Just one look and you can see Maria Cabading Popov is a beautiful woman. But that only tells a small portion of who she is. Maria is one of the nicest people I have ever had the honor of knowing. Whenever I have a training or nutrition question, she is quick with an answer. But she doesn't just answer the question, she explains the answer. She has a physique where you can tell figure or bodybuilding, whatever she competed in, she would be a success. Simply put the fitness industry is better because Maria is in it. She is an asset to the industry for so many reasons. So please read this and find out about her, and then go find out even more at www.beautifullybronzedvb.com, www.fitmariaonline.com, and www.classiclinesfitness.com
Q: First, Maria, thank you for taking the time to do this. I appreciate it, and am honored you agreed to it.
A: Thank you Jason for this opportunity. I also am honored to be asked to be a part of your blog.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where are from, things like that.
A: I was born in Agana, Guam. My dad was in the Navy so I grew up a military brat. We didn't move around a lot but I spent some of my childhood in San Diego, California and most of my life in Virgina. I have two brothers both living in Northern Virginia. I currently live in Virginia Beach with my husband.
Q: Were you an especially athletic or active child?
A: I grew up both active and athletic. I mentioned I have brothers so I grew up a tomboy playing street football with other neighborhood kids, climbing trees, and going to baseball games with my dad. I've always enjoyed sports and other outdoor activities.
Q: How long have you been training and what got you into the gym to begin with?
A: I picked up weight training in my late 20's. I knew nothing about equipment...let alone what a bicep curl was. What got me in the gym was just the shear desire to be healthy and look great!
Q: I see instances where a beautiful woman life yourself is not taken seriously in the gym at first. Did you feel you had to prove yourself at first, or did you feel you belong right from the start?
A: For being a novice in the gym, no, I didn't feel like I had to prove myself. I'm good at looking like I know what I'm doing when I actually don't...haha! I self educated myself by reading everything I could get my hands on that pertained to weight training and exercising. I felt very comfortable in the gym, even from the very start. I didn't have any workout partners or anyone else to guide me. Everything was trial and error but I love learning new things and challenging myself so the process was awesome. I'm still learning after all these years.
Q: What made you decide to compete?
A: I'm a very goal oriented person. Whether it's business or in my personal life. I ALWAYS have to have an objective or goal. This way I stay focused. I constantly need to be stimulated and challenged so after working out for years and changing my physique, I felt like I needed something else, something more to keep me "in" my workouts....So, competing was a logical choice for me. A new goal to keep me challenged.
Q: Was your first contest what you expected or did anything surprise you?
A: My first contest was great. Back then, there was no "figure" just bodybuilding. I learned my mandatories and 60 second routine. That was probably the hardest part of prep!! I had a girlfriends of mine who had experience with competitors help me with diet and workouts. She was a big help.
Surprised? No, Nervous? Yes, but I am so happy I went through with it!!
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: *2006- NPC Body Rock- Figure A 5th place
*2008- NPC East Coast Tournament Of Champions- Figure A 4th place
*2008- NPC Lenda Murray Bodybuilding- Figure A 1st place
*2008- NPC Team Univers- Figure A 14th place
*2009- NPC Jr. USA- Figure A 5th place
*2009- NPC USA- Figure A 15th place
*2009- NPC Nationals- Figure A 12th place
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time, and how about now?
A: At first, before the figure division came along, I did compete in a couple local bodybuilding shows, and I was dating someone that was at first very supportive. As time went on, and I spent more time in the gym and watching my diet, he didn't like it too much. I tried to include him as much as possible but he felt threatened by my new body and confidence. Things got a little hairy. I took a few years off from competing because of him and we eventually ended up breaking up. Now, fast forward some years and I'm happy to say that I met and married the most wonderful, patient, and supportive person in the world!!
Q: Do you have a favorite and least favorite part of competing?
A: This goes back to growing up a tomboy; I don't like the part where you have to pay extra attention to tanning, hair, makeup, and nails...haha!! I love to train and love to diet but that girly stuff I can leave it, but it is a part of the journey so I accept it :-)
Q: What do you consider your best body part, or the one that gets the most compliments?
A: Shoulders...I've got great capped shoulders!!
Q: Favorite part to train or favorite exercise?
A: To be honest Jason, I LOVE TO TRAIN! Doesn't matter what body part...haha... I love to train hard too! Weights...cardio...it's all good in my book!! Ask me what I dislike...ABS!! I never train abs!
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, both for off season, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Because my body consists of a lot of muscle ( I compete in Figure) I do focus on a lot of cardio. Cardio 6-7 sessions a week. Weight training is typically full body circuits once a week and then I'll do lower and another day upper. My workouts are pretty much the same on and off season. Diet is pretty much the same. I do 1 refeed day, which is usually Saturday or Sunday... but I'm clean the rest of the week. Off season my portions of protein is bigger and my fat grams are a little higher, but I consume all clean foods. I take in a lot of veggies too.
Q: Any lack of proper gym etiquette that really bothers you?
A: Not cleaning your equipment! Nasty!
Q: When people see your figure for the first time, what is the most common response? More negative or positive?
A: Always a pretty good response and I really don't care for the negatives. I love my muscles. God blessed me with them and I'm going to show off my gifts.
Q; When people see it that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: Requests: "Flex your muscles"....or "How much do you bench?" Haha
One question I get all the time is; "What do you eat?" or "How do I get rid of this?" (as they point or grab onto fat on their body)...haha.
Q: Are there any misconceptions about women who weight train?
A: Oh yes, people who know nothing about the industry or about competing think girls with muscles are automatically on "something" which I am 100% natural so are a lot of my fellow athletes.
Q: Why figure over bodybuilding?
A: I've done bodybuilding on a local level but I love the Figure division. I've been playing around with the idea of bodybuilding again but I'm sticking to Figure for now.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Sushi and toasted pecans with splenda and cinnamon.
Q: If someone came up to you and said they wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would want to give them?
A: There is soooo much advice I would love to share but if there can only be one thing; Be patient!!...losing, developing, and building a physique is a process. Enjoy the journey.
Q: You also have your website. Can you give that out.
Q; You are also a personal trainer. Whats the best way for a potential client to contact you and what is the benefit of being trained by Maria Cabading Popov?
A: You can reach my via email, phone, text...
Benefit of training with me? My experience and patience and I like to think outside the box!
Q: Do you have anyone in the sport you admire or are a fan of?
A: I have many inspirational people.... Pauline Nordin, Adela Garcia, Nita Marquez, and many more for many different reasons!
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love skiing, traveling, reading, training clients, running boot camps, and especially spending time with my husband.
Q: Describe a typical day in the life of Maria Cabading Popov.
A: My day is typically full. Besides training clients, I manage a gym, teach group fitness classes,I have a small airbrush tanning business, workout, and work more...LOL...that's the truth!!!
Q: Favorite TV shows or movies?
A: Anything on the Food Network! Love watching movies too.
Q: Describe Maria Cabading Popov in five words.
A: Focused, Determined, Strong, but loves to Laugh, and Love :-)
Q: Anything you want to plug or promote?
Q: Now obviously, for people that compete, sponsorship is important. Are you looking for any, and if so, what does a sponsor get as far as an athlete and competitor in Maria Cabading Popov?
A: I'd love to volunteer my time, selling, marketing, and networking the sponsors services or products- Advertise the sponsors log on my website- I frequent contest venues as a competitor and spectator and would love to advertise the sponsors logo.
Q: Maria, I want to again thank you for taking the time to do this. I appreciate it, and hope it helps shine a brighter light on an incredible woman. Anything you want to add before you go?
A: Thanks again Jason.