Wednesday, January 23, 2013

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Moment of the Year

Congrats to Erin Stern's 2012 Figure Olympia victory on winning Moment of the Year!

The Champ is back again!
Photo credit:

Let's be honest, people love a good, old-fashioned friendly rivalry. It's not about catfights or bickering, it's about clean competition sportsmanship in regards of who's the better person. I dare for anyone to find a better rivalry today than Erin Stern vs Nicole Wilkins. Erin represents the athletic, toned side of the sport while Nicole represents the beauty and structure side (don't get it twisted, though, as Erin is very beautiful as well). Both ladies have traded wins over the course of the last few years. Whenever one enters the show, everyone else is fighting for 2nd place. When BOTH enter, it's just a matter of which one will win and who will be runner-up. Erin fought long and hard to bring one of her best looks to date in 2012 and it paid off in dividends, as she ended up beating Nicole (who entered the 2012 Figure Olympia as champion) to become Ms. Figure Olympia for the 2nd time in her career. While other figure competitors are bound to step up their game in 2013, fans are already anticipating Erin and Nicole getting it one at next year's Olympia.

Runner-up: Juliana Malacarne winning her 1st IFBB contest (New York Pro Women's Physique)

Others nominated include Nathalia Melo winning 2012 Bikini Olympia, Fleur De Kine turned pro, and Karina Nacimento becoming the 1st IFBB Women's Physique Champion in history.

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Physique Organization of the Year

Congrats to the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders) on winning Physique Organization of the Year!

IFBB: Best in the World
Photo credit: IFBBPro website

Sometimes being the biggest doesn't make you the best. The IFBB is one of those rare organizations that is not only the biggest, but is the best in terms of the quality of athletes. That's not saying the others don't have great athletes, but it's something about the IFBB that's second to none when it comes to attracting fitness stars. The IFBB has divisions for practically every female that wants to compete, in terms of their muscularity and what they want to accomplish: women's bodybuilding (the one that started it all), women's physique (a throwback to the older days of figure, but with a posing routine and barefoot), fitness (the athletic division), figure (more model-esque) and bikini (toned, athletic, beach look and personality). There's something for everyone, and it represent the top in the sports, which culminates at the Super Bowl of Bodybuilding, the Olympia, every September in Las Vegas.

Runner-up: NPC

Others nominated include WBFF, Fitness Universe, and IFPA.

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Shows of the Year (IFBB, NPC and WBFF)

Congrats to the following on winning their organizations' show of the year honors!


International Federation of Bodybuilders

In the IFBB, there's no show bigger than the Olympia. The best of the best compete to see who's number one in the world. Iris Kyle and Adela Gracia successfully defended their Ms. Olympia and Fitness Olympia title, respectively, further cementing their legacy and pretty much ensuring them first-ballot Hall of Fame slots when their time comes. In what might be the best "friendly rivalry" in any of the female divisions, Erin Stern bested Nicole Wilkins to regain the Figure Olympia title. Nathalia Melo would best former champion Nicole Nagrani to become Ms. Bikini Olympia for the first time in her career, and her emotions after the win showed why she earned the title. This show was also the first one under the Olympia Qualification Series, making the already-big show more elite that it has been for a long time. With women's physique to be added this year, the show is only going to get bigger and better from here.

Runner-up: Masters Olympia/Miami Pro

Others nominated included Arnold Classic, Arnold Classic, Sheru Classic, and Arnold Classic Europe

National Physique Committee

In the NPC, the USAs reigned supreme, according to you the voters. Holding it in Las Vegas brings an electric atmosphere to the event. Jon Lindsey does a great job in making this as big of an event as possible. Tierey Christian won the overall women's bodybuilding title, Francine Sablan won overall figure, Samantha Hill won overall women's physique, and Kelsie Burgin won overall bikini. The NPC crowned 34 new IFBB pros that evening: 2 for women's bodybuilding, 8 for women's physique, 12 for figure, and 12 for bikini.

