Issue #9


by Juan Carlos Lopez

2005 Canadian Nationals Women's Bodybuilding Photos Results

2005 Canadian Nationals Women's Bodybuilding Review

2005 Europa Super Show Photos and Results

2005 Europa Super Show Review

2005 Copa Internacional Guadalajara Photos and Results

2005 Copa Internacional Guadalajara Review

20 Questions with our Cover Model: Mindi O'Brien

Video Interview with our Cover Model: Mindi O'Brien

Post Contest Blues
by Traci Redding

Video Interview: Nita Marquez Wilson NPC Fitness

Is it a Goal or A Dream?
by Sarah and Geff Malone

An Interview with Trina Gillis

Pre Exhaust Bicep Workout
Linda Cusmano

Video Interview: Jenny Guenther IFBB Figure Pro

Women Training Routine Part 1: Leg Training
by Rossella Pruneti

Video Interview: Katie Szep IFBB Fitness Pro

Beyond the Mirror
by Rossella Pruneti

Mindi O'Brien, Lucie Bergeron, Susie Oatmeyer, Alexis Ellis, Tonia Williams

Video Interview: Alia Anor NPC Figure

Diet Depleting and Diapers
by Christine Wan



Beyond the Mirror by Rossella Pruneti

Mirrors are psychologically biased
Bathroom scales are misleading
How to evaluate your body (image)?

In the end, you got started. You went on a diet. You joined a health club. You embarked on an exercise program. You did your best to make and keep commitments to yourself. But whenever you mirror at yourself, you don't like your reflection at all. Getting started isn't the hardest part. You may find that the hardest part is going on at full sails – staying committed to your fitness goals.
If you set out on your lifetime voyage in fitness and health, you need to find your way with the most advanced “navigation systems”. You want to take your “fix” or “craft’s position” punctually and accurately. That is how you can guide yourself safely and expeditiously towards your fitness goals. You'll always have a good idea of where you are going. You will never be at a loss to design and implement your own fitness program. Scales and mirrors will not upset you any more. Most important, you will not get stuck. And if you do, you can figure out when it happened and what to do to overcome the difficulties.

Shaping and firming up argent sheer weight loss or gain.
A fitness plan radically changes your body – its shape, size, appearance and its physical conditioning. Most of the time, a successful fitness plan also radically changes the balance between your mind, body, and self in a positive manner.

If you believe a fitness plan is only weight loss or gain, you can keep on trusting your bathroom scales. You'll be deceived, however, by your own mind and you won’t be able to understand if you are getting results. Chances are You'll wind up overtraining and/or over dieting. Even sailors who argent sailing towards interesting, far-off destination use the simple “dead reckoning technique” - which estimates position for inshore courses.
On the other hand, if you understood a fitness plan is a complex balance of methods and deductions, you would use the state-of-the-art navigation techniques. Medicine and sports physiology offer you a great variety of electronic, scientific aids to have more accurate, easier body measurements.

A navigator usually attempts to find the shortest route between two points. I wish I could tell you there's such a shortcut even for your fitness plan, but the fact is, you have to plan your personal chart. Maybe it can be a long and arduous course. Whatever your goals are, you should try to plot your own course including data such as setting goals, departure information, tracking your progress, where you would like to arrive, and use strategies not to be discouraged by your mirror and by your bathroom scales.
You may be looking for a chart to get started or perhaps you're already in action and need a reliable feedback. In either case, if you have got your own chart, you sure achieve your fitness goals.
Actually, ancient sailors sailed most of the navigable waters of the world with a few basic navigational aids.

In this article I don't explain how to test your physical conditioning (such as your heart rate, strength, and flexibility). I focus on several easy yet fairly accurate ways to plot the initial planning and the end results of your fitness voyage. I suggest how to test your fitness results from an anthropometrical point of view on your own.
Anthropometry is the science concerned with measuring the human body (weight, height, body composition, pulse, …) or classifying its characteristics (color of eyes, hair, blood biochemistry, …). Inside the field of anthropometry, I am going to analyze a variety of easy, fairly reliable anthropometric indices and methods you can use to determine your body composition. In fact, the very body composition can be changed through your fitness endeavors!

