Bodybuilding, like anything else in this world, can be mild to wild. There are many amateurs and professional female bodybuilders out there that train daily – shredding fat, shaping-up and toning their physique – for the Bikini class competition. These are the lasses that you’d like to cuddle. Then, there are the heavyweight professionals – ladies that spend hours in the gym daily pumping heavy iron, so they become bigger, better, and stronger. These women have muscles on their muscles (they’re totally ripped) and they could crush you in a single glance (that’s if you’ve hung around long enough for them to look at you in the first place).
So, why do female bodybuilders look so different? It all comes down to training, and the ultimate goal each of these gals is setting out to achieve. You might think to build the body so that it's stronger than Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime is a little confronting, but for some of these lasses, this is what they want to do. They want to be the strongest woman alive.
Here’s the deal: while most female bodybuilders start out as athletes, cheerleaders or dancers who simply thrive in their selected vocation, most aspire to be more, and others want to push boundaries – there’s and ours. Want to know the best part? This passion then turns into an obsession with them chasing bigger titles and wanting to be the best in the world. Consequently, it’s this drive that sees them change from the female bodybuilder you’d jump at the chance to cuddle into one that would crush you.
Not sure what we mean? Then come with us and meet the women we’ve been talking about.
15 Taylor Vertucci - Cuddle
Believe it or not, Taylor Vertucci, a bodybuilder, only weighs in at 97 pounds (44kg), and she stands just 4-foot 10-inches (now that’s what we call a power pocket rocket). Vertucci says she began bodybuilding because she needed to put on weight and regain her confidence after a lengthy battle with an eating disorder.
As such, Taylor Vertucci began to develop her physique via weight training and eating right (we’re glad she did because she’s right up there on our cuddle scale). Training 6-days a week, Vertucci hails from Texas and competes in the bikini class of female bodybuilding. Plus, she’s also a fitness model and ProSupps sponsored athlete. With over 275,000 Instagram followers, Vertucci looks set on developing her shape for years to come (Thanks, Taylor, we appreciate it).
14 Kim Chizevsky - Crush
Wanting to take the Ms Olympia title, Kim Chizevsky started her bodybuilding career in the late 80’s. Born in Illinois in the late 60’s, she was a sporting superstar and cheerleader that broke many a heart. While in college Chizevsky developed a passion for bodybuilding after a friend introduced her to the sport (she’s never looked back since).
In 1989, Chizevsky came second in the NPC Tri-state competition. At the time she weighed 121 pounds (55kg). She won her first pro event in 1992 when she took out the IFBB North American Championship. She eventually won Ms Olympia in 1996, then again in 1997, 1998 and 1999. At the 1997 Ms Olympia, Chizevsky weighed 157 pounds (71kg) – all muscle without a doubt.
13 Pauline Nordin - Cuddle
Swedish born Pauline Nordin doesn’t like being labelled a ‘bodybuilder’. Instead, she’s a fitness model with well defined pecks. Nordin who competed in 2006 and 2007 in the IFBB Figure class, has predominately made it into the top 10.
So, what makes this lass so cuddly? Well, this gal has got sheer determination to succeed. This all stemmed from her teens when Nordin decided to become a pro bodybuilder after seeing a fitness model on a magazine cover. As Nordin said, this ripped woman fascinated and also scared her. Shortly after that she visited a gym and worked out hard for the next three years (we are glad she did).
12 Shawna Strong - Crush
An IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, Shawna Strong, born Shawna Marie Pierce, describes herself as a superhero on many levels (yes, she could crush you like a fly in a nano-second). Once in the United States Air Force, Strong confesses she’s always played the role of Ms Marvel even as an adult.
Strong’s list of achievements are long. She has won and placed in bodybuilding events from 2003 through to 2013. Her greatest accomplishment (amongst many) was winning the NPC Nationals in 2013 and winning the Overall Pro Card. Running on pure strength, this lady, who can pack one almighty punch, she says she has a wicked sense of humor, sees life in a positive light, and loves being a strong woman on the inside and out.
