Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Wish You Were Here (Part 2): WoS Muscle Mansion Weekend

A lot of beef. Looks like a female muscle all-star team.

Right now, I'm sitting on a hotel balcony overlooking the Cypriot coast. It's a balmy 25°C and it's not 10 o'clock yet. Down below, at the hotel swimming pool, my wife is lying out on a sun lounger. Her body looks great even from here, and I know when I finish this up (as well as "a few work emails") and I go down to join her, the closer I get, the better her body will look. It's all rather perfect. There's nowhere I'd rather be...

Although if you offered me a place at female bodybuilding's most exclusive get-together in exchange for my current situation, a sort of reporter on the ground kind of assignment perhaps, well, I would certainly have to think about it before I packed my bags, hightailed it to the airport, and hopped on the plane to Arizona.

I seriously doubt many other female muscle fans would be so circumspect.

The "Muscle Mansion Weekend" is a combination of business and pleasure for eight of the world's current best plus Wings of Strength spokesperson Lenda Murray, organised by Kristal and Jake Wood. And they know how to treat them right. Gifts, dinner, an evening out at the ice-hockey. Dressing up for photoshoots, a workout, and a little bit of contract signing as well it seems. A weekend of FBB wins all round.

There was reigning Ms Rising Phoenix Margie Martin, Helle Trevino, and Alina Popa. There was Aleesha Young, returning to the stage this year in Omaha, and Shawna Strong, Arizona local, scheduled to flex in anger again soon at the Toronto Pro, plus 2016 Puerto Rico champ Kim Buck. And there were two new pros, Margie protégé Brittney O'Veal, and Hot and Hard 100 runner-up, Theresa Ivancik.

Feast enough. But as well as Lenda, who still looks glorious at 55, I can't be the only one who's noticed just how much beef there is on Kristal Wood. No mean feat to make Alina's arms look insignificant. Being married to arms like Kristal's would be enough for most guys. Hulk Hogan lookalike Jake gets that and much much more besides.

To be fair though, he is 50% of 50% of the team who are slowly but surely cultivating the resurrection of professional Female Bodybuilding, so it's hard to dislike him.

Wish you were here? Perhaps the question should be "Wish you were him?"


More at #musclemansion

And - bonus - recorded at the NPC Nationals last year but only recently uploaded to the Wings of Strength YouTube channel, if you've ever wondered what Theresa Ivancik sounds like, well wonder no more... (even sexier than I imagined).


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Wish You Were Here (Part 1): Girls at FIBO Power 2017

So this is coming at you live (well, 10 days in advance kind of live anyway) from the hotel balcony. Mrs Swell, in case you were wondering, is down at the pool, sunning herself between swims, and I'll be joining her as soon as I've finished "catching up on a few work emails". Not entirely bollocks, but, well, you know, FMS comes first.

Once again, we have the genius of Hevumisa to thank for today's treat.

As always with his edits, it's quality from start to finish, and his (first of a few, I hope) offerings from this year's FIBO includes Greek goddess Vicky Moutopoulou (from about 3.30 in the orange top). Less well-known names are IFBB Figure competitor Marie-Rose Tarkmanian (flexing with Vicky at the BMXX stand in purple), who does nothing to make me think her self-proclaimed "Muscle Doll" title is wide of the mark, and Doina Gorun-Benagli aka "The Tiger" and also Figure, the most prominently-muscled of the tiny gold shorts brigade from about 5.30.


A bit more from the balcony tomorrow...

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: If You're Happy And You Know It (Flaunt That Shit)

She isn't lacking in the motivation department or anything, but I'm constantly (well, perhaps not "constantly", but regularly) looking for women who may inspire Mrs Swell. And by "inspire", I mean inspire. Not intimidate. Ashley Losee may seem like the kind of inspirational woman who all women should be made aware of, but she's a risky strategy. That is a very high standard of muscular womanhood, and one should tread carefully lest the intended inspiration causes instead a sense of deflation. An "I could never look like that" sense of helplessness. It's a risk I'm not taking, not yet, anyway, so it's far beyond the realms of the IFBB pros that I do my searching.

And on such that search I came across this exchange...

