We’re kicking off 2014 with our first issue featuring only women! The “Hot Shots” image always features a woman, but this time our “Iron Shots” image shows Edith Syjuco, Melanie Albert, and Emily Bentivoglio competing at the 2013 Physique Canada Canadian Championships. The cover showcases physique-star Nadine Young, and we’re using this month to announce and display the Top-10 Fitness Models of 2013 (alphabetically by last name: Bunny Azzopardi, Emily Bentivoglio, Lisa Delahaye, Amanda Kotel, Caroline Mailhot, Veronique Potvin, Emilie Provencher, Edith Syjuco, Stefanie Terrana, and Nadine Young). The only places you’ll see men are in the pictures that accompany the articles. But these photos also focus on women, which is why we picked them. The one above has Physique Canada’s president, Brian Robitaille, surrounded by some of the top-finishing female competitors at the 2013 Physique Canada Canadian Championships (from left to right around Brian: Liane Girouard, Nathalie McDonell-Groulx, Nathalie Brassard, Edith Syjuco, and Susan James), while the one below has 2013 Physique Canada Canadian Bodybuilding Champion, Denis Pedneault, with a group of female competitors who were backstage at the same event (from left to right around Denis: Emily Bentivoglio, Janet Gates, Anne-Marie Brugger, Kelly Goddard, and Melanie Albert).

Denis Pedneault with Group

This is the first time that we’ve made a point of featuring women so prominently, but it certainly won’t be the last; in fact, the sheer volume of women involved in physique sports today necessitates that we change our publishing strategy, as this article will explain.

If you look at any physique organization today that has male and female competitors, the number of women’s categories usually outnumbers that of the men, a trend that began about a decade or so ago when women’s figure came in and the interest in women’s fitness started to decline. (Fitness started to get too tough to compete in when the gymnasts aimed their sights on the discipline.) Figure was then followed by other female disciplines such as bikini, athletic physique, muscular physique, fitness model, etc. That rapid increase in the number of women’s categories is quite startling when you consider that an organization such as the IFBB didn’t even have women’s categories in the ’60 and ‘70s, the heyday of men’s bodybuilding when Arnold Schwarzenegger was king.

Given what I said about the number of women’s categories, it should be no surprise that these days women outnumber the men at most competitions. I don’t have any hard statistics on how many women are competing versus men, since it varies contest to contest, and also organization to organization, but if I had to pull a rough figure out of the air as an overall estimate, I would peg it at 2:1. In other words, at any given contest, you can be confident that two-thirds of the competitors are women. And in the future, I only see it going higher.

As a result of the dominant role women have in physique competitions these days, it seems that the prudent thing for us to do isn’t to publish an all-women’s issue like this month’s every now and again, but to beef up the coverage of women every month so that it at least equals, if not surpasses, the coverage for men. That’s the strategy shift I mentioned. It’s not to shortchange men; it’s just to bring things in line so our publication reflects what’s happening in serious physique sports for both male and female readers. That not only seems fair to me, but also the right thing to do – and I think most of you will agree with me.

For now, please enjoy our first and last All-Women Issue. In the months and years to come, look for the same kind of great articles and images in SeriousAboutMuscle.com that we’ve always had, but with more focus on females. It's about time

Doug Schneider
SeriousAboutMuscle.com Founder and Publisher