Sunday, July 11, 2010
Michelle Beck Interview
Beautiful, incredible physique (with abs among the best in the sport), determination, dedication, all words that can be used to describe Michelle Beck. Another word that can describe her is Pro. Because Michelle Beck will no doubt earn the IFBB Pro card she wants, and she will earn it sooner rather than later. When I first got the chance to interview Michelle, I admit, I did not know much about her. But now I do, and I must say, very rarely have I seen someone with so much potential for stardom. Everyone keep an eye on Michelle, she is no doubt a soon to be star in this sport.
Q: First, Michelle, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for this opportunity.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I have a big extended family, but as far as my immediate family I am an only child so it is just me, my mom and my dad and now we can add my husband to the mix. My parents are great role models and they have been married for 33 years. My dad was in the Army so when I was young we moved around a bit, but I have been in Fort Worth, Texas now for about 22 years and Texas is my home.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: No, was not an athletic person in high school or in college at all. I did what a lot of what some people would call girlie girl sports. I was a figure skater and on the dance team in high school and then in college I was a cheerleader for a year.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: In 2000 friend of mine told me they were looking to hire someone at the front desk of her gym, at that time I was 19 and in college and needed a job so I applied and they hired me. I had never even worked out before, the most exercise I got at that time was taking a jog outside or going to a cardio kickboxing class a couple times a week, but I had never lifted weights nor had I ever eaten really healthy.
In fact I used to bring fast food up to they gym and eat it behind the front counter. A year or so after working at the gym, putting on the freshman 15 and seeing everyone around me be fit and healthy. I decided to get with one of the personal trainers and I decided to get in shape.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Once I started weight training I picked up on it pretty easy and it was something I really enjoyed doing, I slowly started to see results after a few months of weight training, but it wasn't until I added a clean diet on top of my training that I really started to see the results of my hard work.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I had no idea what figure competitions were at the time. In fact it was my personal trainer that persuaded me to get into it because he had another girl he was training that was competing at the 2002 John Sherman Classic in Houston, TX, so two months prior to the show I started a contest prep diet for the first time and training 6 days a week. I had no idea what I was doing, my mom made my one piece suit and she glued on rhinestones to a two piece suit that I bought. I really did not know how to pose properly and I think I came away either 11th or 12th out of 21 girls which at the time i thought was horrible, but looking back now I should have been pretty proud of myself for accomplishing all of that in two months prep time.
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: My parents and friends really did not understand it the first time I competed and all of the hard work that goes into getting stage ready. My parents were worried because I was dropping so much weight that this was not healthy and my friends still wanted to go out an party all the time and I just didn't have the desire to do that anymore since at the time I was really driven to do well at my first competition. Now that my parents understand the sport and all of the hard work that goes into it they are so supportive and along with my husband they are my biggest fans.
Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it
A: I had no idea what to expect and the first time I competed I was totally overwhelmed. I thought I was in great shape, but then I got to the competition and saw how much muscle some of the girls had and I made the classic first timer mistake of comparing myself to others which then I had basically already defeated myself before I stepped on stage. I have learned now you never know exactly what the judges are looking for so if it your first competition go in as best you can and be confident with whatever package you bring on stage.
Q: Can you share your contest history.
*2002 NPC John Sherman Classic-12th place if I remember correctly.
(I had the intentions of putting on more muscle mass and competing again, bigger and better, but I had some personal issues go on in my life. My trainer had problems and went MIA, I married at a young age, 23yrs old and got divorced shortly afterward and I guess I lost myself and my goals along the way and I did not start to train for another competition again until 2008).
*2009 Musclemania Fitness Texas show-1st in the figure tall division and 2nd in the Ms. Bikini division.
(After that show I knew I wanted to compete again in the NPC and go after my dream that I had given up for years prior of becoming an IFBB Figure Pro. So I took 6 months offseason to bulk up and add as much muscle mass as possible to my 5'9" frame)
*2010 Ronnie Coleman Classic-2nd place in figure class C and qualified for the national level shows.
*2010 Jr. Nationals-Class F 3rd place
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Most people say my best body part is my abs because I have those deep cuts that is hard for some women to get.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love to train my legs! I am more of a pear shape and I have curvy hips and tend to hold more weight in my thighs, hips and behind, but this past year for the RCC my legs started to have cuts and defitiniton i had never seen before. So it is exciting to me to see how much more I can improve them for the national level shows. My favorite leg exercise would probably have to be squats, because my legs are 44 inches hip to toe (yes just like Julia Roberts says in "Pretty Woman") and I love to challenge myself and see how low I can squat down without my long legs completely giving out!
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I split up my body parts in order to work them all with in the week and then my weak points I train every 4 days or twice a week. I train six days a week both on and off season, during contest prep it is usually six days straight and Sunday off, then when I am offseason I usually do three days on, one day off, three days on.
