Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jason Adams Creater of Promoting Real Women Interview Conducted by Amanda Genao


After reading interview after interview after interview done and posted by Jason, I decided to take it upon myself to request that HE be the one to be interviewed! He agreed without hesitation.

Q: First of all, let me first thank you for allowing me to do this Jason, considering you get to be at the other end of the spectrum. Many of the questions I will ask will be a bit personal, as I try to unveil the persona behind the blog “Promoting Real Women “.
A: Than you for wanting to do this. Several people have said I should do this, an interview for my blog. I have passed on it waiting for someone I really trust to do the interview, and when you asked, you are for sure someone I trusted to do it.

Q: Tell me a bit about yourself, age, where you are from, where you grew up, etc.
A: Really not much to tell. I am what you would call boring. I am 34 years old. Born, raised and live in Lakewood Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. I am hoping to move to Las Vegas soon. Danny-J lives there, and as you will see later in this interview, she is very important to me, and I want to be where she is.


Q: Why did you decide to start your own blog about promoting women in the sport?
A: Several reasons really. When I first started training, or at least trying to, I asked people for advice. I asked men and women. Women were much quicker to help. I wasn't asking for a program or a diet, just simple advice. Men always tried to charge me and things. Women were usually willing to give advice. I wanted to thank them. So I thought doing this blog, and giving them some free publicity and coverage was a nice payback. Besides, let's be honest, you read these so called bodybuilding magazines, and how often do you see women in them? Rarely. That's crap. Women in this industry work just as hard and deserve some coverage. I can't change it, but I can call attention to it. Same with MMA. Bodybuilding is my love, but MMA is my passion, and there are some really talented women in the sport who people don't know about, and they need to know how good these women are.

Q: Why did you choose the name “real women”?
A: I have had this question before and really kind of danced around the answer. But here is the real one. How many times in your life have you seen a woman in the fitness industry, and heard the comment "She looks like a man"? That's crap. When did muscles become gender specific? A woman is not a man just because she is muscular. That is naive, ignorant, and flat out stupid thinking. Women are women. Really it is men with inferiority complexes who say that. A woman is more muscular than them and they feel they are inferior and to call them manly is there only way of feeling better about themselves. Some of the most beautiful women I know are women in this industry. They are women.

Q: Did you get any type of rejection from women that you approached to interview?
A: Yeah I got a couple. I had one woman ask me to pay her to do it, ummm no, I won't pay anyone. Another top name bodybuilder said no because "you have too many Figure and Bikini girls on there and they don't belong on my stage". Then there are my favorites. The ones who say no, then a month later realize how big my blog is, and suddenly contact me asking to do an interview. Always makes me laugh, but I still don't turn them down. See, to me say yes or say no, I honestly don't care. Look how many I have done. Not having one is not going to set me back. But if you respectfully turn me down, or are busy, I understand that, and the offer is always there. I don't do this for me. I don't profit from this. So far I have turned down every sponsorship offer, because I am not looking to profit.

Q: At what point would you say that your website began to get recognition and legitimacy?
A: This question is very easy for me to answer. Two words: Victoria Larvie. When Victoria agreed to do an interview is when it happened. First, Victoria gave what is still one of the best interviews I have done. But you throw in the fact that Victoria is an IFBB Pro, a popular person, things like that gave me credibility. People realized it was real. It allowed me to ask others and say "Look, even an IFBB Pro did an interview with me" Would it have happened without her? Yeah probably, but she made it so much easier. Now I have competitors coming to me asking to do interviews. And that is a great feeling. It means I must be doing something right. People see I do this with the best intention and I think they respect that. Same with fighters. First fighter I interviewed was Sarah Kaufman. One of the best in the sport. People see that and it makes other fighters more willing. Now I even get to cover MMA events due to the blog.


Q: Without much thinking, out of the top of your head, list the interviews that you’ve done that stood out the most (the stories that touched your heart or that moved you)
A: First and foremost is my two interviews with Danny-J. She has an amazing life story. Zoa Linsey's second interview about the Olympia and what she overcame just to get on stage. Jill Crean's first interview is special to me. Eryn Strickland because she has become one of my best friends, Genie Sammons, especially her second because she was open about medical issues. Sarah McLeod and Tisha Rodrigues, two women who are talented fighters and friends. Tonia Moore, one of my favorite bodybuilders and so revealing about her medical setbacks. Victoria Larvie because as earlier mentioned, it gave me instant credibility. My interviews with Vanessa Prebyl. Vanessa has done several interviews. Every time I guaranteed she would get her Bikini Pro card, and when she finally got it I was so happy. PJ Braun. PJ is a male, but he is my favorite male bodybuilder, and so it was very cool to me that he did one. There are so many more that I would think of, but you said off the top of my head, and those came to mind first.

Q: Let’s talk more about yourself. What do you do for a living?
A: Nothing LOL. I am currently unemployed. Have been for awhile. I will hopefully change that soon. After talking with Danny, I have decided I want to study and get certified to become a trainer because I see too many bad ones who don't know what they are doing and that bothers me. Someone pays you and trusts their bodies and health to you, they deserve quality help.


Q: What things in your life do you struggle with?
A: Hmmmm, tough one. Really I guess the big one is very low self esteem. Never thought much of myself. I am working on that though, and Danny-J has helped me with that.

Q: What things did you or do you still struggle with in your life?
A: Really just a continuation of the previous question. My low self esteem has improved and I have gained confidence in myself, but that is not a total turnaround. It's still a struggle. I consider myself the ugly unattractive guy who has little to offer and will be single forever.

Q: You mention Danny quite a lot in your blog and your facebook posts. What is the nature of your relationship with her and how has she been able to help you?
A: Danny-J is everything to me. She is my trainer, my leader, my role model, and my hero. I have had couple people do my diet, with very marginal success. Even with them I often asked Danny for advice. Finally I said, "I need to hire her". In about three months I lost 20 pounds. In about six months with Danny I lost 80 pounds, and it would be much more but I have added a good deal of muscle. Recently Danny even started designing my workouts also. We are actually currently in my practice contest prep. Danny is simply the most amazing person I know. I do nothing without her approval. I first met her about a year ago when I offered to help her in a contest. From there someone started bad mouthing me and saying lies about me, and went to Danny with them, instead of judging me, she asked me, and I told her they were untrue. She believed in me. And we have formed a friendship and now trainer-client relationship. I really could not do this without her. She is female and like 6 or 7 years younger than me, but she is my hero. She helps me physically obviously, but even mentally. People say how much of a different person I am, more confident, not always depressed, that’s because of Danny. I sometimes write stuff like this and start crying. I am so blessed to have her. As I always say, I am Danny-J taught, Danny-J trained, and on my way to being Danny-J made. Danny, if you read this, thank you so much for what you do for me, you are the best. Love ya!!!

Q: What is the most commendable thing you’ve done for yourself?
A: For myself? That's tough because I don't do much for myself. I prefer to do for others. But I guess the answer would be losing over a hundred pounds so far in my goal from going from 292 pounds to competing.


Q: Do you have any children? Are you in a relationship? (anything you want to talk about here…past relationships, etc.)
A: No children and no relationship. Really I don’t expect a relationship anytime soon. Who would wanna date me? I am that guy who always gets screwed over. I date and they cheat. I was engaged many years ago, but after she cheated on me the third time, it was time to call that off. LOL

Q: Did you attend college? If so, where?
A: No I did not. Me and school never got along. Never liked it. Dropped out of high school and got my G.E.D. I am plenty smart, just hated school

Q: When you are not attending to your blog, or writing interviews, what do you do? What occupies your time?
A: I am not a partier. I would much rather site home and watch MMA or boxing fights and my teams games. L.A. Lakers, Toronto Blue Jays, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Michigan Wolverines

Q: I’ve seen you made tremendous changes in your body and from your posts on facebook, seems like you are still making some amazing changes. Want to share your workout routine?
A: My routine is all designed by Danny. I always resisted anyone designing my workouts, but I have so much trust in Danny I had her design mine. We change it but currently, since chest is my weak point (except for stomach which has some extra skin from when I was big that we have to get rid of) we do that twice a weak. I go four days on and one day off.
Day 1: Chest and Tri's and Abs
Day 2: Back and Bi's and Calves
Day 3: Chest and Shoulders
Day 4: Legs and Abs
Also 45 minutes of cardio each day currently, also that will change.