11 Su Farrell - Cuddle
Born in Devonshire, England, Su Farrell proclaims to have a fascination with gymnastics that began when she was a child. Growing up as a tomboy, Farrell says sports were her life, until she found powerlifting, and later bodybuilding.
Beginning her bodybuilding career in 2010, Farrell noticed her strength quickly develop. By 2011 she’d claimed her first victory – the Under 60kg WPC World Powerlifting Championship. In 2012, she took out first in the UKBFF Body Fitness class. Then she turned pro and claimed victory in 2013 at the WBFF Figure Show and landed herself a Pro Card.
Farrell says her motivation to do what she does, comes from the love of seeing her body change (something we also enjoy, thanks, Su). Her journey, she says, will be lifelong as she strives to be the best she can.
10 Colette Guimond - Crush
Born in Quebec, Canada, Colette Guimond started bodybuilding in her late 20’s. Only two-years later she claimed victory in the Montreal Championship. Other wins include the 1995 NPC Steel Rose and 2003 NPC Jan Tana Amateur and the NPC Southern States. She also won the 2005 CBBF Canadian Championships in 2005, earning her a Pro Card.
Taking bodybuilding to the extreme, Guimond, who is now a Canadian pro wrestler and known as Miss Xtreme Muscle, says she’s addicted to bodybuilding. When she first started bodybuilding in 1988, she weighed just 110 pounds (49kg). Today Guimond weighs in at 175 pounds (77kg) and is extremely proud of her body and says that she is now bigger and harder than ever (so, crushing you won’t be a problem).
9 Tabitha Klausen - Cuddle
Standing 5-foot 11-inches, Tabitha Klausen is a very cuddly NPC CT State Champ who took out the Overall Bikini Title in 2009 giving her the state championship for the year. Later turning pro and joining Team Universe, Klausen took eighth and sixth at the IFBB New York Pro and the CT Europa, respectively, in 2010.
Klausen, who says she stays motivated by reading fitness magazines, also loves a new gym outfit or shoes. If they’re cute, they are even better says Klausen (though we suspect that Klausen would make anything look cute). Her future plans include building her personal training business and recuperating after a car accident. Plus, Klausen says she may also consider looking at other classes of competition in the future.
8 Elena Oana Hreapca - Crush
With a background in athletics, Elena Oana Hreapca has always had a passion for weighs and pushing her body to its limits (this gal is ripped and will crush you). Born in Romania, Hreapca was a junior champion in the shot put, hammer throw and javelin. Soon thereafter she studied sports at university, and this is where she began weight lifting.
Hreapca’s love for weights grew (she liked to look muscular) and she claimed a national championship title before moving into bodybuilding. Since then she’s won many national titles but still has not moved into the IFBB Pro series. While the IFBB is on Hreapca’s radar she is also teaching her students to build bigger and stronger bodies, so they too can compete in weights and bodybuilding.
7 Oksana Grishina - Cuddle
A rhythmic gymnast and classic ballerina, Russian born Oksana Grishina claimed ‘Best Non-Olympic Sportswoman of the Year’ in 2005 and 2006 (and we can see why). She also won many fitness competitions including the European and World Championships, which finally earned her an IFBB Pro Card to compete in Olympia.
Moving to the US in 2007 to focus on competitive fitness, Grishina placed second in the 2012 Flex Pro and Olympia before taking out the Arnold Classic Europe in her class. Winning the Olympia in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, Grishina is now at the top of her game and proving very hard to beat. Undoubtedly, on a scale of 1 to 10, this lass is off the chart with a cuddle factor of a 12.
6 Rene Campbell - Crush
Born in Brighton, England, Rene Campbell began her bodybuilding journey at a lean 123 pounds (56kg). Today, she says she a comfortable 189 pound (86kg) (of pure body crushing muscle). Looking to build her physical and mental strength when she started bodybuilding, Campbell says she wanted to break free from the traditional stereotypes and to start living a life of purpose.
