Former Soccer Star Courtney Cross Kicks Into Figure

•December 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Courtney’s stats—Age 27, Height 5’5”, Weight 134 (142 off season). Figure Competitor and Personal Trainer from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Getting to Know You: Courtney Cross—Age 27, Height 5’5”, Weight 134 (142 off season). Figure Competitor and Personal Trainer from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

We’re proud to introduce one of our latest models, Courtney Cross, who recently made her photo shoot debut at the Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A charming newcomer, Courtney enjoyed posing for our cameras enough to do an extra segment with an outfit change in between. Along with her black dress samples featured in this article, you’ll see her in a bikini later on. “Fitness modeling is so new to me but I am loving it!” she said in a short interview this week.

The 27-year-old from Albuquerque, New Mexico finished second in her first ever figure show and this was her rookie season as a national-level competitor. Along with Nationals, Courtney appeared in Las Vegas at the USAs, missing the top 15 each time and opening up speculation that the 5-foot-5, 134-pound brunette was too muscular for the division and would soon switch to women’s physique. But Courtney deflected rumors of an impending crossover, pledging to stick with figure for at least the early part of 2014. “I love my heels,” she said.

Courtney smiles for a picture during her shoot at last month's NPC Nationals.

Athletic Beauty: Courtney smiles for a picture during a shoot at last month’s NPC Nationals.

Courtney has made great improvements in her training this year, citing significant progress in abs, back and shoulders. Like most hungry competitors, she’s proud but not yet satisfied. With her upper body coming along nicely, her focus remains on legs. Dense and powerful from years of playing high school and division-II college soccer at an elite level—her athletic background also includes gymnastics and track—Courtney’s now trying to get her legs leaner for the figure stage.

She credits a natural competitiveness as the impetus for starting in figure. Friends, family and especially her mom (“My number one fan,” she says) have embraced her fitness journey, shouting words of encouragement and motivation. Her transformation over the past two years has taken many who hadn’t seen her in a while by surprise. “They were shocked at the muscle I had packed on,” she said.

Courtney turned even more heads when she deadlifted 305 pounds at her gym in New Mexico, Defined Fitnesswhere she’s also a trainer—setting a personal best and proving that hers are some of the stronger legs in the division. “You did that?” someone said, astonished that she lifted such an extraordinary weight.

For Courtney—a former two-time soccer team captain who once drove the ball an amazing 40 yards for a goal as a defensive player—it was just another considerable athletic achievement to add to her list.

Photoshoot Recap: NPC Nationals 2013

•November 30, 2013 • 1 Comment
Young Star: Courtney Cox poses during her debut shoot at the NPC Nationals.

Young Star: Courtney Cross poses during her debut shoot at the NPC Nationals.

The 2013 NPC Nationals last weekend was another huge event worthy of the last pro qualifier of the season. It was a record-setting show for the Studio as well, as we’ve got ten brand new faces to introduce to the site out of 11 shoots in all, pretty good considering it was windy and rainy for most of the time in Ft. Lauderdale this year.

Toni Wheeler is the lone reprise from this show, in her second shoot this year after North Americans. The former fitness turned physique competitor finished 11th in her class. The weather gave us a break and we’ve got the bubbly, bulked-up Toni outside in the sun this time.

Now it’s on to the new girls, beginning with Kendall Lou Schmidt, a longtime personal trainer and fitness instructor from Sacramento, California. The 5-foot-8, 135-pound former varsity water polo athlete is presently a bikini competitor but could be switching to figure. She has a degree in biological science from UC-Davis and is a contestant in this year’s Bodyspace spokesmodel search. Here’s her video.

Next is Courtney Cross, a figure competitor in her second national level show after the USAs. The 27-year-old didn’t place in her class and might be headed for the physique division. Courtney had so much fun during the shoot that she gave us another half hour or so of video wearing a bikini later on. A little overtime flexing, you gotta love that.

Linda Crossley is a freshly-minted IFBB figure girl from Lou’s hometown of Cleveland. The 34-year-old won her card at the USAs. Check out a video commemorating her win.

