Thursday, December 30, 2010

IFBB Pro Marina Lopez Interview

After an incredible competition history, in both Figure and Bodybuilding, that began in 2004, Marina Lopez won her very much earned and deserved IFBB Pro card at the 2010 Nationals. She is a great representative for not only female bodybuilding, but the Fitness industry as a whole. I am excited to see her pro debut and continue till she reaches her goal of competing at the Olympia.

Q: First, Marina, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for inviting me to do an interview with you.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born and raised and currently reside in Denver Colorado. I am 42 years old. I own a personal training studio and Bootcamp. I enjoy skiing in Vail and partying with the rich and famous.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: As a teenager I use to lift at Johnson’s Recreation Center with my Aunt Joann here in Denver. We used the book Hard Bodies by Gladys Portugues and Flex Appeal by Rachel McLish as our guides. I was very inspired by their physiques. It was not until I was 35 that I competed in my first competition. I was successful winning my weight class and the novice division. The more I learned the more interested I became. I hired a full time trainer in 2006. He encouraged me to compete in figure as well as bodybuilding. I entered 3 figure classes and 3 bodybuilding classes at the Northern Colorado Bodybuilding Championships and won each class and both overalls. I made the decision at that time to compete as a figure competitor. I won the overall at the Shawn Ray Pro/Am six weeks later and qualified for nationals. I competed in figure at the national level two more times but was not so successful. In 2009 after some encouragement from Steve Stone I returned to BB and I won the Colorado State and qualified for nationals.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I can’t say I picked it up easy. I am always learning things everyday and science changes so fast that you need to make changes with current information. I did see results right away when I began lifting and it inspired me to work hard. I have been lifting for many years. As a get older my body seems to develop more defined harder looking muscle.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I participated in a body transformation challenge sponsored by iSatori. In 2004 I was selected to be featured in the iSatori Lean System Success Plan book because I had such great success by following this basic eating plan. This eating plan is what introduced me to healthy eating and bodybuilding. The owner of the company asked me to consider competing and he would help me with the diet and training.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: I am really self motivated and I would have competed weather I had the support or not. My mom has only been to two of my shows and only a few family members ever attend. I do get support from my immediate family. Our oldest son travels with me to all the shows and trains with me on occasion. Our daughter is always asking to see me pose or dance. Our youngest son trains with us daily at our gym also. I have a very close knit group of friends that are very supportive. My clients are supportive and enthusiastic. I am encouraged by the people I love and that love me.

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: At my first competition I was very nervous. I was not sure what to expect. It seemed like everything was in slow motion that day. I did not expect everything to move so slowly. Allot of waiting and standing around. I had years of stage experience so the actual competition was not anything surprising. I was not sure what to expect, I just went with the flow.

Q: You won your Pro card this year at Nationals. What did winning that Pro card mean to you personally?
A: Yes, I earned my pro card this year at Nationals in Atlanta. I was very excited about earning my pro card. I set a goal to earn my pro card in 2010. This was the third show that I competed in this year. I had been dieting for almost 10 months so I was pretty exhausted. I felt a sense of urgency to win it at this show. Even though I earned my pro card it was bitter sweet. I am very competitive and I was set on winning the overall. Winning the overall at Jr. Nationals was an amazing feeling. From day one we have taken a business approach to bodybuilding, with the understanding that we would use the publicity from competing to build our business and my brand. This was very exciting for us because turning pro is an important part of achieving our goals from a business prospective. It was also very personally fulfilling. Being successful is rewarding.

Q: Can you share your contest history/
A: Here is a list of my contest history.
*2004 Northern Colorado
1st Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
1st Place Novice Bodybuilding
*2004 Rocky Mountain Bodybuilding Championships
1st Place Masters Bodybuilding
2nd Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
*2006 Northern Colorado
1st Place Masters Bodybuilding
1st Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
Overall Bodybuilding
1st Place Figure Masters 35-39
Overall Figure Masters
1st Place Figure A
Overall Figure Open
*2006 Shawn Ray Colorado Pro/Am
1st Place Figure A
Overall Figure
*2006 USA Championships
15th Place Figure A
*2008 Jr. National Championships
N/P Figure B
*2009 Colorado State
1st Place Middleweight Bodybuilding
Overall Bodybuilding
*2010 Jr. National Championships
1st Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
Overall Bodybuilding
*2010 USA’s
2nd Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
*2010 Nationals
1st Place Lightweight Bodybuilding - earned IFBB Pro Card

