Friday, May 10, 2019

Juliana Malacarne...IFBB Wellness Pro?!

As most of you know by now, the NPC and IFBB will be bringing the wellness division in 2020. This is a popular division internationally that has produced some incredible physiques that are not seen as much in the United States. Now with the division coming to the States next year, it would not be surprising to see competitors searching for wellness competitors overseas for possible looks. I'm going to assume the look for the NPC/IFBB will be similar to what is overseas, but don't quote me on it right now as nothing has been said as of this article. But when they do get everything set, we'll post our thoughts on it.

Most wellness divisions in other federations have their competitors to have a muscular physique without much separation that appear athletic and aesthetic. Despite nothing set in stone as far as the look that will be rewarded in the NPC and IFBB, it has not stop people from guessing who will be the IT look for the division..including us. In fact, if the division is in need of an example already in the IFBB, we know someone...Juliana Malacarne.

Muscular, shapely, athletic, asthetic, non-shredded or dry...exactly what Juliana is now, and exactly what the wellness division could be?! We'll see!
Photo credit: Juliana herself


I know you are probably thinking..."Wait...this site is seriously suggesting that a 4x Miss Physique Olympia be the measuring stick of the new wellness division?" Yes, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I'M SUGGESTING! Especially the way Juliana looks now. Look no further than her recent post. She still trains hard despite not stepping on stage since 2017 (remember, she said she was taking a break, she NEVER said she was completely retired yet), and she looks downright amazing these days: a muscular, shapely, athletic, aesthetic, and healthy look that isn't shredded or dry...exactly how the wellness divisions across other federations are. Juliana has stated that she would love to return to the stage if it seemed she could do it without sacrificing her femininity, and the wellness could be just that. There are a few more we would like to see do wellness, but based off how she is not, Juliana is at the top of the list.

She defined women's physique...and if she chooses to, could defined IFBB Wellness!


So what do you think? Does Juliana have the wellness look? Who do YOU think has what YOU believe to be the ideal wellness look for the IFBB? Comment below or let us know via our social media platforms.

Don't forget to follow Juliana on her social media platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julesfit10/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/julesfit10
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/julesfit10

Friday, March 8, 2019

Dana Brooke's Instagram Story Q and A Recap

It's no secret to anyone who has followed us for a while that we are huge fans/supporters of WWE Superstar Dana Brooke. With no disrespect to anyone else in the WWE women's division on Raw and Smackdown Live, we feel that Dana just might be the most underrated woman in WWE right now. For some reason, WWE hasn't pulled the trigger on letting Dana get to be the star we feel she can be. We don't expect any wrestling media to have her back, so we feel being part of the family that gave her a break in the first place (the fitness family), we want to show our support however we can, especially via out social media platforms. While we are aware of the trolls that comment on our stuff saying things like "she is no good", "she sucks", "why don't WWE release her already" and other crap like that, we are thankful for her fans who back her up while not necessarily are fans of OUR industry. Much respect to all the Dana Brooke fans out there.


Photo credit: Dana's Instagram



On March 5th, Dana did a Q and A (question and answer) for her followers on Instagram and she brought up some things we knew and some things we didn't know, so we decided to do a recap of her impromptu Q and A. This is her fifth year as a WWE Superstar (combining both NXT and WWE runs). She was blessed to have a great childhood with her parents and sisters, and the support has been with her ever since. BTW, she loves herself some chocolate. As a kid, she used to wrestle with her dad and stuff animals. Her dad and uncle had wrestling on at the time (wasn't on the Q and A, but I believe she mentioned at one point that Goldberg is one of her favorites. Dana can correct us if we're wrong on that). She was approached to join WWE and doesn't want any "what ifs" in her life, and she feels joining WWE has brought her closer to her dad. Her current favorite moments (memories) thus far is being the first person (male or female) under WWE contract to compete at the Arnold (and doing it twice), Triple H asking her to be Asuka's first opponent in NXT, dressing up at Ric Flair at Extreme Rules 2015, and last year's historic Evolution PPV, the first all-female PPV put on by WWE. Like many NXT alumni, she does miss the brand for the memories she made there, for the late, great Dusty Rhodes, and for simply being "a total badass there". She also would love to compete in the Arnold again and one day step on the Olympia stage. But as of now, her focus is on WWE and hoping to make a name for herself there. Speaking of making a name for herself, she was ask when she would get a shot at the Raw Women's Championship (currently held by Ronda Rousey). She jokingly (but not entirely joking, unfortunately) said that you would need to play as her in a video game (might we suggest WWE 2K19) for her to win it. But she is "hoping and praying after Wrestlemania doors open for her" or she'll "knock them down." (Personally, we hope she goes to Smackdown next month in the Superstar Shakeup and be in the Smackdown Women's title picture. We think she would thrive on Smackdown Live because she is going nowhere on Raw right now with Ronda, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch taking all the spotlight).

Her inspiration was (and we believe still is) Natalya. On Natalya, she said that she's "her biggest inspiration coming into WWE", someone that "always portrayed someone strong and humble". In fact, her first (and favorite) attire (black and pink), was inspired by Natalya and Trish Stratus, another person she looks up to. Trish felt honored when she found that out and give Dana a seal of approval on her Instagram. If Dana had the choice to face anyone at this year's Wrestlemania, it would be current Smackdown Women's Champion Asuka, mainly because she hasn't had her rematch from NXT: Takeover: Respect (yeah, we're not going to mention THAT one time from a couple of years ago that...well, can we even call that a match?!). Prior to WWE, she was a gymnast for 18 years, a diver for 2 years, and a pro fitness competitor for 8 years. She still talks to Tenille Dashwood (her former WWE tag partner Emma) quite a bit. According to Dana, she will always have a special place in her heart. As a matter of fact, she was beside her when she got the news that her boyfriend at the time, Dallas McCarver, passed away. Nice to hear that they still have a tight relationship even after Emma was let go from WWE.

