Louis Mo 63108

St. Louis University Busch Student Center
20 N.Grand, St Louis, MO

For More information visit:

2014 Figure & Fitness International Prejudging Report

The 2014 Arnold Sports Festival is underway in Columbus, Ohio and the IFBB pro women kicked things off this morning. The Figure and Fitness International prejudging took place this morning and the finals will be held at 7pm this evening. You can watch the finals LIVE on’s Free webcast.


The judges have it between defending champion, Candice Keene and last year’s runner-up Heather Dees. Personally, I have Candice Lewis for the win. Candice Keene looked good and since she is the defending champion, I don’t think too many people will baulk at her winning. I’ll be shocked if she’s not crowned the champ for the second year in a row. She presented herself with confidence and had all the details right. Heather Dees came in a bit fuller than last year with a little added size however when she posed she was shaking like a leaf in the Columbus win. I think Heather is a beautiful woman but I wouldn’t have her in the second place spot. Nothing personal, just other physiques that structurally are better and when the little details count, posing should be one.

I am often overly critical of Candice Lewis and it’s because she has so much potential that despite winning numerous shows in 2012 and 2013, it wasn’t until this show that she nailed it. Candice has nice shape, her legs were streamlined and presented a polished look from head to toe. The judges might say her legs are overpowering but I’d disagree on it today. It looks like the judges have her in 4th but it will be close. Camala Rodriquez brought a balance physique and she is strongest from the back. I would have liked to seen her next to Candice Keene for a comparison from behind. It looks like she’ll be in the third place spot. Ann Titone looks good when she stands alone on stage however when you put her next to the other women she starts to fade. She has improved her physique over the years and continues to improve however I think she’ll be in the 5th place spot but could sneak into 4th if the judges favor her to the look Candice Lewis brought.

Gen Strobo brought one of her better physiques to date and I could see her locking in the 6th place spot. She has great delts but her lower body still lacks a bit behind her upper body. Still one of her best showings though and if she snags sixth it would be a score for her.

The rest of the pack. I would have put Elissa Martis a bit higher. I like her look and with a little more stage time she’ll be a contender. Alicia Coates was off her best but will still likely end up in the top ten. Her posing was a bit off, make-up/face didn’t match her physique color and her legs were off from her previous shows. Beautiful girl but not her best showing to date. Ava Cowan will likely be in the 8-10th place range. She’s overcome a lot over the past year and physique wise she was too lean, too muscular and too ripped compared to the other women. It was more of a women’s physique. Look for Allison Frahn, Dana Ambrose and Amanda Doherty to be in the hunt to round out the top ten.

I think the judges will go:
1. Candice Keene
2. Heather Dees
3. Camala Rodriquez
4. Candice Lewis
5. Ann Titone
6. Gen Strobo

I’d have Candice Lewis, Candice Keene and Camala Rodriquez as my top three but it looks like it’s all Candice Keene and then Heather Dees. The tighter race is between Rodiquez, Lewis and Titone for 3-5.

Check out prejudging photos here.

Bethany Cisternino looks poised to win the two-piece round with Tanji in second. This could flip flop but ultimately it will come down to the routine round. Tanji looks like she’s in the driver’s seat to repeat as the champ if she nails her routine. In the third and fourth place spots you have Trish Warren and Regiane DaSilva. Regiane typically doesn’t end up this high in the two-piece and I was a bit surprised to see her in the first callout. I would have liked to see Danielle Ruban and Oksana Grishina in the mix for the top three. Oksana didn’t come in as hard as previous years and downsized her muscle a bit however the judges didn’t seem to favor it to be in the top four. She could be fifth but also 6 or 7th based on comparisons. I like the shape Danielle Ruban presented she could have been a tad tighter but overall I thought it was a top five look. The judges didn’t see it that but she’ll be one to watch in upcoming shows.

A stand-out to me was Michelle Blank. It’s the best presentation she’s put together from her hair to makeup, presentation and her physique. She wasn’t as conditioned as the other women and faded just a bit but overall it was her best look to date and would have her in the top five. She could sneak in there but likely on the bubble and could end up 6-8th. Whitney Jones might be in the top five and will likely be in the 6-8th spot as well. I’d like to see her work on her posing a bit, especially from the back.

Ryall is scratching to get into that mix as well. Her tan was a little light and yellow looking. She had some issues with her posing suit riding up a bit too high and showed some under boob.

Heading into the routine round I think it looks like this…
1. Bethany Cisternino
2. Tanji Johnson
3. Trish Warren
4. Regiane DaSilva
5. Whitney Jones
6. Oksana Grishina
7. Michelle Blank
8. Ryall Graber

Check out prejudging pics here. Follow on twitter or watch the live webcast tonight!

Arnold Classic South Africa – Coming in 2016

It’s official. The Arnold Classic is adding another country to its growing list of events. Since 1989 the Arnold Classic has been held in Columbus, Ohio. The Arnold Classic then expanded into Spain and last year into Brasil. Next year the Australia Pro will become the Arnold Australia and in 2016 we’ll see an Arnold Classic South Africa.

arnold south africa

Wayne Price, former strongmen athlete and current President of South Africa National Bodybuilding Federation, made the news official on Facebook this evening.

“It is official, it is big news- Arnold Classic Sport Festival is coming to South Africa – Arnold Classic South Africa, will be hosted in Durban, South Africa 2016! Watch this space for the launch of the Arnold Classic South Africa facebook and webpage! Body Building and Fitness Rocks in South Africa.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Wayne and part of his team while in Columbus for the Arnold Sports Festival and they will be amazing. Look for another world-class event to be held in Durban, South Africa.

Interview with Iceland’s First (and only) IFBB Pro Margret Gnarr

Iceland’s first and only IFBB Pro took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to share a bit more about herself. Margret Gnarr will be making her IFBB Pro debut this weekend at the Bikini International in Columbus, Ohio. You may not have heard much about her before but rest assured you will in the coming days. Marget’s hardbody and looks speak for themselves but what you may not have known is that she’s a blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do. Get to know a bit more about Margret and give her a bit of encouragement as she’s not only competing as a pro for the first time but also representing an entire country.

margret gnarr


Margret Gnarr

Born in:

Currently live in:
Reykjavik, Iceland

Any brothers or sisters?
Yes I have 6 siblings, 3 brothers and 3 sisters

Where do you fall in the ages?
I grew up with two of my siblings to the age of 11 and I was the middle child. My brother is 2 years older than me and my sister is 3 years younger.

