Thursday, March 28, 2013

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Routines of the Year

Congrats to Karina Nacimento at the 2012 Desert Muscle Classic (women's physique), Alina Popa at the 2012 Arnold (women's bodybuilding), and Ryall Graber-Vasani at the 2012 Olympia (fitness) on winning Routines of the Year!

Women's bodybuilding, women's physique, and fitness are not just judged on physiques, but judges on how they move with their physiques, depending on the division they are competing in. For women's bodybuilding and women's physique, their physiques are more focused on while in fitness, it's more about the athleticism and difficulty of the routine (and flashy costumes). Karina displayed her physique and some sassiness (okay, quite a bit of sassiness) with her routine at the 2012 Desert Muscle Classic, which won her the title and will forever be known as the first IFBB Women's Physique champion ever. Alina displays one of the best physiques in women's bodybuilding, and was evident at the 2012 Arnold, nailing her a high placing at that show. Ryall Graber-Vasani shocked a lot of people and gave a underrated but awesome performance at the 2012 Olympia (and carried over to 2013 at the Arnold).

Here are the routines you voted as the best of 2012

(DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately, we could not find her Olympia clip, so here's a clip of her routine at the Ft. Lauderdale Cup, which was the show that qualified her for the Olympia in the first place)

Runner-ups: Juliana Malacarne @ New York Pro (women's physique), Sarah Hayes @ 2012 Olympia (women's bodybuilding), and Oksana Grishina @ 2012 Olympia (fitness).

Others nominated in fitness include Jodi Boam @ Fitness International, Myriam Capes @ Valenti Gold Cup, and Tina Durkin @ Olympia.

Others nominated in women's bodybulidng include Anne Freitas @ Olympia, Debi Lezawski @ Arnold, and Lisa Giesbrecht @ Toronto Pro.

Others nominates in women's physique include Sabrina Taylor @ Grand Prix Los Angeles, Monica Escalante @ Wings of Strength, and Jillian Reville @ Desert Muscle Classic.

4th Annual FitGems Awards: Competitor You'd Love to See Return in 2013

Congrats to Krissy Chin on winning the award for Competitor Who You'd Love to See Return in 2013!

Will she return to the stage? Time will tell...

Krissy Chin has been one of the most influential figure competitors on the scene today. She recently had her first child and has been enjoying motherhood ever since, but still has kept herself in great shape and offer advice to competitors whenever she can. Many feel she was just getting into her stride when she announced her pregnancy. Based off your votes, many of you would love to see her return to the stage one day. While she never announced if or when she would ever return, she never completely ruled it out either, so don't be surprised if Krissy one day dawns the figure rankings again. She would definitely be welcomed back with open arms.

Runner-up: Jenny Worth

Others nominated include Trish Warren, Jennifer Gates, and Christine Pomponio-Pate.

SIDE NOTE: Trish actually did return to competition this year at the 2013 Fitness International and placed 4th in her return!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2013 Bikini International Review: India Claims Victory

Nathalia Melo was dubbed as a favorite to win as she's the reigning Bikini Olympia champion. Nicole Nagrani was dubbed as a favorite to win as she was the first-ever Bikini International champion and a former Bikini Olympia. India Paulino came in as A favorite and left as THE champion.

India is queen of bikini
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India's sassiness and overall beauty is what has made her a fan favorite since bikini began. She was able to pull out the right combination to win her first big title in bikini. Nathalia ended up being runner-up, but I think if all bikini competitions were judged based off the rear only, Nathalia would end up winning every contest she entered, and everyone else would be going for 2nd Place, at best. Nicole had some...well... noticeable modifications since last year (Look at this year's photos and photos from last year, and you'll see what I mean). She ended up in 3rd place. Yeshaira Robles made her Arnold debut and placed 4th. Jessica Paxson placed 5th and has been one of the few that has made a very successful transition from figure to bikini. Jamie Baird, also a top competitor, rounds out the top 6. 

The bikini division looks to be a India-Nathalia-Nicole show for 2013, much like how it was toward the end of 2012. What are your thoughts about the placings, though? Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below and on our Facebook fan page ( 

1. India Paulino
2. Nathalia Melo
3. Nicole Nagrani
4. Yeshaira Robles
5. Jessica Paxson
6. Jaime Baird
7. Jennifer Andrews
8. Tiffany Marie Boydston
9. Tawna Eubanks
10. Ashley Kaltwasser
11. Anna Virmajoki
12. Lacey DeLuca
13. Abigail Burrows
14. Lexi Kaufman
15. Noy Alexander
16. Marcela Tribin

India's emotional interview and photoshoot after her win (From NPCNewsOnline)

2013 Figure International Review: Candice Keene is Figure Supreme

On paper, Erin Stern was the favorite. Before the Arnold began, most people had Erin winning her first-ever Figure International title, with Nicole Wilkins sitting out. Any can you blame anyone. I mean, she IS the reigning Figure Olympia champion. Yeah...try telling Candice Keene that, though. She had other plans. Candice, with her best package to date, took home her first major title of her figure career and she did it on her birthday. Needless to say, this was probably the best birthday she's ever had. How many other people can say that they won a major title in their sport on their birthday?!