Anonymous: People keep looking at me because I have big muscles, how do you deal with the attention?

putthatazztowork: I mean, I absolutely love the attention, haha. Looking sexy is the biggest perk to lifting weights, in my opinion... Flaunt that shit!

Anonymous sounds kind of interesting, I thought to myself. Interesting but hardly trackdownable. "putthatazztowork", however, I have just GOT to find out who she is!

Turns out she is Arianna, a Sports Performance Coach, Personal Trainer and Level 1 Crossfit Trainer from Ireland. And that magnificent, sexy attitude, well it's all there on her Tumblr, and Instagram. And she's got more than a few admirers.

Anonymous: Seriously, your butt is amazing. ❤️

putthatazztowork: I agree.

And there are many she admires. But more importantly, there's a lot of actual, properly helpful and down-to-earth advice that she gives, quite freely it seems. A truly inspirational woman. And I suspect, that while you (and I) are looking at her, our poor female muscle lovin' minds brainwashed with our daily overloads of perfect muscular female physiques, that Arianna may not appear too muscular on your (and my) computer screen, but if we walked into her gym we would be surprised how big she actually is compared to all the other women there - and probably ourselves too!
Sun's not out, guns out anyway.

She's not "perfect", but she doesn't care. It's her happiness with herself, and with her body, that I think, and more importantly what she feels, makes her so sexy.

And Mrs Swell agrees.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Pic of the Week

Haven't had a "Pic of the Week" for a while, but I could not resist posting this gem.

The term "baseball bicep" is overused. Not in this case though.

That spectacularly formed muscle is flexed by Vanessa Adams, though sadly not on a park bench anywhere near me, and also sadly, probably not recently either. As far as I can ascertain, the last time Vanessa competed was at the NPC Nationals in 2014. She competed as a Bodybuilder, came 2nd in the Lightweight class, and if you check out some images from that show, you will agree it is sad we haven't seen her in that kind of shape since then. Something of Christi Wolf about her, don't you think?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Is This The Best Exercise Ever? (Don't Try This At Home)

Of course I've persuaded Mrs Swell to give it a go. Problem was that I nominated myself for the role of "the bag", and, sadly, I performed that role less than successfully.

It's a beautiful sight, all those many muscles tensing at once.

And Mrs Swell was wearing even less at the time of our attempt. Sigh.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Excited!

I'm getting proper excited about me and the missus' Easter break now (and yes, I am aware you are reading this after Easter, well, Anglican Easter anyway, not sure when Orthodox Easter is this year). We fly out tomorrow night, and I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself right now for just having booked us dinner in a local Michelin star place there, and I reckon I'll get myself into town in the morn to pick out a nice figure hugging dress for Mrs Swell to wear on the occasion. I love showing off her hard work.

So, excited.

I'm also excited about some other, more relevant to the blog, things as well. The IFBB Female Bodybuilding contest season starts up again in just over a month with three consecutive weekends of "proper" female muscle in Toronto, Puerto Rico, and on June 10th, Omaha. Aleesha Young is scheduled to compete in Omaha, and if you can't get excited about that, then I don't know why you are here. But I'm also excited about another show which, like the Puerto Rico Pro, takes place on the weekend before Aleesha's comeback. It's the NPC Titan Open at the University of Wisconsin.

The show will see the return to the stage of amateur Physique competitor Lauren Quinn, who, in case you need reminding, we haven't seen since the Nationals in 2015. Then, despite being (to my ignorant and unqualified to judge eyes at least) the pick of a high quality division, the judges saw fit to only award her 3rd in her class.

Lauren took a competitive break in 2016, but now she's well on her way to the University of Wisconsin, and she's very excited about it. Seeing progress makes me want to keep going! she wrote recently. More cuts, more veins, and less chub! Two weeks after the Titan Open, Lauren will be at the Jr. USAs. Among others, Kat Secor, one of the two women who finished above her at the 2015 Nationals, reckons in current shape Lauren will be a pro before long, while Stephanie Flesher, another IFBB Physique Pro, recently commented that Lauren would be "peeled to the bone", and looked 4 weeks out just under 10 weeks before her contest comeback.

