Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stephanie Mule Interview








Very happy to post this interview with Stephanie Mule. She is someone who since first finding out about her I have become a big fan of hers. She combines beauty, physique, and attitude into a package that is among the best in this industry. Want proof Bikini competitors are dedicated and work hard in the gym, look no farther than Stephanie Mule. I see a Pro card in her future.



Q: First, Stephanie, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Hi Jason, my pleasure. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself?
A: I'm the oldest in a family of 3 children (my brother is a NYC cop and my sister is a high school senior). I grew up in Staten Island, New York, where most of my family still lives. I have been employed at a private biotechnology company for the last 8 years where I worked my way up from a front desk receptionist to being the coordinator of business development. I don't have a formal college degree, though I have taken various steps towards furthering my education in the last several years including business courses, web design certificate classes and cosmetology school. Hopefully by 2011, I will have taken my state board exam to obtain my license in esthetics (skincare).

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I danced (tap, jazz, ballet) for three years when I was in junior high school, but that was the extent of anything semi-athletic for me. I was into riding bikes, rollerblading and playing kickball with my friends... but I wasn't involved in competitive sports.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I was "skinny fat" and like most normal girls, I wanted to lose some weight be "toned". I just didn't truly understand how to go about reaching my goals. I tried to pay attention to my diet, but made lots of critical, common mistakes (crazy diets, not eating enough calories or calories from lean protein sources, not exercising enough, etc). When I met my boyfriend Jon, who is a competitive bodybuilder, I began to learn about how to live a healthier lifestyle. I also educated myself through message boards and magazines such as Oxygen, Muscle & Fitness, Flex, etc. When I first attended an NPC show that Jon competed in and saw the ladies on stage, I knew I wanted to take my training to the next level so I could look like them.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: It was, actually. I started using light weight and high reps, mainly using machines. After a couple months, I got bored and wanted to challenge myself more. I put my insecurities aside and began training with free weights . I saw results pretty quickly. Before I even began altering my diet, the pounds began to slip off. Once I trained my body to eat 6 small meals throughout the day, more changes took effect. I became addicted to the results, so it was easy to keep the momentum up after that.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: A few people told me I should consider a trip to the stage, but I didn't feel my physique was where it needed to be to compete in figure. When the NPC announced the birth of the bikini division in late 2008, I decided I would test the waters by getting on stage that spring.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: My family and friends always support whatever makes me happy. I think they thought it was just a phase, at first. Now they get excited when they hear I do well and ask about my upcoming shows. Usually they want to know when my shows are over, so I can indulge in some yummy meals with them.

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: Honestly, I didn't have any idea what to expect. I just went into it figuring it would be a fun experience. Never did I imagine that I would be competing and placing at the national-level, so I guess you could say that that has been a happy surprise!

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A:
April 25, 2009 - NPC Suburban Championships ~ 4th place
June 27, 2009 - NPC Garden State Classic ~ 1st place
June 12, 2010 - NPC Garden State Classic ~ did not place
June 19, 2010 - NPC Junior Nationals ~ 1st place, Class A
July 10, 2010 - NPC Team Universe - 3rd place, Class B

Q: Do you feel Bikini competitors are being taken more serious now by others in the industry?
A: Yes, I do. I think the physiques that are being rewarded are ones that reflect a level of commitment to the gym and to a fit lifestyle.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: There's always room for improvement, but I would have to say my back is my best body part.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: My legs/glutes are my weakness, so I'm currently training them three times a week. I used to hate a love/hate relationship with leg day, but it is now my favorite. There's so many variations of squats and deadlifts that I can mix it up every workout and never get bored.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I train 5-6 days a week. When I'm preparing for a show, I'm in the gym 7 days a week (sometimes twice a day) to complete all my cardio and lifting.

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: It is almost always positive. People are usually intrigued and ask about my diet and training routine.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I can't think of anything I'm sick of hearing, but I do have questions that are asked frequently. I like that people are interested enough to ask. One thing alot of people have wondered is if my tattoos have hurt my placings in competitions. It's a fair question... I have never once heard of them counting against me and I have requested feedback from the judges, so it makes me happy that they are open-minded enough about a little personality, especially in the NPC bikini division. My ink is part of who I am, so if it was a problem, I might have to reconsider my competitive career.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I wish people understood that lifting heavy weights will not make a woman bulky or look like a man. Putting on muscle is hard work. It takes time, discipline and dedication in and out of the gym. Diet is another key factor.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
AA: The best part for me is knowing that I committed myself to a goal and I accomplished it. I want to display an improved version of myself each time I'm on stage, so if I can do that, then I can walk away from the experience feeling really positive about it. The worst part (if I had to pick one) would have to be how expensive it can be to compete, especially if you have to travel for a show.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Wow, this is a long list... there's so many! Pauline Nordin, Gina Aliotti, Felicia Romero are a few of the top ladies who come to mind.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: A warm, gooey brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. Mmm... Also, pad Thai and Japanese hibachi.

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 not to give up! It can be easy to become frustrated when progress comes to a halt or if you are struggling with a lagging body part, etc. The key is to remain positive and be patient.

Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women in the gym working as hard as men?
A: Absolutely! I think it's sad when people generalize lifting weights and assume it is a male activity. The benefits of strength training are so significant, I wish I could help everyone I know transition into this amazing lifestyle.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love to watch mixed martial arts. I'm a huge UFC fan! Other than that, I'm just a regular girl. When my budget allows, I am all about shopping! Every few months, Jon and I like to travel down to Atlantic City for a couple of days to relax, gamble and just get away from daily life and focus on each other. I love trying new cuisines too, so when the diet allows, I like to try new Thai, Japanese and Portuguese restaurants and indulge a little bit.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Stephanie Mule?
A: It's pretty simple, especially the last several months since we have both been prepping... Work, train, relax at home. Sometimes on weekends, we will take a trip to the outlets for some shopping or go to the movies.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Most people are surprised when they learn that I have a corporate job. Between the tattoos and facial piercings, I think it throws people off. I can be a chameleon though. Everything is hidden under my corporate casual wardrobe.

Q: Describe Stephanie Mulé in five words.
A: Loyal, Loving, Disciplined, Responsible, Wicked.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I just competed in 3 shows within the last 5 weeks. Pending feedback from the judges, I'll consider what my next steps might be.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I don't have a website yet, so people can contact me by email StephanieWicked@gmail.com. I'm also on Facebook, www.facebook.com/StephanieWicked.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Stephanie Mulé, the athlete and competitor?
A: I would be honored to represent a company within the fitness industry! I enjoy attending expos and shows and networking with others who have an affinity for the bodybuilding lifestyle. If someone thinks I might be compatible with their company/image/product, I welcome the opportunity to discuss a potential sponsorship opportunity.

