Friday, April 16, 2010
Christina Sears Interview
I first sent Christina Sears a friend request on Facebook because I knew she was an MMA fan. Then I found out she actually covered the sport. Then I found out she is training to eventually compete in Figure. She says she was surprised to have me ask her to do an interview. I say, she is a logical person. She covers my favorite sport, and she is training in the sport that has become my passion. We don't know when she will compete, but there is no doubt if you look at how great she does at her other ventures, that she will do great at this. Christina is a very talented write and I really recommend her training blog at ladyjag.wordpress.com. It is one of the few things online that I make sure to constantly read. She has trained and competed in jiu-jitsu, and did very well at it. Basically she trains at or has trained at everything it seems. Jiu-jitsu, MMA, boxing, powerlifting, cross-fit, and now for Figure. I am really looking forward to see her continue to progress. Really Christina is in many ways a female version of me. Just a more advanced version. I am training to compete in bodybuilding one day, and her in Figure. She says she isn't the type to be getting up on stage and wearing the heels and things, and me being so shy, I am not the type to want to be on stage either. But she is going to do it, and like with everything else, she is going to be great at it. She is surprised that I asked her to do an interview, I am honored she said yes.
Q: First, Christina, thanks so much for taking the time to do this.
A: No problem, it was kind of a shock that you even asked me in the first place! So I appreciate you taking the time!
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: Well, I'm your typical 25 year old, only half the size. I was born and raised in Hamilton Ontario Canada (WOOT CANADA EH!) and I have two younger brothers meaning I'm not only the smallest of us three but I'm also the old fart. I wasn't the most popular in school, or the most aggressive, or the prettiest but I managed to pull through it. I love media, I have a diploma in Broadcast Journalism & Communications Media. I love to get outside and hike, and I'm what my friends call me a "Shutter Bug." I'm constantly taking my digital camera with me everywhere. I figure you never know what life may bring your way and at least I will be ready to capture it!!!
Q: Were you an especially athletic person growing up? Play any sports?
A: Well, my mom can tell you that she may have given birth to a little girl but she never got the pleasure of raising a little girl. I think when I started school that's when she started to find it hard to be able to do my hair, put me in a dress, wear my jewelry etc... Every school picture I have as a kid I'm miserable because I HAD TO WEAR A DRESS. Picture day at the Sears Home was just like a day in Hell (my poor mother). Growing up all my older cousins were males, I played dodgeball with them, tag, chase, you name it I didn't care if I was a girl I was playing it. In elementary school I did cross country, track, I played basketball (yes standing 4'5 it was quite amusing to watch I'm sure), I also played volleyball and tried out soccer once (but didn't like it). When I got to high school I made the basketball team and had a great season. I tried out for volleyball and well I just wasn't tall enough. In grade ten my Geography teacher approached me about wrestling... Course.. I thought it would be "wicked awesome" to give it a go. Of course my MOTHER would never approve so I still made out like I was going to basketball practice. She came to a (what she thought was going to be a basketball tourney) and realized that I was on the mat with another girl winning. She couldn't believe it, and from then on all I wanted to do was wrestle. I did that for four years in high school and got better every year. In my last year I had a coach that felt that the women's team was a "distraction" and pretty much a "waste of time" SO I turned to something similar and started training at the Hamilton School of Martial Arts with Mark Simon. He saw the talent I had and took me under his wing and gave me the tools to be something great. He never gave up on me and always tried to keep me motivated. FROM there I got hungrier for more and started Crossfit Training with Adam Morden at Alchemy Crossfit, and that man made me a machine. That combined with also training at Cutting Edge MMA with Bryan Edge and Crossfit, I felt like I could handle maybe MMA and boxing. I never liked getting hit but it was amazing to train with the guys I was training with. It became my passion. Adam introduced me to Power Lifting, I couldn't believe just how strong I was for someone my size, I started to dip my toes into some body building training and have tried to keep an open mind with the entire thing. So I was always a pretty active person, I love the feeling I get in competition whether it be making someone tap out, lifting a weight you yourself never thought you could do, or the feeling you get after a grueling crossfit work out. I always loved the bond I had with my team, and my trainers and without all of them AND the support of my family I would never be as determined as I am.
