Saturday, February 19, 2011
Holly Powell Interview
Holly Powell has been competing in Figure. In 2010 she decided she had a physique that was "More Bikini than Figure" she made the swich to Bikini. Just as she did in Figure, she looked incredible in Bikini. Even though not being much into athletics as a child, you get the feeling Holly was born to train and compete. 2100 will see Holly at the Arnolds and some other shows this year and I expect her to look even better, as she continues to "slow down the aging process".
Q: First, Holly, 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 married my high school sweetheart and just celebrated our 19 year wedding anniversary! We have two beautiful children, my son is 10 and my daughter is 5. I was born in Ohio and moved around often throughout my childhood; from Texas to Ohio which included 8 different school districts. I tell people the reason I am so outgoing and friendly is because when you are always the new kid, you have to put yourself out there and make a friend or be very lonely! I am caring, compassionate and always willing to help a friend. The downside to being such a giving person is I tend to attract people who are "takers", they can spot me a mile away and I have a hard time saying no. But at the end of the day, I can rest easy knowing I have a good heart. :)
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I didn't play any sports growing up, though I loved being outside and playing as often as I could. I'm not sure why my parents didn't get me involved in anything besides girl scouts, could be a combination of moving often and not being financially secure, but nonetheless, sports were not spoken of or participated by my family. I tried track my freshman year of high school and youth cheerleading, but I had no passion, drive or determination to succeed in either.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: Two years in college and lots of 2am trips to pizza hut and taco bell was enough to get me in a gym!! I was always naturally skinny, an ectomorph, but inactivity with lots of bad food caught up with me fast!!! I joined my first gym when I was 20 years old and have never looked back, I fell in LOVE from the very beginning. I loved aerobic classes, especially step aerobics!!! I wore the thong leotards with shorts!! How embarrassing!!!! But nothing felt as good as the first time I lifted a weight. Every aspect of weight training had me hooked, the pump, the challenge, the muscle soreness...I was an addict!! The year was 1992 and all the "obesity" hype was not like it is today, but yet I knew this was the answer. Training was going to be MY fountain of youth. MY sanctuary, MY strength. I loved having the ability to sculpt my physique, my art, it wasn't long before it became my passion.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: My husband was a biology major at OSU and our best friend was a trainer at various gyms around central Ohio, so I had the BEST teachers from the very beginning. I learned proper form, technique, pre and post workout nutrition. It didn't take long for my body to respond, within 6 months I felt I had totally changed my physique and it was beginning to look "athletic", something I never felt possible. It was extremely motivating!!!
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: After college we moved to Palm Harbor, Florida where my husband was the head trainer at Gold's Gym. He trained many competitive bodybuilders and we began entering the NPC "scene". I cheorgraphed many posing routines for bodybuilders and absolutely loved watching the art of posing, because that's what the sport has always meant to me, an expression of "self". At the time the only divisions available were fitness and female bodybuilding. And since I could barely do a cartwheel, fitness was out and though I pondered bodybuilding several times, I never had that vison for my physique. It wasn't until the inception of figure in 2003 that I said "YES...this is for me!" I did my first show, the Francois classic in May of 2003 and placed 19th out of 21 girls. It was just the beginning of my passion or better yet obsession for the sport.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Family and friends are very supportive of my competitions. My husband cooks all my meals and develops all my training and nutrition programs. We are partners in my programs- just as we are in life. This is the key to success, having a great support system! Though I will say on occassion I get tired of hearing "oh I guess you can't eat because you're dieting" at some family functions or work outings. But I had scheduled cheats, so I tried to forecast when I would be in this sorta situation so I could avoid any negative comments before they start!
