Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Home For Our Blog

We've moved. 

Please visit us at the new Athletic Women Magazine Blog home:

Our old blog will continue to serve as an archive for all the articles that currently reside here.

But wait - more news!

If you're a guitar fan, come and check out our new blog, For Guitarists Only. News and features for guitarists and guitar fans.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tiffany Conama - MMA Fighter

Next to Hulk Hogan as "Mr. Nanny," MMA fighter Tiffany Conama just might be the toughest nanny out there. Considering The Hulkster only played one on the screen, we're going to have to give the edge to Tiffany.

"I am a Nanny. I have been since I got out of high school. It pays really well and I am my own boss and can make my schedule work around training, which is my priority. I also teach at my gym."

Let's start with your stats.

I'm 21, 5-3, about 130lbs everyday weight and fight at 115lbs (strawweight).

What's your fight record?


How did you get your start fighting?

I started jiujitsu when I was 17 - a senior in high school! 

It wasn't until after I started training that I learned about MMA. I had no idea it ever existed, although I do have a vivid memory from about 12 years ago when I was very little, flipping through the TV channels and stopping on a televised fight.

A man was up against the cage and a ton of punches landed on his bloodied face on a yellow canvas. It traumatized me without a doubt. And then years later, here I am doing the exact thing! 

But who doesn't want to travel the world and fight people? I've had so many amazing opportunities to travel and that's always been a huge passion of mine.

Were you athletic growing up? 

I was. I did cheerleading and softball, but I wasn't really passionate about anything until I found jiujitsu. But I had always been aggressive and would play fight with cousins and mom.

Tiffany Conama with AMA Belt (Vancouver 2017)

What are your goals as a fighter?

To be the best! Top ranked fighter in UFC or Bellator. But I want to just be able to train stress free and not have to work. Just travel, fight and learn! I want to be able to inspire people and entertain them. 

Favorite female fighter and why?

Rose Namajunas. She's always been a favorite of mine even before she won the belt. She's got the best no fucks given attitude and knows what she wants. We also have a similar body type/fighting style so I get a lot of inspiration from her. 

What's one thing about you that people would be surprised to know? 

Probably the fact that I work as a nanny for those who know me as a fighter. For everyone else, the fact that I'm a fighter is definitely something that surprises a lot of people. 

What three words best describe you?

Driven, adventurous and a self-sufficient badass.  

Most exciting/thrilling thing you've ever done in your life?

I've done a quite a few things. I must say getting into the cage is the most exhilarating thing I've done. There is no other feeling than that walk to the cage and getting your hand raised; knowing everyone is watching you and all the hard work, the hours of training and the sacrifices are all worth it. Just knowing I'm living my dream. 

Three things (no people, pets or friends) you can't live without?

I'm not very materialistic, so I'll have to say my team/gym, my car and I admit, my phone, considering it's never out of my sight.

Anything else we should know about you or that you would like to add? 

Just that I am extremely thankful and blessed to be able to live my dream and inspire others to do the same. No matter how hard you might think it is, being happy and doing what you love is the most important thing! 

Highlights of Tiffany's fight at AMA29:


Follow Tiffany:



Facebook Athlete Page

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Emerald Cup 2017 Memorable Moments

The Emerald Cup is in a class by itself when it comes to bodybuilding and fitness events. It's been around for decades and continues building on its tradition of excellence year after year.

One person with a front row seat - literally - from the early Emerald Cups to the present day event is official photographer Mark Mason.

You can't miss Mark. He's anchored front and center at every show, running video coverage, helping media find their seats and saying hello to just about everyone that walks by. Somehow he manages to shoot the entire event at the same time, never missing a beat. And all with a smile on his face.

"I first saw the Emerald Cup in 1992 at the Paramount Theater and my first time working it was 1998 at the Meydenbauer Center. The biggest change besides the number of competitors is the addition of all the vendor booths and the sponsorship from the top industry leaders, all due to Brad's tireless one-on-one marketing at the Arnold and the Olympia."

See some of Mark's excellent work on his YouTube channel.

What made the 2017 Emerald Cup experience memorable? A number of competitors share their Emerald Cup moment.

