Thursday, December 18, 2008

KELOLAND.COM - Breaking The Bodybuilding Norm

KELOLAND.COM - Breaking The Bodybuilding Norm



For many, weightlifting is simply an act of physical fitness. But for bodybuilders its an absolute passion. And while it's always been a male-dominated sport, it's become increasingly popular with the opposite sex. And a mom from Brookings is starting to flex her muscles.

Meet Jackie Geppert, 32-year-old nurse, mother of two, and champion bodybuilder...enjoying a family dinner at home with her kids.

"They'll ask me, how did your lift go today?" said Geppert. "Because they can probably tell if I'm crabby or happy how it went."

The gym is Geppert's second home.

"Every time I come here, it's a challenge," said Geppert. "It's mentally challenging, physically challenging, emotionally challenging, and I guess I like the challenge. I like the drive to see if I can get another rep, heavier weight, whatever it is."

"This is a goal and a dream of mine to be able to compete, and so I said, I'm going to go do this for me."

She started doing it at night after putting her kids to bed. Now, she has a babysitter for her daily two-and-a-half hour workout.

"I lift five days a week and I do cardio twice a week," said Geppert.

And she's also very strict about what she eats. Her kids help with that too.

"He will remind me, 'mommy, you don't get any SDSU Ice Cream because you have to stay focused for your competition, you have to eat clean.' Jackson was just telling me today at dinner that 'you've got to stay focused mommy, you've got to bring me another trophy. I like them trophies,'" Geppert said.

The trophy is from the NorthStar Bodybuilding Competition, which Geppert won in November...in her first competition.

"I didn't go down there with the expectation of that I was going to come home with a trophy," Geppert said. "I went down there with the expectation that I'm going to do the best I can, I'm going to be confident in myself, and what happens happens."

What happens, Geppert says, is a boost in self-confidence and self-esteem, something she encourages everybody to find.

"Whether it's bodybuilding or something else that you want in life, don't be scared to go get it. Just go get it. Nobody can do it for you. Just go get it," Geppert said.

And there's at least two little people who have heeded her message.

"They'll flex their little muscles," Geppert said.

Geppert's win in Minnesota qualified her for February's national bodybuilding competition in Las Vegas, though she doesn't plan to go. Geppert says she doesn't feel ready for that level of competition just yet. But it's definitely a goal for the future.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Strong contender for global success

East Lothian Courier | Sport | Strong contender for global success

TRANENT strong-woman Mary Anderson put in a Herculean performance at the World Powerlifiting Championships in the USA, winning all six categories and breaking six world records.

And now the athletic 41-year-old intends to test herself against the most powerful females on the planet by entering World’s Strongest Woman 2009.

Anderson, a former national pentathlon champion in the 1980’s, has now secured a clean sweep of titles having been crowned Scottish, British, European and world women's under 80kg powerlifting champion.

But the Muirside Drive resident will probably miss out on a nomination for BBC's Sport’s Personality of the Year award because the sport – in which she has enjoyed unparalleled success – is not sufficiently popular in the UK.

“Powerlifting is not an Olympic or Commonwealth sport like weightlifting which is why it’s going downhill a bit, which is a shame,” said Anderson.

“But the field is still strong and so I'm chuffed with myself for winning.”

Powerlifting consists of three specific disciplines: the ‘squat’, where the athlete holds the weight bar on their shoulders before crouching and standing; a ‘bench press’, where the powerlifter extends their arms and weight from their chest whilst resting on their back; and a ‘dead lift’ where the weighted bar is lifted off the ground to the thigh.

Competitors can enter both the ‘equipped’ – aided by body supports or ‘wraps’ – and the ‘unequipped’ sections of the sport.

In the unequipped category Anderson broke the squat record by 5kgs lifting 160kgs and won the dead lift with 192.5kgs. In the unequipped she achieved a squat of 200kgs; a bench press of 110kgs; and a dead lift of 212.5kgs – the equivalent of three times her body weight.

A six day-a-week training regime on the run-up to the competition in Ewansville, Indiana, meant Anderson was in peak physical condition and so the county athlete declared she would have been dissatisfied with anything less than a win.

“This year’s worlds is the best I have ever performed in the sport but if I'm honest I’m never happy and always thinking about how can I improve,” she said.

And she hopes her scintillating form continues as she bids for the title of World Strongest Woman next year.

“This is something I have always wanted to do before I retire,” she said.

“I knew someone who competed in it last year and did quite well so I thought I could do that.

“I don’t do anything half-hearted so I will give a real go. And I kinda fancy my chances because I would not even consider entering otherwise!”

Success in the competition’s British qualifiers will secure a place in World's Strongest Woman contest to be held in May 2009.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fitness profile: Crystal E. Lutz - Reading Eagle Newspaper

Fitness profile: Crystal E. Lutz - Reading Eagle Newspaper

Fritztown, PA - nName: Crystal E. Lutz.

•Age: 21.

