Saturday, August 21, 2010
Casandra Walker Interview
Casandra Walker is preparing for her first two competitions. Her goal is to get Nationally qualified to compete at the Arnold's. Lofty goal to say the least, but I really think it is something she can accomplish. She is hard working and dedicated and appears to be the "If I want it, I can have it" type person. I see a very big and bright future for Casandra in the fitness industry, both in competing and modeling. So if you do not know Casandra, here is your chance to learn about her, and you will hear a lot more about her soon.
Q: First, Casandra, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: You are very welcome!
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I grew up in Upstate NY (near Albany) with my Mom and Dad, my brother (who is a year and a half younger than me) and my sister who is about 12 years younger. I currently live in Albany with my wonderful husband of 6 years, Kaharrie. We have 2 beautiful sons, Donovan (5) and Dominic (4).
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I come from a family of great athletes! My Dad was a football player and my Mom was a basketball player... so I have always been involved in sports. I played soccer and basketball and ran track. I definitely had the most success in track. I ran sprints and threw shotput.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: Since I played sports year round, I was no stranger to the gym, but after having children I became very unhealthy and sedentary. I have celiac disease and have to follow a gluten free diet, but I wasn't. When I started working in an office, it got even worse! In September of 2008, my younger son, Dominic was diagnosed with a kidney disease and since he was unable to be in a daycare environment, I left my job to stay home and take care of him. Eventually I realized that if I was going to be home I was going to have to make a change because I was gaining weight, becoming more and more unhealthy and it was not an example I wanted to set for my kids. I started by reading articles about the importance of a gluten free diet for someone like me, then I started to read about training and nutrition. I put together a plan and started setting goals. I started by training at home. I had a stationary bike and 2 sets of dumbbells (15lbs and 30lbs). I did 2 hours on that bike each day and lifted weights 5-6 days per week. Within about 5 months I had lost 50lbs and built some nice lean muscle! When I felt I had come as far as I could at home, my Husband and I decided to join a gym.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: It was surprisingly easy to get back into training. Once I decided to get healthy there was no turning back! I started to really see results after about a month. Part of that was due to the gluten free diet, because once I started sticking to it, my body was now able to use the nutrients in food properly... weight started coming off pretty quickly!
Q: You are prepping for your first show. What made you decide to compete?
A: After I had lost weight and built muscle I had to set some new goals and the more I read about competing the more I started to feel like it was something I could be successful at... and in about 5 weeks I'll find out if I was right!
Q: Is competing something family and friends are supportive of?
A: My Husband supports and encourages me more than I ever expected that he would... we train together every day (he is a boxer) and on the days that I might be in a bad mood or if I'm not focused, he's always there to get me through! I feel that I am surrounded by people who want to see me succeed, I don't ever feel like there is anyone trying to bring me down, so I would say that I definitely have the support of those around me!
Q: Any big expectations for your first show?
A: My first show is a local show (Liberty State Fall Classic in Averill Park, NY) and my expectation for that one is to win! My second show is going to be the NPC Eastern USA's in NYC and for that one my goal is to get a national qualification.
Q: Is this a do it just to say you did, or do you expect to make this a big part of your future?
A: I expect to make this a big part of my future. My goal is to become an IFBB Pro.
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I think my legs are my best part.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love to train shoulders. My favorite exercise changes all the time but right now I am loving triceps dips because I am able to do them with a 45lb plate strapped to my waist... it makes me feel extra strong! :)
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My normal training is 5-6 days of weight training per week I split it up chest/triceps/biceps, shoulders/back, legs and I do an hour of cardio 6 days per week usually split that up and use the stairmill, do sprint intervals on the treadmill, or stationary bike. I also train abs 4 times/week. As far as diet, I eat about every 2.5-3 hours, stick to gluten free oats and brown rice early in the day for carbs, fruit, vegetables, and of course protein, I do have some dairy too. For contest prep I am sticking to the same training split, some of my cardio is done outside on the track (sprint workouts) and I also up the cardio to 2 hours/5-6 days per week. For my contest diet it is pretty much the same, but I take out the brown rice and fruit (although I will have a little fruit once in a while) and I cut out dairy. I am also finding that I am not the kind of person who can have cheat meals, so during prep they have to go! I definitely recommend them for others, but for me it just doesn't work... it's a psychological thing!
