Friday, April 10, 2015

Haley Chakalos says that she's supported by a suite of college roommates who have become her sisters over the last four years. And, soon the Connecticut student says her girls will be at Fitness New England to cheer her on in the Figure Division. At 5'4", 155 lbs., Haley competes in crossfit and runs half marathons. Academically, she's attending nursing school and will soon travel to Per, Ghana and Fiji for international internships. But, for now, Haley is prepping for Foxwoods Casino in May.
As the owner of Chickfitj Studio in Ohio, Linda Mitchell say's her mission is, "To help women love themselves when they look in the mirror. Their new found self-love will transfer into giving support and love to one another. And, self improvement equals empowerment."
At 5'5", 125 lbs., and 55 years young Linda is the epitome of such female empowerment. And as a veteran of Fitness Universe™, she brings with her a depth of training and discipline seen only in seasoned in most. Linda is a graduate of The Institute Of Integrative Nutrition. In addition to being a Top 5 Finalist at Ms. Bikini Universe™ and Ms. Bikini America Classic, she says she loves the feeling of riding horses and surfing waves.
Personally, Linda is as active at home as he is athletically. "I'm married to a hot sexy redhead that keeps me on my toes, she says. "I have 3 extremely creative children - Tiffany is a New York fashion photographer, Michael is a gifted musician and Jake is an up and coming cinematographer/film director who was just accepted to USC Film School in Los Angeles."
Once again, Linda is preparing to bring her seasoned competitive talents to the Fitness Universe Weekend in Miami / Ft. Lauderdale in 3 months. She will be on stage with the world's best natural fitness women in the Ms. Bikini, Model, Figure and Figure Divisions.
Preview of the latest photo shoot of Ms.Bikini Universe Pro Karely Herrera. Last year, Karely walked on stage and surprised everyone by winning both Model Latina and Ms. Bikini Latina titles! A few days later the proffesional fashion model traveled from Mexico to Las Vegas with Team Mexico to make her Ms.Bikini Universe Pro debut. She says "I do not compete with anyone, since feeling the need to contend, speaks of a lack of self-esteem. I am no better or worse than anyone else, I'm just me. A human with strengths and weaknesses, a road traveled and a much better to go ..." Karely is preparing for the ’15 Fitness Universe Weekend show this June in Miami/ Fort Lauderdale.
Johanna Sabucchini has won Ms. Bikini New York, Model Universe™ and even Miss New York Universe Pageant™. The 5'7", 130 lbs., 27 year old Brooklyn native is a fashion and runway model and commercial actress. "I compete because its fun and really gets me motivated to stay in shape," Johanna says.
Shruti Kerni impressed everyone with her graceful presentation to be the 1st Runner up at Musclemania® Model India. She says “It’s always been hard for me to put on weight. But with my family and friends supporting me, I’ve had the best year of my life!” She continues ” Dreams are never gender biased… they do not ask if you are a woman or a man, aspirations are not limited to any boundaries….boundaries are created by society. Work hard to fulfill a dream that makes everyone proud…and never degrade your dreams to fit into your reality.”
Lebeanese bakery clerk Anatasia Abou Mitri says she's a "gymholic!" The 5'4", 115 lbs., 23 year old has been hitting the gym for 3 years upon being encourage by a boyfriend. "He was always in the gym, so he used to bring me along and after a while, I guess I loved it more than he did," Anatasia says. "I hope to compete sometime this season which would be the first time on a stage. My family and I are looking forwards to it."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ms. Bikini Paris Leslie Pantigny says she started fitness training after moving to French Polynesia a few years ago. The 5’3″, 118 lbs., 31 year old fragrance ambassador explains, “My passion for fitness and competitions started with some guidance from my coach in Tahiti. I was working and living in paradise and the change of life made a difference in my whole mindset. For me fitness changes your appearance but also the whole thought process. I think clear and live the fitness lifestyle! I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Leslie is training now for Ms. Bikini Universe in Miami / Ft. Lauderdale in June.
