Monday, November 22, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Bikinis and biceps: the world of female bodybuilders http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/dietandfitness/8120067/Bikinis-and-biceps-the-world-of-female
Female bodybuilding used to be big – like female bodybuilders themselves – but it was a craze that wasn't built to last. Now its devotees are an endangered species. Cyrus Shahrad reports
We've been speaking barely 10 minutes when Sarah Bridges shifts her enormous upper body in the doll's-house dimensions of her chair and takes in a young man, kit bag in hand, framed in the doorway of the Dartford pub she runs with her husband, Bill.
'That's my three o'clock,' she says, waving at the newcomer, who it transpires has travelled from Dover for a physical appraisal from Sarah, one of the world's most experienced female bodybuilders. Ten minutes later in the pub kitchen the 26-year-old is ordered to strip and stand posing in his pants while Sarah points out his strengths and weaknesses. At the bar a trio of locals sip Kentish ales and pass around a bag of pork scratchings as though nothing out of the ordinary is happening.
But Sarah's dedication to bodybuilding is out of the ordinary. Fewer and fewer women in Britain are taking part in the sport; of those who do the majority are opting to adhere to more conventionally feminine classes like 'figure' and 'body fitness', seeing the bulkier frames of women like Sarah as a throwback to the heyday of bodybuilding in the 1980s, when bigger was better and Arnie was king.
'She was 8st when we met,' says Bill, limping his way across the pub on slipped discs and shot hips, dubious trophies of decades spent at the top of the British wrestling scene. 'She didn't like being tall and gangly, so I encouraged her to hit the weights. I wasn't expecting her to stick with it, but after three months she was showing a dramatic change in muscle tone, and sounding more enthusiastic than ever. Soon after that she started coming to the gym with me and my wrestling buddies.'
Bill rummages behind the bar for a photograph of the couple in the mid-1980s – Bill buffed and quiffed, Sarah impossibly pale and fragile. It's hard to reconcile this image with the person who eventually returns from the kitchen and lowers herself carefully into her chair: at 14½st, Sarah is now almost a third heavier than the 10st rottweiler she walks between work-outs; she also protests that she's painfully out of shape, and allows herself to be photographed only reluctantly.
For all that, she remains profoundly attached to her femininity: in summer she takes great pride in parading down Dartford High Street in the shortest skirt she can find, immune to the taunts of those brave enough to articulate their amazement.
'I've grown thick-skinned,' she says, playfully rearranging her blonde hair. 'I admit it was hard at first, and I found myself crying a lot of the time. People are still pretty backward when it comes to female bodybuilding in Britain. In America they come up and shake your hand, hug you and ask for advice. Here they bark snide comments from the other side of the street.'
America is somewhere Sarah has visited regularly since turning pro in 2003, a step that has left her unable to take part in the British amateur-only competition circuit. Instead she attends shows as a judge, a role that has given her a unique insight into a national community of female bodybuilders, which she says is extremely close-knit.
'I often go backstage before shows and stand around having a natter with the girls,' she says. 'We chat about training and share a piece of chocolate – you eat chocolate just before going on stage to help bring up the veins. It used to be that there was a lot of bitchiness, but that seems to have disappeared completely.'
Such closeness may well stem from the female bodybuilding community's ever decreasing size, and that's as true of the number of contenders as their specific physical forms. Steroid use remains widespread in all but the drug-tested British Natural Bodybuilding Federation, but increasing concerns over its long-term effects have caused many women to shy away from pursuing more full-on figures.
As a result, while the UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation championships last month featured almost 200 male competitors across a range of disciplines, there were just eight women standing in the catch-all female bodybuilding category, long ago conflated from light, middle and heavyweight divisions due to a lack of competitors.
More controversially, the federation recently introduced a new American-style 'bikini' class division in what many see as a blatant attempt to appeal to the largely male audiences at bodybuilding tournaments. It's something that Lisa Cross, the newly crowned British champion, sees as a dangerous shift in principles.
