Fern Assard is one of my favorite people in the fitness industry. She is obviously beautiful, but is such an inspiration and a role model for both men and women. She is a testament to that "if you want it, go get it" mentality. She works hard but knows how to work effective. If you are young or new to training, Fern is someone you can really learn from. Here is my interview with Fern. I promise you will come away impressed.
Q:Fern, first let me thank you for agreeing to do this. You are someone I really admire, so this is an honor for me.
Q: Can you tell a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: Well, Im 41 and started working out when I was 38. After 4 kids, my body was being ravaged by cellulite and the effects of gravity. I live in CT, work for a dentist as an accounts manager. I spent most of my life as an anorexic because in an unhappy womans mind....if we are thin we will be beautiful and everyone will love us. It doesnt work that way.
Q: Befroe you got into training were you an especially active person? Play an sports or things like that?
A: I did a few sports up until about age 12. I dont really know why I quit, I guess I just wasnt really into it all that much. I was very shy and it didnt help my confidence.
Q: What led you to the gym intially?
As I said before, after 4 kids my body wasnt very nice, I didnt eat right, but I always had a secret love of muscles. A secret that alot of so called normal people frown upon and dont encourage for women such as weight lifting and bodybuilding. I decided to say the heck with everyone and just do what I wanted to do.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you saw real results?
A: Oh my God, I was soooooo sore all the time!!! I started with a little cardio and moved into circut training. Doing 5 to 6 days a week of full body. After about 6 months I was becoming addicted to my new changes and knew it was time to get into the weight room if I wanted to go further. As far as training being something I picked up easily.I really did my research. I read magazines and books, watched trainers like Charles Glass online and went to the gym later in the evening so I could practice my form.
Q: Was competing something you planned from the begging, and if not what made you decide to compete?
A: I decided I wanted to be a figure competitor after seeing Michelle Flake in M&F. It was a defining moment...........a pretty blonde with muscles, show hair and make up , the glamourous figure suit and she had 3 kids! I did my first show 6 months later.........a year after joining the gym.
Q: Was comepting something family and friends supported at the time, and how about now?
A: I had NO support from family and friends. My mother thought I was in some "hooker" pageant and my sister complained I trained too much. The rest of my family didnt even pay attention. Only a few family members have ever come to see my shows. Many are far from home, so some of it is understandable. Now they know what I do and why I do it..but it took a couple years.
Q: Was the first competition what you expected, did anything surprise you?
A: I was a little suprised because the first show I ever saw...well I was in it. Of course we look to the pros for inspiration but I thought the women would be leaner and more muscular......I was too lean but I placed 2nd.
Q:Can you share your contest history
A: Ha..I think your article may be too long. Let me copy and paste from another site. Some shows were "combo shows" and so I did both. At one show I did 4 divisions and was on stage 13 times.
Oct 17, 2009: NPC NPC Beauty and the Beast Figure - Placing: 2
Oct 17, 2009: NPC NPC Beauty and the Beast Open Figure - Placing: 2
Jul 18, 2009: NPC Masters Nationals - Placing: 12
May 03, 2009: NPC Jay Cutler Classic - Placing: 1
Nov 01, 2008: NPC 2008 Natural CT State Open - Placing: 3
Nov 01, 2008: NPC 2008 Natural Northern States Master 35+ - Placing: 4
Nov 01, 2008: NPC 2008 Natural Northern States Masters 40+ - Placing: 1
Jun 14, 2008: NPC CT State Championships - Placing: 3
Jun 14, 2008: NPC Ct Grand Prix - Placing: 2
Apr 26, 2008: Fitness Atlantic Figure - Placing: dnf
Apr 19, 2008: NPC NPC RHODE ISLAND NATURAL OCEAN STATE MASTERS - Placing: 3
Apr 19, 2008: NPC NPC RHODE ISLAND NATURAL OCEAN STATE OPEN - Placing: 3
Nov 18, 2007: NPC NPC Northern States Figure - Placing: 1
Nov 18, 2007: NPC NPC Northern States Figure - Placing: 4
Apr 28, 2007: Fitness Atlantic - Placing: 6
Apr 14, 2007: NPC RI Natural Ocean State masters 35+ - Placing: 2
Apr 07, 2007: WNSO FAME fitness model masters class (WON PRO CARD) - Placing: 1
Feb 03, 2007: Transformation contest bodybuilding.com - Placing: 1
Q: I am a big fan of your abs. Do you have a body part you like most on yourself, or one that gets the most compliments?
