Friday, February 11, 2011

Cicely Kyle Interview

A gymnast and athlete all her life, Fitness seemed that natural progression for Cicely Kyle. And if you look at her contest history, you will see she not only progressed, but did amazing. In a time when some seem to be giving less and less coverage to Fitness, Cicely is both an example of whats great about the Fitness division and seems to be someone who would be a great spokesperson for the division. After taking 2010 off I can't wait to see Cicely have a big 2011.

Q: First, Cicely, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you, I enjoy the opportunity to talk about what I do and why I do it.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I grew up in Pensacola, Florida with a very active family. I am the baby, so I spent a lot of time trying to keep up with my older brother and cousins. My mom and dad have always been supportive of my inability to sit still as they both enjoy working out. They are definitely my 2 biggest fans.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Oh yes, I was in gymnastics for about 3-4 years, played basketball (all day everyday for a number of years), and then I ran track all the way through college.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: My father was (and still is) a workout enthusiast so it wasn't a long journey to the weight room. All I had to do was go into the garage. Once I got to high school and discovered how strong I was (having high school basketball teammates to compare myself to), I was hooked.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Training came pretty naturally. Once I started training specifically for competitions, I think I began to see a difference in my body after the first year. Before competing, I lifted just to see how much I could lift :-)

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I was friends with this guy who was training for his first bodybuilding show in 2006. He was set on convincing me that I should do the show with him but I told him I wasn't interested in standing onstage and posing. That just seemed way to boring. I looked into it and found the fitness division. Perfect! I remember seeing those competitions on ESPN growing up and thinking "I could do that" and now I had my chance. I entered the show, found some music, came up with a routine with the help of my friends, borrowed a suit, and within 6 weeks I was onstage in June 2006.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Just like with anything else, there are people that love it, and people that hate it. My family has been very supportive of me, they come to some of my shows and provide feedback when I'm brainstorming routine ideas. Some of my friends think what I do is really cool so they support me, but honestly, most of my friends think I'm a bodybuilder so they either like it or have they own issues with female muscles that they politely tiptoe around when they are in my presence.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I really didn't know what to expect since I didn't actually attend a show until my first competition. Many things surprised me, and most of them were backstage. The seriousness of claiming your own territory, orange people walking around, having your snacks, and willingness to let ANYONE roll glue across your boob was definitely eye opening. Lol, but it was all fun.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
*2006 Southern Classic 2nd place fitness
*2006 Heart of Dixie 1st place Overall Fitness
*2006 Fall Classic Women's Tri-fitness National Challenge 2nd place Overall, 3rd place overall grace and physique, 1st place Age group
*2007 NPC Steel World Overall Fitness winner
*2007 Southern States Championships 2nd place overall
*2007 Florida State Championships Overall Winner
*2007 Fall Classic Women's Tri-fitness National Challenge 2nd place Overall, 1st place Age group: Fitness Skills, Fitness Routine
*2007 NPC National Bodybuilding, Fitness, and Figure Championships 9th place
*2008 Women's Tri-fitness World Challenge 5th place Overall, Dual Fitness Overall Champion, Age group champion
*2009 NPC Jr. National Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, and Bikini Championships
6th place
*2009 Women's Tri-fitness World Challenge 2nd place Overall, 3rd place Dual Fitness ,
3rd Place Dual Fitness Optional, Age group champion

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I think my legs are my best part, 11 years of sprinting, long jumping, and triple jumping have been most helpful in their shape (and not so helpful for my knees)

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love training legs. I enjoy pushing myself with heavier weights and I can obviously do that best on leg exercises. After a session of power cleans, squats, and box jumps, I really feel like I did something at the gym that day. I'm worn out and I feel pretty good about myself.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Normal? I don't know if I have a "normal" routine anymore. Previously, it was eat clean everyday and train 4-5 days/week. Now, since I'm just getting back into shape and I more or less took 2010 off, my off season training and contest prep will be one and the same. For contest prep, I will be working my way back up to lifting 4 days/wk (mostly powerlifting and competition specific exercises), sprinting 3-4days/wk, and routine practice 3-4days/wk. When I am about 4 weeks out, I stop lifting as often and spend more time on my routine as well as cardio. But this is just a template. Each day depends on how my body is feeling, so there tends to be a lot of adjusting.