Speaking of Dallas, his passing apparently did affect her more than just the obvious sorrow. She revealed for the first time that she has dealt with body-related self-esteem issues. As mentioned before, she has competed in the fitness division for nearly a decade, and one of the downsides to competing for several people is never feeling good enough. Her end to her fitness competition journey (for the time being, anyways) and the passing of Dallas was too much for her to take, and she did put on weight as a result. She wasn't feeling comfortable in her own skin despite being her heart and soul being the same and her caring for others the same as well. Obviously, she has found herself again as far as fitness is concerned and is looking the best she's had in a long time. Mentally, she has gotten better as well. She was a routine freak (and with her past, you can't really blame her). But she has now adjusted herself to be open for anything and be ready on the fly. She has also found love again, in the form of current NBA star (and aspiring WWE Superstar) Enes Kanter of the Portland Trail Blazers. She enjoys Turkish food and admires his faith, which is something she is deep on herself. In addition to that, they love to workout, do fun sporting activities, eat at healthy restaurants, lay in bed and laugh at silly jokes.


Photo credit: Enes's Instagram
She was asked for advice to give a new wrestler, and she said, "Always try new things! Think of the physiology behind things and story telling of the match! Make the moves mean something" (BTW, she is absolutely correct. Anyone can do a lot of power moves or endless flips, but if they don't push the objective of the storyline, then what's the point?! Make the fans give a damn about what you are going in the ring.) Also she gave advice to those that WANT to be wrestlers: make sure to get an education, which is something she still implements in WWE, especially for training.

What you see with Dana Brooke is what you get with her real-life persona, Ashley Sebera. Strong as they come, mentally and physically with "never ever stop trying" attitudes. The best things that have happened to her have been her toughest moments in life because of what she has learned about herself. In her own words: "Losing someone but learning how strong I was to overcome it! Then giving the strongest love I have in my soul to someone knowing it's ended, but feeling so happy doing it! Being so passionate about a job that sometimes doesn't go your way, but learning perseverance". She was asked in closing "Deep down are you happy" and her response was "I am extremely happy! I'm healthy, I have the best support & living the live God gives me, as long as He wakes me up, we will get through it!"

The fact she has this kind of spirit despite EVERYTHING shows what kind of woman she is and why have no problem supporting her. We do hope that wrestling fans get to know Dana like the fitness world has gotten to know her. To any wrestling sites, if you plan on using any of this article, please credit Dana's Instagram story, not us. We just put it together.



Photo credit: kimberlasskick on Instagram





Don't forget to follow Dana on the following links:

Her WWE Superstars page: http://www.wwe.com/superstars/dana-brooke
Dana's WWE-ran Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WWEDanaBrooke/
Her Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanaBrookeWWE
Her Instagram: https://instagram.com/ashasebera_danabrooke
Her Snapchat: Asha_danabrooke

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Arnold 2019 Predictions

Photo credit: Arnold Sports Festival website


It's time for the biggest weekend that is NOT the Olympia...the Arnold Sports Festival! Also known as the "kickoff" to the competition season, some of the best in women's physique, fitness, figure, and bikini (as well as the men's divisions) take over Columbus, Ohio, and one of the most simple cities in America becomes the muscle capital of the world for one weekend. There's a very good chance I butchered my predictions here (wouldn't be the first time. LMAO), but here are my predictions for how I think the weekend will play out:


WOMEN'S PHYSIQUE INTERNATIONAL (PREJUDGING AND FINALS FRIDAY)


The Women's Physique International has never had a repeat champion since the contest's debut in 2015. That trend will continue this year as last year's winner and current Ms. Physique Olympia Shanique Grant will not be defending her title. After an amazing year last year for Natalia Coelho, she is considered by many to be the odds-on favorite to win her first major title. People have seemed to forgotten how good Natalia really is despite her success in the industry thus far, but I have a feeling people are going to get a very good reminder of just how amazing of a competitor Natalia really is. Her biggest competitor in my eyes might be a surprise to a lot of you: I have Lauren Rutan challenging her for the title. Lauren is one of the most incredible muscle athletes of all time and her IFBB career has barely begun. She has competed in powerlifting, weightlifting, and CrossFit at the Arnold, and with her competing in women's physique, she will enter a class of her own being the only person (male or female) to compete in the Arnold in four different events. I can't think of any other person that has done this feat. If it indeed comes down to Lauren and Natalia, we are in for a treat. The rest of the field is kinda a toss-up to me. I have Sheronica in 3rd, Valentine in 4th, Antoniette in 5th, and Margita rounding out the top 6. My dark horse for this event is Diana Schnaidt, one of the most underrated competitors in women's physique. Maybe 2019 will be the year she shakes things up there!

