Saturday, December 25, 2010

2010 in Review


Amazing how time flies. The year is ending, and I have to admit, it was an amazing year for me in the Steel Universe! I made some amazing strength gains and learned to perfect my powerlifting technique, making me stronger than I have ever been in my life, which is exciting, at the age of 43, to know that I am approaching my best years in life. Which, is a complete paradigm shift of how most Westerners view aging. I personally have always tried to improve myself, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. With the right diet, outlook on life, and amazing friends and loved ones, life can only get better. And, I am excited about the prospect of how I will grow and improve in 2011. Having stated this, I will share with you, a recapitulation of how exciting 2010 was for me and some of my milestones.

First of all, the photo I have attached was taken in the summer of 2006, by one of my all time favorite photographers in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Pat Berrett. It was right before my last national level show, the Masters Nationals, where I competed as a heavyweight. In this photo, I was about one month out, and I weighed right around 185- 190-- with abs! These days, I sit right around 205. However, I have added about 10 pounds of muscle to my physique since my competitive bodybuiding days, and it is pretty evenly distributed over my 5' 9 frame. When I look back at these photos, it is evident, that my shoulders, back, trunk and legs have all thickened up quite a bit.

I moved to Holland a year after this show, and learned to live a bodybuilding lifestyle with Saskia, and this included not only getting freakishly strong, but also a high volume type of training protocol. No matter what I subject my body to, it generally responds well. I remember my joints and frame being pretty tired and sore most of the time since our trainer, Peter, was pretty merciless and we had no choice but to adapt. The point of training is always to have fun, enjoy and be competitive with myself. That is what always keeps me motivated. I still remember that the day before we left for the USA and the Arnold Classic in 2008, I was incline bench presssing 3 big wheels on each side, or 315 pounds for reps. Granted, I had a tight spot, but they were all clean and pretty much all on my own. I never thought I could ever get my body back to that point, since I typically train alone or with partners that are not up to my speed.

This past year, I lived and trained in Las Vegas, Nevada, at world class strongman's gym, called Mark Phillipi's Sports Institute. Around early April, 2010, I embarked on a strength and power program, something I have never attempted in all my years of training. Initially, I thought I was undertraining, as I was used to high volume style of training. It could not be the furthest from the truth, as I got stronger week by week. All my numbers in my lifts were increasing like crazy. Of course, if you know my diet, I like to eat a lot of wild game, including buffalo, elk, and ostrich.

I can recall my best bench was probably in the low to 200's, around 225 or so with free weights, and performed "raw", which means without a high tech benchshirt. I never wrapped or strapped into any of my weights, which helped my grip strength increase tremendously, which also helped increase all of my lifts. Soon, I raw benched 300 August 31st. My deadlift is in the low 400's, and my squat is finally 315 for 8-10 reps. With some focused work, these lifts will get better, however, I chose to focus primarily on my pressing movements this past summer and fall. I never really trained for deadlift or squat, but I gained a lot of satisfaction in learning to perfect the form and getting stronger every week. My bentover barbell rows are right at 225 for 5-6 reps no straps. I have toyed with the idea of adding straps, wraps, and a belt to get that extra push and protection, and I will begin adding them on my extremely heavy days. I even did 185 for 55 reps in the deadlift earlier in the summer with no training just to see how many I could do. I could easily performed more, but opted not to.

