Monday, February 7, 2011

Jeanette Samuelson Interview

Few embody the "Fitness Lifestyle" as much as Jeanette Samuelson does. Working a demanding job, getting up at 3am to hit the gym, and loving the training, Jeanette is a perfect example for women to follow, admire, and be inspired by. And her hard work has paid off, as 2010 was her first year competing and she became nationally qualified. I really hope you read this interview carefully, as Jeanette did an amazing job with it. I now consider myself a Jeanette Samuelson fan.

Q: First, Jeanette, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for giving me this opportunity!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born and raised in Norwalk, Ohio. And later attended Toccoa Falls College, a small private college in Georgia where I got my Associates Degree and met my husband. We've lived in Florida now for about 14 years and absolutely love it! The weather down here, especially now, is always beautiful! I have 2 wonderful children, a boy and a girl. I've been working at Nurse On Call, home health company, for the past 10 1/2 years and have recently taken a new position as District Sales Manager. I love spending time with my family when I'm not working or in the gym.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I was an athlete in high school running track and cross-country and even did a little weight training. But after high school sports weren't much of a priority.

Q: What initially led you into the gym.
A: I hit 35, put on weight, had 2 kids and I was tired all the time. A gym opened up around the corner and I figured I didn't have anything to lose.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Since I had been in a gym before, even if if was many years prior, I jumped right in. Shortly after starting back to the gym, I hired a trainer to help me get pointed in the right direction. Hitting the gym and training have come very easy for me. I like the feeling I get from a hard workout. Such a rush! Once I got my diet in perspective, the results came relatively quickly.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I saw one of the girls at the gym training and thought that I could do that. I had no idea what I was getting myself into!!

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: My family and friends have been a huge support. It hasn't always been easy with a family, but without their support, it's wasn't worth it. You have to be able to keep things in perspective and have someone help hold you accountable to that. My friends and coworkers have also been a huge support and have been my biggest fans, they are all AWESOME!

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I didn't know what I was really getting into actually. The training part was easy for me. I love the weights and putting in the time, but the glitz part of it, totally new for me. I went in with the help of a few friends and scouring the internet for tips, so I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. I was surprised at how hard of a sport this really is. The time, dedication and sacrifice that goes into it, is amazing.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: 2010 was my first year competing as a NPC Figure Competitor. I started with the CJ Classic (Sunshine Classic) in March, but didn't place. Later in November I did the Amanda Marinelli (Florida Gold Cup). I did much better and placed 2nd in both Masters over 30 and Class C, thus qualifying for Nationals.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Probably my legs. They are lean and strong, but not huge.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Hmm, it's hard to choose. Any workout I can hit the weights hard is my favorite! I'm highly competitive when I'm in the gym. The harder and heavier I can push myself, the more fun I have. But if I have to pick one, I love doing my shoulders. I like having round capped shoulders, especially with living in Florida and wearing tank tops most of the year.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I've altered my training recently, but I'm currently training 4 days a week, both days on the weekend and then 2 days during the week. I do legs, shoulders/triceps, back/abs and then chest/biceps. Most of my training days I like to lift heavy, except when I do my chest. I'm getting ready to add in cardio in to help me prepare for the mud race I'd like to do. Since I don't have an immediate competition coming up, my diet is lots of protein, fruits and vegetables, but not strict. Going into a competition, my body type allows me the ability to eat well and have my 1-2 cheat meals each week. If I cut back too much, I lean down too much. My training for leading up to a competition is 6 days in the gym: quads, shoulders, back, glutes/hammies, biceps and a full body bootcamp. Since I don't really cut going into a show, I am able to lift pretty heavy all the way up to the week of the show. I don't do any cardio. I know that some people would like to kill me for that statement, but with a hard, fast paced hour of lifting and a strict diet, I am able to lean down. I drop the weight to quickly otherwise.

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: I've encountered mostly positive reactions. If there's anything negative, it's usually because people don't understand the sport or assume that I'm automatically using steroids. I usually get questions on what I did to get my physique. Especially after they find out I've had 2 kids. It's flattering and humbling!

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "How can I get abs or a body like yours?" Diet and exercise. It's not quick and it's not easy, which is what people don't want to hear.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Just because I lift weights, doesn't mean that I'm going to look like a guy. Lifting weights has been proven to be very beneficial for women. Problem is that when women go to the gym, men have overtaken the weight area and it can be intimidating.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part is the weight training and how it makes me feel. I am more content with my body image and have more self-esteem. The worst part is getting up at 3am to get to the gym. With a family and FT job, hitting the gym at night with the crowds just isn't feasible.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Ava Cowan - she's beautiful and I love her figure. She seemed like someone who I could emulate, close to my body type. Plus I always wanted abs like hers! Lol

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I love pizza! CPK Carne Asada is the best!

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: This will be one of the hardest things physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially that you may every do. It is a lot of sacrifice with time and relationships. But also one of the most rewarding things that I have done for myself. You really find out who are and what you are made of.

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: Not as much as I would like. Some don't understand it or know how to do it properly so they avoid it. Cardio can be the easy way. But any exercise is better than no exercise at all!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Right now, any extra time that I have is spent with my family. Kids grow up so fast and I don't want to miss anything!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Jeanette Samuelson.
A: lol, typical day...I wish I had one. I just took a new position as a Sales Manager for the largest office in my company, so it's pretty busy. If it's training day I'm up at 3am, otherwise it's up at 5am. I work for a wonderful company, Nurse On Call, where I've been for the past 10 1/2 years where I work with the Sales Reps. My day consists of assisting my Reps with their accounts and meeting their goals and putting out any other numerous fires that take place throughout the day. It's never boring!! The evenings are spent spending time with my husband and 2 kids. It's busy, but I love it.

Q: Describe Jeanette Samuelson in five words.
A: Hard working, Motivated, Competitive, Impatient

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I'm shy. This sport has and still continues to teach me to step outside of my comfort zone. It's never easy but always worth it!!

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I'm currently having to spend a lot of time with my new position at work, so I'm taking the first part of the year to build and improve. I'd like to do the Merrell Down & Dirty mud run down in Miami in May. Something fun and different. I qualified for Nationals, so I'm leaving the latter part of the year open. Depends on if I feel that I'm ready. It's a big stage and I want to bring my A game. I want to go to win, not just to participate.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Shawn Powell, the trainer that got me started and told me I could do this. I couldn't have gotten started without him!
Trina Goosby IFBB Pro Bikini who coached me to my 2 top 2 finishes in my last show
ProSports Nutrition for having a great store, plus I get to see Ava Cowan (my idol), Mark Alvisi and Rob Carbo

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Jeanette Samuelson the athlete and competitor?
A: Absolutely! They can reach me at I love being an athlete and an example to others. I want to be able to show other women that being 37 and a mother of 2 does not mean that I need to be frumpy and unhealthy! Being a competitor is the icing on the cake,and to be able to walk onstage and show the physique that you've worked so hard on is such an accomplishment

Q: Jeanette, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you again for this opportunity and thank you for making mine and other competitors stories available to others. Everyone has something to contribute and the more information out there, the better the sport and it's athletes can become.

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