Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Genie Sammons Interview
This is a blog about women in Fitness and MMA. Genie Sammons is a Figure competitor. Seems natural I would talk about Genie Sammons the Figure competitor. But I don't want to. I want to talk about Genie Sammons the woman. I was introduced to Genie thanks to Rebecca Staggs (an outstanding Bikini competitor). She said I should look Genie up for an interview and said some really nice things about her. I looked her up and we did an interview. Since then Genie has become one of my favorite people in the industry. Not because of her looks (beautiful) or physique (outstanding), but because of who Genie Sammons the woman is. I mentioned i was afraid to go to shows awhile back for fear of looking out of place before I lost all my weight, and she invited me to come see a show she was going to. Always encouraging, supportive, and kind, Genie is simply a special woman. I would say the industry needs more people like Genie to show how great this industry is, but the industry shouldn't hog her, because really the world could use a few more Genie Sammons. So I am very pleased to present this second interview with Genie.
Q: First Genie, thanks so much for doing another interview.
A: You are very welcome!! Thank you for letting me blab on again! I am very thankful to be a part of your blog and page. It has grown tremendously in a short amount of time. Thank you for bringing attention to wonderful sports that usually do not get much attention.
Q: For those who may have missed the first, can you tell a little about yourself.
A: Sure! My name is Genie (duh! LOL!), and I started training for figure competitions last year. I have always been a bit of a gym rat, and in high school, while lifting wasn't my thing, I was very much into gymnastics, cheer leading, track & field. I had an amazing track coach that got us in the weight room to teach us the essentials.
Q: Now before we get into Fitness and things, you have a medical issue you are dealing with. Can you explain what it is and how things are going?
A: Yes, absolutely!
Let's start from the beginning. I have always been one to have tummy aches. Even when I was little, things weren't exactly "right". As you know, Jason, (I'm sure others don't), I went through a couple of very successful preps last year... winning my class and winning an overall. However, I never felt like I got the dried out look I was going for. This year I took a stab at the national circuit. First stop, Junior Nationals. I had a blast, but I can't say that I felt good, and boy oh boy I still felt bloated. My friend Tim Staggs trained me for Team Universe. He did everything he could think of to dry me out. He is wonderful and knew my concerns.
Well, I got home from NJ and fell incredibly ill. It wasn't anything prep-related. My body was screaming. I was bloated... not just a little bloated. My abdomen was completely swollen looking. I couldn't hold food down. I was in agony. There was a bulge on the front of my stomach! My husband was away at basketball camp, and I am stubborn. I wasn't about to go to the ER by myself. A week later, when my husband came home from camp, he drove me to the ER.
So, the cause... I had a congenital UPJ (uretopelvic junction) obstruction.... meaning, the tube that goes from my kidney to my ureter had a block. My block was some sort of fibrous tissue. This caused a hindrance in my kidney's capabilities to drain. The backed up urine damaged my kidney cumulatively over the years of my life. Coincidentally, my last seemed to be some sort of breaking point for how much I could tolerate. After many tests (I still have numerous poke holes from needles!), we discovered that my kidney was just not functioning. A kidney should be the size of a palm/fist. My kidney was bigger than a football, at least SIX pounds. I found an amazing urologist to take that bad boy out of me. He was very mindful of my lifestyle, and tried to keep as much muscle in tact as possible. I am very grateful for him. My surgery was on August 23, and I am recovering well at the moment, despite a few stupid (on my behalf) complications while in the hospital.
Q: How long before you can get back in the gym?
A: FIVE WEEKS! I have my calendar marked! OW OW!! Can't wait!
Q: Is there a show you want to be back by or just kind of play it by ear?
A: At the moment, no. I have a couple possibly shows for later this year, just for fun, but I'm keeping that private. I plan to take all of 2011 off to build. That was my only feedback at the national shows. I'm too small.
Q: Your last two shows were Jr. Nationals and Team Universe. As shows, what did you think of them?