•Address: Friztown.

•Occupation: Waitress at Galen Hall Country Club, Wernersville, and personal trainer at Flying Hills Fitness Center.

•When and why you began to exercise: I began to exercise before I was 12, actually. Before I was old enough to have a gym membership, I was in the gym everyday watching my mom work out, which piqued my interest in it. A few weeks before I turned 12 I finally got a gym membership, and I've been working out faithfully ever since.

•Type you do: I do weight training, and I also take spin and kickboxing classes. I also work with personal trainer Brenda O'Neill, a professional bodybuilder, who trains me for figure competitions.

Figure competitions are part of a bodybuilding competition, but it's for women who are judged not so much on large muscle size, but toning and symmetry, along with hair and makeup - almost like a beauty contest, but for bodybuilders.

Brenda approached me one day and said that I have a good shape for competing in figure, and she offered to train me for it whenever I was ready.

I really liked how Brenda looked. When I hired her, I told her, "I just want to look like you." I used to read a lot of fitness magazines, and I always wanted to look like the girls in the magazines. Figure really gets you a lot of exposure with the media. I've had some photo and modeling opportunities that have sprung up since competing.

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9. Reading Fair ending today
10. Sinking Spring disbands sewer authority

•Hardest hurdle to overcome: Because I'm really shy, my hardest hurdle was finding enough confidence in myself to present my physique on stage - in high heels, no less. I don't wear high heels.

Brenda helped a lot, as did watching my body change day to day as I trained for it. I also practiced a lot and spoke with others who compete in the sport, which helped.

•Biggest exercise achievement: Placing second in my class in my first figure competition, in Plymouth, Mass., in April last year. Just recently I placed third in my first national competition in Richmond, Va. on May 17 of this year.

Also, becoming a certified personal trainer through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.

•How exercise helps you: It helps me stay focused, and it constantly gives me goals to work toward. There's no perfect physique, but you can always work on improving something on your body.

•Tips to others: Be patient and enjoy your fitness journey. Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture to realize how far you've come and to celebrate your progress. Nothing happens overnight.

- Compiled by Elizabeth Giorgi

•Once a week Lifestyle will profile a person who has made exercise a part of his or her life. If you know someone who enjoys being physically active, write to Fitness profile, Reading Eagle Company, P.O. Box 582, Reading, PA 19603, or e-mail lifestyle@readingeagle.com. Include the person's name, address and telephone number and why you think he or she should be profiled.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kristy Hawkins and a positive show about bodybuilding

we need more like this.

Weightlifting Trials

http://www.nbcolympics.com/photos/galleryid=130717.html

Carissa's Gumps Olympic Blog

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=PluckPersona&plckPersonaPage=PersonaBlog&plckUserId=5e8259af95b7464bafbfe2a79852cf97&U=5e8259af95b7464bafbfe2a79852cf97&sid=sitelife.burlingtonfreepress.com

Wrestler says brother, rival prepared her for gold

Centre County Sports - | Centre Daily

- McClatchy NewspapersMarcie Van Dusen

BEIJING - If not for the love-hate relationship most siblings experience growing up, Marcie Van Dusen might not be in China.

But she is, scheduled to wrestle at 55 kilograms (121 pounds) at the Beijing Olympic Games, which open Friday.

Women's wrestling, which made its Olympic debut four years ago at Athens, will be contested here Aug. 16-17.

Van Dusen, from Lake Arrowhead, Calif., owes her wrestling introduction to her brother T.J.

"I started when I was 8. My brother beat me up a lot," Van Dusen said during a team press conference Thursday. "He would come home from wrestling practice and try out all of his moves on me. So I figured I had to learn how to fight back."

Soon, T.J.'s coach invited Marcie to join the team. Now, she's handing out beatings, although not to her brother.

"He still beats me up and he's 32 now," said Marcie, 26. "I go home and give him a big hug, and it ends up being a head lock."

To strike Olympic gold, she'll likely have to beat Japan's Saori Yoshida, the reigning World and Olympic champion.

Van Dusen did exactly that in January, 3-0 at the World Cup.

Although Van Dusen had beaten Yoshida in a 1998 Cadet-level match, the Japanese star had never been beaten since joining the senior ranks.

"I heard she wanted a rematch, so I thought I'd come back and give her one," Van Dusen said. "(The win) helps my confidence. She had 119 matches without a loss, so I couldn't let her continue with that. I know I can beat the best in the world and now I have (the results) to prove it."

That was front-page news in some Japanese papers, and Yoshida cried over the result.

Van Dusen says she won't take anything for granted here. A 10th place finish at last year's World Championships taught her not to overlook minor errors in practice, but rather to make corrections as soon as possible. And she won't overlook Yoshida.

"She's very quick and she's explosive," Van Dusen said. "And I think she's very aware of where she is when she's wrestling because she makes quick adjustments."

Van Dusen is one-fourth of Team USA's wrestling women.

