Thursday, February 3, 2011

Carrie Smith Interview

Carrie Smith did an incredible interview. Incredible because it was a great job of explaining herself and letting people know who exactly Carrie Smith is. She is a woman with an obviously love and passion for fitness, but also an apparent love for helping others achieve their training goals. She has competed only once, in Figure, and plans to move to Fitness with several shows planned this year. Will be exciting to watch her progress and represent herself very well in these shows.

Q: First, Carrie, 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 from Kalamazoo, MI. My parents still live in Kalamazoo and I just recently moved out and across town. I am an only child, but I'm not that spoiled, I promise!

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I was involved in gymnastics from age seven to about thirteen. I also ran cross country and was on the swim team in middle school. Once in high school I was on the Varsity cheerleading team. We cheered at the football and basketball games and also competed in our own competitions.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: During cheerleading we occasionally hit the weight room but after high school I bought myself a membership to a local gym. It was a gym where when you walked up the stairs you had to either turn right for free weights or turn left for cable machines. I turned right and never looked back. I immediately loved the feeling that lifting heavy gave me and it felt awesome to lift heavier than some of the guys there.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I'm naturally very strong and I picked up lifting really fast. I immediately started to feel results from training. I felt stronger and more confident every time I set foot in the weight room. I started to see the results within the first few months of training consistently.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I was flipping through the channels on TV one day when I happened across a Fitness America Pageant on ESPN2. Right away I knew I had found something that was going to be in my life in the future. I was in awe of these amazing women and was ready to do whatever it took to be up on stage with them one day.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: While I was getting ready for my first show I started a new job where I made some good friends that had workout/weight loss goals of their own. While their training/diet wasn't the same as mine, we all held each other accountable and made sure we weren't missing workouts or cheating on our diets. Even though my parents and family didn't really understand why I was doing it, they still tried to be as supportive as they could.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
AL I have a family friend who is a former bodybuilder and he tried to explain to me what precontest would feel like, what competing would feel like, and how I would feel after the show. Because of this, competing was everything I thought it would be and then some. When he said precontest would be the hardest thing I had ever done, he was right. When he said the actual show would feel like a reward for all that hard work, that was exactly how I felt. And when he said that afterwards I would feel capable of anything, he was 100% right about that too. I was pleasantly surprised by how genuinely nice all of the fellow competitors were and how there was no cattyness backstage.

Q: Can you share your contest history .
A: Western Michigan Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure and Bikini Championships: 5th place medium height figure. Just one show so far, but I already have 4 planned for Spring 2011.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I have spent so much time training to eliminate any parts that stand out or lag behind that I don't really have one favorite part anymore. I guess one thing in particular I like is when I'm starting to get really lean again and my vascularity comes back. That's one of those things that "normal" people just don't get!

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love to train biceps! I have to force myself to not train them so much because they respond so well to training and they're my favorite part to train.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I follow a pretty typical bodypart split, Back/Bi, Chest/Tri, Legs, Shoulders, Arms day 2. This season I'm switching from figure to fitness so I've added in second gym sessions of plyometrics and I've incorporated routine practice and open gym at my gymnastics center into my training. I had always planned on competing in fitness but torn cartilage in my ribs forced me to compete in figure last time. My diet is oatmeal/egg whites, fish/chicken and greens x 4 meals. I am also carb-cycling from now until my shows in March.

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: Definitely more positive. When women hear I compete they are delighted. They always tell me they think it's awesome that I compete. They ask if it's hard to stick to the diet and they tell me that they could never eat like I do. I have found an amazing gym, Anytime Fitness in Kalamazoo, where there is a very supportive environment towards my competing. There is a very friendly atmosphere and people come up to me all the time while I'm training to offer encouragement or compliment my physique.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I always think it's funny when people see my physique for the first time and they ask me if I ever eat. Of course I eat! I tell them, probably more than you do! You can't train in the gym as hard as a fitness athlete does and expect to see results or grow if you're not feeding your body. Training is just one little part of it, Nutrition is the majority of it.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Whenever I talk about competing, people always ask me how much money you win. I wish people understood that fitness athletes compete because they love the sport. Most of the women that compete all have other full-time jobs and families and they still find time to train, travel, practice and compete because of their love for the sport. Fitness is an incredible sport and I'm blessed to be able to compete in it.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: I really enjoy training, but the days when you're tired, sore, hungry, grumpy and you still have a second hour of cardio to do, it gets a little rough. Whenever I am lacking motivation I always remind myself that I "get" to train, not that I "have" to. Having the resources available to compete and get ready for a show is a blessing that not everyone has.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I admire and look up to Tanji Johnson, Oksana Grishina, Jamie Eason, Nicole Wilkens Lee, Jen Hendershott and Tracey Greenwood. There are so many amazing women in this sport, I admire anyone who decides to compete and follows through with it.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I am pretty good about sticking to an ultra-strict diet, but if I do get a craving attack it is usually Chocolate! Mmmm!

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 not to be afraid of the weights. Lift heavy and be consistent. Of course you won't see results if you train half-heartedly. Stick with it and anything is possible.

Q: Do you think it is becoming more accepted by society to see women training as hard as men in the gym?
A: Yes and no. I think women training with weights is becoming more accepted, but I think people still don't really realize that we are actually training as hard as men, if not harder sometimes.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I am a personal trainer, so training clients and seeing them meet their goals and exceed their expectations is something I love to do. Also, I am a pole dance instructor, teaching women the sensual and athletic art of pole dancing. I also enjoy spending time with my family and my dogs Phoebe and Barry.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Carrie Smith.
A: I wake up around 5am. Meet my friend Haley for cardio at 6am. Back home around 7:30am. Make my egg white and oatmeal breakfast. Then spend an hour or so on the computer networking and researching new training technique. Then at noon I leave for class in the afternoon. I'm back in the gym around 4pm for a weights/second cardio session. When I'm done training I work on my routine for a while. Once I'm back home I cook the next day's meals and study for school. I usually make it to sleep between midnight and 1am. And Repeat.

Q: Describe Carrie Smith in five words.
A: Loyal. Adventurous. Fearless. Determined. Enchanting.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: People would be surprised to know that I only have one kidney. I donated one to my father when I was 19 years old.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I am competing in 2 shows in March, 1 in April, and 1 in May. I am also training for the Kalamazoo Marathon on May 8th, 2011.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I would like to promote myself as a personal trainer. I offer a tough-love, no-nonsense approach to training. I am available in person or online/phone for training help. Any questions please feel free to contact me at

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Carrie Smith the athlete and competitor?
A: Competing is very expensive and I am looking for sponsors. I am available at I view sponsorships as a partnership between athlete and company. A sponsor would be getting a reliable, loyal and determined athlete that would uphold the highest standards for their brand.

Q: Carrie, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: You are more than welcome! Thank you for taking the time to promote the hard-working women of bodybuilding, fitness and mma. I encourage any one who has ever thought of competing to give it a try. Yes it's hard, but it's the most amazing thing you will ever do. Please contact me with any questions about competing at

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