A: Jr Nats was ran really well. Team U... I didn't love the venue, but I hear they are changing it. Both were great shows, and I hope to be a part of them again in the future.
Q: Was one of them more memorable to you for any reason?
A: Team U was more memorable to me. The venue was great, and I got to hang out with my best friends who I rarely get to see. For me, it is more about the experience and fun. Yes, placing well (or winning) would be wonderful, but I love being around friends who are like family, that I would otherwise not be around. When you adopt the competitor lifestyle, a lot of people (at least in my case) don't get it. I am very thankful for my dearest friends online that share the same passion.
Q: I know after Team Universe I heard many competitors tell me they really thought you should have placed higher. Do you take any extra pride in hearing other competitors took notice of you like that?
A: Well, I don't know if I should have placed higher or not. I am very aware that I don't have the size a lot of the top contenders have. I was VERY proud to be in the same callout as the very beautiful Laura Bailey. That made my freaking night! There were MANY ladies that I was shocked at their callouts. I could list more names, but I wont. This is a subjective sport. Bring the best package that YOU think YOU can bring. I honestly didn't feel like I was playing the same sport. The ladies at the national level are PHENOMENAL! I'm a little 5'6" 115 pound girl. I have no delusions. LOL
Q: From the last show till these recent two, what part of your physique do you feel you have most improved?
A: MMMm. I don't know if I improved. My butt was a little bubblier, but I think because of my health issues, I couldn't get the look I was going for when it came to tightness.
Q: Is there one part you really want to focus on improving?
A: Yes, there are several. I'm not going to mention them, though, because I don't want people to look at my pics and focus on my weak points! LOL!
Q: Was there anything about the prep process you want to do different next time?
A: Nope. I always love prep! :-D I have tried several methods. I think next time I will do it on my own, though! OOoooh! I lie! Because of my kidney issue, I am not allowed to eat high protein. That will be a change!
Q: After the last show, remember the first thing you ate?
A: My last show I ripped into a bag of M&Ms! :-D
Q: How important is support from family and friends at a show like these two?
A: It is important. My husband has to be my biggest supporter and fan. When he isn't feeling it, I don't 'prep' as well.
Q: Were there any competitors you noticed at either show who you were impressed by?
A: Yes! Definitely! There are two competitors that I think very highly of... they are beautiful both inside and out. Stacy Wright and Jackie Hoppe. Both won their pro cards at Team U and I cannot WAIT to see how well they do on the pro circuit. They are amazing ladies with amazing physiques! I was almost in tears with excitement watching them both get the overalls and their pro card!
Q: Do you try at all to read the judges when on stage or just focus on what you are doing?
A: I do try to make eye contact with them, but it isn't always possible.
Q: Did you ask them for any feedback afterwards?
A: Most definitely! I got the same feedback from both shows -- MORE SIZE!
Q: At Jr. nationals they had the power outage for awhile. How did you keep yourself entertained and did that have any affect on you?
A: I had one of my best friends with me. We had a BLAST! Plus, it's very easy to make friends backstage. It's a lot of fun to hang out with people with similar interests. You don't always get to do that in day to day life.
Q: How satisfied were you personally with your competing this year?
A: Eh, I can't say that I was satisfied. I feel like I brought a better package in Fall 2009. I think my body was going through a lot of stress, though, and I did give it my all. There are no regrets.
Q: When do I get to come train with you? (had to throw that in there)
A: Name the time, Jason! Just know that I am not cleared to work out for 6 weeks! :)
Q: Genie, again thanks for doing this second interview. I think the world of you. You are on of the truly good people in this industry. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you, Jason! I think a lot of you, too! I am going to end this interview with one of my favorite quotes. "As I grow to understand life less and less, I learn to love it more and more." -- Jules Renard. Things might not always pan out exactly how you want them to, but embrace it and make the most of it.
Thanks again! :)