Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lauren Rutan, THE Definitive Superwoman

Quite possibly the most impressive athlete in the physique world today and in a LONG time!
Photo credit: NPCNewsOnline

Every competitor is special in their own way. Each woman that enters the physique world spends hours upon hours of dedication in the weight room and in the kitchen to obtain the most amazing physiques on the planet when it comes to LOOKING like Greek gods/goddesses. While they are definitely stronger than the average person, they are not judged by their strength in the weight room. Then you have those that put in hours of dedication to have the STRENGTH of Greek/gods and goddesses and don't actually focus on the look rather the performance. Those are powerlifters, weightlifters, and Crossfitters (even though the Crossfitters tend to usually have better aesthetically-pleasing physiques than powerlifters and weightlifters. Now...to do physique competitions, CrossFit, weightlifting AND powerlifting and be able to excel at all of it has got to take superhuman effort. Add to that being a loving and dedicated wife and mother of four children and you have credentials that would make even Wonder Woman look like a joke.

Ladies and gentleman, such a woman exists...and you won't find her in comic books (even though it would make for one heck of one!). And her name is Lauren Rutan.

Lauren is from Akron, Ohio. You might recognize that town because a certain top NBA Superstar just happens to be from there as well. But we're not focusing on him here, we're about the QUEEN of Akron.  If you look up the word superhuman in the dictionary, there's a good chance you will find a picture of Lauren in the description. She competed before at the National Level about 10 years ago when she did the 2007 Jr. Nationals, along with a few other shows. She stepped away from the physique stage for a while, but not before she decided to do anything and everything that tested her body to the limits and beyond. She has went on to become a weightlifter and powerlifter, breaking state records and becoming one of the nation's top strength athletes. She also has done her share of CrossFit competitions as well, and is among one of the best there as well! In all of that...she became a wife and mother of four along the way. She's also a nutrition and workout coach to boot. I know, that's a lot to take in!

The Ultimate Jill-of-All-Trades
Photo credit: CrossFitGirl.com

She recently returned to the physique stage, winning the overall 2017 NPC Mid-Atlantic Cup Figure title and would go on to place in the top 10 in her figure class at the NPC Jr. Nationals. Her next stop is the USPA Powerlifting Nationals in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks. Yes, she prepared for a physique show and a powerlifting competition at the same time. To say that's insane would be an understatement. But Lauren is a special kind of athlete that only comes around once in a lifetime. She has big plans, and she herself will reveal more about them and her incredible athletic career in a future interview exclusively for FitGems Nation. We are looking forward to interviewing her and learning more about how she has been able to become THE definitive Superwoman.

Until then, I highly recommend following her on Instagram as she takes her fans through her journey as a super athlete: https://www.instagram.com/rutan422.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bridesmaid No More: Wendy Fortino Gets Her Win At Last

The Champ is (FINALLY!!!) here!!!!
Photo credit: NPC News Online

July 30, 2011.

This was the day she won the NPC USA Figure Class A and Overall title. This was the day she became an IFBB Pro. For six years, she would go on to compete in over 30 pro shows. She would place runner-up in seven shows, and she stepped on the Olympia stage twice (2014 and 2015) due to the Olympia Qualification Series. Yet, despite her ever-improving and jaw-dropping physique and one of the most graceful stages presences of any figure competitor, she had yet to do the one thing that can truly call her a top competitor: Win a pro show. The way things were going, we honestly thought that Wendy would go down as the one of the greatest figure competitors in IFBB history to NEVER win a pro show.

Then April 15, 2017 happened.
The St. Louis Pro happened.

Bringing what she felt was her best look yet, in one of the toughest and deepest line-ups of the year (which included past and present Olympia qualifiers in their own rights), Wendy finally reached the top of the mountain. She became the 2017 IFBB St. Louis Pro Figure Champion. Everything she sacrificed throughout her career, her sweat, her tears, and maybe even some blood, finally paid off. She can finally cross "winning a pro show" off her fitness career checklist. The Olympia Qualification Series is a dead issue for her now. She is officially Olympia-bound because she WON a show. No qualification points this time!

