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Natural Professional Bodybuilder Athlete of the Year : Diana Hubbard

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Photos By Marty Gottlieb

When you see a person with an amazing physique your first reaction is always to drop your jaw in awe. Why so? Think of the first thing that comes to mind. Dedication. Will power. Discipline. Even obsession, in some cases.  These types of things don’t come over night. In fact, A lot of people who work out often still may not have the incredible physique that a bodybuilder has. The lifestyle simply takes more than an hour at the gym every day. It’s a complete lifestyle. Eating habits are different. Recreational activities are different. This type of life takes a firm choice. You can live a healthy life without being a bodybuilder. So why choose to be? It can be something as simple as seeing Schwarzenegger in a movie, being bullied as a child, or even a singular situation. Maybe you had a eureka moment. All I know is when I see it, I give my instant respect. Like a salute to a general in command.

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When I first saw Diana, the first thing I thought was intimidation. Not towards me but in general. I’ll tell you why. Women’s athletics is still a growing spectacle in all categories of sports. I’ll give you an example. The first bodybuilding competition was held around September, 1901. However, the first women’s bodybuilding competition wasn’t held until 1979. Nearly a century later.

The push away from the stereotypical house wife role, to “We can do it, too!”, came during and after World War II. Even though women had already started fighting for rights around the late 1800’s, the public campaign came around the 1940’s. Since most the men were at war, woman had to show that they had what it takes. Even when society tried to keep them boxed in. This push has elevated to the incredible stature that it is today. Watching women such as Serena & Venus Williams dominate tennis, or watching Amanda Nunes destroy the UFC women’s division has definitely been a treat.

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(Photo Cred : Marty Gottlieb)

I even asked Diana does she think she intimidates men at all. She responded, “No, in fact, I think it makes them approach me even more. I think they love the discipline aspect of it.”. This is that part that definitely intrigued me.

So what actually drove Diana to sculpt her body into this amazing physique? There may not be a definitive answer but she did tell me an interesting story about a scar she had on her arm.

As I gazed at every unique muscle on her body I noticed a scar on her left arm. You can almost miss it in pictures if you don’t look closely. Being a journalist I always want to hear the inside scoop, so I asked her about the scar. She responded,

“That’s where most of my insecurities really came from now that I think about it. I hated that scar and I would hide it all the time. It lowered with my self-esteem a lot. I broke it in a freak accident when I was around 9-10 years old. I was high up on a swing and fell off. My elbow hit a rock and broke it. My elbow that is. Now a days I embrace my scar. I’m not embarrassed about it anymore and I tell the story with confidence. It makes me unique and I like that.”.

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(Photo Cred : Marty Gottlieb)

This simple rock story may be the reason that she is rock solid today. Mentally and physically. Her life started off pretty normal, though. I mean, besides the fact that she was home schooled. In fact, she was home schooled from kindergarten to middle school, which she explained was a “huge culture shock”. Diana was into athletics early, as well. She played basketball throughout her school stint and was a stand out player. After graduating from Bloomfield Tech in 2009 she attended Iona College on a full scholarship.

Diana BBAL Stats

After a stand out rookie year, where she was the runner-up for rookie of the year, she slowly started to lose steam. She exclaimed that she has always been a shy person with low self-esteem. She believes this is the reason that she slowed down.

“So here I am, a D1 player who didn’t go pro or go overseas like “I’m supposed to”. I felt like a failure and had no choice but to look for work. A year later I decided to join a gym. I missed being active. I hadn’t realized that playing basketball year round was keeping me in shape and the sudden stop would make me lose it a little. I didn’t eat healthy, I drank, partied, and was overall unhappy. I was lost and beat myself up for years for not perusing a professional basketball career like most D1 players do.  For 3 years I went through tough hardships that included relationships, self-esteem issues, health issues, and more. I was tired of living with no purpose. I needed a change.”

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Around 2018 is when she regained her flame. She decided to challenge herself and compete in a bodybuilding show. She said she had it on her mind for 2 years before she actually took action. She didn’t feel like she was 100% focused and was nervous about doing something that would put her in the center of attention. Then she remembered the quote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”. This led to Diana hiring a personal trainer and eventually a nutritionist.  After 4 weeks on their plan she picked a show to compete in. She told herself no more hesitation, it’s go time!

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She practiced posing in the mirror after she finished doing Lyft, which would be around midnight. She also followed her coach’s meal plan with precision. In July of 2018, merely 4 weeks after she began her training, she entered a Natural Organization called the INBA PNBA. There, she won first place in Figure Novice and Figure Open.  Crazy right? This woman was determined! This expedited success came from a determined work ethic. Diana says she wants people to push pass the thought that they are “too busy” to push towards things they want.

“My typical day, before my first show, would be to wake up at 5am to Lyft. Then I train. I go to work and after work go back to do Lyft. Afterwards, about midnight, I head to gym again to practice posing. This routine is almost everyday.”

