Thursday, February 10, 2011
Janis Garofalo Interview
There may be no better example of why this blog exists than Janis Garofalo. A woman who has done just one show so far, but is loaded with potential and needs to be seen and known in this industry. Someone who works hard and clearly enjoys the work and deserves respect and recognition. Her stage photos show a great physique, highlighted by her back, which is incredible. She is prepping for her next show now, and I am excited to see her and how much she has improved from the first show.
Q: First, Janis, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for asking me to do it. It's so fantastic having someone highlight female athletes the way you are.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A" I'm from Laurence Harbor, NJ. I am the youngest of two. I have an older brother just by 11 months. For one month we are the same age. Its very cool and we are very close because of it. He's my best friend.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I didn't play any sports in high school but I was a tomboy growing up. Id always play with my brother and his friends, three on three basketball, touch football and I was goalie for our street hockey team. I had my own pads, mask and gloves. It was a lot of fun. It made me tough and strong. It made me realize early on that there was nothing wrong with being a strong woman. It also laid a good foundation showing me that working hard at something had its rewards.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I always enjoyed being active and the gym seemed like next logical step. So once I went to college I joined a gym and I took classes and did circuit workouts. I really started more traditional weight training in my mid to late twenties while I was taking Tae Kwon Do.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Training was very easy for me to pick up and the more I did it the more I wanted to learn about it. I was hooked. So I educated myself and eventually started personal training on the side. Results came easy I think in part because I was determined to get results. I enjoy the work and discipline that goes into weight training. I've always been strong and each gym session for me was a test in strength and to see how far I could push it.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I've always thought about it but never knew how to get started or who to ask. I always knew how to work out and diet to stay healthy but this was a different animal entirely. It wasn't until this past year that I was looking for a challenge and was going to enter the Tough Mudder Race in NJ that a friend of mine suggested I compete in figure instead. Having that bug put in my ear was the catalyst that set everything else in motion. I owe him a lot for that boost.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: My brother supported it right away; friends thought it was only natural. My parents were a different story. They really didn't understand it at all no matter how much I explained it. My mom especially, I simply said "you don't need to understand it but you need to support me in it" and she did. She proved it to me when I asked her to shave me before I went for my tan for my last competition. It was quite funny when I asked her; you could hear the reservation in her voice when she said yes because she truly didn't understand it. But her shaving me turned out to be a funny story and a bonding experience for the both of us. After seeing me on stage in my first show she got it, understands it and is so proud of me for it.
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Not quite sure expected is the right word because I didn't know what to expect. But it was everything I hoped for and more. I was so surprised though at how nervous I was. I was shaking on stage with each and every pose. But as nervous as I was, it was quite possibly the greatest experience in my life to date. I was even more surprised by the changes to my body. I had never seen my body "contest" ready before; I couldn't even believe it was me. Part of me still cant.
Q: Can you share your contest history?
A: So far I have only done one show. The Golds Classic in NJ. I placed 4th in my height class and 5th in masters.
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I think my back is pretty sick and I have some crazy shoulders, lol.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Though I love training shoulders and back and I love, love, love deadlifts, but I have been spending the last few months working on symmetry and catching up some under developed areas of my body. My new favs are leg press, walking lunges and 21's on the lying leg curl machine.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My training has changed significantly since I started this journey. I train with purpose now. My off season diet and training is different than contest prep. Thank God I have such an amazing coach, Vanessa Adams Pierce that I work with. She takes all the guess work out it for me. I don't know what I would do without her. I always work on a split but my split changes off season to contest prep and then again as I get closer to competition. Also, more cardio sessions are added as I get closer to the contest date. I'll do AM and PM cardio sessions, two to three weeks out. My off-season diet, contest prep diet and peak week diet are all different as well. My basic staples are Isopure no-carb whey protein, egg whites, oatmeal, chicken, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, tilapia, tilapia and more tilapia. You think Id be sick of it by now but I always look forward to my oatmeal with banana cream Isopure and my tilapia and broccoli.
