Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Figure New Mexico competitor and sports model Genieve Sanchez is a sports fanatic like very few others. Besides competitive fitness, the 31 year old landscape architect has been an NCAA Division I collegiate basketball player and professional rodeo rider. But recently she surprised everyone taking on yet another athletic challenge.
"On Friday night I won my first amateur boxing match here in Albuquerque," Genieve says. "It was an awesome challenge and I was thrilled to put my conditioning from Fitness Universe to good use in pursuing a combat sport. To my surprise I was actually the main fight on the card which I think had a lil something to with me being a fitness model and sportswriter (at least it got some pull). Or, maybe everyone just wanted to see the ladies get at it! I held my own out there and definitely gave them the "main event" fight everyone came to see! To my surprise, the fight was highly promoted and covered by the media in New Mexico and even recognized regionally."
"It was amazing and I felt so athletic and powerful in the ring. It was a great moment for me! I had not been in a live action sport since I played basketball in college and something felt ridiculously right about it.
"I feel on top of my game and couldn't be happier with all the opportunity ahead of me with combat sports, fitness, and modeling. Don't just knock on new doors of opportunity; why not go ahead and BANG them down eh!"
"Not sure what’s next, I may do another fight, but I still wanna aim for my Figure Pro Card with the Fitness Universe Tour! All so exciting!"
"So here we are less than 5 weeks out from Superbody. Translation - I still have 31 days before I can smear my favorite cinnamon ezekiel toast with almond butter at breakfast (yes I counted!) And while 31 days feels like a long time to wait for that breakfast deliciousness, this is also the week where I inevitably feel that little voice of doubt in my head - "One month? 31 Days? Will you be ready?"
"It does not matter how many shows I've done or how many times I have been through prep - when I hit around the 5 week mark, it is tough to ignore that self-doubt that starts seeping in to your thought process. See at around 5 weeks out a funny thing happens - there is still time for changes to occur (in fact you DON'T want to be show-ready that far out), but around the month mark - it is hard to trust the process and look in the mirror knowing that you will be stage-ready in 31 days time. You want to believe it will all come together but that show date starts to feel CLOSE. And it is easy to doubt your ability to make it to the finish line."
"Well there is one benefit to being kind of "old hat" at this competing thing. I've been here before - I have had this fear and every time it has come together. So I remind myself to exhale, take another deep breath in, and then exhale again. I try to remember that while there is much to do in the next 5 weeks, I have already put in a lot of work that will get me there if I can trust myself and trust the process. The doubt is just one part of the roller coaster ride - think of that knot in your tummy as the moment at the top of the coaster ride - a heightened anxiety where you wonder what you got yourself into - but the next four weeks is the wild ride down the track. It will be challenging but exciting and thrilling all at the same time."
"And no little voice is going to keep me off that ride. So time to breathe and strap in!"
Fitness Universe Weekend competitor Abby Huot is a 30-year-old bikini/figure competitor, fitness model, and regularly featured writer in Natural Muscle Magazine. Once 190 lbs., Abby began her fitness journey in 2007, widdling down to 127 lbs. for her first show in just 12 months. Abby says, "I was terrified. But then again, if you don't do something that scares you a little bit, your goals probably aren't big enough!"
With 10 shows under her belt, Abby is now a veteran in the competition world and admits she is a continual work in progress. Her love for writing and passion for teaching people about the true meaning of health and wellness have given her life new meaning. "I was a little lost on what to do with a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature after college", she admits, "I'm so grateful I found a channel for my writing skills! It was really cool to go to do the Universe and get so much positive feedback from people. I definitely have found the industry I belong in."
With plans of completing her personal training certification and taking on clients by the end of the year, Abby is looking forward to where her fitness career takes her in the future. She will be competing for the first time at Fitness America Weekend in Las Vegas this November with her boyfriend, Michael Duffy, who will be stepping on stage for the first time as well.
“I was turning 38 in February. I needed a new step. I'm always looking to do something better,” she said. So the Massachusetts native decided to sign up for a fitness competition in April at the Fitness New England show at Foxwoods. A lot of training would be needed to get in perfect shape to impress the judges (and everyone else watching) in the Ms. Bikini New England Classic Class for women 35 and older. “It's all about training and nutrition,” she said. Judges are looking for “a lean look. Your posing. Your walk. Your stage presence. Your body and tone.” There were more than 30 contestants in her category. She won! “It was unbelievable. I was a rookie coming in. I was just so happy to be on stage because of the training I had put in. When they called my name it was overwhelming. All the hard work paid off.”