My Women's Physique International predictions:

1. Natalia Coelho
2. Lauren Rutan
3. Sheronica Henton
4. Valentina Mishina
5. Antoinette Downie
6. Margita Zamolova
DARK HORSE FOR THE TOP SIX: Diana Schnaidt


FITNESS INTERNATIONAL (PREJUDGING AND FINALS FRIDAY)


2018 saw the post-Oksana Grishina era of the fitness division begin with a bang with Whitney Jones winning 2018 Fitness International title (with a torn ACL!) as well as the 2018 Fitness Olympia, making her the new Queen of Fitness. This weekend, Whitney will be defending her title against some great competition, however there will be no Ariel Khadr (injury) or Myriam Capes (business ordeals) in this year's events. Looking at the field, I expect Whitney to repeat as champion. Ryall Graber, who was the 2018 Fitness Olympia runner-up, to me is her top competitor. I also predict Missy to have her best finish at the Arnold to date. Kate Errington came out of nowhere last year and was the 2018 Fitness International runner-up. I have her finishing 4th because of how good Ryall has been and how improved Missy has become. Definitely not a knock on Kate, mind you. I have Sara and Allison rounding out the top six, with Tiffany Chandler as my dark horse pick.

My Fitness International predictions:

1. Whitney Jones
2. Ryall Graber
3. Missy Farell
4. Kate Errington
5. Sara Kovach
6. Allison Ethier
DARK HORSE FOR THE TOP SIX: Tiffany Chandler


FIGURE INTERNATIONAL (PREJUDGING AND FINALS FRIDAY)


The figure division just gets deeper and deeper each year, with Candice Lewis-Carter and Cydney Gillon running things in 2018 winning the Figure International and Figure Olympia titles respectively. Candice will not be stepping on stage for the foreseeable future and Latorya Watts is still hoping to return sometime this year (still recovering from last year's injury/surgery) as well as no Heather Dees or Ivana Ivusic this time around, leaving Cydney as the odds-on favorite to win her first Figure International title. I see her biggest competition being Nadia Wyatt, who came from almost out of nowhere last year and placed 3rd at the 2018 Figure International. She definitely looked great alongside Cydney and could potentially upset Cydney and win her first major title. Jessica, Sandra, Bojana, and Maria all finished well at the 2018 Olympia, and I personally expect nothing less from them and see them rounding out the top six. One person who I think could shake things up is Wendy Fortino, who will be making her long-overdue Figure International debut. If anyone can make the top six, it's her.


My Figure International Predictions:

1. Cydney Gillon
2. Nadia Wyatt
3. Jessica Reyes Padilla
4. Sandra Grajales
5. Bojana Vasiljevic
6. Maria Luisa Baeza Diaz
DARK HORSE FOR THE TOP 6: Wendy Fortino



BIKINI INTERNATIONAL (PREJUDGING AND FINALS SATURDAY)


For the last couple of years, Angelica Teixeria has ruled the bikini division, but she will not be defending her Bikini International title this year. I feel Janet Layng is long overdue for her first major title, and I do think she has a chance to win this weekend, but because the Arnold is in Columbus and hometown folks do everything in their power to come in at their best in front of their family and friends, I'm going to go with Ashley Kaltwasser to win another Bikini International title. I see Ashley as a SLIGHT favorite but not by much. This might be the tightest contest of the night when it comes to the difference between 1st and 2nd place, but I could be wrong here. Rounding out my top 6 are Elisa, Marcia, Camile, and Frida, who I feel on the verge of a breakout in the bikini division. My dark horse pick is Ashley Jenelle. (NOTE: I had India Paulino on my top 6, but I was informed that she is not competing this weekend. My apologies)

My Bikini International predictions:

1. Ashley Kaltwasser
2. Janet Layng
3. Elisa Pecini
4. Marcia Goncalves
5. Camile Periat
6. Frida Paulsen Stern
DARK HORSE FOR THE TOP SIX: Ashley Jenelle


This is shaping up to be quite the event. For those that are not in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, you can view the festivities at this link: https://www.arnoldsportsfestival.com/visitor-info/asftv/19-asf-livestream/. REDCON1 will be providing over 70 hours of LIVE coverage of all the big events of the Arnold Sports Festival. And we will do our best to keep you all updated on the pro events via our social media platforms. Best of luck to all the competitors this weekend!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

10th Annual FitGems Awards Winners

Thank you all for once again shattering record voting in the 10th Annual FitGems Awards! Here's the full list of the winners and runner-ups for each category, as well as the top ten finishers of the 2018 FitGems Nation Woman of the Year. Check out our social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to view photos of the winners and the top 10 Woman of the Year vote-getters. Once again, congrats to all the winners, runner-ups, and the nominees!


PRO CATEGORIES

Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Alina Popa
Margie Martin (runner-up)

Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Shanique Grant
Natalia Coelho (runner-up)

Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Whitney Jones
Jennifer Worth (runner-up)

Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Candice Lewis-Carter
Cydney Gillon (runner-up)

Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Elisa Pecini
Angelica Teixeria (runner-up)

Most Improved Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Silvia Matta
Jacqueline Fuchs (runner-up)

Most Improved Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Autumn Swansen
Mayla Ash (runner-up)

Most Improved Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Veronic Comtois
Giorgia Foroni (runner-up)

Most Improved Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Natalia Soltero
Stacy Fujarski (runner-up)

Most Improved Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Ashley Jenelle
Marcia Goncalves (runner-up)

Rookie Pro Women's Bodybuilder of the Year
Susanna Jacobs
Nicole Janveaux (runner-up)

Rookie Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Sammica Cash
Sarah Villegas (runner-up)

Rookie Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Jaclyn Baker
Minna Pajulahti (runner-up)

Rookie Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Alexis Sullivan
Julia Waring (runner-up)

Rookie Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Jasmine Adams
Jennifer Dorie (runner-up)

Most Underrated Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Pauline Nelson
Jennifer Palazzo (runner-up)

Most Underrated Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Jill Blondin
Felecia Murray (runner-up)

Most Underrated Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Nicole Neargarder
Stacy Wright (runner-up)

