Q. How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
A. I typically start off with one (or two!) cups of coffee and BCAAs before my fasted cardio. I am a HUGE fan of fasted cardio and it really helped change my body composition prior to my first figure competition. I like to do about 30 minutes of intervals and closer to contest I kick it up to a full hour.
Q. How long have you been training?
A. I have been lifting weights for nearly ten years but did not get into competing until the summer of 2011. It is something I have wanted to do for quite some time but did not have the support and guidance that I have now to do so.
Q. What made you get into Fitness and Competition?
A. I have always been fit and was a swimmer growing up. My best stroke being butterfly, I was often teased as a kid about my over-developed back and quadriceps. My nickname used to be “Quadzilla” which no young girl would be a fan of, trust me! As I got older, I embraced my unique physique and realized that I would put it to good use as a figure competitor. Others around me also encouraged me to enter as well. I figured that my build was beautiful in its own way and I was ready to show the world that there isn’t anything sexy about chicken legs, anyway
Q. How many people have you encouraged into the sport since you started?
A. I have encouraged quite a few to start competing. The person that stands out in my mind is my former personal training client and friend, Hannah. She looks up to me and has supported me on my road to competition, even getting up at 6am to do cardio with me and spending her Saturday nights running and doing lunges with me. She has made AMAZING progress on her own goals so I know that if she sets her mind to compete, I will be right there beside her while she kicks butt.
Q. What was your body like before you started training?
A. My body was “squishy”. lol! That is the dirty word I use for it. I was certainly “fit” but my diet was never on point so I did not have the hard, lean look I wanted. Now, after listening to my nutrition coach and increasing the intensity of my training, I am able to tweak my body like never before and that feeling is incredible.
Q. How do you keep yourself motivated and on-track through the grueling dieting in the last few weeks?
A. By making my boyfriend eat his pizza out in his truck in the driveway? No, seriously, it is rough. Television commercials are the absolute worst. I kept telling myself (constantly!) that all my hard work, sweat and sacrifice were not worth forsaking for a bite of this or a slice of that. I kept everything “non-diet” out of the house and found comfort in my friends who are also competitors and were going through the same thing. We helped motivate each other. The last four weeks were actually the easiest because it felt like I was so close and my goal was within reach. No cookie is worth that.
Q. How do you handle the stress of it all?
A. Luckily, I am surrounded by very supportive family and friends. So, when I was tired, grumpy and HUNGRY, they were quite helpful. I will admit, there were some mornings, getting up at 5am for a cycling class on an empty stomach, that I just stared into the bathroom mirror in a haze and thought, “why am I doing this to myself?!?” Then, I snapped out of it and got my butt on that bike. The training became very energizing and also helped with the stress of the diet and routine.
Q. Do you get more attention from the people now that you are in such good shape?
A. Yes. Mostly positive but there is a little unwelcome attention, too. The occasional offer for a free vacation to Cancun in a Facebook message can be amusing/creepy. The best attention is from clients and former clients who look at me as their role model. I love that!
Q. What do you feel is the most important thing athlete can have in order to be successful in this sport?
Q. What is your favorite energy/pre-workout supplement? Protein supplement?
A. I love C4 by Cellucor. It really helps me get energized and I love that warm feeling it produces. Even when my day has been long and my energy is sapped, a scoop of C4 can get me pumped up. My favorite protein supplement is Gaspari Nutrition’s MyoFusion in Cookies & Cream. I love it! It is my dessert before bed.
Q. How many days a week do you work out?
A. I try to do cardio all seven days a week, especially now that I am pre-contest again. I lift about 5-6 days with two of those lift days working on my shoulders.
Q. How many exercises per body part do you typically do in a workout?
A. Usually 6-8 exercises per body part.
Q. How much weight will you normally gain during the off-season?
A. This is my first real off-season and I put on about 12 lbs.
Q. How about tanning/makeup/hair preparation for a contest. Can you tell that I’m still overwhelmed?
A. Luckily, I had a really awesome friend who is a make-up artist teach me about applying contest make-up so I was able to do my own for my last show and will do it in the future as well. My hair is really, really long so I figured that I would use it as an asset and leave it long and fairly natural on stage which makes for easy hair prep. I like being in charge of my own tan application and hair/make-up because the day before the show is stressful as is. I do not want to worry about schedules and appointments. The control-freak in me likes doing it myself.
