Sunday, September 4, 2022

Putting Respect on the Name of Mandy Rose

October 26, 2021.

NXT Halloween Havoc.


Mandy Rose defeated Raquel Rodriquez (then known as Raquel Gonzalez) to win the NXT Women’s Championship, her first championship in WWE. Many folks expected her to be a transitional champion and her reign would be very short. Today is September 4, 2022 and she’s STILL in her first reign as NXT Women’s Champion and by the end of the day today, she just might be the Unified and Undisputed NXT Women’s Champion by unifying her title with the NXT UK Women’s Championship, currently held by Meiko Satomura. Mandy, Meiko, and Blair Davenport will compete in a Triple Threat Title Unification Match for the NXT Women’s and NXT UK Women’s Championships later on today at NXT Worlds Collide. 



NXT Halloween Havoc 2021…the beginning of greatness
Photo credit: WWE.com

Many look at Mandy and for some reason can’t fantom how a woman with her looks can be one of the most dominating champions in NXT and WWE history, but that’s exactly what she has done. Her reign is the 3rd longest in the history of the title, with only Asuka and Shayna Baszler having longer reigns. The list of people she has beaten is a who’s who of some of the best talent the NXT brand has ever had: Raquel, Dakota Kai, IYO SKY (Io Shiari), Alba Fyre (Kay Lee Ray), Cora Jade, Wendy Choo, Roxanne Perez, and Zoey Stark. Should she beat two of NXT UK’s greatest stars in Meiko and Blair later on today, there is no reason why Mandy should NOT be called the greatest NXT Women’s Champion of all time. 


Like every good champion, she uses her environment and smarts for any advantage she can find, which of course includes her Toxic Attraction buddies Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne. But she has not been shy to show off her strength as well, especially in her latest battles, utilizing her built physique and surprising strength to her advantage. Well, her strength is surprising to those that don’t follow her on social media, because those that DO follow her (and based off her numbers, who doesn’t) knows that she takes very good care of herself and puts in serious work in the gym. You don’t look like a action figure without putting in the work. But it goes beyond what she goes in the gym for Mandy. It’s how she has presented herself and has elevated the people around her. The NXT Women’s division is the most competitive (and honestly the most muscular) it’s been in quite some time, and Mandy is a big reason for that. While we absolutely personally LOVED her tag team on the main roster with Dana Brooke (another woman which we’ll be talking about soon…stay tuned), no way would have that gotten her the attention or success as a performer that she has right now. Mandy is on the run of her career and has put her in prime position to be a major player on either RAW or Smackdown when she is eventually called up back to the main roster.


Whoever made the call to send Mandy to NXT deserves all the flowers in the world, as Mandy has taken the title and brand to new heights, making the NXT Women’s Championship one of the most sought-after titles in the WWE Women’s division and Mandy one of its most dominant champions. Whether folks want to admit it or not, it’s way past time to PUT SOME RESPECT ON HER NAME. And if you haven’t by now…you might have no other choice once Worlds Collide reached its conclusion. 


Body of a champion!
Photo credit: Mandy’s Instagram


For more on The Attraction of NXT, follow Mandy on Facebook (WWE-ran), Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. NXT Worlds Collide takes place today at 4PM Eastern time, with the kickoff at 3:30PM Eastern time, streaming on Peacock in the USA and other countries and on the WWE Network everywhere else. Go to https://www.peacocktv.com/wwe for more info. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

WTF Arnold?!

Next year will be the 35th Anniversary of the Arnold Sports Festival. This SHOULD be a case for celebration to have one of the biggest fitness festivals in the world reach such a milestone, but it’s been scarred with controversy with the removal of pro women’s physique and pro figure, in addition to STILL not bringing back women’s bodybuilding despite the Olympia coming to their senses a couple of years ago and bringing back the Ms. Olympia competition in 2020 to massive praise not only with fans but within other competitors.


I understand that all things must evolve in order to survive and thrive, that has been true for all of eternity. Every entity that has made it has had to do just that. But every entity that has been able to thrive has been able to understand and respect where they came from and not show disrespect to what got them in the big dance in the first place. You would think someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger, someone who got his fame in the first place as a BODYBUILDER, would understand this concept. But sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case…at least on the female side of things. I mean, no women’s bodybuilding, no women’s physique, no figure?! It’s not a coincidence that the three top muscular divisions are not represented in the Arnold in 2023.  In all honestly, with the amount of muscle the fitness division is packing, I’m shocked that the fitness division wasn’t cut as well.  A bodybuilder, arguably THE most popular bodybuilder in the world, afraid of women with muscle is such a crock of shit. Any respect Arnold had in the bodybuilding world has went down the drain with how the females are bring cut in their own industry in the festival that is supposed to showcase the best of the fitness world, which includes…say it slowly with me…BODYBUILDING!!!!