Q: Stephanie, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you again, Jason. I look forward to hearing from everyone!! :)

Kelly Ferguson Interview









Some people are just naturally winners. They set their mind to do something, they do it, and they win at it. Kelly Ferguson fits that description. She started training for Figure in January 2009 and competed in March 2009 and her contest history is loaded with first places. Kelly just competed at the national level at USA's and looked incredible. Kelly is someone to keep an eye on because there is no doubt she is going to keep improving and we are going to see a lot more 1st places in that contest history.




Q: First, Kelly, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for asking me!!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Lets see, I am from Buffalo, NY. Born and raised. My family consists of my mom, my brother and my two black labs, Ava and Bailey. I am 27 years old, although everyone thinks I am like 16! I am the Director of IFR and Recharge Accounting at Buffalo State College.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: The only sport I ever did was running track in elementary school. Even back then I was a sprinter (not into distance running…yuck)! I danced for 18 years and cheered through out high school. I took tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet and a little bit of pointe.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I have had gym memberships for years and I would go occasionally but nothing routine. If I felt like working out 2 weeks I would go and then not show my face again for a month or so. Once I started getting into the figure competitions, I was obviously in numerous gyms a few times a day.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I started training for figure in mid January of 2009 and made my way to the stage in March of 2009. I only trained for two and half months… so I picked it up fairly easy. I started to see results almost immediately! It was awesome!

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I used to watch the fitness competitions when I was younger on ESPN. Ever since I saw them, I always wanted to do it! The past few years I would joke around …always flexing and saying that I was going to do bodybuilding. Of course I doubted myself and then eventually the timing was right and I worked up the courage to do it :-)

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: When I first told everyone at a family dinner that I was thinking of training for a show I remember them all making a face like ‘what?!’. My mom’s first response was, ‘are you going to look like a guy??’ lol I think my mom tried to sabotage me a few times with buying my favorite donuts while I was prepping (which she will deny). Once everyone either came to my shows or saw pics of what I was doing they got into it and they have been nothing but supportive since!! My mom is really into going to the shows now to :-)

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: To be honest I didn’t really know what I was getting into now that I look back on it. I think the biggest surprise to me was how mental the whole cycle is, before, during and after competitions.

Q: Can you share your contest history
A:
INBF Buffalo – March 2009
1st Place Novice Figure Class A
Overall Novice Winner
1st Place Figure Open Class A
4th Place Ms. Fit

Mr & Ms Buffalo – NPC – March 2009
1st Place Figure Class A
Overall figure winner :-)

NGA-Buffalo – April 2009
1st Place Figure Open Class A

NGA-Rochester – April 2009
1st Place Figure Open Class A

Rochester – NPC – June 2009
2nd Place Figure Open Class A

NPC USA's- NP

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would say my best body part is my delts which I refer to as my mushroom caps :-)

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I like to train my bi’s and tri’s. I love to get a pump going.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Well since I last competed I have been lifting with my boyfriend 3-4 times a week. My boyfriend Chris is an awesome personal trainer so that’s a plus for me! I have been trying to put on a little more muscle and develop my overall package. I try to eat clean during the day when I am not in contest prep. It’s fairly easy since I pack meals and take them to work. I allow myself to enjoy things that I want to enjoy but, I try not to make a habit of over indulging (not easy!!) All in moderation :-) When it’s time for the contest prep I go to boot camps every day, sometimes twice a day with my figure coach, Terry Stokes. I continue to lift and kick up the cardio. And of course that’s where the great, fabulous, amazingly BLAH diet comes in!!! YAY!!

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: Usually positive. My boyfriend’s family heard that I competed before I met them. After seeing them for the 1st time his cousin told me that she thought I was going to be huge like my boyfriend (he is a bodybuilder too). So I think if you don’t know what I look like and you hear that I compete, people expect me to be like 250lbs of pure muscle lol

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I don’t get sick of the questions or comments but, I do get a kick out of people asking me what workouts I do or what my diet is like. Everyone seems to have the same response ‘I could never do that! I love food’

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I would say that most people probably think that because we are all dolled up on stage that it is a glamorous sport and we always look like that. Let me tell you…I wipe the sweat dripping off head with my tank top like 50 times during a workout. I usually sweat thru my gym clothes to the point where it looks like I ran thru a sprinkler! I shower so many times a day that I haven’t done anything with my hair besides throw it up wet in the past 3 weeks! It’s NOT cute! When the show comes around its like a treat to get ready.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: I think the best part of competing is the battle you have with yourself. Always a challenge!
I think the worst part of competing is also the battle you have with yourself. Self doubt is the worst!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I am only 4’11’’ so I tend to root for the shorties! Def inspired by Jamie Eason, Cheryl Brown, Erin Stern, Andrea Watson, Ava Cowan, etc. etc. etc.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Poptarts :-) and of course cheesy pizza, Pizza, PIZZA with green olives!
Lately I have been craving a salami sandwich… weird I know.

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: Have fun with it!!!

Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women in the gym working as hard as men?
A: For sure, women might not be benching 300lbs like dudes but, we are sweating our butts off like no other!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy going to the beach when the weather is nice, I just started getting into reading this past year and I am also studying to get my pt certificate.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Kelly Ferguson.
A: Every day is different. Currently during the week I try to wake up early and get in either a boot camp or cardio session before work. Go to work from 8 to 4 and then back to boot camp for an hour or so. After that I usually eat, lift and do cardio…I try to cook, pack meals and my gym bag for the next day in between there somewhere!

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I think people would be surprised to know that I drive like a maniac!

Q: Describe Kelly Ferguson in five words.
A: Honest, Loyal, Silly, Hopeful, Mysterious.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I am actually competing in a few weeks at the USA’s in Las Vegas!!! I am extremely nervous but excited to even be able to compete at the national level.(NOTE: Kelly has since done this show and looked amazing)

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you?
A: Sure!!! I would love to be sponsored one day. I can be contacted at fergkelm38@yahoo.com


Q: Kelly, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you for opportunity!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mind and Matter by Sheena Hunter

They say there is a fine line between art and obscenity. Where do you draw yours? I have just drawn mine, and I don't mind exploring mine publicly as an example, so that you can draw your own. It all started when I realized that I am in desperate need of a good picture of myself. A bunch of them would be better. Have you seen my “administrator” folder on the Promoting Women Facebook page? So sad! I am in the company of some pretty amazing athletes with amazing professional photography...and there is me, rocking an ill-fitting bikini in a little gym in Brewer, Maine (by the way, it's Bangor-Brewer Athletic Club, owned by Sean Soucy and Wendy Watkins—they are great, if you are ever in that area!). It's time for something a little more...professional...or perhaps just a little more flattering! I'm a good athlete, but if I am worthy of the recognition, you wouldn't know it from my photos!

