Issue #85


by Juan Carlos Lope

20 Questions with Cover Model Tiina Kasvi

Video Interview with Cover Model Tiina Kasvi

Tiina Kasvi, Ericka Underwood, Fern Assard, Jami Debernard, Kamla Macko

Video Interview with Amateur Physique Makayla Ring

Product of the Month
by Heather Hirmer

From Novice to Pro in 10 Weeks
by Ashley Chapps

Video Interview with Pro Bikini Amanda Iannelli


From Novice to Pro in 10 Weeks by Ashley Chapps

When I'm trusting and being myself... everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.
Shakti Gawain

Ashley Chapps

My name is Ashley Chapps, I am a certified personal trainer who now manages a gym in Lower Manhattan.  A classically trained dancer who was fortunate to have had a very rewarding career, although a bit too short if I look back on it, I have always been very active.  When I stopped dancing I naturally moved my focus into exercise, while always longing for that feeling of being back on stage.  Consistent with my practice but never really feeling challenged I began to seek out other more challenging forms of exercise. 
In November of 2011 I started working with this girl Tabitha who was incredibly fit!  She had the most amazing arms I had ever seen.  I had heard that she was a fitness competitor and that she gave a TRX workout that would make you cry.  Needing a new fresh twist on my workouts I asked her to train me.  The hour would be spent doing what I thought at the time was the hardest workout of my life and me questioning her on all the details of this Fitness Competition "thing".  I envied the discipline she displayed in eating only grilled chicken and sweet potatoes while at the same time thinking she was crazy.  Coincidentally, I had another friend, Kelly, who had just started her own journey in the world of competitive fitness.  Again, as I would see her updates on current competition placing’s and how her body was changing I began to become intrigued.  At the time, Tabitha would say to me "you should do a competition" and I would think to myself, "NO WAY"!  Surely I would never be able to devote myself to that kind of strict diet and workout program...It just wouldn't happen, I love, not like, LOVE to eat!  Jokingly, I would occasionally strike a "pose" for her - taunting that one day I would do a competition.  Little did I know how true that statement would actually be.  I had suggested that Tabitha and Kelly meet being that they both had a similar interest.  Also, I had heard of a Lindsay Messina, the coach whom Kelly Had been working with.  Through a little internet research I found out that Lindsay Messina was the Messiah in competition prep and that she had a kick ass Boot Camp class.  I encouraged Tabitha to go to boot camp to meet Kelly & Lindsay, and that I would go with her.  Curiosity had set in and I wanted to see what this Boot camp class was all about.

Ashley Chapps

Saturday came for class and Tabitha unfortunately wasn't able to make it.  I found myself taking the train an hour away to go to a dance studio for a Boot camp class. I was terrified.
As I arrived at the studio I was faced with a bevy of girls, known as the NY DIVAS, all of them with killer physiques and more energy then a college cheerleading team.  A kind soft woman by the name of Deb approached me and said" Are you Ashley" - nervously I replied "yes", she then asked "will you be posing today as well?" "NO, just the workout" I replied. Deb then proceeded to walk me over and introduce me to each and every girl.
Just before the start of class a tiny little blonde with a mega watt smile walked in the room, kissed and hugged all the girls, introduced herself to me as Lindsay and then cranked up the music.  It was time to work and every girl there was ready to get it on.  The workout was again, one of the hardest workouts of my life.  And I loved it.
After the workout was over all the girls went out and changed into bikinis and 5inch high heels. Both impressed and envious that these girls had the confidence to just go put on a bikini and high heels, I also asked myself "what the heck is going on.”  What was this?  I asked Lindsay if it would be ok for me to sit and watch.  I wanted to see what this "posing" thing was really all about.  
As I sat on the floor in the front of the room, staring at a multitude of very toned tushy’s, the girls began to strut around the room in single file.  Confident in their bodies and moving with the ease of a Victoria’s Secret Model making her way down the runway, I thought to myself, "there is something about this that I am not quite comfortable with, but I think I like it".  Not sure that I would ever be able to be that confident, a strange feeling came over me that I was in the right place, for some reason...
I continued to attend the boot camp classes, and eventually brought a pair of those clear high heels.  My first strut across the floor was quite possibly one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.  I felt like a right idiot.  But the girls were encouraging, especially Lindsay & Kelly, convincing me that " I had it"...I just had to keep doing it.