Most Underrated Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Ashley Soto
Amanda Carr (runner-up)

Most Underrated Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Eli Fernandez
Kerryne Henich (runner-up)


AMATEUR CATEGORIES


Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Akemy Jones
Kelly Lynn Nauyokas (runner-up)

Amateur Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Ashlynn Richardson
Jessica Williams (runner-up)

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Katarina Vovolka
Ashley Pickard (runner-up)

Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Sarah Grace
Ashley Sparks (runner-up)

Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Jessica Telesco
Skylar Lanier and Shannon Lane (runner-ups)

Breakout Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Lacey Pruitt
Amy Sutter (runner-up)

Breakout Amateur Women’s Physique Competitor of the Year
Traci Rugged
Kelly Lynn Nauyokas (runner-up)

Breakout Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Anna Adams
Vanessa Bousquet (runner-up)

Breakout Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Ashley Jones
Alicia Bell (runner-up)

Breakout Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Ciara Houston
Amanda Aguzzi (Runner-up)

Most Underrated Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Karen Holliday
Gina Cavaliero (runner-up)

Most Underrated Amateur Women’s Physique Competitor of the Year
Farrah Faulkner
Tamara Gourley (runner-up)

Most Underrated Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Shayla Jacobs
Brandy Norris and Sarah Koubek (runner-ups)

Most Underrated Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Tawny Davis
Meghan Cassidy (runner-up)

Most Underrated Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Sheila Roberts
Samantha Mcintyre (runner-up)


MISC. CATEGORIES


Fitness Model of the Year
Wendy Fortino
Tina Nguyen (Runner-up)

Fitness Ambassador of the Year
Nicole Wilkins
Juliana Malacarne (Runner-up)

Social Media Star of the Year (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat, etc.)
Wendy Fortino
Tina Nguyen (Runner-up)

Moment of the Year
Shanique Grant becoming the youngest Ms. Women's Physique Olympia in history
Ashley Kaltwasser returning to competition for the first time in over a year at the 2018 Mile High Pro (Runner-up)

Photographer of the Year
Dan Ray
J.M. Manion (Runner-up)

Fit Celebrity of the Year
Charly Caruso
Jenna Wolfe and Teresa Guidance (Runner-ups)

Female Sports Athlete of the Year
Simone Biles
Alex Morgan (Runner-up)

Female Crossfit Athlete of the Year
Tia-Clair Toomey
Katrin Tania Thorisdottir (Runner-up)

Female Strength Athlete of the Year
Stefanie Cohen
Jen Thompson (Runner-up)

Female Super League Athlete of the Year
Kristen Graham
Jamie Filer (Runner-up)

Fittest Female WWE Superstar of the Year (Raw/Smackdown Live)
Sasha Banks
Mandy Rose (Runner-up)

Fittest Female NXT Superstar of the Year
Candice LeRae
Bianca Belair (Runner-up)

Fittest Female Wrestler of the Year
Tessa Blanchard
Toni Storm (Runner-up)

Physique Paysite of the Year
HerBiceps
HDPhysiques/Preminum Physiques (Runner-ups)

Physique Paysite Model of the Year
Sandra Grajales
Maria Garcia (Runner-up)

Promoter of the Year
Tim Gardner
Branch and Trish Warren (Runner-ups)

Fitness Clothing Line of the Year
Flag Nor Fail
Booty Queen Apparel (Runner-up)

Team of the Year
Underrated Muscle
Fitness Mafia (Runner-up)

Male Trainer of the Year
Dave Palumbo
Matt Allen (Runner-up)

Female Trainer of the Year
Wendy Fortino
Natalia Coelho (Runner-Up)


FitGems Nation Woman of the Year Top 10

  1. Cydney Gillon
  2. Shanique Grant
  3. Candice Lewis-Carter
  4. Angelica Teixeria
  5. Jennifer Worth
  6. Ronda Rousey
  7. Bojana Vasiljevic
  8. Alina Popa
  9. Whitney Jones and Juliana Malacarne (tied)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

10th Annual FitGems Awards Ballot

The poll is LIVE! You don't have to vote for each category, but it would nice to vote for as many as possible. You can vote once per day until January 14th at 11:59pm Eastern time. At that time, all polls will be closed. Have a wonderful rest of 2018, congrats once again to all the FitGems Award nominees, and best of luck to each and every one of you!


PRO CATEGORIES

AMATEUR CATEGORIES

MISC. CATEGORIES

AND THE HIGHEST HONOR OF THEM ALL...THE FITGEMS NATION WOMAN OF THE YEAR!

Follow the conversation about this year's FitGems Awards by using the hashtag #FitGemsAwards on Twitter and Instagram. Post your predictions on who you think will win...as well as any questions you may have about any of the categories and nominees, or anyone you think got snubbed. We will explain how we came to our decisions for the nominees. SEE YOU IN 2019!!!

Monday, December 24, 2018

10th Annual FitGems Awards Categories and Nominees Revealed

Our sincere apologies for the delay of the FitGems Awards. This year, we had a bit of help getting this together, but with how the changes the IFBB and NPC made this year (which aren't bad ones, but could use a bit of tinkering...which we will discuss sometime in 2019), it was more challenging than ever to get this list together to make sure we accurately do this right. Without further ado, here are this year's categories and nominees for this year's FitGems Awards!