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would have to say my back. When I competed in figure my trainer placed a huge emphasis on my back and shoulders. So for several years that was my target body part. My back has a few years of training emphasis compared to the rest of my body.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I don’t have a favorite exercise. My workouts change every 4 to 6 weeks. The exercises vary so much from workout to workout I stay fresh and excited about my whole workout. I like to see the changes occur in each body part as I develop. I like to lift heavy and enjoy the exhilaration of achieving new personal bests. I have a difficult time squatting. It’s not that I don’t like squatting, but I injured my tail bone when I was young and it is very painful for me to go deep with heavy weights.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My everyday diet consists of balance. I follow the Lean System Success Plan by iSatori. You may order the book at my web site. I eat low glycemic carbohydrates, a portion of quality protein; I vary and utilize a combination of all three fat types and a green vegetable. I have one cheat meal a week. My favorite cheat meal is sushi.
Here is my pre contest meal plan. It is very restricted, but necessary to get the last bit of fat off. Depending on how much body fat I am holding determines how far out I need to begin dieting. I followed this plan for 9 weeks prior to nationals.
2 whole (OMEGA-3) Eggs with 4 egg whites
35g Whey protein isolate with 1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter
5oz chicken (ostrich, or turkey) with 1/4-cup (1oz) cashew nuts, or almonds, or walnuts (vary it)
5oz salmon, swordfish, or RED MEAT with a green salad (no tomatoes, red peppers, or carrots) with 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil or Mac Nut Oil and vinegar
35g Whey Protein Isolate with 1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter or 2 whole (OMEGA-3) EGGS with 4 whites
30g Whey Isolate with water
I train between 5 and 6 days a week. I use a variety of training principles. I train high volume for my legs. I often use pause rep training for all body parts. There are periods in which I utilize supersets comprised of insertion point and origin point training. I use allot of heavy compound movements. Heavy compound movements seem to be what makes my body respond the best. The only part that really changes during contest prep is I increase my cardio at 10-12 weeks out. I start with 30 minutes increasing it by 5-10 minutes each week. For Nationals I was up to 130 minutes a day. I am not a big fan of cardio, but it is a necessary evil. My focus is on growing my legs and maintenance on my upper body until each are balanced with each other.
Here is my current leg routine.
7 sets of wide stance back squats at 10 reps heavy with 2 minutes or less rest between sets.
5 sets of Romanian Dead lifts at 12 reps. Increase weight each set
Superset leg curls and extensions 5 sets at 16 reps no rest until all sets are completed. Use the same weight for all 5 sets.
I finish with 2 sets at 20-25 reps of weighted hyper extensions.

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 have never heard anything negative about my physique. I believe I am relatively small so I don’t tend to attract negative attention when I am in public. Maybe they are afraid to say something… I don’t know. For the most part I dress conservatively and try to keep things as discreet as possible. I don’t engage in behavior that would generate negative comments while in public. Once in a while a catch a glance of someone’s snicker or grimace that would indicate they might be somewhat put off by how lean I am. It is always women, so I just chalk it up to jealousy and have fun with it.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "How much do you lift?" or "How much can you bench?" my answer is usually the same I politely say “not very much”, while I imagine smacking them in the face repeatedly.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Let me explain things from my perspective. The judges in women’s bodybuilding have not done the sport any favors. They have encouraged women to be bigger and bigger to the point where the masculine look has dropped the sport out of the main stream fitness realm. Most of America does not want to look like some of the reigning women in the sport. The women in the sport have created a physique to meet the expectations of the judges. They would not have pushed themselves to this degree if it was not being rewarded, after all the judges set the standards. The IFBB has been talking about scaling back the size of the women in the sport, but yet they continue to reward the athletes that are the biggest and most defined. Of course the competitors are going to create these huge physiques, it is what the judges want. The misconceptions are that female bodybuilders want to be men and we all do drugs. Absolutely not, we want to win and we create the desired look based on the IFBB standards. On the other hand, there are allot of women who have sacrificed all their feminine qualities just to be big and have gone to the point where it has hurt our sport.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: It’s not the worst part, but the most difficult part is dieting. I can say there aren’t any worst parts. It’s fun and it is whole lot more healthy and competitive than slow pitch co-ed softball. The most annoying part are some of the competitors and their off the wall comments and ridiculous behavior. I could do without some of that. The best part is all the travel and meeting so many great people. I have made lifelong friends both competitors and fans alike. The part that attracts me the most is the healthy lifestyle of eating clean and exercising. I like the challenge of pushing my mind and body as far as I can. The structure and discipline required for bodybuilding is a test of my will power and is the single most difficult activity I ever participated in.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I have to go with a hometown lady, Heather Armbrust. She has wonderful stage presence and a great physique, She takes allot of time on the little things that make her look very beautiful on stage. Now I am going to date myself but I have to also recognize the ladies that got me interested in the sport Rachel McLish and Gladys Portugues.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Yes of course, I am a sushi connoisseur. I can put some sushi away. Every Sunday is my Sushi day.