And, the grandaddy lift I take great pride in, the overhead press, is largely due to the fact that I am becoming a lift and carry technician, and human feats of strength, lifting people overhead with two arms and one arm. And, since I got my RKB (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) certification in April, I was stoked to get my overhead lifts way up. I started out with lifting right around 165, and now, the lift is up to right around 205, my current bodyweight, and 185x6 or 7 reps. And recently, I did a 205 closegrip benchpress for 20 reps, which is definitely the heaviest I have ever done. I love tricep work, as I know it has a direct correlation with my pressing movements, and, ever since I was a young girl weight training, I have always enjoyed pushing movements over pulling movements.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my good friends, Rebecca Swanson, the world's strongest woman ever in powerlifting (see earlier blog post) came out to visit me again. If you know anything about Becca, she was the first woman to ever benchpress 600 pounds, and to total over 2,000 pounds in a meet. I asked her out of curiosity what her best raw bench press was. She told me, "To be honest Amber, I never really focused on increasing my raw bench", and she told me how important it is to get past the learning curve on benching with a benchshirt on. She told me, that with a shirt, the proper training, timing, and coaching, I am a 500 pound bencher all day long with a shirt on. I could not disagree, as I am never fearful of handling my presses raw in the low 300s right now. In the past, I sometimes felt a bit apprehensive about feeling a certain new heavier weight over me, and if unprepared it can invoke a feeling of fear if I would actually ever be able to press the weight. Since I have been on a prescribed program fort the past half year or more, the weight has been progressive and steady. So, when this happens, one is never "not ready" or unprepared for the new heavier weight. The joints, muscles, and tendons, and bones are prepared to handle the weight. It was pretty cool to get validated by the world's strongest woman ever that I was, indeed, now in a very elite class of women. Competitive powerlifting is great, but it really was never the direction I intended, as I am mostly concerned with strength, performance, and aesthetic versus competitions or judging. That is the very reason why I left women's bodybuilding, as I found it not only boring, but also submissive and oppressive to be judged by people that did not matter to my goals and what I was trying to achieve. Granted, I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for all the women that choose to compete, as I once did, and I think it is a beautiful artform, but definitely not sport or performance based. I am far too competitive with myself to follow a bodybuilding protocol in training, as it typically abandons strength and power in favor of aesthetic. Even to this day, I am the sole creator and artist of the way I shape and build the way I want my body to look. I am the ultimate judge of how I present my body to the world. I believe if I train for strength and performance, the aesthetic will "come", and is mostly manipulated by diet and a little cardio. Admittedly, I have not focused too much on cardio, as I have been primarily focusing on my strength. I will begin hitting my stairclimber and some quick intense more athletic ways to keep my heart fit and strong.

It seems there is no end in sight for how much stronger I can get, although I am very aware of any tweaks, pains, and getting the proper amount of rest without getting injured and staying super strong. In this case, it's better to take time off than to power through. I took the entire month of September off from my training, just to give my body a break. To my surprise, I came back just as strong, as was able to get stronger. My raw benchpress is easily in the low 300s, right around 325 or so. Just a month ago, I pressed 315 after a triple at around 280.

I began peforming pull ups with a 40-50 pound kettlebell strapped around my waist--and with my super long arms, I have always loathed pull ups! But, with practice, I became quite proficient at them. I can still remember the day when I could barely do one. And, I always still look at myself in my mind's eye as the sleek, trim, thin athlete that used to rock climb and play volleyball. I find strength and power not only in weightlifting, but also in applied sport to be a tremendous natural high, and I admire and always have, powerful people, and even find it to be an aphrodisiac, amongst other qualities such as great conversationalists, optimists, a sense of humor and depth of character.

In a nutshell, I have become the amazon that I have always dreamt of, and have become the sensual powerhouse that I only fantasized of becoming. And, it's only going to keep getting better in 2011....just wait and see!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Classic Bill Dobbins

This photo was taken in June, 2002, in the desert of New Mexico, just north of Albuquerque. It was my first shoot prior to my bodybuilding days. I had competed in NABBA Figure, and was still very lean from the show. In this photo, I weighed around 160. It was featured in IronMan Magazine. I think it is one of the classic nude poses that Bill Dobbins is so well known for. When I did the pose, I felt so "exposed", and uncomfortable, but when I saw it in the magazine, I thought it was so amazing. Amazing that I am completely nude, yet I am not exposed.

After this shoot, Bill inspired me to continue honing my physique, concentrating on training more like a bodybuilder (I prefer more athletic training). So, here we are, only 7 years later, and I am ready to shoot with Bill again.

We have decided to collaborate on some projects together, such as a day in my life, which would include my training, and other unique things like my specialty human lifts.

I am so inspired at the direction of my life at the moment. There is so much I need to do in my life, and I embrace each day as if it were my last.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Red Rock Canyon Revisited

Since I moved to the beautiful desert foothills of Red Rock Canyon, I have yearned to do a photoshoot here. My last shoot was with Bill Dobbins, and it has been seven years, when I first started competing in bodybuilding.

