Thursday, January 13, 2011
Beth Polisson Interview
After my first interview with Beth Polisson, she immediately became a favorite. I was so impressed. I was impressed with the physique obviously, but with the person to. I am not alone in that. Often when I do interviews or round tables and ask about other competitors, Beth's name is brought up as much as anyone. Very rarely do I address potential sponsors in these, but if you are a company that sponsors athletes, there are few who I would recommend as much as Beth. She is everything you would want. Great physique, very beautiful, respected, knowledgeable, and a love for the sport. Beth has not even scratched the surface as far as what she can and will do in this sport.
Q: Beth thanks for taking the time to do another interview.
A: Thanks for including me again. It's always fun and definitely an honor to do these interviews!
Q: For those not familiar can you tell a little about yourself.
A: I am 28 and live in Durham, NC. I am a top 5 national level figure competitor, fitness model, and personal trainer. When I'm not in the gym or in the kitchen, I am a project manager at a pharmaceutical company in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. I spend my spare time watching football (go Pats!!) with my boyfriend, Jim, and my dog, Trotter. I also enjoy really trashy reality TV (ahem, Jersey Shore). Sometimes, my brain needs a break :)
Q: Can you update people on whats been going on with you since our last interview, on and off the stage.
A: I haven't competed since our last interview. I really wanted to take a very long off season. When you do show after show after show and spend most of your time in a caloric deficit, you cannot make mass gains. It's just not possible. It's very important to me to have a competitive physique, and in order to have that, I really need to pack on some mass in my upper body. Many competitors struggle with a long off season, and I will admit, I've had my struggles. It is difficult to watch your body get bigger and to watch the scale go up, and to even have to buy bigger clothes because of the gains you're making. I don't know a single competitor who hasn't struggled with this at some point in her competitive career. But, I always have to remind myself that these things mean bigger, rounder shoulders, tighter, higher glutes, and wider lats on stage. Flipping that switch in your brain isn't easy, and I don't have any magic advice for anyone struggling with it - it's just a state of mind that you have to reach. Be happy with your physique, both off season and on. We're healthy - we're not eating cheeseburgers 24/7 and getting fat. I sometimes need to remind myself of that.
Q: Have you been watching any of the competitions lately? Anyone impress you?
A: Of course!! I am really happy that Erin Stern won the O. I love her physique. She's very athletic, and that really shows on stage. She's a perfect combo of beauty, athleticism, and sex appeal. She is definitely my fave. Shala Singer and Jackie Hoppe looked great at the Kentucky Pro, and a big congrats to them on their 1st pro show. I saw both of these girls at Jr. Nats last year and really am happy that they were both able to go pro. Much deserved.
Q: What are your thoughts on the new Physique division?
A: I like it - I think it'll give those who are too muscular for figure, but not muscular enough for BB a good arena in which to compete. Nothing wrong with getting more women into competing. Those who were too small for figure have found their niche with bikini, so why not go in the other direction? Makes sense to me. I do NOT want it to phase out FBB, though. Those women put in far too much time and dedication to their sport to be phased out by this new division, and I sincerely hope that does not happen.
Q: Have you noticed any one part of your physique that you really improved on in 2010?
A: My shoulders and back have definitely improved since I started my off season. I'm almost where I want to be :) Almost!!
Q: Heading to 2011, what do you want to improve on?
A: I want to stay with my current level of leanness and continue to add mass to my upper body. I practice posing every day, and continue to strive to be poised on stage. I'm just on autopilot at this point!
Q: Looking back on 2010. On a scale of 1-10 how would yo are the year for yourself competing wise?
A: An 8. I had a lot of success this year. I was a tad disappointed in my physique at Jr. USAs, and I'm not sure I would've done as well if more girls had competed. Some have told me that's selling myself short, and maybe so - but that's just how I felt about my physique. That was a very hard prep for me, mostly because of the manner in which I prepped. However, I learned from it - I learned what works for me and what DOESN'T work for me, and that's very important. That will allow me to really focus on prepping the right way in 2011.
Q: As far as the fitness industry, are there any changes you would like to see made?
A: I think shows are going to be RIDICULOUSLY long this year due to the new divisions with both the men and the women. I think breaking the shows into 2 days would be easier on both competitors and spectators. As it is, being backstage for 6+ hrs for both pre-judging and the night shows is really painful sometimes, especially on low carbs :)
Q: Depending on who you talk to, some think women in the industry are getting more respect, then others say less. Which side do you fall on?
A: Eh.......this is a tough question for me, because I'd like to say more, but there's been some negative publicity out there. There have been some TV shows that have painted female competitors in a not so positive light. Now, I know that a certain amount of editing is done to make these stories sensational, but the average viewer does not. It creates an unfair bias and the shows I've seen have made female competitors look crazy, obsessed, and a little messed up in the head. So, what I see at my competitions has been nothing but positive, but what's been shown on TV is not so positive.
Q: Do you get a lot of people asking for diet and training advice? If so, whats the most typical type of question?
A: All the time. I do have clients, but some are way more interested in the "quick fix." Often times I get asked, "Can I lose 5-10lbs without eating healthy like you?" "Can't I just do more cardio?" "I don't want to lift, because it's going to make me bulky. Can I just eat 500 cals a day and lose weight?" Some of the misconceptions out there REALLY amaze me. I mean, really. Everyone wants the easy way out. There is no easy way out, so stop asking! Work hard in the gym, eat right, and the weight will come off, but it's not going to happen overnight.