Her teammates are Clarissa Chun at 48 kilos (105.5 pounds), Randi Miller at 63 (138.75) and Ali Bernard at 72 (158.5).

"It's really cool to come to China. I'm half-Chinese and my family will be coming," said Chun, whose father, Bryan, has never visited his ancestral homeland. "This is their first overseas trip. It means a lot."

To prepare for Beijing, the team took time out for fun and focus at Breckenridge, Colo.

Team leader Stan Zeamer said the squad went out on a pontoon one day, climbed a 14,000-foot mountain the next, and later hopped on mountain bikes. A sports psychologist was on hand to help the wrestlers "prepare mentally and spiritually for this experience."

Coaches Terry Steiner and Tadaaki Hatta say Team USA will do well here. Hatta says Japan is the country to beat, with Team USA, Russia and Ukraine the likely pursuers.

"We have very high expectations with this group," Steiner said. "Our feeling is that when you make a U.S. team, you are ready to medal at a World or Olympic Games. We have the depth in our country and the competition within our country (that) I feel whoever makes our team is prepared and tested and ready to win."

If Van Dusen can pull off an Olympic victory, only her brother will continue to hold reign over her.

"I'm waiting to get him," she said. "He's got to get a little older, a little fatter, first."

41 and ripped: I want abs like hers

globeandmail.com: 41 and ripped: I want abs like hers

From Friday's Globe and MailImage from “41 and ripped: I want abs like hers”

VANCOUVER — It's difficult to speak of U.S. Olympic swimmer Dara Torres without the use of superlatives. Those chiselled biceps. Those sculpted thighs.

And especially those six-pack abs.

More than her athletic performance - she's faster now than she was in her 20s - it's Ms. Torres's stunning, 41-year-old physique that has bloggers, columnists and morning talk shows abuzz over the new standard of physical perfection for women of a certain age.

"She is fit, with abs that would make a Photoshop editor cry at their perfection," one blogger gushed after the nine-time Olympic medalist donned a bikini in a recent issue of The New York Times Magazine.

"It makes me feel even more inadequate to know that Torres is a 41-year-old mother of a two-year-old. Where, I'd like to know, are her stretch marks and postpregnancy pooch?" wrote Deborah Kotz of U.S. News and World Report.

Further fuelling the hoopla, Ms. Torres bared her washboard stomach again on the cover of Time magazine's Aug. 4 issue.

Ms. Torres, who is competing in her fifth Olympic Games in Beijing, tops a growing pack of female personalities who are creating a stir with their muscular, vein-popping forms. Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, celebrity fitness guru Jackie Warner and bicep-bulging television host Kelly Ripa are all members of the sinewy, hard-body club that is redefining the ideal female form and motivating average women to hit the gym in droves.

"[Ms. Torres] has got a great abdominal. It's a good body - a great body," said Gemma Doyle, co-ordinator of the personal training and aerobics departments at Vancouver's Kitsilano Workout.

At the same time, she warned: "It took a lot of work. ... I don't want people getting false ideals."

At her gym, Ms. Doyle has noticed women's fitness goals have slowly shifted away from simply losing weight to building muscle tone and achieving a defined, athletic look.

She added that increasingly older clients are defying traditional physical standards for women of middle age and beyond.

"I have some of the fittest elderly women I have seen in my life," Ms. Doyle said.

Vancouver-based personal trainer Ashkan Askarian said he has also noticed greater demand for conditioned abs and lean, sculpted muscles, particularly from his female clients in their late 30s and 40s.

"The No. 1 thing I get more than anything is people say they want to look toned," Mr. Askarian said. "A lot of people think with a toned body like Madonna's ... it looks sexy and it looks healthy, too."

But even as ripped female bodies are receiving more attention in popular culture these days, there's debate over whether the look is attractive and whether it's natural.

As much as they're inspired by high-profile fitness fanatics, most women are wary of appearing too muscular, both Ms. Doyle and Mr. Askarian said.

For every celebrity gossip headline that marvels at Ms. Parker's recently bulked-up physique, there are others that slam the Sex and the City star for looking too buff or too masculine.

Similarly, public opinion is divided over Madonna's increasingly taut and veiny frame. Paparazzi photos taken of her taken last month had celebrity gossip writers aghast over her "gaunt" and "tired" appearance.

The growing mainstream representation of hard-bodied females and the public's mixed attitudes toward them speak volumes about people's changing expectations of femininity, said Beth Pentney, a women's studies instructor and PhD student at Simon Fraser University.

Over the decades, women's exercise has evolved from an era of impeded movement, restricted by corsets and long billowing skirts, to the 1980s fitness craze, when Jane Fonda popularized aerobics as a feminine workout, said Ms. Pentney, who specializes in women in popular culture.

These days, women are pumping iron and enrolling in boot camp fitness classes. And the fact there's a buzz over physiques such as Ms. Torres's is in some ways progressive as it signals there are no limits now to how women can move their bodies, Ms. Pentney said.