At first I thought the trouble would be in finding a photographer, but I was wrong! There are a million photographers out there who are more than willing to let me strip down to my posing suit and flex before their cameras. Trust me, I have had some pretty interesting offers lately. But for me, this sport is about owning my body, loving my body, and letting my body look the way I want it to look. When I am onstage, you see what I want you to see, so I am not willing to give up that power in a photo. I do not want to end up in a position where I am overly sexualized and made to look like I'm working something besides my muscles (if you know what I mean...). I am an athlete, not a porn star!

At the same time, I do recognize that it is helpful to be sexy in this industry. There are always half naked women reminding the rest of us to do more cardio, so I am more than happy to know that muscular women are out there reminding the rest of us to train heavier! Sexy isn't bad...I wouldn't mind looking a little sexy in my photos. I mean, I wouldn't want to go into a photo session hoping to look like someone who has probably never been laid, and I don't exactly have a wholesome, all-American, cute girl look, like the Farrah Fawcett photo. I'm stuck with these “bedroom” eyes. So lately, I've been looking at TONS of photos of female bodybuilders. I examine them closely and try to decide which looks I would want for myself, and which ones I do not. As a feminist with a degree in Women's Studies, I am well-read on the various opinions out there, but I am also aware that at the end of the day, it is a matter of personal opinion. Your opinion may differ from mine, and that's ok, but after much internal debate, I have concluded that the images I like most all have one thing in common: they portray the subject's sexuality as POWERFUL, instead of POWERLESS. That is, I want to look like I could kick your ass—not like I'm bound-up and waiting to be ravaged, or like I'm a little girl waiting to lose my virginity. I do not see any power in pretending to be something I'm not.

Yesterday, I saw a photo that really captivated and inspired me, and which gave me an example of what I want. I do not mean to suggest that other work hasn't similarly interested me...maybe I was in a good mood...or maybe it was the photographer's comment below the photo. Either way, it got me. Chris Zimmerman posted a headshot of Nicole Ball, and below it was a caption which pointed out that female bodybuilders deserve to be portrayed as beautiful women. He totally pulled it off, too! In just a head shot, you could see so much about her. Maybe that's all I want. I think a perfect photo should portray me as a beautiful, powerful woman. My sexiness should be natural, not forced. Someone else can have the lollipops, strawberries, handcuffs, exceptionally large ta-tas, and lingerie. I think I'll stick with a portrayal of who I really am—a beautiful, confident, sexy, and powerful woman.

Karen Santoro Interview






Karen Santoro first competed on a dare from her friend. Well let's say thanks to her friend because Karen looks phenomenal. In her first competition, by the photos you can see she brought a phenomenal package, highlighted by her incredible abs. She plans to continue competing and I can't wait to see her continue to improve.



Q: First, Karen, 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 grew up in Los Angeles, specifically the San Fernando Valley – I am a true Valley Girl. I currently live in the San Diego area and just love it here. I am married with 2 kids and my dog Sparky. I graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a degree in Marketing and Management. I am a currently employed as the marketing and business development manager for a civil engineering firm.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I was not what I would call “especially athletic” but was always pretty active. I swam in college and I’ve played tennis, tried golf, I am an avid skier and runner.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I've been going to the gym off and on for years. Last year I pulled a hamstring running, so I started swimming and doing more strength training. I like going to the gym because it offers a safe environment to workout in when I get home from work late..

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Yes, I picked up on the training pretty easily. I had personal trainers push me. I couldn’t have done it without them. With weight training you start to see results pretty quickly, I would say within a couple of months I started to see some good definition.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: My bodybuilder friend, Phil LeGault, kept encouraging me to do a Figure competition. I thought he was crazy and that there would be no way on earth that I could ever look like those girls. But Phil and others kept encouraging me and I kept training and dieting and about a month before the competition I said what the heck I’ll do it.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: Well, yes my family pretty much supported it. At first they thought it was kind of weird. I didn’t really tell a lot of people that I was going to compete because I wasn’t sure how it would be accepted.

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: I was harder than I expected. I went to the Excalibur show in dec 2009 just to watch and get a feel for what the show would entail. I thought that there were just 4 easy poses – front, side, back, and side. But there is so much more to posing than just getting up there and doing quarter turns.
The thing that I was most fearful of was walking out on stage in 5inch heals and a bikini. Wasn’t sure I had the courage to do it. But everyone was so supportive.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: 2010 GNC Figure Championships in San Diego was my first competition. I am planning on competing the rest of 2010 and see how far I can push myself.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: My brain and people tell me I have nice abs.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?.
A: I prefer upper body workouts as opposed to lower body. Lower body leaves me limping for days!

Q: When someone sees or hears you train and compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: positive

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: How can I look like you. Some people don’t realize the commitment it takes to do a competition and are looking for the quick fix. They want to look competition ready in 3 weeks…. That just doesn’t happen.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: It a beautiful thing….not a freak show.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: Best – the feeling of accomplishment. Worst – the diet

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Sherri Bales, Siene Silva, Grace Batista, just to mention a few. There are so many great looking and inspiring women out there.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Alcohol!!

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: Call my trainer – Ryan Corder (310) -895-0465, he’ll get you where you want to go!!

Q: Is fitness modeling something that interests you?
A: Yes

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Entertaining, being with friends and family, the beach, running, skiing, shopping and traveling.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Karen Santoro.
A: Eating, cardio, working, lifting, sleeping.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I got into this as kind of a joke and a dare! My bodybuilder friend Phil LeGault, kept encouraging me to do a figure competition and dared me to enter one. So I did. Always up for a challenge! But Please don’t dare me to do anything too crazy.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Planning to compete again in fall of 2010

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Black Ops Human Performance. Contact Ryan Corder (310)895-0465.
http://www.blackopshumanperformance.com/

Q: Are you looking for sponsors. If so how can they reach you?
A: Always. Cell Phone – (760) 845-3572. Facebook – Karen Santoro.
Email – karensantoroxxx@gmail.com

Q: Karen, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Train hard, eat clean and stay focused.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cydney Walker Interview








Very happy to post this interview with Cydney Walker. Only competed twice and not since 2008, but Cydney is the kind of person I enjoy doing interviews with. Someone who is dedicated, whether it be to the gym, her work, her book, training, school, all those things. Cydney is an interesting woman, and I mean interesting in a good way, a very good way. Now let's hope we see her on stage again.



