Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Tome Ameko's Optimum Physique

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As elite Women's Physique athletes go, Tomefafa "Tome" Ameko, is pretty modest. Her social media posts are rare, she has not (to my knowledge) ever put herself forward to any of the big schmotography sites, and perhaps because of that, she receives relatively little attention compared to her Physique Olympian peers. Oh yes, didn't you know? She's been to the Olympia, debuting last year. She's also finished in the top 10 at the Physique International (also last year), and at the Optimum Classic Pro last weekend, she secured her second pro title and another Olympia invite.

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She started as a Bodybuilder, at first a young Lightweight who we find listed in 2004 winning her class at the Excalibur Championships. The first images we see of her date from the same contest three years later, her premium genetics already in evidence.

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The Lightweight Bodybuilder: 2007 Excalibur Championships

She would win her class again the following year at the Los Angeles Championships, and in 2009 (now a Middleweight) she competed at national level for the first time at the NPC USAs. It took her five years and six shows to gain her pro card, which she got for winning her class - a decade after her first contest - at the 2014 NPC Nationals.

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The Middleweight Nationals' winner, 2014

Immediately - as any sensible non-Heavyweight Bodybuilder would do - she switched to the Physique division. Lean and muscular on her Physique debut at the Europa Phoenix in late 2015, she placed 11th in a very competitive field. 2016 started better with a top 6 finish in San Antonio, which she followed with a return to Phoenix, this time to win her first pro title, a title that came with qualification to the 2017 Olympia.

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The Physique Olympian, 2017

Impressive as she looked, she failed to place, a top 10 finish at the Arnolds earlier in the season was probably a fairer reflection of where she is at in the elite Physique world right now. Her second pro win at her first show this season strongly suggests that too, and though - by all accounts - the judges last weekend had it close after the comparison round, there was only ever going to be one winner after the evening show.

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Mmmmonique Jones had put together the routine for this show, "working magic on my clumsy ass" as Tome (modestly) put it. Winning the Optimum Classic last night was an incredible experience, she added. I love this event and it's always wonderful to share the stage with so many beautiful athletes that share a passion for our sport.

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Beautiful and passionate they may be, but on this occasion none could match the sweep and definition in her quads or her bulging, vascular shoulders. Nor could they match her abs - as always - tight and hard, her ever more impressively wide lats, or the thickness of her gorgeous, beefy pecs. She'd be far too modest to say so though.

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Follow Tome on Instagram - just don't expect regular posts!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Emily Schubert @NPC Jr. USAs

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It seems like only the other day [because it was?! - ed.] that we saw how Emily Schubert's brand of ripped exhibitionism had made her one of the brightest new stars in the female muscle lovin' firmament, and already things have moved on. Right on cue she goes and wins the Overall Physique title at the Jr. USAs last weekend, so from now on you'll need to add "ifbbpro" to her "emschub" moniker to find her on Instagram!

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On stage she looked magnificent - and needed to. It wasn't perhaps the biggest Physique field, even for this (arguably) most minor of national shows, but - in my ignorant opinion anyway - Emily had to see off significant competition both in her class (particularly gorgeous, beefcake Shannon Seeley) and the Overall posedown.

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I can't believe I achieved a lifelong dream tonight, she wrote in all her own caps afterwards. HARD work pays off. "IFBB Pro Emily Schubert" - I DID IT!

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It's been quite a rise. Just two short years ago and Emily was among the Figure "novices" at the NPC Pittsburgh, and even though she entered the same championships in Physique last year, she was still slight enough to line-up in Figure as well.

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She has certainly unleashed the beast within in the last twelve months, and the joyful exhibitionism of her "world-class muscles" that has accompanied it has endeared this "hard, muscular fox" to forum members and Tumblr bloggers in serious numbers.

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She continued to tick all the boxes with pre-show topless back shots from the hotel...

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And in the days after her return home, yet more intense, eye-watering freakery...

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Emily on Instagram - now with added ifbbpro!

Monday, 21 May 2018

FBBUK: Anita Tryc Counts Her Blessings

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UK Physique competitor Anita Tryc started her fitness journey back in 2009. Despite having studied at the Academy of Sports Education in her native Poland, she admits she "went downhill". I smoked, and I used to drink too much, as students do, she says. It was after finally giving up cigarettes and gaining 20kg in a month that she decided to get back the fitness she had lost. I was size 16/18, quite a big girl, she remembers. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror! (She doesn't seem to have that problem now...)

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She began running again, and was soon looking to move to England. Beforehand though, a medical check-up revealed a tumour on one of her ovaries. It was borderline, she says. I was told that if it hadn't been found for few more months, it could have turned cancerous. I consider myself a very lucky human being.

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Relocation to London complete, Anita set about changing her training as well - I wanted to have muscles and be stronger. Lifting at home progressed to lifting at the gym, and before long she began wondering whether one day she might be able to compete. I wanted to be like Dana Linn Bailey, she says, but when I told people I want to do Women’s Physique one day, they all said I would do OK in Bikini. And, it turns out, nothing could have been more motivating to hear than that. If someone tells me that I can't do something, she says. I will prove to them and myself that I CAN!

