With that said…on to my top 15 predictions for 2016 (in no particular order)
1. Latorya Watts will win every competition she competes in for 2016, INCLUDING the 2016 Figure Olympia
According to many people, Latorya embodies what figure should represent and many people were downright ecstatic to see her win the biggest title in figure (Figure Olympia) in 2015. It’s going to be downright hard (not impossible, but hard) to see anyone dethrone the champ, and that includes Nicole Wilkins, who I believe will bring her best package to date come the 2016 Figure Olympia. I’m going to say this right now: If Latorya is on the list to compete in any show in 2016, everyone else better get ready for fight for second place.
2. Juliana Malacarne will NOT win the 2016 Olympia Women’s Physique Showdown
Make no mistake, Juliana IS women’s physique. She is the measuring stick of the division. She has two Olympia titles and is the first-ever Physique International Champion. But while she has gotten better, so has her competition. In fact, Kira Newman, the 2015 Olympia Women’s Physique runner-up, might be Juliana’s biggest challenger to date, even bigger than Dana Linn Bailey. If Kira makes some slight improvements for 2016, I truly feel Juliana will not be a 3x Olympia champion in 2016.
3. Wendy Fortino will FINALLY win her first pro show in 2016
I’m going to be straight with you all…Wendy Fortino is LONG OVERDUE for her first pro win. When you have a Hollywood-esque look and curvy yet athletic physique to match like Wendy does, it’s pretty sad how she has yet to win even one pro show thus far in her career. Some of the shows she competed in 2015 (heck, even 2014) I truly feel she should have won. I could go on and on about my own theories on the matter, but I won’t…yet. But if there’s any justice, Wendy won’t have to use the Olympia Qualification Series to compete in her third straight Olympia come 2016. She will be able to qualify outright thanks to a long overdue first pro win.
4. Tina Nguyen will win a pro show and place in the top 3 at the 2016 Figure Olympia
In 2014, we got to see what Tina Nguyen could do on the National stage. She won her pro card in her first attempt. She entered her first pro show this year and was only one spot off from qualifying for the Olympia in her first show. This woman has been turning heads quicker than most who have been in the game for YEARS. She is very knowledgeable about her body and knows what she has to do compete with the pros. Many believe Tina is a Figure Olympia champion in the making, and I don’t see why we would argue that point. The ONLY reason Tina will not be part of the Figure Olympia line-up this year is Tina won’t allow it. Simple as that.
5. Ashley Kaltwasser will become a 4x Bikini Olympia champion
I originally had Ashley winning both the Bikini International and Bikini Olympia titles again in 2016, but she decided not to send in an invite for the Bikini International this time around. To me Ashley embodies what bikini SHOULD be in the IFBB, and I’m glad her look is getting rewarded these days. Despite the changes for the IFBB (more on that later), I don’t see why she should not win the big one again this year. When it comes to the bikini division, she’s the face that runs the place!
6. Jenny Worth will return to the fitness stage
For those who have paid attention to Jenny Worth via social media, she has put in work to build one of the most impressive post-competition bodies in the world today. In fact, she has been blowing people away with her physique so much that there are many who feel Jenny should make a return to the stage. Looking at her this year, one would even ask why she HASN’T stepped on stage yet. She looks that good. Jenny has said “never say never” when it comes to a return to competition. 2016 to us seems like the best opportunity to make it happen.
7. Nicole Wilkins MIGHT give women’s physique a look (emphasis on MIGHT)
I’ll be honest with you, the biggest reason I made this prediction is because of how downright AMAZING Nicole has looked since the 2015 Figure Olympia and the fact that she CLEARLY loves to flex. If you don’t believe us, take a look at her Instagram and Facebook and tell us we’re lying. We highly doubt she will make the switch permanently, but I don’t see it out of the horizon for Nicole to do at least one show in women’s physique just to say she did it. And…let’s be honest, it would be pretty bad-ass to see Nicole on a women’s physique stage. Just once is all we’re asking for, Nicole.
8. Another female fitness personality will join WWE/NXT
Trish Stratus. Victoria. Torrie Wilson. Jamie Keyes. Aksana. Kaitlyn. Alexa Bliss. Dana Brooke. All of the names I’ve mentioned have left their mark in the fitness world and in WWE. In fact the current WWE Divas Champion Charlotte, who was a personal trainer prior to WWE, is on the first cover of Muscle and Fitness Hers for 2016. I honestly feel the fitness trend will continue and we will see someone else from the fitness world make her way to WWE/NXT. Who?! I don’t know. I will say this…with the personality and fanbase she has, I could easily see someone like Dana Linn Bailey join WWE and have a successful run there.
