Monday, December 27, 2010
Lanelle Phillips Interview
Usually this is the part where I do a little introduction of the competitor. Her story and things. I do not feel I can adequately tell Lanelle Phillips story. I feel reading her interview tells her story best. It is a story of inspiration, hard work, dedication, and motivation. All the way from what led her to the gym to where she is now. Lanelle did a great interview that I am sure you will love.
Q: First, Lanelle, 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 am Bahamian -- was born and raised in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, but have lived, worked and studied extensively in the US. I have lived in Colorado, Vermont, Florida, Massachusetts and before moving back to the Bahamas I worked for several years in Chicago. I am currently relocating to Miami Beach next week to work as a personal trainer at CRUNCH in South Beach. This will allow me to get closer to my parents as my mother is currently ill with cancer and my father is also getting older and has his own health issues. I have too many regrets already in life.. not spending quality time with my parents is not going to be another one. I am also excited to be able to focus on training and getting better conditioned for more shows as well as Nationals, which I qualified for. I own and operate a luxury real estate firm in the Bahamas, Lanelle Phillips Real Estate, and I have a supportive crew of staff and agents who will continue to operate my firm in my absence. I will be traveling back and fourth to oversee the operation of the company and the Internet allows me constant contact with clients.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Actually, I was more involved in education and organizations in school and never played sports. I chaired several clubs and worked 20 to 30 hours a week while in high school which was my main priority. College I concentrated on my studies and again worked full-time to afford school.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: Recovery from a drug and alcohol addiction initially put my focus on health and was an outlet for my stress while coping with life in sobriety. Living on a small island where the party lifestyle is so prevalent was very hard for me after returning home from a 30 day treatment facility in California. The gym was a huge part of my recovery and a great place to concentrate my energy. Happy hours were replaced with weight training and the absence of early morning hangovers fueled long runs which doubled as thought time for me. An hour on the road running in the morning with just me and my thoughts allowed me time to think about improving myself in all areas of life.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Yes, I was immediately hardcore about training -- there was a lot of healing that took place between me and the iron. I can honestly say, without exaggerating, that training and competing saved me.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I knew to take it to the next level I had to have a goal. I was encouraged by my trainer's partner to compete as I was putting in the time already at the gym and with an intense 12-week program I would be stage ready.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: The community in general is very supportive and I have been approached by women who say they are inspired by my dedication and that they follow my progress on Facebook. I am very dedicated to my training and it becomes such a huge part of my everyday life that I was not conscience of others actually following along for the ride. Having strangers approach me in the supermarket to tell me how much they enjoy my updates on training and pictures of competitions has been a huge motivator. The Bahamas is a country of less than 350,000 people spread throughout several islands. We are a community of very proud people. When one person does well, we all celebrate in that. I definitely feel the love and in return want to make those that support me proud of my accomplishments.
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Contest prep is extremely difficult. Until someone actually has put their body through the diet restrictions and workout program of preparing for competition, they can not begin to understand how, not only physically, but mentally challenging it is. The closer to competition you get, the harder it is and that peak week is absolute madness. There is a lot that goes into training.. my trainer first trainer, Rob Harris, once told me this is a thinking man's sport and he is right. There is so much that goes into what you eat, when you time your food, what type of supplements you take and when you take them, how you train and how you perform your cardio. It is not just about throwing iron around the gym.. there is a lot of science behind getting your physique to the level of conditioning necessary to place well in a competition.
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: I placed 3rd in open figure in my first competition, Northern Bahamas Body Building Championships and competed next in the Bahamas Body Building and Fitness Championships where I placed 2nd in open figure. I was invited to represent the Bahamas at the IFBB CAC's in Aruba but last minute decided to not attend when our local federation reneged on covering our expenses. My 3rd contest was Southern States and my first NPC competition... I placed 14th, not great, but i learned a lot about what the judges were looking for there. In September, I joined a new gym, The YMCA of Grand Bahama, where I met Caudel McNab, a former bodybuilder from Jamaica who also ran the gym. In 6-weeks, on a new diet and new workout program, he molded my physique into top condition. It was a grueling 6-weeks. I weight lifted 1 to 1.25 hours a day plus a minimum of 2 hours of cardio - sometimes more... My diet was extremely stringent and when I entered my last competition in October, The 2010 Dayana Cadeau Classic, I placed 1st in Masters and 3rd in open figure class C. I qualified for Nationals. That was almost 2 months ago and I am proud to say that my body has again changed in leaps and bounds thanks to my coach, Caudel McNab.