And apparently a reason for the cuts on the women’s side of things has to do with “lack of depth”, which is honestly straight up horseshit. Last I checked, the figure division is DEEP, the women’s physique division is DEEP, the women’s bodybuilding division is DEEP. Ever since the Ms. Olympia competition returned, we have seen more female bodybuilders than we have in a while and has help balance out the female bodybuilders from the women’s physique competitors. And the addition of Wellness has helped balanced out who should be in wellness and who should be in figure, so mess me with the “lack of depth” bullshit of an excuse.  So no, there’s no lack of depth on the part of those divisions…only a lack of incompetence on the part of Arnold and the committee. 


On our Instagram, we called for a boycott of the Arnold next year and we are calling for it here. Attack them where it hurts. Don’t go to the Arnold, do not TALK about the Arnold on social media, do not purchase the Arnold websteam and instead invest in other shows that actually DO care about ALL the ladies of the industry. We’re making an announcement now…until things change in the Arnold, we will NOT be doing any form of coverage on any of out platforms. This is not to diss fitness, bikini, nor wellness. This is bigger than that. This is to show solidarity for ALL female divisions and to let them know that EACH division matters to us. It would be awesome if each division that IS represented at the Arnold, male or female, would show solidarity, and no one applies for the Arnold. But in all honesty, we don’t see that happening. But we will do our best to represent ALL female muscle as much and as often as possible on all our platforms, even if there are those like Arnold that won’t. 


I attended the Arnold in 2015 and it was among the best times of my life. Unless things change, I’ll be damned if I ever go to another one again. Arnold, you have the opportunity to make things right. Your reputation has been damaged greatly but not permanently destroyed…yet. The ball is in your court to fix things before they are damaged beyond repair. Your move, sir. 

Kamille: The Brickhouse of Professional Wrestling

June 6, 2021.

NWA: When Our Shadows Fall.


Kamille defeated Serena Deeb to become the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Women’s Champion for the first time in her career. And for over 440 days, she has proven to be arguably THE most dominant Women’s Champion of any company in the world right now. In her 440+ day reign as Champion, she has had a total of 22 successful title defenses, hoping to add title defenses 23 AND 24 to the list this weekend when she faces maybe her toughest challenger to date in Taya Valkyrie at Night 1 of NWA 74 this Saturday night and IF successful, the winner of the Burke Invitational at Night 2 of NWA 74 this Sunday. 


June 6, 2021. The night everything changed!
Photo credit: NWA

With no disrespect to any Women’s Champion on television right now, there is no Women’s Champion who defines PURE DOMINANCE more than Kamille. She is one of the most beautiful women in wrestling but also one of the most powerful as well. VERY few women in wrestling can rival her strength and athleticism, hence her long title reign.  She has a power game, a striking game, a ground-and-pound game…honestly, it doesn’t matter what style of wrestling you have, Kamille can match with anyone, and for that reason, no one has been able to figure out how to stop her. 


When one matches with her just on the LOOKS department, she is just about heads and shoulders above everyone else. A great example of that was displayed during the August 4th, 2021 edition of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) Dynamite (their Homecoming show) when Legit Layla Hirsch become Number One contender for Kamille’s title at the time. When Kamille went to the ring to confront Layla, the difference was insane. Kamille’s height, built, physique, demeanor…her overall presence was BOX OFFICE. If you were to flip your channel and see her on screen, most would stop and go “WOAH!” and be in awe of her. And most did as she was one of the top trending topics that night. I mean, Kamille would not look out of place as a Bond girl or villain or any kind of top villain in a movie. That’s how box office her presence is. 



What. A. Visual!
Photo credit: AEW

In terms of her finisher, the Spear, hers isn’t the most flashy but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to end a match then and there because of the power she puts behind it and she has done just that in each of her matches. The second that spear connects, it’s game over. She isn’t called the Brickhouse for nothing, folks.


Speaking of being the Brickhouse, prior to becoming NWA World Women’s Champion last year, she challenged herself to do something big in the event of the NWA potentially not returning due to the pandemic and the world shutting down. She trained for a bodybuilding competition (specifically the figure division) and cleaned house at the 2020 Daytona Beach Classic, winning Novice Open, Class D Open, and the overall open figure title. She also got engaged to her now-husband and current and fellow NWA wrestler Thomas Latimer. With the amount of muscle she has put on since her show, we could see her doing another show and dominating that one as well!



First show ever…2020 Daytona Beach Classic Overall Figure Champion. FREAK ATHLETE!
Photo credit: NPC News Online


Traditionally, when you think of the NWA, you think of the Ten Pounds of Gold and the man that’s holding it. But these days, when one thinks of the NWA, Kamille is the first name to pop up due to her dominance as a champion, which hurts me to my soul that despite the FITE.TV and YouTube deal that she’s not on TV more often. Kamille is a box-office attraction that DESERVES to be on the small screen as much as possible. To us, if you want the perfect women’s champion, look no further than the Brickhouse of Professional Wrestling in Kamille. To us, the only entity that can stop Kamille at this point…is Kamille herself, and we don’t see that happening anytime soon. When it’s all said and done, Kamille will go down as one of the most dominant champions of all time not only in the NWA Women’s Division but in all of wrestling period. 