Q. What is your philosophy on diet?
A. “If it tastes good…spit it out!”
Q. Any holiday eating tips?
A. It is a holiday — enjoy it! Have that cookie and the extra helping of pecan pie, but make sure you bundle up for that extra helping of 6am hill running to work it off. I suggest mittens, too.
Q. What about working out while you are on the road?
A. I have not had to work out on the road much, other than visiting my parents and I was really good about sticking to my training schedule. If anything, it helped. I did not have my household chores, work, and worries so I was able to focus on lifting and my cardio. Also, the change of scenery is very motivating.
Q. Do you believe in workout programs like Insanity or P90X?
A. I do not use them but I believe in any program that works for the person using it. If P90X or Insanity gets someone off the couch and working out, that is a wonderful thing!
Q. What do you wish you had known before you started doing shows?
A. I wish I had known how week 2 is just as important as week 20. Every second in that gym, every mile on that treadmill, and every bite of food shows on that stage. Train and diet everyday like it is the last day before you put those heels on!
Q. Looking back on what you have accomplished so far, what is one thing you would change if you could, knowing what you do now?
A. I would have started running outside a lot earlier. I actually enjoy it and it has made a huge difference in the look and composition of my legs and glutes.
Q. What do you feel is the most important thing a bodybuilder/fitness/figure/bikini can have in order to be successful in this sport?
A. A good support system. Your friends and family will keep you motivated when things are tough if they understand how important this is to you. This sport is not for everyone and some consider the diet/training crazy but they will motivate you when you’re exhausted and cheer their hearts out for you when you walk out on stage. It is an amazing feeling that makes it all worth it.
Q. Is it not very hard to exercise and lift on such a low calorie diet? I am talking about the pre-contest diet. I know you follow a very low calorie pre-contest diet. Don’t you get hungry?
A. It is VERY hard. The last 6 weeks, it was like someone sucked the life right out of me by 2pm. By 4pm, I would be talking sheer gibberish and driving 30 mph on the freeway. I was a walking, breathing, lifting zombie. My eyes would glaze over by 8pm and then I still had to do 30-60 minutes of cardio before bed. Luckily, I had a few friends that I was lifting with regularly at the end. They were not really there to spot me; I wasn’t able to lift very heavy at that point. They were just keeping me from sleeping in between sets.
Q. Does your social life include others that are not into fitness or competition?
A. I hate to say, not really. It is hard to have a social life with people that can eat and drink whatever they want and not understand that “no drinking” does not mean one or two. No means NONE. Besides, I spend so much free time in the gym that all my friends are gym rats, too. We stick together and understand each other.
Q. Who is your favorite bodybuilder, fitness model, and/or athlete?
A. I love Erin Stern. She is my gold standard of what a figure competitor should look like. I am also a big fan of Dorian Yates and Texas’ own Dave “The Shredder” Goodin.
Q. Favorite guilty indulgence?
A. Oatmeal Raisin cookies.
Q. What is your favorite exercise?
A. Anything that works my shoulders. They need the love.
Q. What is that one body part that you just can’t seem to bring up or make it look like you want?
A. My shoulders. They are a work in progress.
Q. What is the best asset of your physique/body?
A. My legs.
Q. What do you want our readers to know about you that they couldn’t find out from seeing you on stage or in print?
A. I feel that I am very approachable, both at the gym and in social networking. I tell it like it is. I do not sugar-coat this sport but I will always try to help anyone that wants to get involved with the most honest and motivating advice that I can give. I feel like so many people related to my blog (Confessions of a Figure Competitor) that were not even in the sport of bodybuilding because I told the good, bad, and the stinky truth of it.
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