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: My back an my quads.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I like to train shoulders and back, however, I train my glutes and legs the most... 3x a week.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I have done 4 shows in 5 months so until October I have remained in contest prep. I took a month off from dieting, but not from working out, to allow my body a break. In contest prep I keep it simple... for me, the less options the better. I tend to eat egg whites, chicken, tilapia, lean beef, whey protein, green veggies, oatmeal and the occasional sweet potato. I cut out whey and egg whites 2 weeks out due to sodium content. My diet becomes 90% protein during that time and I only get carbs from vegetables. I am in contest prep now and will remain in contest prep through June. You have to start treating food as fuel versus enjoyment.
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 think you get so used to how your personal physique looks to you in the mirror you are not aware of how it appears to the average person. But the feedback is usually very positive and the most unlikely people are the ones who tend to be the most complimentary. However, I did create some gender confusion for a little boy outside the YMCA recently... I was walking in and I saw a little Bahamian boy about 6 years old with his mother. He looked at me perplexed, then looked at his Mom, back and me and then at his Mom again and asked... "Mummy - is dat a woman or dats a mon" -- I smiled - I didn't know whether to be insulted or take it as a compliment.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "You work out, hey?"
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I wish people understood how genetically difficult it is for women to gain muscle versus a man and the amount of dedication and sacrifice we endure to bring the best package possible to stage. Also, that diet is the larger part of our physiques and all the workouts and sit-ups in the world will not get you abs.. those are made in the kitchen.
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you.
A: I love iron! I can handle the weight lifting - I love it... the adrenaline rush, the pushing of your body, the pain - all of it is like a drug to me. But the diet? That is the worst. Every competitor is different, but most I know obsess over food and the closer to competition and the stricter the diet is, the worse the food obsessions are. The Food Network becomes "food porn" for us -- we cant eat any of it, but we want to watch it for hours!
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I love Kristal Richardson's physique. Ava Cowan is a crowd pleasure and I admire her as well... I think as a person and a competitor she has a great attitude. But, I enjoyed the physiques of Jenny Lynn, Monica Brant and Gina Alliotti.. today they are considered "too hard" - but to me, they are what figure originally was and should be today.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: EVERYTHING at a Bakery in Miami Beach called Mosies. I order 5 desserts.. and I eat them all.
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: Visualize your goal.. your mental dedication is as important as your physical strength. Dedication and sacrifice... dedication and sacrifice!!
Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women in the gym training as hard as men?
A: Yes. In fact, I think the sport of figure has brought a feminine form of body building more public and acceptable. Figure is a sport in it's teething stage.. just about 10 years on the scene. It is a growing sport and I believe that women are evolving performance wise in many areas of sports. What is considered sexy today is what is considered healthy and fit. As a global community it is all about health, environment, organic, green.... we will expect the same advancements in ourselves as we put on our communities. I am a true believer in "Go hard or go home" when it come to the gym.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I train 2 to 3 hours a day. The rest of my energy is spent on operating my company. But, being an island girl, I do enjoy boating, fishing and scuba diving when time allows. And I love to travel the islands... there is no place more beautiful than the islands of the Bahamas... except maybe Heaven.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Lanelle Phillips.
A: Pretty simple... morning cardio, office and work, evening cardio and weight training. Oh no - I sound so boring... check back with me in a few months after I move to Miami beach to work at CRUNCH... I'll have a sexier answer then - ha ha
Q: Describe Lanelle Phillips in five words.
A: Impossible ;)
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Usually they are surprised that a blonde haired, blue eyed girl is Bahamian.. and despite the hair color -- I am no dumb blonde. I value my intellect more than my appearance.
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I will be competing in LA on March 26th at Muscle Contest where winners take home the highly coveted Excalibur sword. In April, I will compete at The VPX Figure show in Louisville, KY and May Jr. USA's in Charleston, NC and then Jr. Nationals in Chicago in June. I am ready to start collecting more hardware. I also have been asked to be part of a cable TV fitness show in the Bahamas. We will start filming in January for that and I will be traveling to Nassau for shooting. My ultimate goal is my pro card. I will be coached by IFBB Pro, Marie Ann "Mo" Newman and her husband, Jim Newman. I am going to miss Mr. McNab. he has been a huge part of my recent success, but I am also excited for the opportunities I will have by relocating state side. I have great confidence in putting my training into Mo and Jim's hands.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Yes - me! I start working at CRUNCH on Washington Ave. in South Beach as of Christmas Eve! If you live in the Miami area and looking for a personal trainer please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, follow me on Facebook and Twitter
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Lanelle Phillips the athlete and competitor?A
A: MOTIVATION! I am living proof of what any woman can accomplish. I know how hard it is to pull from deep down inside to make changes in your life. People love to hear about real people doing extraordinary things. It gives them motivation and hope that they can set and accomplish goals too.
Q: Lanelle, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this.