I dare you to watch this video and not tear up a bit. I can't even begin to understand what is going though her head here.

That is how an athlete who has given everything she has into her craft feels when her hard work is rewarded. I teared up for her, and I RARELY do that with any athlete. I've followed her journey before FitGems Nation was even a thing. I became an instant fan when I saw her on the Kriv Studios website when she was a track athlete and had an amazing physique before she even THOUGHT about competing in physique shows. While it's awesome to see someone win their first show, it's something about fighting for show after show for years to get that first win that makes it much better.

If I could personally think of one quote that fits her journey to her first pro win, it would be the one that Rocky told his son in Rocky Balboa. While the movie (to me) wasn't as good as the earlier movies, it did have one of the greatest motivational speeches I've ever heard of in my entire life, and this fits Wendy to a T:

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!

Wendy knows what she's worth and she goes after it show after show after show. She has taken more hits leading up to her win than most in their entire lifetimes. She doesn't place blame on anyone, she doesn't go and say that politics are to blame. She just keeps hustling and fighting each and every show she enters in hopes of earning respect within the industry, which I believe she has done with flying colors, even without that pro win.

I admire and respect every woman who steps on a physique stage, but Wendy is one of the few who I've personally connected to and I've yet to meet her in person. She is one of the most genuine people not only in the physique world, but on Earth period. She ALWAYS see the good in everyone and always complements anyone and everyone she possibly can, even those that end up beating her. Her kindness is felt by many people in the industry and they always talk about on social media, how humble she is and how amazing a competitor she is and admire her determination and never-say-die attitude, the stuff I love about her as a person, not just a competitor.

When Wendy became the 2011 NPC USA Overall Figure Champion
Photo credit: Muscular Development

When you're good at something, you tell everyone. When you're great at something, they tell you. The way Wendy Fortino's win was received on social media proved what we have been saying for years: Wendy Fortino is a GREAT competitor. She is one of the greatest ambassadors the physique world has ever seen not just because of fighting to improve her physique throughout the years, but the way she carries herself in a professional and humble matter. Most in her position would have quit, and truthfully we would not fault them. Not Wendy. She never quit even though we wouldn't have blamed her one bit if she did. The motto her and her husband Matt Allen use is "Success Requires Obsession". It's not just a motto for her, it's how she lives her life...and it paid off for her in the end. She is living proof that good things come to those that put in the work and never give up. Her hard work earned (not given) her the 2017 IFBB St. Louis Pro Figure Championship and a trip to the Olympia for the third time in four years.

To me and to all of FitGems Nation, Wendy has always been a champion. We'll go as far as saying to many she is "The People's Champion" in the figure division. Now, she finally has hardware to validate her right as a champion. Congrats Miss Fortino. In your own words, "The Harder the Fight, the Sweeter the Victory." And oh how sweet it is!

This photo speaks volumes. EARNED not given!
Photo credit: Jack Titone/Instagram

Feel free to follow Wendy at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WendyFortinoUSA/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wendyfortino
Cyberbodyshop business with her husband/trainer Matt Allen: http://cyberbodyshop.com/

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why WWE's Dana Brooke Competing at the Arnold is Significant

DISCLAIMER: All photos belong to their original owners.

Slowly but surely changing the game (no offense, Triple H)
Photo credit: WWE

It's one thing to be in shape for wrestling.
It's another thing to be in shape for a fitness competition.
Try to do both at the same time.

Yeah, that sounds like torture and pure madness. Why on Earth would anyone put their body at risk to do both instead of choosing one? If you just happened to be named Dana Brooke, the answer for her is in the form of a question...WHY NOT?!