THE most dominant women’s champion in professional wrestling today!
Photo credit: Kamille’s social media


For more on Kamille, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To order the NWA 74 PPV, go to https://www.nationalwrestlingalliance.com/ppv and for more on the NWA, go to https://www.nationalwrestlingalliance.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

More Details on Christine Pomponio’s Petite USA Campaign Including People’s Choice

Earlier this year on our blog, we talked about IFBB Legend Christine Pomponio competing at the Petite USA Pageant this year. The Petite USA organization has launched a People’s Choice contest. The winner of the contest will make the Top 16 automatically and will be announced on August 13, the day of the Petite USA Finals. It’s a dollar ($1) a vote, and you can vote as much as you want. So realistically, you can vote 100 times ($100) or 1,000 times ($1,000) or even more than that! Proceeds from each vote will go to the Stop Soldier Suicide organization. Click here to view more on Stop Solider Suicide. We’ll provide the link below for Christine.

As stated in our previous blog post, Christine will represent Colorado under the Elite Ms. Petite division. The National pageant will take place from August 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  August 10 will be the State Costume Contest. The Preliminary Competition (Mrs./Elite Ms.) will take place August 12th at 6PM with the Finals taking place the following day (August 13) at 2pm.  The Elite Ms. Petite division will compost of the following parts/scoring: Personal Interview (35%). Activewear (25%), Evening Gown (25%), and On-Stage Question (15%). BTW, the Teen, Miss, and Ms. divisions will have swimwear instead of activewear. While we know Christine would absolutely SMOKE the swimwear category, we have a feeling she’s gonna wow folks just as much in the Activewear portion. Click here for all ticket information.

The fact that Christine is stepping on any kind of stage for the first time since the 2006 Figure Olympia (where she placed in the top 5, making her one to the top five figure competitors in the world at that time) is pretty exciting, and anyone who has followed FitGems Nation knows the amount of respect and admiration we have for one of the First Ladies of Figure. As cool as this will be for her next month, a part of us hopes very sincerely this will lead to her doing at least ONE MORE IFBB show. Figure, Bikini, Wellness…it doesn’t matter. Just one more show in the IFBB. Anyone who has checked out her social media over the last year or so would probably agree with us on this. We’ve seen quite a bit of competitors come back to do a show of two over the last decade, and with the masters divisions having their own World Championship now, expect even more to do so in the years to come. Why not Christine one day?! 


To say we are excited for Christine is putting it mildly. Regardless of how far she goes in the pageant, we at FitGems Nation can’t express our excitement enough for one of the figure division’s greatest competitors. It’s pretty appropriate that one of the ladies that broke the glass ceiling for smaller competitors gets to compete in a pageant that is literally tailor made for her. Elite Ms. Petite USA Christine Pomponio…that sounds nice to us, and could become a reality next month! Good luck Christine!



Click here to vote on Christine in the Petite USA People’s Choice contest. For more on Petitie USA as well as their social media platforms, go to http://www.petitieusa.com.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Know Your Worth In and Beyond the Female Muscle World

The title of this article should be self-explanatory, but it bares repeating as much as possible. It sucks to see women STILL being treated as objects, no matter the profession. It’s 2022, people. We need to get past it. And if you think the female muscle world is immune to it, unfortunately you are sadly mistaken. In fact, I’m pretty sure it goes on more than many of you want to admit. I’m not shaming you to speak up in any way shape or form, but I DO want to share with you someone’s experience that I hope you will take to heart and at the bare minimum take some precautions of your own, whether you are dealing with the public or within the industry itself. 

Photo credit: Hapastrong website


Amanda Kohatsu is one of the newest IFBB Pros, winning her pro card in figure and women’s physique and winning the 2021 NPC Nationals Overall Figure title. In addition to her very quick rise in the bodybuilding world, she is a legend among the powerlifting world, holding several records and titles before making the switch to the bodybuilding industry. Like most folks, people go to the doctors for checkups or when they are sick. Unfortunately for Amanda, she went to a doctor that, to put it nicely, overstep his boundaries. 