Q: Can you give people an idea of what your typical training routine and diet are like.
A: I lift 4-5 times a week, depending on what my program looks like - it changes every 2-3 months or so. Last month I had a back and shoulders specialization routine, but right now my split looks like this:
Weds: teach spin (30 mins of spinning, 30 mins of sculpting)
Sun: teach spin (30 mins of spinning, 30 mins of sculpting).
No cardio other than when I teach spin. It's unnecessary, esp in the off season.
My diet is awesome. I love my food, I'm never starving, and I truly enjoy it. I have 2 different meal plans - 1for lifting days, 1 for off days. My diet on lifting days looks like this:
Meal 1: 2 eggs, 3 egg whites, 40g oats, 1 serving of fruit (to equal 15g carbs - 120g blueberries, usually)
Meal 2: 100g chicken, 200g sweet potatoes, 3 fish oil tabs
Meal 3: 115g tilapia, 130g brown rice, 14g almonds
Meal 4: 100g top sirloin, 200g russet potatoes
Meal 5 (post workout meal): 1 scoop protein powder, ANY low fat carb to = 50g carbs and does not exceed 240 cals. It can be anything that fits into those parameters.
Meal 6: 170g fat free Greek yogurt, 30g natural PB, 1/2 scoop whey protein
Q: What is your favorite healthy meal and favorite cheat meal?
A: Favorite healthy meal is my last meal of the day: 170g Greek yogurt, 30g natural peanut butter, 1/2 scoop protein powder. I use a chocolate banana flavor and then add 2g sugar free/fat free chocolate jello mix and stir it all together. Jim always looks at me sideways when I start to lick the bowl. Favorite cheat food: pizza, Sweet 16 doughnuts, or the chocolate peppermint shake from Chik-Fil-A. Asking me to pick between those 3 is impossible.
Q: What body part do you most enjoy training and why?
A: Shoulders. I loooooove me some shoulders. I don't know any competitor who doesn't want nice, big, round coconut shoulders on stage. I also think they give the physique a very balanced look.
Q: Which do you least enjoy training and why?
A: Frigging legs. I hate leg day with a passion. You KNOW that the next day is going to suck. Ugh.
Q: When it comes time for off season, how long do you consider your off season, and how far over contest weight do you like to go?
A: It depends. I'm about 20lbs over right now, but I'm quite lean. I am also 10lbs heavier right now than I was at this time last year, so I will be competing at a higher weight in 2011 - so I'm not sure how far over I am - probably closer to 10-12 than 20. For me, a long off season is necessary to make gains. If I was in a more maintenance phase, things might be different, but since I'm still new to this sport, I need to gain. I can see myself in the future not needing to bulk so much and to be in a more maintenance type of routine, but for right now, I need to be gaining as much mass as possible.
Q: Do you prefer training alone or with a partner and why?
A: I really prefer alone, although I like a spotter on shoulder day so I can go heavier. I don't like to be distracted and talk while I'm working out - I'm in the gym for a reason, and it's not to be social or to give someone diet and training advice.
Q: Usually I ask what the biggest misconception about competitors is. This time I will ask whats the biggest misconception about you?
A: That I'm unhealthy and starve myself before shows. That couldn't be farther from the truth. When I first started lifting, my blood pressure was about 140/90 - pre-hypertensive. My father has been on BP meds since he was 25, so I'm genetically predisposed to hypertension. However, this past summer, my BP was 113/72. The proof is in the pudding - #s don't lie. My prep for shows is not like most - I prep with high intensity circuits and interval work, not with hours of steady state cardio. In order to keep the required intensity, I'm actually quite well-fed during prep. I eat probably double what most competitors eat in the weeks leading up to a show.
Q: What would you say is your biggest achievement so far in the fitness industry?
A: Placing top 5 at Jr. USAs. Again, it was a small class, but top 5 is top 5 - I'll take it!
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
A: 6:30am - wake up, make coffee and breakfast, play with the dog, check email
8:30am - go to work
5:30pm - leave work and head to the gym
7-730pm - head home for post workout meal, pay bills, clean house, do laundry, play with dog again, food prep, etc
11pm - bed!
Q: Finish this sentence. In five years I will be____.
A: Happily married, maybe with a kid, starting a successful personal training and contest prep business with my friend, perhaps with some pro status :)
Q: Anything else you want to plug or promote?
A: Not at the moment!
Q: Looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what do they get in sponsoring you as an athlete?
A: Yes, I'm still looking. I have been corresponding with a few, but all of them are maxed out in athletes in NC :( I'd still love to be sponsored and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd be a great athlete to sponsor for a few reasons. a) I am a fabulous cook and really love experimenting with cooking clean foods for contest prep. I cook with protein powder all the time, and have nearly perfected a pumpkin protein pancake recipe. It seriously tastes exactly like pancakes. And I know everyone says that about theirs, but I actually fooled my parents when they were in NC for Thanksgiving. They had no clue they were healthy pancakes. Same with my Ezekiel Bread french toast. b) I used to travel about 80-90% for my job. If there is 1 person on this planet who can give great travel advice, it's me! I actually traveled when I was 2 weeks out from a show and managed just fine. I have it down to a science.
Q: Beth, again, thanks so much for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks for including me again, Jason!! I want to say good luck to all the gals competing in 2011, and I hope to see some of you on the stage soon!