Friday, November 12, 2010

Rene Marven Interview

Rene Marven is a personal favorite of mine. Let's be honest, she is a beautiful woman. But she has an amazing physique and her attitude is one you gotta love. So getting this interview with her was something I was very happy about. And she delivered with one of my favorite interviews to date. She has competed in multiple categories and is now going to try bodybuilding, and I am very excited to see that and see her look more and more incredible each time.

Q: First, Rene, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: No problem, thank you Jason! :)

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I'm 23 years old, living in Wappingers Falls NY. My birthday is January 19th, and I will be expecting gifts! ;) LOL! I have 2 brothers and a step sister. I currently live with my Mom, step dad, and younger brother in the same house I grew up in. My older brother and step sister live pretty far from here, so I don't see them very often. My dad lives in Wappingers, so he is very close by.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Actually YES! Growing up I played Soccer and Softball, but as I got older I was more involved in gymnastics and cheerleading. When I was in 8th grade I tried out for All Star cheerleading and made it as one of the youngest on the squad! That same year, I also made the High school gymnastics team. The practices never overlapped which made me able to participate in both simultaneously! Throughout High School I was a cheerleader in a very competitive program, we competed all over the US, even at Nationals in Dallas TX. After HS I was involved in the program in a variety of ways... I volunteered 1 season as the team conditioning coach. Another season I worked as one of the choreographers for their competition routine.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: In the beginning of my junior year in HS I got a job at Golds Gym Wappingers in the Child Care department. I frequently went to the gym, mostly for ZUMBA class, cardio, Abs, and conditioning type workouts. At the time, I didn't have much knowledge on weight training. That January I signed up for the Golds Gym "Body Transformation" which was not just a weight loss contest! However it was a contest and I have a pretty competitive nature so of course I'd enter this! It was a 12 week program that initially offered 2 complimentary personal training sessions. I LOVED my trainer, to be honest this is really when I first thought I wanted to be a trainer! By the end of the 12 weeks I had only lost 4 lbs... not surprising since I was never really out of shape, but I was shocked to have lost 11% bodyfat! I noticed my abs first, but my arms also started to show some cuts. That was just the beginning... ;)

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I was always involved in sport specific training and conditioning workouts, but when I started weight training I enjoyed it the most and saw better results fast! Once I was shown or told something, I remembered it. Too bad that didn't always happen in school! My mom always told me that when I'm interested in something it comes naturally. She was exactly right, because that's what happened with training.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: In June 2007 I started working at Vitamin Shoppe while attending community college where there was no cheerleading or gymnastics team. At work I saw some bodybuilding magazines and wondered if I could compete in Fitness because of my gymnastics background it looked like fun. Many of our customers were male bodybuilders, one in particular, Bill Young told me about an upcoming local INBF competition October 2007. I looked into it to find that the INBF organization had no fitness division, but there was something called figure. I read the description and felt like that was where I'd belong. When I decided I wanted to do it, that was it. I started dieting in June, kept training consistently, learned the Figure posing and hit the stage that fall taking 2nd place in my class!

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: This is a tough one, I wouldn't say they supported me or didn't support me. It was a strange thing to do, no one was that familiar with the sport to really understand what I had to do. My family started to understand more and more as I continued preparing for the show and my mom helped by cooking almost ALL my meals! However, when it came time for the big day, everyone was there! My friends and family came to either the prejudging, finals, or both shows to support me and It was then that they all really started to understand why I wanted to do this. That was the best feeling, they were so proud and that alone would have been enough to keep me competing.

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it
A: The funny thing is that I had never even seen a show before competing in one! I really had no idea what to expect, but I thought about how it might be in my head... lol... It turned out to be so much better!!!! The whole experience of being painted tan, having bold make up on, wearing heals, and a sparkly suit was just part of the fun. I loved being on stage, photographed off stage, seeing my family there, and meeting more girls who do the same thing was amazing!

Q: You have competed in multiple divisions. Is it a goal to show that it is possible, or is it just you wanting to get bigger, or what?
A: Initially I tried the INBF Fit body division because I liked the fact of posing like bodybuilding but keeping it very feminine by wearing heals and posing with open hands. Depending on the physique, someone can easily cross-over from Figure by simply posing "harder". The following year I was heading out the the Olympia as a spectator when I was notified there will be a Bikini Model search for Flex Magazine. I was 4 weeks out from a Figure contest so I still had a relatively "soft" look and we all know how much I love the stage, so I entered for fun. There were over 100 girls in the contest and only the top 10 were announced, unfortunately I was not one of them. However, I LOVED being on the Olympia Expo stage and even landed a paid photo shoot out of it! The next month I competed in the INBF NYS Championships where I placed 2nd in Figure out of 9, 3rd in Bikini out of 19, and 10th in Fit Body out of 21! I'd classify my physique best as a Fit Body look, but I would have to say my presentation on stage is what led to the other top 3 placings. So, to answer your question better; Yes I want to show its possible, and Yes I want to become more well known! Next Season, Spring 2011 I will be competing in Female Bodybuilding through the INBF. Eventually I want to return to Figure/Fit Body competitions, but not until I can say I was successful in all. My goal is to help more women prepare for competitions in ANY division they choose. I believe that if I can do well in each division, than I will become a better coach by passing along everything I've learned to my clients.