This weekend (Friday to be exact), Dana Brooke (real name Ashley Sebera) will be stepping on stage among some of the best fitness competitors in the world at the 2017 Fitness International during the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. The brand split has let WWE Superstars be able to do more things outside WWE with schedules being a tad easier than in the past. Chris Jericho has his podcast and band outside WWE. Seth Rollins is enrolled in the Crossfit Games as an active competitor (as soon as he's healed up). And John Cena is freaking EVERYWHERE in Hollywood and still has an active role in WWE. And it looks like Dana will be able to be a fitness competitor while still under contract with WWE, which is unheard of. She did it in 2015 as part of the NXT roster, when she hadn't made it on TV yet and was only doing house shows in Florida. She competed in her first Arnold Classic that Friday and the very next day (as well as that Sunday) she wrestled against Bayley (current WWE Raw Women's Champion) and Carmella (Smackdown Live competitor) as part of the first-ever WWE Experience at the Arnold (Side note: she won both matches).

Most of you know what fitness competitors go through to get ready for one show. The diet, the training, the practicing of the routines...it's stressful weeks of prep but rewarding for that one show. Now, consider that this is the Arnold we're talking about, and you're talking about the biggest show on the schedule NOT named the Olympia. Most that compete have regular jobs and don't take bumps in a wrestling ring and get tossed around like ragdolls. That's where Dana is different from every other competitor competing at the Arnold this weekend. Taking bumps in a wrestling ring and get tossed around like a ragdoll IS her job and a job she loves dearly. She has stated on multiple occasions that she wants to be among the best in WWE history, but she also realizes what brought her to the dance in the first place...the fitness world. She wants to give back and everyone (whether you like her or not) should give her credit and respect for not forgetting her roots, which is something that sadly most people tend to forget once they make it big. While others have the indies to thank for their road to WWE, Dana has the fitness world to thank for her road to WWE, which we personally hope doesn't end anytime soon, as we feel we've yet to see the best from her. Dana at the Arnold (to us) helps close the gap between the fitness industry and WWE, hopefully bring in more male and female talent for NXT, Raw, Smackdown Live, 205 Live, and other aspects of WWE.

Potentially paving the future for others to compete in fitness shows while being part of WWE at the same time.
Photo credit: Getty Images

If some of the guys can do it all and still be active members of WWE, why can't Dana?! It's only fair. We hope what Dana is doing paves the way for others to follow ALL their dreams. In this day and age, you CAN do it all if you put your mind to it! Cena is, Seth is, Jericho is. Now...It's Dana's turn. For the IFBB AND WWE...PLAYTIME IS OVER!!!!

For more on Dana's Arnold journey (and other random stuff from WWE's resident Queen of Flex City), follow her on Snapchat at asha_DanaBrooke, on Twitter at @DanaBrookeWWE, and her Instagram at ashasebera_danabrooke . Be sure to watch the Arnold Sports Festival on their new home on Generation Iron at http://generationiron.com/ this Friday and Saturday. Good luck Dana Brooke! We're rooting for you! :)

Friday, February 3, 2017

8th Annual FitGems Awards Winners

The votes are in, and it's time to announce the winners of the 8th Annual FitGems Awards! You call came out in full force and made your voices known, and we at FitGems Nation can't thank you enough for supporting these awards. Without further ado...here is who YOU voted for as the best of 2016!


2016 Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Juliana Malacarne

2016 Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Oksana Grishina

2016 Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Nicole Wilkins

2016 Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Courtney King

2016 Breakout Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Victoria Flores

2016 Breakout Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Kristine Duba

2016 Breakout Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Sandra Grajales Romero

2016 Breakout Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Narmin Assria

2016 Underrated Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Susan Graham

2016 Underrated Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Stacy Wright

2016 Underrated Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Wendy Fortino

2016 Underrated Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Vicki Counts 


2016 Amateur Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Nicole Gutierrez

2016 Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Rebecca Sizemore

2016 Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Stephanie Trevino

2016 Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Carolina Araujo

2016 Breakout Amateur Women’s Physique Competitor of the Year
Casey Oliver

2016 Breakout Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Nicole Neargardner

2016 Breakout Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Natalie Navas

2016 Breakout Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Danielle Lipski

2016 Underrated Amateur Women’s Physique Competitor of the Year
Tia Marie Hamilton

2016 Underrated Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Alissa Carpio

2016 Underrated Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Victoria Puentes

2016 Underrated Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Celia Torres


2016 Fitness Model of the Year
Nicole Wilkins

2016 Fitness Ambassador of the Year
Nicole Wilkins

2016 Social Media Star of the Year
Wendy Fortino

2016 Moment of the Year
Monica Brant returning to competition for the first time since 2013 as part of PCA and NABBA (#ReturnOfTheFitnessIcon)

