Two-Sides of a Coin: Latorya Watts & Autumn Swansen

by Steve Colescott, The Guerrilla Journalist

Much has changed since the years that Rachel McLish, Kike Elomaa and Carla Dunlap represented the top female lifters in the world. Not only has women’s bodybuilding advanced, but it has splintered, not in a negative dissolution, but in a reinforced reinvention of the game, with bikini, figure and physique providing not only different template for perfection, but competitive options for women from different genetic types.

Two of the top pro women are Latorya Watts (Figure Olympia winner) and Autumn Swansen (Arnold Classic Women’s Physique International Champion). On September 15, both women will be on the Olympia stage battling for their prospective categories. Rather than analyze and describe them myself, I asked both of these very intelligent and articulate women to set aside feelings and critique one another from their unique perspectives.

 

What is the difference between the qualities needed to win the Figure category at the Olympia as opposed to the Physique category?

Latorya (on Autumn):

Qualities to be successful in the WPD (women’s physique division) or any division is your ability to work hard, have the positive mindset and be patient during the process. Sculpting that winning physique takes much more than you see onstage. When it comes to criteria for WPD you must be spot-on with conditioning, have moderate degree of muscle tone with separation, while maintaining a healthy appearance. As with the figure division, the degree of muscularity must be minimal with some detail. Both divisions are critiqued on symmetry, shape and proportions.

Autumn (on Latorya):

More lines!!! Both divisions want good quality separation but definitely more definition and slightly more size, but not much and not necessarily. I guarantee Latorya’s muscle mass outweighs mine! It’s just the illusion because of conditioning. The closer I get to a show the more “jacked” people say I get. At first, I was insecure because people would ask if I was “bulking up” after I’d been dieting my butt off and leaning down, dropping weight. The muscles just become more visible and “pop” the less fat you have covering them.

 

Taking out emotion, if you were a judge, describe your team-mate’s physique.

Autumn (on Latorya):

As I said, her size is so impressive, especially her legs and shoulders. Her shape is perfect and she has such a natural frame for the division. She has the complete “x factor” with amazing super-round muscles. You never want to look over-dieted and “stringy” and she brings just the right amount of conditioning.

Latorya (on Autumn):

I would describe Autumn’s physique as being well-defined and athletic. She showcases those full muscle bellies, great conditioning, shape and femininity. Everything just flows well with balance.

 

What are her strengths? Weaknesses?

Latorya (on Autumn):

Autumn’s strengths would be her positive attitude, work ethic and her entire support team. She has one of the best coaches to guide her as well as the motivation and encouragement from her husband, friends and family. For me, I know that has been my biggest strength and my reason why as I continue to push through the pain and obstacles.

Autumn’s weaknesses, which I feel is more of just a message to her, would be to avoid listening to any negativity regarding what you do and are capable of. It doesn’t matter who you are up against. Yes the women’s physique division is stacked and the division is growing and getting better every season, but all you women work hard to be the best and bring something unique.

Autumn (on Latorya):

Strengths?…everything! There are really no gaps in her physique. I was just teasing her if she ever comes to WPD, I better get a fair warning!

 

How does she fit into the category she chose?

Latorya (on Autumn):

Autumn fits into the women’s physique division perfectly. She has the aesthetics that are desired along with the balance of her muscularity and beauty. 

Autumn (on Latorya):

Super well. Super feminine and beautiful. I think it’s awesome that we do our own makeup and hair and all that because it’s really tough, yet at the same time I’ve always preached do what you “can control”.  At first it was out of necessity, but anymore I prefer it and have my system down. In fact, I’m going to share some of what I do beauty-wise to hit the stage to help others who may not be able to afford or don’t want to chance things in someone else’s hands. By all means, if I had a trial with a professional make-up artist beforehand, I’d most definitely have someone take that stress and time away. Everyone has different circumstances though and this is my current situation.

 

Who would you say will be her competition at this year’s Olympia?

Latorya (on Autumn):

Her number one competition is herself and making sure she stays focused to bring a better package every single time she steps on stage. 

Autumn (on Latorya):

While every single one of the girls up there is fierce and deserving, I most definitely think her reign is nowhere near finished. She is just one of those blessed “freaks”!  When you are already on top, you are the “one” to beat.  She just has to do “her” which I have no doubt in. She is super focused, driven, and although her life circumstances are changing right now, she has one ultimate “race” in mind and nothing will deter her! We both will not let a moment of struggle, weakness, or pain take a lifetime of glory!

 

Since you know one another, what is one of the things that she does differently with training and nutrition than you (and why)?

Autumn (on Latorya):

Funny, but we were just talking about some of this. She keeps in a lot of her condiments she told me and doesn’t feel deprived. I taper and taper towards healthier and healthier. Training wise, I believe I weight train more frequently than her and she does cardio more than me. I’m just getting to know her though, but I’m CERTAIN she pushes heavy like me and I’m sure we have the same “staples”.  She would make for an awesome training partner!

Latorya (on Autumn):

With training and nutrition, Autumn is able to train more and take on more calories to get the job done. With Autumn being in the women’s physique division she trains every muscle group, while figure will focus mainly on shoulders, back and legs. 

 

Both women present some interesting information on what we can expect on September 15. Both women have been directing their efforts for top placement in their prospective Olympias. Both women are top contenders to win the overall on the stage. Both women have a sharp perspective (and respect) for one another. We look forward to seeing them on stage!

Midwest Muscle Report
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