Runner-up: Nationals

Others nominated include Jr. Nationals, Jr. USAs, and Arnold Amateur

World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation

In the WBFF, no other show is bigger for their organization than the Worlds. Emily Stirling showcased one of the best physique in the WBFF and in all of figure, but she would come up short in defending her pro figure title in 2012, losing it to Louise Van Der Nat, who was a former NABBA competitor. In addition to women's figure (which is one of their key divisions at the WBFF), there was women's bikini and fitness model (both of them have different looks). Unfortunately, I'm unaware of the results of those categories.

Runner-up: Fitness Atlantic

Others nominated include New England, Central US, and B.C. Championships

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Female Physique Site of the Year

Congrats to Siouxcountry on winning Female Physique Site of the Year!

Sioux reigns supreme once again!
Credit to the original owner
No disrespect to any of the other nominees, but this one wasn't even close. Siouxcounty continues to be THE destination for female competitors to interact and get advice from one another without having to worry about male egos. Yes, there are some guys on the board and the creator is a guy, but the board is female-focused, and not just Jason runs it, but a collection of female competitors help moderate the site. In 2012, all aspects of Siouxcountry were turned up a notch (fan page, site, Twitter, etc.), and they were the the first site to publically come out and openly talk about metabolic damage...and the site is barely five years old. One can only imagine what 2013 will bring to Siouxcountry. We at FitGems Nation for one can't wait! Visit their website at

Runner-up: HDPhysiques (

Others nominated include Promoting Real Women (, Fit Model TV (, and Female Athlete Admiration (

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Photographer of the Year

Congrats to Dan Ray on winning Photographer of the Year!

We give this photo of Dan Ray and competitor Candace Lewis two thumbs up!
Photo credit: Dan Ray's Facebook page

Photography is a must in the fitness industry. Whether shooting for contests, shooting for a fan page, shooting for a paysite, etc. You need to get yourself out there in order to have some amount of success in the fitness industry, and photography plays a key role in getting exposure. Dan Ray is one of the best at photography. He has shot with some of the best competitors on the planet, and has received praised from many competitors and colleagues. His work is all over websites. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a competitor's fan page and NOT see his work somewhere displayed. Thumb up on the win, Dan!

Runner-up: Isaac Hinds

Others nominated include Marc Thyssen, David Ford, and J.M. Manion.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Blogger of the Year

Congrats to Isaac Hinds on winning Blogger of the Year!

Isaac declares he's #1!
Photo credit: Ironman Magazine

In addition to being a top photographer, Isaac Hinds happens to be a very good blogger. His blog is one of the most viewed blogs in the industry for fans and fellow competitors. Why I think it's a popular blog is he tells you what you NEED to hear rather than what you WANT to hear a lot of the times. The truth will sting for a bit, and maybe not what you want to hear, but in the long run, you will thank him later. Some have had to find that out the hard way. Isaac doesn't just talk to hear himself, ya know. As a photographer and someone who has stepped on stage himself, he knows what he's talking about 99.999% of the time. And quite honestly, I don't think many people would have it any other way.

Runner-up: Jason Adams

Others nominated include Area Orion, Dean Schich, and Carl Burkins (dallas3)

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Facebook Fan Pages of the Year

Congrats to Siouxcountry on winning Industry Fan Page of the Year and to Erin Stern on winning Competitor/Model Fan Page of the Year!