'I've read forum posts by girls getting ready for bikini-class contests, and all they talk about is teeth veneers, false nails and hair extensions. That's a beauty pageant, not a bodybuilding competition. It's another example of the authorities undermining the hard work done by women who treat bodybuilding as a way of life. Everyone knows that we're a dying breed, and this is just another nail in the coffin.'
A former police officer, Lisa left work to pursue full-time the hobby that had brought her so much mockery in the force. Now 32, she struggles to empathise with the conversations about marriage and babies that define the lives of former colleagues, many of whom look at her as though she's crazy.
'What I do with my life definitely alienates me from other women my age,' she says. 'But I talk to other female bodybuilders and we get each other straight away. Some of the things we have to do are insane: in the week leading up to a competition we drop carbs altogether to make the body as lean as possible, which leaves us feeling flat and lethargic; the day before a competition we completely cut out drinking water, so that the skin looks smoother against the muscle.
'And to then have to stumble on stage and pull poses when you can barely stand up: it's impossible to go through that and not immediately feel a connection with other women who have done the same.'
However, Lisa admits that it's physical elitism that has proved to be bodybuilding's ultimate undoing. It's a sport that attracts very few women; of those it does, only some have the time, dedication or genetic make-up necessary to get past the early hurdles. On top of that the lack of a British pro circuit means that there's no prize money involved in what is an expensive sport to pursue. Sponsorship is the traditional method of making ends meet.
Less traditional, but potentially more lucrative, is modelling naked for websites catering to 'muscle worshippers' – fetishists (stereotypically weedy older men) who are sexually obsessed with the muscular female form. It's something Lisa has done in the past, and which has brought her into occasional conflict with her peers.
'Some people argue that it's bringing bodybuilding into disrepute,' she says. 'As far as I'm concerned, it's putting bodybuilding on a pedestal, making it available to people who would never consider attending an actual show. It's a massive industry in America, and it's one that allows me to spend 99 per cent of my time totally focused on my career. The federation would probably have less of a problem with it if they were making money from it themselves.'
For 26-year-old Hollie Walcott – the sister of footballer Theo and poster girl for the more feminine 'figure' discipline – the idea of muscle worship is something she struggles to take seriously.
'I find the whole thing pretty baffling,' she says, sipping green tea in the café at her local fitness centre. 'I've always been aware that there are people who get off on the whole bodybuilder thing, but for me it's so asexual. Even at competitions, when you've got all those men and women oiled up and standing around in the skimpiest of costumes, its more anatomical than anything else. It's a performance art, at the end of the day.'
Hollie's success is all the more impressive for her being entirely self-taught. She fell into bodybuilding two years ago after settling on the gym as the best place to find space after the birth of her second child; she has no personal trainer, and no dietary regime save one that she's concocted herself. She has learnt through trial and error that alcohol is off-limits, that treats like ice cream and pizza are acceptable out of competition season only, and that it's important to eat something small and nutritious every two hours.
Despite this she's quickly become the best-known face in 'figure', which – like the affiliated 'body fitness' discipline – serves as a respectable stop-gap between conventional bodybuilding and the bikini contests bemoaned by traditionalists. She's been on the receiving end of column inches and competition glory both at home and abroad, though she admits that there are still people in the female bodybuilding community who look down on what she does.
'There are people who see figure as an easy alternative, but we diet just as hard, and we put in the same hours down the gym. The only difference is that we aren't looking to build the same amount of muscle, or aiming for such a lean figure.
It's important to me that my look is completely natural, and I would never consider taking steroids. For me it's about being healthy, and that's a lifestyle choice. But nothing comes close to the feeling of competing. It's impossible to put into words.'
The thrill of competition is something that 37-year-old 'body fitness' contender Jo Griffiths understands only too well. Seated in her kitchen in the Welsh valley town of Aberdare, Jo describes how she won her first Welsh national after entering as a bet following only eight months of training. By the time she won her second – four years, a marriage and a separation later – she had qualified as a physical therapist and opened a sports-massage parlour a few doors down the road.