2016 Photographer of the Year
Dan Ray

2016 Fit Celebrity of the Year
Kelly Ripa

2016 Female Sports Athlete of the Year
Serena Williams

2016 Olympic Athlete of the Year
Simone Biles

2016 Fit Female Wrestler of the Year
Charlotte Flair

2016 Physique Paysite of the Year

2016 Promoter of the Year
Tim Gardner

2016 Fitness Clothing Line of the Year
Better Bodies

2016 Team of the Year
Team CyberbodyShop

2016 Male Trainer of the Year
Matt Allen

2016 Female Trainer of the Year
Wendy Fortino

While a lot happened in 2016, nothing (to us) was more shocking and awe-inspiring than seeing the on-stage return of one of the greatest competitors of all time...and doing it by posing/flexing no less! Seeing her return (and showing that she's STILL the queen) was enough to crown the legendary MONICA BRANT as the 2016 FitGems Nation Woman of the Year! Congrats Monica!!! 

You can go to our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/fitgemsnation) over the weekend to view the photos of this year's winners and a special photo album dedicated to 2016 FitGems Nation Woman of the Year Monica Brant! Again, thank you all for being part of this. We HOPE to do better in the future as far as getting this out quicker! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

8th Annual FitGems Awards...VOTE HERE!

For years, we have used Mister Poll as our official FitGems Awards voting platform. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are going to be using Polldaddy for our voting platform going forward. We apologize for how late this poll has taken to get up and we hope to do better in the future.

You can vote once a day until February 1st at midnight eastern time. After that, votes will be tallied and winners will be announced on Friday, February 3rd. Best of luck to everyone and congrats to all the nominees!




Remember, you can vote once a day for each category until February 1st as midnight Eastern time, with winners to be announced on February 3rd. Good luck!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Megan Olson Fire Relief-Our Thoughts and Plea

Let's help a fellow IFBB Pro in need.
Photo source: GoFundMe

I consider Megan Olson to be one of the best IFBB competitors that has yet to get her due in the industry. We love her shape, conditioning, attitude, and overall beauty. We hope that 2017 will be a great breakout year for her on stage, should she decide to compete this year. But in all honestly, after what happened earlier this year, we don’t blame her one bit for holding off on competing for a while, as there are things far more important.

On January 3rd, Megan lost everything she owned in a house fire. It wasn’t until I found out how it happened that made it even more sad. The fire was started by her husband Matt. He has a bad case of mental illness and apparently burned the house down. Why he did it, I don’t know and it’s none of my business as far as personal stuff goes, but we all should thank God that it wasn’t worse. People can always get a new house, you can’t get a new life.

I’m in no position to judge him, nor is anyone else, but I’m publicly asking (damn near begging) for Matt to seek help. It might be in the best interest for Matt and Megan to stay away from each other until Matt is well. Mental illness has a way of being fatal to those that have it and the people around them. I’m praying that Matt and/or Megan do not become another statistic in that.

If you want to help Megan out financially, go to her GoFundMe page that was set up by Ron Mowen, on her behalf: https://www.gofundme.com/wx-megan-olson. If you want to offer her support by sending her messages, go to her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/megan.olson222/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/megan_olson_ifbb/) For more on NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) check out the following link: http://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-HelpLine or call them at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org. The NAMI Hotline can be reached The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, Eastern Time. 