Any pets?
I have two dogs. Dolly is a Chihuahua/Cavalier mix and Ronja is a Icelandic sheepdog / Russian sled dog mix.

One food you will NOT eat:
Cucumbers !!! Hate them! Sometimes I say I’m allergic just to avoid eating them! I don’t know what is is with cucumbers. My dad and my younger sister are the same. haha

After my workout I typically eat…
Chicken, sweet potatoes and sweet peppers

Did you play sports growing up?
Yes, I was all over the place growing up! I loved all sports and I was very active from a young age. My favorite class in school was gym-class! I started in gymnastics when I was 6 but I didn’t have a lot of discipline so my parents sent me to Taekwondo for one year. At the age of 8 I went into figure skating and that’s when I started competing in sports and absolutely loved competing! I wanted to be the first figure skating competitor from Iceland to compete at the winter Olympics! At the age of 14 I hurt my ankles and couldn’t handle the landings after the high jumps so I took 6 months off from training and after 6 months my friend asked me about Taekwondo and told me she wanted to try it out. I went with her to our first training and after my first Taekwondo class I was hooked. I stopped figure skating and found another passion. Soon I got in the youth national team in Olympic Taekwondo Sparring and started competing. I have competed several times in Taekwondo and I have the black belt. I have been doing Taekwondo for over 10 years.

margret gnarr world champions winner

How did you get into competing in Bikini?
I have been interested in Bikini fitness since 2008 when it started in Iceland. My friend competed at the IFBB Icelandic Championship and I thought she looked so great. I have always been interested in modeling and I am also a singer so I love to be on stage. When it comes to modeling I was always told I had the face for it but not the body. My body was too athletic for modeling. When I saw the Bikini fitness class for the first time I thought to myself: “that’s perfect for me!” But at that time I had very low self-esteem after years of bullying and I knew I had to work on my self first to be able to handle fitness competitions. In beginning of 2011 I finally had the self-esteem I needed and decided to compete. My first competition was the IFBB Icelandic Cup in November 2011 and after that contest I was hooked!

A singer huh… Who is your favorite singer?
I have so many favorite singers! Can’t pick one:) Here are couple of my absolute favorite: Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, Imogen Heap, Hayley Williams and Jonathan Davis.

Will you give us a sample of your singing at the Arnold?
Yes! Of course! Will you play the guitar then?

margret gnarr world champions winner

Yes, totally! (Note to self forget to pack guitar).


Contest history:
IFBB Icelandic Cup 2011 – 3rd place
Arnold Amateur USA 2012 – 4th place
IFBB Icelandic Championhip 2012 – 2nd place
IFBB World Championship 2012 – NP
Arnold Amateur Europe 2012 – 13th place
IFBB Icelandic Cup 2012 – 1st place
IFBB World Championship 2013 – 1st place

How long have you been practicing taekwondo?
- For over 10 years now

Do you still do taekwondo while prepping for a bikini show?
I do Taekwondo in my off seasons but 12 weeks into a bikini show I only train Taekwondo

by myself. The reason is I don’t want to get hurt or bruised on Taekwondo trainings. When I train Taekwondo I do a lot of sparring and you can get hurt and that’s not good when you are prepping for a bikini show. Doesn’t look very good on stage to be bruised. haha

Do you have any foods in Iceland that you won’t find in the USA?
Yes! Icelandic Candy, Icelandic dry fish, Icelandic yogurt (You can find Skyr in Wholefoods but its not the same as in Iceland)

margret gnarr world championships contest

What is Icelandic candy like?
- Its heaven! Icelandic chocolate is the BEST! I will bring some Icelandic candy with me for everybody to taste!!

What’s iceland dry fish like or is there nothing like it and it’s super amazing?
Icelandic dry fish is awesome in competition prep. There are 83 grams of protein in 100 grams of dry fish and no carbs. It’s very popular in Iceland and we grow up eating it like candy.

What’s the biggest difference between USA and Iceland that you’ve noticed?
The biggest difference in general is the size and population! There are 320.000 people who live in Iceland! That’s like a small town in the US!

How’s it feel to be the only IFBB Pro from Iceland?
I can’t explain the feeling. I still can’t believe I achieved that dream. Ever since I started competing I wanted to be the first Icelandic fitness competitor to become an IFBB Pro. I am honored to be the first IFBB Pro from Iceland and I hope I will make my country proud.

How long do you prepare for a competition?I’m prepping all year round but I start the competition diet 12 weeks into a competition.

Do you follow the same training you did from a couple years ago?
No, I got a new personal trainer last year and changed a lot. Doing more reps, lighter weights and more cardio.

Do you workout with a trainer?
No my coach lives on the other side of the country so I workout alone but sometimes a have a workout partner.

What tips would you give women who are looking for a trainer – what should they look for?
Always look for a trainer that has the right experience for your goals. I also think it’s really important to feel 100% trust to your trainer.

What are you doing when not measuring food, hitting the gym or hitting pads?
I’m a personal trainer, a posing coach, a spokesmodel and a singer. I barely get any free time! When I have some free time I like to just lay in bed and watch TV shows with my fiancé and my dogs and I also love to go to the spa at my gym, World Class.

I understand you have asthma. How do you overcome having asthma with cardio – any tips for others who suffer from asthma?
The right exercises helped me with my asthma. I barely feel it anymore. The asthma was very bad when I was younger but after I started doing sprints 3 times a week my endurance has never been better!

Do you listen to music while you work out? If so what’s your go to song for this prep?
Yes! I LOVE listening to music! I listen to dupstep and I have the volume very high. Keeps me more focused. Currently I’m listening to Skrillex, Modestep, NERO, Korn, House of Titans, Aviici and more.

What’s your typical breakfast look like?
I always have oatmeal for breakfast and when I’m not 12 weeks out from a bikini show I like to add cashew nuts, green apples and goji berries in my oatmeal.

photo of margret gnarr

Any tips for surviving a long flight?
Get a good sleep! That’s the best thing to do!

Has this prep been different from previous shows?
Yes, I have been doing way more cardio than I’m used to. That was probably the only difference but what matters most to me while prepping for a show is to feel good mentally, physically and emotionally.

How important is it to have a strong support system around you?
I find it very important because it keeps me motivated! That’s why I always surround myself with peop

le who support me.