PRO CATEGORIES


Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Alina Popa
Margie Martin
Shelia Bleck
Nikki Chartrand
Helle Trevino
Jill Blondin

Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Natalia Coelho
Shanique Grant
Daniely Castilho
Jennifer Taylor
Heather Grace
Michala Aycock

Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Whitney Jones
Myriam Capes
Bethany Wagner
Ariel Khadr
Jennifer Worth
Missy Farrell

Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Cydney Gillon
Candice Lewis-Carter
Heather Dees
Ivana Ivusic
Bojana Vasjaevic
Nadia Wyatt

Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Angelica Teixeria
Ashley Kaltwasser
Janet Layug
Casey Samsel
Lauralie Chapados
Elisa Pecini

Most Improved Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Tananarive Huie
Maria Mikola
Jacqueline Fuchs
Maryse Manios
Silvia Matta
Ladawn Mcday

Most Improved Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Cris Goy Arellano
Tomefafa Ameko
Penpraghai Tiangngok
Margita Zamolova
Autumn Swansen
Mayla Ash

Most Improved Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Ashley Allen
Danielle Chikeles
Emma Paveley
Veronic Comtois
Cong Mou
Giorgia Foroni

Most Improved Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Stacy Fujarski
Natalia Soltero
Louise Rogers
Melissa Bumstead
Jessica Reyes Padilla
Julie Mayer

Most Improved Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Marcia Goncalves
Raphaela Milagres
Frida Paulsen Stern
Camile Periat
Ashley Jenelle
Stacy McCloud

Rookie Pro Women's Bodybuilder of the Year
Susanna Jacobs
Jill Blondin
Donna Salib
Barbara Carita
Amanda Smith
Nicole Janveaux

Rookie Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Lauren Rutan
Lenka Ferencukova
Sarah Villegas
Sammica Cash
Jonquil Baugh
Mary Power

Rookie Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Kate Errington
Jacklyn Baker
Darrian Borello
Sara Kovach
Minna Pajulahti
Carolina Frausto

Rookie Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Alexis Sullivan
Felisia Livesey
Missy Farrell
Zulema Duran
Julia Waring
Marta Gorzynska

Rookie Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Celeste Shaffer
Jennifer Dorie
Sherry Espera
Jessie Pineault
Maxine Somov
Jasmine Adams

Most Underrated Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Patty Corbett
Pauline Nelson
Jennifer Palazzo
Amy Hauck
Heather Manuel
Cristina Maffeis

Most Underrated Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Jill Blondin
Diana Schnaidt
Rose Brunner
Rita Rae
Felecia Murray
Elizabeth Bradshaw

Most Underrated Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Rebecca Sizemore
Alysha Cliff
Jobie Goodro
Nicole Neargarder
Rene Brosch
Stacy Wright

Most Underrated Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Amanda Carr
Ashley Soto
Catherine Lavoie
Sara Chio
Rebecca Schubeck
Azaria Glaim

Most Underrated Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Tawna Eubanks
Kerryne Henich
Katya Nosova
Sara Back
Elizabeth Yisrael
Eli Fernandez


AMATEUR CATEGORIES

Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Akemy Jones
Marla-Maria Merrithew
Pamela Hannam
Monica Hale
Lunette Johnson
Kelly Lynn Nauyokas

Amateur Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Ashley Bader
Ashlynn Richardson
Emily Schubert
Jessica Williams
Savka Brownseki
Ashley Gearhart

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Ashley Packard
Kristy Fenster-Avery
Allison Dominquez Kramer
Katarina Vovolka
Alayne Corum
Abbie Elsner

Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Tiffany Walker
Sarah Grace
Diana Cadena
Christine Stearns
Hope Welsh
Ashley Sparks

Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Alexandria Blare
Cierra Davis
Calvsta Upperman
Jessica Telesco
Skylar Lanier
Shannon Lane

Breakout Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Kristine Spinelli
Katie Kehoe
Lacey Pruitt
Amy Sutter
Demi Robertson
Lesile Heidemann

Breakout Amateur Women’s Physique Competitor of the Year
Kelly Lynn Nauyokas
Thea Douger
Traci Rugged
Katleen Erickson
Kimberly Rieck
Cristal Juarez

Breakout Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Noelle Russow
Marlaina Shrives
Vanessa Bousquet
Anna Adams
Kristen Morby
Katie Mitchell

Breakout Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Ashley Jones
Rachel Killam
Devon Winn Hare
Alicia Bell
Lola Montez
Jennifer Lowery

Breakout Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Celeste Shaffer
Carolyn Lee
Ciara Houston
Regena Harrison
Amanda Aguzzi
Carrie Lawler

Most Underrated Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Leann George
Gina Cavaliero
Karen Holliday
Carrie Prather
Sherri Enos
Leeann Scelfo-Cino

Most Underrated Amateur Women’s Physique Competitor of the Year
Tamara Gourley
Debbie Deutsch
Evon Pennington
Farrah Faulkner
Rhonda Brown-Massey
April Reed

Most Underrated Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Shayla Jacobs
Brandy Norris
Christine Hotchkin
Teah Poyner
Andrea Henry
Sarah Koubek

Most Underrated Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Tawny Davis
Meagan Latour
Silvia Henry
Meghan Cassidy
Megan Latour
Nini Neives

Most Underrated Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Michaelle Allies
Maria Noboa
Samantha Mcintyre
Melissa Feijoo
Awilda Herrera
Sheila Roberts


MISC. CATEGORIES

Fitness Model of the Year
Torrie Wilson
Tina Nguyen
Mandy Rose
Erin Stern
Wendy Fortino
Ashley Soto

Fitness Ambassador of the Year
Torrie Wilson
Erin Stern
Jen Widerstrom
Nicole Wilkins
Juliana Malacarne
Trish Warren

Social Media Star of the Year (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat, etc.)
Torrie Wilson
Jen Widerstrom
Ashley Soto
Tina Nguyen
Wendy Fortino
Jessica Williams