Best birthday present ever for Candice Keene?! I think so!
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Another one who shocked a lot of people was Heather Dees. Bring HER best package to date, Heather brought in the right amount of muscle and tone to take the runner-up spot. Erin Stern, the favorite heading into the event, placed 3rd, and compared to Candice K. and Heather D., she was far from her best. If the Erin that showed up at last year's Olympia was at this year's Arnold, we would have a whole different story to talk about. No doubt she will learn from this and come back better than before. 4th place went to Candice Lewis, who brought an amazing physique to the stage. Mallory Haldeman continues her first figure run as she placed 5th. Rounding out the top six was fitness-turned-figure competitor Camala Rodriquez. Her physique has always been a strong point during her fitness run, and it's translating to figure quite nicely. The biggest shocker in the figure ranks goes to Ava Cowan, who brought what many believe to be her best physique to date, but was outside the top six.

What are your thoughts about the placings? Agree? Disagree? Has the landscape of figure change with Candice and Heather's performance? Sound off in the comments below and on our Facebook fan page (


1. Candice Keene
2. Heather Dees
3. Erin Stern
4. Candice Lewis
5. Mallory Haldeman
6. Camala Rodriguez
7. Ava Cowan
8. Gennifer Strobo
9. Cheryl Brown
10. Kamla Macko
11. Ann Titone
12. Aleisha Hart
13. Candice John
14. Nicole Sims
15. Alea Suarez
16. Giada Simari
16. Natalie Waples
16. Olga Morales

Top 6 Awards (including Candice's speech) (from NPCNewsOnline)

Candice's interview and photoshoot after her win (from NPCNewsOnline)

2013 Ms. International Review: Iris Makes History Yet Again

Let's just be honest here...anytime you see the name "Iris Kyle" on a competitions list, the best you're going to do is 2nd place. This is not to take anything away from any competitor whatsoever, but when you have that "it-factor" like Iris has, you can't beat it, no matter how hard you train. Iris has "it" and it helped her to capture a record 7th Ms. International title, no doubt making her THE best female bodybuilder of all time.

Iris just might be the best of all time.
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Yaxeni Oriquen, last year's winner, placed in the runner-up spot. Yaxeni is another one who is hard to beat, and is one of the VERY FEW that can claim to ever beat Iris. Debi Laszewski keeps improving show after show after show, as does Brigita Brezovac. Both ladies placed third and fourth place, respectively. Cathy LeFrancois ended up in fifth place, and Angela Debatin, who hasn't been on stage in a while, rounded out the top 6. Not a bad return for Angela! BTW, her 6th place was the highest placing for her to date at an Arnold event.

Believe it or not, Iris CAN be beaten. She IS capable of losing. But the way things are going for her, unless she is absolutely off, Iris is going to be unstoppable for quite some time. What are your thoughts about the placings? Agree? Disagree? Do YOU think Iris can be beat? Sound off in the comments below and on our Facebook fan page (


1. Iris Kyle
2. Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia
3. Debi Laszewski
4. Brigita Brezovac
5. Cathy LeFrancois
6. Angela Debatin
7. Kim Buck
8. Olga Puzanova
9. Tazzie Colomb
10. Jeannie Paparone
11. Eleni Kavva

Top 6 Results (including Iris's speech) (from NPCNewsOnline)

Iris's photoshoot and interview after her win (from NPCNewsOnline)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

2013 Fitness International Review: At Long Last, Tanji is Queen of Fitness

It took a decade to do it, but Tanji Johnson can finally say that she won one of the "big ones" in the fitness division.  At the 2013 Fitness International, Tanji beat out nine other competitors in a small but deep line-up to claim her first Fitness International title and put herself as one of the elites in the sport.

Tanji is finally champion after 10 tries
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It wasn't easy for Tanji to win this contest, though. Oksana Grishina, showcased an impressive physique and once again stole the show with a insane routine inspired by The Joker. Her time at the top is coming very soon. Bethany Cisternino brought together an amazing physique (as usual from this rising star) and a solid routine that nabbed her third place. Maybe the most impressive showing overall has to go to Trish Warren for one simple reason: this was her first contest since the 2011 Fitness International and the first since having her first baby. She returned to competition pretty much like she never left, and was just a bit shy from getting an Olympia qualification spot (top 3 at the Arnold are qualified for the Olympia). But for her to return on stage is a victory in itself, and placing in the top 4 is icing on the cake. Regaine DaSilva placed 5th with her trademark hardness (yet not too hard) and her performance. Regiane remains one of the top international competitors in fitness, and it's only a matter of time before she takes it to the next level. Rounding out the top six was Ryall Graber-Vasani, who was first callout in the physique round, and combining with her routine round, put her in the six-place spot. 

What are your thoughts about the fitness placings? Agree? Disagree? Did a new era of fitness begin at the Arnold? Sound off in the comments below and on our Facebook fan page ( 

1. Tanji Johnson
2. Oksana Grishina
3. Bethany Cisternino
4. Trish Warren
5. Regiane DaSilva
6. Ryall Graber-Vasani
7. Kizzy Vaines
8. Nicole Duncan
9. Fiona Harris
10. Amanda Hatfield

Top 6 Awards Presentation (including Tanji's speech): (from NPCNewsOnline)

Tanji's photoshoot and interview after her win (from NPCNewsOnline)