The doctor she saw spent an hour telling her that bodybuilding and powerlifting are “stupid” and “wastes of time”. And she should look more feminine and try to lose some muscle mass.  Also in the comments of her Instagram post, she mentioned that the doctor made her her take off her jacket to “analyze” her body fat percentage. Yeah…that sounds like sexual harassment to us. You can read it on her own page here

Don’t worry, she is looking for a new doctor and we hope she gets a new one soon. But it were me, I personally would have walked out of the doctor’s office and contacted his superior ASAP. That doctor deserves to lose his practice over crap like this and never be allowed to work in that profession ever again. The doctor’s office should be one of the few places automatically where you are not sexually harassed. Honestly, you shouldn’t be harassed in any way, shape, or form, but you get the point I’m making here. To all women out there (not just in the female muscle world), PLEASE check your surroundings and make sure that you know your doctors and anyone else you have to deal with for anything in your life (trainers, nutritionists, therapists, psychologists, etc.). If it feels wrong, get out ASAP. Don’t stick around. KNOW YOUR DAMN WORTH!

Amanda is going to be okay, but if you want to send her some love, give her a follow on Instagram here.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Paige VanZant: An ELITE Acquisition

(All photos credited to All Elite Wrestling)




Professional wrestling for YEARS has belonged to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE, for short) when WCW and ECW went down and were purchased by Vince McMahon. Despite independent wrestling seeing decent numbers, the televised wrestling world has felt…stagnant and a bit too complacent for a lot of fans’ taste. For the most part, it’s not the performers’ fault. But where you’re the only game in town from a national TV standpoint, it can get pretty boring pretty quickly when your shows aren’t producing compelling television. 

Enter All Elite Wrestling (AEW).

To many internet fans, AEW has been the breath of fresh air that they felt they needed as wrestling fans, with their storylines and approach to the business feeling like a throwback to arguably the most successful and popular time to be a wrestling fan: The Attitude Era. The last year, they have signed talent after talent after talent from WWE’s past to shape up AEW’s future. AEW has proven in their short history that they are here for the long haul. Many fans see them as the alternative to WWE they have craved, and many have gone to say that they are THE new place for professional wrestling and have sworn off WWE forever (and in some instances, we don’t blame the fans one bit…but that’s for another day). But for all the signings they have had, they have not had that one signing that could be a game changer as far as mainstream appeal is concerned, which is important to the growth and significance of any wrestling company that even wants to ATTEMPT of dethroning Vince’s WWE as the number one company in the world.

Enter Paige VanZant…date March, 9, 2022. 




On AEW’s signature show, Wednesday Night Dynamite, after Scorpio Sky defeated Sammy Guevara to win the TNT Championship, VanZant attacked Tay Conti and signed her AEW talent contract on Conti’s back (more specifically her butt), officially making the former UFC star and current Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship competitor All Elite. Her signing was picked up by ESPN, the New York Post, SB Nation, MMA Junkie, MMA Fighting, and more. This is exactly what AEW was hoping when the signing became official, and if this goes as well as they hope it does, she could do what Ronda Rousey did for the women’s division in WWE, put more eyes on their talent and their product. It’s already done wonders for Tay Conti, who looks like will be PVZ’s first feud in the company. I would not be surprised if the ladies face off at AEW’s Double or Nothing PPV on Memorial Day Weekend (May 29 to be exact) either in a singles match or in a mixed tag match involving Sammy and Scorpio. (I know it’s a ways off, but competing in their biggest arena yet…the T-Mobile Arena, which holds about 20,000 people…they are gonna need big draws to get a sell-out, and PVZ can do that) (EDIT: Paige VanZant will make her official in-ring debut at AEW Double or Nothing this Sunday in a Mixed Trios match with Ethan Page and TNT Champion Scorpion Sky (with Dan Lambert in their corner) against Tay Conti, Sammy Guevara, and Frankie Kazarian). 

Her Hollywood looks, fitness-model physique, and her overall toughness (maybe not her record) as a fighter has made her among the most popular in the fighting world…as well as the most hated. The way she has been portrayed leading up to her official signing suggests she will be a heel (bad person). From what she has displayed in her time in AEW thus far, she can talk a good game and obviously get physical. If she’s even HALF as good as Ronda was at picking up how wrestling works, AEW has got a goldmine in PVZ. Many folks had her linked to wrestling for quite some time, even going as far as WWE potentially bringing her in a few years ago for Summerslam. While that ship has sailed for now, never say never for PVZ to go to WWE one day if her AEW stint goes well. But for now, PVZ is calling AEW home. And who knows, maybe by the end of 2022, we might be saying TBS Champion Paige VanZant or AEW Women’s World Champion Paige VanZant! But for now, lets see what Paige does in her new home of professional wrestling, and more specifically All Elite Wrestling.




For more on Paige VanZant, visit her FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and exclusive fan site. For more on All Elite Wrestling, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and their main website

My 2022 Arnold Review, Plus a Personal Plea for 2023 Arnold and Beyond

The 2022 Arnold is in the books and the 2022 competition season and the Road to the 2022 is officially underway. Every single division for the pro women crowned a new champion, with three of them winning their first-ever Arnold title in their career. 



