Lada Plihalova is a woman I met recently. She is a very very nice woman, and as you can see by the photos looks great. The interview this beautiful woman did for me, may be my favorite one so far. She goes very in dept on a lot of things. When you think of Lada, you are proud to be a supporter of female bodybuilding. Please read this interview and you will be as amazed as I am in not just the bodybuilder, but the woman that Lada Plihalova is.
Q: First, Lada, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: I have to thank for the opportunity to be here :).
Q: Can you start out by sharing a little about yourself. Family, where you are from,
things like that.
A: I am from middle Europe - small country called Czech Republic. I grew up in coal mines
region on north of the country in town named Usti nad Labem. I have no brother or sister.
Later I studied University in Pilsen - western Bohemia and now I live with my partner in
Prague - the capital city.
Q: Before you started training, where you an athletic person? Play any sports?
A: I did athletics and karate. But later I started to have thyroid gland disease and I gained a lot of fat. So I searched how I may improve my body, plus I saw Corey Everson in film Double Impact and I liked her body. I was never slim or thin. I always was a bit broad and muscular legs during my sports on high school. So I knew this is my way....
Q: What led you into the gym to begin with?
A: Things I mentioned above. First the film, where I really liked the body I saw there, and later I bought my first Muscle and Fitness here - notice, we had communism here and this was shortly after revolution, so bodybuilding was relatively new sport here (before it was an underground sport as it was seen as "western" one). There I found out other bodybuilders as Lenda Murray, Laura Creavalle and others and I was catched. I came to change my body, but not to be lean - to build muscles as those women I admired.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy. How long before you started to see results?
A: I did not seen results in my eyes for a long time. I was 15 when I started. I can see now on pictures from that time, that already 6 months after my start in the gym I was pretty good shape, but that time I did not seen it. I stand long hours before the mirror in the bathroom with magazines and I tried to find a muscle like those girls had on :) Off course I was silly girl. I did not see the difference between Pros and amateurs and never heared about drugs in sport that time - so I really thought it is easy to grow and I am looking bad. When I was 15.5 I met first real competitor and he told me I look good and why I do not try Teenage regional championship next year. I never thought about competing before - but this gave me a bug in my head... One year after I prepared for my first competition.
Q: So what made you decide you compete for the first time?
A: Well, first impulse was that I met those competitor during my summer holidays. I was from the small city and I knew nobody to help me there. Later - right after that summer coincidentally - another competitor opened a new gym and club for sport bodybuilding (again, notice, this was 1995 and no Figure and Fitness was here). I went there and asked about membership - but the owner told me I am not good genetically and I would rather be not doing this sport.So I decided I will show him he is wrong... I prepared on my own for the first competition.
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported?
A: No, I was always very shy kid. You know - a bit overweighted, with glasses on, not very nice looking... I was classified as nerd, because I learned easily... So I did not have many friends to support me. And my family was scared, when I came with the idea that I will compete. When I trained only for myself, they were OK with it, because they thought I am only trying to be leaner. But that day when I came with the idea I will compete - mainly my mother was shocked. I got no support - I had to learn how to cook, I did a part time job in newspapers to may pay the gym membership.. Who later supported me was my dad. Everything broke after my first show - when my parents were present and they started to support me - as they saw on teenage level and amateur level it is really something different than on the Pro show level :). Later my dad financed my precontest and my mum helped me with my makeup and suits - but I really had to fight my first show :)
Q: Was the first show what you expected. Did anything surprise you?
A: Everything :) I never saw a show before. I had no competition colour, I had bad suit, I realized posing is not good (as I learned only at home and pictures can not give you the 3D idea)... I competed in 90ties and I guess it was the golden time of bodybuilding here. Even the teen class was occupied by real personalities. They had coaches, support, clubs - everything. I was only a lean teenager in old jeans, scared to death.... I really wanted to quit few meters from that stage - but than some girl came to me and started to talk with me. Other competitors came to meet me and I felt good as they were all fine people. They helped me with posing a bit, with suits... Off course I was last place there but I got the chance to try Nationals, as few girls did not go. I had 14 days to improve. My mother helped me with new suits, I came with the tan on, with new suit, I improved a bit and it was the first time I was not last. I was 2 places above the last - but got to the finals (5th place out of 7). But all was very important for me.That year I was first time on European IFBB Pro GP as a visitor too - as I wanted to see the professional level life. And I was catched more as I really liked those women physiques. And I tried to learn off course.
