Saturday, February 20, 2010
Eryn Strickland Interview
If you want one word to describe Eryn Strickland, then that word is COOL. She is the kind of woman, that every female would love to have as a friend, and every guy wishes he could date. Eryn is a beautiful woman whose love and passion for training has given her an amazing physique. Eryn plans to win that Pro card this year, and there is no reason she can't. I have met some not so nice people in the industry, who are very self centered, Eryn is as far from that as possible. Her personality is great, as evident by her Sports After Dark radio show on www.siouxcountry.com that she co-hosts with another amazing woman in Aliison Moyer. This is an interview I am very proud of because Eryn gave a lot of great answers. SO here is Eryn Strickland in her own words, if you weren't a fan before, you will be now.
Q: First, Eryn, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: It's my pleasure Jason. :-)
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: I am a 29 year old NPC National Level Figure competitor from Severn, Maryland. I have one brother, Eric, who used to compete in bodybuilding. I owe him for sparking my interest. Thanks baby bro. xoxo
Q: Before the gym, were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports?
A: Oh yes! I have been an athlete my whole life. I grew up playing soccer and lacrosse. I was better at lacrosse and ended up getting an athletic scholarship to the University of Delaware, where I played there. It was then as an NCAA athlete I found my love for the weight room.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: Like I said above, being an NCAA scholarship athlete comes with a very strict training regimen. We woke up at 5am to run and do agility drills, then we were in the weight room in the afternoons after practice to help us gain strength. I didn't know it then, but I am a total mesomorph. I put on muscle very easily. I was fascinated by how easily my body responded to the program and I've been hooked ever since.
Q: So training was something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I think when you love something so much, you make a point to pay attention, and get it right. I forced myself to pick it up quickly and tried to remember everything that our trainer told us. I did see the results immediately because I was giving it my all! In high school I had always done cardio but not a lot of resistance training. I would go in the gym and throw around some dumbells here and there, but I wasn't paying attention to the movements and had no clue about proper form. I can honestly say that it's only been in the last year that I've actually slowed down and made the mind/muscle connection.
Q: How long were you training when you decided to compete and what made you decide to compete?
A: I was first turned onto competing by my brother and then again by my first personal trainer in 2000. I started dieting, etc.... but some things came up in my life and my schedule wouldn't allow me to give it 100%. Years went by and I kept saying... "I really wanna compete!" Finally in 2008 I made up my mind. I promised myself that I would be in the best shape of my life before I turned 30! So I just hired a personal trainer, sent away my form and my money.... and entered the show! There was no turning back.
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time, and how about now?
A: My family has ALWAYS been my biggest support system. They were so happy that I was putting my energy into such healthy goals. I don't think they knew what a huge part of my life it would become, but they are always in my corner, which I feel is half of the reason I have been so successful. My friends are a different story.... half of them get it, but most of them still don't. One thing that ONLY another competitor understands is that this is not something that you can do part time or half-ass. This sport requires your whole heart, mind, body, and soul. You have to stay focused. Most people do not understand or take it personally when you don't want to go out on the weekends or why you have to go to the gym "again". This can be very stressful and such a negative influence on you. That's why I try to surround myself with like-minded people and other competitors so that I can stay centered mentally.
Q: Was the first competition what you expected? Did anything surprise you?
A: My first competition was a HUGE learning experience. I had no idea that dieting would be as difficult as it was. I had no idea how much of my life was centered around FOOD of all things! It helped me to grow a lot and strive for more of a balanced lifestyle. I also was shocked at how hard the posing part was. It looks so easy but it is really tough to remember to do all of those things all at once.... "tummy in, butt out, lats flared, smile"...LOL.... it's exhausting! I was so nervous the first time I got on the stage, but once I was up there and I thought of how hard I had worked to get there.... it was SHOWTIME BABY!!!!!
Q: Can you share your contest history.