She added that in a culture that commends self-determination, it's easy to understand why strong muscular female figures might be considered attractive.

"The image of that body translates into beliefs about a person's character. So if you have the willpower to work out six days a week, then you must be an incredibly strong character," she said.

Still, so ultra-fit is Ms. Torres's body that critics have raised speculation over whether she uses performance-enhancing drugs.

"Does she or doesn't she?" reporter Alice Park wondered in Time magazine, comparing the swimmer's build with those of steroid users. (Ms. Park goes on to note that Ms. Torres attributes her fitness to her training regimen and says she puts nothing illegal in her body.)

As flawless as Ms. Torres's abs might be, average women aren't necessarily striving to achieve her figure.

"I think [the ripped female figure] is a little more on the extreme," Ms. Doyle said, adding that the look is not only undesirable to some women, it can also be unrealistic and unhealthy. "For some people it would take an obscene amount of work to get them near to that [shape]."

She noted that elite athletes spend years, if not decades, honing their bodies.

Creating Ms. Torres's six-pack abs would have required rigorous hours of daily training with professional coaches and careful monitoring by dieticians starting at a young age, Ms. Doyle said.

Diet makes up as much as 80 per cent of a workout regime, and for athletes such as Ms. Torres, controlling their food intake can be as consuming as a full-time job, she added.

"Everything's measured out - proteins, carbs, fats - within a milligram," Ms. Doyle said, adding there's no magic formula to sculpting a six-pack since each workout regimen depends on the baseline fitness of the individual.

She stressed that her best advice to women is to set fitness goals that are realistic for their body types.

"You have to look the best you can be - not what somebody else is.

The Territory's lean, mean fitness machine

Northern Territory News

ANDREW ALOIA

TOP SHAPE: Louisa Burnett shows her Ms Fitness form Picture: DANI GAWLIK

TOP SHAPE: Louisa Burnett shows her Ms Fitness form Picture: DANI GAWLIK

MEET the Territory's newest sporting glamour girl.

Louisa Burnett, 22, last month shot to national acclaim by winning the Ms Fitness INBA Australia.

The fitness category is a little known division of bodybuilding but, according to Burnett, is the most complete of any sport.

"It's more glamorous,'' she said. TOP SHAPE: Louisa Burnett shows her Ms Fitness form Picture: DANI GAWLIK

"This category is about proving fitness so the routine is just as important as looks.''

Bodybuilding in the traditional sense is countless hours spent in the gym toning and preparing to pose for judges.

A fitness routine in the same fashion demands a lean, muscular physique but victory is judged on competitor's 90-second acrobatic routine in which they have to display a high level of strength, flexibility and endurance.

Burnett, who made her mark on the Australian scene as a self-taught gymnast, is keen to seek out professional help so she can take her routine to the world.

"I have high hopes and have been told that I have great potential with these competitions,'' she said.

"For this same event next year I'll be putting in a lot more work to lift myself to another level so I can be of international standard, but somewhere along the way I need the help of a gymnast coach.''

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The weight is over for Olympic hopeful

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080807/NEWS01/80807002

Carissa Gump remembers an afternoon while attending Essex High School when she was challenged by a bigger boy in the weight room.

“He thought he could beat me in a squat contest?” she asked. “Guess again. I out-squatted him, which shows you can never underestimate anyone.”

Especially Gump, whose hulking muscles, dogged work ethic and unwavering desire have carried her all the way to China, where the pride of Essex Junction will make her Olympic debut as a weightlifter at the Beijing Summer Games. She is one of two Vermonters competing in the Games; Andrew Wheating of Norwich will run the 800 meters.

Opening ceremonies are Friday, and Gump competes Tuesday. That competition in the 63-kilogram (139-pound) class will bring to fruition more than a decade’s worth of intense training for the 24-year-old.

Proudly representing her country, home state and community, Gump is gunning for huge lifts in the clean and jerk and the snatch, a pair of techniques that involve lifting massive weight off the floor and hoisting it high over her head.

“I’m so excited,” Gump said. “In my mind there’s no higher accomplishment for an athlete than becoming an Olympian. It’s the tip of the peak.”

A natural

With bulging arms and legs as solid as fire hydrants, Gump, at 5-foot-1 and 138 pounds, has grown accustomed to the mixed reactions about her muscular physique.

“I’ve gotten compliments from people on how great I look,” she said, “and I’ve gotten dirty stares.

“My best friend, Danielle, and I went to Hampton Beach several years back and she was getting annoyed with the people staring at me. She was almost to the point of telling people, ‘Stop staring, she’s a weightlifter!’”

Not just a weightlifter, but one of the best weightlifters in the United States. Gump has snatched as much as 92 kilograms (202.4 pounds) in competition and boasts a personal-best 120 kilograms (264 pounds) in the clean and jerk. Her heaviest squat to date is just shy of 400 pounds.

Essex Middle School physical education teacher Chris Polakowski saw her potential in sixth grade and spent two years trying to convince her that she could be a national-level weightlifter.