FITNESS INTERNATIONAL

To be successful in the fitness division you need to have a crazy physique and off-the-chart fitness skills, it can’t just be one of the other. Oksana Grishina has proven that, Whitney Jones has proven that, Missy Truscott has proven than…and now you can add Ariel Khadr to that list. Involved in the industry since age 11, it always felt like Ariel was destined to win a major title, especially since she became the youngest woman to qualify for the pros after turning 17. Injuries stalled her career and could have potentially ended it, but she prevailed and secured her spot as one of the best fitness competitors in the IFBB by winning her very first Fitness International title. After prejudging, it was clear as day that either Ariel or Missy (the then-defending champ) was going to win the title. While Missy brought a powerful physique and routine, Ariel did just enough to come out with the W. Jaclyn placed 3rd in her best placing at the Arnold yet, followed by Kate in 4th, with Tamara and Allison rounding out the top 6, placing 5th and 6th respectively in their Arnold debuts. 

FINAL RESULTS:

1. Ariel Khadr

2. Missy Truscott

3. Jaclyn Baker

4. Kate Errington

5. Tamara Vahn

6. Allison Kramer

7. Minna Pajulahti

8. Aurika Tyrgale

9. Sara Kovach

10. Amanda Ciani


FIGURE INTERNATIONAL 

In the world of figure, if you see the name Cydney Gillon on the competitor’s list, the most intriguing part is who is gonna place 2nd. Cydney hasn’t lost since 2018 and has been in the top two ever since 2017. That’s a long time to be that good at what you do and to my knowledge, that’s not going to stop anytime soon. Jessica, who has been one of the most dominant competitors in the figure division the last couple of years, placed 2nd. Lola placed 3rd, Nicole placed 4th in her Arnold debut, 2020 Figure International Champion Natalia placed 5th and 2020 Figure International Runner-Up Bojana rounded out the top 6.

FINAL RESULTS:

1. Cydney Gillon

2. Jessica Reyes Padilla

3. Lola Montez

4. Nicole Zenobia Graham

5. Natalia Soltero

6. Bojana Vasiljevic

7. Latoya Farley

8. Larhannah Robinson

9. An Da Jeong

10. Wendy Fortino


BIKINI INTERNATIONAL

These days, the bikini division is anyone’s division. A lot of amazing competitors who can win any show, including the Arnold, at any given day. In 2022, right now, that honor belongs to Lauralie Chapados, who bought a built sleek physique to the Arnold stage, earning her her very first Bikini International title and making her a strong favorite for the Bikini Olympia title this Christmas. Maureen in her Arnold debut is this year’s runner-up, and the winningest competitor in IFBB history and hometown star Ashley placed 3rd. Last year’s Bikini International runner-up Elisa placed 4th, followed by Jourdanne in 5th and Alessia rounding out the top 6.

FINAL RESULTS:

1. Lauralie Chapados

2. Maureen Blanquisco

3. Ashley Kaltwasser

4. Elisa Pecini

5. Jourdanne Lee

6. Alessia Facchin

7. Lucia Malavaze

8. Lauren Dannemiller

9. Phoebe Hagan

10. Allison Testu


WELLNESS INTERNATIONAL

Like the Olympia last year, this was the most anticipated event for the woman this year. 10 women made history and can say they were part of the first-ever Wellness International competition. Only ONE of them San say there were the first-ever Wellness International Champion, and that honor goes to Isabelle Nunes.  When Isabelle came out during prejudging, it was made abundantly clear that Nunes was the woman to beat. Nunes changed her suit and added significant muscle to her frame to fit the wellness look perfectly and made history. Angela is this year’s runner-up, followed by Sunny in 3rd, who also made incredible strides to her physique since the Arnold. Julia and Yarishna switched places from the Olympia, placing 4th and 5th respectively at the Arnold, with Kassandra rounding out the top 6. Hats off to them and all the Wellness International competitors on making history!

FINAL RESULTS:

1. Isabelle Nunes

2. Angela Borges

3. Sunny Andrews

4. Julia Chitarra

5. Yarishna Ayala

6. Kassandra Gillis

7. Barbara Cesar

8. Lorena Ragusa

9. Devyn Cambra

10. Casey Delong


And there you have it, the Road to the 2022 Olympia has officially begun, a bit longer than usual with the event in December as well as BACK in Vegas for the first time in over two years. It’s nice to see normalcy back at the Arnold with the Expo and variety of events. One thing I really loved about the Arnold this year is that only 10 in each division go to be represented, making the show that much more prestigious. I hope this continues. 

