Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Erica Cruikshank Interview

Erica Cruikshank is new to competing, but is someone you should all get to know. Beautiful, great physique, hard working, and dedicated, Erica is someone who both in competing and fitness modeling can really be a star in the sport. I was truly surprised I was the first person to do an interview with her, because I believe she has a star quality that would and will attract many to her. So here is a chance to get to know more about this amazing woman, but be warned, you WILL become a fan.

Q: First Erica, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Sure. Anytime. Thanks for showing an interest in me.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: Sure. I have a wonderful 3 year old son who is the most important thing to me in the world. I have a wonderful husband who supports me, helps with my training, and we enjoy sharing a healthy lifestyle together. I moved around a lot as a child but never too far away from our nations capitol, splitting time between southern Maryland and northern Virginia. I currently reside in southern Maryland.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A:When I was 4 years old my Uncle taught me to walk on my hands. My parents thought that might be a sign to enroll me in gymnastics. So they did. I was a competitive gymnast until the age of 13, when I injured my knee at International Gymnastics Camp. This ended my gymnastics career, but I stayed as active as I could with cheer leading throughout high school. Anything athletic has always come naturally to me. I feel very lucky in this regard. I enjoy all sports.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: To be totally honest, a family member of mine owned a gym, and I used to tag-a-long with my cousin for something to do. I had no idea what I was doing in there. After the birth of my son I turned to running to help lose my baby weight. Well I lost it and then some. I got very slim, and lost most of my muscle and shape. I turned back to the gym with a renewed sense of purpose. I wanted some womanly shape back. In November of 2009, I set a goal for myself to do a Figure competition sometime in 2010.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A:Actually it was fairly easy for me. I was lucky in that my husband is a stickler for technique and knowing the "why" of what you are doing. So as he explained exercises and training splits to me, I understood why I was doing the movements, why they were in a certain order, and where I should be feeling the pump or fatigue. I have always had a close relationship with my body and try to pay close attention to what it is telling me.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: Honestly, the very first time it entered in my head is when some guy came up to me and asked me if I competed. I know he was just hitting on me, but the next week someone else asked. Then other girls began to ask me in the locker room. So I knew something was up. I looked up pictures and videos of Figure competitions and thought to myself "I COULD do that, I don't look THAT different from those girls". So I set a goal. I was eager to have something to work toward.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: Honestly I didn't have much support through this. I don't feel that many of my friends thought that I would follow through with it. I had a small core group of people that would give some advise or donate time for a quick posing session, or training session, but honestly, I did this on my own. I had no idea what I was doing with my diet, and was so cranky toward my husband for the last month that I don't think he was very happy with my decision to compete either. But he stuck it out with me and was my biggest supporter in the end.

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: Luckily I had a friend who gave me a behind the scenes peek at what to expect. Last year she had competed and won the same contest that I had decided to enter this year. I was surprised at how nice everyone was. I did not expect that from this type of competition.

Q: Can you share your contest history?
A: I can now say that I have one contest under my belt. I placed third in my figure class at the Virginia Gran Prix which is an NPC national qualifier. I am now nationally qualified and have committed to do at least two more shows this year.(Note: Erica has since done Team Universe)

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I am much more of a total picture person. I place much more value on symmetry and balance on a female physique. I am happy with the way my body looks. I really don't have a favorite part.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love to train each body part so much. It's impossible for me to pick a favorite. I can tell you that I love to find new movements or variations that I have never done and never see anyone doing in the gym. I love to re-discover old techniques. One of my most recent favorite workouts was a GPP/Crossfit style conditioning drill that hubby set up for me. I did a set of weighted box squats, high jump ups, then pushed his truck 40 yards, then ran 400m. I did this 3 rounds of this and thought I was gonna puke at the end. Then did abs. It was awesome.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: One body part per day. High protein. Moderate carbs. One cheat meal per week off season. Well, maybe two ;-). Closer to contest I switch training up a little to higher reps, more cardio, and each body part gets trained twice per week. Carbs drop, and I begin to weigh my food. Everything gets very clean until contest time. All protein comes from real food. No supplementation.

Q: When someone sees your physique for the first time, what is the most common reaction. More positive or negative?
A: Most people are very supportive. Women always ask for some advise and men usually just stare. Its almost always positive.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "What do you eat?" or "Do you eat?" I got this a lot before my contest when I was so lean. No one would believe I was eating 6 or 7 times per day.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: The fact that everyone assumes that you take the easy way out with illegal drugs really irritates me. I work VERY hard consistently to look the way I do. I have educated myself about how diet and exercise and the consistent combination of the two affects my body. I don't like that people automatically assume I am just some dumb girl taking some drug that someone put in front of me and that is why I look the way I do.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: Best is the night show when you get to work the stage in front of everyone with the music and the lights all done up like a princess.
Worst is the last week before the show. This is referred to as peak week. My last couple workouts were brutal due to my carb depleted state. My attitude really suffered as well. I knew it but couldn't do anything about it.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Ava Cowan, Tanji Johnson, Erin Riley, and Nicole Wilkins

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Trailmix. Pretzel M&M's

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: Consistency is key. Don't expect instant gratification. Make a plan, follow it, and give it time to work for you. Drink at least a gallon of water per day. And lower your cardio intensity if you want to put on some muscle.

Q: You own a business called Kiddos Baby and Toddler Gym. Can you tell what that is and how people can maybe learn more?
A: This is a gym where parents can bring their children for age specific play groups. Parent child free play, structured "circle time" with songs, games, parachute, etc. I offer a "Mommy and me" gymnastics class. The age range is from 4 months to 4 years. Everything is padded, even the floor. I have a ball pit and rope swing and all types of soft blocks. We have LOTS of fun in there. If anyone is interested you can check out Kiddosbabyandtoddlergym.com.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Running, Cycling, Baking, and anything outside with my son.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Erica Cruikshank?
A: Wake up to a 3 year old jumping on my face usually sometime around 0630. Get him dressed for the day. Come downstairs and have meal #1 at 0700 with my son. Get all my meals for the day put into an insulated bag. Head out to Kiddos. Open the gym and teach a couple classes. Meal #2 between 0930 and 1000. Teach another class. Lock up gym. If its a cardio day, do cardio. If not grocery store or other errand. Meal #3 around 100. Put son down for nap. Check web traffic, emails, Facebook. Read some of my book. Just a little me time. Son wakes up at 300. Eat Meal #4. Make something for dinner, pack it up and take it to meet hubby at the gym by 430. Train for approx 2 hours. Eat Meal #5 in the gym lobby and feed my son. Head home with the family. Daddy and son play. Mommy gets some free time. Laundry, dishes. Prep meals for next day. Eat last meal of the day. Shower. Netflix with hubby in bed. Sleep usually happens between 11 and 12.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I enjoy shooting my pistol.

Q: Describe Erica Cruikshank in five words.
A: Mom, Wife, Social, Dedicated, Lucky

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Team Universe in July ( Note: Erica has since done this show), then the Maryland state NPC show in August.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Erica Cruikshank the athlete and competitor?
A: I am currently looking for sponsorship big or small. I am a dedicated to this lifestyle and am knowledgeable in most aspects of the sport. I know what I know from personal experience. I understand what it means to run a business. I understand the value of time. I would be a reliable and dedicated representative of whatever company approached me. As long as I believed in their product. I can be reached at EricasFitFigure@gmail.com or on Facebook.

Q: Erica, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I'm honored that you chose to do an interview with me. I think it's a wonderful thing that you are doing for the women of this industry. Please keep up the great work, and good luck in Vegas.

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