Moment of the Year
Whitney Jones winning the Fitness International title with a torn ACL/MCL
Shanique Grant becoming the youngest Ms. Women's Physique Olympia in history
Jennifer Worth winning the Tampa Pro, her first pro win since 2001
Whitney Jones becoming the new Ms. Fitness Olympia
Ronda Rousey officially joining WWE at the 2018 Royal Rumble event
Ashley Kaltwasser returning to competition for the first time in over a year at the 2018 Mile High Pro

Photographer of the Year
Dan Ray
George Kontaxis
Will Wittmann
Joe Bayer
J.M. Manion
George Kontaxis

Fit Celebrity of the Year
Teresa Guidance (Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Tiffany Coyne (Let's Make a Deal)
Debbie Matenopoulos (Home and Family)
Chrysti Ane (Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel)
Charly Caruso (WWE Raw/ESPN Sportscenter)
Jenna Wolfe (First Things First)

Female Sports Athlete of the Year
Simone Biles (gymnastics)
Morgan Reid (college soccer)
Maycee Barber (MMA)
Alex Morgan (pro soccer)
Elena Delle Donne (WNBA)
Sydney McLaughlin (track and field)

(NEW FOR 2018) Crossfit Athlete of the Year
Tia-Clair Toomey
Annie Thorisdottir
Katrin Tania Thorisdottir
Cassidy Lance-McWherter
Laura Horovath
Kara Saunders

(NEW FOR 2018) Female Strength Athlete of the Year
Stefanie Cohen
Lauren Rutan
Mattie Rogers
Danielle Malcom
Lidia Valentin Perez
Jen Thompson

(NEW FOR 2018) Female Super League Athlete of the Year
Minna Pajulahti
Kristin Graham
Jamie Filer
Kat Secor
Brittany Diamond
Rene Marven

(REVAMPED FOR 2018) Fittest Female WWE Superstar of the Year (Raw/Smackdown Live)
Charlotte Flair
Mandy Rose
Mickie James
Dana Brooke
Sasha Banks
Naomi

(NEW FOR 2018) Fittest Female NXT Superstar of the Year
Lacey Evans
Bianca Belair
Candice LaRae
Kairi Sane
Reha Ripley
Shayna Baizer

(REVAMPED FOR 2018) Fittest Female Wrestler of the Year
Tessa Blanchard
Kamille
Tori Storm
Taya Valkyrie
Santana Garrett
Heidi Katrina

Physique Paysite of the Year
HerBiceps
FemaleCityFlex
HDPhysiques/Preminum Physiques
Kriv Studios
MuscleTease
VideoTeasing

Physique Paysite Model of the Year
Carli Teperka
Kaitie Hart
Cris Goy
Tishalicious
Sandra Grajales
Maria Garcia

Promoter(s) of the Year
Tim Garnder
Branch and Trish Warren
Robin Chang
Gary Udit
Ron Hache
Jack and Ann Titone

Fitness Clothing Line of the Year
Booty Queen Apparel
Flag Nor Fail
NPC Active Wear
Vanquish Fitness
Nicole Wilkins Collection
Tapout

Team of the Year
Team CyberbodyShop
Team Williams Fitness
Underrated Muscle
Worth It Fitness
Sexy-Strong
Fitness Mafia

Male Trainer of the Year
Pete Ciccone
Matt Allen
Jack Titone
Noel Fuller
Justin Miller
Dave Palumbo

Female Trainer of the Year
Torrie Wilson
Meriza Deguzman-Ciccone
Wendy Fortino
Jennifer Worth
Natalia Coelho
Jen Widerstrom

And the highest honor of them all...the FitGems Nation Woman of the Year!
 
This goes to the fitness personality that had the most impact for the industry in 2018). As always, c
nce you win this award, you will AUTOMATICALLY sit out the following year as a way of keeping this particular award’s winners as fresh as possible, even if the following year is their best one in their career up to that point. This means last year’s winner, Wendy Fortino, will not be on the ballot this year. 

This year's nominees are...

  1. Shanique Grant
  2. Natalia Coelho
  3. Cydney Gillon
  4. Candice Lewis-Carter
  5. Whitney Jones
  6. Myriam Capes
  7. Jennifer Worth
  8. Jen Widerstrom
  9. Ashley Kaltwasser
  10. Charlotte Flair
  11. Alexa Bliss
  12. Ronda Rousey
  13. Mandy Rose
  14. Tessa Blanchard
  15. Juliana Malacarne
  16. Missy Farrell
  17. Bojana Vasjaevic
  18. Angelica Teixeria
  19. Alina Popa
  20. Stefanie Cohen
Voting begins THIS WEDNSDAY NIGHT (exact time to be determined) and voting will go on until January 14th at 11:59 Eastern time. You will be able to vote once per day, and Crowdsignal (formerly known as Polldaddy) will be our official voting format. Congrats to all the nominees, best of luck to you all, and I would like to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas and Happy and Successful 2019!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

10th Annual FitGems Awards Time...and THE REOPENING OF OUR HALL OF FAME!!!