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: Don’t be intimidated by this sport and don’t try to make your body into something you are not comfortable with. You don’t need to add tons of muscle or “bulk up”. There is an evolution going on in bodybuilding and once again the sport will recognize that conditioning, symmetry, stage presence and beauty will become a major factor in the sport. If you are the kind of person that seeks challenges bodybuilding is a great sport to become involved with. I have never undertaken any single challenge that required more commitment and will power to be successful. It is also very important to have a supporting cast. This is a lifestyle for us. We are all proud of each other in our home and my bodybuilding is no more important than each of their interests. At home, I am just Mom. We don’t have any photos or anything relating to my bodybuilding. We keep my trophies and one 8x10 photo at our gym. The sport can be very self serving and selfish. It is important to keep it in perspective and remember all the people around you.

Q: You also have a great website. Can you give out the address and tell people what they can find there?
A: Thank you for the great compliment on my site. The web site is a work in progress. The nice thing about my web site is allows me show you my alter ego. I can let lose a little and reveal a sexier more playful side of me. The address is simple You can find tons of photos, videos, my bio and many more things there.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activates you enjoy?
A: That’s easy… SLEEP. I could stay in bed all day. I have one day off a week. I get up at my regular time eat and go back to bed. My time is so limited I wish I had time for a hobby. I do like to garden and spend time with my family on my days off. During competition season I don’t have enough time in the day to do anything but work and train. I competed in three shows this year. Jr. Nationals, USA’s and Nationals. I had been training since February and did not stop until October. In the winter I make time to be in Vail and get my skiing in.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Marina Lopez?
A: I am out of bed at 5 AM. My first Bootcamp class begins at 6 AM. I teach three classes back to back. I then do an hour of cardio. Eat meal 1. I complete business essentials, accounting, inventory, banking and so forth for a few hours in the morning. I train a few clients mid day. I then get my training in and some more cardio. I usually do live training session on I train another client or two and then teach two more evening boot camps. I usually go home around 8 PM, spend some time with my family before getting some things done around the house and going to bed around 11:30-12

Q: Describe Marina Lopez in five words.
A: Persistent, relentless, Determined, Forgiving and Loving.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I use to own my bird toy company. Lucky Bird Toys Int. We designed and distributed high end bird toys worldwide. The toys were constructed using a bulletproof polymer and we marketed them to large bird owners. My bird toys were featured on The Jay Leno Show. There is more, but you will have to go to my web site for that side of me...

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I am currently dieting for my appearance at the Arnold Expo in March. I will be working in three booths and doing numerous videos and photo shoots. You can find me in my sponsor booth iSatori technologies, I will be with Denise Masino and muscle Pin Ups and with Dave Palumbo and Species. I will be making my pro debut this year at the Phoenix Pro Show. My Competition goals are to compete at the Olympia and the Arnold in the future. We will continue to pursue bodybuilding for now and consider the physique competition once the IFBB establishes guidelines and standards. If my physique is relative to what they desire then we will try our hand at that.
My Personal goals are to grow my web site and continue to pursue the idea of franchising my personal training studio. At this time I am seeking investors and potential franchisees.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the important people in my life. I want to thank my trainer for all his support and knowledge. I have no idea how one person can know so much about bodybuilding. He has a real knack for knowing exactly what it takes to get me ready for a show each time. He also puts up with allot of my nonsense while dieting. I would also like to thank my children Joey, Jackie and Matias for their patience and encouragement. I would like to extend my appreciation to my friends for being supportive and positive through thick and thin. Lastly, I would like to thank Stephen Adele, CEO of iSatori for his continued support since the beginning of my competitive endeavor and signing me as an iSatori athlete. Being a part of the iSatori Team has inspired me to a higher level of commitment to excellence. iSatori is a leader in the supplement industry. Having the support of a reputable company backing me places me in the forefront of the fitness industry. Stephen Adele, owner and CEO of iSatori, have provided me with the best supplements, training knowledge, and nutrition information that are required for me to achieve my goals of one day competing in the Ms. Olympia.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Marina Lopez the athlete and competitor?
A: I am not actively seeking sponsors they seem to find me. Another area I have been very lucky. If there is a company that would like to offer additional sponsorship they can contact me at

Q: Marina, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I would like to invite everyone to join me on my site. I keep my blog updated as to appearances and upcoming promotions.

1 comment:

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