Q: Can you share your contest history
A: I've already mentioned a little of it, but here goes from the start!
*2007 INBF NYS 2nd place Figure,
*2007 INBF Monster Mash 3rd place Figure,
*2008 INBF Hercules 6th place Figure 5th place Fit Body,
*2009 INBF NYS 2nd place Figure 3rd place Best Body Bikini, 10th place Fit Body,
*2009 INBF Monster Mash 9th Figure 8th Fit Body,
*2009 INBF World Championships 5th place Figure.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would have to say my back. I've always had a pretty good structure but I've injured my back multiple times in cheerleading, gymnastics, and bodybuilding... It has been the most difficult body part to train but I've managed to safely train the last 2 years without injuries and noticed some great changes. Size is what I can see now, and I love the Front and back lat spread bodybuilding poses!!! I'm very excited to see how it will look come contest time when I am shredded lean! That is when you will see all the hard work I've been putting in during my off-season.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: My favorite muscle group to train is shoulders! I always had decent shape in the front and side of my delts, but lacked in the rear delt area. I've put more focus in that area over the last 2 years and have seen significant changes! Although my improvement is mainly due to the use of the reverse pec dec, my favorite shoulder exercise is the Hammer-Strength press. I love this exercise because it allows me to safely go super heavy with out the requirement of having a spotter! I used to love using the Dumbbells for this exercise but when my strength went up and i started using 55-66 lb DB's I spent half my strength and energy just getting the weights up to start, and my rep ranges were mostly 8-10 with the occasional 12 rep set. Now that I use the hammer-strength (plate loaded) machine after a couple light warm up sets I perform 3 sets with 2 plates each side for 12-15 reps. Each set is difficult but I always try to push out as many as I can whether that means 13 sometimes 15, or 12... I stay in that rep range. Once it becomes easy to get 15 for all three sets, that is when I will add more weight. So you can see why I would prefer lifting 90 each side over struggling to get 8-10 reps at 55-65 lbs, not to mention being much safer!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep
A: I split my training into 4 different days of workouts. 1) Legs & Abs 2) Shoulders & Calves 3) Back, Biceps & Abs 4) Chest, Triceps & Calves. I follow either 2-3 days on 1 day off than 2-3 days on 1 day off. Rest is just as important as training, and it is part of my schedule to make sure I have at least 2 days off from weight training each week. During 8-12 weeks of pre-contest prep I follow that same plan but the off days would most likely be some form of cardio training, posing practice, yoga, massage, or other activity.
My contest diet is strictly based on blood type beneficial/neutral foods. Based on my progress I will alter the amounts of each macro-nutrient but never completely eliminating all of one like some contest diets do. Another thing I would change are types of protein if I feel I should be loosing more body fat faster I may switch to fish as my main protein source rather than chicken or turkey. I make sure to eat my meals 3 hours apart from one another with the exception of my post workout protein shake and the following meal. After every workout I drink VPX Graham cracker flavored Zero Carb SRO which is a Whey Protein Isolate, because of its fast digesting nature I use it simply to recover but eat my next meal about 1 hour later. Each day I try to drink between 1 and 1.5 gallons of water. This is all pretty much the same plan in the off-season, the only thing that changes is the amounts of food and maybe a few "unplanned meals" here and there. I'd say an average day is 4-5 of my 6 daily meals are "clean" with 1 extra meal that may not be completely off the charts cheating, just not something I'd eat during contest prep. My goal right now is to maintain my weight as long as possible before I start to cut down to get ready for a Spring show.

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: Many people have a positive reaction either thinking its cool and wanting to know more about it, asking when my next contest is, even a few have given me compliments on my arms and said they can see why I compete! :)