Q: First, Cydney, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thanks Jason for the opportunity for the interview.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born and raised in Dallas, Tx. Attending college at TWU in Denton and finished graduate school at Texas A & M Kingsville.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Before the gym, I was a model growing up. Since I was naturally skinny and that seemed like a place for me. After graduating high school I decided I was tired of being skinny and wanted muscular curves.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I went to the gym because I had gained 10 lbs in a couple of weeks when I started dating a boyfriend at the time. I didn't like the way the extra weight looked on me. So to the gym I went and totally fell in love with training.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Training was something I picked up very easily, which is what led me to a career as a trainer and dietitian. But I didn't see results for a long time, really long time. I started training when I was 19 and I would say the results didn't show up till after my mid-thirties. LOL! I always looked fit, but not like a bodybuilder, which was the look I wanted.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I decided to compete to get over a work related harassment case I filed. It was a torturous ordeal and I needed something to bring me back to me. So I started prepping for the Heart of Texas in 2007.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: At the time, my family was not that into it. My guy and partner in the gym was
supportive as he helped me mentally focused on the weights while I did my cardio and
diet. My family wasn't sure what to think about it.

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: Competing was interesting to say the least. I learned that you can never be prepared enough on your first showing. That is just a learning curve show and expect to have your eyes opened from the experience.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: Heart of Texas 2007 7th place and 2008 2nd place

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I personally feel my back was my best part. But over the past two years, I would say that my legs have taken that title. I have worked hard on bringing in more development in my quads, so now they are my best feature.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Right now, I would say incline bench press. Since I have conquered hitting 135 lbs for reps without a spotter, that is all about ego and me being a bad ass in the gym.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for
contest prep?
A: My normal training is 4 days a week with weights. This past spring I had a groin injury that I am still working through. So now I do corrective exercises for my legs, back and abs to prevent further injury. Cardio changes in prep mode to 1 hour 4 days a week with one day of outdoor training. Depending on my conditioning I may increase my cardio to 90 minutes total, if necessary. I am a vegetarian and most people can't conceive of me doing a prep without egg whites galore. But I gradually take my calories down and eliminate certain higher calorie/fat foods as the weeks pass. May be by week 8 or 6 I start doing the egg whites for dinner then finally for lunch and breakfast the last two weeks of prep.

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 common reaction - "You look awesome, you are sure to win". I don't hear the negative. I haven't had anyone honest enough to say it directly to me.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "How do you get abs like that." As if there is a magic secret.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: It is a process, a long drawn out process. And if you are going to succeed at this, you need to stick to your plan.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: Best part of competing - coming in conditioned the way you like. Worst part - time consuming. All the training is very time consuming.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Natalie Benson is a favorite of mine. Love her X factor physique. Perfect shoulders to match her quads X.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Alcoholic beverages. Personally, my favorite single malt scotch.

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: Come in shape the way you want to and not worry about the judges.

Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women training in the gym as hard as men?
A: I would say yes and no. I still see women training with light weights and believing the myth they will become too muscular if they lift heavy. I am living proof that will not happen.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love to build and restore furniture. I am a total HGTV junkie.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Cydney Walker.
A: Wake up, fix protein drink, train a client, come back get little person ready for
school. Then back out the door to see a nutrition client, attend necessary meetings, afternoon on the phone with doctor offices or company's about corporate wellness programs. Early evening training a client or take little one to karate. In there I get my training in and eat!

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I am very open-minded about other ways of life. I am not caught up on living the way we are socialized in this country. I guess that comes with being a vegetarian. I have a great understanding of others cultures and religions. I don't think that there is one way to be. And we should be more mindful of others, there's nothing wrong with it.

Q: Describe Cydney Walker in five words.
A: Gregarious, Perfectionist, Passionate, Loving and Stubborn.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: No set plans for competing. I was preparing for a show this year, but I am making changes with my business and going back to school to pursue my PhD in possibly biochemistry. Going to start slow since it has been over 3 years since I have been in school. And I am not used to studying anymore.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I offer mobile personal training and nutrition services.
Also in the spring I am hoping to have my book ready - Alternative Names for Pork. It is geared towards vegetarians and others who abstain from consuming pork.

27. Are you looking for sponsors?
A: Not currently looking for a sponsor. Too busy writing my book and getting ready for school in the fall.

Q: Cydney, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks Jason for this opportunity. Enlightening questions about who competitors are as individuals.

Lauren Ashby Interview








An obvious goal for any competitor is to keep improving. Want to know the definition of keep improving? It is Lauren Ashby. In each show she has improved her physique and therefor her placing. It is easy to see with her dedication she will keep improving. And for her to improve that physique from what it currently is, means we are going to see something special next time Lauren takes the stage. Keep your eyes out for Lauren Ashby, she is really going to be a big name in this sport.



Q: First, Lauren, 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 originally from Rochester, NY but live in New York City now. I'm married, no kids (yet!) with a crazy dog name Rocco.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I played sports my entire childhood. I was a swimmer starting when I was 7 and "retired" when I was 17.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: When I stopped swimming I needed to find something to do to stay in shape. My dad bought me my first gym membership to Bally's.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I started training in my late teens and had no idea what I was doing. I watched the men in my gym and copied what they were doing. I fell in love with weight training and haven't looked back. I started seeing results in my early 20s. I saw a picture of myself in college and you could see definition in my arms. That was my motivator to keep lifting and pushing myself in the gym.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I was always intrigued my the idea of competing but had no idea how to get started. I worked with a local bodybuilder here in NYC who convinced me to give competing a try. I owe it all to him!

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: My family and friends, for the most part, have been very supportive. Some people don't really understand it, but overall I am lucky to have such a great support system behind me.

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: Competing was what I expected and no, I can't think of any surprises. I was well prepared for my first show.

Q: Can you share your contest history?
A: I've competed three times. My first show was the Bev Francis Atlantic States in June '09. I came in 13th. Then I did the Steve Stone Metropolitans in April 2010, came in 6th and The Rhode Island Championships in May 2010 and came in 2nd. Working my way up slowly!

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: My back. I attribute my back development to years of swimming.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love training shoulders. My shoulders are small, something I continue to work on, but very strong. I love heavy dumbbell shoulder presses and side laterals.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I train 6 days a week. Two leg days with one of them heavy on the plyometrics, chest/tri's, shoulders, back and biceps and pullups and shoulders again. I do ab work everyday to keep them tight and defined and do 30-60 minutes of cardio 6 days a week. I eat clean both on and off season, but do allow myself to cheat on weekends during the offseason. When I'm in contest prep mode, I do 2 sessions of cardio, lift a little heavier and eat smaller portions of my clean diet.

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: I'd say positive. I think it intrigues people when they hear you compete. And I get alot of respect from men when I tell them I compete.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "How can you diet like that?"

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: We don't all take drugs or HGH. It's alot of hard work, dedication and love for the sport.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part is watching your body change and seeing incredible improvements to your physique. I love the challenge of pushing myself and seeing my goals come to fruition. The worst part is sacrificing time with friends and family because you're just too tired/grumpy/in the gym, etc.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I totally admire Erin Stern's physique. I think she's among the best and really took the figure world my storm in a short period of time.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I'm Italian, so anything with sauce and cheese!

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: Take it seriously and learn how to handle good days and bad days. Your body will fight you, fight back!