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: The most common reaction is confusion. Since most people have never heard of fitness competitions, they assume I'm a bodybuilder which generally evokes a negative reaction from people. But after I explain what I do, most people are curious and positive.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I get sick of people telling me how good my muscles look on me but how they would not want to have "big bulky masculine" muscles themselves. It leaves me quite puzzled.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I think the biggest misconception is that everyone that is training is on steroids and trying to get huge (meaning gaining as much muscle mass as possible). I wish people would understand that you can train without becoming huge and that gaining a little (or a lot) of muscle mass does not make you any less feminine.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training to me is watching the results unfold. I was an exercise science major and I'm a strength and conditioning specialist so writing workouts is fun for me on a professional and nerdy level. I like to see which workout plans produce results and which are not right for me.
The worst part of training is not training. I have had my share of injuries and setbacks that have kept me out of the gym and its the worst feeling in the world.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I think Adela Garcia and Myriam Capes both have phenomenal physiques. Tanji Johnson, Nicole Duncan, and Oksana Grishina put on some of the best performances. I really enjoy watching everybody because I enjoy seeing everyones strengths and how they choose to feature them in their routines.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Favorite cheat food hands down is Little Debbie snacks. I go through an entire box within hours of me stepping off stage.

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 to be confident in herself, because EVERYONE has his or her opinion on EVERY aspect of your physique. No matter what you look like, how much weight you lose, how much muscle you gain, whatever, there will always be someone to tell you what they think you did wrong. So train for yourself because you are the only judge that matters.

Q: Fitness seems to be unfairly getting less and less coverage and things compared to the other divisions. What will it take to change that?
A: I agree, the media is definitely pushing fitness out of the picture little by little and I think to change it, we have to push back. We have to encourage new competitors to try fitness. As fitness competitors, we have to show up in as many shows as we can. Basically, we are lacking in numbers and with the addition of new divisions, its making it harder and harder to have a presence at shows. Its really sad to train hard, diet, and spend countless dollars on contest prep to show up to a local or state show with only 1 or 2 other competitors in your division. When that happened, it made me only want to do the bigger shows (which is a vicious cycle, because now I'm one less fitness competitor at a state level show. I would LOVE to compete in 7-8 shows every year if I had the means. I know that is a lot of shows for most competitors but it would probably take numbers like that from the few of us that are out there in order to make a splash. Maybe there can be an incentive for fitness competitors that do a certain number of shows per year (like a discount on the next years NPC card, half off entry at the following years national show, etc)

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy drawing and just creating things in general. I also LOVE track and field so going to track meets, coaching high school athletes, and anything else that allows me to be around the sport is a great time for me.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Cicely Kyle.
A: As a physician assistant student, I have a very demanding school schedule. During the week, I'm up at 5:45, then its either breakfast before my 630 client or straight to work to teach a bootcamp class. Then I'm headed to class from 8-5 to enjoy exciting lectures on various topics in medicine (sarcasm intended). After class, I usually go back to the gym for another client or 2, or I'm headed to the library to tutor. Finally, I get to my personal workout, followed by studying on the treadmill. After that, I go home to eat, finish up any schoolwork, pack my food and clothes for the next day and get ready to do it all over.

Q: Describe Cicely Kyle in five words.
A: Ambitious, Fun-size, Energetic, Action-figure, Versatile

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I'm not sure. Depending on the setting when you meet me, I may very well be concentrating on something or simply zoned out. Unfortunately, people misinterpret this as me being mean or I come across as intimidating. I'm really not. I get focused when I need to be but the rest of the time, I'm pretty goofy.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I would like to compete in about 3 shows before NPC Fitness Nationals (or Jr Nationals) this year and that will probably do it until after I graduate July 2012. I begin clinical rotations for physician assistant school this fall and I wont have time to travel and compete during that period.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Cicely Kyle the athlete and competitor?
A: YES! They can reach me at Any company or individual that would like to contribute or set up a mutually beneficial sponsorship will be getting a sincere, knowledgeable, competitor, who can communicate with many audiences on your behalf.

Q: Cicely, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this.

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