Any one you’d like to thank?
There are so many people I would like to thank. My family and friends for all of their support. My coach Johann Nordfjord for always being there for me. My Icelandic sponsors: Nings,, Jan Tana Iceland, BPro Iceland, WOWair, Fitness Sport, Hamark, NYX Iceland, LG Simar, NIP+FAB Iceland, Fitness Akademian, Mizu beauty salon and Kiss Kringlunni. My American sponsors: BN Shape and Ravish Sands. I am also extremely thankful to the IFBB Pro league for giving me this amazing opportunity to compete at the Arnold Classic, Bikini international. It has been a dream ever since I started competing in Bikini fitness and I am so honored.

What’s the best advice anyone has given you so far in life?
My coach taught me not to take myself too seriously and that has helped me in my competitions and life in general.

Where can people find more info on you?
On my Facebook fan page
Twitter account @margretgnarr
Instagram @margretgnarr

What’s your favorite social media outlet?

Thanks for your time Margret and we look forward to seeing you compete at the Bikini International this weekend. For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and be sure to follow us on for updates through out the week.

Behind the scenes video from Marget’s photoshoot.

Photos provided by Margret Gnarr. Photographers Sasha Paleeva & Lalli Sig.

2014 Fitness International Preview, Poll & Predictions

The 2014 Fitness International is upon us once again and it will feature some of the most athletic women in the IFBB Pro League. The competitors have a variety of backgrounds from gymnastics to cheerleading, dance and more. The Fitness International has two round. The two-piece round where the competitors are judged on their physiques and the routine round. The routine round is always a highlight of the weekend as we see incredible feats of strength, endurance, flexibility and entertainment. The competitor list isn’t all that different from the 2013 roster but will the results end up the same? We’ll have to wait until Friday night to find out.

fitness international

Tanji Johnson is back to defend her title and will have her work cut out for her to make it two in a row. She had surgery last spring on her knee but proved it didn’t slow her down when she competed at the Olympia just a few months later. Oksana Grishina is always a crowd favorite and pushes the envelope with her routines. She makes incredibly difficult moves look easy and they are anything but simple. Bethany Cisternino always brings a great physique to the stage and has moved up into title contention with an improved routine.

Myriam Capes withdrew earlier this year due to injury which could open up a top five spot. Look for Regiane DaSilva, Trish Warren, Michelle Blank and Whitney Jones to make a run at the top six. Kizzy Vaines always seems to amaze the crowd with her insane flexibility but has been inconsistent with her performances.

Who do you think will win the 2014 Fitness International?
View Results

Visit for the complete preview and the skinny on all the athletes you’ll see in Columbus, OH on February 28.

Friday, February 28, 2014

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Arnold Fitness EXPO Stage

7 p.m.

Interview with Canadian Fitness Pro Danielle Ruban

IFBB Fitness Pro, Danielle Ruban will be competing in her second Fitness International competition this week. She was away from competition in 2013 due to a shoulder injury but is rehabilitated and ready to rock in Columbus. Danielle took time from her busy schedule to do this Hardbody Interview and share a bit more about herself. The Canadian gymnast turned IFBB Fitness Pro shares her love for the expresso machine, why she would never cut it using a fanny pack and more.

danielle ruban


Name: Danielle Louise Ruban

Birthday: Oct. 10, 1983

Born in: Belleville, Ontario

Currently live in: Cambridge, Ontario

Occupation: Online Contest Prep Coach

Years competing: 5 this will be my 6th year

Competition history:
2012 IFBB Arnold Classic Europe – 12th
2012 IFBB Ms. Fitness Olympia – 12th
2012 IFBB Toronto Pro Supershow – 4th
2012 IFBB Pittsburgh Pro – 4th
2012 IFBB St. Louis Pro – 3rd
2012 IFBB Ms. Fitness International -9th
2011 IFBB Pan American Games Championships 1st in tall, 1st Over-all
2011 IFBB North American Championships 1st Over-all (Pro Card Awarded)

Any pets? Two big, furry German Shepherds

How about plants… do you have any plants… are you a plants person?
I love plants! But I could not be trusted to keep one alive.

If someone has more than three cats and single they are… Who they are?!? Is this a trick question? “Judge not lest ye be judged” ;-)

If someone wears a fanny pack to the gym they might be… A minimalist. I practically need a hockey bag.

One trend you wish would come back in style… I know I am going to embarrass myself here: Bell-bottoms.

What was your favorite event in gymnastics? The floor exercise, by far. I pretty much only did the other events so I could do floor routines!

How often and long do you train gymnastics/routine? About 2.5-3 hours, 4 days a week.

danielle ruban fitnessDanielle performs her routine at the 2012 Fitness International.

What areas have you worked on since your last competition?
Plenty! I have really focused on re-building my physique. I cannot wait to see how everything comes together at my first show back! I worked equally hard at improving my routine, which will be explosive and exciting! Those are just the physical changes; mentally, I have matured a lot as well.

Do you think it’s more challenging to get exposure for Canadians than your US counterparts? No – I think if you compete internationally and you reach out to the right people, we Canadians can have the same opportunities as American competitors.

What would be a “typical day” for Ms. Ruban?
I wake up at around 6:30, and my first stop is the coffee maker. I just got an espresso machine and I am loving it! If it’s a “routine practice” day, I’ll eat first and then away I go! Three hours later I am back home, and my dogs are looking at me because they want to get a workout in too. I take them to a park and throw the ball until they have had their fill. Next, I spend time communicating with clients or creating new/updated programs. Being a contest prep coach is extremely fun and rewarding, and I am grateful to have found a profession that I’m so passionate about.

This close to a show, I will weight train, but go early to practice posing first. I practice my presentation daily now that the show is so close.

My training coach is a ‘Strong-man’ competitor, and today we will train back and shoulders. It’s amazing – I am days out from my competition and still lifting more weight each session! It’s highly motivating. Once I’m back at home, I will do some more work before folding up my laptop and getting ready to relax for the evening with my husband and dogs. All of us pile on the couch and watch a good show or movie. Some nights, if he is at work, I will read or journal before bed. I am usually in bed by 10pm and before I fall asleep I visualize my fitness routine or physique round presentation over and over until I fall asleep.

Favorite body part to train?
Shoulders. I was out with shoulder injuries this past season, and they have come so far. I finally feel really strong training them – That’s what fun is for me.