Last month Tyan went to Miami to compete in the Ms. Bikini Universe (in the same Classic Class, though this time for women 35 to 45). Her field this time had some of the fittest and most beautiful women from across America and around the world. And, it would be another classic victory for Tyan! “I just went there to compete with all these girls, and then they called my name out again. I'm still celebrating,” she said. Next up will be Ms. Bikini America in Las Vegas in November.
Tyan is not unfamiliar with challenges and setting goals for herself - and others. For one thing, the mother of two runs Kelley's Bootcamp for Women at CrossFit Center. When she formerly did makeup and makeovers, she said, she saw a lot of women had low self-esteem about their bodies. Kelley's Bootcamp combines exercise with teaching good nutrition (“eating clean,” as Ms. Tyan puts it) in a four-week program that many women repeat. “I've always loved making women feel good about themselves,” Tyan said.
One of the impetuses, in turn, for Kelley's Bootcamp, which Tyan opened in 2009, was an “out of the blue” diagnosis of breast cancer in 2008. “As I went through it, I wanted to put the focus on something else. I put the focus on fitness,” she said.
Tyan was studying to be a fitness trainer when she “felt a lump. I found it myself. I never thought it was anything. I put off (going to) the doctor for three months. Then I went.” The bad news came in a phone call. “I was absolutely devastated. My whole world stopped,” she said. “I only let it stop for a moment, though. I had my cry and said, 'OK, I'm not going to let this get a hold of me.' ” She had a lumpectomy and then radiation treatments. As she dedicated herself to fitness and also studying nutrition, “I developed a business plan for Kelley's Bootcamp. That's what got me through everything. Kelley's Bootcamp started and is still going strong today.” She is clear of cancer.
Tyan graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in early childhood education and Spanish. She taught at an elementary school, and with her husband, Tony Tyan (an insurance agent), also opened a tanning salon.
“I always did the gym thing. I always liked to work out. But it wasn't until I had my second child in 2006 that I made some big changes.” One of the results, as she became increasingly fit and ate better, was that migraines that had bothered her since childhood went away.
Karon Shea of La Femmina Modeling Training Center/ Karon Shea Model Management said that Tyan was a student of hers more than 30 years ago. They stayed in touch. “I've seen her develop into a beautiful and amazing woman over the years,” she said. After finding out that Tyan had been sick, some of Shea's friends took the “boot camp.” “At 5 a.m. they would drag themselves in because they said 'If she can work that hard with her cancer, so can we,' ” Shea said. Actually, the first class of the day for Kelley's Bootcamp for Women is at 5:15 a.m. “That's my busiest, believe it or not,” Tyan said. Women range in age from 18 to 60. She's never had anyone over 60. However, “I'll take them.”
She works out six days a week, an hour to an hour-and-a-half each workout. As for eating clean, “Just clean foods in their natural state. Not canned and processed. I just like to eat pure foods. I shop in the perimeter of the market. I don't shop in the aisles.” That means “fresh veggies and meats.” She's not a vegetarian. Furthermore, “I have two kids so I'm not 100 percent perfect.”
By the same token, “Some people feel that after they have kids it's all over, and I change that all around,” she said. “Once you turn 35, life's just starting in my eyes.”
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Fitness Universe™ star Jessica Halbert continues her weekly blog as she prepares for Superbody™ next month.
"Back again - and here we are just 6 weeks from the Superbody™ show. This is where the anticipation starts to build and I can't decide whether August 25 feels like it is SO far away or right around the corner. It changes at least three times a day."
"But for me - 6 weeks is where the real excitement begins in show prep. Now I know that prep is a very personal journey - but for me a few things happen around the 6 week mark that really build those "ohmygosh" show butterflies. This is where I start to pull in my nutrition and see some real changes in my physique. Cardio usually inches up a bit and this is also where my routine practice takes center stage - cleaning up little details and tweaking elements throughout. While some of my hardest work comes in at the 6 week mark, I also feel like this is the time to get PUMPED. I try to celebrate the small changes that I see throughout the next several weeks knowing they will add up to a great show experience."