Ashley Chapps

Over the course of the rest of the summer I regularly attended Lindsay's classes, continued to work on my strut and decided in July that I was going to enter a fitness competition.  With the summer coming to a close and myself on holiday for most of August I knew I would be on a tight schedule to prepare for my first competition in October, but I wanted to do this.
Knowing that there was so much I didn't know, It was relieving to know that I was in the company of a group of woman who had the knowledge, experience and willingness to share what it would take to be a standout Bikini competitor.  The first thing I did was listen. I listened to every piece of advice each of those girls would offer up to me.  I was fortunate enough that my now good friend Kelly agreed to workout with me every morning, even though I was always late for our 6am workouts.  Kelly encouraged and supported me relentlessly, always making sure I was on the right track in taking my next steps in my preparation.  I followed my program and trusted the advice of my nutrition coach, striving to have minimal slip ups.  And quite possibly the most important decision I made, that of believing in the process of one very important person, Lindsay Messina.  When I decided that I was going to compete I called Deb and I booked private coaching sessions with Lindsay, 3 months in advance.  I thought of every single question I could have at that moment and came to session prepared.  I had suit selections, different high heel selections, 3 different sportswear ideas and a binder with it all organized in.  In our first session Lindsay said put on your heels, I got so nervous...this was going to be the worst part.  I walked to the side of the room and she said  "go".  I started to walk and then I stopped, looking at Lindsay I said  "how sassy can I be with this?" she said "go for it" - you see, the one thing I had yet to mention to anyone was that many years ago I was a jazz dancer.  I had a great career while it lasted but it was a hard life.  The joy that I would get from performing on stage is something that I can't put into words, it was a feeling, something that would rise up from my soul and in those moments time no longer existed.  When I would see the girls walk across the room - I knew that I could do it, that I had something to come out of me, but for me it's easier to come out on a stage with bright lights then it is to come out in a small room with 25 other girls - why? I have no idea... But on that day when Lindsay said "go for it" - I went for it, and a WBFF Pro was born.  I had found my stride, literally, and I was ready to do this.  In the sessions that continued with Lindsay she was able to identify what positions my body looked best in, to cue me in on how to transition into each pose, when to hold and for how long to hold.  Lindsay gave me not only the confidence to get on stage but the confidence that the "performance" that I would give to present my body was going to be the most complimentary and of the utmost class.
As the weeks faded away and November was soon upon us Lindsay approached me and said you must compete in Kevin Topka's New England Fitness Weekend, the WBFF New England Championships.  I was excited when Lindsay encouraged this as I had heard that it would be a great show and I thought it would be a great experience for myself.  I could have never imagined how my life was to change that weekend.

Ashley Chapps

The week prior to the WBFF New England Championships I had competed in a small local show.  It was a great experience and I learned a tremendous amount about the in’s & out’s of how these events would run.  When me and the other girls arrived at the competitor’s meeting for the WBFF show I remember looking around and feeling this terrible feeling of nervousness.  The girls around me were beautiful, had amazing physiques and surely a lot more experience then me.  I reminded myself I was there for the experience, but I was intimated.  I thought, " what have I gotten myself into".
At 6am the following morning the Perfect Body Online Glam Specialists began our transformations.   After hair, make up and tanning Lindsay had me get into my Bikini for a last minute review of posing, she reminded me of everything that I had to be aware of and encouraged me yet again, to just go for it.  "Make them watch you and only you".  And feeling like I did, that was just what I was going to do.  I was ready and I was dying to get on that stage.

That day taught me and incredible amount about both myself and the world of competitive fitness. I learned I have a bit of an alter ego that comes out when on stage – (she has yet to be named), I met some amazing woman, made some great new friends, met other coaches, other competitors and everything in between.  I learned what I knew and didn't know I knew, and learned what I still needed to learn.  On November 4th at Kevin Topka’s New England Fitness Weekend I was  awarded 2nd Place in the Diva Fitness Model short category with my Pro Card and then 4th place in the Bikini Diva Model short category.  Humbled, Honored and Ecstatic, I knew that something very special had just happened to me.  On that same evening, Tabitha and Kelly, whom I mentioned earlier were awarded their Pro cards too.  Kelly Klarich ,Wbff Pro Bikini Model and Tabitha Sierra, Wbff Pro Figure Model.  As fate would have it, we were all on the same journey within our own journey’s.  The events of that night changed my life.  It has been an incredible honor to be accepted on to Doug Casebiers Total Body Advantage Training team and to become a Sponsored Athlete with Lindsay Messina’s NY DIVAS Competition Team.  I have an incredible opportunity in front of me as I prepare for the WBFF Worlds in August of 2012 with Doug & Lindsay and I am extremely grateful that my destiny placed me with the right people at the very right time and that all my stars aligned.   Without the unwavering support of my loving husband Scott, Lindsay Messina and the NY DIVAS I would have never been able to accomplish what I did.   Even though my journey started in a place that was unexpected, foreign and a bit scary - I trusted that I was where I was for a very special reason.

To say I am honored to be a WBFF Pro Fitness Model is an understatement.  To be given the opportunity and the forum to bring forth my message of health & well being while positively influencing others is a gift.  To all the competitors out there who will be vying for a WBFF Pro card in 2012, enjoy your journey, take nothing for granted and surround yourself with only the very best.  In and industry that requires not only passion and commitment we are very fortunate to be able to lead by example and change the lives of others.  In doing this day in and day out it makes each and every one of us Champions.

Wishing each and every one of you the very best of luck in your journey to your Pro Card.  Believe and "Go for it".

Ashley Chapps

A human being is only interesting if he's in contact with himself. I learned you have to trust yourself, be what you are, and do what you ought to do the way you should do it. You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it.
-Barbra Streisand

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