Oh Please Tell Me More…

oh please tell me more
If you’ve spent any time on social media you’ve likely noticed some of the things mentioned below. I applaud anyone who wants to live a fit and healthy lifestyle. I enjoy seeing people succeed when from working their butts off, literally and figuratively. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your enthusiasm with others and what better way to do that than through social media, right? Absolutely! Social Media, whether it’s on Facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram or snap chat, is a quick and easy way to share things. Whether it’s your workout tips, what you had for lunch or your progress pics. While that’s all fine and daddy many people have mistaken social media as a platform to be an “expert” without anything to back up their newfound title.

This morning I posted a few of the things I’ve spotted on social media. It’s tongue-in-cheek and may come across as a bit snarky but hey it’s all true. The point of posting this is to point out the ridiculousness that is spreading like wildfire on social media. I encourage you to take a few minutes and do a little research before jumping onboard with whatever the person is saying/selling. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information if a coach/guru/trainer/nutritionist/self-appointed queen/no-it-all/jack-of-all-trades makes a claim. Ask them with tell you more. You probably won’t get a response because they’ll be too busy taking another ass-selfie to notice but hey it’s worth a shot.

Feel free to join the conversation on your social media with the hashtag #TELLMEMORE

LET’S PLAY PLEASE TELL ME MORE. Comment with any I missed. Use #TELLMEMORE

You’re a “pro”? Oh please tell me more.

You’re a “posing coach? Oh please tell me more.

You’re a “trainer”? Oh please tell me more.

You’re a suit maker too? Oh please tell me more.

You write #diets? Oh please tell me more.

You can help me get #sponsorship? Oh please tell me more.

You’re a “social media expert” but you haven’t posted an update in months because you’re so busy? Oh please tell me more.

You’re a professional #model? Oh please tell me more.

You can get me a magazine cover? Oh please tell me more.

You drink tea to detox & it helps you get skinny? Oh please tell me more.

You never leave home without your brand new shaker cup filled with whatever #supplement company is paying you at the time? Oh please tell me more.

You “waist train” to get fit? Oh please tell me more.

You’re a professional makeup artist after watching a youtube tutorial? Oh please tell me more.

You’re inspiring others by continually showing your boobs & arse? Oh please tell me more.

You’re full of shit? No need to tell me more.

LET'S PLAY PLEASE TELL ME MORE. Comment with any I missed. Use #TELLMEMORE You're a "pro"? Oh please tell me more. You're a "posing coach? Oh please tell me more. You're a "trainer"? Oh please tell me more. You're a suit maker too? Oh please tell me more. You write #diets? Oh please tell me more. You can help me get #sponsorship? Oh please tell me more. You're a professional #model? Oh please tell me more. You can get me a magazine cover? Oh please tell me more. You drink tea to detox & it helps you get skinny? Oh please tell me more. You never leave home without your brand new shaker cup filled with whatever #supplement company is paying you at the time? Oh please tell me more. You "waist train" to get fit? Oh please tell me more. You're inspiring others by continually showing your boobs & arse? Oh please tell me more. You're full of shit? No need to tell me more. I know 🙅💩 COMMENT WITH YOUR #TELLMEMORE. It may be used in a story I am doing for @hardbodynews 😬👍 If you see anyone post ridiculousness on social media comment with #tellMEmore

A photo posted by Isaac Hinds (@liftstudios) on

Be More Human – My Reebok Review

Be More Human

Be More Human – My Reebok Review
“When we test our physical limitations, we transform our entire lives.” That’s the opening quote on Reebok’s BE MORE HUMAN opening page. I should start by disclosing I received product from Reebok for this review and these are merely my own opinions. If you click on any of the Reebok Links <-like that one, I will be compensated if you make a purchase. If you don’t buy anything well that does nothing for me and leaves you without some nifty new Reebok gear.

get outsideStepping outside into the snow.  Reebok CrossFit Speedwick Pant are super comfortable.

What does “Be More Human” mean to you? For me it meant logging off the computer, putting down the smart phone and getting outside. Getting outdoors for my morning workout and taking a minute to appreciate mother nature’s gym. When I stepped outside of my Jeep and saw the snow on the ground, I thought ah piss this may not be such a good idea. I mean it’s Spring time and there’s still snow on the ground? Come on Mother Nature, work with me here! It reminded me though that there’s no time for excuses if you want to transform your life. If you want to put yourself to the test you have to over come obstacles. Life isn’t always going to be perfect and neither is the weather. I looked down, turned on some music and said to myself let’s do this sh*t. Yes, the apparel says Reebok Crossfit but that doesn’t mean you need to go to a Box to wear them.

I proceeded to run 3 miles outside and take in the scenery. It was relaxing for the most part. I could have done without the car nearly clipping me but it made me feel alive. Getting outdoors made me feel human. Corny? Maybe but try it. Get off the treadmill or stairclimber and take your workout outdoors. See what the change does for your state of mind.

new reebok shoes

After my run, well I’d call it more of a steady jog over any actual running, my lungs were on fire. I felt like I was going to collapse from exhaustion. It reminded me not only that I was out of shape but that I needed to do this more often. Leave the convenient and get uncomfortable. I’d encourage you to do the same.

The Speedwick pants from Reebok are super comfortable. They are lightweight and perfectly fine to run in. The one thing that kinda of bugged me was the cut of the pockets, if your sitting down and the zipper isn’t zipped your phone/ipod may fall out. This was a good reminder to get off my ass though. The Reebok zquick dash shoes look hella cool and stylish. I have a wider foot so they were a little snug for me. You might want to go up a 1/2 size from what you normally wear when buying Reebok.

new reebok shoesNew kicks will bring out the kid in anyone. These are the Reebok zquick dash. 

It was my first time ever wearing a pair of Reebok’s and getting them in the mail reminded me of going back to school as a kid. Every summer I’d get a new pair of shoes to wear for the school year and it was a big deal. I couldn’t wait to rock them once school started. It kinda felt like that again. A new pair of shoes and I couldn’t wait to wear them.

I encourage you to leave the convenient and get uncomfortable. It’s up to you to transform your life and “be more human”.

reebok shoesI dig the detail on the Reebok shoes.

Supplement Companies Want Women to “Be Strong”

Be Strong

We’re seeing more and more companies embrace and empower women in their marketing efforts. The ALWAYS’ “Like a Girl” campaign and Under Armour Women’s “I WILL WANT I WANT” are just a couple that have been successful with their messaging. I’m a fan of both campaigns and more importantly women are. Last year, 13-year-old Mo’ne Davis put the world on notice and forced everyone to rethink what “throw like a girl”. Last month “This Girl Can” was another campaign encouraging women to “do their thing”.

The “empowerment movement” is catching on with a few supplement companies. Instead of showing dudes looking like their constipated and screaming in pain they’re opting to feature strong women. Companies are taking varied approaches and some have created women specific lines. The results remain to be seen as it’s still too early to tell how successful a women’s only supplement line will be. Most of the companies are using pink (or some shade variation of it) for their “women’s line”. One could argue it’s smart to use pink because you’ll automatically associate it with women. Others may debate that it’s a bad move in that you’re implying it’s a “weaker” version of a men’s line. The color pink is commonly associated with feminine so can pink be strong? Two companies currently targeting women would like to think so. So much so that they are both using the hashtag #BESTRONG.

The first is MusclePharm’s women’s line “FITMISS”. They use the colors black and pink in their marketing and claim “the new brand dosed + formulated specifically for women”. They’ve trademarked “STRONG IS THE NEW SEXY” and utilize it throughout their marketing efforts.  I’m not a huge fan of the saying but that’s a topic for another time. Most of their imagery tends to feel “real” and convey “strong” at least when it comes to featuring the face of the brand, WBFF pro Chady Dunmore. In the image below, they show Chady in a gym with the hashtag #BESTRONG . It’s much better than their background banner on the NPCNEWSonline.com site that showcases Chady and “instafamous model” Jen Seltzer (which is a little weird considering neither is a NPC or IFBB competitor).

BE STRONG - FITMISSFitmiss wants you to #BESTRONG

A new supplement line is using the same hashtag but with different imagery. MuscleTech’s new line called “STRONG GIRL” claims to have  “effective formulas, made by strong women, for strong women.” They want you to “Be the best you!” and to “Be Positive”. I’m not quite sure how they arrived at all of that but again another topic for another day. They’re using race car driver Danica Patrick as their lead athlete and also using the hashtag #BESTRONG. STRONG girl uses more of a purple than pink with black for their color scheme. The line is exclusive to GNC which means you’ll have to order it through the GNC website or visit your local shop to BE STRONG with STRONG GIRL.

Danica Patrick StrongStrong Girl wants you to #BESTRONG

FITMISS has been on the market for awhile and STRONG girl only recently launched. So… FITMISS did it first but did they do it better than STRONG girl? Cast your vote below.

The National Dog Show & A Bodybuilding Show… They’re Not That Different.

National Dog show

The Olympia is often referred to as the “Super Bowl” of bodybuilding and fitness. It showcases “the best of the best” in professional physique competition. Hundreds of pro competitors attempt to qualify for the event each year but few make it to the grand stage. Those who do make it to the Olympia stage often refer to it as one of, if not thee, highlight of their competitive career.

Countless sacrifices go into preparing for any competition  but the stakes are always higher at the Olympia. The total prize money (between all divisions) totaled over one million dollars. As you can imagine with that kind of cash on the line, the participants are laser focused heading into the event. While you’re out partying on a Friday night, Olympia competitors are hitting the gym or cooking their meals for the next day. When friends and family are having a beer at a wedding, they’re reaching for a jug of water. Cake? Forget about having any of that en route to the big dance. It requires extreme dedication, discipline and passion to compete at the Olympia level. Just ask anyone who has been on there and they’ll tell you what they gave up to pursue their passion.

A competitor’s nerves are higher and the pressure is on at the Olympia. It is at every competition but this event draws the attention of thousands across the world. They’ll be subjected to not only the judges’ opinions but also the media and fans. The event is shown live and free on bodybuilding.com but this year’s Olympia, the monumental 50th anniversary, was to be different. In addition to the live online stream it was going to be shown on the NBC Sports Network. It would mark the return of bodybuilding to television, something that hadn’t happened since 1984.

David J. Pecker, American Media Inc.(AMI) Chairman, President and CEO said in the June press release, “The Olympia Weekend is an extraordinary event that underscores the passion and commitment that every competitor brings to the stage, and the exhilaration of the more than forty thousand spectators that will attend this year’s event.”

NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) was to televise two 90-minute specials around the event in October. When people tuned into NBCSN on October 18th and again on October 25th they expected to see the Olympia. Instead viewers saw soccer or a car show during that time. On October 18th, fans were confused and inquired about it online. They thought maybe there was a scheduling change and/or they had the wrong time. When October 25th came and went with no Olympia broadcast on TV, fans went from confused to angry and pissed.

What happened to the Olympia and the broadcast not airing? It’s disappointing that this extraordinary event didn’t see the light of day on television. We’re all left in the dark as to why the historic 50th Olympia wasn’t show on the NBC network. No statement has been made by AMI or NBC. It wouldn’t change anything but I’m sure those who competed would like to know. It’s rewarding and validating to see your hard work showcased on television. But hey you can always tune into The National Dog Show on NBC.

Wait, what? What the hell does a bodybuilding show and a dog show have to do with one another? More than you might think.

The National Dog Show has been on NBC for over a decade so clearly the pooch patrol has a leg up on bodybuilding there. There were an estimated 20 million viewers for this year’s event. Clearly, if it hadn’t aired there would be some sort of explanation as to why but when bodybuilding’s biggest show doesn’t air nothing is mentioned.

The dog show features, “the leading canines from over 170 breeds (including the world’s largest, smallest and most exotic)”.

The Olympia Weekend showcases a variety of events but mainly the best bodies in the world, some of which are large and muscular while others are more tight and toned.

If you’ve ever watched a dog show you’ve probably wondered, “what the hell are they judging”? I know I did. It’s not all that different from watching a bodybuilding competition for the first time. Spectators in both events will likely pick their favorite(s). If you ask why,  you’ll get a variety of reasons. I like the Labrador retrievers in a dog show. Why? I had one when I was a kid and still partial to them today. They’re good looking, sporty, friendly and obedient. The person to my right may like the poodle because she saw one in a movie and the person to my left fancies the bulldog because Adam Sandler has one. The same holds true to a bodybuilding competition. Maybe the guy has nice abs and you were a fan of Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations” music video. Ask someone else and they’ll pick the guy with the biggest arms because they like super heroes.

While I was watching The National Dog Show on NBC, it felt a lot like I was watching the “new breeds” of physique competition, i.e. Bikini and Men’s Physique. We’ll focus on the Bikini division. The dog show and a bikini competition showcase a variety of different looks and most are stunning. The dog handlers spend hours (and surely it’s not cheap) preparing for this big day. Just like the bikini competitors. They all look great but how could one win over the other?

I’ve been asked hundreds of times, why did she win and not the other gal? Great question. I have no idea. The bikini competitor I liked the best placed fifth and the one I thought wouldn’t be in the top five won. How do you explain it? Sure you can go down a list of rules and guidelines but will that change your opinion? Maybe but probably not. It didn’t for me when I watched the video explaining what the judges look for in the National Dog show.