Nicole Wolf

Twenty-seven-year-old mom Nicole Wolf, competing in her first Emerald Cup, walked away as the Figure E winner and narrowly missed out on the overall figure crown. In the process she managed to wow IFBB women's historian Steve Wennerstrom, no easy feat. Even more impressive - this is just her first year competing.

"My highlight was attending this show knowing it was only my third show of my career and not expecting anything, then taking home first place in my height class and second overall. Also, getting positive feedback from the judges about attending the USA's in July was unexpected and so appreciated."

For the record, Nicole stands at just over 5-5 and weighed 132 pounds for this show. Her coach is Jeremiah Xavier Glasenapp.

See Nicole on stage at Emerald Cup 2017 in 4K: YouTube



Steve Wennerstrom and Nicole Wolf

Nicole Wolf

Sierra Scheffer

Sierra made her Emerald Cup debut in physique. By the end of the weekend, she held bragging rights as the overall physique champion.

"Best part of the weekend was being with my two best gal pals; road tripping over and back, including the one-hour traffic stop on the way there, and the multiple food stops on the way home ( Ethellos Greek Yogurt, Larsen Bakery, and Dicks Burgers); and spending time, even though it was short, with everyone who came to support me from home!"

For the record, 5-3 Sierra weighed 125 lbs for the show and weighs 150 lbs off-season. She's been competing for two years.


Sierra Scheffer

Sierra Scheffer - Physique Champ

Tiffany Shepherd - first time Emerald Cup competitor

"My most memorable moment was standing in the main lobby with lots of people. While being congratulated on both my second and third place wins, I was stuffing my face with four different cupcakes in one hand, a Corona in my other, trophies by my feet and tiaras on my head! Lol. Everyone was laughing and saying how great it was seeing me celebrate. It's the little things that matter after you train so hard for that day and that moment. It's all worth it."

For the record, Tiffany placed second in Figure A and third in Figure 35. She's 5-2 tall, stage weight 113 lbs and off-season 125 lbs. She's been competing for three years.



Tiffany Shepherd

Inna Wyatt

With four Emerald Cup appearances to her credit, it's safe to say that Inna Wyatt is an Emerald Cup veteran. She owned the stage at the 2017 show with wins in Figure Overall, Women's Physique 35, Figure 35 and Figure B. Pretty impressive trophy haul.

Highlight of Emerald Cup Weekend?

"The highlight for me was winning the overall figure title. It had been a goal of mine to win the overall before going to compete at Nationals. I also competed in the physique division for the first time and I also won as well. I really enjoyed it and it gave me a chance to showcase my previous dance career background with the posing routine."

What Memory will you hold on to looking back at 2017 Emerald Cup?

"Reaching one of my biggest fitness goals of winning the Figure Overall title after trying for four years. I was also amazed at all of the support I received from my coach, Matt Porter, and all of my friends."

For the record, Inna stands 5-3; stage weight 125 lbs; off-season weight 145 lbs; started competing in 2009, but took two years off, so consistently for six years.

Of note: Inna operates her own business designing and creating custom competition suits for all divisions. Contact her for your suit needs.

Originally from Moscow, Russia, a whopping 5200 miles away from Seattle, Inna holds the unofficial distinction of the most distant hometown from the Emerald Cup stage. Having lived in the USA for 10 years, that cuts Inna's travel time to the show to just 30 minutes. Definitely more convenient than Moscow!



Inna Wyatt Figure Champ

Carson Siler - Team Hexx bikini competitor

Competing in her second Emerald Cup, Carson place second in Bikini A, a carbon copy of her 2016 Emerald Cup show.

"The highlight of my weekend was accomplishing some personal goals, and being able to cheer on and support the rest of the competitors/clients on Team Hexx. The best part of participating in this sport is being able to share experiences like this with other like minded individuals. I think my favorite memory from this year was being able to hug Rachael Chiarrelli when she took first place. She is a dear friend of mine and fellow teammate. It was fun to share the stage with her as well as all the other amazing athletes that were there! I was honored to be a part of it all."