Q: You are also a trainer. What got you interested in that and what do you enjoy about it?
A: I tried to work desk jobs but it's just not for me. My husband is a trainer and convinced me to make a career change. I love when my clients see results of course, that's obvious, but I love when they refer people to me. That's the best compliment ever.

Q: If someone wanted to hire you as a trainer how can they contact you?
A: I can be reached by email: defazio76@yahoo.com My website is under construction right now.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I really enjoying cooking, shopping, I do live in NYC afterall, wandering around the city and spending time with my friends and family since I don't get to during the season too much.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Lauren Ashby.
A: I'm an early riser, up usually around 5:00am. I walk my dog, get my food ready for the first half of the day and train my morning clients. Then I work out mid to late morning and train the rest of my afternoon and evening clients. I spend a majority of my day in the gym with a break to walk my dog and take a quick nap. I'm a very scheduled person, so I block out time for my clients, my training, my meals and my personal time.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: As athletic as I am, I HATE RUNNING. I will not run unless I'm being chased.

Q: Describe Lauren Ashby in five words.
A: Loyal, Silly, Dedicated, Stubborn, Focused

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I have my eye on Nationals in October 2010. I want to be sure I'm ready for such a big stage though.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Visit my fan page on facebook! Lauren Ashby Personal Training. And if you're interested in training with me, I'm taking new clients.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Lauren Ashby the athlete and competitor?
A: Sponsorship in this business is huge. I can be reached through email, defazio76@yahoo.com. Being sponsored makes me push harder, take it even more seriously want to do well both for myself and my sponsor. I have been sponsored in the past and it made a huge difference in my focus and drive.

Q: Lauren again thanks so much for taking the time to do this.

Competing As A Couple by Jessica True



Competing As A Couple

Last year we had only casually spoken a few times in the gym. After he returned from Jr. Nationals he gave me the female freebies from the expo. What a smooth move, ha, ha!
Between October and November I had three shows. Jason was a great support system. In June we competed together. We traveled to Indiana for the GNC Classic and to Chicago for Jr. Nationals. After stepping off stage, we turn our competitions into mini vacations. Lots of eating (of course), lots of shopping and some sightseeing.
By no means am I implying that competing at the same time is a cake walk. The nature of dieting down into contest condition demands that you be selfish. Your main focus is what you are eating, your weight training and cardio, your rest, etc. And in the end you get pretty tired. Put these two people in the same house and it can be a strain. But, I’m a positive person so I prefer to talk about the “pros” of competing together.:-) For me it’s easier to stay focused and stick to my diet when my significant other is doing the same. It’s nice to share the same hobby. With competing, unless you’ve competed yourself, I don’t think you truly understand what someone is going through. A lot of times if you don’t share this interest one person gets jealous of the amount of time spent in the gym, your eating habits interfere with your social life or they can’t empathize with feeling hungry and irritable.
Many relationships fall apart because one or both parties are competing, some couples have only minor issues and some couples split their training cycles, meaning the man may compete in the fall/winter and the woman in the spring/summer to make things less stressful at home.

For us the amount of time spent in the gym or the way we choose to eat is never an issue for us. We have the mutual understanding that everyday life is not consumed with our lifting and nutrition because it is just a hobby.
Do what you love with someone you love

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tamara Ashton Interview







Very few women have made the first impression on me that Tamara Ashton did. First time I saw her, both her physique and her obvious beauty really struck me. But to learn a little about her, you become even more impressed. She has all the ability to soon earn her Pro card and to really make a name for herself in the industry. I often say people CAN win their Pro card, but in Tamara's case I truly believe she WILL earn her Pro card.




Q: Tamara, first I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Your welcome, thank you for this opportunity.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I'm from the California Bay Area, where I currently live and work. I'm the oldest of 3 girls. Be ethnic background is a little "Heinz-57", I'm Irish, Japaneses, Italian, American Indian, Basque, English and German.
I have three border collies who are full of energy, a great career and a passion for fitness. I am a peace officer and find it rewarding to help others. I have a BA in Leadership Management and I'm working toward obtaining my Personal Training Certification.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports?
A: Growing up I didn't play any sports. When I got to high school I joined the swim team and was a cheerleader my sophomore year. It wasn't until I was 22 that I decided I wanted to try to get in shape, although I had not idea how. I joined a Muay Thai gym and took kick-boxing and Muay Thai classes.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: After being injured a few times at work, I wasn't able to continue practicing kick-boxing and Muay Thai and I loved the feeling after a great workout. I knew I needed to get into the gym. Growing up I recall seeing the women doing their fitness routines, I thought they were so beautiful with all their muscles, and grace. I wanted to look just like that.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: I recall reading Oxygen magazine and started to bring it with me to the gym, trying to get into shape. I slowly saw results, in my training, but I did not know how to eat right. That's something that really held me back.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I was inspired by my friend and IFBB Figure Pro Carin Hawkins to really get into shape. She guided me to a trainer who taught me a little about eating right and training. 2 months into it I started to see results I was inspired. I decided I wanted to take it to the next level.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported?
A: In the beginning everyone was supportive. Although they did not know what I was getting into.

Q: Was competing what you expected?
A: Yes and no, I knew it was going to be hard and require discipline. What I didn't expect was the feeling of solitude that I felt, with this being such a individual sport.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A:
*May 9, 2009- Contra Costa Body Building, Figure, Fitness & Bikini Championships, Hayward, CA-Class A, 13th place
*May 23, 2009- California State Bodybuilding, Figure & Bikini Championships, Culver City, CA- Class A, 10th place
*July 18, 2009- Photo shoot with Danny Fittro of Fit Treasures Magazine, Stockton, CA
*October 10, 2009- San Francisco Bodybuilding, Figure & Bikini Championships, Hayward, CA- Class A, 4th place
*October 17, 2009- Border States Classic XXX, San Diego, CA- Class A, 7th place
*November 7, 2009- NPC Sacramento Bodybuilding, Figure, Fitness & Bikini Championships,Sacramento, CA- Class A, 5th Place
*2010 May 22, 2010- Contra Costa Body Building, Figure & Bikini Championships, Hayward, CA- Class A, 1st place
*July 31, 2010- Jr. USA Las Vegas, Nevada- Class A, 10th

Q: What would you say is your best body part?
A: My back I think is my best.

Q: Is there a part you most like to train?
A: I enjoy working my shoulders, because I love to see the results and the pump I get.

Q: What is your typical training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I count macronutrients, which helps me to eat a variety of food both during pre-contest and off season. I carb cycle which I find keeps my body guessing and my metabolism on fire. Training wise, On my pre-contest I do cardio 6 days a week twice a day, I count calories burned rather then going for time. And I weight train 4-5 days a week.
On my off season I cut back the cardio to 3-4 days a week and weight train 4-5 days a week.