Later that year, Diana became certified in personal training and holds two pro cards in Figure and Physique. She has since competed in 8 shows over the course of 2 years.

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Her most recent victory came Nov.16th at a big show In Las Vegas with the INBA PNBA, The Natural Olympia. She placed 3rd overall and was named the National Athlete of the Year by the same association. Seeing this amazing feat in such short time said a lot about her determination. When a person falls in love with athletics it requires a totally different kind of commitment. It’s a life style change. This brings some much fire out of people. It also makes you think more of your over-all health. A strange observation I made throughout the years is that the majority of people maintenance their cars better than they maintenance their bodies. Diana noticed herself slipping and not only bounced back but became something much better than before.

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League owner – Denny Kakos
( Above Coach Marc Tauriello & League President Denny Kakos)

“In the end, it all started with me just wanting to be active again. The gym became my happy place. It became an outlet for stress and distractions in the world. Never be afraid to fail, for failure is apart of success.” Diana expresses.

“Bodybuilding is an extremely tough sport, physically and emotionally. Despite it’s difficulty, I find myself loving every bit of it. There are a lot of highs and lows. Especially dealing with the strict diet. Can you imagine eating the same thing every day for months on end? The temptation to cheat is unbearable at times. You might as well forget about having a social life during the preparation. It slowly diminishes. Through all this, the workouts only get more intense. I love this mode, though. I can sense that’s it’s challenging me physically and emotionally. Anything that pushes me in this way, I feed off it. Just like in my basketball days. The fire I got when we played a tough team. When I missed a couple of shots but was determined to bounce back. Even when I made a bad play and had to sit on the bench and reflect on how to improve. I love all of that. What I love the most about this sport is that it taught me a lot about nutrition.  I will continue to eat healthy, have balanced meals, and diet naturally. I am a stronger woman today because I took a chance to go for something I wasn’t sure I was ready for, and made myself ready.” 

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(Photo Cred – Marty Gottlieb)

Here is a list of placings Diana has had throughout her career as a bodybuilder.

2018 East Coast Classic – 1st Figure Open , 1st Figure Novice

2018 The Philip Ricardo Legend’s – Pro Debut , 1st Place

2018 Natural Olympia – 9th place (world) (17 competitors)

2019 The Philip Ricardo Legend’s Classic – 3rd place

2019 Eastern USA Pro-AM – 1st Pro Figure , 1st Women’s Physique (Earned Pro Card in women’s physique)

2019 The Nationals – 1st place in Physique pro debut

2019 Muscle Beach International – 1st in Pro Women’s Physique

2019 Natural Olympia – 3rd Place , National Athlete of the Year

Diana would like to credit her Nutritionist, Mentor, and Coach Marc Tauriello (Extreme Gym, Nutley,NJ)  for her outstanding success thus far.

Today, Diana is still a full time bodybuilding and has plans to continue to have ground breaking success. She works and a personal trainer in between time. Congratulations on all of your success and keep striving for greatness!

Written : Bruce Walton Jr

A MEME or a Movement

By: Atika Aliyah

Since September 5, 2018, social media feeds and timelines have been filled with various black and white close-ups of our favorite entertainers, athletes, and politicians, illustrating quotes or sayings these individuals have said, or would say. All of which are parodies playing off of the ad Nike released featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

 

 

The Internet has been undefeated yet again, as they have taken the attitude and tone of the ad and ran with it. Though the MEMEs provide some comic relief to the more serious issues at hand as it pertains to Kaepernick’s activism and resistance. One may pose the question, is this a new trend? To go against the grain and entertain controversy, using it as a vehicle, in this case, to spread awareness and spark conversation on the racial tensions in this country. And if so, does social media have something to do with this new direction?

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It is clear and evident that Nike was taking a risk using Kaepernick as the face for their brand. The release of the ad initially called for a boycott by those who did not support Nike’s decision and the company’s stock took a hit. However, once the smoke cleared and the memes went viral it was later followed by record-setting highs for the Nike Company on Wall Street. Nike was criticized and then praised for their “bad publicity.” But it was publicity nonetheless, and the MEMEs, along with the retweeting and reposting had more to do with it than you think. According to Apex Marketing Group, Nike received more than $43 million worth of media exposure.

Needless to say, the support for Colin Kaepernick by Nike is a great look for the culture. People of color can wear and support the brand with pride and honor. Nike now fits in with the best of them, like rappers J. Cole and Meek Mill who are using their platforms to bring attention to police brutality, criminal justice reform, and many other issues that face black and brown communities in America. Bleacher Report revealed that Meek Mill who is not only a rapper but also an advocate and victim of a corrupt justice system will be releasing a song on his new album that will be about Colin Kaepernick’s story.

 

 

 

Daytona Beach theater “Ocean 10” to show Mayweather vs McGregor fight on the big screen!