'It's easy to assume there's always a reason why a girl gets into bodybuilding – that she's running away from an eatingdisorder or a bad marriage. That might bring a person to the gym, but it won't keep them there. It's a torturous sport, and you either enjoy it or you don't. For those who do it becomes an addiction, pure and simple. It's a daily routine of cardio first thing in the morning, weights in the afternoon, then more cardio last thing at night.
'You're revolving low-carb and no-carb diets either to fill the body out or bring it in, depending on what adjustments are needed, and you're always exhausted. You take yourself right to the edge in the run-up to a competition, and afterwards you swear you'll never do it again. Then you get your strength back, and before you know it you're back in the gym.'
True to her word, Jo followed her recent appearance at the British championships by announcing to her 1,500-odd Facebook friends that she was hanging up her costume to spend more time with her daughter, who she admits was affected by her mother's exhaustion at the peak of her dieting.
She's also acutely aware of how much money she's pouring into her pastime; she estimates that £4,000 this year alone has gone on costumes and heels, fake tans and travel expenses. Some of that she's hoping to make back through legitimate modelling and television work, though she's constantly turning down less salubrious requests.
'Obviously there are muscle worshippers out there, and you do get asked to take part in some pretty creepy things. And it's not hard to see why some girls end up getting involved: a year's worth of training and dietary supplements costs a fortune, and most girls wouldn't think twice about spending £1,000 on a costume. So there was a point after the British championships when I seriously considered calling it a day, although now I'm not so sure. It's so hard to let go.'
For all the hurdles facing British female bodybuilders, Jo believes that the biggest problem is a wider public misconception of what it actually entails.
'I worry that people are never going to take what we're doing seriously,' she says. 'Some people think women's bodybuilding is a watered-down version of the men's, when if anything we train and diet harder, because we don't have testosterone to help us along the way.
'Other people think that we're doing it to appeal to the opposite sex, that we're actively encouraging all the wolf-whistling and seedy forum advances. And that's not true either. It's a sport, and it's one I take very seriously. I just wish it wasn't so difficult for me to do so.'
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I sit in a chair in a dark living room, and an electric pulse races through my body. It's you, it has to be. I can feel your presence as you approach the front door. I hear a key jiggle in the lock and I stand up, naked and erect at the thought of you coming home. The door opens spilling a small amount of light into the room, and revealing my naked body to you.
"Goddess." I say
Your frame fills the doorway. I can barely make you out as my eyes are still adjusting to the light. I know it is you though. The mass, and sheer power that you move with is unmistakeable. You step inside and shut the door. But do not move away from it. You raise the lights slowly, allowing my eyes to adjust and revealing yourself. There you stand in black knee high boots, a short jean skit and a white button up top tied together at your exquisite breasts. The boots make your calves pop with vascularity and shape while the cut of your thighs leads up to the skirt. Your abs are revealed by your shirt, and you top seems moments away from falling open to reveal your exquisite breasts. Your arms are more pumped than I have ever seen them and there seem to be a light sheen of sweat on your body.
"Kneel." You command, and I quickly drop to my knees, and bow my head.
"No. Look at me."
I raise my eyes to meet yours. A subtle smile crosses your face and you cross the distance to me in three slow, lingering, sexy steps. You stop in front of me, and let me drink in everything about you. The cut and curve of every revealed inch of flesh. You slowly raise your right leg and hold it close to me in the air. Without having to tell me anything, I know exactly what to do. I slowly and gently reach out and begin to unzip the boot. Slowly freeing the great and powerful leg in front of me. As I slowly peel away the boot, my hands grasp your calf and I begin to squeeze the rock hard muscle that bulges from your leg and my cock grows harder. You look down at me with a pleased look on your face. I fully remove the boot and gently place it on the ground next to me, with the full respect that anything that adorns your body deserves. I turn my attention back to your leg and gently tug your leg toward me. You give a slight bit of
resistance and smile wide and slowly allow your leg to come to my mouth. My lips kiss the calf that is bulging from your leg and moves down to your feet. I kiss it and you lower it back to the ground. Smoothly transitioning your weight back to the now free and powerful foot.