Fitness Texas Champion Daisy Mastroianni says she had amazing time at the show. But the 35 year old Houston native explains keeping her kids involved with her in the gym is most rewarding. “My kids have been involved from the beginning and come and watch me train as I do for them when they train in Tae Kwon Do,” Daisy explains. “For me it’s about keeping the family fit and showing them you go after your dreams no matter what.” Daisy was is a trained ballet dancer also performed professionally for the NBA Houston Rockets and MLS Houston Dynamos. This season, Daisy is preparing for her FU Pro debut. “The opportunity to perform on a Fitness Universe stage has been a dream come true. I am very excited and working hard.”
Figure Classic competitor Liva Rivera says she’s getting show ready for Fitness Universe™ Weekend in Miami / Ft. Lauderdale. The 5’7″, 140 lbs., 40 year young marketing representative is a veteran Figure Universe competitor and also competes in Trifitness, Crossfit, marathons and ultramarasthons. As a mother of 3 beautiful children, Liva says the fitness lifestyle transcends to them, too, with healthy eating and an staying active.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Always an all around athlete from team sports to extreme sports, Trisha Platerito is taking her athleticism and beauty to Ms. Bikini Universe in June. The 5’3″, 120 lbs., 36 year old Floridian says she currently practices bodybuilding, yoga and sprint triathlons. But, Trisha says she also coaches kids soccer teams in weekends. “I love sports and even though soccer wasn’t a team sport when I participated in during school, I enjoy showing the kids how to work as a team,” she explains. Happily married to a wonderful, supporting husband, Trisha has 5 year old twins who keep her busy. She says, “When I give support and love to others, it comes back around. Leading a healthy lifestyle and teaching our kids by example is very rewarding especially watching them make healthy choices on their own.” Trisha will be on stage in Miami / Ft. Lauderdale on June 19-20.
’14 Ms. Bikini America Competitor Erika Strimer takes her stand and knows when enough is enough. She says, “Throughout your lifetime some people will discredit you, disrespect you and treat you poorly for no apparent reason at all. You don’t have control over what others think about you, but you do have control over how you decide to internalize their opinions. Leave them to their own judgments. Let people love you for who you are and not for who they want you to be.
– Photo by: JWAtherton
Fitness Universe™ Bethany Nelson quoting, “Don’t ever take a job because it pays well. Too many of us focus on dollar signs instead of focusing on our passion. A good paycheck will be a side effect of a deep love for what you do. Perfect your craft and you will have all the money you need.” She explains, “Even though I don’t have it all, I have enough. Most of all I get to spend my days doing what I am most passionate about – breathing life into people, making new relationships, using my talents and giving back with a positive example.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

2014 Ms. Bikini Universe Master Champion and Figure Pro Ann Hubbard Says “Ladies, NEVER give up the fight as your body goes through hormonal changes as you age. If you are patient and consistent you will WIN.” As she fought 15 years of infertility and 12 documented miscarriages, her body was stretched back and forth like an exercise band. “All I wanted was to have children.” Says Hubbard. She couldn’t understand why, but believed that GOD had to have a reason. After her 3rd miscarriage she knew she needed to do something about the excess weight and to feel better both physically and mentally. This is when she started her journey in Fitness 19 years ago at the age of 29. After numerous treatments finally she gave birth to her MIRACLE baby Hunter Jośe Hubbard. “After each miscarriage she accepted her out of shape body as the starting point and worked from there to RECLAIM her health, wellness and body. “It is amazing how our bodies can transform through training and natural clean foods and specific nutrition to achieve a certain look. Bodybuilding, figure, or bikini I have done all three. There doesn’t have to be fad diets or any drugs just hard consistent and disciplined actions that can be duplicated over and over at every age. Your body will respond but it takes time. “2012 it was my first Pro Figure competition at Fitness America in Las Vegas at the age of 47. No age, no height or weight classes in the Pro Division. 4th Place overall and I was over a decade older than these other beautiful ladies in the winners circle. It proved to me once again that AGE, pregnancy, or hormonal changes does not have to be a reason to let yourself go. Just believe in the process and never give up on yourself and it will work throughout your lifetime.” Says Hubbard
As a mother of two, Melissa Ioja is an active lady. But the 36 year old, Huntington Beach, California resident is even more active in the gym. She’s an athlete, on-line workout and Athlean-XX Training System trainer, has done Krav Maga martial arts for a couple of years and former host on Bodyrock.TV. Now Melissa is moving on to her next challenge by competing at Fitness Los Angeles show in April. “I am so excited to get on stage for the first time,” Melissa says. “Its almost like a culmination of putting all of my experiences and hard work and showing the world. It will be some special for me.”