"I also make a special point at this time to carve out a little 'mental health' time each week. Rather than a dinner out with my husband, we'll go for a long hike or watch a movie that we've been swearing we would watch together for months. I go places where the focus is fun and company not food and drinks. It's not that places with food and drinks can or should be avoided (I refuse to be that person that abstains from even attending events because - egads! - there will be cheeseburgers that I have to turn down) - but I do make a point of seeking out fun and new things to do that don't revolve around temptation. And because it is summer time there are so many options! I'm lucky enough to spend a lot of my time at the Jersey Shore in the summer so that means reading in the beach breeze, mini golf, and my favorite pass time - beach mansion window shopping! I'll smack on the sunscreen and take a relaxing walk with my mom through some of my dream neighborhoods at the shore - each of us deciding which fabulous ocean front mega mansion we will be taking today. I have my eye on a big Mediterranean style house - now I just need to come up with an extra 6 millions dollars or so . . ."
"For all my fellow competitors prepping for Superbody™ - Congrats! We are one more week down and it is going to be a great show! Looking forward to checking in with you all next week. Until then, thanks for reading."
Photo: FU star JESSICA HALBERT continues her weekly blog as she prepares for Superbody™ next month. "Back again - and here we are just 6 weeks from the Superbody™ show. This is where the anticipation starts to build and I can't decide whether August 25 feels like it is SO far away or right around the corner. It changes at least three times a day." "But for me - 6 weeks is where the real excitement begins in show prep. Now I know that prep is a very personal journey - but for me a few things happen around the 6 week mark that really build those "ohmygosh" show butterflies. This is where I start to pull in my nutrition and see some real changes in my physique. Cardio usually inches up a bit and this is also where my routine practice takes center stage - cleaning up little details and tweaking elements throughout. While some of my hardest work comes in at the 6 week mark, I also feel like this is the time to get PUMPED. I try to celebrate the small changes that I see throughout the next several weeks knowing they will add up to a great show experience." "I also make a special point at this time to carve out a little 'mental health' time each week. Rather than a dinner out with my husband, we'll go for a long hike or watch a movie that we've been swearing we would watch together for months. I go places where the focus is fun and company not food and drinks. It's not that places with food and drinks can or should be avoided (I refuse to be that person that abstains from even attending events because - egads! - there will be cheeseburgers that I have to turn down) - but I do make a point of seeking out fun and new things to do that don't revolve around temptation. And because it is summer time there are so many options! I'm lucky enough to spend a lot of my time at the Jersey Shore in the summer so that means reading in the beach breeze, mini golf, and my favorite pass time - beach mansion window shopping! I'll smack on the sunscreen and take a relaxing walk with my mom through some of my dream neighborhoods at the shore - each of us deciding which fabulous ocean front mega mansion we will be taking today. I have my eye on a big Mediterranean style house - now I just need to come up with an extra 6 millions dollars or so . . ." "For all my fellow competitors prepping for Superbody™ - Congrats! We are one more week down and it is going to be a great show! Looking forward to checking in with you all next week. Until then, thanks for reading."
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
"My name is Alix James Newton. I was competitor #235 at the Fitness Universe Weekend in Miami a few weeks ago. I traveled from Australia to compete at your event and continued with my travels in the USA after the event, only arrive home in Australia this morning. It was just now that I had the opportunity to check the final scores and my placing for the Musclemania Womens Division, in which the records show I placed fifth.
On the day of the finals I missed the chance to be onstage at the awards for the finals because I was involved with reporting a crime to the police. During the time between performing routines at the finals and the announcement of placings I had gone across the road from the Hilton to the local grocery store (Publix), after being assured by Musclemania officials that I had ample time to do so, as I needed to purchase safety pins as my posing suit had become undone. Whilst I was returning from the Publix to the Hilton a pedestrian was struck by a taxi cab and I assisted with the persons first aid and then was required to remain with the police and give my version of events as I was a witness. This process took some time. When I returned to the show I was informed that the show was over. The next day I delayed my flight out of Miami in order to attend the showroom at the Hilton again in an effort to explain my situation to someone, however I had no such luck and could only locate staff from the Hilton.
I understand nothing can be done about the fact that I unfortunately missed my moment on stage to accept my award and all that would have come with that experience. However, I can take some solace in knowing I was able to apply my medical knowledge to help someone who was badly hurt in an accident on the street. As I am now home and have internet access and have been able to see the scores, I am equally proud knowing I actually been in the top five."
As a scientist with a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Health Science and Nutritional Medicine, the pedestrian was lucky to have such a capable person to attend to him/her.