Q: Can you share your contest history up to this point.
A: Sometimes I think I lived several bodybuilding life's. After my debut on Teenage Nationals in 1996 (5th place) I got an offer from our national team coach to consult with me. First time my precontest was not so wild. But still I was 2nd class competitor for him. I tried very hard to show him I am not. In 1997 I got 2nd places both Regional and Nationals Teen Championships. I lost only one point on Nationals to win. But in February 1998 I had a knee injury and I was not able to prepare for Spring. National team coach kicked me out - because there was prognosis I will be not able to bend the knee forever. My dad found me a good physiotherapist who trained with me and I started to move my leg again.
In 1999 I graduated on high school and I moved to University to Pilsen. I started to
train again - but when I tried to do my comeback at Regional round I was last place
again. I came fat.
In 2000 I had serious injury during a horse ride. I felt down and the horse came over me. I had torn ligaments in my left arm and shoulder. I decided to quit the sport and do it only for myself... But than I fought with eating disorders for one and half year, later I started to ride horses again.I was completely off bodybuilding for 3 years.
When I graduated on University, I returned back home. It was in 2003 and I was without boyfriend, without friends and I could not find a job in our poor region, where a lot of mines was closed and there was many people without any job that time. I had no hope, so I decided to start train again. I was too scared to try real competitions in open class... so I did only some magazine based ones and I won them all. Shortly after that I found a job and moved to our capital city and I met my current boyfriend (partner). We are together 5 years now.
In 2006 I tried to switch to Figure but again I had troubles with getting in shape - and I was last place again. Plus I had some issues with officials in the federation - so I decided not to compete again.
In 2007 I got an offer to compete in another federations (all above mentioned
competitions was under IFBB), so I decided to try. In summer I did my first international GP World Cup in Bulgaria and placed 8th out of 10 in Figure class. In winter I did Universe NAC and placed 6th in bodybuilding class. I was too small for that class.
That time I met my current coach. He was the only one man (beside my love) who believed in me. I was aiming my preparation for the 2008 regional NABBA championship but I got a bladder infection in March and was paralyzed from my neck down. I spent three days on the intensive care in serious risk of dying. I did not think about competing that time - it was more important to me to stay alive and return to the normal life with minimal permanent damage. I spent three months in recovery. When I returned to the gym after that - I started from the basics and no 2008 season was possible. I started aiming for the spring 2009 season in September 2008. We upped the cardio, set the food and training. Everything went well till January 2009 when I started to have serious troubles with my back. Doctor found that one vertebrae in my spine is not 100% developed (spina bifida oculta) and some others defects. Also my body was over trained. I was ordered to a rehabilitation clinic.
Rehabilitation lasted 3 weeks, but it helped me so much that I was able to return with no trouble. Until that time I had whole body massages once a week as a part of my training schedule. My troubles got so much better that in March I tried a powerlifting competition and in Bench Press National Meet I got 1st place in raw women category. Later in September I did open RAW competition in benchpress and placed 2nd (from 9 girls competing).
The rest of the preparation went well and I went to NABBA Nationals in June with no
ambitions. I knew there would be great competitors and I still saw my weak points. I only wanted to represent myself and my coach as well as I could. When I fought for the first place I was very surprised and happy. I got 2nd place there, in my opinion correctly because the winner was amazing.I was nominated to NABBA Czech National Team and one week later I went to Kosice (Slovakia) to the World championship. It is my biggest accomplishment. I was in "Figure II" category there which is the NABBA
equivalent to IFBB light-middle weight bodybuilding. I was a newbie there so I had also no ambitions. I just wanted to improve my national form a little bit and represent my country well. Getting to the finals was a dream come true and 4th place was something I would never dare to dream about.