Did the shoulder injury keep you out of competition in 2013?
Not competing in 2013 was a hard choice, but a wise one. I had bilateral shoulder issues which took a very long time to heal. No treatment was working on me, and it was really hard deal with mentally. I wanted to take time to build and improve my physique, and for 6 months I couldn’t even take my shoulder through a pain-free range of motion. Working with a chiropractor who used the Graston Technique (where scar tissue is aggressively broken down) is what really helped. I was finally able to start working through the injuries and making some gains in strength and physique development. It’s not realistic to go from show to show, stay in peak condition, and make muscle gains simultaneously. I took the time to invest in my future fitness career. I started training with Craig Bongelli, who is a StrongMan competitor, and he has really helped me become much stronger and more explosive. I am excited to display these improvements to both the physique and routine round this season! I also took the time off to focus on building my training business, where I prep competitors for IFBB affiliated shows. Training clients who end up having a great experience and do well is almost as rewarding as competing myself.

Least favorite body part to train?

How important is a good coach?
It’s not important, it’s key. Speaking from personal experience, I can say my coaches Layne Norton and Craig Bongelli have helped me to chase my potential in a way I never thought possible.

What tips do you have for women who are currently looking for a coach… What should they look for?
I think a GOOD coach should have personal experience with competing (i.e. Be a competitor themselves), have experience coaching competitors, and should have some kind of applicable education such as Kinesiology, Anatomy or Physiology degree. I think it would be a great idea for the individual looking to compete to speak to current or past clients of the coach they are interested in working. I think a good coach should genuinely care about their clients, love what they do, and lead by example. They should inspire, not intimidate, and consider the competitors’ HEALTH first and foremost. Here is a great video log by my coach Layne Norton:

danielle ruban fitnessDanielle at the 2012 Fitness Olympia

Favorite way to prepare chicken?

BBQ! But this winter, I opted to use the deep covered oven baker – Thank you Pampered Chef

Favorite flavor of Mrs. Dash?
If I had to choose, the garlic on. But salt is not the enemy, so why not have Montreal Steak Spice?

What do you eat the day of a show when you know you’ll be performing your routine?
Similar to what I would eat on a day I am practicing my routine. I will have already eaten some carbs the day before, and prior to prejudging, so that’s really all I need. Maybe a few sips of Revolution Nutrition KICK, too!

How important is it to have a strong support team when prepping for a show?
I have learned this prep just how very critical it is. I have always had the support of family and my husband and my sponsors, but this year I have friends who will be there to support and cheer me on, and have been there the entire journey. My coaches will be there, too. I am dedicating this show to those people.

Any sponsors you’d like to thank?
Revolution Nutrition for always being there to supply me with my Supplement Arsenal and Cynthia James of CJ’s Elite Competition Wear for my Fitness Costume.

Where can people find more info on you?
On twitter: @DanielleRuban
On instagram:@TeamRuban

Favorite social media outlet?

Facebook AND IG – Don’t make me choose!

How excited are you to be heading to Brasil?
Words cannot describe! I have always wanted to compete internationally in the sport I love, and now I will be going to South America for the first time in my life!! I may never have gotten that opportunity if I wasn’t doing what I am so fortunate to be doing, competing in Pro Fitness

Favorite motivational quote.

See more photos of Danielle in competition and performing her routine here.

2014 Bikini International Preview, Poll and Predictions

The 2014 Bikini International showcases a competitive field and you’d have better luck picking the lotto numbers than correctly predicting the top ten in exact order. The line-up has defending champion India Paulino in it along with Bikini Olympians Nathalia Melo and Ashley Kaltwasser. Rookie Janet Layug has caught the attention of fans online and hopes to do the same with the judges in her pro debut. Seasoned vets like Amanda Latona, Yeshaira Robles and Justine Munro will be looking to get into the top spots as well. Don’t count out third place at the Olympia, Stacey Alexander who came on strong at the end of 2013.

2014 bikini international

If history repeats itself, we’ll see a new Bikini International champion. Nicole Nagrani won the inaugural event and Sonia Gonzales took top honors the second time around. India Paulino edged out Nathalia Melo for the win last year. Read the skinny on all the competitors at The preview breaks down each competitor and what we might expect from the women next week in Ohio. One woman to watch who isn’t getting any attention but should is Margret Gnarr. She is Iceland’s only IFBB Pro and not only that but she’s a blackbelt in Taekwondo. Keep your eye on her, she’s good.

Cast your vote for who you think will win the 2014 Bikini International. The event takes place in Columbus, Ohio with the prejudging on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 2pm and the finals to follow later that night. For tickets visit

Who do you think will win the 2014 Bikini International?
View Results

2014 Figure International Preview, Poll & Predictions

The 2014 Figure International is one week away and defending champ, Candice Keene is looking to make it two wins in a row. Erin Stern didn’t submit for an invite and three-time Figure International Champ Nicole Wilkins withdrew due to an injury. One might think that would put Keene squarely in the driver’s seat for the victory however a few other women are looking to put the brakes on that.

2014 Arnold Figure International Preview, Poll & Predictions
Heather Dees was the runner-up last year and will bring a fuller look to the stage this year in hopes of moving up into the winner’s circle. Ann Titone has been putting in the work to continue to move up in the ranks and could be in the hunt for the top spot. She’s coming off her best year as a pro and hungry to keep the ball rolling. You can’t count out Camala Rodriquez who made the successful switch from Fitness to Figure and has more than held her own in every Figure competition she’s entered. How will Candice Lewis look? Will she come in conditioned enough in her legs to show off her incredible shape or will she be off the mark like she was at the 2013 Olympia? Those are questions we’ll have answered next week in Columbus.

You can’t overlook rookie Elissa Martis who won the 2013 Overall NPC Figure Nationals title and will be making her pro debut. A confident Alicia Coates has gone undefeated as a pro racking up two wins in her first two shows. Will she be able to hang with a deeper, more competitive line-up and make it three in a row?  Don’t bet against her but it’s far from a sure thing on that wager for another win. Dana Ambrose has quietly positioned herself as a top six contender. These women and others are in pursuit of one goal… shaking Arnold’s hand and being named the 2014 Figure International Champion.

For a full review of every competitor and my top 10 predictions (which are all in good fun and not to be taken personally) visit Follow HardbodyNews on twitter for more Arnold related news and be sure to use the hashtag #ASF2014 in all your social media posts.

Who do you think will win the 2014 Figure International Title?
View Results



This will be the last Arnold Classic at Veterans Memorial Auditorium

The 2014 Arnold Sports Festival will begin in just one week.  The Arnold Sports Festival is the largest multi-sport event in the United States. The four day event held in Columbus, Ohio plays host to over 18,000 athletes in more than 45 sports. Along with the athletes, the festival attracts more than 175,000 fitness fanatics each year.