’14 Ms. Bikini and Model America finalist Samatha Symes is nervous of her goals for this year. She says, “Can I actually do this? I’m going through a roller coaster of hesitation. Going through the time effort if I fail. You know what this means? It means I have learn to take chances and step up.”
’14 Commercial Model America runner-up Katie Stevens wakes up determined and goes to bed with satisfaction. She says, “If you don’t feel a buzz and get excited to reach new goals, you need to change your way of thinking. Life is meant to be lived with passion and becoming the best you! Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”
At a seasoned 43 years of age, Washington state native Yvette Briant has competed in NPC shows for the past 6 years. But the Carlsbad, California resident is training now for her first Fitness Universe show this spring. Usually a Top 5 Finalist, Yvette has plenty of competitive experience and says, “You’re never too old to start pursuing your dreams.” Currently, she is back in school to earn her degree in psychology and just started a home business as an independent skincare consultant. Yvette’s ageless beauty will be on stage at Ms. Bikini Los Angeles in Commerce in April.
Ms. Bikini Universe Pro Jamie Lynn Hughes says imitation is the highest form of flattery. She says, “When I started in fitness competitions, I no doubt looked to my idols in the industry to take my cues. But I’ve noticed that as one is transitioning from “newbie” to “example,” there can be a sort of annoyance bubble up when you see your marketing, ideas, programming, branding, etc being duplicated by others. This is what you want to happen! No matter what, the talent and skill to create is worth far more than any one creation could ever be. But only so long as you keep doing it!”
– Photo by: Jason Halbert Visual Arts LLC
’14 Ms. Bikini Australia Classic Champion Kathryn Magnus made every excuse for 20 years to not finish her goals. She says, “When I was really truthful with myself, it was my lack of will power over alcohol / food, multiple injuries, lack of confidence and lack of money that stopped me. So I wrote down my goal having no idea how on earth I could possibly accomplish it. Some days I wanted to give up, petrified of getting on that stage. But it’s amazing that every day you practice or focus on just being the best you can be. I was honestly so proud of myself just to get on stage and not shake!”
– Photo by: GW Burns
Pennsylvania Aubrey Worek was a Top 5 Finalist at Fitness America Championships in Las Vegas. She graduated from Slippery Rock University and earned her B.S. in Exercise Physiology with minors in both Dance and Gerontology. Aubrey is Captain of the Pittsburgh Passion Dance Team and is Assistant Program Manager of Westinghouse Energy Center’s corporate wellness center while working part-time teaching many forms of dance and fitness classes.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ms. Bikini Universe Pro Chanel Collette defines success as the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors. She says, “Even the definition of success implies the “attempt.” Success is found even if it’s only in an attempt. We learn from attempting, taking risks and maybe making mistakes. Everything in your life worth having will be found outside your comfort zone. So here’s to 2015 — making attempts and trying!”
’14 Physique America Champion Lauren Austin’s 2 year transformation. Her before picture shows what bad nutrition, an eating disorder and just hoping that her body will change resulted in. She says, “After 2 years of training with Dewayne Malone, he has transformed me into a completely new person! I am excited to see what comes of this next competition season with Musclemania!”