Regional IFBB Championship 4th
National IFBB Championship 5th
Regional IFBB Championship 2nd
National IFBB Championship 2nd
Regional IFBB Championship 4th
IFBB GP Atlas Figure 5th
BNFF GP World Cup Figure 8th
NAC Universe Bodybuilding 6th
NABBA Nationals Figure 2nd
NABBA World championship Figure 4th
GPC Nationals Benchpress meet 1st
Open class RAW GP 2nd
Dream Figure - transformation contest 1st
GP World of bodybuilding - bodybuilding magazine contest 1st
Biceps clash with M&F 1st
Q: Do you keep track of measurements or best lifts, and if so, care to share them.
A: I watch only benchpress - where I compete, I have 95kg benchpress for 2 reps as maximum in training. I have 80kg on competitions approved, 90kg not technically approved - all raw (only with belt). I do not care a lot about weight and measurements - usually I look only how it is in the mirror. But sometimes I check my body to know how I changed. :)
Q: What do you consider your best bodypart or the part that gets the most compliments?
A: Legs and back, worst are shoulders, arms and abs.
Q: When someone see's your physique for teh first time, what is the most common
response, is it more negative or positive?
Well depends on where, who, when. Offseason I am not bulky a lot, I am soft and I have naturally big chest, so when I am in clothes nobody knows what I do or think I just do athletics (which is much more appreciated). Precontest, summer and in the hypermarket is the best area to get negative comments :) ... But I am not angry. I am doing a fun from that. Sometimes I must keep myself from laughing from some ractions..... Once I even wrote some sociologicall research about it (as I am antropologist by education) :) About how people react to it... Mostly just giggling, some of them force themselves to look as they are used to it (what is very funny), some are saying loudly how disgusted they are, some are looking with their mouths open... and well, some has positive reactions (smallest group :)).
I never had bad reaction in the gym, but I was going to the same gym for 6 years. This year they closed it - so I will see after New year how it will be :D.
Q: When they see it that first time what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A:Do you like wrestling? Do you like armwrestling? Do you think your biceps is bigger then mine? - Hell no! I am athlete. I am doing bodybuilding - not wrestling. I do not armwrestle, because when you have bad technique you may hurt yourself very easily. Also I am not a sexual object. I know for many girls it is the way how to earn money needed for this sport - as it is not cheap and they need time to work out and cook and rest etc. Not anybody is as me - doing 10hrs day job, than train, than cook, sleep during weeknds. And I know my way is not ideal and not easy. I have nothing against posing on webcam (but NOT NAKED!), do guest posing, do booth work... Personally.
I know about the bussines in this area - but also I think it may give a bad light to our sport in eyes of public. When somebody will see this first than competitions, when the "shadow area" will be first impact with muscular women - he/she may create a bad view on our sport... And our sport is mainly about discipline and training and diets and die hard minds. Bussiness around has nothing to do with it - it is only related thing some girls enjoys, some has to do, but it is not core of bodybuilding. But it is offten seen as a part of - worse - as a core of this sport. And it is not. I would like to have respect as female, as athlete - as any athlete from any kind of sport. So I personally understand to those men - but do not like it and do not like to answer it.
Q: Are there any misconceptions about female bodybuilders or things you wish people
Well I dont understand people accept skinny girls, fat girls but are not able to accept muscles. It is just another bodytype. People simply see us still as aliens - not just as another bodytype which is normal. But look - here is ectomorph bodytype, endomorph bodytype and MESOMORPH bodytype - so it is something what is really NORMAL!
Q: Do you feel muscular women are more or less accepted by society today they they were five years ago?