Veterans Memorial Auditorium

The main attraction for bodybuilding fans is the Arnold Classic. The invite only event brings the world’s best IFBB Pro Bodybuilders to Columbus. Every year the Arnold Classic prejudging and finals are held at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium however this will be the final year for the event at the historic building.

The Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 11, 1955, to honor the men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Over the years, the Vets Memorial has played host to a variety of events. One of the most significant events was in 1970. Thousands of fans witnessed Arnold Schwarzenegger being awarded the Mr. World title. In 1989, Arnold returned to Columbus and partnered with Jim Lormier to host the first annual Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic.

“The Arnold”, as it is known locally, makes the auditorium the center of the weightlifting and physical fitness universe every March. Today the event is the largest multi-sport festival in the nation and a bronze statue of Mr. Schwarzenegger’s classic bodybuilding pose is prominently located on the south lawn of Veterans Memorial. 

A report by Columbus Business First confirmed rumors that the Franklin County Veterans Memorial will be demolished. The city of Columbus has decided to redevelop the site and will move forward with what it calls the Scioto Peninsula plan, which includes a new Ohio Veterans Memorial and Museum, a Columbus Zoo Indoor Adventure exhibit, mixed-use development and park and recreation space.

proposed vet auditorium A look at the roposed renovations to the existing Vets Memorial Auditorium.

Efforts were made to save the iconic auditorium with a renovation plan. The Veterans Memorial board proposed a $50-million to $60-million renovation plan of their own. The photo above was a proposed look to the auditorium however the efforts were not approved.

Ohio Veterans MemorialThe new Memorial and Museum will be built on the site of the current Franklin County Veterans Memorial.

Earlier this month, the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation issued a Request for Qualifications for the construction of the new Ohio Veterans Memorial and Museum Project.

Those in attendance for the 2014 Arnold will be part of history. If you haven’t purchased your tickets for the Arnold Classic, Arnold Classic 212, Fitness International, Figure International or Bikini International do so now. This will be your last chance to witness the events in the historic auditorium.

I’m told that the 2015 Arnold Classic events will be held at the convention center however nothing has been finalized as to exactly where. While it will be nice to have all the events in the same location and not have to worry about hailing a cab or finding parking, a little bit of the character will be lost. Like anything in life you have to expect change and embrace the good with the bad. I’ll make a little extra time to savor the events that take place this year in the auditorium. I’d encourage those of you in attendance to do the same and if you’re watching the webcast, know you’ll be witnessing history in the making as the events take place for the last time in the auditorium.



Kelly Clark Leads The Way into Women’s Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe Finals

The Olympic veterans moved directly to the finals after the qualification rounds. Leading the way was American Snow Idol, Kelly Clark with a 95.00 score. Nipping at her heels was Australia’s sweetheart Torah Bright and fellow American Hannah Teter. Clark topped the scores but all that goes out the window with the finals. Twelve riders will have two runs in hopes of capturing Olympic Gold. The best score of the two will determine the next Olympic medalists. Clark, Bright and Teter have all been on the Olympic podium before.

women olympic halfpipe snowboarding

Team USA’s Kaitlyn Farrington narrowly missed the direct to finals qualification but nailed her first run in the semi-finals which puts her back in the mix once again. Unfortunately teammate, Arielle Gold had to opt out of the Games due to a reported dislocated shoulder injury. Arielle’s brother Taylor, also an olympic snowboarder, confirmed via twitter that she suffered the injury in a practice run just before the qualification run.

The finals will take place LIVE on and broadcast later this evening on tv. This will be an incredibly competitive field with the odds-on favorite being Kelly Clark. The halfpipe conditions have been challenging for the riders so anything is possible when it comes time for the finals.

1. Kelly Clark (USA), 95.00
2. Queralt Castellet (ESP), 93.25
3. Sophie Rodriguez (FRA), 78.50

1. Torah Bright (AUS), 93.00
2. Hannah Teter (USA), 92.00
3. Xuetong Cai (CHN), 88.00

1. Kaitlyn Farrington (USA), 87.50
2. Jiayu Liu (CHN), 81.25
3. Shuang Li (CHN), 80.00
4. Ursina Haller (SUI), 44.50
5. Mirabelle Thovex (FRA), 70.75
6. Rana Okada (JAP), 70.00

Follow live coverage on twitter @hardbodynews.

Are You Squeezing Your Organs By Wearing Shapewear?

It’s not secret that competitors go to extremes in hopes of achieving an ideal physique. Many times the drastic measures that women (and men) take are short-sighted. The do “whatever it takes” mentality is part of what separates those who talk about competing and those who get on stage, at least if you ask a competitor.

waist shaper
In the “good old days” male (and female) bodybuilders were known to put Preparation H on their midsection and wrap their waistline in saran wrap. Does it work? Well, that all depends on what it is you’re hoping to achieve. In this instance, it was/is said to pull water from the lower abs and help tighten the skin. This was/is used in the final week or two before a competition because of the low body fat and in bodybuilding you want tight skin, with little to no water over your abs. When it comes to other divisions, like Bikini, you shouldn’t have to deplete water or go to drastic measures as you’re not looking for a ripped, hard, grainy look to the muscle.

Then came along the “Rubber Waist Cincher” for women and men. It’s described as…

Walk tall and feel trim in this powerful body shaper. Reduce your waistline immediatly after slipping on this medium compression waist cincher. Made with latex rubber, this garment represents the newest in shaper technology. Rubber provides slimming compression in a soft and pliable cincher, resulting in a comfortable shaper that can also promote better posture. The cotton lining is soft against the skin making this one of the most comfortable yet powerful cinchers you will have ever tried.

The results vary depending on who you ask. Some people swear by them and others have experienced pain from using them. Those who have experienced pain seem to wear them too tight, wear more than one or wear them for extended periods of time. All things you shouldn’t do, much less all at the same time.

If you want to take things to another level you look take a trip back in time to corset training. The corset doesn’t have the best reputation. It’s been around for centuries and many women report getting faint or even so far as organ trouble. Some women swear it works and use it regularly and others shake their heads in disgust. When you go to this extreme you’re essentially changing your body composition and if you’re willing to do that all for a smaller waist then so be it.

There are hundreds of competitors who are using these methods and I’m not saying they are right or wrong. It’s your body and yours to do as you wish with it. All I’d ask of competitors is to think long-term and be more concerned about your health and wellness than placing at a competition.

Recently, Rebecca Adams at The Huffington Post spoke to a few doctors about the side effects of body-shaping garments. It’s not only competitors who are using compression garments but also many others willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a small waistline. In Rebecca’s story, some of the doctors were against the body shaping garments while others didn’t see the harm in it if it’s not too tight and worn for too long.

