Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Olympia Qualification Series Announced

Just announced today, the IFBB is launching an Olympia Qualification Series! What the heck is that, you ask? Take a look at this:

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, March 13, 2012 - The IFBB Pro League, in conjunction with Joe Weider’s Olympia Weekend, announced the creation of the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series, a points-based system that will help determine qualifiers for all six IFBB Pro Olympia divisions.

The IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will award points to competitors placing in the top 2 to 5 of all Pro League events. At the end of the Olympia qualifying season, the five (5) competitors with the highest points totals in the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will qualify to compete at Olympia Weekend.

Since the winner of each competition automatically qualifies, no points will be awarded for first place. Additionally, competitors placing in the top 5 at the Olympia automatically qualify for the following year.

The IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will be effective immediately, and point totals for all 2012 contests will be included.

“We think this is a great way to expand the number of Olympia qualifiers beyond those who win contests and to build excitement for all IFBB Pro League events throughout the course of the year,” IFBB Pro League Chairman Jim Manion said. “It ensures that the best of the best will be competing on the Olympia stage.”

Points and qualifications in the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will be awarded as follows:

2nd – 8 Points
3rd – 7 Points
4th – 6 Points
5th – 5 Points

2nd – 6 Points
3rd – 5 Points
4th – 4 Points
5th – 3 Points

2nd – 5 Points
3rd – 4 Points
4th – 3 Points
5th – 2 Points

2nd – 4 Points
3rd – 3 Points
4th – 2 Points
5th – 1 Point

To view the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series standings, as well as the current qualifiers for Olympia weekend, click on the links below.

Men’s Bodybuilding 
212 Showdown
Women’s Bodybuilding
Any questions regarding IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series should be directed to the Olympia office via email at freaking awesome is this!! This is effective immediately, so the importance of doing well in the St. Louis Pro and Australian Pro this weekend (as well as the remaining contest of 2012) just went up a BIG notch just like that. I have a feeling there's gonna be a few more competitors entering contests now with this new qualification series. Kudos to the IFBB on getting this together.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why Competitors Need to Invest in Social Media and Social Media Advisors

Let's face it, people. We are in the age of social media, and this is going beyond the internet and making your own website. More and more people are using smartphones to keep up with news and posting their own news. Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google Plus,'s crazy how far social media has become over a short span of time. Crazy...but at the same time, not too surprising. It's quick, easy, and in many cases, FREE to use.

As you might have heard over and over and over (if you're a competitor reading this), just competing isn't good enough for you to get yourself notice. You need to get yourself out there and show off your brand. Bottom line, that's what it's come down to in order to make people see you as someone other than "that girl". There are too many of those in the industry as is.  You wonder why Monica Brant, Ava Cowan, Dana Linn Bailey, Erin Stern, and Nicole Wilkins (among others) as well are as big of names as they are? They do more than just compete, they put their "brand" out there for the world to see. They make others CARE about them. Jennifer Nicole Lee, Jamie Eason, and Brittany Beede don't compete, but they use social media to further advance their brand and are among the biggest names in fitness today, and a lot of it has to do with the power of social media.

But, some of you are probably wondering, "Uhh...I don't have the time to mess with that stuff". And quite frankly, most of you don't. You are too busy getting ready for competition and taking care of your own lives, which is very understanable. That why I suggest you find someone you can trust and enlist in getting a social media advisor, someone who can overlook your social media outlets while you go and do your thing. FitGems is currently working with IFBB Pro Christine Pomponio-Pate in furthering her brand by working on her Facebook fan page, Twitter account, and Youtube page.

Don't get this post twisted about social media awareness meaning the same thing as competition success, because it DOESN'T. You can have the most followers on Twitter, the most "likes" on Facebook, the most views on Youtube, etc, that doesn't mean squat when it comes to competition. All that matters then is what you bring to the stage ON THAT DAY (or that weekend). Social media just helps get your name around and will help you in your career, not guarantee you a title or in the top 5 of a contest. That's not happening. Keep that in mind.

If you are thinking about doing SOME form of social media (setting up a Facebook fan page, Twitter account, Youtube channel, blog, Tumblr, etc.), but need some assistance, email me at and I will help you out however I can.

Monday, March 5, 2012

2012 Bikini International Review: Tight Bikini Battle Sees New Champ in Sonia

10, 11, 12. That's how close the top three were in the 2012 Bikini International contest. With the scores that close, any of the top three could have made a strong case of being the winner. But in the end, the title went to Sonia Gonzales, the first-ever IFBB Bikini champion AND first-ever IFBB Ms. Bikini Olympia. India Paulino was right behind Sonia, and Nicole Nagrani, who entered the Arnold weekend as champion, placed 3rd. Not counting the Ms. International contest, Nicole was the only pro champion that entered the weekend and lost her title. This will only make her better in the long run, so expect a fierce Nicole Nagrani in the next contest she enters. The remainer of the top six were far behind the top three, but by no means did they look bad. Jamie Baird placed 4th, followed by fan favorite Nathalia Melo in 5th (many considered her placement a shocker), and Juliana Daniell in 6th.