I literally can't believe we have been doing this for 10 years, but my goodness, here we are: the 10th Annual FitGems Awards are upon us! For the ninth straight year, we're doing the FitGems Awards, where we honor the best of the female muscle world from this past year. We will be using Polldaddy for the third straight year. Voting will begin on Wednesday, December 26 and will end at 11:59 Eastern Time on January 14th, 2019. As far as the number of categories are concerned, this is easily our biggest yet:

PRO CATEGORIES

Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Most Improved Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Most Improved Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Most Improved Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Most Improved Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Most Improved Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Rookie Pro Women's Bodybuilder of the Year
Rookie Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Rookie Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Rookie Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Rookie Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Underrated Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Underrated Pro Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Underrated Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Underrated Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Underrated Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
 

AMATEUR CATEGORIES

Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Amateur Women's Physique Competitor of the Year
Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Breakout Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Breakout Amateur Women’s Physique Competitor of the Year
Breakout Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Breakout Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Breakout Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Underrated Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Underrated Amateur Women’s Physique Competitor of the Year
Underrated Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Underrated Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Underrated Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year

MISC. CATEGORIES

Fitness Ambassador of the Year
Social Media Star of the Year (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat, etc.)
Moment of the Year
Photographer of the Year
Fit Celebrity of the Year
Female Sports Athlete of the Year
(NEW FOR 2018) Crossfit Athlete of the Year
(NEW FOR 2018) Female Strength Athlete of the Year
(NEW FOR 2018) Female Super League Athlete of the Year
(REVAMPED FOR 2018) Fittest Female WWE Superstar of the Year (Raw/Smackdown Live)
(NEW FOR 2018) Fittest Female NXT Superstar of the Year
(REVAMPED FOR 2018) Fittest Female Wrestler of the Year
Physique Paysite of the Year
Physique Paysite Model of the Year
Promoter(s) of the Year
Fitness Clothing Line of the Year
Team of the Year
Male Trainer of the Year
Female Trainer of the Year


And of course, we have the BIG category of them all...the FitGems Nation Woman of the Year! This goes to the fitness personality that had the most impact in the industry in 2018. Whoever wins this award will AUTOMATICALLY sit out from this category in 2019 as a way of keeping this particular award’s winners as fresh as possible, even if 2019 ends up being better than 2018. Past Woman of the Year winners include Juliana Malcarne, Monica Brant, Dana Linn Bailey, and Wendy Fortino, who made history last year by becoming the first-ever 2x Woman of the Year.

This year's Woman of the Year nominees are...

Shanique Grant
Natalia Coelho
Cydney Gillon
Candice Lewis-Carter
Whitney Jones
Myriam Capes
Jennifer Worth
Jen Widerstrom
Ashley Kaltwasser
Charlotte Flair
Alexa Bliss
Ronda Rousey
Mandy Rose
Tessa Blanchard
Juliana Malacarne
Missy Farrell
Bojana Vasjaevic
Angelica Teixeria
Alina Popa
Stefanie Cohen


Voting for Woman of the Year will also begin on December 10 and will go on until 11:59 Eastern on January 7th.

If you want to know EXACTLY when we will begin voting, make sure to follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/fitgemsnation) on December 26 as that's when we will make the official announcement to begin voting. Also, for the first time, we will be using our Facebook and Instagram accounts so you can see all the nominees visually (I know, this should have been done a long time ago, but hey...live and learn).


Oh yeah...ONE. LAST. THING.


We're reopening the Hall!!! Yep, after a longer-than-it-should-have-been hiatus, the FitGems Hall of Fame is reopening to put in the greatest names the fitness world has ever seen.

Here is the criteria to be eligible for the FitGems Hall of Fame:

  1. This is a FEMALE COMPETITORS Hall of Fame, meaning no guys (at least not right now)
  2. The competitor(s) must either have competed for at least a decade or total of 10 years OR she has retired and it's been at least 5-10 years since their last competition
  3. They can be from any federation, even ones from the past
  4. The inductees can be living or deceased.

The FitGems Hall of Fame Class of 2019 will be voted on by select people within the fitness industry. The inductees will be revealed one by one, the week of the FitGems Awards Winners reveal and they will officially be inducted into our Hall of Fame the week before the 2019 Arnold Sports Festival. 

Those currently in the FitGems Hall of Fame are:
Adela Garcia
Rachel McLish
Iris Kyle
Kim Chizevsky
Lenda Murray
Cory Everson
Monica Brant


Who will join them? We will find out soon enough.

It's a lot of work to get all of this together, but this is one of the many things I love doing each year. I can't thank you all for your support of FitGems Nation these past ten years. What started out as a little blog has turned into so much more, and it's all because of you. And I truly feel the best is yet to come for FitGems Nation. Thank you all for joining me in building something special for you. Here's to 10 more years, and best of luck to everyone the next few weeks!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Evolution of Dana Brooke

Dana has EVOLVED...and we couldn't be more proud of her!
Photo credit: WWE.com


Evolution: the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

This weekend's WWE pay-per-view titled WWE Evolution is exactly that. What felt like a dream for fans of the female superstars in WWE is now a reality. For the first time in WWE history, the female superstars get their own pay-per-view. No, we're not stupid, things could have been a TAD bit better in building the event, but the fact that it's even happening in the first place is a big win for the women. While a lot of people have talked about the evolution of the division and some of its top stars, we want to take a little time to focus on someone who we feel is underrated and underappreciated by the wrestling fans and wrestling world as a whole...someone we consider one of our own, Dana Brooke.

Real name Ashley Sebera, Dana will be competing in the Evolution Battle Royal, featuring former champions (Asuka, Nia Jax, Ember Moon), rising stars (such as Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, the IIconics) and former competitors (such as Ivory, Kelly Kelly, and Michelle McCool) with the opportunity at a future Women's Championship down the line. While obviously we hope Dana wins, we want to take some time to mention why as we focus on Dana's OWN Evolution.