Some of the key take-aways from Rebecca’s piece ring true for all who wear body shaping garments, whether you compete or not.


1. Shapewear couldn’t do its job if it wasn’t tight. Unfortunately, this leaves your stomach, intestine and colon compressed, which Dr. Kuemmerle says can worsen acid reflux and heartburn. Restrictive clothing can also provoke erosive esophagitis.

2. Your digestive tract is also affected, explains Dr. Erickson. The intestines are supposed to contract and move food along, but when they’re compressed over a long period of time, the flow of digestion is stifled.

3. Another hallmark of shapewear? Shallow breath. When you inhale, your diaphragm expands and your abdomen flares out, Dr. Erickson says, but shapewear restricts this movement and decreases the excursion in respiration.

4. Sitting in shapewear can lead to a reversible condition called meralgia paresthetica, which is when the peripheral nerve in your thigh is compressed. This leads to tingling, numbness and pain in your legs, all of which can come and go or become constant.

5. Shapewear is occlusive, meaning it traps moisture and anything else under it, which predisposes shapewear wearers to both yeast and bacterial infections.

6. It’s not a problem if you wear it for an evening or a special occasion, she says, but it’s not a good idea to wear it daily and sit in it for hours on end.

Read “Spanx And Other Shapewear Are Literally Squeezing Your Organs“.

Bodybuilding & Fitness Personalities Give Big Game Predictions

We asked a few Bodybuilding and Fitness personalities who would win the Big Game. As you can imagine, the results were all over the place. Hear who Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson, American Gladiator Mike O’Hearn, Miss Super Cross Dianna Dahlgren and picked to win the Super Bowl.

Who you got?

Morning Motivation: Nike ‘Rise and Shine’ – Find Your Greatness

If you’re looking for a little morning motivation look no further than this video. If this doesn’t get you pumped to kick some ass today we don’t know what will. Nike’s ‘Rise and Shine’ video is simply awesome.

rise and shine

Welcome to the grind. We’ve got work to do.

6am and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you that it’s too early, too dark and too cold to get out of a bed.
Aching muscles lie still in rebellion, pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move.
A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button and go back to dreamland.
But you didn’t ask their opinion.
The voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance.
A voice that’s says there was a reason you set that alarm in the first place.
So sit up, put your feet on the floor, and don’t look back because we’ve got work to do.

Welcome to The Grind!

For what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way.
10,000 streams fan out like a river delta before you, each one promising the path of least resistance.
Thing is, you’re headed upstream.
And when you make that choice, when you decide to turn your back on what’s comfortable and what’s safe and what some would call “common sense”, well that’s day 1.
From there it only gets tougher.
So just make sure this is something you want.
Because the easy way out will always be there, ready to wash you away.

All you have to do is pick up your feet.

But you aren’t going to are you?
With each step comes the decision to take another.
You’re on your way now But this is no time to dwell on how far you’ve come.
You’re in a fight against an opponent you can’t see.
Oh but you can feel him on your heels can’t ya?
Feel him breathing down your neck
You know what that is?
That’s you…
Your fears, your doubts and insecurities all lined up like a firing squad ready to shoot you out of the sky.

But don’t lose heart.
While they aren’t easily defeated, they are far from invincible.

Remember this is The Grind.
The Battle Royale between you and your mind, your body and the devil on your shoulder who’s telling you that this is just a game, this is just a waste of time, your opponents are stronger than you.

Drown out the voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heartbeat
Burn away your self doubt with the fire that’s beneath you.
Remember what you’re fighting for.
And never forget that momentum is a cruel mistress.
She can turn on a dime with the smallest mistake.
She is ever searching for that weak place in your armor.
That one tiny thing you forgot to prepare for.

So as long as the devil is hiding the details, the question remains, “is that all you got?”… “are you sure?”
And when the answer is “yes”; When you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself for battle then it’s time to go forth and boldly face your enemy, the enemy within.

Only now you must take that fight into the open, into hostile territory.
You’re a lion in a field of lions.
All hunting the same elusive prey with a desperate starvation that says VICTORY is the only thing that can keep you alive.
So believe that voice that says “you CAN run a little faster” and “you CAN throw a little harder” and that, for you, the laws of physics are merely a suggestion.

Luck is the last dying wish of those who want to believe that winning can happen by accident.
Sweat on the other hand is for those who know it’s a choice.
So decide now because destiny waits for no man.
And when your time comes and a thousand different voices are trying to tell you
you’re not ready for it,
listen instead to that lone voice of descent,
that one that says:
you are ready
you are prepared

It’s all up to you now.

So Rise and Shine.

2014 IFBB Legends Classic Pro Bikini Results

The inaugural IFBB Legends Classic Pro Bikini took place in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 1st. The newly added pro show kicked things off for the IFBB Pro League and sent the winner to the Olympia which will be held in Vegas this Fall. Nine competitors entered the event, none of which had won a pro show.



Christie Marquez could be considered the veteran of the IFBB Bikini division, at least in this line up. She’d competed in over 15 shows as a pro and we’ve seen her placings all over the map with her highest finish being 4th place. On Saturday night she change that by notching her first pro win and a ticket to the Olympia in the process. Nipping at her heels in second was Texan Kelsie Burgin. Kelsie achieved pro status at the 2012 NPC USA but had struggled to finish higher than 10th in her previous four shows. She brought a tighter, toned physique this time around and it paid off with a second place finish. Rounding out the top three was newcomer, Michelle Lewin. Michelle has built quite the fan base online with her popular instagram account and found success in a string of NPC shows in Florida. Michelle was the 2013 NPC Ft. Lauderdale Cup overall winner. She achieved pro status but successfully petitioning for her pro card, as other non-USA residence have done. Most notably, Nathalia Melo who also won the NPC Ft. Lauderdale cup and went on to become the Bikini Olympia champ. Michelle brings a bit more muscle than some of the other women in the show, most notably in her legs. She’s one to watch upcoming shows to make a run for the top spot and don’t be surprised if you see her grace a magazine cover or two this year.

2014 IFBB Legends Classic Pro Bikini Results
1. Christie Marquez
2. Kelsie Burgin
3. Michelle Lewin
4. Tamara Haddad
5. Samatha Karr
6. Jaclyn Wilson
7. Lisa Asuncion
8. Francesca Lauren
9. Lisa Roy

2014 IFBB Legends Classic Pro Bikini Masters Results
1. Lisa Roy

Visit for competitor photos by Ron Avidan from this event.