So it's not just dirty ol' Swell here who is excited. There is, apparently, general excitement. Check out more of Lauren's 2015 Nationals gallery. Search for a bit of her work with HerBiceps from around that time. Give her a follow on Instagram. I'm pretty sure that before long your own level of Lauren excitement will be rising too.


Friday, 21 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: Stronger Than Me

Mrs Swell is a competitive sort. From big contracts to trivial knowledge, she likes to win, and she very much takes that spirit into her workouts. Me, I don't seek to up my PBs, it just kind of happens, but the lady is always looking to go heavier, for more reps, with better form. Is she stronger than me? No. Not even close, but she does make more progress more quickly, so perhaps I should be looking over my shoulder a bit more!

Today I thought we might dip into the world of powerlifting, where you will find women who are shifting the kind of weight that others can only marvel at. If, as people are always saying these days, strong is the new sexy, then women like Crystal Tate (above) could make a reasonable claim to be the sexiest women in the world.

Tate weighs in at 198lbs (just about 90kg), which makes her about 10 kilos lighter than yours truly. However, she did a 700lb (317kg) squat at the end of last year, and in March at the Arnolds performed a world record 600lb (272kg) deadlift.

Tate is one of eight women "who squat weight that makes spectators' jaws drop" recently picked by the powerlifting blog BarBend. "These are female athletes who can be described in many ways, but usually incredible is the best word for it."

These include Kristy Hawkins, familiar to FMS readers (most recently seen here on Then & Now: 2007), and Becca Swanson, also (briefly) once a competitive bodybuilder, who has deadlifted more weight (672lbs/304kg) than any other female on the planet, as well as performing an 843lb (382kg) squat back in 2010.

And among BarBend's picks from the lighter weight classes, we find women who don't conform to the popular image of a powerlifter, but can nevertheless squat between three and four times their own bodyweight. Sweden's Isabella von Weissenberg, for example, is a two-time European champion with the looks of a model and a squat of 424lbs (just over 192kg), a world record for her under 72kg weight class.

My personal favourite though weighs in at just under 60kg (132lbs), not much heavier than Mrs Swell. From Austin, Texas, Nicole Gonzalez, aka Nikki Gunz, has a competitive 410lb (186kg) squat, Erica Blockmanesque looks, AND abs!

Sthenolagnia - sexual arousal from displays of strength or muscles.

Replace the "or" with an "and" and Nikki's appeal is very apparent.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: DIY

There was, I believe, a male guest poser as well, but Karina Nascimento didn't need to do much to get her female guest posing slot filled at the recent show which bears her name. She did it herself. Fortunately, the cameras were there. As you watch Karina in her non-regulation posing suit, think 44 years old. Think mother of three...


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Mrs Swell's Easter Surprise: missxashley

Passport done. I'd half expected in our post-Brexit (or at least post-invoking Article 50) world, that it might have a different, non-EU cover - red, white and blue perhaps? - but no. Same old. Mind you, come 2019 or whenever this nightmare is supposed to begin in earnest, there might not be so much blue in flag anyway. But I digress...

Yesterday, I wondered if I might find some inspiration for today's post while I was waiting for my passport to get sorted, and lo, it came in the heaven-sent form of Ashley Losee, formerly Ashley Sneathen, aka "missxashley" (on Instagram).

The next couple of weeks might be all about quality time with my lady, but the last few have been all about me spending quality time with Ashley before, during and after her second ever pro show - the recent Figure-only IFBB Governor's Cup in California.

So lean, so gorgeous, so totally into herself... I still can't quite believe Ashley received just one solitary vote apart from mine in our recent Hot and Hard 100 poll. You can consider this the start of my campaign to make sure she's well in next year.

I have got some great ideas from Ashley re outfits I should buy for Mrs Swell. I picked up (among other things) some very tight shorts for her to wear on our hols after I'd been to the passport office yesterday actually. Wasn't thinking of Ashley at the time, but revisiting these pics now I can't help but think she's responsible. If the wife can pull them off with half as much aplomb as Miss Ashley does, I'll be a very proud man!


See also Ashley previously on FMS.