A: That has to be the abs!!! I have a freaky 8 pack seems to attract attention. Especially from those who know I have 4 children. People also like the biceps. I have a friend who has been training for years, he has never gotten a peak even when he was competing nationally.
Q: Do you have a favorite part to train or favorite exercise?
A: That would probably be legs. I can go for hours on legs and not get tired. I have to restrain myself sometimes. I dont really have a favorite exercise for them though. I love them all.
Q: Can you share your normal training routine and diet, and how you alter it for contest prep?
A: Thats a tall order! I now train on a normal 5 day split. I prefer push/pull combos. You know back/bi chest/tri paired up. I'm doing legs 2x per week, one heavy and one lighter. I do shoulders and calves 2 to 3 x a week, abs once a week.
Im bulking right now so my diet isnt the best. I dont go crazy though. My contest prep is eating clean 6 times a day, the usual brown rice, grount turkey fare. I dont start very far out from a show. I only need 4-6 weeks and then I maintain lean throught diet for the whole season March thru October usually.
Q: When someoen see's your physique for the first time, what is the most common response? More negative or positive?
A: Suprisingly positive! If anyone things I'm "gross" they are probably too scared of me to say it out loud! I get all kinds of compliments from people of all walks of life. Ive even had older "business women" types give me a compliment. I used to be suprised but now I know people do like muscles, they just are afraid to admit it.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: "DO YOU WORK OUT?" I know some people just dont know what to say but jeez........thats a dumb question. And "how much can you bench?" I mean come on!!! Does it matter? Is that a guy thing? A man is defined by his bench even if he has chicken legs?
Q: Are there any misconceptions about women who train and compete, or anything you wish people knew?
A: People think I train all day long, they think I dont eat. Go ahead, bring me to dinner..I dare you....I will eat mine and your leftovers afterwards. I train about an hour to an hour and 1/2 5 days a week. I dont do crunches for my abs. I do abs probably about 30 mins a week for maintenance. I work full time, there is no one paying my bills so I can live at the gym.
Q: Do you think muscular women are more accepted by society than five years ago?
A: Yes, but the skinny models still have a grip on society for some reason. I do find young girls looking at me, writing to me and they want muscles. There is no personal glory in being skinny. Your jeans squiah your butt flat, you are tired all the time, weak and in any animal kingdom.......the weak do not survive..they get EATEN.
Q: Do you have any favorite comeptitors, or people you admire?
A: I do love the more muscular figure ladies! Monica Brant, GinaAliotti....sometimes not the winners, but always most memorable for being dynamic onstage and off.
Q: Can you talk about your work on anabolicdoc.com
A: I love being part of that site. Its a bit of an acting job as obviously Im not really a dingbat kind of nurse, but I had fun. Dr. Tom OConnor is on a mission to help the power sportsmen maintain the best health possible. Lets face it, millions of anabolic steroids are being used an abused. Why ignore it? People on "street" drugs or alcoholics get help to quit, to wean off, to cut down...whatever. Why do the bodybuilders and powerlifters "deserve" to have bad health becauser of what they do? You cant go to your regular doctor D BOL and expect him to know how to treat you...he doesnt even know what DBOL is. So, with this new "field", he knows what you are taking, put you on meds if you have high blood pressure, elevated levels of estrogen, thyroid issues, heart issues. He does not take this lightly........its life and death. The guys arent going to stop taking their steroids so why shouldnt someone be there to help themlive as long as possible as well as possible? I could go on forever about this HOT issue though........
go to www.anabolicdoc.com and order your labs, know whats going on inside you.
Q: Helping others achieve their goals is something you really like to isnt it?
A: Hell ya!!! I try to help as much as possible when I can. I get tons of emails. I try to blog or write articles or do videos so I can reach more people on a broad range. I hate not being able to answer all emails personally. I have a couple thousand in my yahoo account. Sorryyyyyy!!! I just want others to know you can do this on your own, same as I did. I had no advantage, I just had heart.