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It’s no secret that we are about to witness what may be the biggest event in combat history! Undefeated Floyd Mayweather (49-0) will face UFC multi-title holder Conor McGregor in a boxing match.

For people who actually follow combat sports they should know that with this being a boxing match it’s almost a no brainer that Floyd should take this easily. But there are a lot of things to factor in before you can just count McGregor out. Yes, we do know that if this were a Mixed Martial Arts match McGregor would most likely dominate Floyd. This match only makes sense to be a boxing match though. It only makes sense because both sports train on striking. It wouldn’t make sense to do mixed martial arts when boxing doesn’t cover all the elements that fall under MMA. Now let’s to see the elements that could be pro’s & cons for the fighters

Let’s talk about age. Conor is 11 years younger and clearly has that edge. On the flip side, Floyd has beaten fighters who were 10 years younger and heavier. I don’t want to simply count him out because of age. For instance, we have fighters like George Foreman and Bernard Hopkins who were older but vicious. Floyd’s last fight didn’t show any slack off. I don’t see this being a huge problem for him.

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Now let’s get into fight length. Floyd has fought championship rounds that have gone the distance of 12 rounds. Conor has only gone 5 rounds. Although MMA rounds are 2 minutes longer than boxing rounds. This could become a factor when they get past round 5. Especially fighting a defensive fighter like Floyd. Making your opponent miss can drain them very quickly. Floyd may be the best defensive fighter the sport has ever seen. This fight could get very interesting if it goes past round 6. I’m not sure how well Conor is with adversity. Especially after seeing the 1st Diaz fight. Hopefully Conor has the cardio to take it the distance, if it goes there. My personal experience with fighting MMA and boxing, I think boxing takes more cardio. If all else fails in MMA you can resort to grappling or clinching to regain energy. In boxing they break things up immediately and you get right back to it. Boxers also throw punches more rapidly because that’s the only thing they can rely on.

Punching power. I know most people will try to give this to Conor automatically but let’s take a second to analyze this properly. Floyd has a knock out rate of almost 50% and yes those came in his early career.  Later, he became more of a defensive fighter. Now let’s say Conor is fortunate enough to have a 20 year career and is able to make it to 49 fights, will he still be knocking people out? Who knows. Secondly, you have to factor in the glove size. Not to take away from Conor but glove size does make a difference. I do give it to Conor though, his hands are beautiful. He’s had some amazing knockouts. He can make very adversary opponents look like novice competitors. It would definitely be interesting to see if Conor can land a clean shot on Floyd and hurt him. Floyd has been in 49 professional fights and has never been on the canvas, let alone 8 counted. That is a remarkable stat. Says a lot about his defense and maybe his chin. Has he fought anyone that hit as hard as Conor? Who knows.

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Defense. I’ll be honest, MMA isn’t a sport that is big on striking defense. They do have leg checking and they do block head kicks. Other than that it’s mostly brutal. Not saying that they don’t block because they definitely do. MMA is just more barbaric. There are MMA fans who actually think less of Floyd as a fighter because he is defensive. Conor has an open arm type of style. He is just very fortunate to be lightning fast and powerful so his defense doesn’t really matter. This can be damaging for him when it comes to getting points. All Floyd has to do is out score him and not get hit which he is the best at. Conor is a great counter puncher and so is Floyd. This may be the most interesting part of the fight. Seeing how they counter each other. I can see this fight being dry for the 1st and 2nd round. Floyd doesn’t want to get hit with a bomb and Conor doesn’t want to lose by the point system.

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All-in-all I think if Conor wants a chance to beat arguably the best boxing of our time in a boxing match he has to do serious damage in the first 4-5 rounds. If it gets past that I see him having a slim chance of winning. Socially I see people argue about this and there is this strange misconception that people don’t think Conor is a great fighter. That is completely false. People are simply surprised about the disrespect towards Floyd’s ability and legacy. You may not like him outside of the ring, you may think that he cherry picked his opponents, but let’s be realistic. Over a 20 year career and 49 fights couldn’t somebody have beaten him if he wasn’t as good as we thought? The craziest argument I saw about Floyd is that he fought Mannie after his prime. Which is kind of ridiculous seeing that thier debuts are only a year apart and Floyd is older than Mannie. That completely destroys that logic and actually proves that Floyd was more out of his prime than Mannie was.

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The tickets to watch this at the movie theater will hit you for $40. Considering the magnitude of the event and the fact that you get to sit in a reclineable leather chair, I don’t think it’s that bad. I don’t care what people say about this fight, I LOVE IT! I love the energy it brings, I love the competition. Floyd is putting his undefeated record on the line versus a younger MMA knockout artist. How can you not be impressed? Conor is taking a chance in another sport (technically) against the very best person. You have to honor them both. I can only seen you hating this fight if you are a die hard MMA fan but hate boxing or a die hard boxing fan but don’t care for MMA. I’ll definitely be watching.

 

Written by Bruce Walton