Fresh Faces: Jackie Faine is one of a host of new models coming soon to the site from the 2013 Nationals shoots.

Fresh Faces: Jackie Faine is one of a host of new models coming soon.

Back to the physique division with Katelyn Hasley, who competed and placed sixth in her class. The weather was good enough to shoot on the beach for this one. Katelyn is a fitness coach from the Bay Area and was physique winner at the San Francisco Championships last year.

Bikini standout Melissa Allen didn’t place in class D but is a rising star from Tampa, Florida. Kelly, our editor, also happens to be her coach.

Next we have Chicago’s Jackie Faine, who we met at this year’s Jr. Nationals but didn’t have time to shoot with—until now. After finishing fourth in her class over the summer, Jackie didn’t place in Florida, which makes you wonder what the heck the judges were seeing. Nonetheless, we’ve got plenty of good stuff to come including some armwrestling footage (more on that later). For more on Jackie, check out our interview from a few months back.

Figure girl Alli Stauss was getting her vibe on and moving to the music in this, her debut shoot by the pool. Allie finished fifth at the recent North Americans but slipped to 13th at Nationals in Florida, further evidence that the trend was softer this time. Overall, this wasn’t a good show for the slightly more muscular figure girls.

On the other hand, Amanda Leigh came up top five in her physique class and we were the only site to get a hold of this new talent. Some artistic stuff in this shoot for sure.

Finally, we have Falon Stacey, a 5-foot-8, 155-pound three sport athlete. This shoot is packed with content. Falon did some armwrestling against Jackie Faine and some other photographers, and there’s lift and carry and training action as well. Falon does pull ups and works out with 20lb dumbbells before posing, showing how this former bikini competitor is moving all the way up to physique. A video interview with the blonde powerhouse is part of this shoot capping off another Nationals weekend.

Stay tuned for more pics, clips and info from these shoots and more.

Olivia Moschetti’s Spokesmodel Contest Video

•November 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Figure girl Olivia Moschetti poses during her shoot at this year's NPC USAs.

Figure girl Olivia Moschetti poses during her shoot at this year’s NPC USAs.

Olivia Moschetti, one of our new young guns on the site, is throwing her hat in the race for the annual Spokesmodel of the Year award on Bodyspace. The 23-year-old figure competitor and personal trainer posted her profile video to YouTube earlier this week which you can check out here. Olivia was also named member of the month for October at the website; for more, click here to read an interview with the athlete out of Arvada, Colorado.

News and Notes

•November 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment
IFBB Fitness Pro Ashley Sebera

Fitness Pro Ashley Sebera had a busy year.

Ashley Sebera competed in four shows in 2013 and her pro fitness career is off to a splendid start. She placed seventh at the Toronto Pro, fifth at the Tampa Pro and finished the season with another top five in Phoenix. Shortly before heading out to Arizona, the Cleveland beauty was in Spain competing at the Arnold Classic Europe. Here’s a video of her routine; she took 12th last month in Madrid.

IFBB Fitness Pro Kelcie Gahley

Fitness Pro Kelcie Gahley shines in Alaska.

In more pro fitness news, Kelcie Gahley (aka Mighty Mouse) took the stage in her first ever guest performance at the 2013 NPC Midnight Sun Championships this past weekend in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. Here’s an excellent video capturing the 20-year-old showing her skills at Shawn and Cinzia Clapp’s show out in the great Northwest.

Nicole Logan takes on physique division.

Nicole Logan takes on physique division.

It was good timing for our latest update of Nicole Logan. The figure competitor had not competed for awhile to focus on school, but resurfaced over the summer at a local show in her home state of Tennessee. This time she tried the physique division and finished second!

Erica Cordie has a new website.

Erica Cordie has a new website.

Fans waiting for more extensive coverage of one time bodybuilder Erica Cordie may have to wait a bit longer, but now there is the new EricaCordieStrong.com. The popular muscle model from Las Vegas announced the launch a couple days ago on her fan page. The site is rather short on content so far but features several autographed pictures and a calendar for sale.