My diet on season and off season are somewhat similar and consist of various protein sources, complex carbs and I always try to keep my fats healthy and low year round. Of course I eat a little more food offseason and will take one whole day off for a cheat day instead of just one cheat meal I get per week on my contest prep diets. I also will cut out all cheat meals from my diet one month prior to a show.
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: Most peoples reactions when they hear that I compete are positive and then they start to ask me a million questions about what I eat and how much I train. I like helping people out and giving advice so I do not mind answering their questions.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I think the thing that drive me the most crazy is when I am on a contest prep diet and people look at me while I am eating a meal and they say "Oh that looks so good!" sometimes I want to turn to them and say okay if it looks so good to you, then you eat it everyday, at the same time, in the same portion for two weeks straight and then tell me if you still love it! Haha
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I wish people knew how hard we really train inside the gym and how hard we work outside the gym with our diets. I think a lot of people make the excuse that "oh she only looks like that because she is young or because she doesn't have kids" but they only see a portion of how hard us competitors really work. Plus that excuse doesn't fly with me because I can show them a ton of women who have kids and a busy life that look ten times better than I do!
Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part of competing is stepping on that stage after the months of hard work and the sense of accomplishment for a job well done and the worst part of competing is just being drained of all my energy after a long day at work and hard training at the gym.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Wow, there are so many great competitors out there that I admire. Lately it has been Erin Stern, because there are not many tall girls in the sport of figure that have done as well as her and Ava Cowan because not only has she recently became an IFBB Figure Pro, but she has also really made a name for herself in fitness modeling.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Yes, my favorite clean cheat food would have to be rice cakes, but if we are talking about really cheating then I would have to say Mama's Pizza and red velvet cake!
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 tell her to go for it, not to think too long about doing it and just do it. Start going after her goals right now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed and the only time we have is now. I gave up on myself and my goals of becoming an IFBB Figure Pro for 6 years and now I am going to make it happen for myself, but you don't want to live your life with regrets worrying about the what if's.
Q: Do you get a lot of friends asking for diet advice?
A: Surprisingly yes and no. I think most are always curious about what I am eating so they ask a lot of questions, but I am not sure how many of those people actually take my advice and apply it in their daily lives.
Then there are the other friends who have seen the changes I have made with my body, but don't ask because I think they think the way I eat is too strict for them. Those are the ones that I still hear chatting about what kind of magic pill will help them drop 10lbs in 2 weeks!
I am always happy to give advice and answer any questions friends have for me, whether or not they take my advice and apply it is a different thing all together.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy cardio kickboxing, I have been doing it on and off for ten years now, watching TV (I am a reality TV junkie), reading books on mental science, playing with my dogs Gracie (a pug) and Casey (a Jack Russell Terrier) and spending time with my husband, family and friends.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Michelle Beck.
A: A typical day in the life of Michelle Beck is like groundhogs day! I wake up about 4:30am, do some cardio if I am on contest prep doing two-a-days, get ready, get to work by 6am, work from 6am to 3:30pm, then go to the gym, weight train for an hour, do a second session of cardio, do my seated twists for my abs for 10 min and then practice my posing for 15 to 30 min. Then I go home, take a shower, eat my last meal of the day, get all my clothes ready for the next day and do it all over again! I know I am such and exciting person! Haha
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I think the one thing that most people who don't know me are surprised about when they get to speaking with me is that I am a really nice and friendly person. I tend to be a little shy until people talk to me first and I have this face that if I am not smiling people think I am mad or a B (my dad has the same face), but I am usually just focused on what I am doing or in my own world.
Q: Describe Michelle Beck in five words.
A: Determined, Loyal, Dedicated, Kind and Passionate
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I plan on competing this summer in a national level show for a shot at my IFBB Figure Pro card.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I want to give a big thanks to my sponsor USPlabs for giving me the opportunity and seeing my potential to becoming an IFBB Figure Pro one day and being a part of their team of athletes when I still had not even made a name for myself yet in this sport.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Michelle Beck the athlete and competitor?
A: Anyone looking for fitness models or sponsorship opportunities can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. What they would be getting out of Michelle Beck as an athlete is someone who knows that they will work hard and reach her goal of becoming an IFBB Figure Pro, someone who is driven to make a name for herself in the fitness industry and someone who wants to help inspire other men and women not to give up on their fitness goals and that it is never too late to go after your dreams in life. You can also view my BodySpace Profile at http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/michellebeck/ that has a lot of pictures of my transformation and good information about myself.
Q: Michelle, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you again for this opportunity and i would like to leave these last words, a great teacher once said what ever you attach the words "I am" to you become, I am an IFBB Figure Pro.