In the US, this event is BIG! It's called "Fitness America" and it is now in its ninth season. This year was the first year where they decided to have some competitors from Europe join in the action! All of you who regularly read the major magazines no doubt saw the massive advertising campaign for this event.
LA Muscle was present along with one other major company. The event was nowhere near what it could have been, in terms of attendance. There must have been around 100 people there, tops! For a major event, this was pathetic! I'll tell you the reason for this: "silly booking procedure"! We called up to check the ticket arrangements beforehand. The telephone number was a UK one, but as soon as I heard the friendly, "at your service voice" on the other side, I knew that this was no UK-based operator! (come on, you know the UK service sector is going downhill!). Yes my friends, the operator was in America and you could only get tickets past 3:00 p.m. here (morning in the US). What an unprofessional arrangement!
In all fairness, the presenter at the show, later on confessed that next year they will do things differently. Bit late for this year, but at least they have learnt from their mistakes.
Very very good! Really! I can't tell you how good the standard was. You had to be there to believe it. For the ladies, there was the Fitness Round, Swimsuit Round and Interview Round. All went fine, until it came to the interview round and the MC realized that a few of the competitors did not speak any English (interesting!).
So they decided to award the non-speaking competitors, the average of all the others; bit of a cock-up! Without wanting to be too subjective, I personally did not think this was very fair on the non-speaking contestants. Why not just get rid of the interview round? The Fitness prize went to Dawn King from Essex. She was obviously the favourite; not just because she was a local (well, UK) girl, but because she really did look good. She knew how to pose, had excellent muscles and a professional athletic aura about her.
The Juniors went to Mohammed Saiid from the UK. The standard varied greatly. You had some competitors had very good arms, but no chest; and some that had very good size, but no definition. Mohammed won by one point and looked very good.
The middleweights went to Michael Monise, a Hawaiian! yes, Hawaii is now in Europe!! Just kidding! He was a late entry who decided to compete in the European event instead of the US one (don't ask!). Anyway, he won it! The guy looked like something out of the Chippendales with his long hair. He had a very good upper body, but the legs were not all there. His chest was impressive and his back was pretty good too. You could see that the guy has obviously competed in a few shows before, so he knew the score!
The heavyweights went to Asphalt Douglas from the UK. This guy had huge triceps! He was up against some stiff competition and won by just one point. The general standard was pretty good, although this was no EFBB or Olympia! The top two from each heat got an all expenses paid trip to the US finals.
The Fitness America event is very big in the US. In the intermission of the UK event, they showed some film footage of past event winners and what they have gone on to do. Past winners have been Laurie Donnelly (1992), Mia Finnegan (1993) Madonna Grimes (1994), Amy Fadhi (1995), Kelly Ryan (1996) and perhaps the most famous of all Tsianina Joelson (1997). Tsianina went from obscurity to winning the Fitness America and she now has her own daily programme on MTV (3 times a day!). After winning the event, you have a real good chance of sponsorship, TV work or personal training.
LA Muscle wishes the best of luck to the UK winners who will be flying off to the US. We would also like to encourage you out there to get behind shows such as this. They are great fun. You get to meet loads of interesting personalities and most importantly, they motivate you! When you see those fit bodies on stage, believe me, you will want to get in that gym and pump some serious weights. Anyway enough from me, I'm off to the gym!!
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