*11-28-08- OCB Yorton Cup- Figure Novice Short- 3rd place
*8-2009- NPC Maryland State?East Coast Classic- Figure Short- 1st place and OVERALL WINNER!!!!!!
Q: As far as bodyparts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: My best body parts are probably my shoulders and my glutes. My goal is to have the best ass in the industry, or waht I call my "Ass-terpiece". Stay tuned...it's in production. :-)
Q: Do you ahve a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I lvoe training shoudlers, back, and legs. My favorite exercise is anything FST-&, which is Hany Rambod's ingenious method. You do 7 sets of one exercise with only a 30 second rest in between sets. It forces the fascia to stretch so that your muscle can grow (hence the name: Fascial Stretch Training)> It is BRUTAL training, but I have seen incredible results training this way. It is ideal for any one muscle group you are trying to work on.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My routine doesn't really change much from off season to contest prep other than the amount of cardio I do. I always weight train 5-6 days a week. Off season I do cardio 4-5 times per week. In contest prep, depending on how my body is responding to the diet, I do anywhere from two 45 minutes sessions (AM/PM) or only AM fasted cardio. I have found out that morning cardio on an empty stomach is the ONLY thing that changes my body. Towards the end of my prep for the Maryland State I was doing little to NO cardio because I was dialed in perfectly and my trainer just wanted me to maintain. That is how I'm going to try and do it every time. For me, I prefer to do the hard work in the beginning to be ready early. I am in such a better state mentally once it's showtime. No stress :-). I hear about a lot of girls killing themselves a week out from their show to lose the weight and tighten up. That isn't for me.
Q: When someone sees or hears you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: I generally get a very positive response from people. most people immediately start asking questions. I think that the discipline required for this sport demands the respect of people around you. It is so rare to see someone who is lean and muscular in our society any more, which is a shame. You almost feel like a freak of nature walking around. People also like to as if they can touch me too... which always cracks me up. As if I'm not "real".
Q: When they see or hear it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I think the one I hear from WOMEN mostly..... especially in my off season is "Do you really like to get that BIG?" LOL! In my off season I tend to look more like a bodybuilder. And yes LADIES....I LOVE MY LEAN MASS!!!!!!!!
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I think that a lot of women feel that if you go in the gym and lift weights you will become masculine looking or "bulky". That couldn't be more untrue! The feminine curves that you are after can ONLY happen if you shape your muscles with resistance training! I also think that the weight room can be very intimidating to a novice. I would encourage women to give it a shot and empower themselves! Have someone teach you proper technique. Take the time to learn your body and sit back and watch what happens.
Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part of competing is consistently beating your "best" and pushing yourself past your own limits EVERY DAY. I think the true measure of a champion happens long before you get on stage and are handed a trophy. The moments in your journey where you push yourself to do one more rep even though you want to stop; where you let out one final blast of effort even though your body is failing; when you overcome that relentless craving to give in and you don't eat that extra teaspoon of peanut butter; when you stay on that step mill those last 8 minutes even though you want to stop....Those are "champion" moments in my opinion and it is the sum of those victories that truly create a winner!
The worst part of competing in my opinion is my unhealthy relationship with food in general and the struggle to make peace with my "off season self". Once you achieve the "stage body" it can be very difficult to be okay with putting the weight back on even though it is impossible to stay that way year round. I think this is one of the biggest struggles for a competitor. You can not change your body or make the gains you want to make unless you give your body rest and time to recover, so I keep that in mind.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I am inspired by IFBB Figure Pro's Gina Aliotti, Erin Stern, and Nicole Wilkens-Lee. Each of them have such an amazing physique and are so humble. They are strong, beautiful, confident women and it would be an honor to share the stage with them one day.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I absolutely LOVE Mexican food, anything Reese's, and icing/frosting! I have dreams about all three on the regular when I'm dieting.
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: I would probably tell her to set a few short term and realistic goals. I think the reason people never get anywhere is that they burst out of the gate with so much determination, but they try and change too many things at once. They quickly become overwhelmed and discouraged and usually quit! If you encourage someone to start slowly and work on one thing at a time ("baby steps") this is much more do-able for people and can be far more rewarding.