“She always had this muscularity to her,” said Polakowski, who is also a weightlifting coach. “Whenever we did anything that involved strength — gymnastics, calisthenics, push-ups — she would shine, even more than the boys in the class.”

Gump fully committed to weightlifting at age 13 and quickly flourished. After just two months in the sport, she finished second at a national competition; three years later, she went to the Junior World Championships, claiming 15th place. She was just getting warmed up.

By the winter of her senior year of high school, Gump was invited to live and train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where she has spent the past 7½ years working toward a trip to Beijing. She was a United States alternate for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

“She put in the extra time to graduate early (from Essex),” Polakowski said. “That’s typical Carissa. You won’t find anyone who works as hard as her.”

Overcoming tragedy

Before walking under the bright lights of the biggest competition of her life, Gump will glance at a tattoo strategically placed on her foot and think about her older sister, who died in 2001 after an automobile accident.

“It’s five little footprints,” Gump said about the tattoo. “The colors are blue and purple because blue is my favorite color and purple is hers. They are swirled together and symbolize us walking through life together.

“There have been a lot of events in my life, like getting married, that I wish she would have been here physically to see,” Gump added. “She was one of my biggest supporters, and I know she’ll be watching over me at the Olympics.”

Gump won the U.S. championship in March and solidified her spot on the four-member U.S. team bound for Beijing after the Olympic trials in May.

“The competition was on Saturday but I didn’t physically or emotionally recover until Wednesday,” Gump said. “I definitely went through a state of disbelief after achieving something that I worked so hard for.”

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ronnie.cz > Alexandra Tóthová: nová česká profesionálka IFBB!

Ronnie.cz > Alexandra Tóthová: nová česká profesionálka IFBB!

CHeck out Julie Rohde in action



http://blogs.reuters.com/china/2008/08/04/how-to-diet-like-a-weightlifter-eat-lots-and-dont-exercise/

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Olympics/idUSHAR42170920080804?sp=true


BEIJING (Reuters) - It is Julia Rohde's first time in China, but the 19-year-old German weightlifter will not be strolling across Tiananmen Square.

In fact, she is not even allowed to walk down the road. A strict energy-saving regime controls her every meal and move in the run-up to her first Olympic competition.

At the same time, she has turned from weightlifter to weight-watcher, having to shed a couple of pounds before fitting into her category for women weighing up to 53 kg.

"It would be nice to see Tiananmen Square and all that, but it's just not possible," said her coach, Thomas Faselt, before a training session in Beijing on Sunday.

"In the days before the competition, they move between their rooms and the canteen, and anything else would be unnecessarily exhausting."

To alleviate the boredom, the weightlifters bring stacks of DVDs to the Olympic Village, killing time between training sessions by watching movies or surfing the Internet.

Then there is the diet. Since every extra kilogram can be converted into physical strength, taking the athlete closer to a gold medal, weightlifters tend to be enthusiastic eaters.

Before a competition, they lose the pounds to be allowed to start in a lower weight category -- but they must not shed it too quickly, or they will lose valuable muscle mass.

"Her normal weight is 55 kg, it's what I call the little feel-good bolster. But if she had to start in the 58 kg category, she wouldn't even be here. It's a huge difference in performance," Faselt said.

DIET

And so Rohde, who has been lifting weights since the age of 12, is tightening her belt before her competition on Sunday.

In the world of weightlifting, where women with bulging biceps and massive shoulders hoist up 100 kg or more, a crash diet does not mean living on carrot sticks.

Sitting outside the training hall, Rohde lists her typical meal plan: bread, cold meat, muesli and yoghurt for breakfast, salad with a lot of meat followed by fresh fruit for lunch, more meat for dinner.

"And if I notice that my weight is going down quite quickly, I'll have some chocolate as well," she said.

Other weightlifters take a less scientific approach to eating. Paul Coffa, who coaches weightlifters from 10 different Pacific Islands such as Nauru and Samoa at a training centre in New Caledonia, said nutrition plans were useless in the region.

"You can try to tell them what to eat, but you'll never succeed, because whenever they go back home they just eat breadfruit, rice and fish," he told Reuters at the training centre on Monday.

Coffa's protegees include Ele Opeloge from Samoa, who starts in the heaviest category, for women weighing more than 75 kg.

"They carry excess weight, but it's just fat so they can lose 3-4 kg just like that. If they've got to come down before a competition, they just come down," Coffa said.

Weightlifter pushed through herniated disk, failed comebacks

Four weeks after delivering her third child, Melanie Roach awoke from a nap and uttered a line familiar to her husband, Dan.

"Honey, I have an idea."

For five years, Roach had been through exhilarating starts and excruciating stops in her ambition to qualify for the U.S. Olympic weightlifting team. Each time she tried, the herniated disk that knocked her out of the 2000 Olympic trials flared.

Yet she wanted to try again.