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 haven't gotten any negative reactions. People tell me I "look great" and are usually interested in what I do. More often, people will ask me if I compete or if I play a sport. I don't usually have to tell people what I do.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: There really isn't anything I am sick of hearing. If I had to pick something I guess it would be when someone asks me what my "secret" is... and then I have to deliver the bad news that there is no "secret" other than hard work and strict diet!
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: A lot of times I hear people talk about how we "starve" ourselves to look a certain way, when in fact we have to eat very often... just because we're not eating pizza and ice cream doesn't mean that we're starving!
Q: What is the best and worst part of the prep process for you?
A: The best part is the training. I especially love the days when you are SO tired but you still get in there and get it done! It's an amazing feeling of accomplishment! The worst part is the diet... but really it is just the "mental" part of the diet for me. Since this is my first time competing, I am learning what works for me and what doesn't.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I admire all of the ladies who have had success in the sport because it is a very tough job... but to pick just one, for me it is hands down, Davana Medina! When I was in college I worked at a gym in New Jersey where she trained and I saw her all the time and I was just in complete awe of her. She is gorgeous, of course, but also such a kind and humble person.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: There are lots... but the one thing I am focused on right now are the mellowcreme pumpkins I am going to eat after Easterns!
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 get discouraged... sometimes people get in the gym and they expect to see results the next day. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that, but it doesn't mean you should give up!
Q: Is fitness modeling something that interests you?
A: Absolutely. I had my first photo shoot a couple of weeks ago and it went very well. It is a lot of work, but I enjoy it!
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love spending time with my Husband and my sons. Our boys are at the age where everything is interesting and exciting so it's like we get to be kids all over again!
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Casandra Walker?
A: I wake up, do 30 minutes of cardio, eat, then get my boys up, fed and dressed. We all go to the gym together the boys go to the daycare there while my husband and I lift, then I do cardio, get the boys, go home, cook, clean, etc (whatever needs to be done!) and then I take the boys out to the park or museum, sometimes we'll go to the track and run together or back to the gym, then we come home, I feed the boys, give them a bath, get them ready for bed, etc. After they are settled I do 30-60 minutes of cardio (we have a stationary bike at home), shower, and go to bed. This is all going to change in a few weeks though, because both of the boys are starting school in September... which means from 8am-2pm I am on my own! I'm going to miss them, but it actually works out perfectly because I will be in the last stages of contest prep!
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I can speak Russian and when I was a Junior in high school, I spent a semester living and studying in Kiev, Ukraine.
Q: Describe Casandra Walker in five words.
A: Kind, Loyal, Dedicated, Smart, Funny
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I want to be nationally qualified so that I am able to compete at the Arnold Amateur.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Yes! I mentioned before that my first photo shoot was a success and it was due in large part to my amazing friend Margaret Partyka. She was my stylist, director and shoulder to lean on! Margaret owns a wonderful shop called Some Girls Boutique in Troy, NY and the wardrobe for my photo shoot came from there! There is a facebook fan page : http://www.facebook.com/somegirlsboutique and they even take orders via facebook!
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Casandra Walker the athlete and competitor?
A: I am actively seeking sponsors and I can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org and I can also be reached on my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/casandramwalker
What a sponsor can expect from me is a serious athlete and competitor. I am very loyal and dependable and I work very hard every single day. I am not here to waste anyone's time or to cut corners!
Q: Casandra, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this and wish you the best of luck. Any last words before you go?
A: I would like to thank you for the work that you do for female athletes it is very much appreciated!!