Spyder Active Sports, Inc. Introduces All-New Brand Identity for its Women’s Apparel

Boulder, CO – Spyder Active Sports, Inc., the iconic ski and active lifestyle apparel brand, has introduced an all-new, female-specific brand identity for the Winter 2014/15 season and beyond. Make no mistake – this is Spyder’s clear indication of its ever-evolving expansion in women’s design. Spyder’s existing branding is iconic and powerful, and as the brand’s success inside and outside the snowsports marketplace continues to grow well outside its male-driven product selection, Spyder has researched and developed an all-new brand mark for its women’s product offerings.


The new brand mark, dubbed ‘Femme Fatale,’ is a studied exercise in femininity, power, and proportion, taking all the strongest aspects of the famed ‘bug’ and creating a strikingly beautiful variant for Spyder’s new Women’s collection. Femme Fatale is long and lean with twists and turns – reminiscent of the very carves fans of Spyder live to make on the mountain.

According to JJ Collier, Spyder’s SVP of Product and Design, “Femme Fatale is strong and sexy and a perfect way to showcase our new approach to Women’s Spyder for Winter 2014/15. It is one crucial part of the focus of our women’s collection to include ‘Perfect Storm’ merchandising, compelling product, and a simplified fit strategy.”

With regard to Femme Fatale, Collier further noted: “All the best aspects of the iconic Spyder ‘bug’ were reinvented in a beautiful, inherently feminine mark that is both instantly recognizable and very fresh … and we love her implication of freshly carved ski turns.”

About Spyder Active Sports
Spyder is one of the largest specialty ski brands in the world. It is an Official Supplier to the U.S. Alpine and Canadian Alpine Teams. Spyder products integrate high-technology fabrication, sport-specific function, and fashion conscious designs. Based in Boulder, CO, the company sells high performance outerwear and sportswear in the United States, Canada and more than 50 countries outside of North America.

NPC / IFBB Legends Classic – Las Vegas

This weekend kicks off the IFBB PRO LEAGUE schedule with the inaugural IFBB Pro Bikini plus Pro Bikini Masters 40+ show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pro show is held in conjunction with the NPC National qualifying competition. It’s a great time to be in Vegas as there’s always something going on with the Super Bowl.


Lisa Asuncion – San Diego, CA
Kelsie Burgin – Plano, TX
Tamara Haddad – Long Beach, CA
Samantha Karr – Fairview Park, OH
Francesca Lauren – Lake Oswego, CA
Christie Marquez – Santa Monica, CA
Lisa Roy – Litchfield Park, AZ
Jaclyn Wilson – New Brunswick, Canada

Lisa Roy – Litchfield Park, AZ

Riviera Casino & Hotel
2901 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Friday, Jan 31st – 5:00pm
Athlete check-ins – Riviera Casino & Hotel

Saturday, Feb 1st – 10:00am
Prejudging Judging – Riviera Casino & Hotel

Saturday, Feb 1st – 6:00pm
Finals – Riviera Casino & Hotel

More information:

Hardbody PROfile: Elissa Martis – Doctor of Physical Therapy

The 2014 Figure International is just a few weeks away and the competition will be fierce. While much of the chatter is on the seasoned veterans for the top spot, one Florida competitor is quietly training for an upset. Elissa Martis has a smile that will light up the darkest room and a physique that will stop traffic at the busiest intersection. It’s a honor to be selected to compete at the Arnold and to do so as a rookie, in your pro debut is promising.

Elissa Hardbody Profile

She was the 2013 NPC Figure National overall champion and she’s put together an impressive competitive resume in a short amount of time. When you learn what she’s gone through to get there, you’ll admire her accomplishments event more. We caught up with Elissa as she preps for her trip to Columbus and compete against some of the world’s best physiques.


elissa abs dan ray photo

Full Name:
Elissa Leandra Martis

Born in:West Palm Beach, FL

Currently live in:
Jupiter, FL

Any siblings?
1 brother, Ricardo Martis 29

Are you older or younger than your bro?
I’m the oldest by 11 months

Did you get in trouble for stuff your brother did?
Haha, no. If anything, he got in trouble for stuff I did.

Did you play any sports growing up?
Volleyball in High School

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Does your job give you more insight into competing?
Currently, my job does not relate directly to competing because I work mainly with children in the hospital. My education provides me great insight into training, recovery and understanding our physiology and body mechanics.

How did you get started in competing?
I re-tore my ACL along with MCL and bilateral meniscus in my Right knee in June 2012 and required 2 knee surgeries to repair. The latter of them being the end of August 2012. I was in the gym twice a day rehabilitating my knee and training. I gave myself the goal of getting my quad size symmetrical and then I would begin the prep for competing. In early February, I contacted my coach, 6 weeks later I was in my first show, placing 2nd. And I’ve been addicted since.

How did you tear your ACL and MCL?
My first ACL tear was in 2000 playing volleyball in high school. My most recent injury (don’t laugh) occurred while I was playing in an adult kickball league. I fatigued my muscles performing a Crossfit WOD immediately before our game, combine that with the existing instability from my previous injury, my knee gave out. Definitely not my proudest moment and should have gone with my better judgement. I just couldn’t give up on my team.  I required two surgeries within 4 months and was out of work for 5 months. Looking back now, the incident was a huge blessing in disguise in many ways.

What was the biggest challenge you face with your first show?
I was only 6 months out from ACL repair and my stability and balance in heels, let alone on stage was questionable. Throw nerves on top of that, I was incredibly fearful of tripping or forgetting my poses. I also was self conscious about the size difference in my legs. It was more apparent to me than to others because I was working hard to regain size and strength so every minute flaw I noticed. But once I stepped foot on stage, all fears left and I was immediately in love.

IF you could go back and give some advice to the version of you for the fist show, what would you tell her?
I would tell myself to forget about flaws and fears, focus on the hard work and dedication endured to get to that point and be proud of the package I was bringing.elissa npc nationals winner

Contest History:
• Battle on the Beach, Daytona Beach, FL March 2013- 2nd place Figure D
• NPC Southeast Classic, Hollywood FL, 2nd place Figure D
• Jr USA’s, Charleston, SC 1st place Figure Class E
• Team Universe, Teaneck, NJ 7th place Figure Class E
• NPC Nationals, Ft Lauderdale, FL Overall Figure and 1st Place Figure Class E

What did you do different to come back and win the overall after a 7th place finish?
I truly believe the difference was allowing my body to rest. Team Universe was my 4th show in 4 months. Competition prep is very taxing on my body and I did not allow myself time to rest. I had about a 2 month off season that allowed me to mentally, physically and emotionally recuperate.