Q: If someone came up to you and said they wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you woul most want to give them?
A: Good question. Don't give up so easily! Rome wasnt built in a day and this doesnt happen over night. I'd tell them to pick up a book on eating clean and start with circut traing to get all your muscles used to lifting weight. I'd tell them...dont do an hour of cardio!!! Do about 1/2 hour of DIFFICULT cardio. So what if you can do 2 hours on the treadmill...you are wasting 2 hours.....walk uphill at 4.5 miles an hour for 20 minutes and go lift some weights!!!! for an hour!!!
Q: What is the biggest mistake you see people make when they start training?
A: They dont lift heavy enough. People underestimate their strength. You are wasting your time and if you see no results, you wil quit. I dont want that for anyone. Especially women. You carry kids, you carry groceries...sometimes both, so make some effort. Exercise doesnt need to be fancy. Old school training always works.
Q: When someone says you inspire them, what does that mean to you?
A: Its hard when you have no hope and inspiration is just that.HOPE. For me to do this on my own, while working and raising kids as a single mom with little funds at the "old" age of 41...I think people see how I have done it and that they can do it too. I like to set a good example for others who think they have not a chance in this world of being healthy happy and fit.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activites you enjoy?
A: I kind of live and breathe fitness, but I have always been a lover of books and I have to have music in my life. So, books, music and probably the beach are some of my favorite things.
Q: Can you describe a day in the life of Fern Assard?
A: Weekdays Im up at 6 am. I work from 730 until 5 or 530pm....I go home and eat, say hi to the kids, then I am off to the gym and get home around 830. I help my youngest with his homework then try to find time to answer mail or write articles or return phone calls. On weekends its much easier! I try to limit my weeknights to 3 so I can see the kids. They are pretty self sufficient now though. On weekends I will work out for up to 2 hours so, thats when I prefer to do legs.
Q: What is one thing about you that people would be surpirsed to know?
A: I got suspended from highschool for 10 days for fighting a boy. I was really shy but he pushed the wrong button!!! I trashed him in the cafeteria. I was like a 100lb she beast gone mad. yes, I pulled his hair and gave him a black eye. Funny because I dont get mad easily.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Double cheeseburgers from McDonalds. I justify it due to the high amount of protein!! I ate 3 just last week in one sitting.
Q: Favorite actor, movie, TV show, and musician?
A: No secret I have the hots for Jason Statham!!! Woo hoooo!! Something about that man......My favorite movies "The Hangover", "7 Lbs" and something scary like "Mirrors". I do love scary. Musician? I love all kinds of music, country, metal, death metal, dance......even modern opera. I live close to a casino and have see lots of bands. Buck Cherry is one of the best live bands out there. Kenney Chesney was great too.
Q: Describe Fern Assard in five words.
A: Funny, Stubborn, Kind, Smart, Nurturer.
Q: Anything I may have missed that you want to plug or promote?
A: Plug or promote? Myself I suppose! Nah........just kidding, I'm doing alot of stuff this coming year. Arnold Masters Figure, couple shows in NY, Masters Nationals in PA.....then there are always the photoshoots. I have some great photographers lined up this spring who has been kind enough to invite me to shoot with them...Bill Dobbins, Dan Ray, Brian Moss and more. Sometimes I have trouble believing they want little old me.
Q: Sponsors are always nice for competitors. Are you looking for any, if so, how can they contact you, and what are they getting in Fern Assard the athlete and competitor?
A: They can contact me vis email email@example.com, but please put sponsor in the header. They are getting all of the above plus I can do photos for them, blog about their products (no supplements similar to Gaspari because I rep for them) and even make 'infomercial' videos for my youtube account. I will take on new sportswear/gymwear lines, bikini sites, gym equiptment...stuff like that. Though certain products like protein bars are great. Supreme is one of my favs...hint hint
Q: Fern, again, thank you for doing this. It is a big honor for me. Any last words before you go?
A: Know when you see a photo of someone who you think has an advantage over you and thats probably why they are more 'successful'....look a little deeper. Chances are that person had it even harder than you but decided to make the move and claw their way above the surface. No one hands you fitness or muscles......they are earned. Now go out and do it.......ok?