Healthier Danny J Recovering After Metabolic Damage

•November 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Walking Away: Danny J during a shoot in 2009 after one of her last shows. “I do not miss competing. I did for awhile, but now I enjoy what I have been doing, volunteering, mentoring others,

Walking Away: Danny J in 2009 after one of her last shows. “I do not miss competing.” she says today. “I did for awhile, but now I enjoy what I have been doing, volunteering, mentoring others…”

A tale about the dark side of competing has a happy ending. Many fans already know former figure girl Danny J stepped away from the stage a few years ago after some intense contest prep and dieting—heavy carb-depletion, three-hour cardio, etc—brought on unsteady post-contest weight gain and severe metabolic damage. It led to physical and emotional struggles that baffled even one of the best and most sought-after personal trainers. She talks about it here.

Danny consulted countless doctors and professionals and tirelessly researched her condition to find answers. She shared her findings for women in similar situations, documenting her progress in more videos (click to see parts one and two of her Fixing my Metabolism series), and thankfully now reports to be almost fully recovered.

The dream to win a pro card in this sport will always be a top quest, but it’s profoundly counterproductive when extreme dieting and contest prep starve bodies and jeopardize the health, well-being and happiness that is kind of the point of being in shape in the first place.

Always a favorite even before she came on our site, Danny is still one of the most popular and knowledgeable of all personal trainers and nutrition experts as well as one of the friendliest personalities in the industry. It wasn’t easy but her MD battle left her stronger and smarter than ever; it’s wonderful to hear she’s feeling happier and healthier these days.

I was happy recently to have caught up with her to get a bit of the scoop on her move from Las Vegas to Dallas, how she’s been doing and what she’s up to lately.

* * *

Dean: You relocated not too long ago after being pretty well established in Las Vegas. Have you enjoyed the move? How is Dallas treating you?

Healthy Glow: Danny J still does personal training, but is happy and enjoying life away from the competitive stage. Photo credit: Matt Faxon Photography.

Healthy Glow: Danny J still does personal training, but is happy and enjoying life away from the competitive stage. Photo credit: Matt Faxon Photography.

Danny J: “I had a hard time actually moving but I’ve been in Dallas a year now and I LOVE it. Vegas will always be home, but I love being in between New York and LA and I have been traveling a lot. Flights are cheap in and out of Dallas.”

Dean: I know you suffered from metabolic damage and are no longer competing. Has your body fully recovered from those effects? Are you feeling healthier?

Danny J: “I have not fully recovered but I am feeling 100% healthier. The last thing I need to do to recover is take a REAL break and I plan on doing that this December.”

Dean: Do you miss competing at all or are you happier not having to deal with the stresses and hazards of the dieting and contest prep? Are you still doing personal training?

Danny J: “I do not miss competing. I did for awhile, but now I enjoy what I have been doing, volunteering, mentoring others, travel, etc. I do still do personal training, but it is less and less and more and more of training TRAINERS on their businesses and social media.”

Dean: Are you still involved in the industry such as going to shows, expos or doing photoshoots?

Danny J: “Yes, I just went to the Dallas Europa and the Olympia, but I’ll be honest, I hope that will be my last expo. I have just found that I can make more money doing other things and helping more people than I can working at booth. My favorite part of booth work has and always will be meeting and talking to old friends and fans.”

Dean: You’re about to launch a new website with some interesting stuff that I can tell you’re excited about it. Can you share a little bit about this new chapter of your health and fitness life? When will the site debut and what kind of vision and goals do you have in mind?

Danny J: “I just started a new business this year called Social Academy, where my friend and I teach others how we have had success and make money on Social media. I also have a workshop called Inspiration & Perspiration which is the project I am MOST proud of. I bring 35 women together for a very empowering weekend that is life changing. I can’t be happier with the direction that I am going now and it took my struggles and my journey to get here.”

Personal Trainer, Bikini Pro Crystal Green Climbs IFBB Ranks

•November 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Bikini Perfectection—Colorado pro Crystal Green is one of the best young stars in the division. Count on her securing a spot at next year’s IFBB Olympia.