Please continue to join FitGems Nation in prayer for both Megan and Matt during this time and hope that Matt gets the help he needs.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Our Dreamlist for Marc Thyseen's Olympia Photoshoot

As we've mentioned before, top fitness photographer Marc Thyseen will be hosting an, in his words, "Exclusive Photo Shoot event" at REHAB pool at the HARD ROCK in Las Vegas on Sunday, September 18th, during the 2016 Olympia Weekend. We hope those in the Las Vegas area during the Olympia weekend will look into this and participate. From the infomation we've gathered this far, images will be published in Planet Muscle magazine, and the event will be professionally filmed, so we're guessing potential DVD, Youtube video, and/or digital video of the event will be made. If you would like to participate in it marc@marcthyssen.com. If you would like to be a corporate sponsor for the event (which will cost your company a fraction of an Olympia booth, which for those who have done it knows those are NOT cheap). use the same email as well.

While we have no clue who will be part of the event (yet), FitGems Nation did compile a list of 12 ladies around the industry that we feel would be great for this event. They are in no particular order, and trust us...it was not easy to narrow this list to 12 ladies. (Photos belong to their respective owners).

Tina Nguyen

Tina is quickly becoming one of the most popular fitness personalities on Instagram, currently past over half a million followers. It’s not hard to see why with her beautiful looks and comic book-like proportions. With the physique and following she has, being a part of this shoot would be an even bigger boost for her career.

Christine Pomponio-Pate

This woman DOES NOT AGE! She was part of both FitHeat and the Fitness Supermodel Weekend, and both times she looked like she could have stepped on stage and did damage. A lot has changed between now and back then, including adding twin boys to the family. Even in her early 40s and a mother-of-three, she is still kicking butt and taking names in the looks department. It would be only fitting that Christine would return being one of Marc’s first big models he worked with (not to mention being one of his all-time favorites)

Larissa Reis

Another woman who is no stranger to working with Marc, Larissa has been part of Marc’s shoots before, including the 2011 Fitness Supermodel Weekend. While she hasn’t stepped on stage in quite some time, she still have one of the most impressive bodies in the fitness world today. She would be a great fit (no pun intended) for the simple fact that she lives in Las Vegas.

Wendy Fortino

Arguably the most deserving person on this list on a personal level, Wendy is not only one of the most underrated figure competitors in the world, but she is also one of the most underrated fitness models in the world. She has been part of a few shoots here and there, but not to the point where they are known as much as they should be. Being part of this event would not only give Wendy massive credibility in the fitness modeling world, but this could potentially pave the way for her to get more opportunities down the line by others.

Latorya Watts

She will already be in Vegas defending her Figure Olympia title. Latorya would be an obvious choice to have her as part of this shoot. One of the most genetically superior competitors the figure division has ever seen, she is also quite the model herself, doing some work with many photographers over the last couple of years. Marc is no stranger to photographing Olympia champions, and Latorya would be an ideal person to have as part of his photoshoot.

Heather Dees

Heather was part of the 2011 Fitness Supermodel Weekend and displayed an amazing physique during that time. It has only gotten better and better since then. Whatever motivated her to take her physique to the next level worked, while still keeping it within today’s figure standards. With the photoshoots she did last year showing off her improved physique, maybe it’s time for Heather to do another shoot with Marc and see what magic they can provide this time around.

Ariel Khadr

It’s been a dream for Ariel to make it to the Olympia stage and seven years after becoming the youngest fitness competitor at the time to win an IFBB pro card, she has now emerged as a top fitness competitor and will be stepping on the Olympia stage for the first time in her career. Her exotic looks are made for photoshoots such as the one Marc will be doing next month. Being part of this photoshoot AND competing in her first Olympia? Taki about one heck of an first-ever Olympia experience!

Natalia Coelho

She will be one of the youngest competitors on the Olympia stage, but has one of the craziest physiques in the entire figure division, or any division for that matter. Very photogenic and knows how to pose for someone her age. Natalia’s stock is only going to grow as her competition career goes forward, and being part of this shoot would be an instant boost for her.