Now…to address the elephant in the room: the absence of female bodybuilding and women’s physique in the pros. This (to me) is beyond sad and pathetic on the part of Arnold Sports. I can’t state this enough…without women’s bodybuilding, the other divisions for women DO NO EXIST. I understand why the divisions were limited in 2021, but 2022, the world has practically opened back again, with women’s bodybuilding has returned to the Olympia to amazing results. The bigger women in the industry deserve to have their spot in the Arnold just as much as the other women in the industry. While the principles of fitness is more acceptable to women these days thanks to social media, the sport and industry of bodybuilding for women is still viewed as taboo and nowhere near the mainstream appeal of other industries. Because of that, the bodybuilding industry needs to embrace ALL divisions and leaving out the bigger divisions in a platform like the Arnold sends a message that even in the house you built, you are not welcomed. That’s not fair to the female bodybuilders and women’s physique competitions that put in the work day after day. So next year, Arnold Sports Committee, bring back the Ms. International and Women’s Physique International competitions. They are already shunned enough in the mainstream world. Don’t do the same to them in their own world. BE BETTER BY THEM. DO BETTER BY THEM.

Congrats to the 2022 winners and competitors, and here’s to EVERY DIVISION (especially women’s bodybuilding and women’s physique) being represented in 2023 and beyond. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Trish Stratus…Fitness COMPETITOR?! WHY NOT?!

When it comes to popularity, Trish Stratus might be the most popular mainstream female wrestler of all time. Her popularity began due to her superhero-like body and Hollywood looks, but she maintained her popularity for not just her physique but her dedication to professional wrestling. She could have easily had a carrer in wrestling at the time based off her looks alone, but the tomboy and competitive nature in her was too great to let that happen, and women’s wrestling and wrestling as a whole is better because of it. Her success as an beautiful woman who can also kick ass in the ring and show it off paved the way for so many women with her credentials to follow suit in the wrestling world, and is still inspiring female wrestlers today. I mean, 6x WWE Women’s Champion, 1x WWE Hardcore Champion, WWE Hall of Fame, 2022 George Tragkos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame as the first-ever female recipient of the Lou Thesz Award…we say Trish has definitely made her mark in wrestling. 


From wrestling world to fitness world: THANK YOU!
Credit: TrishStratus.com


But as much as Trish has made her mark in wrestling, she has also made her mark in the fitness world. Considered one of the First Ladies of Fitness Modeling, she (along with a group of others including Victoria Pratt, Monica Brant, and fellow WWE Hall-of-Famer Torrie Wilson) helped established a new breed of woman, showcasing that women can be strong AND sexy at the same time. Trish was (and still is) proof positive that having muscles and being feminine were NOT mutually exclusive to one another. Her arrival to the wrestling world in 2000 gave new meaning to the phrase “eye candy”. I mean, I don’t need to go into details…but some one like Trish is what you would expect from a video game or a comic book…NOT in real life, not even in wrestling. But that’s what happened. Trish brought a look that WOWed folks then and still influences folks now. I mean, folks that love ranking the hottest women in wrestling just HAPPEN to have fit and built but curvy and feminine at the top of their list. Coincidence?! We don’t think so. 

How could any woman NOT want to get in the weight room after seeing THIS?! 
Credit: WWE.com


These days, Trish is looking better than ever, putting her quarantine time last year to work and reshaping her body to what might be her strongest yet. While Trish was more about shape and SOMEWHAT size back in 2000, she seems stronger and more cut than she ever was during her WWE heydays. Her social media posts have shown that. Which begs the question…could she make it as a fitness competitor TODAY?! I think so, to be honest with you. I mean, hell, she spent over six years getting her ass kicked in the ring and kicking ass, taking various bumps along the way. I think Trish doing a physique competition would be cool for her to do, especially with how she looks as a mom of two! Now what division she would be good in? I could see two: Bikini and Wellness. If Trish is more committed to developing her lower body (and yes, the woman has amazing legs) the wellness division would be the way to go for her. If she keeps the size she has now or even adds a tiny bit more (but not much more) and hones in more on her conditioning, then bikini would be the way to go for her. If she dedicated herself to more size all over, Trish in figure wouldn’t be out of the realm for her as well. But in all reality, we see her doing bikini or maybe wellness. 

If she were to dab in a competition, we could see her doing one in late 2022 or early 2023 in her home country of Canada (even though this selfish person writing this would love to see her do it in the States, but I digress). Imagine the press she could get doing a physique competition…and the amount of people that she could inspire to get into shape, especially mothers and working women. Fitness has given Trish so much. To us, this would be a cool way for her to give back to the industry that got her discovered. 


If Trish were to do a fitness competition, we would BACK her up 100%
Credit: Trish’s social media accounts



For more on Trish, make sure to check out her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and her website at https://www.trishstratus.com.

2022 Arnold Predictions

Another year, another Arnold. Last year, it was just the Fitness and Bikini divisions that got to shine due to COVID restrictions. This year, everything is back: The entire experience is back (expo and all)…with one noticeable exception. Women’s physique will not be represented again this year, and despite the return of female bodybuilding to prominence especially at the Olympia due to Jake Wood, women’s bodybuilding is STILL not back at the Arnold. It is disappointing that neither of these divisions are being represented, but it shouldn’t take away from the female divisions that ARE being represented: fitness, figure, bikini, and (making its debut) wellness. 