Bikini Perfection—Colorado pro Crystal Green is one of the best young stars in the division.

Our roster of prime-time bikini talent grows with the recent introduction of Crystal Green. The radiant pro from Colorado is on a steady roll this season and has been a top finisher ever since she began competing at the pro level. Her most recent show, last weekend’s Iowa Pro, was one of her best. She finished fourth in Davenport, marking the second time the brunette beauty placed in the top five in an IFBB show.

In fact, in all four pro shows she’s appeared so far, Crystal has never finished any worse than seventh. The tremendous results of late represent substantial improvement for a competitor who didn’t even place in her first three national-level shows. But that changed around this time last year and with the 2013 NPC Nationals only two weeks away in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, we’re approaching the anniversary of the defining moment for the 28-year-old. Indeed, it was at last year’s Nationals in Atlanta, where Crystal—who is originally from Georgia—beat over 40 women to win class C and earn her pro card. She’s been challenging the top pros ever since.

Not surprisingly, Crystal is more than just an elite bikini competitor; she’s an accomplished athlete with a voluminous sports background. Before slipping into bikini heels in 2011, she participated in softball, basketball, gymnastics, cheerleading, dancing and track & field. Crystal was even a member of the United States Marines for several years beginning when she was just a teenager. Now a certified personal trainer, she holds degrees in Physical Therapy from Auburn University and in Exercise Science from Colorado State University.

We were able to catch up with Crystal, looking positively exquisite, at the recent Olympia just a few weeks out from her contest in Houston. Don’t be surprised if next fall, the emerging 5-foot-6, 122-pound young pro is on stage in Las Vegas competing in her first Bikini Olympia.

Actually, bet on it—Crystal’s that good.

Looking Up: Count on her securing a spot at next year’s IFBB Olympia.

Looking Up: Count on Crystal securing a spot at next year’s IFBB Olympia and be sure to visit and “like” her fanpage.

Interview with Figure Competitor Danyelle Mastarone

•October 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Tiny but Mighty: National-Level Figure Competitor Danyelle Mastarone.

Tiny But Mighty: National-Level Figure Competitor Danyelle Mastarone.

During her early days in cheerleading, Danyelle Mastarone was one of the smallest girls, usually called a flyer, climbing to the top of high wire stunts and using explosive strength and a strong core to balance herself during basket tosses and giant human pyramids. Today, she’s striving for a similar outcome as a figure competitor, hoping to muscle her way to the pinnacle of the NPC figure ranks and ultimately earn an IFBB pro card.

The 34-year-old also played softball in addition to cheerleading, but sports haven’t always been an easy fit for the 4-foot-9 brunette shortie from Pittsburgh. Fortunately, she discovered figure competitions a few years ago and soon made her debut in the spring of 2010. She took an immediate liking to it and has made lasting friendships in figure; furthermore, she’s delighted to be part of a sport where height wasn’t a hurdle to overcome and she could finally be considered an athlete.

Danyelle is making the most of this exciting new opportunity, rising to the national level and taking 11th in a competitive class at the recent North Americans, where her new photo shoot took place. She continues to make progress—sporting excellent calves, quads and abs in addition to improved back and delts.

We caught up with Danyelle recently to find out more about one of our newest models on the site, learning that she’s not only been under the spotlights as a competitor but also experienced life on the other side in judge’s row. As an NPC judge, she’s been smart and supportive, helpfully jotting down notes for fellow athletes to develop anything from their physiques to important details like presentation and stage presence.

The duel role as judge and competitor—she’s also a personal trainer and competition prep coach—has helped Danyelle become a better competitor and she’s determined to improve her overall look with every show, “one lunge at a time,” she says.

* * *

Danyelle’s stats: Age: 34 Height: 4’9” Weight: 105 (offseason) Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. - Home of the NPC!

Danyelle’s stats: Age: 34 Height: 4’9” Weight: 105 (offseason) Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. – “Home of the NPC!”