For the record, this is Carson's third year competing. She's 30, stands 5-1 and hits the stage at her competition weight of 114 lbs to 116 lbs.


Mackena Sherman - Figure F 6th Place

Mackena competed in her first show, bikini, in 2014 as a 19-year-old. She did her first Emerald Cup in 2015, also bikini. As she explains, "I took dead last out of 23 girls because I was over-developed for bikini." Now she competes in figure.

"The moment I will never forget is getting the chance to sit back stage with my mom and do her makeup for her before she went on stage for women's physique masters on Friday. It was a special moment that we were able to get each other ready before walking on stage.

"The moment I see her walk out on stage is a feeling I can't describe. I'm just so overwhelmed with excitement. I'm that person that's going crazy in the audience. I get as close as I can to the stage so I can yell at her and tell her which muscle she's not squeezing. If it wasn't for her, I would have never thought that I could get on stage."

For the record, Mackena is 23, stands 5-7, competes at 149 lbs and off-season is 156 lbs.



Mackena Sherman at Emerald Cup Expo

Megan Little - Figure C Champion

Coming into the Emerald Cup with nothing but first place and second place on her competitive resume, Megan kept the streak alive as she nailed it in Figure C adding another win to her resume. One look at her - and she's in just her second season of competing - it's not a stretch to think that she'll keep this hot streak going.

For the record, Megan is 29, stands 5-4, hits the stage at 130 pounds and goes 150 pounds in her off-season.

"Highlight of this started with being asked to compete in the Emerald Cup. Being that this was only my second season, I was thrilled because it meant all my hard work had definitely paid off and I was on the right track. Then the icing on the cake was winning my Open Figure Class and going into the overall battle with fellow teammate Silver Keck - such a rush."

Megan on stage at Emerald Cup 2017: YouTube



Megan Little - Killing it from the front

Megan Little - Killing it from the rear

Markie Williams - Bikini G

For the record, 29-year-old Markie is 5-7, competes at 130 pounds and has been competing for just under two years. She placed third in her bikini class at the 2016 Emerald Cup.

"You know, this year I was disappointed when I didn't place in the top five, especially since I placed in the top three at Emerald Cup the year before, and this year I felt like I made major improvements to my physique compared to last year. By not being in the top five, I felt like I let down my friends and fans who expected me to do really well. But what really surprised me was the number of people who stopped me after the show, many that I didn't even know, and they just wanted to tell me they thought I looked great and that they were still proud of me.

"That, combined with everyone who reached out to me in the days following, really made an impression on me, because I realized that even when I don't bring home a trophy, I still have so many amazing people in my life who care about me and will support me no matter what and at the end of the day, that's what is most important to me."

More Markie:

Markie competing at Emerald Cup 2017 YouTube

Markie interview YouTube



Sponsor Innutra

Repping for sponsor Innutra

Markie Williams

Brittany Conley - props to Brittany for her service in the Armed Forces.

Brittany made her Emerald Cup debut competing in Figure D. She started competing in 2011, had two years off from a deployment to Afghanistan in 2013, and then pregnancy in 2015.

"Emerald Cup was an eye opener for me. I saw and met some incredible women who were at that 'next level' so to speak. Arianna Tate - I actually became friends with her since we frequent the same gym in Olympia. I was so grateful for her presence and kind words backstage, as well as sharing in her excitement as she placed third in her height class.

"I really tried to soak it in and had a lot of time to reflect on my journey during the process. Standing next to women that I have been following on social media, thinking, 'Wow. Any one of these women could be a pro' and knowing that I was that much closer to stepping onto NPC Nationals stage. It was my first Emerald Cup and I hope for it to be my last because I want to say this time next year, I'll have placed top 5 at a national level show."

For the record, Brittany stands 5-4.5 tall, hits the stage at 135 pounds and weighs 145 pounds off-season.

Brittany on stage competing in Emerald Cup 2017 YouTube



Rachael Chiarelli - Bikini A Champion

After making her stage debut at the 2016 Emerald Cup, Rachael went on to win Bikini A at the 2017 Emerald Cup. Three short weeks after this victory, she earned her pro card.