Campbell took her first amateur win in 2008; she then took part in several more junior competitions before claiming a win in the 2011 UKBFF Championship. She gained her Pro Card in 2012 by winning the World Championship title. Moving to the international stage in 2013, Campbell continues to compete in the Heavyweight class with other IFBB veterans and says her hard work and sheer determination, as well as fiery spirit, are paying off.
5 Cori Baker - Cuddle
Said to be as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, Cori Barker, an IFBB Bikini Pro, says it’s been a struggle to get where she is today. Once overweight and battling a vicious cycle of dieting and binge eating, Barker said she had to find a better way of living. Bodybuilding became her answer.
Always an athlete, Baker competed in half marathons, and then she started CrossFit after having children, before moving into bodybuilding. Winning the NPC Junior Nationals in 2015 landed Baker a Pro Card. Since then she’s taken first in the NPC Universe and IFBB Ferrigno Legacy, and third in the Europa Games. While she’s entered the Olympia, her best placing is sixteenth. But, this hasn’t deterred Baker from trying again, it just means she must work harder on her body (of course, this will just make her even cuddlier).
4 Lisa Cross - Crush
English bodybuilder Lisa Cross could crush you with one hand tied behind her back and her eyes closed. This lass, who took first in the Hercules Show in 2009, also became the British Champion in 2010. With winning in her veins, Cross then stepped onto the international stage to place fourth in the Arnold Classic Europe and Women’s world Championships.
Cross says she aims for a symmetry when working out, and she tries to focus on body parts that she feels are lagging (we can’t see any lag at all Lisa). She also craves the effect of lifting heavier weights and how it changes the shape of her body. This feeling is what drives Cross to push herself harder in the gym, that and winning at shows.
3 Donna Murphy - Cuddle
Brit, Donna Murphy is definite cuddle material. Starting out in the Bikini Class in bodybuilding, Murphy felt she was better suited to a heavier class, so she beefed-up. This move saw her take out the UKBFF South Coast Championship and the Welsh Grand Prix, followed by a second in the Body Fitness Over 163cm category in the UKBFF British Championships.
Both tall and wide, Murphy gets compared to other IFBB greats such as Louise Rogers. Murphy says before she became a bodybuilder she had great respect for the sport and knew that someday it would be something she’d also do. Hailing from a sporting background, Murphy competed in judo, boxing, athletics, and dance when younger and these disciplines have enhanced her level of commitment (we think this level is just perfect also).
2 Alina Popa - Crush
Romanian born Alina Popa wouldn’t hesitate to crush you. This 5-foot 6-inch lass weighs in at 165 pounds and competes in the Women’s Heavyweight class. Her first competition in the 2000 Regional Cup saw her place second, with her gaining entry to the Nationals where she placed third.
Wanting more, Popa pushed on, and in 2008 she claimed victory at the IFBB Worlds Santa Susanna claiming the Heavyweight Championship and Overall Women’s Title. Both wins gained her a Pro Card. Competing in the Miss International and Olympia, Popa claimed third and second in these events in 2011, and 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Today, Popa considers her main strengths to be her muscular development and her symmetry. As she says, these, tie together well.
1 Jamie Eason - Cuddle
Beauty and brains are a dynamic mix, and Houston’s Jami Eason has both (making her super cuddly). Hailing from a sports and dance background, Eason was once an NFL cheerleader (we can see how she made the cut). After her cheerleading days ended, Eason wanted to support her health, so she joined and gym and there she discovered weights.
Classified as one of the world’s fittest women, Eason began her bodybuilding career in 2005. In the same year, she won the WNBF Figure Pro competition and the WNSO Fitness Model Pro; these earned her the World’s Fittest Model title in 2006 (we can understand the judge’s logic).
Today, Eason is an advocate for women’s health after overcoming cancer. As she says, women worldwide can change their lives (we agree wholeheartedly).