After listening to David Frei, the host of the National Dog Show, it appears bikini competitors and dogs may get eerily similar feedback. Both are subjective and depend on who is judging on that day. How it might go when asking for feedback…

Bikini vs The National Dog Show Judges’Feedback.
Dog Show – The collar color was too big.
Bikini – Your suit didn’t fit you right.

Dog Show – The color of the collar was distracting.
Bikini – Your suit color didn’t flatter your body.

Dog Show – The trainer didn’t hold the leash tight enough.
Bikini – You didn’t come in tight enough.

Dog Show – The hair color wasn’t right.
Bikini – Your hair color didn’t work for your physique.

Dog Show – The dog’s hair was too short.
Bikini – Your hair is too short, you should grow it out.

Dog Show – The dog didn’t present well.
Bikini – You need to work on your presentation.

Dog Show – The eye shape wasn’t what it should be.
Bikini – Your eye shadow and makeup were not good.

Dog Show – The dog didn’t hold its stance properly.
Bikini – Your bent too far over when posing.

Dog Show – The dog didn’t stand square.
Bikini – You spread your legs too far apart when posing from the back.

Dog Show – The dog urinated on my foot.
Bikini – You crossed your legs and bent forward like you had to pee.

Dog Show – There’s no such thing as the perfect dog. Yours was the closest to it though.
Bikini – There’s no such thing as a perfect physique. You were the closest to it though.

Dog Show – The dog didn’t move it’s head like it was supposed to.
Bikini – You didn’t pop your booty out like you need to.

Dog Show – The dog looked dehydrated.
Bikini – You pulled too much water.

Dog Show – The dog wasn’t up to the standard for this breed.
Bikini – You’re too muscular, have you thought about doing Figure?

Dog Show – I had your dog in first but was overruled.
Bikini – I had you in first but was overruled.

See NBC… a bodybuilding/bikini show isn’t all the different from the National Dog show.

Just like in bodybuilding, at the dog show there can only be one “Best in Show”. Did everyone agree on the winner of the dog show? Likely not. They certainly didn’t at the Olympia. None-the-less congratulations to Nathan the Bloodhound, winner of the 2014 National Dog Show. You’re like…

The Phil Heath of Bodybuilding.
The Iris Kyle of Women’s Bodybuilding
The Nicole Wilkins of Figure.
The Ashley Kaltwasser of Bikini.
The Juliana Malacarne of Women’s Physique.
The Jeremy Buendia of Men’s Physique.

Since I’ve never been to a dog show I’m left to ponder…
• What do dogs eat backstage?
• Are dogs allowed water backstage?
• Do the dogs have to stay off their feet before heading out to judging?
• Are trainers and their dogs worried if there are enough mirrors backstage?
• Do dogs and their handler worry about what side of the stage they enter?
• Do dogs get treats and eat “bad food” after the show?
• Do the trainers get blamed if the dog doesn’t show well?
• Is the backstage at a dog show as chaotic and smelly as a bodybuilding show?
• Do trainers, significant other and fans at dog shows yell things like, “bullshit! She should be in the first comparison”? I’m guessing not.
• Do dog owners cry “politics” when their dog doesn’t win?
• Do dog fans think the show was a fixed because their favorite pooch didn’t win the “Best in show”? (Yes, I read some comments online saying just that.)
• If a dog is sponsored by a big brand do they get special treatment?
• Does a big social media following help a dog place better?
• Does it matter who the dog’s trainer is?
• Do dog handlers take all the credit for the win in their post show interviews?
• Do dogs get asked what show they are doing next?

If dogs can get two hours on tv, in a competition that few understand, is it too much to ask for Olympia competitors to get the same? After all they’re not that different.

‘The Box’ Backlash – Crossfitters Hate Photoshopped Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet Cover

The Box Photoshop Camille
The Crossfit community is a tight knit group of people who tend to be extremely passionate about their sport. While some outsiders would argue they take their enthusiasm too far, I’d argue there are far worse things in life than to be fanatical about working out and following a specific nutrition plan. That’s a debate for another time. The reality is you don’t have to be a participant to appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes to become one of the elite athletes in Crossfit.

The Crossfit Games are held once a year, usually the end of July, and crown “The Fittest Woman (and man) on Earth.” Helluva title, right? It’s the holy grail of Crossfit and a sacred stature that few have reached. There’s no denying that if you win it, you’re a bad ass. This year’s female winner was Canadian Camille LeBlanc. Camille has landed multiple endorsement deals and unquestionably has a marketable look because of the hardbody she’s built. She trains like a beast and is a role model for women and men, in and out of Crossfit. She works hard, eats right, trains consistently and has fun along the way. Winning this year’s Crossfit Games makes her a no-brainer to grace the cover of a Crossfit magazine.

Camille was featured on Oxygen magazine’s last issue out of the Canadian offices (July 2013). On that cover they asked, “Could this be the fittest woman on earth?” In the Crossfit world the answer, albeit it officially validated a year later, would be YES!

camille leblanc oxygen coverCamille LeBlanc-Bazinet on Oxygen Magazine

The mag shut down for a stint and reopened under new publishers, Active Interest Media (AIM). AIM acquired Oxygen and two other titles previously published by Robert Kennedy but why is this important? AIM publishes ‘The Box’ magazine. Their website states The Box Magazine “serves the vast — and growing — population of CrossFitters. It educates new practitioners about CrossFit’s benefits, motivates existing members of the CrossFit community and advocates for the sport of CrossFit.”

The Box typically shows an athlete or athletes in workout attire on their cover. The magazine is published bi-monthly and has done a good job of featuring men and women on their covers over the years. It’s one of the few magazines that showcases an athlete as an athlete… until now. This month, The Box opted to show the newly crowned Fittest Woman on Earth® in a swimsuit, on a beach for their cover.

The Box CovrersTHE BOX covers

It’s not the first time she’s been on The Box cover. Camille was featured on the October-November 2012 cover and they called her “The Face of Fitness”. Pretty good call, right? So why would they stray from their usual covers and present Camille as a swimsuit model instead of an athlete? Great question and it’s one that has the Crossfit nation up in arms over. It’s not only because she’s presented as a swimsuit model but also the poor job they did “photoshopping” her.

Camille LeBlanc The Box CoverCamille LeBlanc-Bazinet on The Box cover in 2012 (left) and 2014 (right)

Let’s be clear. Yes, every magazine has “photoshopping” done to it. That’s the “reality” of the magazine biz however there’s a difference in recreating a body and retouching/editing one. Removing stray hairs, a bright spot in the skin and/or a skin blemish are part of retouching any image. I know, I’m a photographer and I edit photos daily. Did Camille get a bad photoshop job on her latest cover? Ya, her waist is the most obvious. She’s also got a sic set of abs but you’d never know that from the photo, in fact you’d wonder where they are if you had never seen her before.

There’s no reason to modify Camille, The FITTEST Woman on Earth, to be something she’s not. She’s not a swimsuit model. She never claims to be. She never strives to be one. When I interviewed her I asked her, “Do you feel like there’s pressure on women to look a certain way in CrossFit?” She shared, “Yes, I think women still want to be small and ripped, but I think we shouldn’t care about the way we look as long as our fitness is going up.” Camille’s fitness went up since then and she didn’t worry about being small and ripped as it’s irrelevant to her winning The Game. It’s a too bad The Box thought showcasing her as smaller and more ripped would be relevant to selling magazines. I find the corny “Life’s a Beach” and “awash in opportunity” nearly as silly as the image.

camille leblanc The Box

The Box 2014 Cover with Camille Leblanc, The Fittest Woman on Earth.

The Crossfit nation has called bullshit on the cover and you have to appreciate some of the comments being posted online about it. Let’s start with the posting of the image on The Box’s Facebook page.

Ouch. I’m guessing not quite the response they expected but BRAVO for fans and readers calling it out.

When the fans asked (many demanded) for an explanation, The Box demonstrated how NOT to respond. Public Relations 101 – don’t try to be funny and don’t add fuel to a fire. You’d be more productive pissing into the wind. Here’s what they posted.

An angry mob photo. Funny. Ha. Not. FAIL.

A couple quotes from fans…

“I am NEVER negative and I keep my page that way for a reason….. But i just couldn’t help but feel sad just quite mad a magazine such a “The BOX magazine” would photoshop camilles picture and take away her muscles… Why??????

We’re suppose to EMBRACE our hard earned work not “hide” or take away from them and “conform” to what society wants. Truly disappointed in this one.
Always Always EMBRACE your muscles ladies… ALWAYS!!!”
CFStrongWomen FB

Reddit members are sounding off too.

The second I saw the cover I could tell something was wrong immediately. The thing is, Camille is obviously beautiful and strong and fit, but we all know she doesn’t have the smallest waist and that doesn’t matter at all. – emptycalsxycuriosityDeuce Gym

“That is insulting. She’s worked her ass off to get where she is and then this magazine photoshops her muscles OFF? I can’t wrap my brain around this… Usually people would photoshop MORE definition not take definition away. Wtf.” – patrickkevinsays

“The saddest thing about it is it buys into the fear that women who lift are too bulky/manly to be conventionally attractive. Women still need to be soft and curvy (but still thin) to be beautiful. Even the fittest woman on earth doesn’t have the ‘ideal’ body shape so they photoshopped out her amazing abs that allow her to do all the amazing gymnastic movements she’s known for.” – viaaa

Another Crossfit magazine, BoxLife, posted…

WOD Talk magazine was a little more subtle with their jab at the cover and posted…

As I was finishing this article The Box Editor-in-Chief posted a response on Facebook. I couldn’t help put do a face palm in horror at the opening, “My name is Jordana Brown, and I’m the editor-in-chief of The Box magazine. Before everyone looks at my profile and starts doubting, I’ll tell you this: I don’t have a robust profile here because I hate Facebook. I hate Facebook because I don’t trust it.” Way to embrace the fans/readers ON FACEBOOK while they are going bat shit crazy over your latest cover. It doesn’t matter if YOU like Facebook or not, it’s the medium you chose to post your latest cover on. Any who…

Jordana defends the cover by saying, “A professional photo shoot with an experienced photographer who uses camera angles and poses the athlete to compose a shot, along with expert lighting, hair and makeup, will result in photos that look completely unlike anything you might find from a Google image search. In fact, it was our intent to show you a Camille you haven’t seen before — and to prove that beauty and strength coexist in her perfect body.”

Very true however the same professional photographer was used for previous covers. The same photographer used “expert lighting” and “camera angles” to compose every previous cover shot. So that’s a ridiculous statement in defense of the image. Jordana isn’t wrong in the statement but wrong to use it as a defense for this cover and for this athlete. The same athlete they’ve shown on the cover before. Oh right, I forgot they wanted to show “a Camille you haven’t seen before” and “prove that beauty and strength coexist”. They accomplished the first part but how ridiculous on the second part. Everyone who has followed Camille (cough, cough your magazine readers and those commenting on the social media platform you hate) knows she embodies strength and beauty. They didn’t need to see a poorly photoshopped image to know they coexist. And back to that pesky photoshop topic. Jordana defends it by sharing, “Did we do some color correction and use Photoshop on the image? Yes. Did we airbrush or retouch Camille’s abs, legs, muscles? No. Did her body need any work? No. Do we regret having done anything at all? Yes.”

Only those who have seen the RAW, unedited image will know for certain what was done to it. At this point does it matter? The readers aren’t stupid and regardless of what was done or not done to the image it doesn’t reflect the buying audience of The Box. They clearly don’t give a crap about seeing The Fittest Woman on Earth in a swimsuit on the beach. You might want to buy the issue since I’ll bet it’s the first and last time you see a beach / swimsuit cover.

What can we learn from The Box Backlash?
Don’t play readers and fans for fools.
Strong is sexy.
Strong is beautiful.
Be authentic.
Crossfitters hate photoshop badly photoshopped images.

Also of note, no one (myself included) is bashing or blaming Camille for the cover. Some people have questioned “how could she allow this” and “how would she approve this cover”. When you shoot for a magazine (this goes for a model and photographer) you have no idea what image will run and how it will be used. Cover images are often swapped out a dozen times before going to print. Many times right before press there will be a completely different image or even a new model.

Camille is strong. Camille is beautiful. Camille is a bad ass.

Check out her instagram account and you can follow her strength and beauty as she presents it.


Great lifting session doing 2 hang clean every 2 minute for 8 sets… This is 220pounds felt quite heavy at the end … #gettingstronger #lifting #pink #strenght #ryourogue #xendurance @roguefitness @reebok @rehband @xendurance @fitmarkbags @paleopowermeals

View on Instagram

Sports Illustrated Misses Opportunity with Their Fittest 50

sports illustrated fittest 50


People love reading lists and naturally I was intrigued when I saw Sports Illustrated (SI) post a link to their “Fittest 50” list. Their “first ever Fittest 50” was assembled by their editors and writers using a “40-point rating system”. Sounds cool right?

The opening page of the web site’s list reads…

Fitness. For the professional athlete it is the very foundation of success. But even among the pros, some athletes stand head and sculpted shoulders above the rest. The natural question, then: Who is the fittest athlete in sports? For our first-ever Fittest 50, SI’s editors and writers set out to find the answer. We assessed the best of the best across all sports, using a 40-point rating system based on four criteria.