Credit to the original owner

Siouxcountry's fan page has always been a great page to turn to and keep up with the industry happenings. But 2012, the page turned up their content big time with more links to their most popular posts on the site, as well as exclusive content and posts. Plus Jason personally interacts with the members on the fan page. When you join the Siouxcountry fan page, you feel like you are part of something special rather than just a fan page for the heck of it. To check out their fan page, go to

Runner-up: Rx Girl 

Other nominees include Fit Model TV, Promoting Women in Bodybuilding Fitness and MMA, and

Photo credit: Muscle and Fitness Hers

Erin Stern is one of the most popular and most accomplished figure competitors in IFBB today, and possibly in history. Although her schedule is busy, Erin makes sure to update her fan page often with tips, photos, and video Q and A sessions. She also ask fans what they want to see more of. During some of her competitions, she even post a small video letting her know about the show she's competing in. In a time where social media is a must, Erin has got it down to a science. No wonder she's one of the top pros in the sport, on AND off the stage. To check out her page, go to

Runner-up: The Sweaty Betties

Other nominees include Sabrina Taylor IFBB Pro, IFBB Figure Pro Meriza Deguzman-Ciccone, and IFBB Figure Wendy Fortino.

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Female Celebrity Muscle of the Year

Congrats to Kelly Ripa on winning Female Celebrity Muscle of the Year!

Daytime has never looked any better!
Photo credit:

Hollywood, slowly but surely, is kinda turning the page on how female muscle is portrayed  Keyword in that is KINDA. We've still got a long way to go, but progress is being made. These days, Kelly Ripa seems to be the fan favorite when it comes to female muscle in the mainstream world. While she might be the smallest of the nominees this year, she is one of the most recognizable when it comes to muscularity. In fact, it was her willingness to show off her lean arms during several shows of "Live with Regis and Kelly" (which then became the "Live with Kelly show after Regis's departure and now "Live with Kelly and Michael" with the addition of Michael Strathan) that lead to her rising popularity among some of the fitness industry. That, and being a mom doesn't hurt. We don't expect Kelly to lose her "ripped" image anytime soon.

Runner-up: Regina King

Other nominees include Elizabeth Hasslebeck, Alison Victoria, and Katie Couric.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Female Sports Athlete of the Year

Congrats to Hope Solo on winning Female Sports Athlete of the Year!

Olympic Gold fitness
Photo credit: Zimbio

2012 was Olympic year, and for a brief time, it was a time to see some of the best athletes on the planet that you don't get to see every year, which is the case for most of the Olympic sports. Women's soccer is one of the exceptions, as it's becoming quite the sport in recent years, especially in the United States. One of those reasons happens to be in the form of one Hope Solo. Fans of women's soccer have been aware of her stunning looks and athletic physique for quite some time, but it's was at the Olympics where her fame really start to take off. With all that, as well as her overall athleticism, the future of U.S. women's soccer looks bright.

Runner-up: Ronda Rousey

Other nominees include Alex Morgan, Brooke Adams (Miss Tessmacher) and Eve Torres.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Physique Paysite of the Year

Congrats to HDPhysiques on winning Physique Paysite of the Year!

Tanya Hyde, HDP's top model
Photo credit:

Paysites have paved the way for some of the biggest names in the industry. HDPhysiques isn't the first paysite by a long shot, but it's arguably the leader of the HD revolution when it comes to paysites. HDP was the first to provide all of their content with high definition video and photos. Some of the others have used high quality technology, but HDP took it a step further with HD technology. The results has seen female physiques the way they were meant to be seen. Other sites begin to follow suit, but HDP can hang their head high knowing they are the forefathers of high-def female muscle. You can check them out at

Runner-up: HerBiceps (

Others include Female Power (, Female Muscle Video ( and MuscleTease (

Saturday, January 5, 2013

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Male Supporter of the Year

Congrats to Jason Lannigan aka Sioux for winning Male Supporter of the Year!

The iconic photo of "Abbye Eville, or “Pudgy” which has now become a Siouxcountry trademark.
Credit to the original photographer.

Some call him Sioux. Some call him Chief. Some call him Jason. Whatever you call him, there's no denying how big of a supporter this guy has been over the years. I can recall him giving some forums that were male-dominated a major boost in female participation due to her overwhelming support of the female physique industry. However, things happened, and Jason decided to open his own forum dedicated to the sport, and it has went from a forum to a place where friendships were form, new stars were discovered, and overall, a place that females can go to and get support from others without having to worry about the male-based environment that usually comes with boards. The ladies found a place to call home, and Jason is to thank for all of that. FYI, the Siouxcountry board will be celebrating its 5th year anniversary this year!