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: Always positive and always curious, some people know just by looking at me that I compete. Especially the people at my gym and they are so supportive.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I really don't get sick of being asked anything about competing, training or dieting.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I wish more people understood that not everything needs to have a pay day. That doing something you love is its own reward by the hard work, dedication and discipline it takes to achieve the goal.
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training is the training. I'm still amazed at what my body can do and the gains I can make in strength and muscle development. With each rep knowing that I'm getting stronger and my muscles are getting better and more developed is the greatest feeling. Anyone reading this knows the high you get from that.
Worst part is sometimes I cant get out of my head. I'm impatient by nature so I want results yesterday, so a bit of self-doubt comes into play when I don't see instant results or simply cant recognize the strides I've made and that's when I turn to my coach for a sounding board and she calms me down and levels me off so to speak. She just tells me "do the diet and the training, leave the stressing to me" and then she says "I'm not stressing so neither should you". To me that is the equivalent of her standing right there giving me a whack upside my head to snap me back to reality, lol. Helps me get out of my head and put my focus back to my training. So during this contest prep while I'm training my body, I'm also training my mind at learning the art of patience and trust me its making this contest prep so much more enjoyable. I'm learning to appreciate and enjoy the process.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Definitely Davana Medina, Monica Brant and Jenny Lynn. You cant think of figure without them coming to mind. They are the true originals. Of recent competitors Id have to say Erin Stern, she has an amazing back. Felicia Romero and Teresa Anthony are both amazing as well.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Sushi is one and Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is the other. They run neck and neck as my favs.
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 educate herself, not only on training and dieting but her own body. To find what works for her. To be diligent and consistent in her efforts and the results will come.
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: I think it is, but I find that most women underestimate their strength or maybe are still mentally conditioned to think that lifting heavy weights somehow makes you less feminine. Women need to realize how much beauty there truly is in strength.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love mountain biking and hiking. I enjoy oil painting and charcoal sketching.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Janis Garofalo.
A: Typical day, I'm up at 5:30am for work, I eat meal one at 6am while getting ready. I don't have to be at work til 8:15am but I love to dilly dally in the morning and enjoy my coffee and breakfast so I get up earlier than necessary. I hate to feel rushed. While at work I map out my training routine for that day in my training journal. I like to keep track of my training sessions week to week. See where I'm at in strength; gains or loses. I work til 4:15pm and head straight to the gym. After my work out I run any necessary errands, then head home for my last meal of the day, a nice hot shower and prep for tomorrow. If I'm lucky I can squeeze in a half hour of T.V. before my self-imposed bedtime of 10:30pm. I need my sleep. I train hard so I reward my body with the rest it deserves.
Q: Describe Janis Garofalo in five words.
A: Strong, Compassionate, Energetic, Funny, Outgoing.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I'm a computer geek (I'm a computer programmer) and a huge klutz.
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I have a state show I'm prepping for now, on April 16th. I'm hoping to place in the top three in that show then I plan on competing in Masters Nationals in Pittsburgh in July. Then I'm not sure for the second half of the year. But my main, huge, big goal is to compete at the Arnold in 2012 in Masters.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I don't have anything but myself to plug or promote, lol
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Janis Garofalo the athlete and competitor?
A: Definitely, contest prep is so expensive. Between the food, supplements, suits etc. it can run a gal a small fortune, lol. If anyone was interested in sponsoring me I can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook under my name.
You would be getting someone with a great work ethic; I take my responsibilities as seriously as I take my training. No challenge is too big and no job is too small. I'm light hearted and easy to work with. I have a zest for life, love new experiences and I truly believe I was meant to be doing this.
Q: Janis, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. any last words before you go?
A: Thank you for asking me to participate in this interview. I think what you are doing is so positive and so great for female athletes in figure, fitness, body building and MMA. Id like to tell any women considering competing that its never too late, nothing is impossible if you put the time, energy and work into it and no dream is too big.