Q: What type of cardio are you doing?
A: Currently 45 minutes a day on the stairmaster. I always did the bike because I was afraid the stairs would hurt my messed up hip. Danny gave me the courage to try the stairs. She said do it for five minutes. That first time I did it for an hour and it was much easier than I though.

Q: What about your diet? What is it like?
A: Well currently since we are doing this practice prep it is a basic contest prep diet. Right now I am eating six meals a day, it was seven before the prep. Not a piece of food goes into my mouth without Danny approving or telling me to.


Q: Any intentions of competing?
A: Yep. That is what this whole journey is about. Some people won't like this answer but too bad. So many times people write on Facebook and things about how hard prep is, and they are right, it is. But they say people will never understand it, or that most people can't do it. That's wrong. Anyone can do it, just most choose not to. I am on a mission to prove it. If me being as heavy as I was, with a hip that needs replaced can do it, then it will show anyone can. This started out being about me. It isn't anymore. It is about each person who was told they can't do something (because believe me more than a couple competitors told me I can't do it, including the one who said I should just be a backstage helper). Each person who has been told they can't, I want to show them they can. Anyone can do anything they want. It is about all the people who email me and message me telling me I have somehow inspired them, and not wanting to let them down. It is about people like Danny-J, Belinda Hope, Zoa Linsey, Macey Leigh, Jamie Eason, Genie Sammons, Eryn Strickland, Sarah Kinney, Jill Crean, Tonia Goodman, Teri Chadwick Edwards and many more who ahve been behind me from the beginning and helped me along the way, making sure they know their help and support has not been wasted. The best way I know of to thank them is to get on stage. My own set goal is around April 2012

Q: What are your honest thoughts about both men and women who compete?
A: Well I think the other questions have made this obvious. If you get on stage, man, woman, or alien, than you are a winner. The problem is, men get to much of the respect compared to women. Look at magazines. It's always big headlines, Jay Cutler wins again....... and by the way so did Iris. Magazines and websites have crapped on female competitors and it is pathetic. Yes the IFBB and NPC are total politics, I get that, but do magazines and websites have to be? Can't they at least treat everyone as hey deserve? The people making the rules in the IFBB are the biggest reason female competitors don't get respect, because they don’t do a good job respecting their female athletes, and the magazines and things just follow the example.

Q: One of the questions you often ask your interviewees is what is the misconception people have of them competing, so I’m going to ask you, what is the biggest misconception people have about you and your blog?
A: First, I assume some think I am one of the creeps. You know the types. The guys who don't give a crap about the sport, just have their muscle fantasies. Let's be clear, to me, a muscular woman is a beautiful woman, but it's not the muscle that makes her that way. It's the dedication, the determination, the willingness to do what society says they shouldn’t, that is a beautiful thing. But surely some think I may be one of the creeps who have blogs just talking about how "hot" the women are. Really it is ignorant people like that who make me work harder to treat these women as respectable athletes. Some may wonder what I get out of it. The answer is nothing. I have been offered sponsors and turn them down. Sure if the right one came along, I might listen, but I don't do this to profit of the work of women like you Amanda, and all the others.


Q: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
A: I just want to thank every person who has helped me with my goals of competing especially Danny-J. I want to thank the people who have read my interviews, joined the fan page and above all else, each woman who has trusted me to do these interviews. Thanks to Jason from Siouxcountry and C-Ray from Fitgems for helping me and letting me advertise my blog on their sites. Thanks to Jamie Eason for her brilliant advice when I got messed up listening to too many people and she told me pick one or two I trust and only listen to them, and she was very very right. Thanks to Victoria Larvie. She is the first person I asked for advice and she helped me out. If she had said no, I may have been afraid to ever ask anyone else. And thanks to my little team of my closest supporters. You all know who you and can't name you all cause I may forget one and will feel bad, but have to name Belinda Hope, Zoa Linsey, Eryn Strickland, Genie Sammons and Sarah Kinney. Love you guys. And all those who said I can't compete one day, I thank you above all else, because you are the people who guarantee I WILL COMPETE. And Amanda thank you so much for wanting to do this. You rock.

My pleasure Jason. I think we’ve all learned a lot about the person behind the blog! Looking forward seeing you on stage soon!

Cammie Jurkowsky Interview


I was introduced to Cammie Jurkowsky through a friend, and am very happy I was. Cammie is an example of why I try to promote female fighters. Loads of potential, a love for the sport, and proof female fighters are every bit the athlete as male fighters are. Cammie is someone who once you get to know her, you will instantly become a fan of. How far she goes in this sport is up to her, and it is clear she wants to go far. So I think Cammie Jurkowsky is going to be a star in this sport.





Q: First, Cammie I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Absolutely!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Sure- I am currently living in Annapolis, Maryland working as a Personal Trainer. I was recruited out of high school for lacrosse to several division 1 institutions, but I chose to go to Penn State. I graduated from Penn State in 2007 with a degree in Crime, Law, and Justice. Penn State just had an awesome reputation, great facilities and coaches, and I always knew that if -heaven forbid- something happened with my athletic career, that I would be a happy ‘normal’ student there. My awesome parents live about 5 miles away from me. I have one older sister who lives in London and works for a Public Relations firm.

Q: Were you especially athletic growing up? Play any sports?
A: Yes- always athletic. Never with martial arts though- always with the ‘regular’ sports. Soccer, Lacrosse, Basketball, even track for a season or two in high school. I was defiantly the athlete of the family. My sister was more the scholar, and I was more the athlete. It was a great dynamic growing up. After my freshman year of high school, I became part of a traveling lacrosse team where we competed all up and down the east coast in tournaments which lead to me getting recruited. That’s when lacrosse got serious for me. We practiced outside of our normal high school teams several times a week and had tournaments almost every weekend during the summer.

Q: What initially got you started training for MMA?
A: I got started by boxing with another co-worker at a gym I used to work at. I kinda took a liking to it, so I decided to do it a little bit more than just when I was at work. Little did I know it would become such a big part of my life. After I did some research, I called Danny, who owns the gym I train at, and we hit it off right away. After talking to him for about 45 minutes and telling him my background, I came in that night and was hooked. It just sort of snowballed from there! I needed something constructive in my life and I explained that to Danny. For the first time in my life there was a ‘void’- I wasn’t involved in any activities outside of my work and social circle. MMA helped to fill that void.


Q: Was the training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: I would say yes. (You can ask Danny more about that HA!) But in all honesty, I do think I did. I have a very compulsive personality, so everything I do, I want to do it the best. I knew that since I had no experience, that I would have to work twice or three times as hard as some women because I had 0 experience going into it. Jiu Jitsu has been the biggest challenge for me- there is SO much to it. I like it more and more but that is one aspect of MMA that did NOT come easily.

Q: How long did you train before your first fight?
A: I trained about 5 months before I had my first muay thai smoker fight. (which I won!)

Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported?
A: I am extremely blessed and fortunate to have such a strong network of supporters. My mom was not exactly THRILLED to know I was doing MMA, but supportive YES! My dad- in the same boat as my mom. No parent wants to see their kid- let alone their daughter- going at it with another girl! But I couldn’t ask for better friends and family than I have. My best friends have come to my fights, along with my parents, and stand right next to the cage, ring, or the mats. I will always remember my mom crying before my first fight, and then finding out she was crying DURING it, and then crying after once it was all over! Haha! I think part of the reason they support me so much is they know how much time, energy, heart and effort I have put into it- and they are happy to see me succeed.

Q: Where do you train at now?
A: I train in Severna Park, Maryland at an awesome school called Ivey League MMA, a division of Lloyd Irvin MMA. My main coach is Danny Ives and I also work a lot with Jason Farrell. He specializes in Muay Thai. They are the absolute best. I have worked with many coaches, even at the collegiate level, and these guys are the best of the best.


