Jill Telllefsen-Crean is not an amazing figure competitor. She is an amazing woman. She is someone I am very honored to have met, and someone I hope to always know. She is new to competing, but has the determination and dedication to go far in the sport. She has an amazing story to tell and I hope you will take the time to read it. She is the kind of person you want to see succeed, and if you know her, you know she will succeed. She is an inspiration for men and women alike, and someone I get such inspiration from, that sometimes, late at night I read her Facebook posts, and feel compelled to run down to the basement and do a few extra sets myself.
Q: First, Jill, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. I greatly appreciate it.
A: Thank you very much for the opportunity Jason. Your blog for the women in this sport is wonderful.
Q: Can you start out by just telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: Well, I am one of 3...I have an older brother and a younger sister...I guess you could say I have Jan Brady syndrome...LOL!! I also have 2 step brothers and they both live in Texas. I grew up in Bergen County NJ, and
currently I live in Rockland County with my husband Michael, and my 2 cats...Cole and Callie!
Q: Before we get into the fitness part of your life. You are a 2 time cancer survivor. Is there anything you want to share about that. Such as what you had or anything like that
A:I was 22 yrs old when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I had 6 months of Chemotherapy, and about 6 weeks of radiation. I have been in remission for the past 19 yrs from this cancer. I can't even begin to describe how horrible this time of my life was. There were times when I was so ill, I just asked my Mother to let me go.....but I am a fighter....and I made it through. To this day, I can not stand the smell of rubber gloves, or rubbing alcohol when I am at a hospital or doctors office, and I almost never wear buttom down shirts. (I had a port for my chemo, so these things bring back the memories for me)
Then about 1 1/2 yrs ago,at the age of 39, I had surgery to remove a large ovarian cyst. I got the call from my surgeon that my biopsy came back as ovarian cancer. I was in shock. I went downstairs to my husband to tell him the diagnois, and told him outright, there was NO WAY I was doing chemo again. Once again, God was with me...my type of cancer was Borderline Serrus Tumor. My surgeon took out the bad overy, and unfortunately, my other overy had bad tissue as well. so after removing the bad overies, and my abdominal tumor markers, my surgeon had no choice but to preform a comptely hysterecomy. He got everything out, nothing had spread, and once again..I am in remission.
Q: Before you got into training, were you an especially athletic person. Play any sports or anything.
A:I use to play sports in school. In Grammer school it was volleyball and basketball, and in high school it was Track. I ran the 100 and 200 meter, and I did high jumping and long jumping.
Q: What lead you into the gym?
A: What led me to the gym was after my non-hodgkins went into remission, I spent a bit too much time "celebrating" life. Too much drinking and eating. By my 30th birthday, I was miserable with how I looked and how I felt, and I knew right then, it was time to turn my life around to live a healthy life. After all God gave me a second chance, and why was I ruining it? I wanted to take care of my body, and be happy with myself, and how I looked. So on a bet with my father, I went to the gym............and I have never looked back!
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started seeing real results?
A: At first it was hard for me. My cardio endurance was awful!!!! I could only stay on an elliptical for 10 minutes...LOL..weights more or less came easy...I spoke to alot of trainers at the gym, and started reading alot of magazines. I met with a nutritonist at the gym I went to, and within 6 months I went from a size 12, 168lbs and 32% BMI to size 6, 140lbs and 22% BMI! I have also had a number of shoulder surgeries, so after my 2nd surgery, I hired my first trainer to help me rehab my shoulder and relearn exercises that I could do without hurting myself. Then I met my last trainer, who taught me so much about nutrition, and proper form, My body just starting changing so drastically with him. So between seeing these changes and working with him, he just lit this passion in me for the gym.
Q: You are currently trained by PJ Braun. I make no secret of the fact that PJ is my favorite male bodybuilder. What is it like being trained by him?
A:I LOVE LOVE LOVE training with PJ!!!! He is a fantastic coach, and a man I now call a good friend. PJ gave me my diet and training program online, and then 1 day a week I drive to him and train with him in Brewster NY. If I lived a bit closer, I definately would train with him more than one day a week. PJ also answers all my questions and emails in a timely manor, and he never makes me feel stupid for asking the questions that I ask of him. His programs are challenging, and he kicks my butt when I train with him in person. I am pushing and squatting more weight then I ever thought possible. LOL...PJ asked me one day, why my old trainer trained me like a girl, since clearly I am stronger then my old trainer ever gave me credit for. PJ's faith in me, pushes me to be the best that I can. The changes I have made in the past 3 1/2 months are tremendous, and I can not wait to see what I am going to look like on stage next!
Q: So what made you decide to do your first figure show?
A: While training with my last trainer to look good for my wedding, my trainer said to me "you look good" "have you ever thought of doing a figure show?" "I really think you should try it" So The seed was planted...and 2 weeks before my wedding I competed in my first show. I took 3rd place!
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time, and how do they feel now?