As everyone knows the Arnold is invite-only and this year, each female division has 10 competitors, which I respect that as it makes the Arnold that much more prestigious as not everyone can (nor should) be able to compete. With that being said, here’s my predictions on the female divisions being represented at the Arnold this year. Let me say that these are just PREDICTIONS. I have no inside info on the show or competitors (never have) so I have no clue how the Arnold is gonna go down. The judges can only judge what is in from of them THAT DAY (and yes, I’ve disagreed plenty of times and will continue to do so when warranted). Do not take these predictions personally. It’s just for fun. 


FITNESS INTERNATIONAL

10 incredible athletes make up this year’s Fitness International field. To me, this will come down to two people: current Fitness International Champion Missy Truscott and Ariel Khadr. Both ladies have (along with Oksana Grishina and Whitney Jones, two women who are not competing at the Arnold this year) the most insane physiques in the fitness division and the most entertaining routines in the industry. Missy would love nothing more than to successfully defend her Arnold crown and become a 3x Champion while Ariel would love to finally break through and win one of the big ones. Based off what I’ve seen of their preps, it will come down to who truly wants it more and who can avoid that one mistake. With that being said…I’m going to go with Missy to win her third-straight Fitness International title as she wants to begin her road to redemption to regain her Fitness Olympia title at the end of the year. Ariel in 2nd, followed by Sara in 3rd, Tamara in 4th, Jacklyn in 5th, and Minna to round out the top 6.

PREDICTIONS:

1. Missy Truscott

2. Ariel Khadr

3, Sara Kovach

4. Tamara Vahn

5. Jaclyn Baker

6. Minna Pajulahti

Other competitors: Amanda Ciani, Kate Errington, Allison Kramer, Aurika Tyrgale


FIGURE INTERNATIONAL

Despite the immense popularity of the wellness division, the figure division is still growing strong, and the 10 invitees for the Figure International prove it. Some are making their Arnold debuts but there is no shortage of OLYMPIA-level talent being in Ohio, including the current 5x Figure Olympia champion Cydney Gillon. Cydney has not lost a contest since the 2018 Arnold Classic Australia, and to be quite honest with you, as amazing as everyone else is, unless they can crake the Cydney code or hopes she comes in very off, I just don’t see her losing at the Arnold. But that’s not to say others won’t give her a run for their money. Natalia Soltero has been hitting on all cylinders the last couple of years, and TECHNICALLY she is the defending Figure International champion as her title was not on the line last year. Jessica Reyes Padilla has been one of the most dominant competitors in the division for quite some time, especially last year where she won 7 out of her 8 competitions, with the Olympia being the only one she didn’t win. Bojana Vasiljevic has one of the most amazing shapes in any division, and she looks like she’s going to come in CRAZY once again based off her prep footage. With all that being said, I got Cydney winning, followed by Jessica in 2nd, Natalia in 3rd, Bojana in 4th, Da Jeong in 5th, and Wendy BY A HAIR rounding out the top 6. 

PREDICTIONS:

1. Cydney Gillon

2. Jessica Reyes Padilla

3. Natalia Soltero

4. Bojana Vasiljevic

5. An Da Jeong

6. Wendy Fortino

Other competitors: Latoya Farley, Nicole Zenobia Graham, Lola Montez, Larhannah Robinson


BIKINI INTERNATIONAL

10 beautiful women will look to make Columbus, Ohio the most beautiful place on Earth (if only for a few days) with the crowning of a new Bikini International champion. The reigning champion Jennifer Dorie will not defend her crown, making a way for a new champion to emerge. Considering the roll she has been on, I don’t see how you can NOT have Ashley Kaltwasser as the favorite here. She has won 31 contests, more than any male or female IFBB athlete EVER and she just keeps getting better and better each contest with no plans of slowing down anytime soon. When someone like that is on a roll, good luck trying to stop them…especially in their hometown. I have a feeling she will win her first Big One since 2015. For the remaining top six, I have Elisa in 2nd, followed by Maureen in 3rd, Jourdanne in 4th, Alessia in 5th, and Danielle in 6th.

PREDICTIONS:

1. Ashley Kaltwasser

2. Elisa Pecini

3. Maureen Blanquisco

4. Jourdanne Lee

5. Alessia Facchin

6. Danielle Phelps

Other competitors: Lauren Dannenmiller, Phoebe Hagan, Lucia Malavaze, and Allison Testu.