Q: Before we get to your Figure training, lets talk about your MMA reporting and things. What initially interested you in reporting on MMA, and where can people read your writing, which I have said repeatedly, I think is amazing work?
A: When I was in college I was studying Broadcasting, and they were always preaching about writing what you know, and how you should know a lot about a lot of different things. Well I wasn't sure what kind of broadcasting I wanted to do. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be the person on TV, behind the mic in a studio, behind a headline, or the one that puts it all together. Training in MMA I came across so many amazing people, I mean the talent in Canada is huge and its a shame that we can't show what kind of talent we have in this country sometimes. I had a few radio news packages to put together and I had no idea what I was going to do. I ended up researching weight, diet, etc and before I knew it I had a huge paper filled with scribbles of different directions with a story I could do on "Cutting Weight" It was a HUGE success and I made some great contacts and had great contacts to get a great result. From there I thought WOW what else could I do, and I poked around online and found some MMA events that were happening in the area and covered them. I started to post my stuff on Facebook, I got such a huge response that I bought a domain name and created a site where I could upload all my stories or links to videos I may have done. NO WAY did I think I would get the contacts I have or my name out there as much as it has. You can read my MMA articles at www.christinasears.com Any story I've ever done in the MMA world is on there, along with some of the sites that have featured it or published it. I never made any money off of the people who posted it on their sites, but they have really helped me get my name out there, and I've made some great contacts because of them and you know what they were the ones who gave me a shot and I appreciate what they did for me. Its not easy having your stuff looked at by people and even getting hate mail sometimes. I mean I loved getting responses (good or bad) I knew that it was a good piece if I could get someone to respond with something.
Q: Have you ever participated in MMA or any form of it?
A: I wanted to fight so bad but to fight I needed to learn how to get hit and how to hit, I needed to learn how to kick and be kicked. I didn't want to be one of these people that just jumped in there I wanted to be good, and I wanted to be confident. In the cage you have to be strong not only physically but mentally. Being a female you have to be good because girls in mma do not come a dime a dozen like the men... the women really have to fight to be recognized. I looked up to people like Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis, and Cris Cyborg and if I was going to fight I wanted to make sure I could be as tough as those women. School was too much, and so was work so I could never put the time I needed to put into training hard enough to fight. PLUS I was (and still am) extremely under weight. I mean have you heard of women fighting in mma at 105lbs? Come on!? The only thing Martial Arts wise that I competed in was Jiu Jitsu, I competed in tourneys where I was always the smallest (no really girls always had 25-40lbs on me). But I figured it made me stronger, and at the Arnold Classic 2009 I competed and placed second which was huge for me considering the girls that compete there are pretty solid.
Q: Is competing something you intend to do more of?
A: Honestly, if my life was a bit more secure I would train all the time. But there is a place I want to be and right now I have to hold down two jobs in order to get there. So competition is put on hold for now but I love and loved competing and I eventually want to do more of it when the time is right in my life.
Q: Any favorite fighters?
A: Where do I start? I have a few for some good reasons I'll name off the few that come to mind real quick
Sarah Kaufman - this girl I have so much respect for, she's an animal in the cage and a sweetheart to talk to. She trains hard and tries to give back to those who helped her get to where she is. I have more respect for her because she does the talking with her fists, and her cage performance and she's not hung up on the "sex sells" aspect of it. She's not a Gina Corano, or a Misha Tate, she is who she is!
Alexis Davis - I've had the opportunity to roll with this girl on the mat in competition not realizing she was a tough fighter in the cage. She's one of the nicest girls I've ever met and I love competing against her. I had the pleasure of watching her fight in Winnipeg and she blew me away, this girl is going to go far and she's determined to do so.
Cris Cyborg: hands down the face of women's MMA, she speaks in the cage end of story.