"I was totally supportive," says her husband, a fourth-term member of the Washington state House of Representatives, "and thought, you know what, if by some miracle she'll be able to live through this pain and make the Olympics and even if she didn't, she would be able to get that closure. She's got this nightmare of the 2000 experience."

Now she'll have the 2008 experience.

At 33, more than a decade after taking up the sport of weightlifting, Roach is on the Olympic team. The former gymnast, first inspired by watching Mary Lou Retton at the 1984 Games, will compete as a featherweight (117 pounds) Sunday.

Her size (she stands just over 5 feet tall), her age and her status as a mother of three all strip away stereotypes of Olympic weightlifters. But the biggest obstacle for Roach was the "constant, deep, heavy ache" she lived with for six years, through the births of her children and multiple comeback attempts.

In 1994, Roach began weightlifting on the advice of a gymnastics judge who was also a weightlifter. By 1998, Roach had set a world record, lifting 250 pounds in the clean and jerk. She was the first U.S. woman to lift double her body weight.

In May 2000, Roach was in peak condition, lifting personal bests and primed for the Olympic trials, which were scheduled eight weeks later. One day in training, her knee was a bit sore, so she decided to do partial lifts.

"I used poor technique on a weight that should have been easy," she says. "You hunch over just enough with that much weight on your back, and I heard and felt a 'pop, pop' and a twinge down my leg. I immediately started getting sharp pains into my leg."

An MRI scan showed a herniated disk. She pushed through the pain in training. She got cortisone shots. She was determined to compete at trials.

"I was really just praying for a miracle," she says. "I felt like I was going to make the team."

Her first lift at trials, the snatch, was subpar. She knew the miracle wasn't to be. She withdrew, then cried while watching in the stands with her family. It was, she says, "the most devastating time in my life up to that point."

Immediately after trials, she got pregnant with her first child, Ethan, now 7. She started a comeback after his birth, but had to stop because of her back pain. Tests showed fragments had broken off the disk.

Nevertheless, she repeated the comeback cycle after delivering her second child, Drew, now 5. She competed at nationals, trying to make the 2003 world championship team. The top seven women at nationals qualified. She finished eighth, still in pain.

She quit weightlifting. She had been teaching gymnastics near their home in Bonney Lake, Wash., so she and her husband decided to open a gymnastics facility. Roach Gymnastics now has 500 students.

Then came Roach's youngest child, Camille, in March 2005, and, within a month, the urge to try weightlifting returned again. She went back to the gym but within a month had another new reality to shoulder.

Drew was diagnosed with autism.

She admits the news sent her spiraling into depression, with worries over how much it would change Drew's life. But it also gave her perspective. "I realized that if you compared a child being diagnosed with autism to not making the Olympic team, all of a sudden that Olympic thing doesn't seem so bad."

Managing her back pain with help from a chiropractor and rest periods from training, she qualified for the 2006 world championships team. There, a U.S. team doctor told her about a procedure called microdiscectomy, revolutionary because it wouldn't require cutting much muscle to remove the bone fragments from her back, thereby reducing her recovery time.

She had the surgery in fall 2006.

Within five days, she was back in the gym for limited training, staying off pain medication so she could monitor her back. Within eight weeks, she was doing Olympic lifts.

In the spring of 2007, she won her seventh national title and clean-and-jerked double her body weight again for the first time since before the injury. At the 2008 trials, she was the first woman to secure her Olympic berth.

"Here we are," she says, "hopefully finishing what we started 14 years ago."

China's Elite Olympic Hothouses

Holly Williams, Sky News reporter
Ji Mingming is an angelic-faced 13-year-old with a penchant for pink T-shirts and at just under five feet tall, with a fashionable spiky haircut, she almost passes for an ordinary teenage girl.
Ji Mingming
Ji Mingming
Ji Mingming, 13, is in training for the 2016 Olympics

But look again because Ji is a muscle-bound powerhouse who can snatch 80 kilograms with the strain barely showing on her face.

At the Qingdao Sports School - one of China's 300 elite hothouses for future Olympic athletes - Ji spends six hours a day in the airless weight room, methodically lifting the barbell.

Alongside her other members of the female weightlifting squad train, all of them stocky young women with piston-like thighs and rock-hard biceps.

The squad does not get any summer break and only occasional visits from parents are permitted.

But Ji - selected like the other girls for her body's explosive power - clearly loves the sport.

She said: "Once I've won the gold medal all the suffering will be worth it."

If all goes to plan that will be in the 2016 Olympics.

Many of China's elite sports schools specialise in gymnastics, diving, table tennis and badminton - sports in which the country has a long-established record and fistfuls of Olympic gold to prove it.

But the Qingdao school focuses on sports in which China has little history - wrestling, judo, archery and shooting.

The foray into new sports began eight years ago when China was awarded the 2008 Olympics, former British Olympian and commentator Matthew Syed says. He argues that the push is "entirely political".

"It was when they started realising that medal winning delivered kudos that they went down that path," he said.