Juliana Malacarne

The women’s physique division was created for a woman such as Juliana Malacarne. In fact, calling Juliana a woman is almost an insult, as she’s more of a living, breathing goddess, which practically anyone who has ever seen her can back up this claim. The 2x Physique Olympia and first-ever Physique International champion will look to win the Olympia Physique Showdown for a third-straight year against some of the most competitive talent to date. With her aiming to be at her best yet, it’s only fitting that she is part of this shoot, showing why the women’s physique division is the perfect combination of muscularity and femininity.

Camala Rodriquez-McClure

Camala is a bonafide star in every sense of the word. She has competed in multiple Olympias and Arnolds, including winning the Figure International title back in 2015. She has also shown that she can kill it on photoshoots, displaying great muscularity for the figure division with her trademark curves and Latina charm. She will be in Vegas competing in hopes of winning her 1st Figure Olympia title, and being part of this photoshoot would be a great thing to add to her already-impressive resume.

Ashley Kaltwasser

The definitive bikini competitor, Ashley is arguably THE most successful competitors in the short but deep history of the IFBB bikini division. 3 Bikini Olympia titles and 2 Bikini International titles, there’s arguably no one in the division as dominating as her. This beauty from Ohio would be a great fit to Marc’s photoshoot, as she will already be in Vegas anyways defending her title and aiming for an unthinkable FOURTH-STRAIGHT (!!!!) Bikini Olympia championship.

Meriza Deguzman-Ciccone

Meriza hasn’t stepped on stage in years, but the way she looks (much like Christine), you wouldn’t know it. She has kept herself in incredible shape since the last time she competed, for the simple fact that she LIVES the fitness lifestyle rather than the competition lifestyle. But make no mistake, she can get photoshoot-ready whenever she damn well pleases, which she has proven over the years.

So there you have it...our list for the twelve women we would like to see be part of Marc Thyssen's Olympia photoshoot next month. So what about you. Who would YOU want to see be part of this historic event? Let us know in the comments or send us a Facebook message. We will forward all of your suggestions to Marc. As mentioned earlier, any additional news we get regarding the event, we will make sure to let you all know. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Marc Thyssen's Fitness Supermodel Weekend...Five Years Later

Flyer for this monumental event back in 2011.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of (to us) one of the best fitness modeling events to ever take place. We’re talking about the Fitness Supermodel Weekend, which was hosted by Marc Thyssen. This event was a follow-up to FitHeat, which took place about a year earlier. Some of the biggest names got together and did a massive photoshoot with Marc and his crew. The ladies that participated were as followed:

Nicole Wilkins
Christine Pomponio-Pate
Heather Dees
Felicia Romero
Sonia Gonzales (now Sonia Querido)
Larissa Reis
Adela Garcia
Natalie Pennington
Khanh Nguyen
Kristy Chin
Dayna Maleton

This weekend-long event took place at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino at Las Vegas during the 2011 NPC USAs. Fans were able to get a look at the stars in person, and see one of the best fitness photographers in the world in action. To hold such an event took some guts, determination, and some luck, but Marc was able to pull it off in a way that has helped paved the way for others to establish their own super modeling events. While Marc is far from the first to discover how to bring beautiful, fit women together, he has become somewhat of a master at it.

Once in a lifetime event...or is it?!
With Marc in this photo is (From left to right, front) Christine Pompoiono-Pate, Adela Garcia
(from left to right, back) Sonia Querido , Larissa Reis, Felicia Romero, and Heather Dees

Coming off the heels of this event, Marc announced on his social media accounts that there will be a similar event to take place at this year's Olympia, September 16th to be exact. If the 2011 event was any indication, expect this year’s event to be one for the ages. As we get more info, we will pass it along to you. 

For those that want to relive the historic event from 2011 (and who doesn't), check out the link below to some photos as well as a video of the event:

For more on Marc Thyssen, check out the following links:

Our interview with Marc back in 2011 (pre-Fitness Supermodel weekend): http://fitgems.blogspot.com/2011/07/interview-with-photographer-marc.html

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Rock's Potential New Show...A Potential Opportunity for Fit Female Talent?!