Dean: What kind of sports did you play growing up and throughout high school or college? Are athletics what led you to compete?

Danyelle: My small stature and petite frame didn’t exactly lend itself to many sports. Although I did play community league softball, I was more of your dancer/cheerleader. And of course, I was the girl on top of the pyramids! One of the aspects I love most about bodybuilding/figure is finally being an athlete.

Dean: Could you give some of your contest history? What shows are you planning to do next?

Danyelle: My first competition was in the spring of 2010, where I placed first in the Novice Figure A Category! I continued to compete at the regional level and took home a 1st place in the Open Category in 2012, which allowed me to compete at Nationals. I have competed in a total of 10 shows, including twice at the North American National Championships. With each show, I have made improvements and know my best is yet to come!

Dean: How has your training been going? Which improvements to your physique have made you most proud lately and are there any areas you are trying to tighten up?

Danyelle: About a year ago I changed up both my training and nutrition, and started working with my current (fabulous) coach. I don’t like to brag…but since you asked…I am so proud of my back and rear delts. Formerly my weak points, they are the strongest part of my physique right now. And the endless battle continues to tighten up my glutes, although they came in significantly tighter than ever before at my last show in August.

Making Gains: Danyelle is proud of improvements she's made to her back and rear delts.

Making Gains: Danyelle is proud of improvements she’s made to her back and rear delts.

Dean: Have family and friends been supportive of your competitive lifestyle? What type of comments have you gotten?

Danyelle: I have the most amazing husband, family and group of girlfriends. I probably can’t say enough about my husband and his level of support—from cooking all of my food, endless posing sessions in the bathroom, to just telling me how proud he is of me. My family has attended every show I have done, with my mom being my personal tanner for each one. I have also met my best friends through this sport and we are like 4 cheerleaders encouraging each other. It may have taken over 30 years, but I found a group of women who truly support each other without a single ounce of jealousy or cattiness.

Dean: What are some of your goals for working and competing in the industry? Do you have any role models in the sport that have particularly inspired you?

Danyelle: I would be remiss if I didn’t say I wanted to earn IFBB Pro Status, but my goal is to beat my previous self. So I will continue to improve my physique for each competition, one lunge at a time! Additionally, I love the behind the scenes of competing and work as an NPC judge and expeditor. Being on the other side of the table definitely makes you a better competitor, but also being a competitor makes me a more diligent judge. I don’t just write a score down; I record notes to give as feedback in hopes to help those competitors better both their physique and their stage presence. I also do marketing and booth work for my sponsors and would like to continue that, hopefully gaining additional sponsorship! So, sponsors—I am the girl you have been looking for!!! As a skilled sales professional with over 12 years of experience, there is a savvy brain along with my beauty and brawn!

Dean: Since competitors are in such great shape, it can often be a shock to the average person. Can you describe a moment when you surprised someone with your physique or strength?

Busy Girl: In addition to competing, Danyelle is also a personal trainer, prep coach and part time NPC judge.

Busy Girl: In addition to competing, Danyelle is also a personal trainer, prep coach and part time NPC judge.

Danyelle: This has happened quite a few times, especially because I am so petite, you can’t always see the “lady guns” in my business clothes. One particular occasion where I really surprised a whole crowd was during a street festival in downtown Pittsburgh. My mom, sister and I were having a girl’s day, all dressed up in our Sunday best, but I couldn’t resist the pull-up contest. The vendor had to pick me up so I could reach the bar. After I cranked out 15 pull-ups, the crowd was cheering and the vendor commented that I “had some major pipes!”

Dean: Are you also a personal trainer? Please feel free to mention your website, social media links or anything else you want to use to help promote you!

Danyelle: I am both a personal trainer and competition prep coach, and have worked with clients from the experienced competitor to the average stay-at-home mom. If you are looking for someone to fully invest themselves into your success, you found her! I pack a lot of punch and personality into this tiny frame! You can find me on Facebook (Danyelle Mastarone), Instagram (dmastarone) and coming soon—danyellemastarone.com for all things Tiny But Mighty!

 
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