Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Tia Pettygrue Interview
I found about about Tia Pettygrue because of the Facebook Fan Page for this blog. I am glad I did. She is a supportive, motivated, determined and inspirational woman. To come from where she came from to get on stage and not only compete in Figure, but to do very good at it and look so incredible is nothing short of inspiring. And there is no reason Tia can't keep improving and go even further, and it would be foolish to bet against her. In this interview she mentions two "She-Ro's". Tia you are one of mine.
Q: First, Tia, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: You're very welcome, my pleasure.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I'm originally from Carson, CA just outside of the Los Angeles area. I'm the oldest of 3, married almost 20 years, no kids.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I have NEVER played a sport in my life prior to running my first 5k when I was about 27. It's so funny, as competitive as I am, I don't care to watch or play any team sports.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: In the mid 1990's my boss at the time used to run at lunch, and he invited me along one day and I started running, just 20-30 minutes. I inconsistently went to the gym over the years, never doing much for any length of time. It wasn't until after I turned 40 that I got consistent because I was at my heaviest at size 14 being over 160 lbs which is obese for my small 5'3" frame. I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a couple years who told me she barely recognized me because I had gained so much weight. That was my "Aha!" moment, Dec. 2008.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: When I started training to compete, it was incredible to see. Within two weeks I saw dramatic results, just from changing my diet.
Q: You just recently competed in the NPC Tim Gardner. What made you decide to compete?
A: My personal trainer Stefanie, has been there to help me to several goals like running my first half-marathon 11/09, then a full marathon 2/10. The week after the marathon I was back in the gym and she recommended a Figure Competition as my next goal (she was in the process of training for her first one). I thought "How hard could it be?" Little did I know... I'm very goal oriented and always up to a challenge so I went for it. I honestly didn't believe in early March that I could ever really be ready to get on stage for a real competition.
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: I received SO much support. When I set a goal, I immediately broadcast it to everyone I know. This helps me stay accountable to it. So I had a lot of people cheering me on throughout the 18 weeks.
Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: I hadn't realized early on how important and how challenging the posing was.
Q: Is competing something you plan to continue?
A: Up until the day of the show I kept saying, I'll never do this again, it's too depriving. But after getting a "souvenir" from it, I plan to do another one in the Spring. I love running, so my plan is to race fall and winter, and do Figure in the Spring. Between the two, I'll stay in tip top shape.
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I think my biceps, I love flexing them!
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Love narrow grip pullups and one arm pushups.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how did you alter it for contest prep?
A: I normally stay within about 1500-1700 calories and I've been tracking my food daily since Jan. 2009. I would eat about 80% clean, cheat here and there and have a glass of wine at least 4 days a week. For contest prep, well, the wine went away completely, started eating 100% clean with the exception of my one cheat meal a week as long as I was able to have it. I was always the kind of person that said I could never eat the same food over and over. But I learned to do it and it wasn't hard. So it's something I can stick with and sure makes life easier.
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 is "Wow!" Definitely been positive. I've found most people (like I was) don't understand what Figure Competition is. So sometimes people would say, "You're not going to get huge and look like a man are you?" But that was pretty rare.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "Don't get too small." Like I'm going to disappear or something.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I wish more women understood that it is such a confidence booster because of the discipline required, and it's so sexy to be a strong woman. I wish more women would stop being afraid of lifting weights thinking they're going to bulk up like a man.
Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: Best part is the accomplishment of doing it, worse part is having to be a social hermit because it's just not fun to hang out around people eating and drinking "normal" food. I hadn't realized how much of my social life was centered around food and drink.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I'm still learning who people are but I'll have to say Erin Stern and Susie Fuller Torres are my biggest She-Ro's. Erin because of what she's accomplished, and I had the privilege of being coached by her for my posing. And Susie because I can relate to her weight loss story, so inspirational what she's accomplished.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Potato Chips
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: If you mean training to compete, to get a coach for exercise and diet. If you mean training just for training, know that it's 80% diet.
Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women in the gym working as hard as men?
A: Definitely, though there are still not nearly as many women lifting. I'm usually only one of 2 or 3 women on the floor where the free weights and benches are out of 15 people.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Bible reading, running and cooking.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Tia Pettygrue?
A: It's pretty boring. I work for myself so my schedule's pretty flexible. I get up around 4:20am with my husband to make his breakfast and lunch for work, then I go to the gym. I'll come home, watch the Today Show during breakfast, then see what my day has in store for me. Usually a client appointment or two, lots of emails, lots of reading and Bible study. Cook dinner before hubby gets home, then watch our shows. I love competition reality shows. That's about it.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I'm really shy when I first meet people. I'd rather speak in front of a group of 1,000 people than have to meet someone one on one.
Q: Describe Tia Pettygrue in five words.
A: Independent, Energetic, Happy, Overachiever, Leader
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Half Marathon Oct and Nov, then Disney Full Marathon in Jan, several 5k's along the way, then will look for a Figure Competition to do around May.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: My Coach Ruben Sandoval of Fit To Be In Your Kitchen. I could not have gotten to the stage without him. He told me what to do, what to eat, when and how to workout, and I followed everything he said, and it paid off. He lives 3,000 miles away from me and I hope to meet him in person one day soon! I've referred several friends to him already.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Tia Pettygrue the athlete and competitor?
A: I'm looking for a new career and I'd love to be a motivational speaker for weight loss and goal setting, so if that counts, and someone feels I'd be valuable to their audience, they can email me at TIAGP@YAHOO.COM. They'd get an exciting person with passion who can give hope to those looking to make a change in their lives and health.
Q: Tia, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks so much for considering me for this. It really is an honor. I feel so special as I know you've interviewed such incredible people.