You raise your other leg and with but a nod of the head you signal that I may begin the process of removing your other boot. I slowly strip the other boot off and pay my respects to your other calf. Savoring the pleasure I see in your face that I see as I perform my duties. You use your foot to push me back from you, and then you lower your leg back to the ground. You spread your stance, and I know exactly what to do.
I reach out and begin to caress and massage your massive and powerful legs. You dip you head back and close your eyes as you allow the sensation of my worshipful caresses and massages cover your legs. As my arms come to the edge of your skirt, I stop and look up at you and you look down at me.
"Goddess, may I?"
I slowly begin to remove your skirt from your body. Revealing your body further.
"May I stand now?"
I stand and reach my hands out to your shit. There is a sharp SLAPPING sound and my hand stings.
"Did I say you could do that?"
"No you did not." I hang my head in shame.
"That's okay, you may continue."
I let my hands move to the steel abs that reside under your skin and caress the muscle that you have there.
"Now?" I ask
"Now." You say.
I reach out and untie the top that covers your the rest of your true beauty and slowly untie it. I move behind you and slowly remove it from your body leaving you revealed in your true glory. My cock becomes like skin covered steel at the sight of you. You look over you shoulder at me, and look down at my raging cock. You give me a half smile and stride away from me toward the bathroom.
"Is everything ready?" You ask
"But of course."
In the bathroom you find a steaming hot bath drawn for you. You slowly get in and feel the hot water soak your body. As you stretch out, I stand at the door way.
"May I enter?"
I take a scrub pad and soak it in the hot water, and spread a small amount of fragrent soap on the in creating a rich lather.
"Would you like me to wash you now."
"In a minute you say."
Some time passes and you look me in the eyes and nod slightly. You close your eyes and lean forward. I caress your body with the sponge. The light and sweet smell of lavender drifts through the air. The suds making your body gleam and shine. i work my way down your back until I reach the water line and then move around to the front of your body. The sponge slides across your slick breasts and down your abs. You open your eyes and smile at me.
"Are you please, Goddess?"
You stand and I continue to work the sponge around your body. My hands caress your powerful ass, and then move down your legs. I drain the water and start the shower. I remove the nozzel and wash the soap away from your body.
"Bring me a towel now."
I obediently get a towel for you.
You let the towel drop to the floor, after you've dried and step out of the tub. You place your tremendously strong hand against my chest and give a light shove which sends me off balance and gets me to move back. You step up to me again but this time you put just one finger into my chest.
You give me a half smile as you look into my eyes and slowly draw your finger accross my body.
"Stand at attention."
Instantly I react and become rigid. You start to walk around me dragging your finger along my skin as you walk around my body. As you circle you move your finger lower and lower until it comes to my waist line. Stopping behind me, you take your finger off my body and drape your heavy arms over my shoulders.
Looking down at my cock you see that some cum has leaked out.
"Does it excite you to be this close to me?"
"Oh yes, Goddess."
One of your strong arms snakes around my waist and you rest your hand on my thigh right next to my raging cock.
"Does it excite you when I touch you?"
"It 's what I live for."
You smile as your hand slides down to cup my balls. The excitement and lust that you stir in me is so strong that I struggle to keep from blowing cum everywhere.
As you massage my swollen sack, you nibble on my ear. My breath catches in my throat and cock screams in pleasure when your grip tightens immediately bringing me back to reality. "Not before me." You whisper in my ear and release your iron grip on my balls.
You slink back in front of me and sit on the edge of the tub. You spread your legs wide, revealing your immensely swollen clit. My eyes lock on you and I settle down onto my knees in front of you. You run your hands up and down your legs, watching my eyes drink in your body and lock in on your crotch. You slowly, seductively lick your index and middle finger on your right hand and massage the swollen and aching pussy between your legs.