"Winning medals in competition is one way of restoring the self-esteem of the country."

And Qingdao judo coach Dong Jianqing says taking gold at the games is "propaganda for China and our place in the world, and very important for the common people.".

At the Beijing Olympics, many suspect that surpassing the US on the medal tally is China's unspoken goal but the government officially denies it.

China may one day challenge the US as a geopolitical power but it already rivals it as a sporting power.

The Qingdao school is part of that plan and, like many other elite sports schools, it is notable for its skewed sex ratio. Over 60% of the students are girls.

The reason for the focus on female athletes is simple: they are more likely to win gold.

Ji Mingming

Ji Mingming

Chairman Mao, who sent Chinese women into fields and factories to work side by side with men, once famously said "women hold up half the sky".

But 60 years later it is apparent that Mao Zedong may have underestimated China's women.

In Athens in 2004, female athletes won two thirds of China's gold medals. In Beijing this month, some of China's brightest hopes are again women.

They do not rival China's star gymnasts and ping-pongers for media attention but athletes like shooter Du Li - a favourite in the women's 10-metre air rifle - and judo's "super jumbo" Tong Wen are key to the country's Olympic hopes.

In eight years it will be Ji Mingming's turn. Until then she will keep pumping the weights, hoping one day she too will deliver gold for her country.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bodybuilding hooks fans

http://www.ohio.com/sports/26168484.html?page=2&c=y

Tallmadge teacher, 23, now competes with training at Summer's gym

By David Lee Morgan Jr.
Beacon Journal sportswriter

JACKSON TWP.: Ever since she was a little girl, Tallmadge resident Lauren Krysa remembers admiring female bodybuilders.

''When I was little, I would look at all the magazines of women who were bodybuilders,'' said the 23-year-old Krysa, who is a special education teacher at Tallmadge High School. ''My mom always taught us to be strong and independent, so I always liked pictures of strong women. I think that's when I got hooked.''

At age 3, Krysa was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis but she never let it stop her from pursuing her goal.

Years later, Krysa was introduced to Summer Montabone, a former professional fitness competitor with a long resume of her own: certified strength and conditioning specialist, licensed health and physical educator, certified personal trainer and fitness magazine model.

Montabone owns Summer's Fitness 24-7, a gym in Jackson Township just southeast of Akron-Canton Airport. Krysa was introduced to Montabone by a mutual friend in 2005, when Montabone was competing professionally in fitness and bodybuilding contests. That's when Montabone became Krysa's mentor.

Montabone said she was excited to help guide Krysa in the right direction in the bodybuilding world. Montabone also employs her as an instructor at the gym.

''Lauren is awesome and she really works hard,'' Montabone said. ''It's really fun
to work with someone like her because she's such an upbeat person and she knows what she wants to achieve in life and she works hard at it.''

Krysa has competed in one bodybuilding contest so far and plans to compete in several more this fall. Regardless of how she finishes, she said, the journey that she's on is priceless.

''I've learned so much from Summer in terms of representing yourself in a mature, professional and responsible way,'' Krysa said. ''Today, so many young girls aren't sure how to set goals and how to go out and achieve those goals. You have to focus and work hard. That's why I truly try to be a positive role model, like Summer is to me.

''Whether I'm out in a social setting, working out or working at school, where I have a blast, I always want to be a positive role model. I wouldn't change what I'm doing for the world.''

Meanwhile, mornings for Montabone start bright and early every day.

By the time most people arrive for work, Montabone and several of her gym members already have worked out for the day.

Several gym members then leave for their own jobs, but Montabone is just getting started. There are other classes she teaches at her gym throughout the day.

Montabone was a fitness instructor at the Green Family YMCA for many years but decided to branch off and do her own thing. Her gym, on Frank Avenue near Interstate 77, is a mix of young and old, men and women, free weights and machines. More important is the casual, nonintimidating atmosphere.

''I decided I wanted to create a facility where people have a lot of options,'' said Montabone, a Manchester High graduate who was a member of the track team at the University of Toledo. ''The members have a 24-hour key access card so they have the flexibility to come in and work out anytime they want.''

Montabone also teaches a class for new members called I'm Here. Now Where Do I start? It's basically a class to get new members comfortable doing workouts on their own and making those workouts effective.

''You have to give yourself three to four weeks to get into your routine,'' Montabone said. ''Once you do, you're going to feel younger, mentally and physically, because exercise truly is the fountain of youth.''

Deirdre Baughman, a 47-year-old Lake Township resident, said she enjoys her new lifestyle, which includes regular exercising.

''I was in a car accident and I started going to a chiropractor, and that's when I started doing some exercises,'' she said. ''Then I started doing more and more, and now I'm more energetic, I sleep better and I'm able to do more during the day. I actually look forward to going to the gym now.''

Montabone said that an exercise and fitness plan varies for each individual.