Q: Can you give your overall record so far
A: 3-1-1

Q: Which fight so far is the one you are most proud of?
A: I would have to say my last fight. It was at WKA Nationals, and there was only the only one bracket to have a first fight, which I happened to be in. I ended up winning and it pushed me into the semi’s. I had a fight against a very tough girl, it went to decision, which I have learned to ‘never let it go to the judges!’ But it was a fight to the end, we both were going so hard, I came out pretty beat up, but it was such an accomplishment. I left it all in the cage that’s for sure. It’s hard to have one MMA fight in a day, let alone two, or even three!

Q: What would you say is your biggest strength and the one thing you most want to improve?
A: My striking and my actual brute strength has to be my strong point (no pun intended…cheesy I know! ha). I am working on making my jiu jitsu game up to par with my striking. But it’s coming right along…

Q: What is the best and worst part of training and competing in the sport?
A: The best- the rush you get after making a great hit, or actually making contact with the combo that you have been working on the past few weeks. As weird as it sounds- there is nothing better than coming out of a workout completely fatigued and exhausted. I love that feeling, maybe not during it, but afterwards! I love breaking my body down during workouts- either on the mats or in the actual gym- and feeling completely drained and toasted after its all said and done!
The worst part of training for me- doing the running and cardio. I know I have to do it, especially for my own personal body, but I just have always hated running. I try to run 3 miles 4-5 times a week. Ask my coaches and strength coaches in college about me and running…we didn’t get along!

Q: Are there any fighters you are a fan of or love to watch?
A: I am a fan of Sean Sherk and Brock Lesnar. I like Sherk’s ‘small and mighty’ complex that he has, it’s sort of similar to me. He’s built like a fire hydrant. Great wrestler. I love it. These guys both train at Minnesota Martial Arts where I was fortunate enough to go out and have the opportunity to do some training out there last summer. Brock is just, well Brock. He always puts on a good show. The thing that amazes me about the heavy weights is how conditioned they have made their body. Even at 245 pounds these guys can hang in there and have made their bodies into machines, both with their cardiovascular development and muscularly strong- even at that size. Oh, and gotta love some GSP. He carries himself well, represents the sport of MMA in a respectful way, has a strong work ethic, oh AND he’s a pretty good fighter.


Q: In your opinion, who are the top five female fighters in the sport pound for pound?
A:
1. Cris Santos
2. Megumi Fujii
3. Marloes Coenen
4. Sarah Kaufman
5. Tara LaRosa

Q: Do you ever see a major U.S. women's only company being viable?
A: I do- eventually. I understand there needs to be a market what you are trying to sell. And I have been a professional football player (I played with the Lingerie Football Team, Baltimore Charm), a division 1 athlete, and I know how hard it is to get people to attend a ‘women's sporting event’, even when we are wearing, well Lingerie. But I do know that the sport of women’s MMA is increasing every day. At Ivey League alone we are seeing more and more women getting involved every week, even young girls, which is awesome!! So sure, I do see it happening sometime, I would like to say soon, but I am not sure. Whenever it happens, I hope to help be an intricate part of it. It is people like myself and the other female fighters (and you!) that are helping to get the word out about how great this sport is and the continuation to help promote it.

Q: Often you watch a show that has one women's fight. Somehow that fight always turns out to be the most exciting fight on the card. Why do you think that is?
A: I almost think that it’s the ‘anticipation’ for that one fight. So much build up. The girls know that they have to put on a good show because of the fact that we are always the ‘underdogs’ on most cards. The better we can make these fights, the better the chance we have to get in more fights for ourselves in the future. The better we can make these fights, the more the crowd will buy into it for next time. Everyone loves a good girl fight. I also think it’s due to the promoters and match-makers for the fights. They obviously are doing good research and matching of fighters.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about female fighters?
A: Gosh where do I start?...
The first is that we are all not feminine aka ‘manly’. Boxing and mma have been known to have non-attractive women in it for some reason. That’s actually one of the reasons I have gotten into some fitness modeling because I am trying to change the angle that people are looking at women’s MMA. Also another misconception is that we have ‘anger issues’. Ha I don’t know how many times I tell people what I do, and their first response is ‘oh, great way to get your anger out!’. I mean, sure it is, but that’s not the main reason I do it! I’m one of the most calm and un-confrontational people you will ever meet.

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to train for the sport, whats the biggest piece of advice you would give her?
A: A typical answer would be ‘train hard’. But I would have to say the biggest piece of advice even before you can actually do that is to find a school and coach that you feel comfortable with; someplace that you can consider yourself in ‘good hands’ with. Make sure you are up front when you join about what your goals are. Is it for actual competition? Do you want to step into the cage? Is it for fitness? Do you want to lose weight? Are you looking for a new group of friends? Ask yourself these questions and make sure that you actually enjoy it before committing to anything long-term.

Q: Outside of training and fighting, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy baking and cooking. I usually cook all my meals on Sundays for the rest week since I am usually gone a lot during the week. I like watching stand-up- especially Kevin Hart. I love a good football game. I am obsessed with the athletic store LuluLemon.

Q: You are obviously in incredible shape. Ever think of entering a Figure or Fitness competition?
A: Thank You! It ain’t easy!! I have worked extremely hard the past 16 months to get my body into the shape it is right now. I have THOUGHT about it, but the training would be extremely hard to do along with the time that I dedicate to MMA. I can only spread myself so thin! With a full time job- a part time job fighting- and doing everything else that I have to do to make myself successful (writing, website, phone calls, etc.) it would be very tough. Not saying it couldn’t be done, but I just don’t think it’s for me- at least right now. Haha, that might change next month or even next week. It has crossed my mind, especially as of late. I know the time and effort that my girlfriend Eryn and Allie put into it, and I do the same thing, but just in a different direction. Much respect to Figure and Fitness Competitors though. It’s not completely out of the picture…

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Cammie Jurkowsky.
A: Geesh- it varies on a day to day basis. Mondays and Wednesdays are my heavy training days. I train BJJ in the morning for about 2 hours, both gi and no-gi, on these days, and then come back at night and either spar or do some sort of muay thai for an hour or two. Tuesdays and Thursdays I just train at night for a couple hours. Like I had said previously- I try to run 5 days a week, 3 miles at a go. Maybe a long run on a Saturday or Sunday depending on how my body feels and how the week has gone/what I have going on that weekend. I also have at least two days in the gym of weights; one strength day, and usually one endurance day. I have a trainer that I see for my conditioning in Baltimore. He’s awesome. Oh, and I have a job!! My busy days personal training at the gym are usually Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays and Wednesdays I only work in the afternoon to allow me to train in the morning and go see my own conditioning coach. I try to train about 20-30 client hours per week. As you can see it doesn’t leave me much time for anything else. But that’s ok! I love what I do. Friday nights I try to do as little as possible, or catch up with friends, sometimes do some work. Sunday’s are my football days and usually my ‘cheat days’!

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: In May of 2009 I weighed 179 pounds. Yup! Now…137.

Q: Describe Cammie Jurkowsky in five words
A: Ambitious, Diligent, Generous, Organized, Friendly!

Q: So whats next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?
A: There is a possibility I will be fighting sometime soon in NY but that date hasn’t been set in stone. I will definitely be fighting again in at the WKA National’s in February of 2011.

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: Definitely want to promote Ivey League Mixed Martial Arts! Best school to train at in Maryland, if not on the East Coast. Keep an eye out for my website that will be launching fully by the end of the year, Cammiejmma.com. Right now it is just linked to my blog, but it will be MUCH more in a couple weeks so stay tuned ;).
I also want everyone to check out my coach Jason Farrell’s new clothing line, ‘Urban Ninja’. Check it out on facebook or on urban-ninja.com


Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Cammie Jurkowsky the fighter and person?
A: Absolutely, always looking for sponsors. This is just the beginning for Cammie Jurkowsky. Things are only going to get better for me from here on out. I would love for some new (and established) companies to be apart of my growth and development as a person and as a fighter and also vice versa. I know that there are many companies out there that are just starting to flourish as well. I have so many ideas that are being put in to play right now and its only the start; my website, my blogs, more photo shoots already scheduled, and talks of a blog-talk/radio show and segments are in the making. All of ‘Cammie’ is about promoting women’s MMA, women’s fitness, and MMA as a sport in general. Another aspect that I am a big advocate of is healthy living- both mentally and physically. Having a good head on your shoulder and a good heart is just as important as being physically conditioned. People, fans and sponsors can get in touch with me through facebook @ Cammie Jurkowsky or through e-mail: cjurkowsky@gmail.com.

