Saturday, March 23, 2013

'09 Ms. Bikini America Mari Kasvi recently announced she was pregnant. The Finish sports, fashion and commercial model says she was surprised but overwhelmed with happiness. "This is the time for me, so I have so many emotions happening. Mostly, I am in such joy." But, in the same breathe Mari says, "But I will be back on stage next year. I just love competing, too much. It keeps me motivated and in shape and I feel so good." Last season, Mari was a Top 5 Finalist at both the Ms. Bikini Europe and America shows.
Figure America Top 3 Finalist Erin Melito knows how to relax on weekends. The Maine personal trainer cruises the back roads and says she can't wait for the snow to clear. "We may go this weekend," she says.  Erin has been competing for a few years and runs her own person training center with a heavy emphasis on health & wellness as well as physical training.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

As veteran of the Fitness Universe stage, exotic beauty Sally Leung has amassed an incredible competition resume. Along with numerous Top 5 finishes, she was the '11 Ms. Bikini Universe Tall Class Champion, '12 Model Universe Runner-Up, '10 and '11 Ms. Bikini Canada Champion and '11 Model Canada Champion. But, competing has now lead Sally to leave her position as a marketing executive for a Fortune 500 company to pursue a career as a full-time fitness model and spokesperson. She speaks fluent English, Cantonese and Mandarin, has appeared in numerous magazines and on fashion runways in North America and Asia. Sally says, "I have big plans for the coming year including launching a spectacular new clothing line! And, of course, I will be back on the Fitness Universe stage this season."
As a Top 5 Finalist at last year's Ms. Bikini America, Amber Blom says she had an amazing experience in Las Vegas. So, the 5'3", 115 lbs. insurance service assistant is coming back for more. Amber says, "I love competing and am hooked." The South Dakota native is currently training for Ms. Bikini Universe in Miami Beach. Amber says, "I love the outdoors, baking, watching football with my husband and traveling."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

As a '12 Ms. Bikini America Top 10 Finalist, Stephanie Briere says, "I loved the experience!" The 23 year old Canadian is a beautician and restaurant waitress and trains with Musclemania Pro Dickens Lambert. "I am training harder then ever to come back stronger this year!," Stephanie asserts. "I can't wait to be a part of such a great show again! I believe that working out and competing made me a stronger person, physically and mentally. And, I want to prove to people how having a healthy lifestyle can make a positive impact in their lives." Stephanie will at Fitness Canada in Montreal in October.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Former Model Universe Champion Natalia Kern (Muntean) is preparing for a photo shoot with Oxygen magazine. She say's "I am super excited about it and training my booty in a high gear. My workouts are different every time I step into my sweat room, I love to keep my muscles guessing. Here is my recent ABS Shredder Routine, I loved it so much, I had to share it with you." 
Abs Shredder Routine: 
10 reps x 10 sets 
1. Hanging Leg Raises or Captain Chair Raises 
2. Jump Rope – 1 min 
3. Straight Leg Crunch with Dumbbell 
4. Jump Rope – 1 min 
5. Stability Ball Oblique Crunch (on each side) 
6. Jump Rope – 1 min 
7. Cable Pulleys 
8. Jump Rope – 1 min 
9. Stability Ball Pike Plank 
10. Jump Rope – 1 min
Costa Rica's David Duma captured the '11 Fitness America Championships with a routine that had incredible energy, high flying gymnastic and over-the-top dance moves. He literally had the crowd on their feet cheering and won the first Men's Division title. At 5'8", 176 lbs., the professional dancer and choreographer was a track athlete in college running 110 and 400m races. David says he will be returning to the Fitness America stage in Las Vegas in November. "I love dancing and competing and will have a completely new routine. It is show time!"
As one of the surprises at last year's Ms. Bikini Universe, Minnesota diva Tarah Aandrews brought a fresh and exciting presence to the stage. And as a Top 10 Finalist, she has turned her placing into a commercial ride. Tarah explains, "I've had many opportunities to learn and grow within the fitness industry. Last fall, I signed with Optimum Nutrition/ABB Performance as a sponsored athlete and have had the honor of traveling with the team to learn the ropes! I've met so many amazing people, so far and it's really made me dedicate myself even more to the goals I have set for myself this year." "I decided not to compete until this season and will make my Figure Universe debut! I've been working very hard over the months to bring a stronger physique to the stage and with nutrition help from Michael Donathan and Jessica Rinaldi and stage prep by Perfectly Prepared, I'm feeling at my very best. My heart has always been set on competing in the figure division, so I'm hitting the stage at Fitness New Mexico in hopes of taking the overall in order to compete as a Figure UNiverse Natural Pro in Miami Beach! My other goals this year consist of doing some traveling competition seminars to help other athletes, and heading to Toronto to shoot with Oxygen magazine's Paul Buceta!"