''I've been able to achieve success at the professional level, but 95 percent of the people I work with just want to improve their health and lose some weight,'' Montabone said. ''But if I have someone who wants to take it to the next level, I have the expertise to help them go to that next level.''


David Lee Morgan Jr. can be reachedat dlmorgan@thebeaconjournal.com.

JACKSON TWP.: Ever since she was a little girl, Tallmadge resident Lauren Krysa remembers admiring female bodybuilders.

''When I was little, I would look at all the magazines of women who were bodybuilders,'' said the 23-year-old Krysa, who is a special education teacher at Tallmadge High School. ''My mom always taught us to be strong and independent, so I always liked pictures of strong women. I think that's when I got hooked.''

At age 3, Krysa was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis but she never let it stop her from pursuing her goal.

Years later, Krysa was introduced to Summer Montabone, a former professional fitness competitor with a long resume of her own: certified strength and conditioning specialist, licensed health and physical educator, certified personal trainer and fitness magazine model.

Montabone owns Summer's Fitness 24-7, a gym in Jackson Township just southeast of Akron-Canton Airport. Krysa was introduced to Montabone by a mutual friend in 2005, when Montabone was competing professionally in fitness and bodybuilding contests. That's when Montabone became Krysa's mentor.

Montabone said she was excited to help guide Krysa in the right direction in the bodybuilding world. Montabone also employs her as an instructor at the gym.

''Lauren is awesome and she really works hard,'' Montabone said. ''It's really fun
to work with someone like her because she's such an upbeat person and she knows what she wants to achieve in life and she works hard at it.''

Krysa has competed in one bodybuilding contest so far and plans to compete in several more this fall. Regardless of how she finishes, she said, the journey that she's on is priceless.

''I've learned so much from Summer in terms of representing yourself in a mature, professional and responsible way,'' Krysa said. ''Today, so many young girls aren't sure how to set goals and how to go out and achieve those goals. You have to focus and work hard. That's why I truly try to be a positive role model, like Summer is to me.

''Whether I'm out in a social setting, working out or working at school, where I have a blast, I always want to be a positive role model. I wouldn't change what I'm doing for the world.''

Meanwhile, mornings for Montabone start bright and early every day.

By the time most people arrive for work, Montabone and several of her gym members already have worked out for the day.

Several gym members then leave for their own jobs, but Montabone is just getting started. There are other classes she teaches at her gym throughout the day.

Montabone was a fitness instructor at the Green Family YMCA for many years but decided to branch off and do her own thing. Her gym, on Frank Avenue near Interstate 77, is a mix of young and old, men and women, free weights and machines. More important is the casual, nonintimidating atmosphere

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flexing For a Fit Figure

BREMERTON

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/jul/28/flexing-for-a-fit-figure/

A cup of oatmeal, five egg whites and one whole egg. That's what a champion eats for breakfast.

Gina Robinson, 26, of Bremerton, wakes up every morning at 5 a.m. and begins her rigorous day with a 40-minute run before eating a finely-measured breakfast formulated specifically for her. She said starting her day with a run and no breakfast helps her burn more body fat and boosts her metabolism throughout the day.

Her diet is determined by her trainer, Victor Olvera, and based on weekly measurements of body fat and muscle growth. Olvera, co-owner of Westcoast Fitness in Bremerton, gives her an eating schedule that tells her how much and when to eat everyday. Robinson eats between six to eight times a day to maximize protein intake to maintain muscle mass.

"Diet and nutrition are the most important thing (for working out)," Robinson said. "You can't really do it (exercise) unless you feed your body and give it the type of fuel that it needs."

Robinson goes to Westcoast Fitness in East Bremerton twice a day to lift weights and do more cardio routines and twice a week she meets with Olvera at the gym to measure how her body is responding to the stringent eating regiment and rigorous workout.

All the lifting and dieting paid off at her first body building, figure and fitness bout July 19 at the National Physique Committee Washington Championship. She took first place in the medium height class, something that rarely happens to a first-time contender.

"I was shocked," Robinson said. "I didn't expect to win at all."

Robinson is not a body builder or a swim suit model. Robinson is a figure competitor, meaning she is judged on "the whole package," she said "It's a fine balance between muscle and femininity."

Robinson said judges look at her poses and form as well as her muscle tone and definition.

"I know that a lot of woman are afraid that they're gonna bulk up and get big if they lift heavy (weights)," she said. "It's just not true."

She said she doesn't want to be a body builder because she wants to keep her body natural and not use steroids like most professional weightlifters do. But she said she is thinking about getting into fitness competitions where she would have to perform a 90-second routine

Robinson, who has been athletic all her life, said she got into weight-lifting in 2004 and six months ago began competition training.

"I just got bit by the bug as they say," Robinson said of her enthusiasm for weight training.

She is already looking at her next competition in October, the Washington Ironman Figure competition, which Olvera said is much bigger than Robinson's last match.

"I compete because I love the challenge of it," Robinson said. "Each time I do it I'm just gonna get better and better."