Ms. Bikini and Model America competitor Candi Alterego says as long as you wake up in the morning, you are still in the game. She says, “Once we hit that wall, we don’t quit and we don’t give up. Yes, we are tired, hungry and our minds are telling us to quit. However, we will not quit because we haven’t reached our goals!”
Ms. Bikini Universe and Figure Universe Pro Marybeth Paul is thrilled to represent the Masters Division. She won Masters Bikini in Vegas 2012, Miami 2013, and again in Vegas 2014. She also won Masters Figure Vegas 2012 and placed 4th in Figure Pro in Vegas 2014. “No matter how old you are, you can reach your goals with discipline-dedicated workouts, clean eating, and practice, practice, practice.” Marybeth is a personal trainer, HS track coach and model/actor in Massachusetts.
Figure Universe™ Natural Pro Camie Guerrero talks about winning the figure short division at the 2014 Fitness America Weekend. “It was such a surreal moment. I was overwhelmed. Just being on stage is an accomplishment and winning is beyond words. I’m so thankful for this organization, the athletes and my amazing man who always supports me.”
Ms. Bikini Latina Paulina Bonilla is probably one of the most deceiving looking lawyers you’ll ever meet. The 24 year old Mexico City resident and Ms. Bikini Universe Pro says, “Although I did not place at Fitness America in November, I am determined to come back next November to win. It has been tough to keep my day job as a lawyer and get into and stay in stage shape but it is my passion. As I said, I will not rest until be the number one!”
Ms. Bikini Universe Pro Maria Andersen offers advice to those who made a New Year’s Resolution. She says, “If you are serious about yours, do not give up. It takes persistence and constant focus to make changes. You might not be able to change immediately (lose weight, stop smoking, be more active, etc) and you might not see results right away. But keep trying. Remind yourself what your goals are. Your everyday decisions will determine how successful you will be!”
Fitness America competitor Aubrey Worek is never bored with all the recent fitness trends. She says, “I see an endless supply of fitness trends from which to choose! We can never get bored. Have fun trying at the different classes and workouts that are out there. Give each style at least 3 tries before moving on to the next.”

- Photo by: CLiK studios

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Congratulations to Ms. Bikini Universe Pro Jamie Lynn Hughes for her partnership/sponsorship with Fit City Foods. She says, “They’ve got some serious stuff planned for the year ahead. The 2015 Fitness America is in eleven months and by adding Fit City Foods in with my already stellar prep resources, this should be my best shot yet to finally break that 2nd place cap.”
’14 Physique America Champion Lauren Austin is currently training for 2015 Lone Star show in Galveston, Texas on May 16. She is going to work with her trainer and Musclemania Pro Dewayne Malone in Houston to prepare. Lauren says, “Make being healthy your lifestyle not your resolution! Make it a habit, not a chore!”
Ms. Bikini and Figure Universe Pro Ann Hubbard says “Rome wasn’t built in a day and at 48, I am still under construction.” She is working hard to bring her best Bikini body to the Fitness Universe Tour stage this year. Ann was once told by a trainer she was too big and had too much muscle to compete in the Ms. Bikini division. She knew almost anything is possible at any age with the right mindset, nutrition, and training. Ann says, “It’s not about being perfect; it is about motivating and inspiring myself and others to live happier healthier lives!”

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ms. Bikini Universe Pro Sharon Pascual-Diaz says life is similar to a camera. She says, “Focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things do not work out, take another shot! A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big and laugh a lot.”