Frank Trigg: A lot of people can say a lot of different things about Trigg but he's really helped me with my broadcasting, and I admire him as a fighter and as a broadcaster himself. He's always checking in to see how things are and telling me when I need to pull up my socks. If I have a business question I never hesitate to give him a ring, or an MMA question about something and need a bit more info on it. He's a great friend!
Randy Couture: he's a great coach, fighter, and I think its great he's doing what he loves at this point in his life and kudos to him.
Matt Serra: I would love to train with this guy, he's small and mighty and I know that training jiu jitsu with him he would totally understand where I am coming from with these stuffy limbs I was blessed with and could probably help me out better then anyone else.
GSP: he's a great fighter, and I'm proud to say he's Canadian! I love the respect he shows while he's in there and you can tell he loves what he does and works his tail off to get to where he's going.
Ryan Machan: A fighter out of Alberta, I think given the right opportunities this guy can do good things
Pete Spratt: Another guy I admire, he's a good friend and I admire his stand up, I wish I could train stand up with this guy sometime!
Q: Now let's move on to your Figure training. What initially interested you in training for Figure?
A: Honestly, it was a big joke! Not that Figure is a joke because it's no joke! But I'm not exactly the type to be getting up on stage in heals, in a swim suit pretty much competing in a "body building beauty contest." I love to eat and I knew that the diet is no joke. BUT the more I talked about it with Pete and Elaine the owners of Physical Development the more I found myself thinking "hmmm I can do this." I worked with this girl Pamela Gorrie, who was into that, and we would compare training notes. At the time I was doing my Power Lifting 3x's a week, Crossfit 3x's a week and MMA training 3x's a week. She couldn't believe how thick I was, and I couldn't believe how much thicker I was in areas where I thought she would be more ... well ... jacked looking. So it sort of lit a fire under my butt, to give it a try I really don't have anything to lose and I really needed something to focus on while holding down my two jobs (seeing how I couldn't get out to my MMA training). So ... FIGURE it was!
Q: What has been the hardest part for you at this point in training?
A: I would say getting use to the taste of a liquid fish oil, swallowing down some of those horse capsules for a multi-vitamin, and the diet. I work part time at a bar and a restaurant. I don't drink but I LOVE to eat, whatever I can eat I will eat. So getting use to the diet and why you have to eat of certain things then others, learning more about food in general, and checking labels, and creating dishes that's been the hardest part. The training I feel is a bit of a breeze because I guess I was use to more grueling work outs when I was training with Adam Morden at Alchemy Crossfit, and Bryan Edge at Cutting Edge MMA.
Q: What is your training routine like at this point?
A: Well, I'm at the gym three times a week because it works around my work schedule the best. So when I'm not working I'm at the gym pretty much and I do 3 body parts a day not one because I CAN'T get to the gym as much as some of the women out there. Two jobs, a diet and this training is bit to juggle if I have days off I'll go then to spread it out but I do three body parts a day and whatever extra stuff I can think of for fun. Sometimes my friend (who is a trainer at the gym) and I will roll around (meaning grapple) at the gym, or I'll throw in a crossfit work out for a different cardio work out.
Q: Is this a do it once just so you can say you did it, or is it something you want to continue after your first show?
A: I'm not sure at this point what its going to be... I guess only time will tell as cliche as that sounds.
Q: Is competing something family and friends are supportive of?
A: My mom has always been the loudest person at all my competitions whether she knew what was going on or not! I don't know many dads that can go and brag to their co-workers that their daughter trains in mma and can squat 2xs her body weight. My mom wasn't a fan of the diet I was on, I think she just doesn't understand why I have to do it a certain way and was just concerned for my health but she's the first person to run out and get me a bag of spinach if I needed it. My family and friends are really supportive and some have already come up with ideas if and when I compete again what posters they are going to make the whole nine yards. I'm blessed that way!!!
Q: Have you seen any competitors yet that you admire or are inspired by?
A: In figure or bodybuilding I'm not familiar with names... But I am inspired by a lot of people, there are so many people around me that inspire me, humble me, and keep me hungry for my goal. They don't have to have a big name for themselves sometimes the little guys amaze me more then the people everyone knows.
