Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Sarah Block Interview
I was lucky to meet Sarah Block due to her relationship with someone else. I honestly didn't know anything about her, but now that I do I am very impressed. I learned a couple things about Sarah in this interview. 1. She has a great attitude, 2. She is a dedicated and hard worker 3. She is very inspiring, and 4. She loves American Idol. She has not competed since 2009 but is looking to get back on stage maybe this summer. If she does, I will want to be there to see that.
Q: First, Sarah, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you! I thinks its great you are recognizing women in a sport that is under-exposed (no pun attended!) and under appreciated.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born in South Haven, Michigan which is a small beach town located on Lake Michigan almost directly across from Chicago. I moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan to attend Western Michigan University for my undergraduate education (Clinical Nutrition) and that is where the bodybuilding but officially bit me! I currently live in Cleveland, Ohio and am part of the 2012 Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Cleveland State University. I am happily married to Ryan Block and we have three bulldogs as children. We have an amazing group of friends here in Ohio and we are both very close with our families.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I grew up skiing (downhill) every weekend and playing sports but nothing on a serious level. I wouldn’t say I was “especially” athletic, but I have always been a decent athlete.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: My dad is who originally got me involved in the gym. Anyone who knows me, knows that my dad is my best buddy. I would always tag along with him to this TINY health club in our hometown and would swim, play racquetball, and lift weights. It was the type of place that had 3 pieces of cardio equipment, and 2 of them were normally broken lol. It was attached to an EconoLodge if that paints the picture any better But, its all we had, so at the time I loved it. This is also where I came to meet Nate Wolfe, one of the top nutritionists in the industry, and where a life long friendship would begin. So to answer the question, is was a combination of my father and Nate.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I started when I was 16 years old, and I saw results fairly quickly. I graduated high school at 98 pounds and was always a small fry. I am only 5’2” on a good day :-) I had NO idea what I was doing nutrition wise, but I was always consistent in the gym. I became a trainer by the time I was 18 years old, and it just became a part of my lifestyle I can’t imagine giving up. Besides a trip to Italy in 2007, I have never taken any time off for more than a few days since I started training.
6. What made you decide to compete for the first time?
When I moved to Kalamazoo, I found a job at a gym called “EveryBodies Gym” that was close to campus. The owner was Tracy Traskos, who is now a retired IFBB fitness pro. We became close friends and training partners, and under her tutelage, she helped me compete in my first show, the Western Michigan Bodybuilding Championships.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Yes, I have always been blessed with an unbelievable support system from my friends and family. The friends that didn’t really support my goals weren’t really around much since I basically only had time for the school and gym. The gym has kept me out of A LOT of trouble
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Competing is a GREAT experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I am a better stronger person because of it. I would say it’s the journey that’s important, not the destination. I have seen many people place their worth on what judges award them placing wise, and I find that really sad. As with any business, which is EXACTLY what this industry is, there is always things I find unappealing and surprising, but I like to focus on the positive.
Q: Can you share your contest history.
*2000 Western Michigan Bodybuilding Championships-4th place
*2002 Junior Nationals-16th
*2007 Michigan Bodybuilding Championships-1st short class and overall
*2009 North American Bodybuilding Championships-12th
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
Probably my back….
11. Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise.
A" I love training everything honestly. My foundational exercises are pull-ups, deadlifts, squat, incline bench, and cleans. I compete in figure but I train like a bodybuilder.
But my new found passion is YOGA. Honestly that’s probably one of the hardest workouts I have done. I am working on becoming a certified instructor, which takes almost 2 years!
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I train using a five day split: back, legs, arms, shoulders, chest. I really don’t alter my training during prep, but obviously my diet tightens up A LOT. I wish I could say I keep my offseason under control, but well……I live it up! LOL Normally about 6 months before a show I really clean things out and slowly tighten them as the show date approaches.
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 :-) People really respect the dedication that it takes to achieve the “look” of a competitor. They normally have LOTS of questions. Since this is my passion, I don’t mind talking about it, and its fun educating people on a sport that the general public doesn’t know much about.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: My BIGGEST pet peve is when somebody says, “EWWWWW, What are you eating? That looks gross.” I then reply with a smile on my face and in the sweetest voice, “No, actually you going to McDonald's everyday for lunch is gross”….that normally backs them off for awhile :-)
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I consider myself a competitor, but there are MANY other things in my life! Its all about balance. I think many people think that athletes can be obsessive and vain, which is true to some extent, but ONLY during contest prep. This is one of the reasons I have kept competing at just a hobby level, and don’t plan on competing every year, or multiple times per year. I have found other ways to be involved in the industry without constantly prepping which can be a very self-fish journey. I also judge, own a spray tan company, as well as a contest prep/nutrition company. These outlets give me a way to personally be involved in competing without the constraints of a looming prep.
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: Best thing-the way I feel hands down. Worst thing-I get crabby if I have to miss workouts lol
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Physique wise Monica Brant. She is the queen! I have many other competitors that I admire, in fact I admire ANYONE who has the guts to get onstage and give this sport a shot!
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: DO I????? OH Jeez, this is the best question so far Lets see…SUSHI, SushI, SuShI, and SOOOOOOSHI. That’s my favorite. Second is cheesecake, and a close third is Lebanese food :-)
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: Its ALL about your diet, get that in check and you can accomplish anything.
Q: Do you think it is becoming more accepted by society to see women training as hard as men in the gym?
A: I have never received ANY negative attention in regards to training, only encouragement. I think a woman with confidence is sexy, and the majority of society would agree with me :-)
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Yoga, LOTS of time with my dogs, and school-that’s honestly all I have time for now a days. I also love a nice day of shopping, going out to various restaurants, and a good glass of red wine. We are also new Harley owners and nothing beats a ride on a nice summer day!
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Sarah Block.
A: Wake up 530 am, roll downstairs for 30 minutes of cardio, eat, and be at school by 830am. School until 4p, come home play with dogs, train, homework, and bed….sound exciting? :-) I actually love it-I live like this 90% of the time even during my offseasons which can last awhile. Weekends we will go out and live it up every once in awhile but the typical day is described above.
Q: Describe Sarah Block in five words.
A: Passionate, honest, driven, open-minded, and a DREAMER
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I have never missed an episode of American Idol. Ever. I know you are impressed.
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I would like to get back onstage later this summer and hopefully re-qualify for a national show.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Block by Block PHYSIQUE
Q: Are you looking for sponsors?
A: Honestly I am not looking for sponsors. Am I the first girl to say that? Not to say that I wouldn’t do it, as I think I would be a good representative but I am not actively seeking anything. You can contact me through my website, www.builtathlete.com.
Q: Sarah, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Just thank you Jason and mad props to all the strong women out there that rep the fitness and fight industry. Watch out for Block by Block Athlete Jessica “Evil” Eye…this is going to be her year in MMA!!!