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Having seen so many of my husband's clients go through a diet and training program before a competition, I knew what I was getting myself into. What surprised me was all the "teams" within figure. You certainly don't see male bodybuilders walking around at a show with matching warm-up suits! I called my husband from backstage at my first show and said "I feel like I'm at the Olympics and I've got no one on my team!" But that was not unfamiliar to me, because of my childhood, so I made the best of the situation and found a few girls to hang with and kept that same perspective at every show. I like to think of myself as the Switzerland of the sport, always neutral, friends with everyone. :)
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: Wow....so many shows...they're all listed on my website, I mean seriously, I think I've done like 30 shows!!!! Let's summarize, in 2008 I did 5 National shows and placed top 5 at every single one and completely burned myself out. In 2009 I did the North Americans and placed 3rd in the open and then went on to place 7th at Team Universe. Last year, 2010 I started with Jr. Nationals and placed 6th and then 8th at Team Universe. It was backstage at Team U I looked around and really felt like my physique was more "bikini" than figure. To me, in 2010, figure defined itself with a more harder, etched look and that's exactly what was being rewarded and is not a package I bring to the stage. So I tried bikini at the N. Americans and placed 8th and went on to place 1st in bikini at the Ohio State Championships. I always cross over into Masters and placed a steady 3rd in all Master competitions in 2009 and 2010. I like bikini and truly believe it's what figure was intended to be, though it will take time to define itself, just as figure did, I am willing to wait. :)
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Hands down...my legs, especially my quads. Totally gifted. I get lean the quickest in my legs and if I hard flex I can pop my quads like a pro bodybuilder.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Take a guess??? SQUATS!!! It was the first exercise I mastered and I LOVE being in the rack, going deep and driving it home. Bring it!!!
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Like most competitors, I boost up cardio 16 weeks out from a show and cycle my carbs. I train shoulders and back heavy on my "off season" and lighter during contest prep, it's hard to lift heavy when my calories are dropped. I always have oatmeal to start the day and eat lots of veggies and protein with every meal. Basically I eat oats, strawberries or grapefruit, salads, black beans, lots of veggies and if I'm craving a treat I have 90 calorie special k bar. Yum!
Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
Always positive. When I'm around people my age they always say "I wish I started when you did". It's a feeling I can't describe, my thoughts of fitness 19 years ago is exactly what is happening in my life now...I have slowed the aging process and everyone else is trying to catch up to me. It's blissful.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "Aren't you tired of dieting???" Let me think...YES, but i'm driven and focused so quit stating the obvious!!!
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Biggest misconception, obvious, lifting heavy will not turn you into Lenda Murray or other Pro female bodybuilders. Gimmie a break. There's enough information on the threads on how to obtain that physique. I wish women would understand how important it is to weight train and to be able to create a body that makes them proud and confident. That feeling is priceless.
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: Best part of training - having the ability to create a physique that I envision. The worst part...I get a bit obsessed and tend to think if I miss a workout, I have lost an opportunity for gains and that leads to beating myself up mentally and being extremely hard on myself. Boo on those negative thoughts!
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire
A: Davana Media is my all time favorite. I have met so many wonderful friends throughout the years...but I am especially fond of Jeanne Nimmer, Mandy Henderson, Lynn Sambuco, Jessica Clay and Bri Tindell. Those are my girls!!!
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
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: Knowledge is power, educate yourself! Never stop learning!
Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women working in the gym with the weights and not just doing cardio and things?
A: It's always been more common in the gyms I train at, but especially with shows like the Biggest Loser, which proves EVERYONE needs to lift!
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love doing make-up for other competitors and not to sound like every other fitness girl, I do enjoy modeling. I've done that since I was 15. I'm a pro in front of the camera!
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Holly Powell.
7am Get kids ready for school
8am Go to work
1pm weight train
6pm take kids to their sports
7pm Fix dinner
8pm Help kids with homework
9pm cardio (during contest prep)
10pm enjoy time with hubby
Q: Describe Holly Powell in five words.
1. Caring 2. Empathetic 3. Loving 4. Energetic 5. Happy
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I was an ugly duckling growing up. Glasses, buck teeth, skinny, cow-lick hairdo, no fashion. Sometimes I still see myself as that same person.
Q:Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Gearin' up to work the Arnold Classic. I will be on-stage Nationally this year, just not sure which show yet. I like 'em all!
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: My sponsor, Beast Sports Nutrition, love the entire crew - it's an honor to be their athlete, especially as an amateur! And my husband, Craig Powell, MY fitness guru. I have learned so much from him through the years and am forever grateful for all his dedication to me within this sport.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you?
Q: Holly, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Train on my friends!