Dana begin her journey to WWE as an aspiring gymnast (part of the Junior Olympics, last we checked) and unfortunately injuries and surguries took her out of actively pursuing that further. She went into diving and was pretty damn good at it, but in her own words, "there was nowhere to go for her" in terms of diving, and let's be real, there wasn't. From there, she discovered the bodybuilding world, more spefically the bikini division. While that was cool for her...she wanted more because of her own competitive nature. From there she decided to enter the fitness division and found her niche. She would end up competing in the National Physique Committee (NPC) for a short time before competing as a pro in the International Federaion of Bodybuilders (IFBB). While she never competed on the Olympia stage, she ended up being good enough to compete on the Arnold stage (which is invite-only) two times. While competing at the Arnold multiple times is an honor in itself, it's the fact that she is the first (and as of now only) person (male or female) to do it while under a WWE contract. She did it in 2015 while in NXT, and she did it last year on the main roster. In fact, it was during her time in the fitness division where WWE would discover her.

Dana began her WWE journey at the Performance Center in July 2013 and would make her NXT debut shortly after. We do have to be honest, her debut was definitely less an ideal, but that was to be expected with most of her class having prior wrestling experienece in the indies and Dana having none before coming to the Performance Center. She definitely posessed one of the best finishers of any woman to come out of NXT up to that point, the Samoan Driver, and it got her quite a few victories, including one over one of the Four Horsewomen, Bayley. During her short time in NXT, she aligned herself with Emma and both ladies benefitted from it for a bit. It would end up benefitting Emma moreso than Dana in a way, as unfortunately Dana would suffer an injury that would limit her time in NXT as a competitor. In fact her last televised NXT match was at NXT Takeover: Respect against the debuting Asuka, who pretty much beat Dana handily that night. Everyone focuses on Asuka while no one seemed to have given Dana any credit for hanging with a Japanese legend, but as Dana would soon find out...it would be the story of her career in WWE thus far.

In May 2016, after healing from her injuries, Dana would make her main roster debut rejoining her buddy Emma, but this time with the name EnD (Emma and Dana). It lookes like they were going to attept to recreate or even surpass their NXT run, but injuries plaged it again, but THIS time, it was Emma would be sidelined, leading to Dana being directionness, until Extreme Rules 2016 where Dana showed up dressed as Ric Flair to distract Natalya and help Charlotte retain the Raw Women's Championship. Dana and Charlotte would end up being a pretty cool duo with Charlotte as the champion (and would begin her Queen transformation during that time) and Dana as the protege/lackey). Their relationship strained to the point where we THOUGHT there would be a breakup at some point but it weirdly disappeared. Then it came back for a bit and then broke up shortly before Wrestlemania 33, where they had one match against each other, Charlotte won, and it didn't go any further than that for whatever reason. Emma would return from injury and thought she would have Dana back as her buddy, but Dana was fed up with alliances so she declined the team-up. It looked like it was going to be a feud between Emma and Dana but once again...nothing came out of it. For some odd reason, at some point, it looked like a partnership was brewing between Dana and Mickie James, but again...nothing came out of it. In 2017, she was used sparringly in matches but showed improvements in her matches. After arguably the most embarrasing match (if you want to call it a match) of her career with a blink-of-an-eye defeat by the hands of Asuka, she joined Titus and Apollo (Titus Worldwide) as their statician. In all honestly, THAT went nowhere for her as she spent most of her time accompnaying them to the ring in secretary outfits holding a clipboard. Not even getting physically involved, just...well...holding a damn clipboard.

For someone with her skills, it was bothersome to see someone like Dana being wasted like this. Hell, up until recent, she was used LESS this year in matches than in 2017 despite, again, making serious improvements since her NXT days. We don't understand the logic of WWE of not using Dana in the best way possible, especially as someone who has not been shy of wanting to be in the ring more and wanting to work with children. But one thing no one, not even her haters and detractors, can deny is that Dana does her best to make due with what she has. She never makes excuses for what the cards bring in her life. That was never more clear than when she lost her boyfriend Dallas McCarver last year and she took minimum time off of WWE to mourn and came back and dedicated her matches for the remainer of 2017 and her matches this year, especially the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania Battle Royal, to Dallas (Click here to check out her touching tribute to Dallas during the Royal Rumble this year) Thankfully she has finally found love again in big-time WWE fan and current center for the New York Knicks, Enes Kanter, who is on his own path to making a name for himself in the sports world.

A thankless individual in the wrestling world
Photo credit: WWE.com

Throughout it all, good and bad, thick and thin, we have seen Dana evolve from to the NPC/IFBB to NXT and Breaking Ground to the main roster in WWE. She has suffered more loss than wins, but it has not lessen her as a person or a performer. In fact, it has made her stronger than ever before. To us, she is the most underrated WWE performer no one is talking about, and that's fine. It will make her eventual rise to the top that much sweeter. We've rooted for you for years, Dana, and we're not about to stop now. In fact, we're more in your corner now than ever before. Which is why a win at Evolution will truly be the defining win of not only her career but her life.

In her own words...PLAYTIME...IS OVER!!!!

Follow Dana at the following links:
Twitter: @DanaBrookeWWE
Instagram: ashasebera_danabrooke

Make sure to buy her merchandise at WWE Custom Tees: https://customtees.wwe.com/collections/raw/dana-brooke?sort_by=

Also, check out videos from UpUpDownDown to get to know the woman behind the character:
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCcwZncNVLE
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR98S2RtN-Q

Check out our other articles about Dana here:
Our thoughts on her NXT debut: http://fitgems.blogspot.com/2015/04/our-take-on-dana-brookes-debut-on-nxt.html

Why Dana competing at the Arnold is significant: http://fitgems.blogspot.com/2017/02/why-wwes-dana-brooke-competing-at.html