Even if you do most of the daily or weekly testing yourself, consider getting your complete medical evaluation at a sports medicine or health clinic, health club or by a health professional before beginning your fitness plan. Get tested your fitness level again every one to three months. To keep measurements consistent, go to the same professional.

The Mirror and The Self

Bodybuilders love to look at themselves in a mirror. On the contrary, most of women comes into conflict with their own body image and, as a result, with their reflection.
Edith Head, a Hollywood designer, suggests to take a large paper bag, to cut two holes in it, and to put your head inside. She believes you can look at yourself in a mirror in an unbiased manner.
Maybe, this advice sounds like a paradox, but it represents the attitude many of us have regarding our self-valuation. As soon as we strip down and stand in front of a full-length mirror, we start lying to ourselves. You may be looking at your reflection through the filters of your emotions. Even a bad day or a tiff may color your perceptions when you look in the mirror. Escaping reality, we tell ourselves to be better or worse. Vitangelo Moscarda, the character of Nobel Prize winner Luigi Pirandello’s novel “One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand”, had always been looking at his nose in the mirror. Indeed, his wife – and not his bathroom mirror – pointed his crooked nose out to him!
Mirrors are useful just to check your form while weight lifting or doing aerobics classes. To say who is the most beautiful, only the looking-glass of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs spoke the truth.

The Scale Weight

Scale weight was introduced into medical practice by Santori in the nineteenth century. It was meant to help in examining patients and making diagnosis. Santori didn't regard scale weight a fitness test. So, why is scale weight bothering you?
Don't be alarmed by the fact you notice a weight gain. This doesn't always mean that you are getting fat.
Weight gains or losses may occur due to:

1) a different caloric balance (the ratio between how many calories you take in and how many you burn);
2) any fluid shift fluctuation (e. g. water retention);
3) growth or decrease of body tissues (e. g. muscle tissue in bodybuilding, body fat after a diet).

A weight loss may be due to:

1) dieting and/or exercise;
2) a disease (peptic ulcer, kidney diseases, digestive disorders, malabsorption, cancer, tuberculosis, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, AIDS);
3) psychiatric disorders (depression, anorexia, bulimia);
4) increased excretion of urine caused by a disease or drugs.

If you lose weight and you are not on a diet, see your physician.

Weigh yourself daily or weekly, always at the same hour – the best time is before breakfast, stripped down or with the same type of underwear to guarantee consistency.
You should be very accurate when weighing yourself on your bathroom scales. Make sure the scales needle comes back to zero after you step down from it. Since its spring could be damaged, never turn upside down your bathroom scales.
Think of your weight like your height. When you measure your height, you measure legs, trunk, neck, head. When you weigh yourself, the scale bathrooms register the weight of your skeleton, skin, blood – 5-6 quarts – and total body fluids –water is 70% of your total weight -, organs, muscle, and, lastly, fat, both essential fat around your organs and subcutaneous and intramuscular fat.
When weighing yourself, remember the following facts:
•muscle weighs more than fat – about 2/3 more;
•you may be losing weight and gaining fat. Since muscle weighs more than fat, if you lose muscle and gain the same size of fat, you weigh less. Vice versa, you may be at the same weight if you lose fat and gain muscle. However, You'll look better.
•you may notice a weight gain when weighing yourself in a wet or humid day or after breaking a sweat. In a humid day your body – and even the scales - is moist and you may weigh one – one and half pound more. After working out, you can weigh a few pounds less.
• scales don't tell you how much pounds of food are being processed in your digestive tract or how many stools are in your guts at the moment you are weighing yourself.

Body Composition Assessment

Every body measurement technique can be used to determine your level of muscle mass and your percentage of body fat.
There are invasive techniques – computerized axial tomography (CAT), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), chemical methods, e.g., isotope dilution, the measurement of total body potassium or total body water (TBW) - and non-invasive techniques - hydrostatic weighing, ultrasonography, Bioeletrical impedance analysis (BIA), Bod Pod, skinfolds calipers.
So, how can you determine just your body fat, or, conversely, your free fat mass (FFM)?
By each of the above methods. Please, notice the scales cannot be used to this purpose. Thus, scale weight can really be meaningless.
Most of the scientific, accurate methods require precision equipment. Besides being inconvenient, they are expensive and lack of privacy. Measurements must be taken by technicians. You have those test done at sports center and private medical facilities.
We are going to revue which methods can help you to determine your body fat on your own.