"I had the privilege of competing for and earning my pro card at Jr USA's in Charleston, South Carolina May 20, 2017. Congrats to my Coach Lauren Irick - IFBB Bikini Pro on this one as well. Certainly could not have done it without her."

Rachael's Emerald Cup highlight:

"So many amazing highlights from this show! The best part of every show for me is always hugging my husband after stepping off stage! I was blessed to have quite a bit of family support with Bellevue being so close to my hometown, which was really nice.

"I loved my moments preparing for stage with my makeup artist Amber Lobao, who said an incredible prayer for me! I was blessed with the opportunity to meet some of my Team Hexx friends in person and even share the stage with them at different points in the show, which ended up making things super fun! I made a couple connections with some of these girls that I know will be lifelong.

"Lastly, I have to say it was a great feeling to go from not placing at all in 2016 with it being my first show, to winning my class a year later!"

For the record, Rachael is 5-1 3/4 tall; weighs 110 lbs for competition; weighs 120 to 125 lbs off-season; and her age is 30.


Kat Marthaller - Bikini

No surprise that Kat Marthaller, at 5-10, found herself in the tallest bikini class, Bikini H. Starting prep at 165 pounds, she hit the stage at 145 pounds for her Emerald Cup debut and placed sixth.

"A highlight for me was the fact that I got the guts to get on stage again. I was so proud that I had made it to the Emerald Cup! I also was so thankful my coach, teammates and friends were able to travel from Boise to attend the show! I am excited to bring another, improved package next year!"

Follow Kat on Instagram

Kat Marthaller - Bikini

Jennie Bowden - Physique B 

For Jennie, 2017 marked her Emerald Cup debut. She started her competitive career in May 2014.

"Having the opportunity to be a part of a prestigious competition is a memory in itself. I enjoyed meeting new people who share the passions in life and understand what you went through to get to where you are. There are so many people you meet who are feeling the same nerves you are; it's a calming realization that you’re not alone.

"Also, the amount of friends from my gym who came to support me was humbling; I'm extremely thankful to have them in my life. They inspire me to continue to do my best everyday."

For the record, Jennie is 33; stands 5-4; competes between 125 lbs to 130 lbs; and weighs 140 lbs to 145 lbs off-season.

See Jennie on stage at Emerald Cup 2017 here YouTube

Follow Jennie on Instagram  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kelsey DeCamillis - Physique Competitor Debut

Physique competitor Kelsey DeCamillis stepped on stage for the first time at the 2016 Popeye's Fall Classic. Following is a brief recap of her contest experience.

Best advice for someone prepping for a first show?

Make sure you hire a great coach! Do your research because I think health and wellness come first above all else. It is imperative to find a knowledgeable and supportive coach who has your back 100%. I'm so grateful to have an excellent coach guiding me with his expertise - Darren Toma of Custom Built Training. His wife Lara has been an incredible support as well with posing and stage presence.  

Be sure to keep supportive friends and family close by and surround yourself with good vibes only. Expect many obstacles and be able to critically think and problem solve as issues come up. Be sure to have a post-show plan in place as well. Reach out to fellow competitors and talk to athletes who have been through it before. 

With knowing that you're pushing your body and mind to the max, there will be some days that will feel great and other days may not. There is a huge psychological component to this and being mentally prepared is key. The accomplishment in the end is all worth it, so keep grinding and push yourself to the limit. Always be kind to yourself and no matter what, enjoy the process and have fun!

Kelsey DeCamillis

What were you feeling and thinking the first time you hit the stage? Any feelings of nervousness?

I definitely experienced some anxious feelings but also was very excited! Taking some deep breaths beforehand helped calm me down and as I walked out to the stage, I kept reminding myself to hit the poses and transitions right, just like in practice, and keep smiling of course! As soon as I got out there and started posing, it felt great and the nerves went away. The whole day and experience was amazing. I can't wait to do it again.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

I don't think so. It definitely crossed my mind that I need to be in a different job if I do another contest prep, however it wasn't feasible to make a job change during prep. The way things were set up with where I was working at the time, and also the immense amount of commuting I was doing just made everything extra challenging and exhausting. I was so determined though it didn't matter and I just did everything I could to execute the prep as best I could. I really feel like I did the best that I could.