Q: Cammie again, I want to thank you for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: ‘Make it happen.’ That’s my motto. Whatever it is- mma training, running, dieting, quitting smoking, leaving a bad relationship- WHATEVER it is- just ‘make it happen.’

Brianne Selino Interview


A veteran of just a couple competitions, Brianne Selino is set to make her mark in this industry, and with her obvious passion for the sport, it will be a big mark that she makes. With her original goal being to get toned and in shape, she has clearly achieved that and then some, and will no doubt continue to improve and look better each time she steps on stage. Here is a chance to get to know Brianne Selino, a name you will no doubt hear more and more.




Q: First, Brianne, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you John for giving me this opportunity.

Q: Can you start out by telling me a little about yourself?
A: I come from an Italian family and like most Italian families, it is quite large. My family is extremely important to me; and if there is one thing I get emotional about it is them. My mom is my best friend. I have two beautiful sisters, one older and one younger; and a wonderful brother-in-law. My father and stepmother live in New Jersey… I am also close to them. Then there is my dog, Kelso; he is simply the love of my life.
I grew up in West Harrison, New York and graduated from Harrison High School in 1998. I attended SUNY Cobleskill and graduated with an Associates degree in Travel and Tourism; from there I transferred to Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island where I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Hospitality Management. Right after graduation, I got a job as a Conference Coordinator with FLIK International, a subsidiary of Compass Group, which is known to be the largest foodservice company in the world. During my 7 years with the company, I have been promoted 3 times; my most recent position being the General Manager of a Conference Center in Briarcliff Manor, New York. I learned a lot about myself throughout those years both professionally and personally. I also got married and divorced during that time and that was a definite ‘life lesson’. I have come to believe that my experiences and some of my mistakes in life have made me a stronger woman.
In addition to my full time job, I worked part time for a catering company, was a martial arts kickboxing instructor, a personal trainer and an Executive Assistant for a motivational speaking company.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I learned how to swim at the age of 2 and was a member of a swim team up until my teen years. I have been snow skiing since I was 3 years old. In high school I played volleyball and was the captain of both the junior varsity and varsity teams.
I started working out about 4 years ago. I trained in martial arts kickboxing for 4 years and then got into weight lifting 2 years ago. Some people say it is an ‘obsession’, but to me it’s my ‘passion’.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: When I began training in kickboxing it was primarily to release stress. Kickboxing was always something I wanted to pursue; it ended up becoming a huge part of my life and became a passion of mine for many years. Two years ago I actually started weight training with a guy who trained my mom back in the day and he taught me the basics. At that time my primary goal was to get toned and in perfect shape. Months later I moved and joined a franchise gym, obtained my certification in personal training and began working there as a trainer.


Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Yes I picked it up very easily. I believe I am a natural however, I was shocked to find out how strong I really was and how much weight I could squat. Over a couple of months it became easier for me and adding more weight was a rush and enjoyment, rather something I rejected. I trained very hard and long; it was intense but I began to see results 2 months or so into it.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: At first it never occurred to me and it just wasn’t the right time in my life. At that time the person I was dating was not supportive of it; he believed it to be unattractive. In April 2010, I met my co-worker/trainer, who ironically turned out to be my boyfriend. We worked and immediately began training together at the gym. After one week into our workouts he mentioned that he wanted to compete and asked me if I would be interested and that was the beginning of the journey.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: Most of my family didn’t think I was serious. They probably thought it was disgusting. I’ve gone to numerous parties/weddings barely eating or drinking and I think they probably thought it was ridiculous. I am still not 100% sure if my mom approved, I think she thought the dieting wasn’t healthy, she was afraid I would look gross and asked me why would I want to look like that. My sister and her husband were my best supporters and they pushed me simply by just understanding that my time was dedicated to the gym. Most of my friends eventually became supportive.


Q: Was competing what you expected it to be? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: No, it wasn’t. I attended my first competition as my trainers “trainer.” I was there with him as a supporter, I helped him prepare by registering him, tanned him up and down, was his photographer, I pretty much was his Assistant. The whole event was interesting, in a good way. I noticed things I didn’t expect, all the competitors dedication, women walking in with their hair done up lugging in full length mirrors, men carrying coolers and bags of carbohydrates with free weights. I was like, what is going on? I was amazed at how nice people were to one another, although they were competing against each other. Everyone looked fantastic and they were all there for the same goal, after working so hard for many months. Furthermore, everybody’s goal that evening was the same, to stuff their faces with junk food that evening.

Q: Can you share your contest history?
A: I wanted to do a “trial run” before the big show on June 26th in INBF. I competed in a show a week prior to the INBF in Massachusetts with OCB. I wasn’t in tip top shape but went for it to experience, I met great people. I felt like a natural on stage and did my thing, I had fun with it. I didn’t place; however, I received great feedback from one of the judges. What I got from that experience was to work a little harder and push my body much harder that week, so I did. I ended up losing 5 lbs that week. I competed June 26th in INBF show in NYC. It felt great on stage; the event was huge but didn’t overwhelm me, again met great people. I placed 2nd place Figure Novice. I was ecstatic; I was so happy and proud of myself. I shared my happiness with my trainer/friend/boyfriend; he was the reason for my accomplishment! My family came to support me wish made me feel great, they were just as thrilled as I was, my mom especially; she was so excited for me and proud of my success.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: In the past I have always loved my toned arms and have always hated my thighs. I never realized you need what they call “wheels” in bodybuilding. So I would have to say that my legs are my best feature (as well as my strongest) when it comes to this sport, they are key. I like my back as well.


Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I hate cardio but I force myself to do it. I really don’t have a favorite exercise but I like to train my arms and back.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My normal training would consist of two sessions of cardio when it comes closer to competition; I train about 1-2 hours of weight training 5-6 times per week. As for the diet, like any other bodybuilder, lots of protein; egg whites and chicken, that’s all I can offer. My trainer and I have some of our own training secrets, sorry…

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 get comments like this, ‘that explains why you look like that.’ Or, ‘wow that is awesome, good for you.’ Or, ‘what do you do, what do you eat?’ I get more positive than negative, but I am sure most people keep their negative thoughts to themselves, its all good.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: For one I don’t think people should be opinionated or comment on something they don’t know anything about. I think that women are perceived in bodybuilding as manly, too muscular or unhealthy. People are judgmental and that is fine however, I feel that if you haven’t experienced something or seen a competition, you shouldn’t be critical. People need to realize that if this sport was easy, more people would do it. It’s about pushing yourself, pushing real hard; you push your own body to limits it doesn’t want to be, its extreme dedication and one of the most difficult sports. I bet you to give it a try.


Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: I love eating and you pretty much can’t eat what you want to. You can’t go out to eat when you want and as sad as it is, you have to keep distance from people. You are unable to party as much as you would like, if you know what I mean. The training is tough and it’s extremely tiring especially when I work long hours at my job. Weight lifting doesn’t bother me but I detest cardio, I would rather lift heavy weights. And I wish I could just eat some pretzels with a beer whenever I wanted.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I admire my trainer Roger “Judah” Clarke. He puts more effort into the gym than anyone, he is the strongest person I have met and he pushes himself beyond, as well as pushing me and others. I admire his dedication to the sport, so therefore, he’s my favorite.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Alcohol and chocolate. Anything I can get my hands on…really.

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 advise her following: make sure you have enough time, support, and dedication. If you are willing to give up on food and dedicate most of your free time in the gym and working harder than you imagined, which most people don’t have the strength to do, go for it! and make sure you have the right trainer. If you aren’t willing to give up on the things you love and enjoy, don’t do it, but always give it a try.

Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women training in the gym as hard as men?
A: Where I train, NO. I think bodybuilding is more common for men and you see more men working harder than women. However, I can’t personally can’t answer that question because I don’t belong to a large gym, but I know from my viewpoint, I have trained harder than most men in the gym that I work in. But that doesn’t mean that women don’t train harder, I think it’s more of who you are as a person and how hard you are willing to push. I know men that have “talked” about competing and have trained a bit, but it fell through, where I have continued to go along with the journey.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Yes, I love to travel. I am very adventurous and am up for anything new. I enjoy going out to dinner and relaxing and just having fun, I love to dance, you will always see my on the dance floor. I spend quality time with my boyfriend, my mom, my dad and my sisters and of course Kelso.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Brianne Selino?
A: Currently I am working in the city until my relocation. Depending on the day and my hours, I get up and go to the gym and do cardio, then drive from an hour or 2 hours to NYC. I leave kind of late most of the time and drive at least 2 hours home. I go directly to the gym and then go home and spend time either alone or with my boyfriend. Do it all over again… on the weekends I keep very busy, gym, clean, walk, eat/drink and hang out. I barely relax and sit around a lot, I keep active. In a month, I am moving to Chicago, so I think my life is going to be very different.

Q: Describe Brianne Selino in five words.
A: Dependable, Hard working, Caring, Tense, and Friend

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I do figure or bodybuilding of course and how strong I am for my size.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I am competing in 3 weeks, so it’s a bit crazy at this time, I’m tired. But because I am relocating I wanted to compete one last time in NY. I would like to see how my life ends up in Chicago but yes I do plan on competing in the future. Well see where life takes me…



Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Roger “Judah” Clarke, my trainer. Ask me again in a few months when he is running his own gym training MMA fighters and bodybuilders.

Q: Brianne , again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Yes, thank you Jason I appreciate this opportunity. This has been a new way of life for me and I enjoy it, no matter what others think. Many times I have cried and wanted to quit, but never did, I love the thrill. I enjoy spending time working out with my boyfriend, at times I would like to kill him for pushing me so hard and being annoying, but I cant thank him enough for it, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without him.
I respect the bodybuilding world; it is something I take with me forever. This experience has made me a stronger individual and it has forced me to continue to push and work hard in all aspects of my life.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jessica Philippus Interview



Jessica Phlippus is someone who I knew little about until recently, but in a short time have become a fan. Her obvious passion for the sport, and desire to succeed are both admirable and a reason I see her going really far in the sport. Her desire to fight stemmed from watching a terribly bad female fight, so we should all thank those two girls for having such a terrible fight because it layed the groundwork for someone like Jessica to bring excitement to female MMA.











Q: First, Jessica I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.

A: Thank you for giving me this opportunity! This took quite a bit of introspection, which is never easy, but it’s always healthy do to from time to time.



Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself?

Well I was born and raised in the East Bay Area of northern California. I am and always will be a Cali girl at heart even though I’ve been in the Midwest for 9 yrs now. I came to Missouri on a scholarship to Missouri Valley College, it was quite a culture shock at first but one thing I have to say I love about it out here is that everyone treats you like family. In Cali you don’t talk to strangers, in this small town there are no strangers! We have been very blessed with all the friends who have taken us under their wing over the years.

I have two wonderful guys that my world revolves around. One is 6 and the other is 28, both named Robb. But don’t let the name deceive you… he’s a mini me through and through! He looks just like his daddy, but is a little social butterfly like me!

After meeting the during first couple weeks of school, I had the biggest crush on Robb. Although I swore to myself I’d never date a wrestler (bc they’re CRAZY[both male and female]) apparently his dry wit and good looks were too much to resist and we started dating shortly thereafter. Here we stand, 9 interesting years later…

We got pregnant in college at the age of 20, so it was scary (to say the least), nerve wracking, and a little disappointing to know that both of our wrestling careers were going to come to a screeching halt. With that said, this kid turned out to be the BEST thing that has ever happened to us. He makes me feel like my heart is walking/running/skipping around outside my chest. He has taught us the true meaning of love and how to be selfless at a phase in life that is typically known for selfishness. Robb quit wrestling to get a job (where he still works); we got married, I finished up my Exercise Science degree with a breastfeeding new born (yes…very difficult), then followed that up with an MBA. We now both work 40+ hrs at ConAgra Foods on the overnight shift, he supervises mechanics and I’m responsible for Quality.



Q: Were you especially athletic growing up? Play any sports?

A: Not really! I was actually especially girly growing up! I did ballet, gymnastics and softball. It wasn’t until high school that someone dared me to try wrestling. Not being one to turn down a challenge I did it and fell in love. I personally think that it saved me from an adolescence riddled with trouble. It gave me a good excuse to get good grades and stay on the right path.



Q: What initially got you started training for MMA?

A: I had begun training and competing in judo and jiu jitsu for about 4 months, when we went to a fight where there was one female match on the card and it was HORRENDOUS to say the least. I had to look away; I was downright embarrassed to be a female that night. It was that moment I realized I had to do something to turn around the local opinion of women in MMA. I knew that if I started training towards fighting then I could display a legitimate and respectable female athlete in the cage, not a glorified cat fight and perhaps inspire a few more girls to do so as well.



Q: Was the training something you picked up fairly easy?

A: Ha!! Well yes and no. Running, lifting, conditioning, cutting weight, and pushing myself further when I feel like quitting are all things that I was/am very familiar with. Now talk about getting punched in the face or kneed in the belly and we’re talking about a whole different monster! That took some getting used to for sure! That’s a work in progress everyday and I am thankful for my wonderful training partner and coaches that are helping me get to the next level with that.



Q: How long did you train before your first fight?

A: Not long enough apparently! 4 months judo/jiu jitsu and 2 months MMA.



Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported?

A: Hmmm that’s a tough one considering I just got a call from my mom last week begging me to quit… But of course she still wishes me luck, watches the video of my fights, and congratulates me. She always says, “Jessie! I didn’t teach you to be mean like that!!” That woman is a riot.

I would say 95% of (both sides) our family doesn’t “approve” of us fighting but they always wish us well and congratulate.

Now friends, co-workers, and community members are a different story! Robb and I both have an awesome support system and cheering section here in Marshall! They make it to almost all our fights. I have a co-worker/friend that is making the 4 hr drive (with kids!) to come watch me this weekend and college friend/sorority sister that is driving 2.5hr this weekend to come be my “sports psychologist” ;)Thanks Heidi and Nell!! Can’t wait!



Q: Where do you train at now?

A: Well there has been some recent shifting, but we are settled in now among the top athletes in Kansas City. 3 days/week I drive to practice 30 min away to be trained by Jose Vega (Bellator) where he has really been helping me fine tune flaws and yelling at me when needed during sparring!

The other 2 days/week I drive an hour to KC to train at Grindhouse with my fellow female fighter BFF. At Grindhouse we are coached by Brian Davidson (Bellator) and Deryck Ripley (who was also a Valley wrestler).

This weekend my friend Laura and I will be cornered by Robb and Deryck.





Q: Can you give your overall record so far.

A: On mixedmartialarts.com it says 2-1, because I fought in Indiana in March and apparently they’re not a sanctioned state. Overall I’m now 3-1.



Q: Which fight so far is the one you are most proud of?

A: I would have to go with first fight and sole loss to Barb Honchack. I was pretty much shark bait and I survived 5 minutes in the cage with an elite athlete who was much bigger, stronger, and experienced than I. I learned A LOT of lessons that night, so much so that it took me 9 months to work up the courage to get back in the cage! I don’t like having a loss on my record, but if I was going to lose to anyone I’m not entirely ashamed to lose to her, she’s a phenomenal fighter who turned into an awesome mentor and friend. She cornered me for my 2nd fight. That’s how awesome she is and that’s why I love women’s MMA!



Q: What would you say is your biggest strength and the one thing you most want to improve?

A: My biggest strength would be heart, plain and simple. I may not be the best, the strongest, the fastest, or most popular. But one thing’s for certain, I will give it all I have, fight my little heart out and never quit.