Q: What would you at this point say is your best body part?
A: Probably my back and shoulders, they are stupid big and have always been like that. I've never worked on them in my life and they are one of the things that is pretty developed right now and still amazes me to see!
Q: Are you setting any expectations or goals, or is just competing the real goal?
A: Just getting through it all is a goal, it snot easy, it takes a lot out of you especially when you have to deal with life (ie family, job etc)... Its a lot of money to compete in this sport, and the diet sucks. So just getting through it has been a goal for me!
Q: When people see or hear you train and plan to compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: its more of a "this is what your getting yourself into" chat. They don't discourage me from it, or promote it, they just tell you what kind of life you should expect while you are competing and prepping for competition. My sponsors at Physical Development have been great with that. When we sat down and really talked seriously about competing they really drilled it into me this is what's going to happen and have been there for me EVERY STEP of the way. Pete and Elaine have been there anytime of the day or night and have not only helped me with diet, work outs, supplements, but they have been my friends and also have motivated me to keep pushing forward.
Q: When they see or hear its the first time, what is the one comment or question you are most sick of hearing?
A: "DIET... FOR WHAT... YOUR ALREADY SKINNY" that bothers me because honestly weight... and the way i look believe it or not has always been an issue with me.. and i hate people who instead of asking "diet why what are you training for" they make out like its a bad thing that I'm on a diet.. and it actually makes me feel worse about myself in the tone they say it in!
Q: Any idea when you will compete, or is that something you will determine down the line?
A: See how everything goes.. and then I'll chat with Pete and Elaine to see! I want to feel ready and feel confident before I do anything!
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Ice cream is my weakness! BUT I love being able to eat breaded chicken cutlets with roasted potatoes! mmmmm!
Q: You also have a great blog about your training. Can you give the address out and tell people what you write about there?
A: I started my training blog originally to help me with my writing, figure out what makes people tick, what they are interested in, believe it or not it helped me with my mma reporting and helped me connect with my subjects. I just got a really good response and I had people email me and tell me how it makes them want to drive at what they want to do, and a lot of people were inspired (especially some women). Of course, I got hate mail too but I obviously wrote something to make them react which is better then no reaction. If your interested in reading it the link is http://ladyjag.wordpress.com
Q: Any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love going on a good hike with my friends, just wander around enjoying some of the hidden gems in the area. Helps me de-stress and relax plus I'm usually with some great company so its never a dull moment. I love to go to movies, or stay in and watch movies doesn't matter as long as there are some munches (again I love to eat)!
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Christina Sears.
A: I get up around 9am (sometimes I will hit snooze till 9 30am) shower up and get my multivitamin in and my fish oils and my first meal of the day, then pack my food to go to work if i have to work, if I don't have to work I'm catching up on laundry and other things before heading to the gym. Normally I work though... work, eat, sleep and train is pretty much my life. I mean on the weekend if I have a day off and its a nice day, I'm out on a hike trail, or at a movie, or having a nice cheat meal with some mates.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Despite how together I seem, I like everyone else have insecurities, one of them being how I look and how I feel I look. Which is why on top of all the MMA and Crossfit stuff I've done, I figured to go out of my box and do something that will force me to look at myself and accept who I am and only strive to make me feel better about me...
Q: Describe Christina Sears in five words.
A: Small, Mighty, Determined, Funny, Hungry!
Q: Anything else I may have missed that you want to plug or promote?
A: Just want to say thank you to my sponsors Pete and Elaine from Physical Development & Nutrition Shoppe in Burlington Ontario. They have been there when I needed them day and night and have been supporting me through it all. I appreciate all the hard work and dedication they have put into me as I'm sure they do in all their clients. They are a blessing to have in my life. If anyone wants to get a hold of them for MMA swag, supplements, diets, work outs etc.. shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Christina, again, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks for doing this interview it was a pleasure! AND for everyone out there like someone once told me "FIND YOUR WEAKNESS AND MAKE IT YOUR BITCH" :)
Web Site: www.christinasears.com
Training Blog: ladyjag.wordpress.com