Q: When people see your physique or hears you train for the first time, whats the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: Everyone seems very positive. When I'm at work working with a new squad they all notice what I'm eating and how often I eat. They are very interested in what I'm doing and why. I have actually inspired other people to workout and eat healthy. There is an officer at another agency who is training to compete in her first figure competition because I inspired her.
At the gym I get complements on my physique and am asked if I compete. People seem very impressed and encouraging.

Q: When they see or hear it that first time, whats the one question you are most sick of hearing?
A: It has to be comments about what I'm eating or how eating a cookie won't hurt.

Q: Whats the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Most ask if I'm going to get any bigger (muscular wise) like a man, they have this look of disgust on their face like it's gross. I tell them that I am going to stay looking similar to the way I do now. People have this misconception that lifting heavy weights will transform your body into looking like a man.

Q: Whats the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part is looking your best and knowing you've done ALL you can up to that point.
The worst is the rebound your body goes through after a show... You feel icky and bloated.

Q: Any competitors you admire or are a fan of?
A: Oh gosh, the list is long... There are so many women who are just amazing. One of my favorites is Ava Cowan, I can really relate to her "the more I'm told no the harder I go" attitude. I also admire Miriza Deguzman, she has an amazing physique and is tiny like myself, but mighty.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Oh my... That's a super long list. Haha! Probably a hamburger with sweet potato fries of course.

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, whats the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: I would say you have to have discipline and not give up. It's so easy to give up and give in.

Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women in the gym training as hard as men?
A: Yes, I think a lot more women are being motivated and inspired to be fit and healthy.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, when I can.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Tamara Ashton.
A: A typical day in my life, if it's a work day it starts at 3:30am, I pack my lunch, head to the gym for my first round of cardio. I get ready and head to work, which starts at 6:30am. I'm a deputy so I have to be on heightened alert at all times. My work day ends at 6:30pm. Then it's off to the gym for a workout and round 2 cardio. I get home from the gym at about 9/9:30pm, then I have to prepare my meals for the next day. I usually get to bed around 10:30/11. That is my day 3-4 days a week, very long!
On my days off, aren't quiet as long and I get to sleep in till about 7am. And I'll workout and hit cardio again in the afternoons.

Q: Describe Tamara Ashton in five words.
A: Determined, Loyal, Honest, Responsible and Independent.

Q; Any set plans for the future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Team Universe in 2011. My goal is to get my Pro Card.

Q; Are you looking for sponsors? If so, what do they get with Tamara Ashton?
A: Yes I am looking for sponsors. They can reach me at TAshtonFitness@yahoo.com, I also have a website tamaraashton.com.
A sponsor would be getting a very determined and dedicated athlete. My goal is to go straight to the top! It is my dream to one day grace the cover of a fitness magazine. I am determined to make that dream and goal a reality.
I would plug and support the sponsor any way I can and every time I can. I would advertise them on all the sites I am on. I would wear clothing with their logos on it as much as possible to advertise the sponsor.


Q: Tamara, again, thanks so much for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: I would like to thank you for this opportunity. I would also like to Thank all of my friends and family who have stood by me through my journey and who continue to support me. I would also like to thank my trainer and coach Donald Boehm who believes in me and has helped me to create the physique that I now how and am constantly improving.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Maria Lalous Interview





First I must apologize to maria Lalous. Her interview is one of a small handful that somehow got misplaced and this should have been posted long ago. That being said I am happy to post it now. Maria is someone with so much potential. An amazing physique, incredible beautiful, and such dedication, she has everything needed to be a star. She is new to competing, but one day soon, Maria Lalous is a woman everyone in this industry is going to know,





Q: First, Maria, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for asking me! From everything you have told me so far, I think it is a phenomenal goal that you are supporting women in bodybuilding and fitness, and I am very happy to be even a small part of it!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born and raised in Athens, Greece until the age of 10 years
when we moved to Montreal with my parents and older sister. Currently
most of my family is back in Greece! I live in Montreal with my 3 year-
old daughter (single mom) an working full-time as a genetic
counsellor. I recently got my certification as a personal trainer with
the aim to eventually switch careers full-time to training women and
helping them take control of their body and life. I also recently
fulfilled my lifetime dream of competing as a fitness model and
figure, and continue to prepare for more competitions this year :)

Q: Before the gym were you an esepcially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I was in ballet since the age of 3 years and gymnastics for a few
years. Since moving to Montreal, I always played sports on weekends
with friends, but never in school teams due to by shyness and stage-
fright! I hated being watched!

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: At 16 years I started having problems with my knee, and through
physiotherapy we stared lifting some weights to strengthen the muscles
around the knee, and soon enough I was hooked!! I was also extremely
skinny in high school (although I ate everything in sight), so I
figured weight-training would help me gain some mass to make me look
less skinny :)

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before
you started to see results?
Q: Weight training came natural to me, and soon was able to start
lifting heavier weights than just 5 Lbs with my skinny little arms. As
for my body, I think it was a slow progression of change over the years.

Q: You recently did your first show, competing in Figure and Fitness
Model at UFE Chaos. What made you deicde to compete?
A: It has been my ultimate dream since 16 years when I first started
training! I always wanted to have beautiful arms rather than skinny
little bon arms!! The past year and a half there were a lot of
obstacles and difficulties in my life, which together wih the weight
gain and change in body shape due to my pregnancy (gained >77Lbs) , it
didn't help my self-esteem and self-view, so I decided to take
control, do what I love best, throw all caution in the air and finally
follow my dreams!! And it has made me the happiest I have ever been in
my life :-D

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the
> time?
A: My family doesn't really understand why I am doing this. They
confuse being fit with being skinny, I hear comments like "you are
anorexic" ,"you are too skinny", "you look like a man"... I can assure you
that someone who is going through any type of eating disorder does not
eat as much as I do! As for friends, my close good friedns that love
me know how long I have wanted this, and regardless what their own
personal beliefs about the female body is have been very supportive!

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: Yes! It was everything I had expected! I think mostly I surprised
myself! As I said earlier I have stage-fright and do not like being
watched, but as I walked on that stage something just "clicked" and all
the fears went away, I forgot about being watched, and I had more and
more fun each time I entered the stage!

Q: Did you knwo right away it was something you wanted to keep doing?
A: Definitely! It just clicked! I had so much fun, on-stage and back-
stage (not to mention all the goodies you get to eat that you have
deprived yourself of for so long!!). As soon as the show was over, I
was thinking about the next one ;-D

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would say my shoulders. And recently my abs! I just cannot
believe after so much weight gain with my pregnancy I was able to have
my abs in better condition than before!