According to the site, their system calculated Strength, Speed, Endurance and Agility. The last sentence on the page reads, “As the rankings that follow make clear, the fittest of the fit come in all shapes and sizes, and from all corners of the athletic world. Count down to see who’s the fittest of them all.”

Apparently the writers and editors at SI don’t view gender as part of the equation. Call it what it is… “Our Top Fifty Fittest Men in Sports.”

As with any list/rankings, there will be controversy but not ONE female athlete? C’mon man. They missed a golden opportunity to gain more fans and show readers they view women as more than just swimsuit models. I find it hard to believe that there’s not one female who could make the list. Yes, the number of professional female athletes pales in comparison to the men but I’m pretty sure there’s at least one female who would meet the criteria.

What’s your take on it? Share you thoughts on Facebook or twitter.

Lead image compiled via SI video.

Krissy’s Corner – Competing After Pregnancy

Krissy Chin talks about competing after pregnancy, what it felt like to be back on stage and what’s ahead for her.

krissy chin

By Krissy Chin

Hello Hardbody Peeps!!!!

WOWWWIIEEE!! I am so EXCITED to share with you some amazing news – I notched my 1st IFBB PRO WIN! I won the 2014 IFBB NorCal Pro Bikini Masters Championships. When I won, I was just overwhelmed with so much emotion on stage-happiness, joy, shock, excitement and just a ton of thankfulness! It reminded me so much of how I exactly felt when I won my class back in 2007 at the NPC Figure Nationals/Team Universe when I earned my IFBB PRO card☺! What a blessing!

I was also so thankful to have made 1st callouts & to have placed top 6 in my 1st 2 IFBB PRO bikini shows since returning to the stage post-baby and since switching divisions from figure to bikini. There was a change of plans since I last wrote here on Hardbody, I moved up my debut and I actually competed in back to back shows. I made my IFBB Pro Bikini debut at the 2014 IFBB Dennis James Pro Bikini Classic and then competed the following week at Spectrum Fitness Productions 2014 IFBB Norcal Pro Bikini & Pro Masters Bikini Championships. How did it feel to be back on stage after 2 years?? IT FELT AMAZINGGGGG to be back on stage and having the opportunity to compete with so many beautiful & incredible ladies! It truly feels GREAT to be back competing. After these two shows, it made me realize how much I really did miss competing and being on stage. It also made me realize how much I miss seeing and competing with my fellow IFBB pro ladies, many of whom I have become friends with. The friendships I have made over the past 11 years in the fitness industry are worth their weight in gold☺

I have to admit that in my bikini debut at the Dennis James Classic, I actually was a bit nervous! I was a rookie out there on the Pro bikini stage and these Pro bikini ladies are incredible! I was also nervous because I honestly did not know how the judges would receive my, ”new look”. I worked so extremely hard with Coach Kim on my prep and with my transformation switching from figure to bikini. I was hoping that my new look was received well by the judges and that I was bringing a competitive physique to that Pro bikini stage. So when I made 1st callouts, I was absolutely elated to say the least!

I ended up placing 6th and I was extremely happy! My debut got me even more excited and motivated for my next show, which was the following week-Spectrum Fitness Productions 2014 IFBB NorCal Pro Bikini & Pro Bikini Masters Championships.

After getting feedback and speaking with Coach Kim, we made needed adjustments to come in better this next show. Being totally objective, I feel that I did look better and fuller my 2nd show and I felt a lot more confident on stage. Ladies your confidence on stage is so important. I always tell my clients that and after 2 years of not competing, I was reminded of that myself.

I competed in both the open and the masters divisions in Sacramento since I am now over 35 years young. Once again, I was super elated to make 1st callouts in both divisions in prejudging. I felt a lot more confident and comfortable on stage this 2nd show and I was extremely happy with the physique I was presenting. I had such an amazing time all weekend with hubbie Troy, baby London, Coach Kim, my fellow Oddo’s angels sistas and all the other wonderful people who took part in the seminar and show. I also had an amazing time on stage and competing with all the beautiful ladies! At finals, I was just overwhelmed with joy, happiness, shock and thankfulness when I won the Pro bikini Masters division and placed top 6 in the open! Just WOW! I notched my 1st IFBB PRO WIN! I couldn’t believe it! Yes, my smile was from ear to ear. As I mentioned in my speech on stage and during the interviews I did after I had after I won, I am just very thankful to the judges and very thankful to the NPC/IFBB for being such an incredible and GREAT organization that gives women & men the opportunity to compete and inspire with the many different divisions that are now available. I also want to thank my huge support team-my husband Troy (you are still my biggest support even after all these years), my beautiful angel London (you bring me so much love, joy and happiness), my incredible Coach Kim Oddo (you just da bomb!), all my family, friends & fans (it feels so weird to say that I have fans-I am just flattered!), my sponsors-Gaspari Nutrition, Sakura Bikinis (love my incredibly beautiful & custom made bikini!) & Pro Tan, my dear friend and amazing make-up artist and all the beautiful ladies who I had the blessing to compete with these past 2 shows!

Now….time to hit the gym, make improvements and come back better for my next show! Oh yeah……I really have to work on my bikini swagggg!!

Until next time…love, laugh and train hard!

With Love,

Follow Krissy on…
Instagram – krissychin
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PROKRISSYCHIN

Don’t Call it A Comeback… She’s Been Here Before

Krissy Chin has graciously agreed to share her journey back to competition here on HARDBODY. Krissy brings us up to speed on what she’s been doing and what’s ahead for her. She’s a champion on and off the stage.

krissy chin
By Krissy Chin

Hello Hardbody Peeps:)!

First, I just want to say that I am SO #EXCITED to be blogging here on Hardbody! I have been a BIG TIME fan of Hardbody from day 1!

I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start! My name is Krissy Chin & I am an IFBB Figure Pro, Team Gaspari Athlete, new MOM-Yeah!!!! and you can also find me emceeing NPC/IFBB shows throughout the year. My education is in physical therapy and health sciences where I hold a dual degree-Masters of Science in Physical Therapy & a Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences. I was propelled into health & fitness when I lost both my parents to cancer in the 1990’s. I then decided that I wanted to get a better grasp on my own health and well-being and I wanted to live a healthy lifestyle after seeing how fragile life could be. Well that was about 20 years ago and I can proudly say that I am still, if not more extremely passionate about health, wellness, fitness and helping & inspiring others whenever & however I can.

My incredible journey in the NPC began in 2003 and I earned my IFBB Pro card in 2007 at the Figure Nationals/Team U in New York by winning my class. I feel blessed to have qualified for the Figure Olympia 4X and have competed at the Figure International (Arnold) twice thus far in my career. My last show was the 2012 IFBB Pro Governor’s Cup where I placed 2nd while being 6-weeks pregnant. You are probably wondering, “Why did she compete while she was pregnant?!” Well, I had no idea I was even pregnant and here is how the story goes. I was 4-weeks out from competing in the 2012 California Pro when I knew something was just not right. My body was not responding how it typically did for prep and I felt bloated and constipated. Coach Kim Oddo even asked me if I ate something that I wasn’t supposed to because I had this lil “pooch” at the base of my 6-pack, which I never had! Well, after 3 home pregnancy tests and a visit to my OB/GYN, it was confirmed that I was 12 weeks and 4 days pregnant! Shocker to say the least especially since I was on birth control pills & we were not planning on getting pregnant just quite yet.

I went from full on prep mode to full on BABY MODE! Since my pregnancy was not planned and I missed my 1st trimester, I quickly researched, read and learned as much as I could about pregnancy and about having a baby. I have to say that I did enjoy my whole pregnancy and I loved being pregnant. I was glad that I didn’t experience any nausea or morning sickness, any swelling, back pain or any other symptoms that other expecting moms have experienced. Throughout my pregnancy, I made sure that I kept myself properly nourished, hydrated, rested and I kept myself in a really good, calm & peaceful place both spiritually and mentally. I also got regular prenatal massages & continued training up until 40-weeks without any difficulty. However, I must point out that my training did change during the pregnancy since my goal had changed once I became pregnant. My goal for training during my pregnancy was to stay healthy & strong for my baby and for myself, which I successfully accomplished. At 41-weeks, I had to be induced since my Dr. said that Baby London was quite cozy in the womb and I was at complete ZERO dilation. After 33 hrs of labor, I was able to successfully have a vaginal birth. Beautiful Baby London MeiLan was born a healthy 7 lbs. 13 oz. on Nov. 26th, 2012.

Fast forward to today, London is now 17.5 months (almost 1 1/2 yrs. old) and I am less than 4-weeks away from making my return to the IFBB Pro stage!! I debated for a bit about whether or not to compete again. Truth be told, I am a true competitor at heart and I truly missed competing so much! There were other factors which also influenced my final decision to compete which were, I really love being in tip top shape conditioning wise so I wanted to see what my body was capable of doing post-baby and if I knew I had the adequate time to prep without taking away from baby London. London is my number one. For me it was so important to give 200% to London that first year of her life and just nurture and love her as best as I could. I was with her 24/7 until only recently when I started her in daycare twice a week at 16 months of age. I did not even contact Coach Kim to initiate prep until London was 14 months of age. I just didn’t want to take anything away from London. In addition, Rich Gaspari and Gaspari Nutrition recently re-signed me to a 2-yr athlete contract (Wohooo!!), which also solidified my decision to compete. I am #EXCITED to announce that my 1st show of the 2014 season will be the IFBB Northern California Pro Bikini!

I would say that life has significantly changed since becoming a mom. I’ve had to become even more organized, learn to REALLY multi-task, do things at a much quicker pace and I’ve learned to be creative when things change or something comes up in order to accommodate London and her needs. The biggest challenge for me when first getting back into training was leaving London for the 30 min or for the hour. I must admit, I still have a hard time being away from her. Yes, I am that in love with our precious daughter. In the beginning, it was also a challenge to find the time to fit everything in that I needed to get done while caring for London. Since Troy and I don’t have family here in California, it has been the two of us working together as a team to manage our schedules, care for our precious baby and for our 2 fur babies. It was also a bit of a challenge for me the first few months since I was a first time mom alone at home and I was, “learning the ropes.” Now that London is almost 1 1/2 yrs of age & is in daycare 2-3X/week, everything has gotten a lot more manageable & has allowed me to get all my training in, cardio done, food prepped and all my work done- Gaspari appearances, online clients, posing clients and all my other responsibilities completed. With all that said and done, I must admit that I absolutely LOVE being a mom and that London has just been the biggest, most beautiful blessing!

Until next time, train hard, be happy and live each day to its fullest!

With Love,


Follow Krissy on..
Instagram – krissychin
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PROKRISSYCHIN
Gaspari – http://www.gasparinutrition.com/teamgaspari/krissychin/

Cindy Whitehead’s TEDx Talk – Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word

Our super rad contributor and friend, Cindy Whitehead gives an inspiring and motivating TEDx talk. She hits on a number of topics in this video and you may need to watch it more than once. Chances are you’ll want to because there are so many awesome messages in it. Cindy talks about how she came up with “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter word”, became a sponsored pro skateboarder and even skated down the 405 Freeway not that long ago.

cindy whitehead

Cindy is practicing what she preaches which is something we can all learn from. She’s telling her story and doing “epic shit”. Check it out and give her a shout on twitter at @SportsStylist or @GirlisNOTa4LW to let her know what you think. Visit her website for more photos and inspirational features on women doing epic things… girlisnota4letterword.com.

“Live life balls to the wall. Do epic shit. Take every dare that comes your way. You can sleep when you’re dead”. This is the personal motto of Cindy Whitehead.

She conquered the male dominated profession of pro vert skateboarding in the 70’s, and quickly became one of the top ranked professional female vert skateboarders in the U.S. for pool riding and half-pipe. To this day, Cindy still holds the distinction of being the only female to be featured in the centerfold plus a two-page article in a skateboarding magazine, and is the only female skateboarder to have been sponsored by Puma.

Since then, Cindy has gone on to coin the term “Sports Stylist®,” working as a fashion stylist specializing in sports, with companies like Gatorade, Nike, the NBA,and athletes such as Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Mia Hamm.

Last year she made national headlines by skateboarding down the closed 405 freeway in Los Angeles. In June of 2013 Cindy flew to Washington, DC to sign over some of her skateboard history to The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s sports collections.

Cindy has been profiled in magazines and sites such as, ESPN, The Huffington Post, & Women’s Wear Daily, and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows. She most recently spoke in Washington, DC at The Smithsonian Museum’s Innoskate event.

Her catchphrase “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word” has become a battle cry for girls worldwide.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

lead image composed from youtube talk

Dina Al Sabah Healthy & Fit Pregnancy Update

Checking in from the 3rd Trimester at 28 weeks !!

Lots to catch up on since I last touched base. I visited DC, celebrated my 40th birthday, took the gestational diabetes screening test (gag!), had my maternity shoot and started working on the baby room.

dina al sabah fitness

At the start of February, I decided that I needed to make more of an effort to walk more. Even with cardio, I felt that I could be more active, so I bought a Fitbit Flex. It was surprising to find out that on an average day, I did not meet the 10,000 steps that are recommended. Most of us have jobs where we sit all day, and unless we make conscious decisions to move, we end up not doing much. I have been incorporating a daily walk along with my gym workouts which has helped keep my step count above 10,000. My husband thinks I have lost my mind as I have started marching about during TV commercials, but I think it is a great way of adding additional activity to your day. I truly believe that staying active is one of the factors in allowing me to have an easier pregnancy with minimal swelling up till now.

