Physique inspiration: what’s yours?

Yesterday I happened to train at a different gym, one I find myself in once every couple of months. Have I mentioned before that I have a small and informal fan club? Made up of men in their 70s and 80s? Yep, well, I do. I don’t know why I appeal to this demographic but it seems I do. If my fanclub had an official structure, the President would, without a doubt, be “Frank”. Frank is perhaps in his mid-70s. He works hard at the gym and is in strong shape. A few months ago, I’d seen him watching me train a few times so finally thought I’d go and introduce myself. He asked what I was training for, we exchanged names and pleasantries and he wished me well.

Frank was there at this other gym yesterday and, once again, he watched me train. The reason Frank would be President of the club is his unabashed, unapologetic enthusiasm. “You look FANTASTIC!” he bellowed, once I’d finished. “I haven’t seen you for a few MONTHS and I’m guessing your competition is SOON?! Can I feel your DELTS?!”

Anyway, the point of the Frank story is this. I’d assumed Frank was a nice chap who just liked talking to muscular ladies in the gym and, since I’m about the only one (honestly), all his efforts are channelled onto me. I didn’t think he was into bodybuilding particularly. How wrong could I be! Yesterday, we got to talking about my comp. “Ah, you know who I always LIKED?” said Frank. “STEVE REEVES! Yes, I always liked Steve Reeves’s physique, not massive, well proportioned, very defined.” He then went on to tell me about how he was stationed in Singapore whilst in the Forces, and trained with some bodybuilders over there, and how he admired how defined they got despite not being genetically able to build a great deal of size.

Frank and his Steve Reeves story got me thinking about who inspires me, and who has shaped my views on the female physique over the years…

First off, there was Sarah Connor from the Terminator films. I kind of always assumed that every women was wowed by Sarah Connor when they first saw that movie, and it surprises me to realise that’s not the case. I think my interest in building a muscular physique stems from watching Linda Hamilton do those chin ups when she’s in jail.

More movie-inspiration:

Angela Bassett doing an amazing Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got To Do With It”. Head-turningly lean, the kind of arms which draw a reaction (whether it’s good or bad).

Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby”. Quite aside from the fact that I love the film, love Clint Eastwood and give Hilary Swank as the response to “who would you want to play you in a film of your life?”, I think her physique is great. Fab back!

And, of course, old-school female bodybuilding inspiration. Female bodybuilders of the late 70s and early 80s were – in the main – still quite small (by today’s standards) yet very lean, muscular but feminine, defined and graceful on stage. I’ve got a great book about early women’s bodybuilding and have pinched some of the images for my own posing routine.

Candy Csencsits

Gladys Portugues

Lisa Lyon

And how could I forget the bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd. Great physique, great work ethic, great story… she is 74 years old. 74! She makes the case for bodybuilding, doesn’t she?

I realise many of you will think these women are too muscular, unattractive and b-b-b-bulky (love the B-word!) But they inspire me now and, looking back, I realise they’ve played a big part in shaping what I think is an attractive female physique.

Who inspires you? Film, still image or a classic sportsperson…?

Physique inspiration: what’s yours? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


13 Responses to Physique inspiration: what’s yours?

  1. Pinky says:

    Sarah Connor. When I saw T2 at the cinema TWENTY years ago (omg!) I remember being blown away by her body. Especially compared to Linda Hamilton’s body in the first Terminator film. Awesome. She looks totally amazing.


  2. Interesting. Since I’ve been rowing, my idea of what is attractive in a female physique has definitely changed – find myself admiring a more muscular form than I would have done before, though find the extreme muscle and thin faces of many of the body builders unappealing. I now look at most models and think they look a bit feeble!


    • thefitwriter says:

      It is interesting isn’t it! Female rowers are fantastically strong. I know what you mean about the thin faces of BBers as you see them on stage; perhaps you might like them a few weeks before their comps when they’re a bit “fuller” – I think the tan, dehydration etc turns some people off whereas the actual size and muscularity in an everyday context is actually OK. And yes I know what you mean about models. In fact I was going to end the blog post by saying something about why I prefer to be bigger/musclier rather than thinner (although I am actually the smallest I’ve ever been, but I don’t look it because muscle looks “there”!) – to me, wanting to be skinny is wanting to be less of a presence, to become smaller and to sort of make yourself disappear as much as possible.


  3. Shambler says:

    Actually, Nic, YOU inspire me!


  4. Alice says:

    I’d agree that you are an inspiration Nic, maybe because we’ve seen you go through the process and what you’re achieving! Madonna has to be in there with the hot bods!


    • thefitwriter says:

      Ah thank you sweetie! XX Funny you say about Madge, I’ve got a blog post which has been in draft format for ages about public opinion of Madonna and her “muscly arms”. Most people thinks she’s way too lean, muscley, manly, blah de bloh…


  5. ALL of those women are BEAUTIFUL 😀 I think my first exposure to a strong female leading lady was Sarah Conner and no doubt it changed me forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Juliet says:

    Great post, Nic. You should look up some of the natural pro women over here, their physiques are ridiculous. One woman at my second show was competing (I think she took 2nd of 15 or so) in the pro division and it was her 50th birthday. She wasn’t very large but she made my jaw drop.

    click women’s pro bodybuilding on either the prejudging or finals for pictures

    (PS I don’t think they’re gross, but I am biased like you!)


  7. […] I’m glad you all liked my post asking who your “physique inspiration” is. Thanks for your […]


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