Wellness International

Maybe THE most anticipated event in the pro shows male OR female, this year marks the debut of the Wellness International. This class has taken the IFBB by storm and based off the quality of competitors from its inaugural season, wellness might just be THE division of the IFBB for quite some time. Only 10 women can say they were in the first-ever Wellness International, but only one can say that she was the very-first Wellness International Champion. Everyone competing in this historic event was part of the first-ever Wellness Olympia back in September, including everyone that placed in the top 6 with the only exception being the Wellness Olympia Champion Francielle Mattos, who will not be competing at the Arnold. Based off the Olympia, Angela Borges should be the favorite, but this isn’t the Olympia and everyone has had time to improve. Two people who have improved TREMENDOUSLY since the Olympia are Dr. Sunny Andrews and Yarishna Ayala. Based off their prep files going into the Arnold, Sunny is going to come in crazier than she did at the Arnold and Yarishna learned her lesson from coming in TOO soft, which I feel costed her the Olympia crown. This one (to me) will be the hardest to predict hut here it goes…I’m going with Yarishna to win the inaugural Wellness Olympia crown, followed by Angela in 2nd, Sunny in 3rd, Isabelle in 4th, Kassandra in 5th, and Lorena to round out the top six.

PREDICTIONS:

1. Yarishna Ayala

2. Angela Borges

3. Sunny Andrews

4. Isabella Nunes

5. Kassandra Gillis

6. Lorena Ragusa


So there you have it, my predictions for the 2022 Arnold on the pro female side. I know everyone is going to have a blast with this being the first time the Arnold goes on in full since 2020 (RIGHT when everything went to hell in a hand basket..even though they still managed to have the pro events). To everyone attending, be safe not just due to COVID but be safe period. Don’t let a good time be your last. To all the competitors in a few days, best of luck to you all. You worked through the holidays to get here. Give the folks a show. The Arnold is BACK-back and the competition season is finally here! LET’S GO!!!!!

For more on the Arnold, go to their website at https://www.arnoldsportsfestival.com/. And to order the PPV (right now $24.99 but will go up to $34.99 after March 4), go to https://fanmio.com/products/arnold-sports

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Christine Pomponio To Compete in a New Kind of Stage in 2022

We have stated in the past that we would love to see figure original Christine Pomponio return to the stage one day. Well...in 2022, we will FINALLY get that wish...but NOT in the way you might think. Yes, Christine will be stepping on stage in 2022, but not on an IFBB stage...not yet anyways. Instead she will be stepping on the Petite USA stage represeting as Elite Ms. Colorado Petite 2022. 


So...you're probably asking yourself...what is Petite USA? Here's the history of it via their website:

The Petite USA Pageant was founded in 2009 by Hazely Lopez-Alvarez with a vision to empower and celebrate petite beauty, 5'6 or less. The USA Petite Pageant focus on celebrating the accomplishments of petite women and provides them opportunity to be a voice and spokesmodel for petite women around the United States.

Petite USA is the official United States preliminary to the Miss Universal Petite pageant. The winners in both our Miss and Teen divisions will represent the USA at Universal Petite. These two ladies will compete against petite women from all over the world for the coveted titles of, Miss Universal Petite and Teen Universal Petite. 

With a vision of serving, Petite USA is more than just a pageant. The Petite USA Family is a sisterhood that embraces healthy competition and a heart to serve others through our leadership and outreach. Each contestant is asked to champion a "Personal Platform" that is near and dear to her heart to encourage leadership, community service, and kindness. 

Our areas of competition include swimsuit, evening gown, judge interview, and on-stage question. We are looking for poised, graceful, and passionate ladies that understand that their height is no limitation to fulfilling their dreams.

 


As you can see, Christine fits this platform perfectly, as she is five foot one. At that height, she is also one of the shortest women to ever compete in the IFBB, but also among the most sucessful as well, winning two figure titles and competing in 2 Figure Internationals and 3 Figure Olympias, placing no worse than sixth throughout her pro career, paving the way for shorter competitors to be successful in the bodybuilding world. Christine's platform will be Postpartum, as well as Alzheimer's during the month of November. That is a deep topic to her due to her father having it and having a couple of scary episodes. Thankfully he is currently okay. 

The 2022 pageant will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 10-13. Because Christine will be competing in the Elite Ms. category. she will have an activewear round rather than a swimwear round. (We have a gut feeling Christine will WOW folks in that round...especially the way she WOW'd folks on the IFBB stage). If they do the pageant like they did earlier this year for the 2021 pageant, it will stream on Facebook. On behalf of FitGems Nation, we can't stress enough how proud we are of Christine for this amazing accomplishment and wish her best of luck as she represents Colorado as Ms. Elite Ms. Colorado Petite 2022 throughout the rest of 2021 and all of next year, and best of luck to her as she looks to become Elite Ms. Petite USA later on in 2022!

I have no clue how fundraisers are done in Petite USA, but we'll pass along the information as we get it, so we can all help support one of our own.




Follow Christine on the following social media platforms:

https://www.facebook.com/christinepompoino
https://instagram.com/christinepomponio

Follow Petite USA on the following platforms:

https://www.petiteusa.com
https://www.facebook.com/petiteusa
https://instagram.com/petiteusa


Photos are from Christine's social media accounts