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I guess since I've been mentioning I will be competing in female bodybuilding next, many people have asked, "So your gonna get really big?"... Its not so much the question that annoys me, but the eye rolling and puzzled look on their faces that really gets me! I just have to explain that it is not about women trying to look like men, it's about showing off our muscle in a feminine sexy way! I even told some, I'd have to be leaner than I was when I competed in figure maybe even weigh less. Of course you have to have muscle to show, but to get it to show well you have to have a lower body fat % than you do when you compete in Figure. Another piece of info I like to share is that in most INBF competitions light weight is under 120, and heavy weight is over 120... so it is very different compared to the men!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I guess I answered some of this in the question above, but there are more things I can mention! LOL. Something very important I'd like every girl to hear is that weight training will not turn you into a bodybuilder. (many of us wish it was that easy) To be honest its the diet that decides what type of physique you will make. For example, If I am training 3 female competitors, 1 bikini, 1 figure, and 1 fit body; all three of them would have similar goals in weight training like Rep Range, Sets,Tempo and Volume. Basically the weight they lift will be different due to each individuals strength but they will all be pushing as hard as they can. What should be different are Rest periods, Cardio, and DIET. Diet being the key here, if you want to be a bodybuilder you will have to eat! A female figure competitor can train just like a bodybuilder but would most likely be consuming half the calories which determines how they look.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part is being on stage, there really is no other feeling like it! The worst part about it is that its over way too fast! There are lots of areas leading up to the contest that are difficult, like maintaining the diet, training, cardio, work, planning everything, practicing, leading a normal life (LOL). I'm not going to lie and say its all easy and fun, but for many of us it's worth the sacrifices and hard work.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: This is a tough one, I look up to and admire so many female and male competitors from the WNBF to the IFBB! For female bodybuilders, Nicole Ball, Dayana Cadeau, Cathy LeFrancois, and Lisa Aukland. As far as male bodybuilders, I'd have to say Bill Young, Dorian Yates, Branch Warren, Dexter Jackson, Hidetada Yamagishi, Jim Cordova, and Rodney Helaire. I also admire Monica Brant, Tanji Johnson, Trish Warren, Alison Frahn, Angela Mraz, and Shela Resendes.
I listed a bunch, but there are still many more who have encouraged me over the years or gave me motivation!

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: It's not so much of a "cheat food" as it is cheating in the amount I consume!!!! I'd have to say Sushi is my favorite cheat meal, even when I only have Salmon/Tuna on brown rice and an avocado roll with brown rice...practically everything is fine on my diet but I will overeat at this meal just because it is soooooooo good! ;)

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 to not be afraid to lift heavy! Just like my answer in an earlier question, girls should lift as much as they can for the appropriate rep range to get the best results! Let the diet take care of the rest ;)

Q: Do you think it s becoming more common to see women training in the gym as hard as men?
A: YES, Absolutely! As women understand more about diet and training, they realize what they can do!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Training really is my life (by choice) but I do enjoy traveling, shopping, dancing, going to the beach, spending time with family and friends, I'm usually down for anything. I do also like my "lazy times" too... lol watching a movie at home, or extra sleep is always good in my book! :)

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Rene Marven.
A: Hmm... not to interesting lol!
I wake up, eat breakfast work on my computer for a while, possibly run some errands, eat 2nd meal, possible client or work from home, eat 3rd meal, go to the gym for weight training followed by a little cardio or posing practice, drink post workout shake(meal 4), go home, shower, eat meal 5, work some more and a little free time spent on Facebook or, eat meal 6, make important phone calls/check in with clients, and then relax till its time for bed.... usually watch DVD episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm or Will and Grace! Sometimes watch a movie... then go to sleep and do it all over again! :)

Q: Describe Rene Marven in five words.
A: Ambitious, Energetic, Approachable, Encouraging, Knowledgeable

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Before I decided to pursue a fitness lifestyle I was a bartender and shot girl for about 1 year! Guess I got it out of my system, since I rarely ever have a drink!

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: This spring (2011) I plan on competing in multiple bodybuilding shows from April to June. After that season, I'm almost positive I will return to Figure/Fit Body the following season.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Myself! :) I offer custom meal plans & training programs for non-competitors and competitors. I also offer presentation and posing lessons for women competing in Best Body Bikini, Figure, Fit Body, and Bodybuilding. Men feel free to contact me so I can refer you to a coach for posing instruction.
I'd also like to take the time to share a product with all of you. It has made my life so much easier when it comes to dieting. I'm able to plan and organize my meals much more efficiently and carry them with me everywhere I go. Since I got my six pack bag I haven't missed a meal! If you are having trouble sticking to your diet this WILL help you! Check them out at When ordering be sure to use my promo code: RMARVEN to save 10%
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Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Rene Marven the athlete and competitor?
A: Yes, I would love to become a sponsored athlete! I'm positive I wouldn't be a let down! My enthusiasm and hard work shows when I hit the stage, and my marketing skills would help benefit any company choosing to sponsor me. Please contact me
As we all know competing is an expensive sport. Loving it surprisingly just isn't enough lol. Any donations are always appreciated and accepted via PayPal to As a thank you, I will send an autographed photo and possibly add your company to my links on Facebook or my website which will be open very soon!

Q: Rene , again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you very much Jason!
Everyone please visit the "Rene' Nicole Fan Page" on facebook and click "LIKE" at the top! Stay updated on my life, view photos, and start discussions! Soon my website will be open... when I have the exact launch date I will post it to the fan page on Facebook!

1 comment:

  1. I have been lifting pretty hard for the last year, and taking a great post workout shake, and have seen some pretty great results. I don't think I'll ever be on the same level as some of these women though. Thanks for the post, very inspiring!