Your College Jeans

If you hate your bathroom scales, let your clothes do the talking!
Even though your weight comes at a standstill, you may find that your old denims fits you again! WOW! The fact is that muscle weighs more than fat. Besides, muscle size is less big than fat size.
All in all, scale weight is less important than how your dresses fit you.

Measure Your Wrist Circumference

That's particularly useful to fine-tune your goals and your own body type. Measure your wrist circumference with a measure tape. Find the smallest measurement near your hand. It’s a practical way to know your frame.
Compare with table below:

Wrist Girth (in inches) Your Frame Size
5-5,5 Small
5,5-5,9 Medium
>5,9 Large

The Pinch an Inch Test

Most of bodyfat lies around your waist, hips and stomach. We all know this fact very well. Research indicate suprailliac area is indicative of total bodyfat. Suprailliac area is approximately one inch above your right hipbone.
By pinching your skin in the suprailliac area you can guess how fat you are.
If you pinch one inch, it means your body has got 44 ounces of fat (both essential and under the skin). Every 0,02 inches equal 11 ounces of bodyfat.

Skinfold Calipers

You can measure your skin fold more accurately than the pinch an inch test with calipers. You can purchase skinfold calipers on the Web or at your local health store.
You can even purchase a precision caliper at the hardware store – like the ones carpenters use.
If you buy a skinfold calipers, follow the directions included with it. If you preferred the cheaper and less accurate caliper, read on.
While standing, pinch the skinfold between your thumb and forefinger. Place the caliper jaws over the skinfold. Read your measurement. Repeat the measurement procedure at least three times and use the average of the three readings. According to the bodyfat measuring method you chose, you have to pinch 3-7 sites. Then, you should refer to a the body fat interpretation chart to determine your bodyfat percentage.

A convenient and reliable test you can do is to measure with your caliper:
1) your front upper arm skinfold;
2) your front upper thigh skinfold;
3) your suprailliac area skinfold.
Add up 1, 2, 3. Then refer to any body fat interpretation chart. You can easily find one of them on the Web at:

You can compare your percentages with the standards listed in the following table:

Body Fat Percentages in Women (% fat)
11.0 – 14.0 Essential fat.
12.0 – 22.0 Athletes
16.0 – 25.0 Fitness for women in age range 18-30
≈27.0 Fitness for seniors
32.0+ Obese

Some disadvantages are you need a highly skilled person giving you the test; the test is not appropriate for very obese or very thin individuals – since the calipers isn't accurate for thin skinfolds and the jaws of the caliper cannot open wide enough -, and for seniors – their fat distribution isn't equal everywhere under their skin.
Since some pinching techniques doesn't take into account leg skinfolds, you could underestimate your bodyfat percentage. If you are an “apple” – more fat around hips -, choose Jackson-Pollock formula.

Tape Measure Test

You can use the tape measure to assess if your vital numbers – chest, waist, hips - are the same of fashion models. You can even measure your biceps to figure out how it ranks among Valentina Chepiga’s and Vickie Gates’ ones.
Obviously, you must strip down to your underwear. Never measure while dressed. Your measurements cannot remain constant and accurate.
Whatever girth you are going to measure, your muscles must not be warmed up.
You must not either hold tight or loose the measure tape. The measure tape must be perpendicular to the skeleton of the muscle you are measuring.
You must slide the tape to find your widest point and measure that widest point.
A quick tape measure test can be made with only two measurements. It is useful to understand if you are getting too much bodyfat around your waist and your hips:

1 – measure your waist just at your suprailliac area – just below your belly button;
2 - measure your upper thigh girth;
3 – divide your waist measure by your upper thigh measure.
4 – check your figure:

Ideal fitness value: 0,9 – 1,2
Overweight: above 1,2

Your log

Your workout log, if you have got it, should track your measures and accomplishments weekly or monthly. When you are into the blues, achievements escape your memory. However, figures cannot lie – you will certainly be inspired at seeing your accomplishments build up. On the contrary, your log keeps you honest. If you are stuck, flipping through your log can help you to understand why. The best bonus is writing down success and goals do help focus keep going.
Maybe you have never had fun at keeping a workout log. Neither have I. But an achievements log is really useful to plot your course towards fitness paradise!
Track your progress on a piece of paper, or a notebook, and put it somewhere secret. I don't think you like to hang it on your fridge for all to see. If you are a computer geek, download a software or enter your figures in your database.
Whatever your log be, here is how the blanks should be filled in:
Print and fill in a similar blank for every weekly/monthly evaluation.

Fitness Plan Starting Date: This Evaluation Date: ………… …………
Your Actual Measure Your Long-term Goals
Your Weight (in lbs.)
Your Bodyfat Percentage
Measurements (in inches)
Left* Arm
Right Arm
Left Thigh
Right Thigh
Left Calf
Right Calf

*Left/right measurements are essential to check whether you are getting a balanced workout.
**Record any details which affected your fitness condition during the week/month – diseases, period, cheat days, and so on. Write down whatever even if you don't feel is important. Maybe, it could turn to be important later.


Pictures provide superior motivation to weighing yourself. They can provide a more objective view of your appearance. You can use the pictures you took during your last vacation. The best is to periodically snapshot yourself – let’s say every two months. Take a front, rear, and lateral picture.
You should write down next to the pictures what are the things you wish to change and to achieve for your next picture. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “Draw what you are going to achieve thanks to weight training.”

Body Mass Index (BMI)

This equation is based on the assumption that in man weight raises in proportion to the square of the height.
BMI was recommended for body composition evaluation by Bray, Garrow e by the English Royal College of Physicians.
BMI is calculated dividing your body weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. The equation that uses pounds and inches is the following:

BMI=(body weight in lbs. / height in inches squared) * 725

Generally acceptable ranges are 18 to 22 for men, 20 to 24 for women. The World Health Organization describes people with a BMI between 19 and 25 as being of “normal weight”, between 25 and 29 as being “overweight”, and higher than 30 as being “obese”.

Height and Weight Tables - Do Some Math

These tables don't tell you more than the scales. Though for insurance company it is a convenient method to use, they are meaningless in a fitness plan.
Weight and height charts don't take into account body composition, body frames, and individual differences so that they break down for bodybuilder and other people who are extremely muscular. They are compiled according to statistical data. They may have been done in a different country from yours – for instance, charts with Swedish data argent very useful because Swedish mean height is bigger than anywhere. Besides, a few charts argent updated.
Better than having nothing to base your weight on, do some math with these tables and you can guess how near you are to your ideal weight – or far from it.
Divide your actual weight by your ideal weight. You are OK if your result is less than 1,1 and greater than 0,9.

Measurements in relation to your “periods”

Despite training and dieting, several women are highly sensitive to hormonal fluctuations related to period. About ten days before your period begins, you may find that your weight has skyrocketed – about 1-4 lbs more. This temporary weight gain disappears at the end of your period – and it'll be back the next month.
After your period, You'll lose all the fluid and your weight will be back to normal.
If you measure yourself, You'll probably find your girth around your stomach and your hips greatly varied – even one inch! As soon as your period ends, girths will be back to normal.
Don't get discouraged by your feminine hormones and water retention. Stick to your fitness plan. Fluctuations will go off.

Safety Measures

Ancient artists highlighted human body proportions in their masterpieces.
In your fitness plan you are the sculptors of yourselves and the painters of the most valuable canvas – your body. It’s very important your measures should be proportion and common sense.
The weight loss or gain is less important than your internal health and your mood. Don't sacrifice your health and happiness on your bathroom scales!


-Keep track of inches and not of pounds.
-Weigh/measure no more than once weekly. Scale weight is particularly deceptive during your periods, on a humid day, and after working out.
-Rely on the mirror more than the scales. But if you are lying to yourself even in front of the mirror, trust in calipers.

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About the Author...

Rossella Prunetti a figure competitor and also a very experienced writer. Hailing from Italy Rossella is very involved with the Italian Bodybuilding and Figure scene. Her website is

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