What body part do you enjoy training the most?
I love training shoulders and Back

Body part least enjoy training?

You enjoy fastest cardio in the morning, why is that?
It wakes you up, gets your heart rate and metabolism going and makes the day feel very productive. Missing a day of fasted cardio makes me feel guilty and sluggish all day!

What’s for breakfast?
Oats!! We make oatmeal pancakes with muscle egg egg whites, oats, stevia, cinnamon, cocoa! Accompanied by an egg white omelet with onions and spinach. It’s my favorite meal of the day!

Do you work with a trainer?
Yes. Catherine Holland. She is also an IFBB Figure Pro. She has done an amazing job and has really been able to tune into my body as well as help me learn more about what body likes/dislikes.

How did you meet up and work with Cat?
My boyfriend, Jordan Zabriskie, introduced Me to Cat. He also is a competitor and was working with her for his physique shows. She ended up being a great fit for me, and has gained a good understanding of my body in the last year.

How much do you fluctuate from a contest to a show?
Off season I’m normally 134 and show day I’m usually 125-127lbs. Every off season I’ve gained more and more muscle so I’ve been fuller yet still staying lean. It’s a learning and growing experience with each off season I encounter.

How many weeks prep is best for you?
I find that 6-8 weeks is when I really make changes. Keeping a clean and healthy diet all year long really helps keep my prep efficient and on the shorter side.

Favorite food when prepping?
I love oats!! And flank. And sweet potatoes. And the occasional allowed almond butter!!

Wow you are an Oats Super Fan… Any particular kind / brand of oats? 
Good old fashioned oats. While we normally live on an organic, hormone free, gluten free diet as much as possible, we have found it difficult to afford that with two competitors in the house.

Least favorite food during a prep?
Tilapia. I’ve never been much a fish person. And having to prep and reheat fish just feels wrong. I prefer my fish to be fresh.

Any tips on how to make tilapia taste better? 
I douse it in lemon juice, and season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic. We occasionally use Walden farms products and the sesame ginger taste great with it.

Do you take a cheat meal / day? If so what do you have?
I generally do one a week. Usually it’s Sunday. Closer to comp week I usually do filet and baked potato. But when I have some leeway I love our homemade buffalo burgers with sweet potato fries or a burrito.

Biggest support system is?
God has truly guided me through some hard times the last few years and helped me overcome my knee surgeries and personal setbacks. My boyfriend, Jordan Zabriskie, is my heart and soul. He also competes with me, despite his heavy work schedule as a chiropractor and business owner. Having the two of us maintain a clean diet has really been crucial to my success. It also has been a blessing to have friends and family who understand and appreciate the sport that support me and motivate me when I need it most.

What advice would you give other women just getting into weight training?
My biggest piece of advice is to not be afraid of lifting heavy. Muscles are sexy and healthy, And the key to seeing change in your body is diet. No matter how many hours of training or cardio you do, without a healthy sustainable diet, you won’t see the results you crave and strive for. Don’t let your hardwork go to waste by eating processed sugary foods and making poor meal choices.

elissa photo by dan ray

You’ll make your pr debut at the Arnold. How did you decide on it for your first show?
After winning overall, one of the popular questions I received was when I would make my Pro debut. At that point, all I could think of was going to Disney (seriously!) I did not expect to win nor did I anticipate the overall. I was focused on that show alone and the future was a distant thought. At the photoshoot the next morning with J.M. Mannion, he looked at me and told me that I had a really good possibility of being invited if I applied. At that moment, I knew I had to apply.

What changes are you focused on heading into the show?
My goals are to improve my V taper and build my glut and hamstrings. Coming off the surgeries, I’ve been at a disadvantage with the inability to do plyos and intense interval sessions. Now that my knee is stronger, I’m praying to make some great changes in the coming year.

Long term goals in and out of fitness?
Make it to the Olympia. Make an impact and be a positive influence to women and girls who struggle with body image and health. I want to start a family and juggle all of life’s challenges while still making an imprint in the fitness industry.

Favorite quote:
It’s a biblical scripture that pulls me through difficult times: Philippians 4:13 ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’.

Any supplements or protein you include in your training?
I love Isopure protein. It’s delicious and low carb. BCAA’s are delicious and help with muscle recovery.

Favorite fitness accessory:
Absolutely my iPod. Put in my headphones and get work done. I’m in the zone during my workouts.

Ever carry a gallon jug around?
I like to carry a large water bottle (64 oz) and measure my water that way. Being a physical therapist in a hospital, I’m not able to carry around a gallon jug.

Where can people find more info on ya?
Facebook: IFBB pro Elissa Martis
Instagram: elissa621

Any eeps you’d like to thank?
Id like to thank God for guiding me through challenges abs blessing me immensely. My boyfriend for being my biggest supporter, my Coach Cat Holland for her impeccable guidance, my posing partner Maximus ( our dog) for helping me with my back pose;), and my family for their continual support and love. A special thank you to the following; J.M. Mannion for the opportunity to compete, CJs’ Elite Competition Wear for providing a beautiful competition suit, Juan Hernandez for posing guidance and instruction , Isaac Hinds for taking the time to show interest in my fitness journey and amazing photography , and Dan Ray for being an awesome photographer/friend.

Thanks and we’ll see ya in Columbus!

Photos Courtesy of Dan Ray


Aerie Vows to show “Real Women”… Airbrush Free

American Eagle’s brand ‘Aerie’ caters to young women and their new “REAL” ad campaign vows to show “real women”. The campaign features women without photoshop and embraces their imperfections. Everything from tattoos to beauty marks remain in the photos shown in this campaign. The advertising is getting a great deal of buzz because it goes against the norm in advertising images.

aerie-real images

Let’s be clear though… the photos are professional lit and photographed. The women shown are models, just not “super models” and they’re beautiful. The approach / tactic in this campaign isn’t new but it is a bold step to show what “real women” look like, at least in advertising. The message is a positive one and it encourages women, especially young women, to take a positive look at themselves. The current look of advertising images, and editorial images for that matter, tends to show overly edited images. In most advertising images… women’s waistlines are trimmed, their noses made smaller, arms shorter and the list goes on.

aerie real ad

Whether or not this campaign will give women a better self-image remains to be seen but kudos to the brand for showcasing women in a different light. What do you think about it? Join the conversation on twitter @hardbodynews and on facbeook.

images vie

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.