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise.
A: Hmmm, that is a tough one. I think my biceps and shoulders, they
just pop out right away. An exercise, I would say hamstring-glute
raises! It is a killer exercise but boy does it work well!!!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do
> you alter it for contest prep?
A: I train generally 5 times a week, split program. Do some cardio,
but keep it to a minimum because I have so much trouble gaining
weight! My diet is very simple, I mainly eat the same thing every day!
Seven meals consisting of meat / chicken / fish / egg-whites and LOTS
of carbs. Closer to comp I start carb cycling and then deplete for a
day or two.

Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the
first time, waht is the most common reaction? More positive or
negative?
A: Funny enough, strangers are very positive, but surprised! I still
have a very petite physique, so when I take off my jacket and see my
arms, they are very surprised!

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or
> comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "You must train a lot" OR "How many days a week do you train?"

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and
compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: The diet we do is not unhealthy! My diet is complete and healthy,
not to mention MANY more calories than the average woman! When people
see you get tighter and more muscular they think you are not eating!!
Or that you do not eat everything, which in a way is true! I will not
eat pasta every day (as much as I would love to!), but my carbs come
from fibre-consisting foods, such as sweet potatoes and oatmeal!
Another is to tell me of everything that I am eating that causes
cancer! I am an MSc and know very well how to read scientific
journals, and keep up with research quite a lot, but I also make sure
to go directly to the source (the published research paper), rather
than listen to only the media, because sometimes information is
misleading! o, although I appreciate people's concern, sometimes it
feels condescending.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: There are so many amazing things about competing! The way it
changes you and your view of yourself, the amazing people you meet
along the way, the benefits on your health due to exercise and diet,
and the fact that you set goals with yourself all the time!
The worst and only bad part of competing... it just costs soooooooo
much money! It is a VERY expensive hobby, and as a single mom I only
have myself to rely on!


Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: WOW! Now that is a very tough Question, there are sooooo many people! I
would say my coach, Gregory Ulysse - he is such an amazing person, and
has been my number one supporter! He took a regular girl and is slowly
turning her into a figure girl ;) He literally transformed my body and
gave me "ME" back! Josie St-Amour, is so sweet and supportive and you
would not believe how strong she is for such a petite person! She can
squat more than most men in the gym, and has the most killer legs!!
One of my closest friends Robin Macgowan, who competes with the WBFF
as a fitness model! She is just about one of the sexiest, most
seductive yet sweetest and beautiful women you will meet in your
lifetime!
Ladies, such as Jacquiline Curl, who take charge of their life and
lose the weight, change their lifestyle and actually compete in less
than a year after she lost the weight!! Her determination and drive
amazes me!
Models I have not had the opportunity to meet yet, such as Emily
Sterling, Lyzabeth Lopez and Miryah Jade Scott... and the list goes on
and on! They just have the most beautiful physiques I have ever seen!

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: YUM!! Yes, I would say pasta!!! Followed by dessert ;)

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: Set your goals, find a coach that can help you, you can talk to
honestly an that will listen to your concerns! But mainly set your
goals, believe you can do it and just go for it!

Q: You are very beautiful. Is fitness modeling something you want
to get more involved in?
A: LOL! Thank you! I do not actually think of myself as beautiful! There
are so many gorgeous women in the fitness world that it makes your
head spin, and you easily become just a regular girl in the crowd!
But, yes, I do want to become much more involved in both fitness
modelling and figure! I think it is such a healthy and amazing way to
inspire young women about themselves and body -image! It's not about
having the perfect body, as many may think. It is not superficial! It
is about being "your happiest", healthy and doing what you love!
I hope to be my daughter's role model to have an active, healthy
lifestyle and be happy!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: It's difficult to maintain other hobbies as a single mom working full
time and training! My favorite past time other than the gym (which is
my "me time") is spending time with my daughter, reading to her,
playing, chatting with her about her day and mine in an attempt to
demonstrate/ develop an open/honest relationship between mother and
daughter, and making puzzles with her!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Maria Lalous?
A: LOL! HECTIC! Get up at about 5am, shower, make breakfast, get dressed
and ready, wake up little one, eat breakfast together in bed (we love
staying in bed to eat!), get her slowly ready for daycare (she loves
cuddles in the morning before leaving house), grab the dog and
stroller and bring her to the daycare and the dog back home. Run off
to work, see patients, run to the gym usually at lunch hour, go pick
up daughter after work and spend the evening together playing, until
bed-time ~10pm. THEN is when I will cook all my meals, her food, do
some left-over work for the office, chill for a bit and head to bed,
usually around midnight!

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Probably that I am actually much more sensitive than I seem to be
from my "tough" exterior!

Q: Describe Maria Lalous in five words.
A: Honest, Loyal, Caring, Shy, Stubborn, Traditional

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or
anything else.
A: Yes! So far I have planned to compete at the FCPAQ May 29, 2010; WBFF
Quebec, June 19, 2010; (NOTE: Maria has since done these and done very well) and depending how those shows go there may be
two more added to the list ;)

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I am a Can-Fit Pro certified personal trainer, so anyone who is ready
to work hard can contact me at marialalous@gmail.com

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so what are they getting in Maria Lalous the athlete and competitor?
A:Sponsors are always great! This hobby is quite expensive! My sponsors
would get an honest, all-natural athlete who works hard in everything
she takes on in life! They can expect me to be loyal and help them
achieve their goals in the process!

Q: Maria, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. ANy
> last words before you go?
A: Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview! It was my first
and quite painless ;) And good luck to you in all your goals!
Thank you to all my friends that support me through this, and the most
amazing coaches a gal could have, Greg Ulysse and Josie St-Amour! I
love them dearly!
I look forward to meeting many more beautiful determined women back-
stage in all future competitions!
xoxo
>

Luwannah Lamas Interview







Take a look at the pictures of Luwannah Lamas and see how amazing she looks. Then consider she weighed almost 200lbs at one point, and see how even more amazing it is. Her dedication and determination is inspiring to say the least. New to competing, I expect you are going to be seeing a lot more of this beautiful woman.