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Figure Universe Pro Jessica Rinaldi Donathan has just returned from shooting with Oxygen magazine. She says, "I am so grateful to have been able to be named an "Oxygen Ambassador". Jessica is an innovative training and includes outside fitness into her routine. She explains, "I and now am gearing up for a half marathon in April. I am always changing my routine and keep challenging myself to new heights. I plan to bring my best yet this year and feel so blessed to be a part of such an amazing organization. I am itching to get back on stage." Trained by her husband Michael Donathan, Jessica is training for Figure Universe in Miami Beach in June.
Like a lot of ladies who compete, Figure Universe Pros, Danielle Duran started training after being nudged into it. For her, it fitness was something new and coming from an unathletic background, it has become a life changing experience.

"I got into fitness shortly after my son was born," Daniel explains. "At 31 years old, at that time I realized that I was living my life for more than just myself and I started thinking about how important it was to take a different direction as far as health and fitness was concerned. Six weeks after my son was born, I started working out on a regular basis which mostly consisted of high intensity, cardio training. It was amazing to see how quickly my body responded to the consistent workouts. I got pretty lean quickly. As I got leaner, I became interested in learning how to build some muscle. Genetically I have always had big legs and as I got leaner I started to notice the lack of muscularity in my upper body and wanted to learn how to balance my physique. That’s when I started to pick up the weights."

"I became completely in love with weight-training and have continued to learn and improve for the past 3 years. I have competed in 4 shows. My first was the '10 Ms. Bikini America which was a huge eye-opener for me as I stood next to so many amazing competitors. It helped me realize what I needed to do in order to compete at the level that the organization brings. After that, I turned my training up several notches and worked my way towards the '11 Fitness New Mexico. My hard work paid off and I placed 1st in Figure New Mexico – Tall Division! I continued to work really hard throughout the summer and fall which lead me toward a Top 5 placing at '11 Figure America in November. As I stood next to all the strong, beautiful, fit ladies on that stage, I knew I needed to train harder and stronger. It was my goal to be a class champ at my next competition. I worked extremely hard and with much more focus as I prepared for '12 Figure Universe. I came into the show knowing that I did my best and was beyond excited and honored when I was announced as Figure Universe Champion - Medium Class and one of the first Figure Universe Pros!"

"Aside from the competition awards, I am grateful for all that I have accomplished through health and fitness. As a mom with a full-time career, I have had the opportunity to inspire others that have the same busy life that I do. They see how I am able to balance my time and can see that it is possible to be fit and healthy no matter what. My fiancĂ© and I also grateful that we can teach our children about nutrition and inspire them to be active and healthy. Our kids are the most important people in our lives and what we are able to help them understand and learn at such a young age is priceless – which is knowledge!"

"Now, I am continuing to train hard with my fiancé, Travis Rogers (Model Universe Competitor) and I am starting to teach myself more about fitness and nutrition along with learning my own body and how it responds to certain foods and training techniques. Travis and I are getting married in April so I will be making my Pro debut at the Figure America in Las Vegas. Until then, I will continue to work as hard as I can and learn as much as possible so I can bring an improved physique to the stage in November."
As a professional dancer and veteran Fitness Universe competitor, Desiree Nathanson is a seasoned performer on stage. But even more keen is her strength training in preparation for competiton. Desiree says, "Even though the Universe is 4 months away, it's never too early to start building strength and endurance for my routine! Since my strength is as a dancer and the only "tumbling" that I can remotely attempt is a cartwheel (maybe a somersault too), I am working on beefing up my strength moves repertoire for this year's FU. I already incorporate a lot of upper body strengthening exercises into my training program so I thought a more advanced yoga class would help me with conquering the strength moves I have not been able to master in the past. I am already feeling an increase in upper body strength, now I just have to overcome my fear of standing on my hands!" Desiree will be vying for one of the three Fitness Universe competitors for Pro status. And, with her strength training and athletic performance skills, she will be a favorite.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

As the Fitness America Pageant Champion, Leslie Biachi Morrow set the bar for future winners. In 1989, she was a 19 year old aerobic instructor. Today, Leslie is married with two children and runs a chain of smoothie stores with her husband. She will be in Las Vegas next season when Fitness America celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
As a professional dancer for 10 years, Mike Peele has appeared in such films as Stomp The Yard, Step Up 3D, Jack ASS 2 and more. He's also performed on MTV, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, BET Hip-Hop Awards, Travel Channel and has danced along side pop icons Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Livvi Frac, Rihanna, Beyonce & Destiny’s Child and many more. But over the past few years, Mike has added serious, heavy duty bodybuilding training and has completely changed his physique. At 5'10", he's approaching 220 lbs. in good condition and say's he's ready for show time. "I've always wanted to do this and I think I am ready this time," Mike explains. Mix his incredible dance talents with a new, crazy body and he will be rock the stage in the Fitness Universe Championships in Miami Beach.