Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Colleen Tanner Interview
I first found Colleen Tanner and it was a simple case of me really liking her physique and wanting an interview. Colleen has become a very good friend. Someone I admire both in the physique aspect and even more so in the person she is aspect. From working to put herself through high school and college to a career to bodybuilding, Colleen defines hard work and dedication. Colleen is also always quick to encourage and support me in my own competing goals. Colleen is simply a very special woman and I am honored to call her a friend. She has done only two shows to this point, but her life history tells us she will keep going, keep getting better, and reach any goal she sets. Colleen is not just a woman you can call a bodybuilding role model, she is a life role model.
Q: First Colleen, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I am originally from Syracuse, New York. My dad was a veteran from the marine Corp. and was a great influence for me to learn about not backing away from anything in life I want to achieve. When I was 13 he passed away and that is when I started working. I put myself through high school and college while having jobs. SO I learned a lot in my life so far about being a strong independent woman and now I am working hard at making my life the best I can.
Q: Before you started training, were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports?
A: I was not very athletic. I was actually one of those people you see in the gym who does an hour of cardio every day and didn't really change. Sure, maybe I lost a pound here and there but I had no idea how to weight train. I dabbled in volleyball and field hockey and even used to run 3-5 miles every day, but I didn't really compete in anything.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: When I was just starting out in college, I was looking for any kind of work to pay my bills and I had found a job in one of my local gyms as front desk help.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you saw results?
A: Well, training was very easy for me to pick up. I might have not been doing everything right at first(like form and splitting body parts) but it was not very hard. The thing that I never did much about that I didn't change until years after Is tarted training in the gym was my diet. When I focused on proper protein intake and ditching some high sugar carbs, that was when I noticed changes.
Q: What made you decide to compete the first time?
A: I went to shows to watch competitors in the gym get up on stage. I knew how hard they trained and dieted. Since I am a huge fan of hard work and goal attainment, I have a lot of respect for all competitors. It was at one of the shows, I sat in the audience and thought to myself "I know I can do this one day and I know I can be good...I just have to figure out how to build myself."
Q: Was the first one what you expected? Any memories of the show?
A: Not exactly what I expected. At my first show I came in having over dieted (because I did everything without proper diet or training coaches), so I wasn't filled out. But the thing about the show was that there was just me and one other girl. I thought " All of that dieting to show up on game day to hardly any competition?" How frustrating. It also made me realize that I needed to seek out the proper diet coaching.
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported?
A: I wish I could say yes to this one. My sister supported me by wanting to be at my shows. But most of my friends didn't understand female bodybuilding. One of the typical comments I heard was "That is gross, why would you want to look like that?" I think if you ever want to separate your real loving friends from the ones who are poisoning your future, you should train and diet for a show. It is during those very exhausting times where the greatest supporters shine.
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: I am still very new.
*2008 INBF Pouhkeepsie, New York Lighweight
*2010 NPC NY Metro Lighweight
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Normally I train 4 days per week and really try to go as heavy as I can to get 6-8 reps per set. I have been trying to maximize my rest between sets up to 2 minutes. I used to try to keep a low carb diet all year but found I was not very successful at building while doing this. So last year I changed that entirely. I eat a lot more carbs with all my meals now and am seeing more strength and gains.
Before my contest, I have to gradually drop carbs along with calories while switching to more fats with my protein intake.
Q: What would you consider your best body part or the one that gets the most compliments?
A: Honestly, I think my back is one of my best body parts. I don't usually ask anyone else what they think so I am not sure if anyone really agrees.
Q: Do you have a favorite part to train?
A: I love training my legs. It sounds crazy because most people seem to bitch and moan about leg day, but I just love it.
Q: When someone sees your physique for the first time, what is the most common reaction?
A: I don't know how to answer this. One thing about me is that I try not to pay attention to what other people think of me. I am not seeking anyones approval or opinion about what I do or about my goals. I am the only real critic of me and I like it that way.
Q: Are there any misconceptions about female bodybuilders or anything you wish people understood?
A: I think most people just do not understand why females want to train and diet so hard to get a hard muscular look and compete. For some ridiculous reason, female bodybuilding has been getting less attention while Figure and Bikini competitions are getting more. I do understand that the trend is a clear sign of what people pay to watch so that is the demand. But female bodybuilders have to take training and diet to an extreme level vs. the Figure/Bikini competitors. There should be a greater respect or appreciation for female bodybuilders. There should be more female bodybuilders promoting protein and supplements in all the health magazines vs just figure. When I pick up a Muscle and Fitness magazine I want to see female bodybuilders. That would be more inspiring for many women to at least try to get in shape in my opinion.
Q: Do you think muscular women are becoming more accepted by society?
A: A little bit, but not so much female bodybuilders. I think female figure girls have been overly promoted by advertisements and magazines.
Q: DO you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Hell ya! I have this thing for peanut butter or cashew butter.
Q: Any competitors you admire or are a fan of?
A: Yes. I am a huge fan of Colette Nelson. She is both a great bodybuilder and also brilliant with business.
I am also a big fan of Michelle Brent. She has been competing for a while and never gives up on her dream to be a Pro. If you ever see her on stage, she "brings it" and I personally think she deserved that Pro card a long time ago. What is amazing is that she will not give up. In my mind, she is a winner.
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: GO FOR IT! Just do it right. Not half assed.....if you are going to do it, make sure you know what you are doing to prevent injuries!! And get a diet coach for competition dieting.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I have a busy career. I love what I do, but it takes a lot of my time. So...when I am in the gym I look at that as MINE ALL MINE!! When I get free time I try to keep it low key. Watching funny movies or just getting some time to spend with some of my friends.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Colleen Tanner.
A: I wake up around 4ish to get ready for my day, hit the gym, and then go to work. My days tend to be long ones so when i get home at night, I try to unwind with Family Guy on TV (I just get some great laughs at that show).
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I volunteer my time as a mentor for a children's home.
Q: Describe Colleen Tanner in five words.
A: I'm extremely passionate and determined.
Q: Any plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I have been debating doing the October shows....or just waiting until the spring again.
Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: Colette Nelson. She is the best diet coach, and things like music, tanning, hair, and makeup. Anyones needs before a contest.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Colleen Tanner the athlete and competitor?
A: I would be extremely grateful to have sponsors! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org through email. Or by phone (303)304-7258.
They would be getting one of the hardest working competitors around. When I say that, I mean work ethic. I am determined to continue my future as a female competitor and to help keep this sport alive.
Q: Colleen, again, thanks so much for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: Jason...Thank you for reaching out to me with this interview! I am glad to be a part of something that keeps female competitors in the face of the public.