A smile creeps up your face as you. "You may begin."'
I grab my swollen member and pump myself in rythym with you.
Your breathing intensifies and you begin to gyrate your hips.
A moan escapes your throat. My breathing intensifies and I begin to handle my cock with more pressure and speed.
Your heavy breath excites me even more.
"Ahhh, AHHHH, I'm going to cum!!!" you cry out
I nearly lose it when you spring up and mash my face into your pussy. Immediately my tounge seeks out it's place and begins to work. The juices that slip from your pussy are covering my face.
You cry out as I lick, slurp and eat away all the while I beat away and cock. Your legs begin to quake.
My mouth and face are treated to a geyser of fluids. I start to moan into your pussy when I can't take it any more and I finally shoot my load out of my cock. Cum blasting the floor and the side of the tub. I nearly topple over. You step back and smile down at me, gently touching and caressing my face.
"Thank you, Goddess."
You nod and move away toward your bedroom.
"I trust that I don't have to tell you to clean this up." You say as you leave me crumpled in pleasure on the floor.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
NABBA Univers 2010 : Le titre pour Valentyna Yefymchuk NABBA Universe 2010: The title for Valentyna Yefymchuk
Here it is done. Annoncée comme favorite de la compétition, l'Ukrainienne Valentyna Yefymchuk décroche le titre ultime de la NABBA, celui de Miss Univers. Heralded as a favorite in the competition, the Ukrainian Valentyna Yefymchuk wins the ultimate title of NABBA, Miss Universe.
Mais une fois de plus, la sculpturale Ukrainienne se voit couronnée face à... But once again, to see the sculptural Ukrainian crowned face ... une seule concurrente, l'Espagnole Sonia Cabre, athlète de très bon niveau certes, mais qui à elle seule aura du mal à porter sur ses larges épaules toute la concurrence que peut espérer une Miss Univers. One rival, Spain's Sonia Cabre, very good athlete certainly, but that alone will hardly be on his broad shoulders all the competition that can expect a Miss Universe.
Et pourtant Valentyna Yefymchuk a parfaitement préparé son affaire, apparaissant dans une excellente condition, avec une musculature pleine et ronde et un niveau de définition poussé sans tomber dans l'excès, une condition meilleure que celle affichée lors des deux dernières éditions où Valentyna avait terminé à chaque fois sur la dernière marche du podium. Yet Valentyna Yefymchuk has prepared his case well, appearing in an excellent condition, the muscles full and round and pushed the level of definition without going overboard, a condition better than that posted in the last two editions of which had ended Valentyna each time on the final podium. Et si sur le papier, on pourra longtemps dire que Valentyna a gagné par manque de concurrence, il est tout aussi clair qu'il aurait fallu du top niveau mondial pour la priver de ce titre. And if on paper we can say that long Valentyna won by lack of competition, it is equally clear that he took the top worldwide for depriving him of this title. Au vu des photos, il n'est pas difficile de conjecturer que même une Larissa Cunha au meilleur de sa forme n'aurait pas pu passer devant. In view of the pictures, it is not difficult to conjecture that even Larissa Cunha at his best could not pass. Oui mais voilà, on conjecture et le doute reste là. Yes but that is conjecture and doubt still there.
Nous dirons simplement que les absentes ont tort et que Valentyna fait une magnifique Miss Univers NABBA 2010, titre qui lui échoit avec un mérite certain. We say simply that the missing were wrong and made a magnificent Valentyna NABBA Miss Universe 2010, under which falls a certain merit.
Dans les catégories Figure, bien plus contestées, c'est l'italienne Flora Conte qui s'impose. In Figure classes, although more contentious is the Italian Flora Conte thing. Placée à plusieurs reprises ces dernières éditions à la fois aux championnats du Monde et à Univers, la belle Transalpine aussi dévore désormais son pain blanc. Placed several times in recent editions of both the World Championships and the Universe, the beautiful Transalpine also now eats her white bread.