What do you feel you need to focus on for your next show?

I would like to work more on perfecting my posing, routine, and stage presence. For physique goals, I would like to see my upper body better balanced with my lower body and also to improve on overall conditioning. I want to also put a lot more effort into recovery from training sessions.

Kelsey DeCamillis

Biggest challenge of the entire process?

Commuting three plus hours a day on transit, dealing with daily commentary from people at work and people on transit, and most days were 18-20 hours long. Pushing through sleep deprivation and exhaustion was really difficult and concerning as I knew stress levels needed to be kept low as well as keeping on top of recovery. It was incredibly tough getting everywhere I needed to be with the way things were set up but there was no other way around it and I was so determined to do my absolute best for my first show.

What show is next on your agenda?

BC Championships at the Vancouver Pro/Am & Expo - July 8-9, 2017.

Where can we see more of you or follow you?



If you're in the Vancouver area, come visit me at xFuel in Kitsilano to say hello!

Click here to see our Kelsey photo montage on YouTube.

Click here to read our previous feature on Kelsey. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Figure Phenom Shay Niessen

You say you've never heard of Shay Niessen? 

Then it's time you found out who this figure phenom is. 

The 24-year-old started in bikini, but transitioned to figure. On March 18, 2017, Shay made her figure debut. Not only did she step on stage as a first-time figure competitor, but to add a huge exclamation mark, she walked away as the figure overall champ. That's how you make a debut. 

Shay Niessen - Figure Overall Champ

What are your stats?

Just under 5-6 tall; competition weight 140-145 lbs; off-season heaviest I've ever held was around 163 lbs. However, more consistent off season I'm usually around 155 lbs.

Why did you move from bikini to figure? 

I started in bikini because I was new to the fitness industry – more specifically the competing industry. I did tons and tons of research, but I was still a "baby" and had a lot to learn. My shoulders grew very fast and I always had figure in my heart from day one. 

Bikini is beautiful, but if you know me in person, I don't have the persona. I'm kind of a tomboy at heart, so I really had to practice the twists and turns and hair flips and such (haha). The muscle required for figure always captured my interest. I find it so incredible and there are so many figure physiques I look up to. 

With that being said, I took around 2.5 years off to grow, grow, grow. I became really interested in powerlifting and focused on eating and lifts for a long time. I also took the time off to focus on building a life and career. Competing takes up a lot of time in your life AND MONEY. I said the next time I compete I want to be 200% mentally and financially ready. 

How old were you when you did your first show? 

I believe I was 21-22 years 

"I remember always liking photos of tiny, tiny models until I came across a female bodybuilder on Instagram and I was in awe."

How did you get started lifting weights and training? 

I was always interested in nutrition. I would use all my free time at university spending hours and hours researching what foods were good for the body and the benefits of each. I would experiment with different "diets" etc. However, I was in university and of course I partied etc. and lived quite an unhealthy lifestyle. 

One day I was really tired of it. I remember always liking photos of tiny, tiny models until I came across a female bodybuilder on Instagram and I was in awe. I couldn't believe someone could look like that. I remember being like, "Damn, this girl is not superhuman which means I can do that too."

I started YouTubing different bodybuilders and how they ate etc. and it all stemmed from there and I never looked back.

What is your profession?

I work for a builder/developer for condos and homes. I do everything AFTER sales from lawyers, to final closing, PDI’s, dealing with trades, etc. 

What's one thing about you that people would be surprised to know? 

I made a bet with my friends that I could be a raw vegan for three months and I did it. No cooking food. Nothing. Just fruit and veggies. Twenty plus bananas a day sometimes (LOL). 

What are your goals as a competitor?

My only goal is to keep getting better and better for myself. Bring an entirely new package when I decide to go on stage. I want to BRING something to the stage each time I go on.

"Goofy. As. F*ck."

What three words best describe you?

Goofy. As. F*ck.

Favorite curse word?

F*ck for sure. See comment above

Were you athletic growing up? 

Yes! Used to compete in 100m sprints, basketball, volleyball, soccer and dance. 

