New Zealand bodybuilding athletes have muscled their way into the spotlight, and the world has noticed.
Mateo Vaihu, Katya Nosova and Sheena Jayne Martin, professional bodybuilding athletes, were placed highly at the recent International Olympia competition, marking New Zealand as a force to be reckoned with in the world of bodybuilding.
The muscled athletes trained and dieted for weeks leading up to the event. However, to stand out in the massive “best of the best” classes, the “x-factor” was needed.
Vaihu, who competes in the Classic Physique class, was placed 10th. He was the only Tongan in the event, and he is in the gym anywhere from 16-17 hours a day. The most challenging part for Vaihu said was the dieting. He loves food and this for him was the most significant sacrifice.
Both girls who compete in the Bikini class were placed in the top 15, Nosova placed 8th, and Martin placed 13th.
To be invited to compete in this prestigious competition, the athlete had to qualify. Qualification was awarded by either placing first in an international IFBB event or being one of the top point contenders in the league of athletes that have competed for the given season.
Classic Physique is a class judged not just on size but also on muscular symmetry and conditioning. The athlete must make the weight criteria for their height.
The Bikini class is glamorous and seen as responsible for popularising female interest into the world of competitive bodybuilding. The class is judged not only on muscular symmetry, conditioning and shape but also on stage presence and posing presentation.
Other classes of competition at the Olympia for Women were Physique, Figure and Fitness. The other classes for Men were Physique, 212 and the Mr Olympia.
The sport is popularised and supported by celebrities and former bodybuilders Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Both Vaihu and Nosova are currently based in New Zealand while Martin now lives in the United States of America.
The next IFBB event for New Zealand is in Wellington on the September 3o.
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Nats Levi is a 6"2 award-winning fitness professional. She hails from Ranui and is always hungry.