For those that have followed bodybuilding, one of the biggest supporters of the industry is one of the biggest names in Hollywood and wrestling history, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. While he has never stepped on a bodybuilding stage as a performer, he lives the lifestyle as most people who've seen him can attest to that. Announced today on his social media accounts, which has MILLIONS (AND MILLIONS!!) of Rock fans (and followers), his productions Seven Buck Productions (along with Flynn Pictures Company) has sold a script to USA Network (home of Suits, Royal Pains, Mr. Robot, WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown Live) for a one-hour original series called Muscle Beach.

BIG NEWS: Our @sevenbucksprod along with our producing partner Beau Flynn's @flynnpictureco sell a script titled "MUSCLE BEACH" to USA Network! Written by Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer. An original hour long drama series who's found the perfect home at USA - a network who's been on fire with their brilliant dramatic television. "Muscle Beach" is set in a legendary bodybuilding gym in 1980's Venice Beach where a colorful tribe of lost souls struggle to reinvent themselves by bench-pressing their way to a bigger, better American dream, no matter what the cost. As the series explores the body obsessed fitness movement that took the nation by storm during the supersized Reagan 80's, the excess of the era and the many temptations of Los Angeles will expose the dark side of chasing dreams. 
As a kid growing up in the 80's it's exciting to produce a series that stays true to our brand and dig deep into an iconic time in bodybuilding and unique Venice Beach culture - the 80's. 
The 80's was a crazy time in Venice Beach with many lost souls. A very crazy time... #SevenBucksProds #FlynnPictures #USANetwork #OriginalDramaSeries #MuscleBeach

BIG NEWS: Our @sevenbucksprod along with our producing partner Beau Flynn's @flynnpictureco sell a script titled "MUSCLE BEACH" to USA Network! Written by Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer. An original hour long drama series who's found the perfect home at USA - a network who's been on fire with their brilliant dramatic television. “Muscle Beach” is set in a legendary bodybuilding gym in 1980’s Venice Beach where a colorful tribe of lost souls struggle to reinvent themselves by bench-pressing their way to a bigger, better American dream, no matter what the cost. As the series explores the body obsessed fitness movement that took the nation by storm during the supersized Reagan 80's, the excess of the era and the many temptations of Los Angeles will expose the dark side of chasing dreams. As a kid growing up in the 80's it's exciting to produce a series that stays true to our brand and dig deep into an iconic time in bodybuilding and unique Venice Beach culture - the 80's. The 80's was a crazy time in Venice Beach with many lost souls. A very crazy time... #SevenBucksProds #FlynnPictures #USANetwork #OriginalDramaSeries #MuscleBeach
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on

Assuming this does get picked up by USA Network, how cool would it be to see some women from the fitness industry not only have cameos but be a part of this show as actual cast members! Now, of course the only divisions that existed back in the 1980s were men's and women's bodybuilding, but still the thought of a show being on a network such as the USA Network would be huge for the bodybuilding industry and give some people a well-deserve platform to showcase that they are much more than people who lift. I mean think about it...Nicole Wilkins, Erin Stern, Wendy Fortino, Amanda Kuclo, Tina Nguyen, Latorya Watts, Juliana Malacarne, Dana Linn Bailey, Ashley Kaltwasser (just to name a few)...on NATIONAL TELEVISION?!?! Imagine how many new eyes will be on the bodybuilding world should this come to fruition! With the Rock being involved, it's almost guaranteed that new eyes will watch just out of curiousity, and that in turn will lead to more fans knowing who these women and men are. It worked for American Gladiators, it worked for WWE, why can't it work with one of the hardest-working men in Hollywood?  

We will definitely be keeping up with this news and keeping you all informed on what could go down. Assuming this does happen and women are involved (I would be shocked in they weren't in some capacity), who would YOU like to see be part of Muscle Beach? Email us at fitgemsnation@gmail.com, send us a Facebook message, send us a tweet, or leave a comment below. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Trish Warren's Next Move?