We could not be more proud that a person of such character chose to grace the Musclemania stage. On behalf of all nearly 400 competitors at Fitness Universe Weekend, thank you, AJ!
Fitness Universe star Jessica Halbert will bring her athletic talents and natural beauty to the Superbody™ stage next month. Today, she begins her weekly update as she trains for Atlantic City! "I'm so thrilled to have a chance to blog my journey over these next 7 weeks as I head to the Superbody™ stage in Atlantic City on August 25th! I'll be competing in the fitness division, which is a Pro Qualifier this year - so the bar has been set high to bring my very best to the stage! In June, I competed in Fitness Universe in Miami and was over the moon to find myself in the Top 10. Before heading to Miami, I had sworn up and down (and left, and right) that Universe was my ONLY show this summer and that while I would be an excited attendee in the audience, I would not be taking the stage in Atlantic City in August. So what made me lose - errr, I mean - change my mind? Summer competing is TOUGH. I'm sure those of you preparing for a show this summer know exactly what I'm talking about. The sun is out, people are more relaxed, and happy hours and barbecues seem like they are on a continuous cycle. It is not easy to stay on track and avoid margaritas and bean dip and burgers when they seem to be around every turn. And really, isn't lounging by the pool or on the beach SO much more appealing on a hot summer day than working up a sweat? Well, after Miami I went on a week's vacation to the Dominican Republic and ate and drank and relaxed my little butt off. And you know what? I found myself in the resort gym by the second day. Because to be honest, while I loved indulging and partying it up on a gorgeous island, I've gotten used to my active and healthy lifestyle - and EGADS! - I missed it immediately. I also realized that I would be kicking myself sitting in the crowd in Atlantic City. This show is practically in my backyard! And now, with the show being a Pro Qualifier there is just no way that I could sit in the audience and watch all those amazing competitors without regretting the decision to sit the show out. So I'm back at it - and dialing down slowly but surely. I have to admit - summer competing may not be easy, but it is certainly manageable. First, not EVERY barbecue and glass of wine must be avoided. It was just a matter a picking a few events (early in my prep of course) that I wanted to attend this summer and making sure that these little indulgences were small in number and handled with moderation. And while it is hot outside (I don't know where you guys live, but PA and NJ have been like a freaking sauna these last few weeks) - this also means more light to the day and opportunities to take my workouts outdoors from time to time to spice things up. Ever try plyos on the beach? WOWZA. So I'm in and I'm looking forward to August 25th as I hope many of you are as well. I'll be writing again next week with another update. Until then stay strong guys - we can do this!"
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Former ballerina and professional dancer Jessica Starr is the new Ms. Bikini Universe. The 26 year old Florida health & wellness coach is used to stage performance. Jessica explains, "The excitement of getting to show your true personality on stage along with the support and sportsmanship from the competitors make the whole experience at this show a memory that I will cherish for life!"
Just before the Fitness Universe Weekend, we received this following from Paris Ashley McBride who trained for and competed in the show.
"I have been coming to the Universe Weekend this is my Third year, your show has completely changed my life. Two years ago when I went to the first one as a spectator actually that is a pic from the show. I had lost a hundred pounds but I didn't have any shape in my muscles. I have spent the last two years building transforming and sculpting my body into what it is today. The reason I never believed I could be a figure girl is because 2010 when I was there I saw a girl that lost 100 lbs. get second place and I was amazed how great she looked. I also believed if she could do it so could I. I know my skin is not as perfect as someone that never lost 100 lbs. but that dose not stop me from competing or continuing to build and sculpt my figure.
I was in the Fitness America in Las Vegas in Nov. when I cam home I got straight to work preparing for this years shows. I have trained everyday twice a day since Nov and my Figure has improved dramatically. I am also a Certified Sport Nutritionist and Cert. Master Trainer. Trained by some of the best in the fitness industry including Dexter Jackson, Gale Ellie, Jennifer Mitchelli, Lee Apperson, Shannon Dey and Team Bombshell and much much more... There have been many hands, knowledge and wisdom that has went into building my body over the last 4 years of my journey.
I thank you for taking time time to read a little bit about me and I am very excited to unveil my new body in this year's Universe Weekend."
Although she didn't make the Top 10, no doubt Paris went home from the show with a sense of personal fulfillment that he transformation was as unique an accomplishment as any competitor could ever expect.