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