Full results:

1. Sonia Gonzales
2. India Paulino
3. Nicole Nagrani
4. Jaime Baird
5. Nathalia Melo
6. Juliana Daniell
7. Diana Graham
8. Jessica Paxson
9. Candyce Graham
10. Monique Ricardo
11. Natalie Pennington
12. Jennifer Andrews
12. Lexi Kaufman
14. Christina Vargas
15. Tianna Ta
16. Jessica Jessie
16. Abigail Burrows
Justine Munro dropped out.

2012 Figure International Review: Nicole, 3X the Champ

For figure, 2012 began the way 2011 ended, who would be the better woman: Nicole Wilkins or Erin Stern? Well, much like how 2011 and 2010 began, 2012 began the same way...with Nicole Wilkins on top of the figure mountain. Nicole received a perfect score and won her 3rd straight Figure International title, tying with Jenny Lynn for most Figure International titles won. Should Nicole be in the Figure International next year, Nicole has the chance to cement her legacy as the winning-ist Figure International Champion of all time. If anyone can break the record, it's Nicole. Erin Stern has failed to best Nicole since the 2010 Figure Olympia, and that hasn't changed, as she came close, but no cigar. Candice Keene and Ava Cowan were neck and neck for 3rd and 4th place, but Candice beat Ava by one point to earn an Olympia qualification, along with Nicole and Erin. Heather Dees brought a great physique, placing her in 5th in her Arnold debut, and Teresa Anthony rounded out the top six in figure.

Full results:
1. Nicole Wilkins
2. Erin Stern
3. Candice Keene
4. Ava Cowan
5. Heather Dees
6. Teresa Anthony
7. Larissa Reis
 8. Cheryl Brown
 9. Gennifer Strobo
 10. Krissy Chin
 11. Jelena Abbou
 12. Latisha Wilder
 13. Sue Knott
 14. Raquel Hernandez
 15. Gloria Tarpley
 16. Alicia Harris

2012 Fitness International Review: Adela Makes History

Not to diss anyone, but it was pretty much a done deal as to who was going to win the 2012 Fitness International title, especially after prejudging. To the surprise of no one, Adela Garcia nabbed another win and in the process made history. Her 2012 Arnold win marked her thrid Arnold win in a row and her 5th overall Arnold fitness title, surpassing Susie Curry's record of 4 Arnold championships. The judges gave her a perfect score, but it was who placed 2nd that shocked a lot of people. Camala Rodriquez came out of nowhere and placed 2nd in both physique AND routine to nabbed runner-up honors. While there are many who thought Camala placing 2nd in physique was right, they stratched their heads when it came to placing 2nd in the routine round...ahead of Oksana and Myriam, who many thought had THE routines of the weekend. But that's not saying Camala's routine was bad by any means. In fact, with some fine-tuning, she could very well give Adela a run for her money at the Olympia later on this year. Oksana is seeming beginning to get the love she deserves from the IFBB judges, as she took 3rd place and an Olympia qualification. Bethany Cistemino placed 4th and is well on her way to becoming a MAJOR name in the fitness division. After being neck-and-neck with Adela for so long, Tanji placed 5th in another big shocker of the Arnold weekend. One has to wonder how Tanji will rebound from this setback. Myriam Capes rounded out the top 6, although many felt she could have placed higher, especially with her routine being one of the favorites coming out of the weekend.

Full results:

1. Adela Garcia
2. Camala Rodriguez
3. Oksana Grishina
4. Bethany Cisternino
5. Tanji Johnson
6. Myriam Capes
7. Kizzy Vaines
8. Tina Durkin
9. Danielle Ruban
10. Jodi Boam
11. Julie Palmer
12. Regiane Da Silva
13. Kayde Puckett
14. Allison Ethier
15. Sheri Vucick
16. Diana Paula-Monteiro

2012 Ms. International Review: Injury Creates Opportunity for Yaxeni

One of the biggest storylines heading into the 2012 Arnold Sports Festival was regarding who would be crowned the new Ms. International champion after hearing about Iris Kyle unable to compete due to a leg injury. There was no true clear-cut winner from what information I gathered over the weekend, but it seemed like the judges could have set a different tone, depending on the winner. Yaxeni Oriquen's size and conditioning (she nabbed a perfect score) was enough to capture the Ms. International title, making her the first woman not named Iris Kyle to win the title since 2008. Debi Laszewski put up a good fight, unaniously placing behind Yaxeni for 2nd place. Alina Popa was a big favorite amongst the boards, and one many people would have liked to see win. She placed 3rd. Only three points separated Alina and Cathy LeFrancois (who ended up placing 4th, yet actually tied with Alina in the Finals round). Kim Buck (5th) and Brigita Brezovac (6th) rounded out the top 6. With the new Olympia qualification rules in play, only Yaxeni, Debi, and Alina received 2012 Olympia qualificaions.

Full results:

1. Yaxeni Oriquen
2. Debi Laszewski
3. Alina Popa
4. Cathy LeFrancois
5. Kim Buck
6. Brigita Brezovac
7. Alevtina Goroshinskaya
8. Maria Rita Bello
9. Kim Perez
10. Monique Jones
11. Zoa Linsey
12. Maria Segura
13. Tina Chandler
14. Geraldine Morgan