A: I am lucky. The do not understand why I like this sport, and they make fun of me from time to time, but the always make allowance for my dieting needs, and they have always showed up to see me compete :) My husband always says how proud he is of me, even though he tolorates my competing. He says there are worse things out there I could do. So he helps me prepare my food, he weighs it for me, and individually packages it!
Q: Was the first show what you expected? Did anything surprise you?
A: I was sooo nervous to get up on stage. I was driving my trainer crazy. So when the time came for me to go on, my old trainer gave me a nexium, telling me it was a xanax so I would relax...LOL his placebo worked, but man my stomach hurt after!! Nexium and no stomach acid do not mix!!! It more or less was what I expected...but the girl that won my class was so big and muscular, and I was soooo small!!!! I knew then I had alot of work ahead of me!
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: 2005 Northeast Open-3rd Place
2007 Empire States-Masters class 5th place
2009 Empire States-Masters Class 3rd place
Q: What do you feel is your best bodypart, or the one that gets the most compliments?
A: My back is my best bodypart! The most compliments would be my legs and my butt!
Q: What is your favorite part to train or favorite exercise?
A: My favorite body part to train is back. I LOVE back day. My favorite exercise is ANYTHING for back! LOL I also like the barbell squat!
Q: When people find out you train and compete for the first time, what is the common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: Most people are very interested, and they ask alot of questions. All the reactions I have gotten have been positive!
Q: When they find out that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: "Do you use drugs?" or "how long until to start using drugs?"
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: Start by hiring a personal trainer. The trainer can show you have to use the machines properly, and teach you about form and proper execution.
Q: Why figure over, say, bodybuilding?
A: My structure! I am also tall, so it would be hard (especially at my age-LOL) to put on the size needed to be competitive
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My off season training is one bodypart per day, mostly compound movements, with a rep range of 8-15 depending on my program. I do cardio 4x week for about 30-35 minutes. My diet is high protein with moderate carbs and fat! All good for growing. I start dieting for my show on January 2nd....so I will see what PJ has in store for me soon ;)
Q: You are obivously a very inspirational woman. When someone says you inspire them to get in shape, what does that mean to you A: That is the highest compliment anyone could give me, goes right to me heart! I LOVE helping my friends and others to be the best they can!
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I LOVE Kat Ramirez...she is the epitomy of a pro. Just a beautiful, nice, sweet, hard working girl. She is very gracious to everyone she meets. Her arms are just awe inspiring to me. I also love Mary Lado, Kim Klein, Pauline Nordin, and Trish Warren. And lastly, my girl Jillian Reville! She is a national level figure competitor, and she is going places!! LOVE her. She is beautiful inside and out! I am in awe of her shoulders, and when I train mine, I envision hers!
Male Bodybuilders I Love PJ Braun, Fouad Abidad, Mark Alvisi, and Branch Warren!
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I like to read books, listen to music, go shopping, spend time with my family and friends. I like cars and motorcycles.
Q: Describe a typcial day in the life of Jill Tellefsen-Crean
A: Oh boy, here is where I sound really dull...LOL
Wake up and hit the gym, then depended on how much food I need or have prepared..its food shopping and food prep...I will play with my cats a bit...hop on facebook...I am addicted to Cafe World..I then shower and head to work. I am a 911 operator/EMS-PD Dispatcher for a local agency in Rockland County, and I work the 3x11 tour. I am home by 11:15pm...I then catch up with my husband, and head to bed to do it all over again
Q: Any favorite cheat food?
A: Pizza!!! and anything chocolate!!
Q: Favorite actor, movie, tv show, and musician.
A: My favorite actor thats a tough one....I'll need some time with that I love the movie Overboard with Goldie Hawn...I can recite it almost work for word! My favorite tv show was E/R....now its Survivior, The Biggest Loser and Greys Anatomy. Musician would be Sully Erna! I love that man! I see Godsmack everytime they are playing in the area. I am a big metal fan...Metallica, Slipnot...just to name a few.
Q: Describe Jill Tellefsen-Crean in five words.
A: Hard Working, Dedicated, Strong, Kind, and Fun!
Q: Any set plans for 2010 as far as competing or anything else?
A: I am doing the NY Metro (Steve Stone Classic) on April 3rd, and if I qualify for a national show, PJ wants me to do the Masters Nationals in July!
Q: We know sponsors are always nice to have for anyone that competes. Is that something you are looking for. If so, how can they contact you, and tell them what they would be getting in Jill Tellefsen-Crean, the athlete and competitor
A: To be honest I never really thought about a sponsor before. If any are interested they could find me on Facebook, or contact me through my email at Ramapo28@verizon.net. They would get a very hard working, loyal, trustworthy girl!
Q: Jill, I again want to tahnk you for doing this. I appreciate it, and wish you nothing but the best in your future in the industry. Anything you want to add before you go?
A: It has been my pleasure to do the interview with you. I wish you great success with your blog, and all your fitness endevours.