My trip to DC was wonderful as I got to catch up with my best friends, eat Baked & Wired cupcakes (hands down the best cupcakes ever!) and walk all over to burn off the calories! I managed to log 22,000 steps one of the days we walked to the Capitol. I thought that my DC cupcake escapade would be the last time I ate cupcakes as I usually do not eat that sort of thing. However, my dear friends decided to surprise me for my birthday, and I ended up with cupcakes, mini cupcakes and cake pops. Of course, I had to sample a little bit of  all the treats which extended my sugar coma for a few more days. Once the sugar coma wore off it was time to take the dreaded glucose screening test for gestational diabetes. The glucose solution was one of the most disgusting things I have had to drink. The sweetness was so cloying that I felt nauseated. Now if only they could give you cupcakes instead!  The little munchkin, on the other hand, loved the sugar and proceeded to dance about for the next few hours. Thankfully I passed!

As far as working out, I have tried to maintain my original schedule, but I have been feeling more tired these last few weeks. I am making it to the gym about 3 to 4 times a week instead of my usual 5. When I am down to 3 days, I usually have a leg day, and then split arms, back and shoulders into 2 separate days. The days that I do treadmill cardio, I set the incline to around 5% so that the booty and hamstrings are activated. I  am listening to my body and am doing only what I feel I am up to. I have to admit that it has been a bit hard to get over the guilt of not making it to the gym, but I know that this is not the time to have a competitor’s outlook on things.I have also been a lot hungrier than usual. The 3rd trimester is when you require the most calories, so I am sure that the hunger is from the drain of growing another human albeit a rather small one (2.5lb at the last check up).  To manage the increase in hunger, I have gone from  4 meals a day to 5 so that I have a mid morning snack and a mid afternoon snack.

I have attached a collage of what I looked like prior to getting pregnancy, and what I look like now. It is pretty amazing how the human body can adapt to growing and expanding to accommodate a baby! I marvel at it daily.

dina preggo

New Finds:
Storq http://storq.com/  – non fussy maternity basics that fit for the entire pregnancy

Isabella Oliver http://www.isabellaoliver.com/us – stylish higher end maternity wear that can also be worn after pregnancy

Tieks http://tieks.com/ – hands down the best and cutest  ballet flats I own.  I wear them to walk around everywhere and they keep my feet happy

Keep up with Dina on her Facebook fan page.

Dina’s Diary – Staying Fit & Healthy During A Pregnancy

Dina shares the latest in her journal of staying healthy and fit during her first pregnancy. If you’re a Hardbody mom you’ll likely related to some of what Dina has to share. If you’re a mom-to-be like Dina is you’ll get an idea of what Dina is going through with her first pregnancy. She discuses how she’s feeling and what types of workouts she’s able to do. Dina also shares some of the beauty products she’s using and what her nutrition is like.

21 weeks pregnant

Dina’s Diary – Week 22

Yes, I have leaky boobs and am doing squats in the Smith Machine with 10lb plates! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me re-cap the week.

Ever since my anatomy scan, I have been feeling “movement”. As a primigravida (woman who is pregnant for the first time), I knew that it would take a while for me to feel anything. I have to say that it is the most incredible feeling, knowing that you have another life within you, that is moving about outside your control. I will admit though that I have gotten jabs at rather inopportune moments. I’m pretty sure you’ve all read about how pregnancy makes your hormones go crazy which can be a bonanza for all in the bedroom, but let me tell you that having my baby to be make his presence known at the very same time put a kibosh on everything. I’m sure I will get over it soon enough, but it’s taking some processing. Now as far as the leaky boobs…it happens. Usually this happens in the 3rd trimester but all bodies are different, and mine started at around 21 weeks. I gleefully wanted to share this new development with my husband, but he ran away shrieking. Now I know how to torment him! I also have a more pronounced Linea Nigra (the line that some pregnant women get that travels down the belly).

Body-wise I have been feeling pretty good. I feel stronger at the gym and a little less hesitant than I had been. I have gone back to squatting baby weights (yes, I use the Smith Machine now!). I find the leg press a bit uncomfortable, so I am no longer doing that. Here is what my arm day looked like:


Machine preacher curls 3 x 12
Flat curls 3 x 12
Push-ups using upside down Bosu ball 3 x 12
Rope Pulldowns 3 x 12

And here is leg day part one..I usually train legs twice a week:

Leg extensions 3 x 12
Hamstring Curls on Cable Machine 3 x 12
Plie Squats 3 x 12
Smith Machine Squats 3 x 12
Deads with a wider stance to accommodate the baby bump 3 x 13
Side Step Ups 3 x 12

This week I added yoga and Pilates into my workout rotation. I find that yoga allows me to stretch and get in tune with my body. Pilates, on the other hand, kicked my butt. You have to love an instructor who tells you that pregnancy is not a disability and that she expects you to work! My tushie will thank her later.

For nutrition, as I progress into my pregnancy, coach Layne advised that we should be slowly increasing my calories weekly. This week I get a few more carbs and a smidgen more of fat. Don’t get me wrong, I am not being completely obsessive with my diet, and I am indeed having fun. My husband made me buttermilk pancakes on Monday, and I was in a food coma for the rest of the day. My philosophy is to enjoy what I eat, but that pregnancy does not mean eating for two. It is my job to ensure that what I eat is nutritious for both myself and my son to be and that I maintain good health and weight gain. My OB advises a range of 25 – 35lb for me, and so far I have gained 11 lb. I haven’t had any real cravings, and my meat aversions are still there though they are diminishing slowly.

I thought I would touch on my beauty regiment.I have had to change some of my go to products during pregnancy. Having darker skin, I am predisposed to get melasma (dark patches). My aesthetician advised that I could use some vitamin c and kojic acid to keep it from getting worse. Below are some of the things I am now using with the approval of my OB.

Turbo Booster C Powder
Clé de Peau foam cleanser
Clé de Peau protective lotion
Image Ageless Total Skin Lightening Serum
Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder

As far as on my body, I am a firm believer that stretch marks are genetic and no matter how many lotions and potions you apply, you will not avoid getting them should you be predisposed to them. My go to body products are:

Ultra Moisture In-Shower Body Lotion
Olay Quench Body Lotion Shimmer

Those two are the only products that have stopped me from getting scaly skin on my legs, and trust me I have tried everything.

For an extra treat, I love using
REN Moroccan Rose Otto Ultra-Moisture Body Oil

That’s all for now!

Week 21: Staying Healthy & Fit While Pregnant

Dina Al Sabah is checks in with an update after traveling to Germany. She shares an easy-to-follow training circuit you can do in your hotel room and reminds us all to get outdoors and enjoy the nice weather when possible. Dina shares what she’s been craving at 21 weeks into her pregnancy and what she plans to incorporate in the coming weeks to stay fit. Read the latest from Hardbody Mom-to-Be…

21 weeks pregnant


Staying Healthy & Fit While Pregnant - Week 21
This week had me traveling to Frankfurt and the Hague. The compression stockings did their job, and I had no swelling. I also kept up my water intake while on the plane though it did make me run to the bathroom hourly! The weather in Frankfurt was very mild so instead of going to the gym I walked about the city, and I did a mini circuit in my hotel room.

Mini-Circuit Hotel Workout:
3 sets – 15 push ups
3 sets – 15 body weight squats
3 sets – 15 lunges

I love walking in cities that I visit. Frankfurt has some beautiful historic architecture as well as a very modern skyline. Eating was a little tricky as I have had a complete aversion to chicken, beef and fish. I can stomach beef and chicken if  ground up and mixed with veggies, but that is not always easy to find. Needless to say, I did not meet my protein quota. I did indulge in a wonderful croissant – one has to when in Europe. The croissant was most delicious on the way down; however  the aftermath was not so pleasant.  Pregnancy  hormones have  slowed down my digestion and caused me to have reflux especially when eating something that has a high fat content. One of the things I noticed on this trip is the quality of food available at both the Frankfurt and Amsterdam airports. It is too bad that most of the airports in the USA do not have good options.

A great advantage about living in Los Angeles is the weather. This year our winter has been nonexistent. It felt so good to step out of the airport and into the warm sunshine.

The day after I returned I had my anatomy scan scheduled. This scan is usually done around 20 weeks and checks the development of the fetus. Thankfully everything is progressing well, and I got to see the little rascal kicking and punching; at one point he even smacked himself in the chin!!! I am always anxious when I go to my check-ups. I now have a system in place where I check the little guy’s heartbeat with my pocket fetal doppler before each appointment just so I know that he is doing well. There is nothing more reassuring than hearing the whomp, whomp, whomp of his heartbeat which usually clocks in at 145 – 150 bpm.

The jet lag has made me extra tired these last few days, so I haven’t done much in the gym other than walk on the treadmill and some light upper body/ab training. Nothing to write home about. I do have a yoga class scheduled on the weekend, and I am adding some Pilates in next week so that I can have some variety.

My latest comforts have been:
– lemon, cucumber and mint water
– zucchini pasta – I got a little spiral cutter that makes pasta like strands… a little sauce and Parmesan cheese make this a tasty treat
– tangerines

I will check in with you all again soon.

week 21 dina
If you have questions related to Dina’s pregnancy and what her journey has been like post them in the comments below or email her.

Kaitlyn Leaves WWE – Plans Return to Fitness

Former Divas Champion Kaitlyn has decided to leave the WWE and eyes a return to the Fitness Industry. You may recall Kaitlyn, or known to those in the fitness world as Celeste, competed in the NPC before her meteoric rise to the top of the WWE. Celeste shared some of her adventures here on Hardbody and we’re happy for what her future has in store. She announced that she is engaged to PJ Braun, trainer and NPC Bodybuilder, and that she plans a return to the fitness industry with a new supplement company.

kaitlyn leaves wwe

Celeste has something most search for but never find… a personality. It’s her witty sense of humor, ability to poke fun at herself and of course her hardbody that make her a star in whatever she chooses to do. Celeste shares that she will be starting up her own clothing line for fellow muscle chicks and look for more in the coming months. While we’re bummed we won’t get to see her kick in any more skulls inside the ring, we wish her nothing but the best in the next chapter of her life.

See her video goodbye here.

Dina Al Sabah – Staying Healthy & Fit While Pregnant

Dina Al Sabah let the world know the news yesterday… She’s expecting! Dina posted a photo on Facebook and shared the news with everyone. She’s been kind enough to document her journey and share it here. Dina was one of the pioneers in the IFBB Women’s division. As an amateur, she competed in women’s bodybuilding, fitness and figure. After successfully petitioning for her pro card (since she wasn’t able to through her country at the time) she had a solid run as a Pro Figure competitor. She made the transition into the Bikini division and found herself in the top spots once again. Dina graced the cover of Oxygen, IRONMAN and other magazines along the way. If you think she’s just another attractive competitor/model, think again. She has a degree in Electrical Engineering and has probably forgotten more about computers than most people ever know. Dina decided to hang up her competition suit after a successful career.


Dina Al Sabah’s Pregnancy – The First 20 Weeks
Prior to pregnancy, I had very clear thoughts about how mine would be. Of course, I would stay on the same diet and only add the necessary calories; I would workout up till the very end, and I would not have to switch to maternity clothing until I was at least half way through. Needless to say, all those lofty thoughts went out the window pretty much the minute I saw that positive sign on a home pregnancy test. Clearly every pregnancy journey is unique and is dependent on each individual’s circumstances. In my case, in order to optimize my body for pregnancy I had to be mindful of not exercising too much or eating too little. As a former competitor, I would always be anxious if I could not see my abs in the morning; however, having low body fat was not going to be conducive to getting pregnant. The months prior to getting pregnant I ate more and did less cardio allowing my body to settle in at about 132 lbs.

The first few months of pregnancy were miserable. I had low grade nausea throughout the day that peaked at night. Most foods I used to enjoy like chicken and steak ended up making me gag. I couldn’t even stand to watch my husband eat meat. My go to foods were noodle and vegetable soup, eggs, crackers…and more crackers. The nausea was always worse if I let myself get hungry, so I put myself on a 3 hr. eating schedule. Most of the reading I did stated that protein would help keep the nausea at bay, but the only things that I could tolerate were starches. Other than feeling crabby, I was also not allowed to work out until I was about 12 weeks along. My OB was extra cautious due to my “advanced maternal age” and preferred that when I started back up in the gym that I keep my heart rate under 135 and that I avoid overheating. He recommended swimming as the best form of cardio while pregnant.

I invested in a Mio Alpha watch to keep track of my heart rate as the Polar chest strap was just not working for me. At my first gym session, I noticed that my heart rate was much higher than it was usually. Just walking on the treadmill was giving me a heart rate in the 120’s, so I literally had to stroll very leisurely. Upon further investigation, I found out that this increase is very normal, and it is, in fact, one of the first signs that some women pick up on when they are pregnant. At about 13 weeks, I resumed my weight training activities. I cut back on all my weights by 50% and started off with a lower body/upper body split. Once I felt better, I returned to my regular workouts albeit at a much lower intensity. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have a healthy baby, enjoy my pregnancy and not overdo it in the gym. I applaud women who are pregnant and box jumping, crossfitting, running etc.; I am assuming they are doing it with the blessing of their OB. I, on the other hand, feel that I can go back to those activities once I give birth.

