Thursday, June 17, 2010
Jessica Hopkins Interview
Jessica Hopkins is that friend of a friend you sometimes meet. I found her through a friend on Facebook, and by looking at just one photo I was so incredibly impressed. Now the one picture was more of a head shot with some upper body. She looked beautiful, but wanted to see more, to see the physique. WOW. I was in awe. Great physique and very symmetrical, which is something I always look for. She has done six shows so far, and from what I can tell keeps getting better. So if she keeps getting better and already looks this good, imagine a year or two from now. She says she has not decided when she will be on stage next, but I can't wait for that to happen. I am anxious to see just how far she can go, and my guess is the answer to that question is Jessica Hopkins will go as far as Jessica Hopkins wants to go.
Q: First, Jessica, 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'm a 30 year old mother of one son, Brayden age 9. I was born and raised in Washington. I was born in Seattle and raised in Edmonds until age 8 when my
Dad got transferred to Ferndale for his job. I lived in Ferndale until I was 23 and then moved to Redmond after graduating college to pursue a job as a
Personal Trainer at PRO Sports Club in Bellevue. My family including my parents, sister, her husband and 2 kids live in Lynden and my brother, his wife and
their 2 month old daughter live in Oak Harbor. I went to Ferndale High School, followed by 2 years at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham where I played
basketball and volleyball. I then got pregnant with my son so I took a year off before transferring to Western Washington University to pursue my degree in
Exercise and Sport Science. My parents were key in helping me raise my son the first two years of his life while I finished my education. My son's father was
in the Army at the time, stationed at Ft. Lewis so we only got to spend time together on the weekends. It was a really stressful time for all.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or
A: I've always been involved in sports. I started roller skating at age 3 and ended up getting onto a speed skating team but that ended at age 8 when we moved
to Ferndale. I picked up gymnastics at age 6 and continued that until I was 12. Once I entered middle school I became very involved in volleyball, basketball and
track and field. I became enamored with those three sports and continued competing at them for the next 10 years. Currently I still play basketball and volleyball
recreationally. I have been lifting weights since my freshman year of high school and have always enjoyed it. I had two weight lifting records and one other
record in high school for the girls: 1 rep max for Squats, Cleans and the 5 dot drill (foot speed). I was also voted Outstanding Female Athlete of my class
in 1998. I continued on my volleyball and basketball career in community college and still enjoy playing today. I've also recently started practicing with
the Seattle Mist Lingerie Football Team. I am trying out for the team on June 13th in hopes to compete with them for the 2010-11 season. GO MIST!
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I started lifting weights in high school PE my freshman year and had already gained a lot of strength from my gymnastics and sports background so it just
seemed to come very naturally to me. I quickly started seeing strength gains and started to notice I was one of the stronger girls in my class. This just
drove me harder to continue with it, outside of PE and school. I fell in love with it instantly and noticed how it made me stronger at my sports.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started
to see results?
A: I picked it up very easily. I already had a good sense of body awareness from competing at gymnastics and roller skating as well as other sports so it just
become another thing I did to help train my body to perform better at the things I loved to do, sports. I saw gains very quickly. By time I was a senior I was
often stronger than most of the freshman boys so it was fun to hear older guys teasing the younger kids that a girl was stronger than them. Needless to say, that
didn't last very long. :)
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I was at work and a fellow co-worker of mine had just competed in her first Figure competition and someone was looking at some pictures she had emailed out
and as soon as I saw them I was so inspired. I told myself, "I'm going to a competition, I was built for that!" I immediately met with her because she was a
dietitian so I wanted her to give me as much information as possible. She was so helpful with more than just nutrition. She gave me advice on workouts,
supplements, suits, shows to do, etc etc. It was very overwhelming starting out and I couldn't have done it without her support.
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: Absolutely, my parents actually made the trip all the way to Spokane for my first competition. They had no idea what it was about but no matter what I decide
to do they are always 100% supportive. My husband and son stayed home and decided to attend my second show so that I had time to get my feet wet before they
saw me compete and they've been at my last 5 shows to support me. They both think it's pretty cool.
Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: Competing and actually getting on stage was actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I love being able to get on stage and show off all of the hard
work I've put in over the course of training and dieting. For such a long time period of training and dieting, you only really get to show off your hard
work on stage for a matter of minutes so when I get up there I try to give it my all and soak it all up and be proud of my accomplishments. The thing that
surprised me the most was just how much diet affects how your body looks, I know that seems obvious but I had no idea what my body was capable of doing and
I think that is probably the most fun thing of training is seeing the changes that occur to your body over a relatively short time frame. I was also
surprised at how hard it was to diet. I've learned I have no self-control or will power when it comes to diet. I am still struggling to get more mentally
tough but at the same time not be so hard on myself when I do slip up.
Q: Can you share your contest history.
*Empire Classic-Spokane, Wa April 2008 6th Place
*Washington Ironman-Everett, Wa October 2008 6th Place
*Vancouver Classic-Vancouver, Wa March 2009 2nd Place
*BSN Emerald Cup-Bellevue, Wa April 2009 5th Place
*Vancouver Classic-Vancouver, Wa March 2010 5th Place
*BSN Emerald Cup-Snoqualmie, Wa April 2010 11th Place
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would have to say shoulders, I am always getting compliments on my arms, I would love to have a little more mass on my upper body and less on the lower.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love training shoulders/arms and chest probably because I love feeling a good pump when I work out. I love doing cable chops-high to low and low to high.