Runner-up: Jason Adams

Others nominated include Curt James, Jack Titone, and Carl Burkins aka dallas3.

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Female Supporter of the Year

Congrats to Tanji Johnson on winning Female Supporter of the Year!

In addition to being a top competitor, Tanji is a big supporter for our industry. While she's not a major member of forums, she does everything she can before, during, and after shows to make sure the competitors get the respect they deserve. Many fitness competitors look up to Tanji for inspiration, with many calling her the best competitor to not (as of yet) win the Fitness International or Fitness Olympia title. She does more than just compete, she wants others to see what competing can do for them, and that's why she won this award in practically a landslide.

Runner-up: Shannon Dey

Other nominees include Rebecca Staggs, Tracy Bodner, and Mindi O'Brien.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Promoter of the Year

Congrats to Jack and Ann Titone on winning Promoters of the Year!

The Titones had a banner year in 2012
Photo credit: Siouxcountry

The Titone clan has had one of the best years of their career, especially with Ann's breakout year as a competitor. Another part of their success comes from their shows that promoted in 2012, the St. Louis Pro and Iowa Pro, among others. Their shows are classy and entertaining, and from what I've heard, they go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure everyone is taken care of. I've heard nothing but great things about the Titones and their shows, and I expect the clan to take their momentum going forward into the new year.

Runner-up: Ed and Betty Parsio

Other nominees include Shannon Dey, Ron Hache, and Jarka

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Supplement Company of the Year

Congrats to Dymatize on winning Supplement Company of the Year!

Erin Stern, one of Dymatize's top athletes
Credit to the original poster.

Dymatize has been around for a bit and has provided some great products since its arrival. Dymatize athletes are a very interesting bunch of people, but very successful. How successful? They have arguably THE BEST figure competitor in the world right now on their team. For those of you wondering, I'm talking about the current Figure Olympia Champion Erin Stern. In addition to Erin, other female members include Jenna Renee, Jennifer Dawn, Christina Reed, Pamela Wilson, among others. Expect big things from the supplement company in the coming year.

Runner-up: Gaspari Nutrition

Other nominees include BSN, Scivation, and iSatori.

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Team of the Year

Congrats to Tanji Johnson's Save Fitness on winning Team of the Year!

Some of the Save Fitness team
Photo credit: Tanji Johnson's website

Tanji Johnson's Save Fitness was created with one main purpose, to save fitness, DUH!! You think the name of the group was just for show? Anyways, they have done an amazing job putting together a lot of fitness-minded individuals. Doesn't hurt they are lead by one of the best fitness competitors in the world in Tanji Johnson. They recognize that fitness is a just as much as TEAM effort as it is INDIVIDUAL effort (at times, more so). They won this award last year, and for them to repeat as champions says a lot about the hard work this team puts in year after year. What will 2013 bring for Tanji's crew? Time will tell.

Runner-up: Team Bombshell

Other nominees were Total Package, Oddo's Angels, and Team Vixen.

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Trainer of the Year

Congrats to Shannon Dey on winning Trainer of the Year!

Shannon lead Team Bombshell to many accomplishment in 2012
Photo credit: Bombshell Fitness website

A former competitor herself, Shannon knows what it's like to bring her A-game to the competition stage. Maybe that could be the reason why her clients (better known as Bombshells) constantly do well in competitions. In 2012, her team had 32 women become pro, and in March, 12 pro competitors will represent Team Bombshell at the Arnold. And when you training the current top bikini competitors in the world (Natalia Melo and Nicole Nagrani) as well as a current TNA Knockout (Ashley Cabot aka Madison Rayne), you know you are doing something right. 2012 was another great year for Shannon and her team, and we see nothing to slow her down in 2013.

Runner-up: Noel Fuller

Other nominees were Kim Oddo, Layne Norton, and Lauren Fazio.