The thing I most want to improve is my nutrition and adhering to structured, clean eating. I want a freaking 6 pack darn it! I’m getting close, but I know proper nutrition will get me there and more importantly; make us better athletes. I have to admit that I gravely dislike cooking (and the clean up afterwards). I will give in to something easy and fast on crazy days when it seems like I need more than 24 hrs in a day. We do pretty well until something throws off our routine or sleep pattern, but I would really like to feed my family healthy, clean food on a more regular basis. The sad part is with a degree in fitness & nutrition, I know better! I know how and what to do, it’s just a matter of executing it and preparing for the unexpected. I really admire figure and body builders in that aspect.



Q: What is the best and worst part of training and competing in the sport?

A: One of the best parts of MMA is when you’re walking to your car after an intense practice where you’re completely drained because you gave it your all. My other favorite is getting my hand raised!

The absolute worst part is waiting. Waiting the week before a fight, waiting to weigh in, waiting for med checks, waiting for your turn on the card, and waiting for that bell to start the match. Sounds like maybe I’m just an impatient girl… I just want to be in there and in the middle of my human chess match already!



Q: Are there any fighters you are a fan of or love to watch?

A: No seriously I am a huge fan of Lisa, not only because she was my team mate, but because of how far she’s come, all that she’s accomplished, and how she’s paved the road for us. Plus she’s just an amazing fighter, athlete and person. I really look up to her and any other wrestlers turned mixed martial artists who are setting the bar in this sport. Miesha Tate is also really intriguing and inspiring as to how much she has matured in this sport in a few short years.

AS far as men go, I really like watching heavyweights & light heavyweights because the sheer power they posses.



Q: In your opinion, who are the top five female fighters in the sport pound for pound?

A: Lisa Ward, Megumi Fujii, Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg, and Cat Zingano (not in any particular order!)



Q: Do you ever see a major U.S. women’s only company being viable?

A: Not really, or not any time in the near future at least. Women’s MMA has made huge strides recently but it is still in its infancy. It is gaining momentum though and women are proving they can put on quality fights just like the guys. Bellator has done an amazing job showcasing the top lightweight females in the world. The 115lb tournament really did a lot for women’s MMA and I hope to see more!



Q: Often you watch a show that has one women's fight. Somehow that fight always turns out to be the most exciting fight on the card. Why do you think that is?

A: Excluding the fight I mentioned earlier, I completely agree. It’s due to the fact that women go out there and put their heart on the line. We are creatures of passion and raw emotion (yes including crying!); when you mix that with MMA you get exciting matches. On the flip side it also comes off as women being out for blood, they want to rip your head off, whereas guys are partaking in a sport. Not that guys don’t fight as hard, but bluntly put: women are crazy. There I said it. No sugar coating! Last year in one 4 min freestyle judo match, I had been bit in the breast, hands around my neck choked, and had my hair pulled by one insane girl who was not acclimated to losing at her own game. I felt like I was on the set of Jerry Springer. If that doesn’t thoroughly explain my point, I don’t know what will…



Q: What is the biggest misconception about female fighters?

A: The biggest misconception is that because we’re female, we somehow know nothing about the sport. Gotta love it when some random guy (who is of no caliber to be giving advice) will sit there and lecture you; I just smile and nod and thank him for the advice. Or on the other end of the spectrum, when a new guy shows up to practice, acts like a jerk and doesn’t want to roll with a girl. Then when he finally has to, says something stupid like, “should I take it easy on you?” Yeah sure dude, you go ahead and ‘take it easy’ on me while I choke you out… It’s the arrogant jerks like that who also try to just muscle girls around and try to hurt them. Just because I’m a female doesn’t mean I suck, or am of weak body or mind. I have no patience for closed minded, ignorant people. Period.



Q: If another woman told you she wanted to train for the sport, what’s the biggest piece of advice you would give her?

A: Start with 4-6 weeks of cardio and strength if you’re not already athletic, start drinking more water and eating more protein. Then we’ll start punching you in the face and go from there…



Q: Outside of training and fighting, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?

A: Who has time outside training and fighting?!?! I enjoy coaching girl’s wrestling at Valley and I have a few favorite high school girls that I mentor during season  Other than that, playing with Robby and chillin’ with family and friends.



Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Jessica Philippus?

A: HAHA!!! You’re gonna laugh! We’re vampires and completely backwards to most of America. I’ll describe from the end of my day, which is the beginning of a normal person’s day.

7:30am- Get off work, pick up Robby from babysitters and take him to school.

8:00am-2:30pm- SLEEP! YESSSSSS!!

2:45pm- Robb goes to pick up Robby. I brush teeth, make oatmeal, prepare supplements and his after school snack. We chill for a little bit while eating and talk about the day. (sometimes we switch!)

4:00-6:00pm- Workout at the YMCA. Strength, cardio, conditioning; then play time with Robby in the pool or on the basketball court.

6:00-7:00pm- Protein and supplements, feed Robby dinner, prepare our food for later, read the little one a book for HW.

7:00-9:00pm- Drive to practice, then time to soak up some knowledge from Jose, head home.

9:00-10:00pm- Put Robby to sleep (if he isn’t already!), prepare his clothes and backpack for next day. Get showered, dressed and ready for work. Carry my sleeping 50lb 6 yr old to the car and drop him off.

10:30pm-7:30am- Work at ConAgra!



Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

A: Well most people are shocked when they hear that I fight. I guess because I’m small they don’t expect it. But for people that do know me as a fighter…ummm I guess that for as much as I can “hang with the boys” I love all things girly! I Loooove glitter and pink and anything sparkly! My team mates used to make fun of me when there was glitter on the mat in practice. “Well we know who that’s from!”



Q: Describe Jessica Philippus in five words.

A: Outgoing, Feisty, Fun, Loving, Determined.





Q: So what’s next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?

A: Oct 30, IL’s first all female card, in the first leg of a 105 lb tournament (NOTE: Jessica won this fight). Then December 3rd at Harrah’s casino in Kansas City.



Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?

A: Sure! I’m in the process of creating a brand and website for past and present female wrestlers. I got to thinking about some of the little girls I coach/mentor and how they look up to me and collegiate female wrestlers pursuing their dreams and how those college girls have elite female MMA fighters who are ex-wrestlers to look up to. I want all those girls to know anything is possible with enough discipline, dedication and desire. Thus wrslrchick (wrestler chick) was created! PLUS…it’s hard to come by much that is geared toward wrestler girls and they have plenty to be proud of, they should be able to display it for everyone to see! I have tons of ideas for direction I want the site to go, aka-one stop shop for the girl grappler! But I will start slow bc my pricy education says that’s the best way for most businesses to start and remain sustainable. I also want a place to be able to bring light to the accomplishments of fellow wrestler chicks whether it’s placing in notable freestyle/folkstyle wrestling tournaments or winning fights. It may inspire someone, somewhere!

Wrslrchick.com will be up in its infancy in about 2 weeks.



Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Jessica Philippus the fighter and person?

A: Of course! I actually don’t currently have any sponsors. They can find me on facebook or email me at jessicaphilippus@yahoo.com. They would be getting one heck of a girl, with a big mouth, and an unrelentless passion for success! Hahaha :-) I am a professional, forward thinking, business savvy girl who is very outgoing and just so happens to love this sport and anything associated with it.



Q: Jessica again, I want to thank you for doing this. Any last words before you go?

A: I would just like to thank my coaches from long, long ago in High School, who gave me a chance. One in particular, Mauricio Tijero, believed in me and saw greatness in me when I did not. Without those men, I wouldn’t be where I am today; literally and figuratively. My success in HS brought me to Missouri, which gave me friends, “family” and Robb, then Robby! I have never had the easy road in life, but I am finally to a point where things are falling in place! I am just grateful for my healthy family and true friends, everything else is icing on the cake! Most recently I am super grateful for meeting my fighting soul sista, Laura Marcusse who is also fighting on same card this weekend. Woo hoo for some Grindhouse girls in action this weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Maria Steward Interview


Very excited about this interview with the beautiful Maria Steward. Maria took first place in her first competition, which is obviously quite an accomplishment. Most recently she also won her class at the Lackland Classic. Maria simply gets it. Reading about her you see her passion and dedication and love for what she does, and she does it for the right reasons. Maria Steward is someone who is gonna be around for awhile and is going to make quite a name for herself in this industry.