A: Here not today, but it was given by the society. In 90ties bodybuilding was new here and a lot of people was hungry for all what was "western" - many new gyms opened, people started to work out more... and that time both men and women was appreciated. Later mainly media picked up the negative side of this sport - as drugs - and many people stop to be interested about this. Also it caused that sponsors are now rather into other sports. With it also the interest of young people fall off so it is no teenage base as was in my times. Fan base is smaller too - in this sport as a whole. So with this all aspects women bodybuilding is really on the edge here now. It is sad, because 90ties was great with all those Pro shows - even here in Europe - with crowded auditoriums on competitions etc..
Q: What is the best and worst part of the sport?
A: Best - when you see results, when you are able to create what you want. You have your life under controll and may change it. Worst - diet, last days when you are tired to death and you have to work out and for example go to the job etc..
Q: If someone told you they wanted to start bodybuilding, what is the one piece of
advice you would want to give them?
A: Patience. Now many people ask how to do it quickly... they ask immediatelly offten about special supplements - but they forget it is mainly FOOD and TRAINING what is important, what is the core. And this all must be done by the long time - here is no shortcut.So study your body, watch what you eat, train hard for several years - this is the only way. Do not be dissappointed if you will not change in one year or shorter. Do not search for shortcuts first.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Pizza and sushi in all you can eat sushi bar :D
Q: If someone wanted to be traiend by you, how can they contact you and what is the
benefit of being traiend by Lada Plihalova?
A: I am not full time coach, I work as a secretary and therefore I am not doing personal trainings now. I write only plans and do consultations. I am a part time coach and I plan to extend it internationally next year. I am trying not to train people according the one pattern as I may see here very offten, but always it is about cooperation. I am trying to fit plans on people. It is so highly individual sport, that cooperation is necessary.
Q: You also have a website, can you give the address out and tell people what they can find there.
A: Yes I have www.ladaplihalova.wbs.cz :)
Q: What is one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?
A: I make my own jewellery, I paint pictures and I write short stories - usually people see me only as an athlete, but I really like to create some small artworks and write :) And I am not telling this to anyone :)
Q: Describe Lada Plihalova in five words.
A: Crazy, passionate, die-hard mind, true, sometimes annoying :)
Q: Any plans for 2010?
A: I planed to compete on Universe NABBA - but I was forced to skip this season as a whole. Last season I had low salary due to crisis and still I have loans to pay. So I have no money for precontest. Also I had again attack of my thyroid gland disease -so I fell off my conditioning. I had to rest the whole Summer and I started too late with training for this year. So my coach suggested me to have one year off. During this year I have to get my condition back and grow a little bit as I was three years on diet. Also my partner will compete and I want to support him... So no plans in competitive season. I would like to settle myself more in the bussiness, if I will have better conditioning.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors. IF so, how can they contact you and what would they be getting in Lada Plihalova the athlete and competitor?
A: Yes, I am from the country, where it is not so popular sport and so I would be thankfull for any help. My dream is to visit USA - Arnold Classic or Olympia Expo, to have a chance to promote myself. But with my income it is not possible right now - despite I have offers from photographers etc.. Also I would love to compete again in 2011 and try to be better than ever - but I need supplements at my level. I am able to promote supplements or firms, offer my name as 4th best on the World in my class, I speak English, I am able to do booth work, pictures for advertisments, consultations or guestposings for the firm etc.
Right now I am desperately searching for booth work or guest posing/stage presentation on FIBO Expo in Germany in March 2010. I will be in 70% shape that time and want to do my best to represent there.
I do not accept offers for sessions, wrestling, nude posing/pictures offers. I accept real, fitness bussiness oriented projects, opportunities and sponsorships. I would be thankfull for your interest.
Q: Lada, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Anything you want to add before you go?
A: I am happy I am a part of this all. Now I see it is not results - but the people around me I met during my "career" in this sport, who are my real price. Friends, but also haters - all people has some sence in my life. All pushed me somewhere.... I have now very supportive family, long time partner, good coach, who is more as my second father. That is very important for me. Result is only a result. People will forget it soon - but this relationships lasts forever.