Weeks 9-13
I started taking weekly “belly” shots to see how things were changing. To the average person, I most likely look a little bloated, but I do notice a difference. I also notice that I am starting to have some water retention and that my jeans are very snug especially towards the end of the day. Nausea still rears its ugly head every so often, but I have only thrown up twice. At 13 weeks, after my NT scan and first trimester screening, I felt well enough to start some activity. I have been very anxious since the beginning as I have had the unfortunate experiences of miscarriage and thoughts of doom and gloom are always lurking.

Weeks 14-17
Thankfully the nausea has abated, but I still cannot stomach eating much protein. My coach, Layne Norton, suggested using pasteurized egg whites in smoothies which I actually enjoy. I moved to a 5 day split (back/chest, legs part 1, bi/tri, shoulders, legs part 2) and about 15-20 minutes of steady state cardio at week 16. My usual cardio is incline treadmill, elliptical and sometimes the stepmill. My goal has been to keep my heart rate in the 120s. When I lift, my heart rate does go into the high 130s, but I make sure to give myself enough rest for it to go back down. If I lived in a walking city I would choose to walk everywhere, but Los Angeles makes that a little difficult so indoor cardio will have to do.

Week 18
This week I got some lower back pain which can be one of the unfortunate symptoms of pregnancy, so I have taken it easy and skipped the gym. I have implemented a nightly stretching and rolling routine. I do a series of neck stretches and some sun salutations. I also use a Rumble Roller and Beasties on my back, shoulders and neck. I look forward to my bi-weekly pre-natal massages.

I haven’t had any cravings; however, my aversions are still there. I am able to eat ground meat, but anything else does not sound appealing at all. I usually start off the day with a Muscle Egg shake. I throw in either a half banana or berries depending on my mood, and about 1/4c of Fage 2%. I have also been addicted to Fitness Bread; something about its chewiness just makes me salivate. I usually have a slice with breakfast, and sometimes as a snack. The great news is that I am still not interested in sweets!

Week 19
My back feels better, so I’m back in the gym yay!

For my workouts I did:

Back (10 -12 reps, 3 sets): seated row, high pull, dumbbell row plus 15 minutes on treadmill

Shoulders (10 -12 reps, 3 sets): lateral raises with hold at top, upright rows, front raises plus 15 minutes on stepmill

Arms and mini legs (10 -12 reps, 3 sets): preacher curls, flat curls, rope pull downs, pushups, standing lunges, glute bridges using the stability ball, Bosu body weight squats plus 20 minutes on elliptical.

I really wanted to get to the gym one more day, but my husband was feeling a bit under the weather, so I stayed home since he would feel bad that I snuck in an extra workout without him… yes men are silly!

I am forcing myself to drink lots and lots of water. I found a wonderful water pitcher with an infuser so I am making all sorts of flavored water. My current favorite is cucumber mint. Last week I experimented with lavender and lemon which was very tasty.

Week 20
Happy New Year Everyone!

We are off to Germany tomorrow for a few days. I have already been instructed by my OB to walk every hour, drink plenty of water and wear some over the counter compression stockings. Last night I tried out the very sexy compression stockings. While they were surprisingly comfy, the stockings are hideous. Thankfully I am flying in a cabin with a flat bed seat so at the very least I can get some sleep, but my goal is to drink enough water so that I HAVE to get up every hour, that way there is no slacking off. I had a decent leg workout today but kept it super light as I do not want to be sore tomorrow!

Leg extensions, box squats, cable kick backs, straight leg deads, plié squats.

I will check in with you next week when I return.

If you have questions related to Dina’s pregnancy and what her journey has been like post them in the comments below or email her.

WWE Features “Superstars and Divas bodybuilding past”

Our resident Hardbody contributor, Kaitlyn became the WWE Divas champ and shot to worldwide fame in the process. We’ve known her since her competition days and today WWE.com took note of her past on their website. See the excerpt below for what they had to say about the HARDBODY champ.


From WWE.com:

WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn got an early start in the world of bodybuilding, beginning her training at 18.

“I did really well in several NPC shows in Texas,” the Divas Champion said. “The first show I ever did, I trained all on my own and didn’t have a nutritionist or a trainer. I just loved bodybuilding and fitness ever since I was a kid. I placed 10thout of 20, which is pretty good for doing everything on my own at 18.

One year later, she came back and won the same show.

However, Kaitlyn’s favorite moment was competing in the Arnold Classic figure division at the amateur level. “I was the youngest competitor on stage,” she said. “Even though I didn’t win the show, I placed top five. Just being in the top five in the Arnold Classic — a huge international show that I was invited to — was such cool moment for me.”

Recalling the rigors of bodybuilding competition, Kaitlyn revealed her secret to success.

“A lot of people say the diet is the hardest thing. But once you commit to doing it, the diet just becomes routine. The hardest thing is staying mentally focused. Once you accept this [diet and cardio] is what you have to do, it’s easy. The second that you get out of the right mindset, it screws everything up.”

Certainly, Kaitlyn has figured out the key to success in WWE as well.

See more WWE superstars and divas who competed in bodybuilding here. We were a bit surprised that they didn’t feature Aksana who not only competed in the Figure International but she also shook Arnold’s had as the winner in 2009.


Zivile at the Arnold Classic / Figure International

Confessions Of An Insecure Competitor

Jessica Paxson has been on a number of magazine covers and has consistently been a top IFBB Pro. Many would assume a beautiful woman like Jessica is always confident and never experiences self-doubt. She opens up to share her own insecurities and shares a friendly reminder to not only competitors but all women.


Confessions Of An Insecure Competitor
By Jessica Paxson

I was recently asked by a client, “How do you keep from comparing yourself to other competitors backstage at a show/how do you keep yourself calm before going on stage?”

The first part of the question reminded me of being back stage at the 2005 Jr Nationals. I remember looking around at all of the amazing competitors with tears welling up in my eyes, I felt I didn’t measure up at all! I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. How did I think I could step on stage with these amazing competitors?! The negative self talk kept coming.

I called my coach (Mike Davies) very upset. He said to me “Jessie, nobody ever won a show sitting backstage”. Isn’t that the truth?! I got myself together, and I went on to win my class and my pro card at that show! I don’t say that to sound arrogant, but only to illustrate that we can be our own worst enemy at times, and get worked up over nothing!

I have never been the most muscular, lean/hard competitor. I have to confess… I would struggle with insecurities that people would look at me off the stage and say “how is she even a pro?”. I would look at other competitors or even women in the gym and covet their more muscular arms. I would get so down on myself! As a competitor and as women we need to stop comparing ourselves to others! God has blessed us each with qualities both physically and otherwise that make us beautiful and unique in our own ways! Know that and own that! It has taken me YEARS to come to this realization and I have such a peace about it! I just wish I could have taught my younger self this lesson!

Take the time backstage at a show to pray and thank Him for the blessing of health and being able to compete, visualize yourself calmly presenting your hard work on that stage with confidence! Take a deep breath and take your time presenting your physique that you have worked so hard on and ENJOY yourself! Your time on stage will be over in the blink of an eye! Stay present and in the moment. Take in the crowd, the judges, the feeling of being on that stage, smile (and mean it! 🙂 ).

Know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made! So, shine! Whether it be on stage or in life in general!

Stay fit and God bless!

Follow Jess on Twitter @Jessfit and like her facebook page.

Hard Body Kaitlyn is The New WWE® Diva Champion

Houston, We see no problems! A HUGE shout out to our Hardbody friend and contributor to the site, Kaitlyn. Tonight in front of thousands of fans in her hometown of Houston,Texas she become the new WWE® Diva Champion. Th hometown girl was down early but not out. At the end of the match she hoisted the belt in victory.


Follow Kaitlyn on twitter at @KaitlynWWE and like her Facebook page.

Watch the match on WWE.com

Via wwe.com:

You know what they say: Good things come to those who wait. And Kaitlyn’s persistence in pursuing the Divas Title finally paid off on Raw’s 20th anniversary, when the beautiful NXT veteran finally dethroned Eve as Divas Champion, capturing the butterfly-emblazoned title in a hard-fought match with an interesting stipulation. While Eve had largely retained the title due to chicanery and an exploitation of technicalities, SmackDown General Manager Booker T decreed the title would change hands if Eve got herself counted out or disqualified again, as she had done in recent bouts between her and Kaitlyn.

The stipulation worked entirely to the challenger’s advantage, as Eve found herself with nowhere to escape Kaitlyn’s relentless onslaught. The champion looked as though she might pull off the victory after a rough start, but couldn’t close the door on the contest to notch a three-count or submission. The two Divas matched each other shot for shot, as Eve kicked out of Kaitlyn’s reverse DDT, Kaitlyn escaped the neckbreaker and Eve withstood the gutbuster in a vicious sequence of signature maneuvers. Kaitlyn inevitably proved herself the wilier of the two when Eve tossed Kaitlyn over the barrier and assumed the win was in hand. While Eve called for a count-out, Kaitlyn snuck back into the ring and rocked the champion with a spear, bringing Eve’s reign to its crashing close.

But that’s not all: One Diva’s triumph was another one’s final downfall as, moments later, a furious Eve quit WWE during an WWEActive interview.

Check out the video where Kaitlyn is all tears…of joy after her win. Here’s some HARDBODY photos of Kaitlyn shot by Liftstudios specifically for Kaitlyn and this site.

See more photos of Kaitlyn on WWE.com.

Lead image via WWE.com

Ronda Rousey Headlines First Women’s UFC Fight & Some Bros Are Mad

One of my favorite hardbody women, Ronda Rousey continues to make history. When she’s not arm-barring someone inside the cage she’s giving the media a headline to chat about. Sure she has the looks but that will only take you so far in any walk of life. What’s attractive to any business is the all-mighty dollar and Rousey is money. Ronda rocked the cover of ESPN Magazine The Body Issue, she’s on the current cover of Oxygen magazine and featured in the newest Esquire. She’s doing appearances on talk shows and getting out of her comfort zone because she knows it’s good business not only for her but also the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). The UFC is the fastest growing sport and in two months Ronda will not only be the first female to fight on their roster, she’s also headlining it.

UFC President, Dana White was against women in the UFC telling TMZ we’d “never” see them in the octagon.That was until Rousey came along. Now Dana White is not only bringing women’s MMA into the fold but he’s also made it the headline fight for UFC 157.

Oh what a difference a year makes.

Last year around this time fight fans were blasting Rousey for her lack of experience in MMA and claiming she was a one-trick pony. Ronda is known for arm-bar finishes inside the cage. Some call Rousey cocky but in the words of Kid Rock, “It ain’t braggin’ m_f_er if ya back it up.” She’s backed it up before and she’ll have the chance to do it all over again in Anaheim, California on Feb 23, 2013.

Not everyone is stoked about Ronda having top billing though. The co-main event features former UFC light-heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida against Dan Henderson. Dan Henderson’s striking coach, Gustavo Pugliese, was none to pleased with ‘Rousey vs Carmouche’ getting billing over the injury plagued fighter. After posting a rant on facebook he clarified (kind of) his comments to GracieMag.

“Where I come from, there’s a pecking order for anything in life,” he explained. “I believe in paying dues. In this particular case, ‘Hendo’ and Machida paid their dues a long time ago. For someone new to come in and have a free ride just seems unfair to them and the whole sport they helped build.”


He’s right they have “paid their dues” but with all due respect that doesn’t entitle you to blast Rousey and claim she’s getting a “free ride”. Like the boys, she’s paid her dues and now she’ll get the chance to let the world see on PPV.

Deal with it.

This isn’t the first time Henderson and Rousey have shared the spotlight. Earlier this year UFC magazine (now UFC 360) featured the two fighters on the cover of their Olympic issue. Henderson is an accomplished wrestler but never won an Olympic medal. Rousey on the other hand was the Judo bronze medalist in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. She became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in Judo.

Rousey was originally scheduled to make her Strikeforce debut on the same card as ‘Henderson vs Fedor’ in 2011 however the fight was pushed back. She went onto win the rescheduled fight and months later became the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion.

I’m willing to bet more casual MMA fans know who Ronda Rousey is than Dan Henderson. Diehard MMA fans will tune into the PPV no matter what but it’s the new fans that the UFC is eyeing. Dana White isn’t stupid. He recognizes the hard work Rousey has been doing in and out of the cage. She’s everywhere in the media and finishes her business in the cage.

That’s good business not only for Rousey but also the UFC. Tickets for UFC 157 go on sale Friday, December 21, 2012.


UFC logo and poster via zuffa – UFC.

MMA with Momo – UFC 146 Predictions

IFBB Bikini Pro Monique Ricardo is back with her MMA predictions for UFC 146. The fight takes place Saturday, May 26th in Las Vegas, Nevada. When Momo isn’t training for a bikini competition, she’s kicking ass on the mat. Monique trains alongside headline fighter Junior Dos Santos so you can be assured she’s legit. Check out her picks for this weekend’s main fights.