Saturday, January 31, 2015

People ask Ms. Bikini America competitor Nicole Matthews how she stays in shape, what is her secret diet and what is the best way to train. She says, “I wish I had one answer, a simple one, one that would give everyone the magic formula. Truth be told, it is so many things. I’m driven by my past, inspired by my present and excited about the future. I have experienced what it feels to fail over and over again. I have learned what works and doesn’t work by trial and error. My diet is always changing and though. I have my favorite products. It is the goals I set for myself that makes each one efficient. My greatest piece of advice is to allow your story to guide you, find your tribe and support system and go after your goals and dreams. The answers will come, magic will happen but you have got to start and be all you can be. No one is just one thing.” 
Ms. Bikini Universe Pro Renee Brady has a message for people who set their goals big for the New Year. She says, “You are all 1 week deep into becoming a better, stronger, more achieving individual. Don’t let your goals scare you and hold your head high knowing you are living that dream you feel so passionate about. Moments of weakness are inevitable. We all experience them but don’t be scared to invest the time and effort into your dream. Even if you can’t see the finish line or the purpose at times, you will surprise yourself! Greatness wasn’t achieved by living in a comfort zone. It was painful, hard and miserable at times. Become that psycho freak you need to be. Block out the negativity, put your head down and work! 2015 can be the best or the worst year of your life. The choice is yours!” 
Fitness Universe Pro Tiffani Bachus tells us to jump and reach for the stars to make 2015 an amazing year. She says, “May the New Year give you the opportunity to live life to the fullest, learn from your past experiences and give you the knowledge and strength for future endeavors! Remember to aim high, dream big, go for it and stay true to yourself. Lots of love, happiness and strength in 2015.”

Friday, January 30, 2015

Figure Universe Champion Eun Ju Bae has represented Team Korea for 3 years and this past November she nearly won Figure America Pro Championships in Las Vegas. The mother of 3 is a professional costume designer and uses her talents for all of her show appearances. “I have appeared on many television entertainment shows in Korea and made custom costumes for many of them.” Eun plans on competing at the Universe again this spring and no doubt with a new, homemade costum.
Ms Bikini Lone Star Competitor Abi Christine is a personal trainer, mother, and a TSN athlete. She says, “What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. Fitness is a constant state of progress for me. Sometimes I feel as if I am doing great! I get all my workouts in, I feel strong, I feel on track, etc. Other times I feel like life totally gets in the way! I eat bad food, drink wine, miss a workout, etc.”
Model Canada Champion Sally Leung addresses a common concern about weight lifting for women. She says, “You can’t look like a man by lifting weights unless you want to. I lift 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes every workout and I lift heavy weights! With cardio, your muscles are staying basically the same size and shape. The key is lifting, because you will change the shape and size of your underlying muscles. You will not look similar to a bodybuilder. What you will do is raise your resting metabolic rate, harden your muscles and shape your physique.
Ms. Bikini Universe Pro Jacquii Alexander is the captain for Team Australia which won the Fitness America Team Championships 2 years in a row. When not competing, she is a senior executive with American Express. She says, “I have always loved being active. Growing up I was always doing something physical. I studied ballet for 12 years and represented my high school and college in eight “First” teams; everything from swimming, track, and baseball to water polo and snowboarding. My dad sailed yachts so I spent lots of weekends and holidays body surfing & swimming and even my first job, a paper route, involved exercise!”
’14 Ms. Bikini America Competitor Erika Strimer has never let setbacks excuse her from trying again. This blonde beauty says, “It often takes many attempts to be a success. Move forward with your shoulders back, your head high and a smile. With an enthusiastic spirit, perseverance, and integrity of character it’s time to put your intelligence, talents and passion into action.”
Fitness Universe Pro Staice Venagro has some motivational advice to share. She says, “Don’t think you can reach your goals? Well guess what, you can! Start off with small goals. Once you reach it, set another small goal to help you reach the big goals! If you are consistent and work hard day in and day out, you will reach your goals!”
Fitness and Figure Universe Pro Bethany Nelson has been reflecting on her year and obstacles she was able to overcome. She says, “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle! I hope this can only encourage you to fight on and stay the course. Even if the light of hope is barely shining, it is there and will get brighter!”