Q: First, Maria, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: My pleasure! It’s such an honor that you want to interview lil ol me!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I’m 23, born and raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I married at the age of 17, and my husband got stationed in San Antonio. So we’ve been residing here ever since. I work as a psychometrist and outside of working out, my hobbies include going to the shooting range and dancing (miming in particular-seriously!)

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I played basketball and volleyball in middle school-I was totally a girly girl and not into sports really at all, lol. And as far as working out, I would go once in a blue moon-I relied heavily on my genetics for the most part and really shyed away from the gym, lol.


Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: In March 2010, my husband and I booked a vacation to Costa Rica for July. Right then and there, I knew I wanted to be in tip top shape, with a goal of strolling the beach in thong bikinis lol.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I couldn’t really afford a personal trainer so I started off researching online, googling away and searching for a workout and nutrition plan to follow. After much research, I discovered bodybuilding.com and got hooked! I searched through the transformation section and found someone that had a similar body type as me with the results I wanted to achieve and followed her diet and training to the T! So my training and diet was fairly easy to follow as I had it all laid out for me.
As far as results, the first month was rough! The scale only dropped 4 pounds; I felt like my hard work wasn’t paying off. But when I looked at bodyfat, I had lost 3%. This was encouraging, and from then on I decided to stop worrying about the scale and pay attention to bodyfat instead. By the second month, I got more strict with my diet and bodyfat began to decrease and I lost an incredible 15 additional pounds.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: After coming across bodybuilding.com, I was introduced to the world of figure and bikini competitions. I had never even heard of it! With Costa Rica in mind, I decided to reach high and enter myself in a figure competition for extra motivation. Exactly 4 months from the day I began my training and dieting, I took stage and won 1st place in my very first figure competition.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: At first, some of my friends and family did not understand why I was pumping iron, telling me “you already look good, don’t go overboard you’re gonna look like a man!” It was discouraging to hear such ignorance, and the lack of support. I just bottled it up as extra motivation to pursue my goals and to change their ignorant assumptions. My husband however was very supportive—he really sacrificed a lot-the home cooked meals, house-keeping, cookie session (lol). He was just as amazed as I was, with the changes my body was experiencing and expressed how proud he was of me—just more motivation!


Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: At 6 weeks out from the competition, I hired a trainer and figure coach-Skie Trevino. She is a former pro bodybuilder, current figure competitor, and judge-the BEST! She equipped me with all the necessary tools I needed to compete. After 6 weeks of training with her, my body had improved greatly, and I was really confident with my posing and felt ready to compete. On competition day, I was super nervous and had all these preconceived ideas that girls would be sabotaging each other backstage, lol. I was pleasantly surprised how nice everyone was; we all even helped each other out. It was such a great experience.

Q: Can you share your contest history
A: July 17, I competed in the INBF Southwest Championships and placed 1st in figure novice tall, and on August 25 I competed in the INBF Alamo Showdown and placed 2nd in figure tall, and 1st place in bikini. November 15th 1st place in Figure B at Lackland Classic

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I’m not sure if it’s a bodypart- but I feel my best feature is my symmetry/lat spread.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: My favorite parts to train are shoulders and back. I’m really trying to accentuate that V-Taper.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Currently I’m in contest prep for figure and 5 weeks out, so it’s pretty strict. I weight lift pre-breakfast 6 days a week, do uphill sprints and lunges 3 times a week, and a cardio session after my last meal of the day. I’m trying to get 2 hours of cardio in a day. I’m carb cycling now eating chicken, cucumbers and grapefruit on low carb days, and salmon and sweet potato on carb load days. I’ve been doing this for a little over a week now, and my body has made incredible gains. It’s amazing to me how fast my body is responding-it’s new to me and I’m loving it!! This is actually the first time where I’ve been really consistent with my diet with no cheats and it’s paying off.


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’s still surprising to me that the majority of people don’t know what figure/bikini competitions really are. I can’t really knock em though, because I was that person not too long ago. When I tell them (mainly guys) that I’m a figure competitor I get a lot of “Is that like nude modeling or something?” haha…Its quite amusing. I also get a flood of question after I tell them I compete too—what’s your diet like, how often do you train, what do you win?? Questions like that. I try to answer as much as I can, being that I was once in their shoes, and there’s so much information out there to know exactly who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s always encouraging to actually see someone whose diet/training seems to be working for them.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: After my family and friends came to see me compete, I got a lot of, “ keep your femininity, you don’t wanna look like a man.”…lol

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Women, lifting weights will NOT make you look like a man. We don’t produce as much testosterone as men, thus it is impossible for us to produce huge amounts of muscle mass by merely just touching weights. The only way to achieve that look is with steroids and other drugs. It’s sad, that the group of women who choose to uses drugs for these gains, jade the views of the woman who weight lifts.


Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: Competing is just icing on the cake (mmmm, cake sounds so good right now, lol). Each day that I eat clean and train hard, is a day that I think-how in the world did I do that!? I am proving something to myself that I CAN do anything I set my mind to. I’m learning that I DO have control over how my body looks. While I work on myself physically, it overflows to other areas of my life. My relationships have improved-specifically with my husband and God. And everyday, I am coming to a deeper understanding and a deeper connection with this man that loves me so much-my Jesus! After all the hard work that I’ve put in preparing for a competition and finally getting to the stage, I have such a joyful feeling of accomplishment—that is the best part of competing!
As far as the worst part of competing, I have to say it’s the diet! I love to eat, and everyday it’s a struggle for me to stick to it. It has not gotten easier as I hoped it would! Also, having to give up late night hanging out with friends and family, and having to go home after working a full time job AND training to still perform my “wifely” duties, has been rough! lol. What motivates me is seeing other women with even BUSIER lives still managing to pull it off-if they can do it-so can I!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Firstly, I have to say Alicia Marie. She is both a woman of color and a tall competitor (as am I), and one of the leading fitness models in the industry. I respect her hustle and hope to attain her level and even SURPASS it one day. I then have to say Brazilian bombshell Larissa Reis. Her body is beautifully sculpted and she is gorgeous to say the least! I carry a picture of her around for motivation, lol.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Bread-anything with bread!! Pizza, pizza rolls, subway! I love bread, but it don’t love me!lol

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 can afford it, get a trainer. Also, this is probably best-research research research! Get online, talk to people whose bodies are walking billboards, read fitness magazines. Write out a workout and nutrition program after you research and stick to it. Tweak it according to how your body is responding, and don’t give up. Get a workout partner for extra support. By doing my own research, I found it to be empowering and it gave me a reason to train even harder when I started out without a trainer.

Q: DO you think it s becoming more common to see women in the gym training and lifting as hard as men?
A: I’m sure it is; however I don’t really encounter when I’m at the gym. I still see all the women flooded at the cardio machines, with a handful (and I mean, probably a child’s hand) of women sweating it out in the prison yard hitting heavy or REALLY working hard.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love to dance!! I’m actually thinking about starting some youtube dance aerobic stuff, haha. Another big thing is traveling. My husband and I try to to travel internationally 2-3 times a year. Currently we are more interested in seeing the REAL culture and not the resort/touristy stuff when traveling. We visited Costa Rica a couple monthes ago, and fell in love. Can’t wait for the next visit!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Maria Steward.
A: Wake up at 5:30, weight lift 6:00-6:45, go to work and administer neuropsychological tests 7:30-4:30, 45 minute cardio during lunch break, 5:00-7:00 go home cook, clean, and do all that domestic stuff lol, take a night bike ride with the hubby 7:00-8:00, 8-8:30 prepare my food and gym bag for next day, 8:30-10 leisure time-watch tv, talk on phone, skype, get on facebook and bodyspace…and that is a typical day of a day in the life of Maria Antonia Steward! 

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I mime and praise dance and am pretty darn good at it too! Haha

Q: Describe Maria Steward in five words.
A: I am nothing without Jesus!