MMA with Monique

Hey Hardbody buddies,
I don’t know what your doing this Saturday but I will be in downtown Dallas watching the UFC heavyweights throw down! This Saturday, UFC 146 will feature an amazing card. The exciting part is the payperview fights will be all heavyweights, a first in UFC history. The interesting thing about heavyweights is that they weigh over 230 pounds, that means any punch or kick can knock a mofo out. That makes me think about when Arnold Schwarzenegger knocked out a camel on “Conan the destroyer” LOL. So if you are not doing anything don’t miss this fights. My team mate and friend Junior dos Santos will be fighting Frank Mir, I hope he knocks his teeth out hahahhaha just kidding… maybe lol! Here are my predictions for this card.

Struve vs Johnson –
I’m gonna go with Struve aka skyscraper on this one…this guy is very tall like 7 ft something from the Netherlands. I have seen this guy about to lose and pull a horseshoe out of nowhere! This guy is very lucky.

Miocic vs Del Rosario –
Del Rosario for the win this should be a brawl fight!

Nelson vs Herman – Def goin with Nelson here….judging by Herman’s last fight Nelson is motivated to win this fight because he wants to get back on top to shoot for the belt!

Velasquez vs Silva –
Velasquez for the win… he is quicker than Silva and more aggressive. Just a bad match up for the big foot. Even though I like Bigfoot because he trains with our team, I don’t think its a good match up for him because the guy (Cain) is really really fast and prolly going to take down and ground and pound!

Dos Santos vs Mir – Being a team Noguiera member, this fight is really special to me because Dos Santos will be fighting Mir, who beat his master(Noguiera) with a nasty kimora breaking his arm. Mir talks a lot and has gotten really full of himself lately! I can’t wait for Dos Santos to knock him out:) I have witnessed live, his heavy fists and his Jiu jitsu skills dominate his training partners! This warrior packs a lot of power.A lot of fans (especially me) will hope for Dos Santos to avenge his teacher with this fight!

Let MOMO know what you think of her predictions in the comments below or on her facebook page.

Opinion: IFBB Women’s Physique Division – Under Construction

The first IFBB Women’s Physique competition is in the books and it left many scratching their heads. Shocking that a show would have some controversy (note sarcasm). Every show has some unhappy fans and someone upset at the outcome, it’s been that way for decades so why would it change now? It hasn’t and it won’t. Eleven IFBB Women’s Physique Pros took the stage in Mesa, Arizona and only a couple of people saw the inaugural winner coming, one of which is women’s bodybuilding historian Steve Wennerstrom. If anyone knows how to size up a women’s physique competition it’s Steve as he’s been covering competitions for decades. Did he know something others didn’t by predicting Karina Nascimento as the winner before the show? It’s a little thing called experience.

In today’s online world many people mistaken a bit of a fan base as being the odds-on favorite to win a show. Sorry folks but having more “likes” on facebook and more views on Youtube than another competitor doesn’t make you the winner of a physique competition. Competitors should without question build their own brand and create a fan base however the fans need to remember the judging takes place on stage and not facebook or a forum. Let me preface this by saying I was NOT at the Phoenix Pro show and having covered hundreds of shows and photographed thousands of physiques over the years, I know photos are not an accurate depiction of a show. If you’re judging a competition by photos then you’ve never sat at a judged table or directly behind it. It looks very different than photos and even different then a few rows back. As I wrote in my Desert Muscle preview, I didn’t think we’d see “the ideal” in this show and more than likely most women would be too ripped and too muscular for this new division. What happened? The women were told by IFBB Pro athlete rep Bob Cicherillo that they need to tone it down as they were looking too big and too ripped for the division. What does that mean? He shared they (the judges) don’t want to see excessive muscularity and don’t want to see striations. Bob shared in his wrap up video that people need understand that this is not women’s bodybuilding and it’s not Figure.

So what is it?

It’s something in between.

Am I a fan of the division? Well, I’m all for giving women an opportunity to compete so from that standpoint, yes. While the division is new and will certainly evolve, I don’t see what it will do except confuse fans and participants along the way. It appears that Figure competitors with more muscle will likely fair well in this division. Bodybuilders bringing it down a notch apparently are still too big. So what does that leave? Confusion. Despite what the criteria may be on paper we haven’t seen an ideal in the NPC or Pro ranks to point to. What should the women’s physique competitor look like? At the inaugural IFBB show the judges felt Karina Nascimento fit the criteria the best. Does that make her the standard? On that day, at that show it did. Does that mean she is “the look” for the division. It points to what type of look the judges will reward however it doesn’t make her the Women’s Physique ideal.

Everyone has a different view on what they think the WPD should look like. Some think the first NPC Pro card winner of the division,  Dana Linn Bailey is the look. Others have thrown out names like Larissa Reiss and Juliana Malacarne. I personally think the ideal could be past Figure Olympia champion Jenn Gates as she looked at last year’s Figure International. She was obviously too hard and too muscular for the current Figure division. She has the looks, the muscle and the shape/structure. Will we see Jenn compete in the division? I asked her and she said, “I love my life and there is no diet in it! It would be hard to give up my social life!” She went on to share that she has no desire to compete again and is enjoying her home life away from the stage. So  don’t count on seeing Gates on stage again.

So where does that leave this new division? It’s best described as Under Construction. Will it eventually be worked out and a clear distinction of what is going to be rewarded? Ya, it likely will.  Will we see people up in arms over what is rewarded along the way? That you can bet all your chips on. There are several more shows with women’s physique in it and the winners will likely vary along the way given who competes on that day. I’m personally conflicted over the division as it’s trying to appease a very small section of an already niche industry. Women who are told they are too muscular for Figure enter and then are knocked down because they are “too hard” and then women from bodybuilding enter and are told they are “too muscular”. It’s understandable that fans and participants are confused over the new division. The best advice I can offer is to give it time and see how it works out. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but then again what is?

What are your thoughts on the new division? Share them in the comments below and all opinions are welcome.



photo by dan ray.


Follow Frenchy To The Arnold Amateur

We told you about NPC Figure competitor Swann Cardot last year as she was making her presence known on the competitive stage. She competed in four shows and won every one of them, the last coming with an overall victory at the NPC Easterns. Since that time, Swann has appeared in FLEX magazine and featured in Muscle & Fitness HERS. Now she’s embarking on a new journey, the road to the Arnold Amateur in Columbus, Ohio. We caught up with Swann as she prepares for her toughest challenge yet.


Isaac Hinds interviews Swann as she begins her road to the Arnold. Swann will be checking in over the next few weeks to provide an update on her Arnold Amateur prep.

Some how I’ve managed to come up with a number of nicknames for you ranging from Chick Norris, Tiny Dancer, Frenchy to Ninja. Which is your preferred nickname or just Swann?
Hahaha, Frenchy!!!

Where are you living these days?
In New York

Do you bike to the gym in the snow?
So far so good! I’m handling the cold and still ride my bike to the gym everyday. Let’s see if I’m tough enough to ride it in the snow when the days come.

You recently hit the slopes. Do ski or snowboard?
I skied and did some intense walking up and down the slopes, music blasting in my headphones. This was the best one all. My glutes were on fire!

Did you do a dance on the top of the mtn?
I actually did lol, I have a picture to prove it.

Swann Cardot doing her happy dance at the top of the mountain.

Are you still dancing or not so much?

Not right now but may start again soon.

You work with IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Fakhri Mubarak. How has working with Fahkri helped you improve?
Fakhri Mubarak has been helping me with my diet and contest prep. He has figured out exactly how my body works and was able to bring me learner, fuller and harder on my last two shows. Fakhri is unbelievable at what he does! Not only he has improved my look, but also my health and my mind. Since a very young age, I was always scared of food which always took a tool on me physically and mentally. Through Fakhri I was able to learn a lot about myself, understand the mechanic of the body and become better in this sport. I trully owe a lot to my coach!

You recently received your acceptance letter to compete in Columbus. What made you decide to do the Arnold Amateur?
The Arnold Amateur IFBB International is a very big show, and also the only chance* for me to get my Pro card. After doing my last show The Eastern USA, I wanted to compete again as soon as possible. If you know me, you know how much I love stepping on stage. I feel very lucky to have got the opportunity to participate in the Arnold’s this year and I am ready to bring my best to the stage.

*Swann is not a US Citizen and unable to enter national NPC shows where IFBB pro cards are awarded.

How do you think you compare now to your previous shows – any changes in the physique?
I am currently training, focusing a lot my back and shoulders. I have put on a little more mass since my previous show so hopefully I will accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself by then.

Do you plan to come in any differently?
I would love to come in leaner and a bit harder but this is also where I have to be very careful and make sure I still bring in the look the judges are looking for in a figure competitor.

What’s your training schedule look  like?
Monday – Chest
Tuesday – Back
Wednesday – Shoulders
Thursday – Arms
Friday – Legs
Saturday – Back & Shoulders
Sunday – Off

Do you train with TRX?
I rarely train with TRX, I usually stick to weights. But I like to keep my workouts fun so I’ll throw in different techniques here and there.

Swann showing off her ninja TRX skills.

How much cardio do you do a day?
I do an hour of cardio every morning after my workout but do two cardio sessions a day during a contest prep.

How much weight do you change from “offseason” to show time?
I make sure not to put on more then 5-7lbs

I saw you’re a a fan of Muscle Eggs, how did you find out about Muscle Eggs?
I discovered Muscle Egg through my sponsor NATURAL BODY Sport Supplements, Nutrition & Vitamins. It really makes life so much easier! Check em out on www.ifbbsupplements.com

What’s your favorite way to eat them?
I am French and love crepes. Here’s the way I make them. Cook a very thin layer of muscle egg liquid in a pan and use butter spray as topping. For thicker crepes, you can also blend it with protein powder & oat meal. Very yummy, you should try!

I will Try the “Frenchy Muscle Egg Crepe” today. Something tells me I may need some tips on cooking a good crepe though. HA!

Any secret for making chicken taste better?
I cook my chicken with pepper, oregano & fat free spicy brown mustard from Gulden’s.

Ok, I don’t do mustard but for everyone else that might work.

How many meals a day do you eat?
6 meals.

Who will be making your suit?
Saleyla.com Silvia has made all my suits, she is very talented and quick.

You were featured in FLEX and Muscle & Fitness HERS – how was it shooting for a magazine?
It was a unique experience. Shooting for a fitness spread is physically very intense, a lots of reps over and over, it is also hard to stay pump and full for hours. My recommendation is make sure you bring enough food with you!!! I absolutely enjoyed it and looking forward to shoot again this year. Fingers crossed…

How does a ninja relax on the weekends?
On my day off I love to spend time at home, do all my cleaning, watch movies, hang out with friends, go shopping.

What’s something you want to accomplish in the fitness industry that you haven’t yet?
I would love to become a spoke model. I think I need to improve my English, the way I express myself and be more relaxed in front for the camera. I am actually considering taking improv classes for that purpose. Overall lots of work my way! 😉

A Frenchy’s work is never done. Thanks for doing the interview and keep training hard. If people have questions for you as you prep for the Arnold Amateur where can they reach ya?
I’m on twitter @swannCardot and Facebook.


Do you have to be HARDCORE to be HARDBODY?

Welcome our newest Hardbody contributing writer, Kelsey Craun. Kelsey is a self-proclaimed “fitness nerd” who has a sensible approach to her hardbody. She will be sharing her views on a variety of topics in the months ahead and we’re stoked to have her on the Hardbody Team. Check out her first thoughts on being “hardcore”.

Do you have to be HARDCORE to be HARDBODY?

By Kelsey Craun
When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, there’s something to be said for maintaining an intense attitude towards it. You want to step on stage in a figure or bikini competition suit? You need to have drive and determination. There is absolutely no questioning that…. Unless you don’t really care what you look like on stage, in which case I kindly suggest finding a different goal.

But does it need to take over your life? Is it “healthy” to be compulsive about your diet and training year round? No, and no. Is it healthy for a woman to maintain an extremely ripped physique for long periods of time? Again, the answer is no. Health, fitness, and being HARDBODY are about so much more than how ripped your abs are, or how many calories your burn on the treadmill each morning. It’s not that simple, or that shallow.

Are your fitness goals getting in the way of important relationships? Do you still “allow” time for other hobbies you used to enjoy? Do you mentally beat yourself up when you “screw up” your diet? You can be lean and healthy without weighing every ounce of food you eat, and without doing cardio 6 days a week.

It seems like the “HARDCORE” folks lose sight of this too often. Aesthetic goals should not cause you lose sight of the rest of your life outside of fitness. In your quest to be a HARDBODY, you have to remember that more is not always better (I’m talkin’ about you, Overtraining Syndrome and Adrenal Fatigue – Yes, you CAN workout so much that it harms your health). Also remember that being ridiculously “hardcore” outwardly about your dreams of vascularity and striations doesn’t make you any better than the girl who silently kicks your ass in both back squats and life balance. Extremism generally isn’t healthy physically, mentally, or emotionally. If being totally ripped is a major source of happiness in your life, it may be time to re-evaluate your priorities.

Am I suggesting you sit on your couch and eat chips while simultaneously downing cans of soda instead of hitting the gym? Obviously not, but I am suggesting that having good balance in different aspects of your life is more important (and healthier) than being super “shredded” every day of your life.

Fitness models and competitors who are in the public eye need to take a step back and ask themselves if they are encouraging health and fitness, or vanity and extremism.