- Photo by: LHGFX Fitness Model Photography
Figure America Competitor Jana Kovacovic worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years. At one point, she gained 20 pounds because she was too busy with work. Jana says, “Some of my coworkers began to ask me if I was pregnant. That shocked me, but it was a turnaround point. I started organizing myself, I made time to go to the gym 5-6 times per week, prepared my meals for the whole day and brought food with me when I traveled. When everything was already planned, there was no excuse for me to eat poorly or skip the gym. After the first few months, I’d already lost some weight.”

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fitness Universe Pro Ada Abanobi is a nurse of over 10 years on an orthopedic/trauma unit. She became a personal trainer because she wanted to help people healthy lives. Ada’s love for the center stage stemmed from her former role as a NFL cheerleader. She didn’t stop with just the Fitness division. Ada went on to compete in the Figure and Physique divisions and won 1st place in the ’14 Physique Universe show. She says, “I am my only competition. I work to beat myself so that I am always better and stronger than my last show.”
Figure Universe Pro Cindy Canas is a posing coach, mother of four, and is aiming to also compete in the Musclemania Physique division. She stays motivated by seeing the constant changes and improvements she has made and how healthier she feels. Cindy says, “I used to be that person that was on anxiety and depression meds. Thanks to exercise, I have been completely off them for almost 4 years. I have four children, which is no easy task in itself, so the gym is my playground and my “mommy time”. It’s also motivating to know my children are watching my every move.”
- Photo by: Alfonso Aguirre Rocking Photography 
Fitness Universe Pro Stephanie Brewster is getting ready for a whole new year. She says, “2015 is just around the corner! Stop hoping and wishing that things happen for you. Get up and be proactive. You have every opportunity to make next year everything you want it to be.
Fitness America competitor Jessica Halbert shares some advice on what to do after a show is over. She says, “Set bigger and better goals! I have some really exciting things ahead and I’m set to compete again late next spring. The work starts now; it’s building season! A little secret of the competition world is that you are either building or dieting down. There’s no doing both at the same time. I’ll be putting those extra calories that crept in over the holidays to work! I can’t wait to see what results I can bring. How about you? Are you waiting to set goals for the New Year or are you getting busy with the barbells now!? – Photo by: Noel Daganta
Ms. Bikini and Model America competitor Candi Alterego believes we are who we choose to be. She says, “Nobody is going to come and save you. You’ve got to save yourself. Nobody is going to give you everything you want; you have to go out and fight for it. Nobody knows what you want except you and nobody will feel sorry for you if you don’t get it. So don’t give up on your dreams! – www.fitnessuniverse. – Photo by: Digital Icon Photography – Make-up by: Veronica Fensel Makeup Artistry
’14 Musclemania® America Physique Women Champion and personal trainer Laruen Austin says she has a passion for fitness and helping others. “I grew up being athletic but never in great shape. I suffered from an eating disorder for 10 years. Despite where I started and when I began my fitness journey, I always had a certain determination to follow through with something I start. I always wanted to compete in a fitness competition and so last year I started training with Dewayne Malone for my first figure show. I wanted to build a strong physique. So as time progressed, I planned to compete in Las Vegas in both Figure and Women’s Physique. Winning 1st Place in Women’s Physique was an amazing moment and I hope that other women will follow and help grow the new division.”
Isabelle Atkinson dreamed about competing at her first Fitness America Weekend show since the day she started training in September. She had already claimed 2nd place at the ’14 Fitness New England show. Isabelle says, “It was such an honor to place 2nd in the Ms. Bikini Open Medium amongst beautiful women from all over the world. I truly love competing in FAP. It gives me the opportunity to meet men and women from all different walks of life where we all have one thing in common – our passion for fitness. I’m excited to start working on my fitness career this upcoming year and my second season as a Ms. Bikini competitor!” – Photo by: Gordon Smith