What I like most about Red Rock Canynon, is that there is a variety of different colored rocks and outcroppings. The red sandstone is beautiful, and matches my skin tone. I also love posing on the white rocks as well, as it reminds me of the my shoots in Albuquerque, New Mexico. No matter what I shoot or where I pose, I am always at home outside and the shoots feel more natural. I just seem to flow from pose to pose, and I find these types of shoots most fun.

This photo was taken in June, 2010. I was just getting into full swing of my summer training schedule, so I am just beginning to get leaner, and show a bit more definition.

My training is going very well, as planned, and I get better as time goes on. I just celebrated my 43rd birthday on July 26th, and I feel better now than ever. In fact, I feel that I am approaching my best years. Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Behind the Scenes with Pec Panther

As I wrote in my last post, I have been busy this summer getting in condition for my human overhead lifts, as well as other feats of strength. All this, while making appearances on live webcam shows at www.HerBicepscam.com, as well as maintaining my own website and shooting lots of sexy, intriguing, and captivating content. It's a full time gig! But, I sure love it, and I cannot imagine doing anything else in my life right now.

I went out to visit Lynn McCrossin, known as The Pec Panther for her amazing pectoral control and bouncing in Scottsdale, Arizona. I consider Lynn the Godmother of the internet female bodybuilding entertainment world. We spent this past weekend together brainstorming about content, sharing business ideas, and rejuvenating ourselves.

Let me catch you all up on how my summer has been going, though. If you have been following me on Youtube, you can find my channel at "The Amber Steel", or http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAmberSteel. Here, you can see some of my feats of strength, and overhead lifts that I have been focusing on this summer.

I caught the attention of Sebastian Timbalind, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastian_(rapper) with my website and my Youtube channel. Timbalind flew me down to Miami a month ago to perform my featured overhead lift for the video, "Wobbley", to be released soon. He met with me in the trailer and told me he was really impressed with my work and physique and wanted to incorporate the overhead lift in the video. I had three separate scenes. All in all, they treated me very well on the set, and I had a good experience. My first scene, the overhead lift, was shot at nearly midnight in the dead of Miami humid heat. I had to do nearly 10 takes pressing a small man over my head with a bath towel on! I am so glad I train in the desert heat of Las Vegas, and I was conditioned to perform.

The USAs were last week, and I did a few shoots with some friends in the industry, and as always, it turned out very well. I will post a few pics from the lobby in a subsequent post. However, I just wanted to update the blog so you all know that I have not just been relaxing this summer! Well, I always enjoy my work, because it is more like play--and that's what life should be about. Enjoying every moment in life, whether alone or with someone.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Red Rock State Park, Las Vegas, Nevada Revisited

I appreciate all of you, my friends that have written me to advise me that you missed my blogging! That means a lot to me. I find it cathartic to write, and I really miss it when I do not make time. It keeps me focused, grounded, and centered in my life. You know who you are, those that have taken the time to write me and let me know.

I have lived in New Mexico for the past 20 years, and that has entailed much hiking, climbing, and mining. For the past five years, I have chosen to live a more cosmopolitan lifestyle, opting to spend more time in concrete jungles than desert landscapes. My passion for the desert is something that will never die, however. Some of my best photoshoots have been with both professional and amateur photographers in New Mexico and Nevada. I particularly enjoy the white gypsum outcroppings of the Zia Pueblo region in New Mexico, as it makes my brown skin stand out even more. And, some of my favorite rocks are situated in what I call my backyard now, Red Rock Canyon State Park right here in Las Vegas, Nevada. The reddish brown sandstone reminds me so much of my skin color, that I feel like I am part of the earth, and I really love the look and the feel of these rocks. I find that outdoor shoots are where I belong, favoring them over indoor shoots. I enjoy the hike in the desert heat and finding fun rocks to play and pose on.

This photo was taken two days ago by a friend of mine, George Kontaxis. For years, I have admired George's work. He has a natural "eye" for what looks good and has his own artistic flair. Whenever I admire a photographer, I get a bit starstruck of their talent, and this sometimes makes me too nervous to shoot, and I sometimes lack creativity. This happened when I worked with the late Douglas Kent Hall. I get mesmerized by the artist at work, and lose track of myself. At the end of the day, they are only human. As George and I sat out on the rocks after this photo was taken, we chatted about the evolution of our lives as both photographer and model. We shared common stores about being smitten by people in our industry, and then, when we finally do get to work with them, we find that they are just as human as anyone else, perhaps to a flaw, if that makes sense.

George and I talked about what we have achieved in our short careers in the physical culture industry, and where we are heading. We initially met in 2003, at the USA Bodybuilding show here in Las Vegas. I still remember George, and he was just a young man starting a photography career, and I was just starting my bodybuilding journey. We both have come a long way in the past 7 years, and we have a mutual respect and admiration for how far along we have come.

All you have to do is take a look at some of my photos from the early days, in 2003 from Bill Dobbins in Red Rock State Park. It was just after my first bodybuilding show, and I weighed in at around 175 pounds. In this photo, I weighed right at 200 pounds. Hence, the title of this post, Red Rock--revisited. I hope you enjoy the evolution of my physique and lifestyle as much as I have enjoyed the journey.

I have a feeling, the best is yet to come.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer is here!

I know it has been a couple of months since my last post, so please forgive me! I am so wrapped up this early summer in my training and living in Las Vegas that I find myself neglecting the poor Steel Universe blog! But, I will be spoiling you with lots of fun photos and stories of my life, so do not throw in the towel on me!

I had the opportunity to go to Los Angeles last month, and I got to meet some of my favorite girlfriends, which also happen to be some of the most famous Amazons on the planet in our niche of the Universe! From left to right, Yours Truly, Rebecca Swanson, Strongest Woman Ever, Kristal Toscoe, aka "Buffbunny", and Nikki Fuller, IFBB Pro/actress. We all average between 5'8-5'9 and weighed between 180-215. So, that averages out to 200 lbs a piece.

We had dinner at "Ago", an Italian restaurant in the Beverly Hills area, but we got such lousy service, I was embarrassed. It took us nearly two hours to get our food, and we were all out with health conscience folks and athletes that love food. I found out later that the restaurant is owned by Robert DeNiro...for shame! I was shocked at such lousy service, and our food was horrendous. Luckily, we had a good negotiator at our table and we only paid for our wine and appetizers. I am glad that everyone at the table were all close friends, and the company was all that mattered. Nonetheless, I hate when this happens.

I will post more later about my training and my doings this summer. Things are going very well, and I am getter stronger and harder than ever. You will see.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Self Discovery


I think that each day is an opportunity for self discovery, however small or grand that discovery may be. About oneself, and about others in our lives.

Self discovery was the main reason I returned to London, and Amsterdam most recently. I mostly travel for the sake of business, but also, most importantly, to discover. I look at everyone in the world as my own personal sage. Whether it is a person on the train, plane, a beggar, a friend, a lover, and all sentient beings. Everyone and everything has something to offer, and is put on this planet to teach. If we only could listen better--that is the challenge.

Of all the virtues in the world I value most in myself and others, are patience, an open mind, an open, kind, compassionate heart, forgiveness, and finally, acceptance, which leads to the ultimate virtue, unconditional love. Of all these virtues, forgiveness is one that I find to be the opposite of acceptance. To forgive, the premise is that someone has "wronged you", or violated you in some way. I would far rather accept someone for what he is than to forgive him for what I perceive is a wrongdoing against me. The way I see it, let people "be" and things "be" as they are. One cannot be violated if you allow it to just "be". I find I must learn to understand and not judge another's actions as a personal attack against me.

When I was living in Den Haag, Netherlands, with Saskia, I lived the lifestyle of a hardcore bodybuilder. We ate, slept, and trained bodybuilding. We did not go anywhere, so it would not disrupt our training or eating schedule. While I enjoyed the rigor and discipline, it was at the expense of living life more fully. At that time, Sas was about to make her pro debut in NYC. Nothing would impede her success on stage--we both made damn sure of that.

But, as time went on, we both became more reclusive toward each other, eventually, on completely different training schedules and diets. I can remember sneaking in yogurt and macadamia nuts in my backpack so she could not see them becasue I knew it was not on her diet. At night, I would take care of emails and perform on webcam, only for her to wake up in the middle of the night, craving Coke Zero and a cigarette. When you diet or are deprived of something, anything, you become that much more keen for it. She swears she could smell my macadamia nuts, but really, she just heard the paper wrapper. It was sheer torture to her. On top of the rigorous diet, the politics, and all the other things that go along with bodybuilding shows, it proved to be an unhealthy lifestyle in the end.

It has been two years since I last saw Sas, and I knew that she had paid a heavy spiritual, emotional, and physical toll, trying to become the best she could be. It pained me to see her go through this. But, it was just something she had to go through, and see for herself, with her own eyes, and experience it.

When I went back to visit her a few weeks ago, ever so briefly, we had a great talk about our lives. We walked the dogs on the beach, and talked for a long time. I was glad to see her, and see that she was happy. She no longer trains as a hardcore bodybuilder, even though she could step back on stage at anytime. She has disassociated herself from all the behaviors and ties with the bodybuilding world. It made my heart happy that she now enjoys her life, and her friends. It was the Sas that I always hoped would emerge from the darkness. And, I was glad to see her smile again.

As I drove around the old neighborhood and my old haunts, it was interesting to note that not much had changed. In Sas's house, I found a lot of my old clothes I forgot about, and my makeup, which was in situ, just how I had left it. The old program from the Opendag with my notes scratched on it was just where I had left it on the vanity where I used to get ready every day. It was odd to observe relics of my past.

We laughed and joked around about our lives and how some things have not changed, while other things have changed significantly. I went back mostly to make sure she was okay, and to close that chapter in my life, to turn the page, shall we say. When I am friends with someone, I make friends for life, and I always care about their well being. Before our visit, she was not ready for me, for her own reasons.

I am glad to know that she accepted my visit, and we are moving forward in our lives, and discovering ourselves in a new way every day.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reflection


This photo was taken by Bill Dobbins at Red Rock State Park, Las Vegas, Nevada in 2003, just a week after my first bodybuilding show. I entitled this post "Reflection", not only because it is appropriate for the photo, but what we all need to do from time to time in our lives. And not just superficial thinking, but deep reflection.
When I reflect upon my life, I think about it as a journey and the many paths I have taken in my life. Each one, ever so carefully chosen. I used to get anxiety about the direction I am going to move in next, and what I want to do. I think it takes maturity and confidence to move forward in life and have the confidence that whatever direction you choose, you do so with courage and zest. Particularly when it comes to change. As much as most humans are creatures of habit, and do not like major lifestyle changes, it is inevitable. Even if that change has perceived negative outcomes, or even glaringly bleak outcomes, one must overcome and even embrace the change. Initially, change is painful and undesired. However, over time, one can become acclimated to the change. And, in the end, it's not so bad after all. Change is the natural course of life, and, in fact, the only thing that is constant in our lives. We are not the same person we were 10 years ago, yesterday, or even five minutes ago. That is why I find it interesting to look back at old photos, my writing, and even reflect back to old thoughts in my life. Have you ever looked back at a photo of yourself or something you wrote, and thought, "What was I thinking back then?" I also like the nostalgic component to these artifacts. And, to know the journey I have taken from where I was to where I am now, and embrace and even fantasize where I will be.
A year before this photo was taken, I did my first photo shoot with Bill, in the desert of New Mexico near my home. I competed in NABBA Figure at that time, a scaled down version of bodybuilding. As Bill peered through his lens at me, he exclaimed in a nonchalant manner, "Amber, why don't you just compete in bodybuilding?" And that was that, I was sold. I replied, "Sure, why not?" Sage advice from the premier womens' physique photographer and world acclaimed leading authority on womens' bodybuilding does not come easily. As I got to know Bill over the years, I learned that he does not lavish anyone with compliments.
So, this photo is symbolic of my journey into the future. When I look into my eyes back in 2003, I see there is desire, and hunger. I remember how eager I was to make my way in the bodybuilding industry, and make my mark. And, it was not to just become the best competitive bodybuilder on stage. It was more about the evolution of my body, mind, and spirit. And what an amazing journey it has been. While I was never uncomfortable in front of a camera lens, particularly someone of Bill's stature, I do remember feeling somewhat awkward about nudity in front of the lens. As I learned more about my body, posing, movement, and body language, I gained more confidence in my posing style. I now know that often times, when a pose feels really strange, that, oddly enough, it turns out to be magnificent on film. It's all about not having fear of what something is going to look like, and having the confidence to contort myself in seemingly strange ways. This was the journey of self discovery for me, and Bill certainly showed me the way and gave me that inspiration.
This bodily contortion also gave me the inner confidence to know that even if something feels awkward, it can be beautiful, in all areas of my life. So, getting out of that comfort zone is important, and not getting stuck in a rut. While there is merit in repetition, routine, and regimes, as this builds consistency and discipline, we also must know how to make minor changes to these things to enhance them to make our lives better.
Since this photo was taken, I talk to Bill from time to time. We reflect on our lives and the paths we have chosen. And, I always thank him for inspiring me to become what I have always dreamed of, and capturing my essence on film in a way that I only fantasized about.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crowd Teasers at the Arnold


While at the Arnold Classic, I met Hayley McNeff. I had only seen photos of her online, but she is a stick of dynamite in person! We had fun at the Hyatt Bar, teasing local fans, where I proceeded to school Hayley in the fine art of reverse head scissors and headlocks on grown men. Kristal, aka "Buffbunny" was there to make sure I was properly fueled with tequila with camera in hand. Gene Hwang of www.Genex.com was there to capture the festivities on film until his camera ran out of battery juice. That deserved a serious ass kicking in an of itself, but I let him slide this time.

Hayley, in her early 20's, just began competing in bodybuilding a few years ago. Let's just say she has an extremely bright future in whatever she chooses to do in the physique industry, as she has amazing lines and a beautiful face.

I just decided to post these photos, as teasing the crowd and interacting with them is perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of being in this industry.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I am back in Albuquerque!

I finally made it home to Albuquerque. Amsterdam was great, got to finally meet Xander and Lethal Veronica and did a bit of videowork. Xander makes it to the USA a few times a year. He has a great eye for vidwork, and I will most certainly be shooting with him again. Then it was off to Den Haag to visit Sas and my old friends at Kneets. I will make a more comprehensive post, but I am on a weird schedule again, recovering from my jet lag and being in five different time zones in the past few days tends to make me just want to sleep like a cat. All day, and whenever I want...LOL! I had a great visit everywhere I went. NYC turned out to be quite busy as well, as I did some video shoots with a couple of great guys. Also, I performed my first overhead lift and carry; something I have been wanting to do for quite some time, but never really practiced it. The liftee was 150 pounds, but once I nailed it, I lifted him several times, and I captured it all on video! So, my mid to lower back is a bit tight, and a little sore, but not in pain. It's an "okay" kind of sore, and not "bad", if you know what I mean. I will post more later, but I am going back to sleep.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Leaving London for Amsterdam

London is one of my favorite cities in the world. It reminds me of NYC, only with older buildings and an entirely different judicial system and culture. Until you really spend a lot of time in London, an American will always feel like an outsider. They have a different language and jargon, euphemisms, and humour, and if you are not keen, you will miss it entirely.

Amsterdam, on the other hand, is much more earthy, and the people are a true melting pot. Perhaps it has to do with people riding around on bikes, public transportation and mini cars that humbles humanity. It is such a beautiful thing that the Dutch could give a fuck less about what kind of transporation they have! I have to get up very early for my fight, and I must ensure I do not get to the airport too late. So, I will post more later when I am well rested.

Cheerio!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Arnold Classic Expo 2010




I made it to the Arnold Classic bodybuilding event this year. The last time I was there was in 2008. I appeared at Quincy Taylor's booth for www.Probodybuilding.com and had a lot of fun. Brandy Mae on left. Isn't she a cutie pie? I will write more later, but I have to catch the Russian Turkish Bath house here in NYC to sweat out the toxins and tequila (and vodka!) that has built up on my body for the past few weeks. I bought a punch pass a year and half ago and I only have one visit used out of seven.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kneet's Gym, Opendag, Den Haag, Netherlands, February 2008




Peter Kneetman, owner of Kneet's gym in Den Haag, Netherlands, held an opendag, or an open house for the community to visit with all of the resident bodybuilders. It was a great turn out.
Since Sas, Peter, and I were all training partners, people were used to seeing us at the gym, but in a non social manner, because we were too busy trying to lift heavy weights and pack on muscle---all serious business. A lot of former bodybuilders turned up and it turned into one big party, everyone posing for the community and it was a lot of fun. It was at this juncture when I was over there, that I learned that the Dutch take their work and play very seriously, and they never discount holidays and the good life and times with family and friends. I will never forget how the community in Den Haag treated me, and accepted me as one of thier own, and I will be glad to return in just another week to say hello to my old friends.

Long Hiatus!


I generally apologize for not posting in the blog for so long. In one way, I am very sorry to my dear friends who have been following my blog and have noticed that there has been a bit of a lag in my posts. Well, after the European tour in October, I decided to take a brief hiatus from my work, as it becomes quite exhausting and takes a lot of energy. A big part of my business is getting stronger, and focusing on my own training regime. So, I decided to throw myself into my training, and relaxing around the holidays, at the expense of the blog and other business related things. There is a time and place for everything, and all things in life have a natural cycle, and I have learned to not defy my body's own natural cycles, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I allow my heart to guide the direction of my life, and when this happens, I am always happy and I grow.
As a woman ages, I think she gets better with time, physically and emotionally. It is her duty to listen to what her mind, body and spirit is telling her at all times. This goes for men as well. But, I can only speak from my own experience. I feel stronger, and healthier than ever now that I have taken some rest from travel and business pursuits and tune into my body.
I have written in my earlier post that I am going to pursue my Russian Kettlebell Certification. I am confident that I will make the certification requirement with the 16kg of 100 snatches in the five minute test. Around November, I did the 5 minute test with a 20kg and made 100 snatches. Although, I did it "Hardstyle", and there is a big difference between the way one holds the RKB and hand positioning. So, I bought several instructional DVDs from Mike Mahler, and have been studying his form on the basic lifts. I met him for a one on one instructional lesson, and he fine tuned my hand positioning for the snatches, that will ultimately save my hands. I think with the hardstyle form, it will be all too easy to get blisters on the hand, and also, it precludes form high level snatching with anything over 20-24kg. So, I am going to begin focusing on this movement. Also, heavy swings always do the trick for conditioning as well.
I am currently at the Arnold Classic, and I have not been to this show in two years. The last time I was her was when I was with Saskia in 2007. So, it will be great to meet and greet fans again. After that, I am off to London and Amsterdam to meet Saskia! She is going open a nutritional store in her home town, Den Haag, and I am so happy for her. I just began taking an amazing product, and I am pleased to show her so she and her clients can reap the benefits. I have never felt so vibrant and energetic, not to mention, calm and balanced. If you would like more information on the product, you may contact me via email personally at gladiatorgirl@aol.com . I am so excited to visit Sas and Peter at Kneet's Gym in Den Haag! I haven't seen them all in over two years now.
This Spring, aside from the RKB certification in April in Minneapolis, I am going to focus on much more artistic work for the website. I am also in the process of revamping it, and this is quite a big project. So, it has been in the works as well. When I take time off from the blog or creative writing, it's all for good reason and self improvement! I am also working with a Turkish illustrator/artist, and we are going to begin work on a fantasy book. He does some amazing fantasy sketches. Mostly erotic images of demons, creatures, and me doing what I do. I get turned on looking at these images! I will ask him for permission to post one here. Just to give you a little teaser. I will write the fantasy stories and he will do the illustrations. I am hoping we can pitch it to a big publishing company like Taschen. I think it will be very unique and I am anxious to begin writing the stories.
I will also be making another guest appearance in San Diego March 28-31 for the American Indian Institute, Oklahoma University Native Wellness Conference at the Town Center Hotel. I was a keynote speaker in 2003 for this organization. You may email me for more information.
So, as you can see, it has been a very busy and productive first quarter of the year. I am looking forward to sharing more exciting news with you soon, so please stay tuned!