About Kelsey Craun:
B.S. – Exercise Physiology
Exercise Science Grad Student
ACSM – Certified Personal Trainer
NPC Competitor
Fitness Nerd


Kelsey Craun – Photo by LiftStudios.com


Hey! I am a fitness blogger/personal trainer who’s passionate about lifting, coffee, learning, and peanut butter ♥ I have my B.S. in Exercise Physiology, and am currently a full-time graduate student in the process of getting my M.S. in Exercise Science with a concentration in Nutrition & Exercise.

I want to use my education/experience to give people sound advice (amidst all of the crappy advice and information out there) and to help motivate/inspire people to live a little healthier 🙂

In less “serious” news, I recently did my very first NPC Bikini division competition, and won my height class and the overall… Competing again soon! 1st in class A and Overall winner at the 2011 Lenda Murray Championships, then 4th in class B at IFBB North American Championships… and that’s it! Just the 2 shows so far.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KelseyCraun
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/KelseyCraun
Personal blog: http://kelsfit.com


Nicole Wilkins Answers Your Hardbody Competition Questions

The defending Arnold Sports / Ms. Figure International Champ, Nicole Wilkins gives us an update on her contest prep and answers your questions. Nicole talks stretch marks, politics, cardio and more.

Wow! What a week! I feel like my training has kicked up a notch this as my entire body is sore and my appetite is through the roof! 7 weeks out from the Arnold and things are going smooth – my metabolism has kicked up and I’m feeling strong. Today was a higher calorie day and tomorrow I have a massage scheduled, so the week will be off to a great start. I also picked out my color suit for the show – it’s a color I have never worn before. I can’t wait to see the final outcome! Other than the usual, I haven’t traveled for almost the entire month so I have been enjoying my time at home 😉

I have gathered some of your competition questions to answer. Feel free to ask away on my facebook page  www.facebook.com/nicolewilkins01 and I may pick yours for a future blog.

1. I always hear everyone say that doing competitions is all politics and about who you know to win. Someone may look better but doesn’t win because the judges favor the other person more. Do you really think that happens?
The sport is very subjective. This is the reason that there is a panel of judges and not just one or two of them. It is a collaborative score between at least 7-9 judges at local NPC shows and even more at the National and Professional competitions. The high and low scores are eliminated when tallying up the totals, so if one judge tends to favor one girl and the scores are way off from the rest, it won’t matter because that score would be eliminated. For a competitor to win that didn’t deserve it because of politics, all of those judges would have to agree and the chances of that happening are very slim. Aside from the fact that if he/she gets caught, they would be removed from judging any future competitions, the risk just wouldn’t be worth it.

Bottom line, you must come in to each show looking the best you can. If you didn’t place where you thought you should have, ask why. Don’t blame it on someone else, take a real honest look at your physique and see where you can improve. In my experience it is only those who don’t do well that blame it on the politics. I do believe that if a competitor continues to come back with improvements to their physique and has a good attitude each time they step onstage, the judges may take that into consideration.

2. What is an appropriate intensity and amount of cardio for the offseason vs when preparing for a contest? How many days a week? Alone or after weights? Would cutting calories be more effective than hours of cardio?
The appropriate intensity and amount of cardio will vary from physique to physique. If there was one set plan, it would be easy 🙂

If you tend to pack on the pounds fairly easily, then you may keep the duration around 45 minutes each day. If you are trying to gain muscle, then keeping it closer to 30 minutes a few times a week may be sufficient. I usually recommend doing cardio immediately after weight training or at a separate time. This way, you will have more energy for your weight workouts. I also believe that your diet makes up 80% of what you look like and that hours upon hours won’t make much of a difference if you are eating like crap. So yes, cutting calories and eating clean is more effective than hours of cardio, but the most effective way to get in shape is obviously a combination of both.

3. I’m in the process of having laser treatments to remove my tattoos. I wanted to know if there are any good products I can use to cover them up now? I am concerned about having them and competing. Is this something that the judges frown upon? Thanks!

Jan Tana makes a tattoo cover-up that can be placed under the tan onstage. It can be found here.

This product is great for photo shoots or day-to-day life and goes on smooth. However, sometimes onstage it can make the tan a little thick and if it rubs off or you have too much on, it could look a little muddy. If your tattoo is not big and distracting, I would leave it alone. Although skin tone is taken into consideration, the judges won’t mind minor tattoos. Men and women compete with them all the time.

4. How extensive can stretch marks / scars be on a woman and she still have hope of doing well in competitions? I know the fake tan covers a lot of flat stretch marks and scars, but I used to weigh over 230 lbs at 5′ 6″ tall and when I was cutting to see how I looked, I found that the stretch marks and loose skin were very apparent. I was around 130 lbs when I stopped cutting down due to being discouraged by this. I feel my build is great, but the loose, bumpy, and scarred skin troubles me. I don’t want to set myself up for embarrassment or severe disappointment.

First of all, congratulations on having lost 100 pounds! Before you get discouraged due to stretch marks, take a look back at how far you have come. Your health is better, energy is higher and you have extended years to your life.

I am pretty certain that nearly everyone reading this blog (men included) have stretch marks somewhere on their body. I have them on my upper right thigh and the top of my glutes. Unfortunately some have them worse than others. Exercise, staying hydrated and keeping the skin moisturized will help tighten the skin. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they won’t ever completely go away. They will most likely go from a darker pinkish color to a lighter clearer color, similar to a scar. The only way to remove them or loose skin, is to have it surgically removed.

When it comes to competition, a portion of it is based on skin tone. If there is a lot of loose skin, it could effect your placing. However, if your dream is to get onstage because you are proud of your body and what you have accomplished, who is anyone to tell you no? Every single competitor up there has a story. The tan, the cut of the suit, as well as your posing could make some of the stretch marks less noticeable. It is ultimately your decision. But please, competing is for fun. You are being judged on someone else’s opinion, so don’t take it to heart and think that you do not look good. You have already won with the changes you have made to your body.

Until next time….

Be sure to check out my 2012 Motivational Calendar.

Make sure to visit her website for more info on Nicole and how you can train with her. Follow Nicole on twitter @NicoleMWilkins.

SportsStylist Tip – Model Respect

Cindy “The SportsStylist” is back with a simple time for all models and model hopefuls. The clothes provided on magazine and ad shoots are often samples or pieces specific for the job. These samples often need to be returned to the company that provided it or to the store.



SportsSylist Tip:
Trying apparel on will be part of your day before shooting, and while we don’t expect you to hang the apparel back up, we do appreciate you handing it to us right side out (and not leaving it on the bathroom floor in a ball) Remember these are samples or pieces the stylist must return to a store – be gentle and respectful.


Check out Cindy’s blog at cindywhitehead.blogspot.com. Also make sure you follow her on  twitter.com (@sportsStylist). If you haven’t “liked” her Facebook page check it out… facebook.com/SportsStylist

Kaitlyn’s Corner: WWE Diva’s Take on New Year’s Resolutions

Our favorite skull crusher in the WWE is back in the New Year and she lays some smack down. Who Dat? WWE Diva Kaitlyn of course. She holds nothing back on those who would rather text kitten photos than squat in the gym and she reminds us all to DO WORK SON!

From Kaitlyn:

Happy Hardbody New Year
So it’s about that time we start thinking about the new year and a new set of resolutions and promises to ourselves. For some of us it’s weight loss, a new workout regimen, save money, or my personal favorite… stop drinking. For others, it’s to conserve water (bathe less), stimulate the economy (buy an ass-load of stuff you will never use), or “go green” (act like you care about the environment in order to look more attractive to that hot guy, with the dreads, that works at Whole Foods).

Maybe you fully intend on focusing on the next year and improving yourself as a person, inside and out, or maybe you’re goals are superficial and materialistic.
Regardless of your intentions, I feel as though New Years resolutions are short lived and something we are all just… programmed to do. New Years resolutions are often prostituted by people that believe they can change a large aspect of their life just like THAT. (I made a poor attempt to snap my fingers aggressively to emphasize the quickness of the word “that”).

I mean, really what’s the difference between December 31st and January 1st? Besides your blood alcohol level, it’s just another day. In most cases, I believe people make resolutions just because everyone else is doing it. Perhaps, it does provide a certain kind of motivation. It’s a new year, a fresh start, a chance to reinvent yourself. For one reason or another, most fall back into their same routine, same bad habits, and same “fat” jeans. I hate my fat jeans. They haunt me in my dreams.

Seriously, most new gym members that join January 1st don’t even make it to February 1st.

kaitlyn wweKaitlyn on WWE NXT last Tuesday.

I don’t consider myself a pessimist, (unless it’s earlier than 6 am). However, I feel like I’m a fairly down to earth and a realistic person. In my short 25 years on this earth, I have found that people don’t really change unless they are truly, truly committed. Even then, old habits die hard. If you haven’t worked out a day in your life, except for awkward-back acne-training bra-junior high gym class, I don’t really think you’re going to become an instant advocate of HIIT. Just sayin’.

While I’m on this subject…. Isn’t it just the worst thing when you walk into YOUR gym, ready bang out a workout….and there’s a bunch of new members that don’t really want to be there? I’m all for people getting in the gym and making changes in their life to be more fit and healthy. It’s the people that DON’T really want to be there that really grind my gears. There they are, at the squat rack to do something that vaguely resembles a squat… Or some kind variation of a push press, (with some people, I can’t tell the difference) and somehow texting pictures of kittens to their friends, at the same time.

Ok… I text pictures of kittens too. Seriously just google “kittens in costumes” and try not to be amused. BUT… There is a time and place for everything and the weight room floor is not one of those places. I use examples from the gym because fitness goals are among the most common New Years resolutions… And in most cases the most amusing. Anyways, Allz I’m saying is that if you really want something bad enough and you really believe you have the dedication, discipline and drive to truly accomplish it… Then don’t just pretend…DO IT.

Be different this year. Be one of the few that actually follows through and accomplishes their goals. Whether it’s big or small, commpletely materialist or something that will possibly help get you laid… (by the guy at Whole foods).

Push yourself, make sacrifices and do work, SON.

Follow Kaityln on twitter.com/kaitylnWWE and give her a HARDBODY hello.

The SportsStylist: Models,Tell The Truth

Cindy The SportsStylist® has a great tip to kick things off in 2012. If you put on a couple pounds over the holidays don’t sweat it. You’re not alone however if you’re in the business of modeling being in shape is a necessity. Check out what Cindy, who styles hundreds of men and women each year, has to say.

The SportsStylist® Tip:
When you get the call to model for that magazine shoot or advertisement, tell the truth about what shape your body is in and where it will be when the shoot happens (sometimes they will book you 3 weeks out). It’s slightly disappointing to hear a girl is not ready yet, but much better than having someone lie and show up on set out of shape. This almost always guarantees you will not be asked back in the future. Remember what your mom told you “First impressions count!”

Cindy is right, more often than not magazines and companies will not ask you back if you show up out of shape. Thousands of dollars go into photo shoots and the magazine and/or company are investing in you. Remember they chose you for a reason, if you aren’t ready they will appreciate your honesty and keep you in mind for future gigs. It’s not like they are going to stop liking your look but if you are the model who is never in shape when they call don’t expect them to keep calling.

Check out Cindy’s blog at cindywhitehead.blogspot.com. Also make sure you follow her on  twitter.com (@sportsStylist). If you haven’t “liked” her Facebook page check it out… facebook.com/SportsStylist

Cover Model & Figure Champion: Nicole Wilkins’ Hardbody Q & A

The Champ, Nicole Wilkins checks in and answers your questions. This Q&A is a good one because Nicole shares her input on hot topics like fake boobs, placing low in competitions and tips to getting started with a competition. Check this out because it’s something we’re often asked here at hardbody.com and Nicole does a great job of addressing these frequently asked questions.


From Nicole:

Hey there! I hope everyone is enjoying a little down time over the holidays 🙂 This month I have been to Tampa, Boise and New Jersey, so the traveling continues, but I will be home for Christmas which will be really nice.

I love November and December because I get to spend time with my family. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday because I love to eat… and it is usually the last big cheat meal I have before beginning my prep for the Arnold Sports Festival. This year I went shopping with my sister for the first time on Black Friday. She’s not a morning person at all, but she was that day which started with her texting me at 4am just to make sure I was up. LOL! We had a blast and shopped till we dropped at almost 5pm.

The 2012 NPC and IFBB seasons will be here before you know it, so if you have any specific competition questions for me, please email me or post them on my Facebook wall to be added to a future blog. Here are a few I received last month:

1. Do you think breast augmentation is necessary if you weren’t lucky enough to posses them?
That is a tough question to answer, as it really depends on the individual and the reasons why you are thinking about breast augmentation surgery. If you are getting surgery just to place higher remember – you will be stuck with those boobs way longer than you will be walking onstage with the 5” heels. Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, and not only because you think it is going to help you place higher in contests. Suit designers nowadays make padding look so real that I don’t think it is necessary – plus, it can save you thousand of dollars.

2. I love competing but I haven’t placed well yet. I think I look great but then the judges don’t think the same. How do you get through the bumps and still want to keep competing?
First of all, let me just say that if you think you look great, then that is all that matters. You need to be happy with your body regardless of whether you place well or not.

If I were to give up on everything I failed at the first time, I would never be where I am today. Everything worth it in life has bumps to work through. Competing should be fun and a challenge to build your dream physique. I would always ask for feedback from more than one judge. Because it is subjective, you need to get opinions from more than one of them. Then take an honest look at your physique from top to bottom and figure out what you could have done to do better next time.