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I’m competing November 13 at the NPC Lackland in figure. Afterwards, taking an off season to build more mass and work on these legs. Will compete again in summer 2011. Also working with Ms Skie Trevino, and building up Skies the Limit Dream Team Diva’s. Oh..Also, I’ll be obtaining my personal training certification very soon! (NOTE: Maria took 1st at the Lackland Classic and looked incredible)

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I am the spokesmodel and member of Skies the Limit Dream Team Diva’s (see skiesfitness.com). We just had our first meeting this past weekend and have assembled an awesome group of female competitors (bodybuilder, figure and bikini competitors). More than just a team of traveling competitors, we will be working within the community specifically reaching out to single mothers.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Maria Steward the athlete and competitor?
A: Yes sir! I began this journey lifting weights pretty much for the first time in March 2010. I went from 24% bodyfat and 151lb to 9% and 119lb in 4 months- a total loss of 15% bodyfat and 32lb. I am still a work in progress and it’s my hope that I can inspire and motivate other women young and old to compete as well-specifically more ethnic women (I myself am Dominican and Black). We are a small minority in the field, and I’d like to see more of us step up on stage! Also, being only 23 and to only have 7 months of training under my belt, I have made awesome gains. Excited to see what the future holds for me and would appreciate any type of sponsorship for both me and my fellow Dream Team Divas!

Best way to reach me is via email: msteward87@yahoo.com, I also have a facebook, and bodyspace (bodyspace.com/msteward87)


Q: Maria , again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: “the greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more” –Dr Jonas Salk.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chazz Anderson Interview


Chazz Anderson began competing in 2008 and has been able to improve each time. That is a big statement considering how incredible she looks each show. More incredible with being a full time mother, wife, and working. As you can read simply by this interview, Chazz loves what she does and has a real passion for it. Chazz had a great 2010 and I expect a huge 2011 for this beautiful Figure competitor.






Q: First, Chazz, 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 was born in Missouri. I have also lived in West Virginia, Alaska, Texas and finally stopped moving when I came to Oklahoma! I am married with a 10 year old daughter. I also have a dog and a turtle! I love to be busy and am passionate about competing in the NPC and look forward to my next show at NPC Nationals in Atlanta!

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Yes! I grew up always wanting to do sports. I started in basketball. Then, cheerleading and softball became a part of my life. I was also very competitive. Always entering contests just to see what I could accomplish. I was voted most athletic of my senior class in 1993! And, if you ask me to arm wrestle you, I will!

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I wanted to stay in shape after getting out of high school. I was so active, I learned after high school that not being as active and eating whatever I wanted wasn’t working! So I joined a gym. I usually stuck to cardio however as the machines intimidated me!

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Not necessarily! It took me awhile to see results mostly because of my eating habits. However, once I became active in pageants, I learned an important word: CARBOHYDRATE. I knew that eating pasta before bed was a no no. I was still in my 20’s though, so you live and learn!


Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I have a book I bought about 13 years ago with Rachel McLish on the cover called “Pumping Up”. I thought she was gorgeous! It covered athletes like McLish, Cory Everson and Gladys Portuguese among others. I wanted to be them SOO bad! But I was intimidated by the gym. I didn’t know how to work out. So, finally about three years ago, I was encouraged to do a show. I had a trainer and she taught me how to train better.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: They weren’t surprised I wanted to do it given my history of athletics and competing. But they didn’t understand it at all! They couldn’t understand why I had to eat at a certain time, eat the same food, and drink tons of water. In fact, I still think they don’t get it because I am still offered desserts at family gatherings! They do however support me and realize I am in the best shape of my life and eating healthy and working out often is the reason why!

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: It wasn’t what I expected at all! I thought the posing was going to be so easy. No way! It is very difficult and you really need to condition yourself well for a show. The diet did surprise me. No dressings, ketchup and things like that were hard to give up!

Q: Can you share your contest history
A:
2010-
*NPC Junior Nationals/Chicago 14th Place Class B
*NPC USA’s Las Vegas-12th Place Class B
*NPC Nationals Atlanta-
*NPC Omaha Showdown-2nd Masters, 2nd Figure Short
2009
*NPC Red River Championships/Oklahoma- Class A and Overall Figure Winner
*Darrell Terrell’s Total Package/3rd Figure Short

2008
*NPC Oklahoma Championships-Did not place/NPC Red River Championships-5th Place
2007
*NPC Oklahoma Championships-6th


Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Well…this one is a fun one! Everyone tells me it’s my caboose! But I like to think I am well rounded and like my back as well.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I like training my shoulders. I love to see them grow during the workout!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I eat high protein and low carb during off season. I will indulge here and there but I am gluten intolerant so that actually helps me keep my diet in check! I alter it quite a bit for contest prep. I stick to the staple foods most of us who compete eat. I love my oatmeal and actually eat it everyday during offseason! Though I am known to add item to my oatmeal like cranberries, raisins, pumpkin..I could go on…

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: Positive because they are not sure what it is all about. I have to explain it a lot but I don’t mind! Here lately I get a lot of ‘hey, are you a trainer?’ or ‘are you a bodybuilder?’ which is nice! Some folks are interested in doing it themselves, that is until I tell them how disciplined you must be with working out and diet and it is mentally challenging!


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 think I get sick of any comments! Folks just don’t know much about it so they don’t know any better than to comment or ask!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: That we don’t train as hard as the men! Whatever! You bet we do! LOL!


Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: Diet and diet! I like to eat clean because of the way I feel when I do, but after eating the same items for about 8 months this year, oy! I want some pizza man!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Erin Stern. I love her look and her lines. Gorgeous!

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Anything with sugar in it! Honestly though, I love white birthday cake with buttercream icing from the grocery store with vanilla ice cream.

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 the time it takes to do it. I am up at 4:15ish a.m. every day to do my first round of working out. I then go to work for about 9-10 hours and then am back in the gym again that evening at 5:30. Total gym time each day for me is about three hours. I work full time and am a wife and mother so you have to be able to juggle a lot of things at once.

Q: Is fitness modeling something that interests you?
A: Yes! I would love to do this! I do photography on the side as a hobby and am on that side of the camera a lot, but am told I am photogenic and model well and would love to do this for sure! I had an amazing photo shoot with Danny Fittro with Fit Treasures which was one of my best shoots ever!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Photography, spending time with family, down time on the couch watching television! I love to travel too! Oh and my husband just bought a RZR by Polaris so I guess we will be going to the sand dunes in the panhandle of Oklahoma soon! Who knows..maybe I will take up racing the darn thing!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Chazz Anderson.
A: 4:15 a.m.-Gym for hour of cardio. Drop the kiddo off at school by 8. Manage the fraud department at a large corporate bank for about 9-10 hours a day. 5:30 p.m.back in the gym for lifting and more cardio. When I get home, I typically clean the kitchen, do laundry, cook my food, talk to family about their day and help daughter with homework if she hasn’t done it already! On weekends I may have a photo shoot booked in addition to training so I am on the go constantly! And at some point during the hectic day, I check my Facebook!

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: In 2006 I was crowned Mrs. Oklahoma and competed at Mrs. America! I competed six times before I was crowned Mrs. Oklahoma. While there, they had a barrel race (yes, with real horses!) and I won! I used to ride in rodeos in my youth as well so it came natural to me. Competing at Mrs. America is something I have in common with fitness Pro Melissa Hall.

Q: Describe Chazz Anderson in five words.
A: Fun, Caring, Dedicated, Passionate and Eager.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: NPC Nationals in Atlanta Oct. 16. In 2011 I plan on competing in two or three NPC national level shows. (NOTE: Chazz has since competed at Nationals and looked absolutely incredible)

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: My coach! Chris Waid is his name. He is the reason I am where I am today in competing. He taught me a lot about diet and training and is as passionate about me winning as I am. Thank you to him and the “Go Figure” team that supports me! I am glad to be a “Go Figure” gal!


Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Chazz Anderson the athlete and competitor?
A: Yes! I would love the opportunity to be sponsored by someone. I am dedicated, professional and feel I have a lot to offer! I can be reached on Facebook/Chazz Anderson National Level Competitor or email chazzbug@yahoo.com.

Q: Chazz , again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Never ever ever give up!