Q: Can you talk about the radio show. What it is, how you got involved, and where they can find out more?
A: Sure, I have my won radio show called "Sports After Dark" for my host site www.siouxcountry.com. I have been doing it for about a year now with my co-host and best friend NPC Figure competitor Allison Moyer. I started doing it as a result of an idea that I pitched my producer "Muscle Papa" John Hawley.... and the rest is history. siouxcountry.com is a female centered forum so our show puts the spotlight on the female side of the industry. We interview everyone from bodybuilders, Figure, Fitness, and Bikini competitors to trainers, photographers, make up artists, etc. We are known for getting to the nitty gritty issues and reveal more of the personal side of our guests. To listen to past shows or for more info please check out our website: www.siouxsportsafterdark.wordpress.com. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be a guest or have any ideas on how we can make our show better! We welcome feedback from our listeners.
Q: Who are some of the guests you have had on and any coming up?
A: Some of our best shows have been IFBB Figure pro Gina Aliotti, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Kevin Levrone, Brina Moss (photographer), Dan Ray (photographer), IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Nicole Ball. Go to the "Archived Shows" section of your website to listen.
Q: Obviously you are beautiful. Is fitness modeling of interest to you? If so, how can a photographer contact you?
A: Well, thank you. I would love to do more fitness modeling. My personal email address is eryn.strickland.@gmail.com. Please contact me for potential opportunities.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Training is my life....my passion. There is nothing else I would rather be doing. I rarely have any time for much else because of how hard I am working right now. I also know how important it is to have a healthy balance so on the days when I do "rest" or take off from the gym, I enjoy anything that doesn't require me to put forth any effort such as a movie or one of those TV series "marathons" :-).
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Eryn Strickland.
4am- wake up
5am-5:45am- AM cardio
6:30pm-8pm- Weight training (and PM cardio- if necessary)
10pm- In bed
Q: What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Probably that I am a really amazing singer. I'm just too embarrassed to do it anywhere other than in my car.LOL
Q: Favorite actor, movie, TV show, and musician?
Actor: Johnny Depp
Movie: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (the original)
TV shows: NCIS, House, Criminal Minds, CSI, Forensic Files, Weeds, Dexter
Musician/Band: Avenged Sevenfold, Chevette, Lamb of God, Disturbed, Marilyn Manson, Deftones, Hatebreed, etc.
Q: Describe Eryn Strickland in five words.
A: Drive, Resilient, Loyal, Passionate, Imaginative.
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Pro card or bust. (Already made the t-shirts)
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Go to www.siouxcountry.com for the best message board around. It is a diamond in the rough, full of motivating, positive individuals who will encourage you along your journey, no matter what level you're at. I have made friendships there that will last a lifetime! Check it out!
Also feel free to follow me on www.bodybuilding.com's bodyspace at the ID: Laxeryn. I have a training blog, progress pictures, workout stats, and many more photos!
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Eryn Strickland the athlete and competitor?
A: I am looking for sponsorship, but I want it to be from a company whose products I believe in and actually use myself. I think it carries far more weight for a company if the "face" of their campaign can educationally speak about their product to people and encourage the public to choose it over the other hundred out there as a result of what it has done to benefit me and my training. For me personally, it has been a HUGE turn off to see a bunch of half-naked young girls pimping samples of "X" product. It make me want to turn the other direction. I would love to represent a company who has a larger audience than the physique community and whose interest is focused on helping to improve the health of our increasingly un-healthy nation. With my nursing background I could really add an intelligent perspective to any marketing campaign. I have a dynamic personality that I've been told is magnetic! And just an FYI.... the pictures don't do me justice (wink).
Q: Eryn, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Just thank you so much Jason for what you do to support female competitors. I really appreciate the consideration.
XOXO Eryn Strickland
AKA Pumpin Iron Eryn