FYI, you can only get judges feedback AFTER the finals. They are not allowed to give advice between prejudging and finals. If you don’t get a chance to talk with them on show day, just email them your name, number (on your suit, not phone number) and photos from the event and ask for their comments on how you can improve.

Most of all, remember – this is a journey, and one you have to enjoy in order to be successful. When I was starting out, my goal was to win, of course – but I was ultimately happy if I was getting better with each contest. And that still is my goal today, to be better each time I step onstage. If you can be happy with that and set that as your main goal, then I’m sure you will start seeing better results when you step on stage. Good luck!

3. I just started out with a little fitness after having two kids and am thinking about competing. How long do you think that will take?
It could take 6 months, it could take 3 years. It depends on where you are starting from. If you have a good muscle base to start, not a lot of body fat to lose and good shape to your physique (symmetry wise from top to bottom) it won’t take as long. To do a competition, it isn’t only about how much you workout – 80% of it is what you eat.

If you are just starting out these tips may help:
– Get into a regular workout routine but make sure you are lifting properly. It may help to hire a trainer in the beginning.
– Assess the weak areas and strong areas of your physique – competing is all about shaping your body so that it is symmetrical from top to bottom. You don’t want your butt wider than your shoulders, or your arms bigger than your legs 😉
– Understand the muscles you are working. Focus when lifting – the mind muscle connection is very powerful
– Go to a competition to see what you are getting yourself into
– Eliminate all processed sugars/foods, and begin cooking all of your own foods.
– Bring a cooler with you each day and eat smaller portions every 2-3hrs.

Once you have been doing this for a while and feel you are ready to take it to the next level, then I would definitely recommend hiring a coach to help with posing, suit selection, hair, makeup, tanning etc. There is a lot involved and it will help to have someone there to support you along the journey.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Until next time…


Check out Nicole’s new Met-RX calendar and visit her website for her own inspirational calendar. Follow Nicole on twitter @NicoleMWilkins.

Lead Photo Courtesy of Nicole Wilkins’ Facebook.

Kaitlyn’s Awesome Adventures: Mexico Edition

We caught up with our favorite WWE Diva Kaitlyn to see what was crack-a-lack’n. Well besides being McAwesome she’s continued to travel the globe and made her first trip to Mexico. Check out her latest blogsky exclusive to Hardbody.com.



Thanks for joining me for the all new, (and first ever)…

*Awesome Adventures of Kaitlyn: Mexico Edition*

Day one of our short tour began on a Thursday. I got up at 6:00 am and walked a few blocks to the gym and got in a sweet Hardbody workout. It would come to my realization later on, that I am an idiot for getting up so early on a day of international travel AND the same day of our first show.

We flew out of Dallas on a private charter around noon. The best thing about that last sentence isn’t that we flew out of Dallas and it’s not the time of departure neither. We flew on a private charter like rock stars straight into Monterrey, Mexico! Our usual travel from live events, tv days and pay-per-views are normally brutal. We fly into the location of our first show and then we drive… and drive… and drive some more. So this was pretty amazing to get the chance to feel so important, especially for someone as easy impressed as myself.


View of Mexico.

So we arrived in Monterrey and we took a charter bus to the arena for our first show of the tour. We had police escorts surrounding us the whole way. So baller. When we arrived to the arena for show, there was already droves of people waiting to get in hours before Showtime. The experience is extra special for the fans because they don’t get the chance to see live shows very often. Little did they know that this was exponentially more exciting to me because this was my first time to experience Mexico with the WWE. It’s a good thing I reconsidered wearing the sombrero. It’s a little over the top.

The peeps at the arena had a good selection of healthy things to eat…along with ridiculously tempting Mexican delights as well. I stayed away from the beans, enchiladas and anything spicy. I’d compare eating that combination of foods before a wrestling match as something similar to a time bomb.

Once the show got under way, the crowd was electric. When the fans are excited, it makes us excited and makes for an awesome show.

After our main event, we all showered, slapped some clothes on and jumped onto the bus and headed back to our charter jet. We landed in San Louis Potosi and arrived at our hotel about 4:00 am. This was about the time I asked myself why in the hell I got up so early. At least I got my workout in, I had no idea what our gym access would be the rest of the trip. I dropped my bags, turned on the Spanish Disney channel and passed out. I was clearly too lazy to search for the English channels. I figured maybe I’d learn some Spanish in my sleep.

OH YA That's ME!

The next day I still had no knowledge of the Spanish language. Damn It! We all had breakfast and jumped on a shuttle to get a workout in before the next show. We pulled up to an Olympic training facility! Oh snap. It was just a cardio day for me but I couldn’t resist playing with all of the cool stuff they had.

Our next show was outdoors in a baseball stadium at night. Holy air horns, the fans were even more enthusiastic than the night before. Side note: Latin men are big fans of a muscular woman. This is a fact. Needless to say, my quads have a great fan base in Mexico.

Ok so yada yada… Bus… Plane… Hotel…food.. No sleep… Friday morning…NEXT SHOW ! Veracruz had a full baseball stadium of excited fans! It was HOT! Our resident ginger badass, Shaemus, had to wrestling in his under armor shirt to save his sensitive white skin from a severe burn. I was very pleased with this. A big, white, jacked wrestler with fire red hair, wrestling in small trunks and a long sleeve shirt.


In Action & No, I'm not breakdancing.

After the scorching show, we cleaned up in some sort of makeshift shower that looked like a port-a-potty. Since we were outdoors, everything was in tents. Pretty cool experience, plus we had A.C. And electricity. Not too shabby. Then, we flew straight to Mexico City for Raw tv that same night. Whoa. Luckily, Smackdown was taped at the same venue the next day, so we got a little sleep that night.

The following day Smackdown tv had 11,000 people in attendance! I had the honor of wrestling a singles match. It was unreal. That is the most people I’ve performed in front of yet! I also got a mic on the way down to ring. Let’s just say I learned enough Spanish to call my opponent “fish lips”. I was very pleased with myself. I won the match with a sweet leg submission. The crowd went wild. This is easily the highest point of my career thus far.

So in conclusion, Mexico is beautiful… even though I only saw it from the plane, the bus and the hotel room. I had the time of my life, learned some impressive Spanish (boca de pescada: fish lips), won a match in front of 11,000 people with a sweet submission hold using my legs (I give the people what they want), and avoided Montezuma’s revenge.


Follow Kaitlyn on twitter @KaitlynWWE to see what’s up. You might want to look into her MOVEMBER team – just a thought.

Nicole Wilkins’ Hardbody Q&A – The Champ is Back!

We’re excited to have Figure International, Figure Olympia Champ (and a few other titles), Nicole Wilkins here to answer YOUR questions. Nicole has not only been winning on the competitive Figure stage she’s also been blowing up the modeling scene too gracing the current issues of IRONMAN and Fitness RX magazines. Let’s check in with the champ and see what’s up…


Hey Hardbodies, I hope you had a Happy Halloween! Hopefully you stayed away from all the treats 🙂

Hard to believe it is already November. These last couple of months have flown by so fast. And what a month September was! I have to say, it was the best month of my career. I won three contests in a row – the Tournament of Champions, the IFBB Figure Olympia (yes!!) and the Sheru Classic in Mumbai, India. What a trip that was! For photos, check out my facebook page (www.facebook.com/nicolewilkins01). It was an experience I will never forget.

Nicole with the Sheru Classic promoters in Mumbia, India

I also re-signed with my sponsor Met-RX and have been enjoying a short off-season filled with traveling before beginning my prep for the Figure International at the Arnold Sports Festival on March 3, 2012.

I chose four questions from my Facebook fan page and my personal email to answer for you. If you have a question you would like answered in a future blog, I’d love to hear from you.

How do I choose between figure and bikini?
I am asked this question on a regular basis. Both categories have similarities and differences which can at times be confusing for a woman whose body seems to be in the middle of the two.

Here are the similarities:
• Presentation – must be confident onstage
• Skin tone – must be dark enough and have a healthy even color
• Hair and makeup – face must match body color (I have seen faces too light or dark for the body), hair should be natural and healthy looking
• Suit – should fit the body correctly and the color should accentuate your features
•  Athletic shape with a small waist and tight glutes

• Figure girls tend to be mesomorphs. They have more muscle mass, broader shoulders and less bodyfat. Bikini bodies emulate a dancers body with more curves. These ladies tend to be ‘hard gainers’ and have smaller frames. The bodyfat of a bikini competitor is a bit higher than a figure girl.
• Figure suits are more elaborate with swarovski crystals whereas bikini suits have scrunch butts, do not cross in the back, and are a bit more affordable.
• Figure competitors do quarter turns for posing and bikini competitors do front and back poses only. Bikini scoring has more emphasis on personality so competitors have a bit more leeway with the posing than a figure competitor does.

It is important to determine which division best fits your body type. This will help gear your training program and diet to shape your body to meet the given criteria.

What is your current diet and training program now that you are in the offseason?
Right now I am currently following a carb cycling program (2 days low, 1 day high) and doing 45min-1hr of cardio 6 days a week (sometimes more or less depending on how I am feeling).

My workout split is as follows:
Monday – Shoulders and calves
Tuesday – Legs (track)
Wednesday – Arms and abs
Thursday – Back and calves
Friday – Yoga
Saturday – Chest, hamstrings and light shoulders
Sunday – Yoga

An example of a high day would be:
• Meal 1
1/4c cream of rice
4 egg whites
spinach, cabbage, green beans mixed in egg whites

• Meal 2
1/2c quinoa
4oz extra lean ground turkey
green beans

• Meal 3
4oz sweet potato
4oz chicken

• Meal 4
1.5 scoops Met-Rx Whey protein
2 corn tortillas

• Meal 5
1/2c kidney beans
4oz salmon

• Meal 6
4 egg whites
2 rice cakes
1tbsp almond butter

I have been traveling almost every weekend the last couple months and November will be the same. Because of this, my workout schedule varies a lot as does my meals, but I stay on track because I get all workouts in no matter what time or day, and my macros stay the same even though the sources (proteins, carbs and fats) vary. I always have food prepared with me. I will go out to eat in the offseason although I have only had a couple cheats. I do not like to have a cheat meal every week. I don’t need it, and it honestly throws me off mentally because I don’t like the way it makes me feel. Thanksgiving on the other hand, WILL be my day off 🙂

Is it hard to compete in back-to-back contests? What is your rebound like? After your first show, how do you reintroduce your water? How did you cut it? What about carbs?
For me, competing in two shows is not a problem. Competing in 3 shows back to back is very tiring. Making sure I am getting enough sleep and rest is extremely important to make sure I stay healthy. This is going to vary from person to person, but what works for me is dropping my sodium and tapering water without ever cutting it completely. I keep my carbs a little higher but rely moreso on fat sources. After the contest is over, I add a little bit of sodium back in the form of egg whites and mustard for a few days and also keep my water up. If not, my body will go flat and smooth. A few days from the next show, I will repeat the same process.

How do you decide when you are ready to compete?
This is not only a physical sport, but in my opinion almost more of a mental sport. You have to have a focused mindset 24/7 and surround yourself with people who are there to support your journey. If mentally you are not focused (due to overwhelming responsibilities with school, family, work etc) I would wait until you are ready to give it 100%. You need to be ready to prepare all meals and never miss one, train daily in the gym, drink enough water, and get enough sleep throughout the prep. The sacrifices made make the experience very rewarding. Expect good days and bad days. I also do not recommend picking a competition three months away if you have 40lbs to lose. Choose a realistic competition date so that you are not killing yourself to try and get the weight off. When in doubt hire a coach/trainer. I did all my own prep for the first 3-4yrs of my career, but hiring Kim Oddo pushed me to that next level. Often times we have a distorted image of ourselves because we look in the mirror daily. By having that second eye, it relieves a lot of worry. Enjoy the experience. You will learn a lot about yourself and what you are capable of. Most of all have fun!

Until next time….


Nicole with Hardbody.com's Isaac Hinds in India.

Check out Nicole’s new Met-RX calendar! Follow Nicole on twitter @NicoleMWilkins.

Lead Photo Courtesy of Nicole Wilkins’ Facebook.

Hardbody Style’n with The Sports Stylist: Do Your Homework

We’ve been slacking here at Hardbody when it comes to some of our favorite guest blogs but we’re changing all of that. One of our favorite tipster is hipster Cindy Whitehead aka The Sports Stylist. The Cinster has been tearing it up with a number of styling gigs which you can see on her redesigned web site www.cindywhitehead.com. She’s also started a facebook fan page where you can see some of her newest work. This stuff is rad, just like her.

Cindy has a great tip that everyone should follow no matter what your role is in the industry. Check it out!

Homework. Before every shoot I Google the photographer, hair & make-up person and the client as well as the athlete or model I am working with. You should learn to do the same – it’s always good to know who you are working with so you can have a conversation and also not stick your foot in your mouth – like a photographer I worked with did talking about another shooter who’s ex-wife was our make-up artist that day… oops!

Check out Cindy’s blog at cindywhitehead.blogspot.com for more kick ass style’n tips and ideas. She’s also one to follow on  twitter.com (@sportsStylist). How bad ass is she?

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