9. Dana Brooke (IFBB Fitness Pro Ashley Sebera) will take NXT and eventually WWE by storm in 2016
Speaking of fitness personalities, I think that Dana Brooke will have a breakout year in NXT come 2016. 2015 was an introduction to who she was and since her debut, she has progressively gotten better in the ring and her overall character is among the most enjoyable heels (bad guys/gals) I’ve personally seen in WWE in quite some time. While there are wrestling critics who fail to give her props, the fans (you know, the voices that actually count) tell a different story. Her social media numbers have went up tremendously with no end in sight. We wouldn’t be surprised if she gets a main roster call-up by the end of 2016.
10. A fitness personality will make her way into a Hollywood movie
It needs to happen, in some form or fashion. There’s too many beautiful women in the fitness industry for Hollywood to flat-out ignore them. Cory Everson made a name for herself in the early 90s and 2000s being on movies such as Double Impact and television shows such as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Home Improvement. Rachel McLish was in a few movies herself such as Pumping Iron 2: The Women and Iron Eagle III. Kiana Tom was part of Universal Soldiers: The Return. All three women have made quite the mark in fitness and Hollywood. Isn’t it about time for the modern world to have a fitness woman be part of Hollywood?!
11. More fitness personalities will leave the competition world and enter CrossFit competitions
CrossFit has become more popular than many could have ever imagined. In fact, this has given some people a new platform to showcase their fitness. Physique competitions can only do so much, and for some, it’s too subjective and can get political. It’s hard to bring politics into competitions that require you to use your body in unimaginable ways. Former IFBB competitors such as Tina Durkin and Jennifer Gates have converted into CrossFit and are arguably in the best shape of their lives. They won’t be the last to make the switch, trust me.
12. The new NPC/IFBB guidelines will see a significant shift in who wins for figure, women’s physique, and bikini.
EVENTUALLY, I will talk about the new IFBB guidelines (I was supposed to have talked about them earlier, but hey…things happen). Muscle mass will be significantly reduced for figure, women’s physique, and bikini beginning in 2016 in favor of shape. My own personal thoughts about this aside (for now), it’s pretty obvious that they will try to reward competitors who fit more in line with the new guidelines. If this holds up, expect some potentially unexpected winners in 2016.
13. The NSL could turn some heads in the fitness industry
Competition is a good thing. The Monday Night War between WWE, WCW, and ECW provided wrestling fans with the best wrestling era of all time, regardless of which promotion you were loyal to. As of now, the NPC/IFBB are at the top of the physique world. But things happened with Lee Thompson and now he has created this new federation called the Nspire Sports League, which he claimed to have created to give competitors a fair opportunity. If you have been paying attention, the NPC/IFBB has made some significant changes to some things as of late. SURELY, it has nothing to do with this NSL thing, right?! They might play it cool, but you know the NPC/IFBB will have a close eye on the NSL in the coming year…whether they want to admit it or not.
14. Women’s bodybuilding will officially be put to rest as a division
Let’s be real. The Ms. Olympia for the first time in years didn’t happen this year. The Ms. International competition got discontinued a while ago. The numbers for women’s bodybuilding in local shows are little to non-existent. The numbers for women’s bodybuilding in National shows are getting smaller and smaller. As much as I hate to say it, but I think it’s time to end women’s bodybuilding as a division. If the federation won’t support the division by having it being represented in the Arnold and Olympia, then what good is it to keep it around on life support? Women’s physique is gaining a ton of traction, fitness is holding steady, figure is going pretty well, and bikini is downright INSANE in numbers and they are only going to get bigger. I personally don’t think it should go as it’s the reason the other divisions exist in the first place, but there’s too much going against it that it’s best for the division to completely disappear altogether.
15. Fitness workout shows will find a way back on TV (or Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.)
People want to get healthier but there’s very few things on TV that shows people the right direction. Most commercials related to fitness (and I’m using that term loosely) is about losing weight and keeping it off. How about we have fitness workout shows like back in the late 80s-early 2000s. Shows like Bodyshaping, Kiana’s Flex Appeal, Cory Everson’s Gotta Sweat, and Denise Austin's Daily Workout gave people a reason to get up and get their workout on. Let’s be honest, they were viewed as sex symbols at that time as well. Kiana even got to be on Playboy! With the array of talent that exist now, why can’t it be done now? And if television isn’t an option, there’s streaming video sites such as Nexflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. I truly feel somehow, someway, there WILL be a fitness workout show in some shape or form come 2016.
So there you have it, our top 15 PREDICTIONS (not rumors) for 2016. Again, I can’t see the future (no one can), but don’t be surprised if you see any of them come true. Do YOU have any predictions for 2016 in the fitness industry? Leave a comment below or send us your predictions to our new email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use the hashtag #FGCrystalBall2016 on Twitter to tell us your fitness industry predictions for 2016. We hope to have enough responses to use them in a future post.
Thank you for all of your support in 2015, especially those I was able to meet at the 2015 Arnold. I will never forget that experience as long as I live. Let’s strive to make 2016 a year to remember!