Q: First, Luwannah, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you, Jason for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the awesome fitness family on your blog! We truly appreciate what you do!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Absolutely, my name is Luwannah, named after my best friend, and mother. My father, David and mother recently celebrated their 32 year wedding anniversary, and are currently living in Wisconsin. I have a fabulous sister, Tanya, who is married with 2 little boys. I was blessed with an amazing family, whom I love, I could not ask for anything better. I am a born and raised Texas native, and call the Houston area home.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? play any sports or anything?
A: I have always been an athlete Jason. I started playing sports earlier than I can remember. I grew up playing soccer and volley ball as a child, and as soon as they were offered in school, I tried a little bit of everything. (Insert laugh here) Notice I said “tried” some not as successful as others.
I played volleyball, tennis, and ran track and cross country in junior high. In high school, I tried volleyball, and softball, but really stuck with and excelled in track, cross country, and power lifting.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I was kindly told by my volleyball coach sophomore year that she loved my passion for the sport, and heart for the game, but unfortunately my skill was not where it needed to be. I was advised to put more time and effort into power lifting because I had qualified for state my freshman year. I guess that was the beginning of my lifestyle change, and when the gym became my second home. I haven’t stopped working out since.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: As an adult, my training and strength caught on rather quickly. I have always been a strong girl. The results of weight loss, on the other hand….not so much. I have lost a total of 89 pounds, and there was absolutely nothing easy about that! Regardless of my activity levels or the sports I played, I had struggled with my weight throughout my teens and early twenties. In my early twenties, I started working in a gym at the weight of 185, eventually getting up to 197. And I am only 5’1 so you can see why that weight can be a problem (smile).
So I am very blessed that I had a few trainers adopt me as their friend. They taught me a lot and helped me tremendously in achieving my results.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
Competing, WOW! – I am not sure where the initial spark of interest originated from. I think it happened by accident. I was training one day when a trainer friend of mine came up to me and asked me what show I was getting ready for. At that time I had not even entertained the idea of competing. I had never compared myself to someone like that; someone who looked as amazing as “those girls” did. I was just getting in shape for myself. As time continued, so did the curiosity, and eventually the curiosity turned into a goal. Now I am happy to say that it is a goal I have finally achieved.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: My friends and family have been great through this whole process. I am not sure they understood what I was doing at first, and my father was a little apprehensive because he feared I was going to do bodybuilding, and he didn’t want me to get too muscular. But once everyone saw pictures of previous competitions, and they understood what I was doing they supported me 100%.

Q: Was competing what you expected? did anything surprise you about it?
A:For the most part it was what I expected, although there were a lot of surprises along the way. Our bodies are so complex, I learn something new every time. I am sure I will continue to learn more as time goes on with this next show, with the goal to eventually minimize the surprises.

Q: Can you share your contest history?
A: I competed in Bikini at the 2009 State Championships in Stafford, TX and placed 3rd.I also competed in both Figure and Bikini at the 2010 Ronnie Coleman Classic in Arlington. I placed 16th out of 32 girls in figure and placed 3rd out of 31 girls in bikini to qualify for Nationals.

Q: Do you feel Bikini competitors are becoming more accepted by other competitors?
I think that NPC is trying to set a new standard for bikini competitors. I think the largest shock I encountered at my first competition was the lack of respect the bikini girls showed in their posing. I entered the competition with NPC and physique in mind. I expected to compete against a group of in shape/toned/ and beautiful women, but most of the girls on stage were simply un-modest, girls you could see on the beach, and they looked like they had never stepped foot in a gym. This year, there were new rules and criteria we had to meet as competitors. Our bikinis have to have more coverage, and our posing is more restricted. By having all the competitors posing alike and in a less disrespectful manner, the judges were able to compare our physiques more effectively. I feel that with the new standards they have set this year, it will help the bikini division get more respect as an actual “fit” contest. This year the girls I competed against were in great shape, and had excellent bodies; if we can continue to BRING IT, and prove we train hard and diet as well, we will slowly gain that respect from the other competitors.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I feel like my most heard compliments are my abs and my legs. When people see my pictures, those are the first things to grab their attention.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I enjoy working out period. I love everything about it, even cardio.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I would like to think that I eat clean for the most part. I do enjoy happy hour with friends a lot more than I should, and I enjoy a lot of junk food, but I never stop training. When I am getting ready for a show, the drinking stops, and I follow a really strict diet. I count my calories, carbs, fats and proteins, you know all the extremes that come along with contest prep.

Q: When someone sees or hears you train and compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? more positive or negative?
A: I think most people are shocked at first because they always expect muscular, bulky girls to compete. Then when I explain the divisions I compete in, I think it’s more of a positive feedback. In most cases they admire my dedication.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: “What did you take?” I am tired of people assuming that I have cheated in some way to achieve the results I have. I worked really hard, and have sacrificed so much to do this, I get offended when someone tries to take that away by thinking I have taken something to help.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: (Laughing) when out of shape people eat bad around me, and offer me food, I normally respond by saying, “No, it’s not on my diet”. They always have the same response, “you’re so skinny, why are you dieting?” or “I wish I was as lucky as you and could be that skinny”. I wish I could make people understand that I am not skinny or lucky. I am a person that chooses to work really hard to stay in shape, and that I constantly struggle with my weight and watch what I eat to stay like this.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part of competing is the people I have gotten to meet. This industry has people from several diverse backgrounds, and I am very happy with the new friends I have gotten a chance to meet.
The worst part is probably the schedule during contest prep, it can get pretty overloaded and I tend to lose balance in my personal life.

A: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I admire several competitors, everyone works so hard to step on that stage! Just getting up there shows a lot about a person, and the dedication they must possess. If I had to name 1 person, it would be Natalie Hunt; she has a wonderful story (nataliehunt.net) and continues to motivate me in several ways.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: 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 say to make sure she is ready for the commitment, and to make sure that the people in her life support her. It can get tuff, and most people do not consider how it will affect the people in their life. Also, just remember…..it’s probably not him, it’s carb depletion! haha

Q: Do you get a lot of friends asking for diet tips?
A: Every day, all day, people I know ask me how I lost all my weight, and they ask what they can do. I try to help them out where I can, but my knowledge is limited, so I normally refer them to a trainer friend of mine.

Q: Is fitness modeling something that interests you?
A: Absolutely! I am very interested in fitness modeling and promotions. I recently did a photo shoot with Dan Ray, to get my portfolio started.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love the beach, any time I get time off, you will find me at the beach or near a pool. I am also going back to school to get my bachelors in business.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Luwannah Lamas.
A:
3:45 alarm goes off
4:30 arrive at gym
8:30 work
6:00 leave work
7:00 school or church depending on the night of the week
9:00 get out of school or church
9:30 climb in bed, take a deep breath and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow. And Of course, I find time to fit in my 7 meals throughout the day as well.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: The fact that I used to weight almost 200 pounds.

Q: Describe Luwannah Lamas in five words.
A: God Loving, Competitive, Outgoing, Hardworking, Ambitious

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
I have plans to do the Texas State in October, all in the Houston Area. I also hope to compete in the South Texas Classic in San Antonio in September.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Luwannah Lamas the athlete and competitor?
A: I would love sponsorship opportunities. They can reach me by email at luwannahlamas@yahoo.com, or on Facebook. I am an outgoing competitor, and I will continue to place God in the center of my life in all that I do. Anything is possible with enough determination and drive, and I feel that I posses both of those qualities. I love to motivate people to change their lives towards a healthy lifestyle to feel better and look better. I look forward to being a positive role model to anyone I can help, by sharing my positive energy, my story and knowledge.


Q: Luwannah, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Jason, I want to thank you again for giving me a chance to get my name, my life, and my photos out there. I think what you are doing for us in amazing and I cannot thank you enough!