Saturday, May 8, 2010

Amanda Natalizio Interview

Amanda Natalizio did her first show in 2009. She didn't know which would be better for her so she did Figure and Bodybuilding, taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. Not bad for a debut. She is a beautiful and intelligent woman. How intelligent? She is working on getting her Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology. So as she puts it she is "no ditz". It looks like Figure is going to be the route she goes, but I am of the belief that whatever Amanda sets her mind to she can do, and do successfully. Amanda clearly has drive, determination, and dedication. All things needed to be a success in fitness, but also in life. Which is why Amanda will continue to achieve great things.

Q: First, Amanda, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you. I appreciate what you are doing because I think it’s important to let people know what women like me are all about. There are too many misconceptions about women in sports, especially bodybuilding.

Q: Can you start out by just telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: I’m originally from Ohio, and the youngest of 3 children.

In the 90s, my uncle opened a store that sold supplements and weight equipment; a store that I worked at through out high school. I started reading through all the magazines my uncle kept in stock while I worked in the store, and was particularly interested in the supplement sections that detailed the science behind them. This interest sparked my motivation to obtain a bachelor’s in biochemistry and molecular biology at Wittenberg University. After that, I moved to NC to pursue a doctorate in genetics and molecular biology.

I now live with my husband and our puggle, Capone. Hopefully I’ll be finished with my doctorate in another year or two.

Q: Before you started training, where you an especially athletic person? Play any sports?
A: Although I was always stronger and faster than most of my peers, even in elementary, I was never what you would call coordinated, which discouraged my participation in many sports. I did play summer softball before high school and was on the rowing team in college.

Q: What initially led you into the gym, and did you ever think you would get so serious about it?
A: My father involved in the supplements and weight training. Growing up, my father always had a complete gym in our basement, and trained pretty intensely; not for bodybuilding, but for softball. He showed me how to train and how to put together a weekly training routine, but I never had the motivation to train consistently in high school. I just wanted to be thin like most high schoolers.

Q: Was weight training something you picked up fairly easy? How soon before you started to see results?
A: I began to explore weight training more intensely in undergrad, after gaining the freshman 15 (more like 30 for me). I saw results quickly, but my diet was far from perfect. I drank entirely too much alcohol, so I never got the look I wanted. My progress in the gym made me think about the possibility of doing a body building show someday, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it because I was strong and decently built, but no where close to being able to compete due to my body fat.

Q: How long were you training when you decided to compete and what made you decide to compete?
A: When I moved to North Carolina in 2007 to finish my Ph.D. at UNC Chapel Hill, I decided it was time to finally get seriously about losing the fat I had gained in undergrad. I met that goal surprisingly quickly, but I wasn’t satisfied. Since I knew that I could control my diet well when I put my mind to it, I wanted to challenge myself further. That's when I decided to do prepare for a show.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time, and how about now?
A: My husband’s aunt was a former amateur bodybuilder, and she encouraged me to compete. My husband and father were also supportive, but the female members of my family had initial concerns. They didn’t want me to look like the stereotypical steroid taking female bodybuilder. After my first show, they were pleasantly surprised that I not only didn’t look like a man, but I looked better than I ever had.

Q: Was the first show what you expected? Did anything surprise you?
A: I had a good idea going in of what to expect, but I was surprised about how laid back every one was. This was probably because it was just a local unsanctioned show.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: So far, I’ve only competed in one show:

*2009 Alamance County Bodybuilding Championship (2nd Figure; 3rd Bodybuilding)

I competed in both figure and bodybuilding because I wasn’t sure what I would enjoy better, and which category fit my look. I decided that figure was my best bet after doing that show.

Q: What do you consider your best body part or the one that gets the most compliments?
A: My calves often get a lot of comments. They are naturally thick, and I don’t have to focus on them when I train because of this.

Q: Do you have a favorite part to train?
A: Back day is my favorite because I’ve worked so hard to have a nice V-taper and it has progressed so quickly and responds well to training.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I typically weight train 4-6 days a week, and only do cardio 1-2 times a week. When getting ready for a contest, my weight training remains consistent, but I gradually up the cardio to 1.5-2 hours every day.

My diet is fairly loose in off season, but I try to keep my protein intake at 150 g minimum, and I don’t count calories. When preparing for a contest, I eat 1400-1800 kcal while maintaining a minimum of 150 g protein. 8 weeks out from contest, I’ll cut all fruit/dairy/wheat products due to carbs.

Q: When someone sees your physique for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: I get more positive feedback than negative, especially from men. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a negative comment from a man. I have heard a few women make comments about how they would “never want to look like that,” but they never say this to my face, and it’s ok because I’d never want to look like them. I like my physique, and I’ve worked hard to get to where I am. There is always room for improvement, but that’s what drives me; constant improvement.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "How much can you bench?" Or "How much do you squat?" I’m not a powerlifter, I don’t care about how much weight I can lift, it’s just a means to an end.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete, or the thing you most wish people understood?
A: Just because I compete, doesn’t mean I do steroids or will ever do steroids.

Q: Do you feel muscular women are more or less accepted by society today then five years ago?
A: I think they are more accepted as people learn more about it, and they realize it’s better to be muscular than out of shape like most Americans.

Q: You are obviously very beautiful. Is fitness modeling something that interests you?
A: Haha. I don’t know about being “obviously beautiful,” but I have considered modeling. I think it would be a fun way to make some extra money and to get my face out there.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part of competing is setting and reaching a goal. The feeling you get when you put in so much hard work and dedication and it pays off is like a high. The worst part of competing is the negative affect the dieting and training has on my social life. It’s hard to make time for friends and family when you have to plan everything around a strict diet/training plan.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors?
A: Rachel McLish was my favorite female bodybuilder. I admire her not only for her physique and beauty, but also because she was a pioneer in women's bodybuilding.

Q: DO you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Vanilla ice cream with peanut butter, nuts, and fudge.

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: Consistency and diet are the most important things to consider.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I’m a muscle car enthusiast, and like going to car shows and drag races. I’m a big fan of the Ford Mustang.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Amanda Natalizio?
A: Wake up, (do cardio pre-contest), eat, drive to the lab 1h, spend 9-10 hours in lab (eating every 3 hours), drive home 1h, weight train, (do cardio pre-contest), eat, read or watch tv for an hour, and then go to bed.

I’ll be the first to admit that don’t lead a very exciting life. On the weekends, I have more free time to spend with my dog, husband, and friends.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I’m working on my Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology, so I’m no ditz.

Q: Describe Amanda Natalizio in five words.
A: Intelligent, motivated, and out spoken.

Q: Any set plans coming up as far as competing or anything else?
A: I am preparing for the 2010 Gold’s Classic in Wilmington, NC.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they contact you and what are they getting in Amanda Natalizio the athlete and competitor?
A: I would love to have a sponsor to help with the costs of competing. I would be a valuable asset for manufactures. Considering I have a significant background in supplements/equipment (from working at my uncle’s store for 4 years) and my extensive science education, I wouldn’t just be a pretty face. I can be contacted at:

Q: Again, Amanda, it has been great to have you do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to promote muscular women like myself. The more knowledge people have about sports and nutrition, the better. People, as a whole, need to start thinking about their health and fitness more seriously because the path we seem to be heading currently isn’t a good one.

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