What do you think is the strongest part of your physique?

I won't lie. I love my delts. 

Favorite female competitor and why? 

Oh boy, there are literally so many I look up to. 

What's your favorite cheat meal? 

Sushi, followed by Menchie's stacked with white chocolate, peanut butter, Reese's, Oreos, and Nanaimo bars (LOL).

If you could look into the future and see yourself at age 50, what would you want to see?

I want to be one of those badass healthy moms who get up at 5 AM for a jog and come home to slay the kitchen and prepare a healthy breakfast for my beautiful kids and husband and my 2-3 dogs… and then also comes home and drinks red wine and eats pizza in bed.

If you had an all expenses paid weekend trip to anywhere in the world, where do you go and who do you take with you?

I want to travel EVERYWHERE.

Find Shay on social media and follow her journey. 



Twitter: @shayniessen

Shay Niessen - Great Biceps!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Young Gunz - Sarah Sangha, Figure Competitor

Figure competitor Sarah, competing for just the first time at the 2017 Leigh Brandt Muscle Classic, finished third in her class. 

Let's start with your stats.

I'm 20; 5-4 3/4 height; I weighed 120 pounds for my show and about 135 pounds off-season.

What was the experience like hitting the stage for your first show?

It was really nerve wracking. The whole time I was up there it felt like my heart was just racing, but it was amazing.

"I liked being big and muscular and being able to intimidate people, so hanging out in the gym kind of kept that going."

How long have you been training and what motivated you to start?

A couple of years ago for bodybuilding, but not for show purposes. For show purposes it was a few months ago.

This all started because I was kind of one of the boys. I liked being big and muscular and being able to intimidate people, so hanging out in the gym kind of kept that going.

What was the most challenging part of training for your first show?

I think the most challenging part of my first show was just getting over the nerves of getting up there. I enjoyed the diet and I love training so that was easy for me. 

Were you athletic growing up? 

I grew up on a farm, so I was extremely athletic. Always out with the dogs, chasing animals, doing whatever. I played some sports in high school, but other than that, I wasn't one of those soccer kids. 

What is your profession or job?

I work for Fuel, a supplement company. As well I work in a pub, so a very busy girl. 

Sarah Sangha

Favorite female competitor and why? 

Nicole Wilkins and Dana Lynn Bailey. They're both really motivating and strong women and gorgeous and they always do their best at everything. 

What three words best describe you?

I'm extremely outgoing. I can be really funny but most of the time awkward. And I'm just fun to be around.

Best advice for someone training for a first show?

Do it for you. Enjoy the road and you're going to learn a lot about yourself. 

Find Sarah Sangha on social media.




Sarah Sangha

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lauren Brigham - Figure Competitor

What are your stats?

Age 29; 5’6" tall; competition weight 130-135 lbs; off-season 145-150 lbs.

What is your profession?

Personal trainer, sports massage therapist.

How did you get started lifting weights and training? 

My middle school nickname was chunky monkey which gave me the motivation to lose weight and become athletic. I started personal training at 18 and became intrigued with the competitive lifestyle. I competed in my first show when I was 24 and I've been hooked since.  

Lauren Brigham

What inspired you to start competing?

I loved the dedication and purpose of the competitive lifestyle. I wanted to find that purpose and dedication for myself.  

Were you athletic growing up? 

I played soccer and ran track in high school, but really became interested in health and fitness in college. 

What are your goals as a competitor?

To better myself and improve every season. To feel proud and accomplished each year on stage. 

What's your favorite cheat meal? 

I absolutely love sushi! 

Lauren Brigham

What's one thing about you that people would be surprised to know? 

I am obsessed with mini pigs. I just adore pigs so much - no idea why. 

Favorite female competitor?

Nicole Wilkins. She is simply an amazing and beautiful competitor. 

Your home is burning down. Family and pets have all made it to safety. You have one chance to go back in and save just one item. What do you save?

I would save my huggie. It's a little pillow I just can't sleep without 

What three words best describe you?

Passionate, genuine and hardworking. 

Where can we see more of you?



Snapchat: @lebrigs

Check out Lauren's YouTube video. 

Lauren Brigham