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Hanging out at the 2016 UKBFF British Championships with her "sweet friend" Linda Gartside

And she did. Her first show was in 2015, a qualifier for the UKBFF where her runner's-up placing took her to the national championships. She's been at those British finals every year since, but last year Anita broke into the top 6 for the very first time.

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UKBFF British Championships 2017, 6th place

2018 has seen a new approach from Anita though. A new coach - "much stricter than I am used to" - and a prep that has been harder than she has ever known. This is how the professionals do it, she says, and the results are mind blowing! I don't even recognise myself, my conditioning and posing. I have learnt so much, it's like being at school!

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And the first sight we have had of this new, improved Anita was at the PCA contest held during the BodyPower Expo. This was her first ever non-UKBFF show, and also, as she lined-up in the Trained Figure class, the first time she'd ever been on stage in heels.

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Anita didn't win the show, but there are ways to judge a performance other than by placing. I loved every minute and I couldn't be prouder, she said after seeing herself up there. My best condition ever, my best posing ever... I actually shocked myself!

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Not surprisingly, she can't wait to do it again, but in the meantime, that beautiful smile will be staying put - I'm so blessed that I am able to wake up every single morning to work towards my dreams, she says. I'll be coming back and coming back better.

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Follow Anita on Instagram

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Sunday Squeeze

Tired of searching only for images of naked female muscle to populate our Sunday Sizzler series [you are weird, you know that right? -ed.] we're introducing a bit of variety into your day of rest - well, as much as we can while staying alliterative!

First up, the Squeeze, and 2018 Hot and Hard 100 debutant Paige Sandgren.

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Paige is currently "5 weeks out", which by my reckoning places her next contest - her first this year - on the weekend of the 23rd June. Images like this do precisely nothing to quell my enthusiasm to follow her every pump from now till then. And beyond.

Paige on Instagram (and FMS passim).

Saturday, 19 May 2018

How Stars Are Made (2018 Style)

May 4th

Emily Schubert competes at the NPC Pittsburgh Championships, winning both the Bodybuilding and Physique titles. Pics of her at the contest go up on NPC News Online, and within hours someone as dedicated/sad as I am has found them, downloaded them, and created a new thread for Emily on the forum whose first rule is...

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A new star is born, he proclaims. WOW!

May 7th

The thread is added to. Another poster has found Emily's Instagram and plundered it for material. Emily, both in the final weeks of her prep for Pittsburgh and since, is quite the ripped and vascular freakshow. And she is not shy about showing it off.

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May 12th

Agreed, writes a head who has found his way to the thread. A new star is born.

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No one was waiting for his official stamp of approval. Since the thread had gone up, Emily and her ripped veiny body had become part of the female muscle lovin' consciousness. Upwards of 30 images of her went up on GwM in a day, and from there she was taken up by some of the (self-proclaimed) "hardcore" female muscle Tumblrs.

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Those guys, they just reblog whatever each other has posted. Suddenly Emily and her veins-on-the-outside-is-the-new-veins-on-the-inside body is, as well as being pretty much all of the GwM "Recently Posted" section, in every one of their followers' feeds.

And meanwhile...

May 4th

Kate Hart graduates from Austin Peay State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. Onto the next chapter, she writes on her Instagram.

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It's possible the pics were put up by someone who knows her, but in my head, it plays out something like this... an even more sad/dedicated female muscle head than I (or the dude who found Emily Schubert) is out there, scanning likely hashtags I imagine. Suddenly, there she was. After years of digging he'd finally hit 24-carat female muscle gold. The thud of his jaw hitting the floor must have been considerable.

May 10th

Why it took so long may be down to GwM's often lengthy validation process, or maybe he was simply too busy to get round to it, but 6 days after Kate moved on to the next chapter, her graduation image plus another 10 from her Instagram go up.

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Now, on GwM, another section is called "Highest Score Today". Images "score" either by being favourited or given a +1 by users. A typical highly-rated image will have a score of somewhere between 60 and 100 in total. Over 200 is rare image indeed.

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The image of Kate flexing her bicep in her mortarboard had, within 3 days, gained a score of over 300, and at the time of writing it has 535. As a comparison, the next highest scoring image on the first page of that section right now has a mere 175.

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Kate currently has three images on her GwM page with a higher rating than that, including the mortarboard double biceps above which was posted just two days ago now. Jaws are thudding to the floor all over the female muscle lovin' world.

May 17th (today)

Both Emily and Kate were unknown just over two weeks ago. By, in Emily's case competing and Kate's graduating, they have entered the collective female muscle lovin' consciousness. Instagram followings are swelling, and - from bitter experience - the attention of the collective "we" is not always a pleasant thing to deal with.

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Good luck ladies!