In January 2014, I wrote an article called “The All-Women Issue – Signs of a New Strategy,” in which I said, “[T]hese 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.” Looking back now on what I said then, I wouldn’t change a word – women far and away outnumber the men at physique events, a trend I see continuing to grow.

But this article isn’t about the quantity of women who compete; instead, it’s about the quality of them, particularly in the Physique Canada organization, which is about to open its competitive season next month with 2015 Physique Canada National Classic event, held June 13 in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. What this article focuses on are five fantastic Physique Canada Tier 1 Pro female competitors who I think everyone should watch out for when they compete this year, whether it’s on June 13 or later in the season.

One is Jess Kanstrup, who is featured on our cover this month and who I described last month in an article called “Physique Canada's Rising Stars.” In that article I said that what likely kept Jess from having a top-three finish in last year’s Canadian Championships wasn’t her physique, but her posing, which hid her great physique instead of showcasing it. So she really needs to improve her posing techniques to move higher in the rankings. If she does, though, watch out – Jess has the kind of physique that can win Physique Canada’s women’s athletic physique discipline at the Tier 1 Pro level.

Jess KanstrupJess Kanstrup

However, winning won’t be a cakewalk for Jess, even if she does improve her posing significantly. Another competitor who has a great chance to do well in athletic physique this year is Melanie Albert, one of the organization’s most consistent competitors. Melanie has never won a Tier 1 Pro competition, but she’s placed in the top three in the last three competitions she’s been in.

Melanie AlbertMelanie Albert

Unlike Jess, Melanie is a very polished poser, so no refinements are needed there. What Melanie needs to improve is her balance between muscle size and definition – she was ripped at last year’s Canadian Championships, but at the expense of muscle fullness, which made her look a little drawn and thin. If Melanie hits things spot-on by balancing muscle size with definition, however, she will be a frontrunner for sure.

That said, Marie-Josée Allard also has what it takes to become a winner in athletic physique. Marie-Josée was the first runner-up in this discipline at the Tier 1 Pro level last year, and is featured alongside bodybuilder Mathieu Roy on the poster for the 2015 Physique Canada National Classic.

Marie-Josée AllardMathieu Roy and Marie-Josée Allard

Marie-Josée’s muscle size at last year’s Canadians was about perfect for athletic physique, her posing was good (not quite as polished as Melanie’s, but good enough such that it was not holding her back), and her overall shape and symmetry were excellent. Where she needs to improve just a bit is in definition, particularly in her lower body. If Marie-Josée improves just that, it would be a very tight race between herself, Jess, and Melanie. In fact, I wouldn’t even want to guess who would win Tier 1 Pro athletic physique if they all brought the required improvements.

Turning to the women’s muscular physique discipline, aka figure, Natalie Nadon made quite an impact at last year’s Canadian Championships by winning the Tier 2 category and then placing third in the Tier 1 Pro category.

Natalie NadonNatalie Nadon

From what I could see at that competition, Natalie’s main strengths are her overall shape and symmetry – she has what the physique world likes to call an X-frame, meaning wide shoulders and a tiny waist. She also displayed good definition. What Natalie needs to improve to move up the ranks is her muscle size – just a little bigger all around. If she does that, she could bring quite a well-balanced package to the stage and take the top spot.

No talk about Physique Canada’s fantastic female competitors would be complete without mentioning Nadia Moussa, who made a triumphant return to the physique stage at the 2014 Physique Canada National Classic after 12 years away from competing. She won the Tier 1 Pro muscular physique category at the 2014 National Classic and was the first runner-up at the 2014 Canadian Championships. Nadia is featured in our “Iron Shots” gallery this month in a photo I took at the Canadian Championships.

Nadia MoussaNadia Moussa

I’m hard-pressed to suggest how Nadia can improve much because she already brings such a complete and polished package to the stage, but she told me that she’s convinced that she can improve her physique and her presentation substantially if she really sets her mind to it. What’s more, when we sent her the final “Iron Shot” image a few days ago, she said it gave her the mental boost she needed to kick things into high gear to improve. So if she does successfully set her mind to it and improves that much, watch out – Nadia will be unstoppable on that stage!

Some might wonder why I made no mention of Marie-Ève Delorme, muscular physique winner at the 2014 Canadian Championships. Simple – she let me know earlier this year that she’ll be working on improving her physique in 2015, but doesn’t have plans to compete until 2016. So when it comes time to write about next year, she’ll obviously be included then. However, if Marie-Ève changes her mind and does decide to compete, it could really be a showdown in muscular physique if she’s on the stage alongside Nadia and Natalie. Time will tell . . .

Jess, Melanie, Marie-Josée, Natalie, and Nadia – five fantastic female physique competitors with the potential to go far. Now, let’s see how the Physique Canada season plays out and which of these women will improve in the areas they need to and emerge as winners in the 2015 Physique Canada competitions – or if some new up-and-coming competitors take their spots. It’s going to be an amazing year for women’s physique sports in this nation!

Doug Schneider Founder and Publisher