2015 Fitness International. The last time Trish competed on stage. Things could be a-changing very soon.
Photo credit: Flex Online

To make a presence in the industry, one might have to change directions to achieve their ultimate goals. Camala Rodquriez-McClure switched from fitness to figure and would go on to win several titles, including the 2015 Figure International Championship. Juliana Malacarne went from figure to women’s physique and has dominated the division ever since, including winning 2 Olympia Women’s Physique showdowns and winning the first-ever Women’s Physique International back in 2015. Shanique Grant went from figure to women’s physique and in her first women’s physique show won it and is not qualified for the Olympia at 20 years old, one of the youngest to ever qualify for the event. 

Which brings me to this…is one of the biggest names in the fitness division finally making the leap to a different division that fits her body type and training more? I’m referring to one of FitGems Nation’s favorite competitors, Trish Warren. For anyone that has followed the industry for at least the past decade, Trish has been one of the top fitness competitors on the planet, competing on multiple Arnolds and Olympias. The last time she stepped on stage was in 2015 during the Arnold Sports Festival. On social media, she has all but confirmed that she’s taking her fitness journey to the next level. Looking at her social media, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what that next level is. I’ll give you a hint…Juliana Malacarne just happens to be the current queen of that division.

For the last few weeks, we have noticed some things about Trish that she’s not done before as much as she’s doing now. For one, she’s flexing quite a bit, and by quite a bit, I mean A LOT. At first I thought it was one of those “She’s embracing her physique a bit more. AWESOME!” kind of things…and there’s nothing wrong with that. Heck, in fact, I have no issue with that whatsoever. You put in the hard work in the gym and in your eating, it’s only right that you embrace your physique in any way you can. 
But then May 13th happened.

This might have been posted on a Friday the 13th, but there was nothing "bad luck" about this at all. This just seems...right to us!
Photo credit: Trish's Facebook

What's so special about May 13th, you ask? She posted the above photo on her social media accounts…and I made a comment about that she would be great for the women’s physique division despite being a fitness woman through and through, but it was just one guy’s opinion. She replied with the following: “I like your opinion!!! Stay tuned…” Right there, my heart skipped a beat and my mind kept say one word over and over again…”Game…changer”. Should Trish be switching divisions, this could be a big thing for not only Trish, but for the division itself. Don’t believe me?! Let me introduce to you Exhibit A: Trish Warren from 2009.

I’ve seen videos from the Arnold and Olympia from that year. I’ve seen photos from those shows. That look might not have been awarded so well (which made me sad), but I dare for you to show me how can you NOT be taken aback by that. Based off that look and the women’s physique rules today, she would be winning shows left and right.

Maybe Trish's best look (muscle-wise) to date. From the 2009 Fitness Olympia
Photo credit: Dan Ray (for RxMuscle)
Something else that has caught my attention: She is changed her training up a good bit. Her training (according to Trish herself) used to be light weights and high reps for conditioning in the fitness division. She is now doing heavier weight training (and I’m assuming lower reps, but I’m not entirely sure) which is something she hasn’t done. She has shown time and time again that Trish can develop quite the muscular physique and now with this change of training, except not just a (slightly) bigger Trish Warren than we’re used to, but a better Trish Warren as well. 

Let me make is abundantly clear…WE’RE not saying Trish is heading to women’s physique. We’re just saying that all signs seem to be leaning toward that based off her own words and photos. It's all but confirmed, but we will wait until she makes the official announcement herself. This post is just speculation based off her social media posting over the last few months. Whatever is next for this IFBB superstar, it looks like she could potentially be in the best shape in her entire career. We wish Trish best of luck in this upcoming chapter, as well as the entire Warren family (Branch and Faith Lea) in their endeavors!

Trish competing WITHOUT the heels? Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen! :)
Photo credit: Flex Online

To follow Trish on social media, check out the following links: