Interview with Bodybuilder Rene Marven

•April 9, 2011 • 4 Comments

New Wave: Stunning Rene Marven is poised to be the next young bodybuilding star.

Even before capturing the overall title at her first show, Rene Marven was already one of the hottest young bodybuilding prospects of the year. Nearing show time, the fresh-faced, strikingly muscular personal trainer from Poughkeepsie, New York caught the attention of several photographers at the Arnold; and a few weeks later, her outstanding physique similarly dazzled the judges, who awarded her top honors at the INBF Northern States Super Natural in Buffalo. In case you missed it, here’s her posing routine from that show.

Rene has made great strides in the sport since beginning as a figure girl, fit body and even best body swimsuit contestant only three years ago. But her athletic background traces back even further, with solid roots in gymnastics and cheerleading. Having just turned 24 she’s just getting started, and fans can expect to see the blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty for a long time to come.

Speaking of sights, Rene will be appearing at a booth today and judging at the Metroland Championships taking place in Troy, New York near the state capital of Albany. She shared this and much more — including an update on her training progress, thoughts on the new physique division, and some candid insights on issues involved with choosing different federations — in our latest interview.

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Dean: Growing up as a gymnast and cheerleader, you must have gotten a lot of attention being so athletic and fit. Did you win many arm wrestling matches over classmates and teammates or get asked to flex often?

Rene: “Funny! I actually did win an arm wrestling match in high school against a guy two years older than me… he wasn’t very happy! I also challenged a football player to a ‘dip contest’… how many dips we could do, I lost — but only by a 1/2 rep… still pretty impressed with myself on that!” ;)

Dean: Now that you’ve competed successfully as a bodybuilder, what sort of reactions have you gotten from friends and family on your phenomenal physique progress? Have you inspired anyone you know to begin working out or to train harder?

Powerful Package: The 5-foot-2, 134-pound former gymnast and cheerleader shows off her splendidly shaped physique.

Rene: “I’ve got nothing but good reactions! My family and friends are impressed and excited to see what’s next on my agenda… I also have been getting many emails from prospective clients — very happy about that!”

Dean: I read that you really enjoy competing as a bodybuilder as opposed to the other divisions because of the posing round. Can you describe the feeling being on stage and showing off for the audience?

Rene: “There really is nothing like that feeling. I thought it would be similar to how I felt during cheerleading/gymnastics events, but it was so much better than that! I felt like a star and everyone was there to see me (not really, but it felt like it). I can’t wait to hit the stage again!!”

Dean: You’ve no doubt heard about the new women’s physique division coming out this year. What’s your personal take on the addition? Is it something you may want to try or are you set on pursuing a WNBF/INBF pro bodybuilding championship?

Rene: “I have heard good things about that new division, actually seems quite similar to INBF Ms. Fit Body with the addition of the posing round. I do like the idea, but want to see a few shows before making a decision for myself. ;) I’ve always enjoyed competing with the INBF working towards earning a WNBF pro-card, but never actually planned out what I would do if I won…

“The WNBF has many rules, such as no outside photo shoots, appearing in magazines (besides NB&F), and it even costs more money to enter pro shows… Not to sound like I am complaining, they are just things one must consider when deciding whether to try a new organization or stick with the WNBF. For me, it only makes sense to leave this organization and continue pursuing fitness modeling and other personal goals which I have been doing as an amateur competitor.

“As of right now, I haven’t decided on a contest. All I can say for sure is that I will stick with Bodybuilding a few more times, and perhaps switch over to Physique once that takes off.”

Strong Progress: Rene cites shoulders and rear delts as examples of her improvement over the past year. She also clearly owns the industry's most popular back biceps shot of the moment.

Dean: Any upcoming appearances scheduled?

Rene: “This Saturday I will be judging the Metroland Championships, a non-sanctioned Bodybuilding Competition in Troy, New York! I will have a booth set up in the lobby during the show with some sale items and training information… Before the Finals I will be hanging out there a while for photos, autographs, etc. Should be a fun day! As far as competing myself, I haven’t decided on a contest yet. (Still training & dieting like I am entering a show.)”

Dean: As far as training goes, what are some improvements you’re looking to make and what are some others you are most proud of so far?

Rene: “I am very happy with my legs as far as size goes, but I am working on improving them for competition — leaner, more defined, better separation are what I am conditioning them for! I am most proud of my shoulders, specifically rear delts which I’ve made the most improvement over the last year and a half, more than any other body part. I think that is something that helped with my switch from Figure into BB.”

Dean: Many of our fans are curious about those random muscle moments you ladies sometimes get from the average person. Have you ever surprised anyone at the gym or even out in public with your strength or physique?

Changes Ahead?: No matter what division she chooses -- bodybuilding or physique -- we won't be able to resist watching Rene flex those arms.

Rene: “In the gym I am usually ‘covered’ wearing pants and sweatshirts… but as I approach competitions I will practice my posing in shorts/sports bra tops and sometimes I get the look… ‘That’s what’s under there?’ LOL! Sometimes people comment (good feedback) but most assume I am preparing for something and just watch. It’s later that I will receive emails or facebook messages usually starting with ‘I didn’t want to bother you in the gym…’ Those are the best!” ;)

Dean: Rene, thanks so much for doing this interview. Is there anything else I can help you promote (website, business, personal training) or any specific shout outs you’d like to give before we finish? Hope we can catch up again and good luck in your next show!

Rene: “You are very welcome! I do have a personal website, Rene, where I offer training programs, meal plans, contest coaching, etc… Check it out! :)

“I am also an affiliate of Six Pack Bags, the best cooler/gym bags around! Save 10% online at Six Pack Bags using my promo code RMARVEN. I’d also like to make a shout out to Terry Benedetto who is my competition suit sponsor. She made me two gorgeous suits for Figure and BB finals (night routine), and the perfect black (wet look) posing suit for BB prejudging! Check her out online at

“Thanks again! Stay in touch and I will let you know when the next show for me will be!”

Fitness Nationals Champ Stacy Wright Joins Pros in New York

•April 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Fitness in the City: Stacy Wright looks to take a bite out of the Big Apple at the New York Pro.

Stacy Wright is headed back to Manhattan for the New York Pro Fitness Championships on Saturday. It will be the IFBB debut for the reigning Fitness Nationals overall winner, who claimed her pro card last summer in nearby Hackensack, New Jersey.

Stacy’s excited and ready for the chance to share the stage with many pros whom she’s looked up to for years. “I’ve worked harder than I ever have before,” she blogged on preparing for her pro debut. “I had to step up my game. I want to prove that giving me a pro card at Team Universe last year was the right decision!”

It was and she will.

The West Virginia native is known for creative, high energy routines and powerful strength moves and can be counted on to bring serious skills to the pro stage. Even though she’ll be mixing it up with some crafty veterans, Stacy has plenty of reason to be confident and the fiercely talented rookie could easily make the top five.

About a month out from the show, she showed some moves in this great video from her practice studio — I love how the open space of the room captures the force of her athletic flips and landings with thunderous echoes — and talked to the camera about adding 15 to 20 pounds of muscle since beginning seven years ago. Stacy continues to be a wonderful ambassador for the sport she loves, always offering to help women thinking of giving it a try.

Good luck to Stacy in the great Big Apple. Meanwhile, here’s a highlight reel of our blonde fitness star in sporty workout wear displaying her chiseled back and biceps during a shoot back in 2009.

Figure Competitor Dawn Fernandez Coming Soon

•April 2, 2011 • 2 Comments

Desert Gym Rat: Phoenix figure girl Dawn Fernandez

We see quite a bit of downsizing lately with figure to bikini crossovers so it’s good to find a new athlete take a turn towards upsizing her physique. Dawn Fernandez, sixth-place in her bikini class at Nationals last year, has shifted to the figure ranks and you’ll be seeing more of her transformation progress soon on the studio.

In a feature for models observer, the 41-year-old mother of three reveals her competitive journey began in 2009 with a classic bikini division win at Fitness Universe. But the Phoenix, Arizona resident refused to put the weights down and began training harder to build muscle for what became a memorable figure debut, a tall class and overall title at the NPC Western Regional last November.

More recently, an impressive sixth-place finish in class E at the Arnold Amateur — where her photoshoot took place — provides further proof that Dawn’s future at this level continues to look bright. “So much happier as a figure competitor,” she shared with me recently. “Not sure what is next, just training and adding a little size here and there. Will keep you posted though!”

Sacramento Figure Champ Jami DeBernard Debuts

•March 27, 2011 • 1 Comment

An updated version of my earlier post on Jami revised with new pictures from her shoot posted this weekend.

Jami DeBernard

Time to catch up with figure star Jami DeBernard, winner of both the open and masters figure divisions at the NPC Sacramento Championships in her hometown. Over fifty figure competitors took the stage at this show held last November.

As she details on her website, Jami’s passion for health & fitness began in her early teens, driven to compete and motivated by icons like Rachel McLish. During high school, when she was seemingly the only girl in the gym, the isolation didn’t faze her. In fact, she welcomed the challenge of lifting weights alongside the boys, eventually developing enough skill and strength to win a state title in powerlifting.

Now a successful teacher, certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and mother of two, Jami is beginning to make serious waves on the figure stage. Her latest win in California’s capital comes on the heels of an impressive top-five finish in class-D at 2010 Nationals.

After such a strong finish to her season, Jami has earned a spot in the discussion of pro card contenders this year.

The former powerlifter turned figure girl demonstrates great flexibility while showing sharply defined abs and legs during her shoot.

Figure Girl’s Early Season Charge

•March 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Professional contest coach, personal trainer and longtime studio sweetheart Sandy Scamman of Las Vegas added another highlight to her early contest season, winning the E-class at the NPC San Diego Figure Championships last Saturday night. Sandy’s hot streak began earlier this month when she claimed second place in the masters tall class at the Arnold Amateur, which was perhaps an even better accomplishment considering the level of international competition involved there.

On her website, Sandy notes significant improvements to her lower half during the offseason, writing, “I am seeing an appreciable difference in the development of my lower body…expecting going into shows with more balance and muscle maturity than ever before!” So far, her hard work has been justifiably rewarded. Sandy plans to hit the stage again at the Orange County Muscle Classic on April 16th in Anaheim, California.

Erin Stern Muscles Up Before Contest Win

•March 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

An entertaining video from Erin Stern features the reigning Figure Olympia champ out and about in Melbourne, Australia last weekend just prior to competing at — and eventually winning — the 2011 Australian Pro.

In an impressive feat of strength worthy of a strongman event, the world’s premiere figure athlete hoists a huge, 240-pound iron walking frame and efficaciously carries it back and forth without so much as breaking a sweat.

Strength and beauty at its finest, an inventive way to burn a few calories and a “Stern” warning that Erin — despite finishing second to her closest rival, Nicole Wilkins, at the Figure International — isn’t fading anytime soon. The strapping Floridian will be in the running for a second consecutive Olympia crown later this year.

Bodybuilder Rene Marven Coming Soon

•March 19, 2011 • 4 Comments

Youth Movement: New WNBF Pro Rene Marven

Rene Marven, a 24-year-old personal trainer out of Poughkeepsie, New York, will take the stage today at the INBF Northern States Super Natural. This will mark the bodybuilding debut for the athletic former gymnast and cheerleader, who started competing in figure back in 2007.

As you can see, she’s added a substantial amount of muscle since then, and now the impressively sculpted 5-foot-2, 134-pound youngster is excited about this new challenge and ready for a posedown this weekend in Buffalo.

Likewise, we’re excited because during the stretch run of her prep for this competition, Rene did a photoshoot with the studio at the Arnold. New galleries and video, along with results from her show, coming up very soon.

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Update: Rene won the heavyweight and overall title in her bodybuilding debut over the weekend, capturing a WNBF pro card. Here’s the video she shared of her winning routine. Congratulations to this very promising young competitor!


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