I can feel them working my whole body from my glutes and hips to core, shoulders and arms.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it
for contest prep?
A: I typically lift 5 days per week with a day off in the middle of the week: Weds or Thurs as well as Sundays. I start cardio light towards the beginning, only
30 minutes of light stepmill for 3 days/week and eventually I am doing two a day cardio sessions anywhere from 35-60 minutes per session depending on where
I am at with my progress. Diet starts off pretty clean but still allows for one cheat meal per week. It changes anywhere from every 2 weeks to every 6 weeks;
again depending on how well I am sticking to it and how well I am progressing physically. I get a lot of variety in my diet, always changing my protein
sources, carbohydrate and fat sources so that I don't get bored and my body doesn't adapt or cease changing.
Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first time,
what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: Definitely all positive. Most people are really confused and unsure about what it is so I usually have to describe it to them. I like to call it a beauty
pageant for jocks or as not a bikini competition but not bodybuilding, somewhere in the middle. :) Everyone seems to be very supportive and intrigued by it.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you
are most sick of hearing?
A: I really get annoyed when people say, "I could never do what you do. I love food too much!" If I had a penny for every time I heard this....and I mean this with
all honesty and sincerity people, you have NO IDEA how much I love food. I am a junk-food-aholic at heart so please believe when I say, "If I can do this,
ANYONE can do this!"
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the
one thing you wish people understood?
A: Oh geez, there are probably hundreds of misconceptions but the one that really gets to me the most is that Figure Competitors don't eat. I always have to
respond by telling people "Are you serious? That is ALL I do!" When I'm training I eat anywhere from 6-8 meals a day so that means I'm eating from the time I
get up to the time I go to bed, about every 2-3 hours. Do people really think we'd have as much muscle mass as we do by NOT eating? I think not. :)
Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part of competing is definitely the whole journey and process of getting to your competition day. We go from counting in months, to weeks, to days,
to hours leading up to the big day. It's so fun to document your progress with pictures and measurements and to see the changes that are happening all the
time. I'd say that is the most rewarding part of competing. The worst part of competing is probably how you feel after eating that first celebration meal.
Your body kind of goes into a carb coma for a while, your stomach bulges out and you just feel pretty bad for a little bit. Tums are your friend. It's good
while it's happening but the after-affect can be very uncomfortable.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Ohhh lots of them but I'd have to say the girl who continues to inspire me and has from my very first competition is Gina Allioti. I think she is beautiful, her body is amazing and she is so successful with her business, clients and Figure career and all at such a young age. I really admire her work ethic.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Hands down a cheeseburger and french fries with ranch. I'm an All-American girl! :)
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; If you're serious about doing a competition; it all starts with mind-set. Things are going to come up during training that may cause you stress, you will
be missing out on parties, get togethers, dinners, vacations etc because your priority now has become maintaining a clean diet, AM cardio, lifting and possibly PM cardio. You can't let other things get in your way of your goals but at the same time you have to try to find a healthy balance of training/dieting and work, family and friends. That can be very difficult.
Q: Do you feel it is becoming more common to see women training in the gym as hard as the men?
A: I think we're moving in the right direction but I still think there are too many women out there that feel intimidated or uncomfortable in the weight room. I would encourage those women to hire a trainer, at least for a few sessions, to help them get comfortable in the weight room, learn the machines and exercises and know that you belong there just as much as any guy does.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy spending time with my family, working in the yard, going to movies, exploring new places, scrapbooking, shopping with my friends and many more things!
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Jessica Hopkins?
4:30am wake up, get ready for work, eat breakfast, go to work
5:30am meet my first client
12:30pm or somewhere in the afternoon would be first cardio session and lifting
2pm-3:30pm head home for a little break if I have time, check/send emails, eat lunch or nap or clean the house
4:00-7pm More clients and coaching basketball
7:00-10:30pm Either go play basketball (Mon nights only) or head home to have dinner with my boys and relax with some reality TV or a movie and then get ready for bed to do it all over again!
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: A lot of people are surprised to find out I'm a Mom, it's usually my clients or people I meet that are my age. I had my son just before I turned 21 so most people my age don't have a 9 year old. That usually shocks them! :) I love being a young mom though, wouldn't trade it for anything!
Q: Describe Jessica Hopkins in five words.
A: Empathetic, Thoughtful, Responsible, Dorky, Tidy.
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Right now I am unsure of my plans for my next competition. I am really focused on work and the hopes of purchasing our first home in the next year. I would love to do a show this fall but I haven't committed to anything just yet. I am definitely not done and haven't even come close to seeing what I can accomplish.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: If you're looking for a trainer that will push you and keep you accountable all while having fun, please get in touch with me. Also, come out to support the Seattle Mist Football team this season, hopefully you'll be seeing us at the Lingerie Bowl in Las Vegas 2011!
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Jessica Hopkins the athlete and competitor?
A: Absolutely, it is my dream to become a sponsored athlete. My Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and cell# 425-233-2502, I'm also on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Hoppy411.
Q: Jessica, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."