Friday, February 25, 2011
You Asked It with IFBB Pro Christy Merritt
When I decided on another You Asked It, to me, Christy Merritt was the obvious choice to ask to do it. There is so much to love about Christy, incredible physique, beautiful, dedicated, and incredibly sweet. Christy had an amazing 2010, coming from nowhere to become one of the elite Bikini competitors in the sport. So here is Christy's answers to YOUR questions.
Q: I'm interested in competing. Should be in competition shape by June, I'm nervous because I am a black woman (light skin) mother of four with moderate ab stretch marks and a few on my buttocks. Will stage lighting and a good tan enhance these marks?
A: I am so excited for you!! As far as the lighting and such...I believe that many of the spray tanners they have at the competitions can cover scars and tattoos to make them blend in with your skin, so I think that should help to eliminate the appearance ( may not be totally un noticeable, but less so ).
Q: What kind of split do you do offseason and does it change for prep?
A: I change back and forth between doing one body part (Monday off, Tues legs, Wed shoulders, Thurs off, Fri arms, Sat chest, Sun back) and 3 days on/1 off (Day 1 legs & shoulders, Day 2 Chest & Tri, Day 3 Back and Bi). Abs I do kinda whatever day I feel like it. I keep this the same during prep, just lifting lighter and higher reps as the show gets closer.
Q: What and how much cardio do you do off season and during prep?
A: Off season, average of 20 minutes 3 times a week. Prep is anywhere from 30 minutes a day to an hour (sometimes all in the morning before first meal, and sometime split morning and night - before first meal and after last meal).
Q: What kind of diet do you use?
A: Last season we strictly used a ketone (no carb) diet. Right now I have one carb day followed by two zero carb days.
No carb days look like this: meal 1 - eggs/egg whites; meal 2 shake w/peanut butter; meal 3 chicken w/ nut;, meal 4 either beef or salmon w/ greens and olive oil; meal 5 shake or eggs
Carb days: meal 1 egg whites w oats; meal 2 shake w/ banana; meal 3 chicken w/rice; meal 4 chicken w/greens; meal 5 egg whites
Q: Why did you pick Bikini instead of maybe Figure?
A: Lol, because my trainer made me! I wanted to do figure last year, but he thought with my limited lifting history, Bikini would be better. He was right...I LOVE bikini though, being a dancer I really enjoy the freedom of presentation. I will stick with it for a while :-). Maybe figure in the future though.
Q: You got a lot of success very quickly. Is it hard to keep a level head when you get that much success so fast?
A: I still have work and a family. This is just something that happens to be a hobby I am good at. I feel very fortunate to have gotten to where I am so quickly and am thankful to everyone, most importantly my husband, for their help, encouragement, and support!
Q: Due to your quick success did you experience any jealousy from other girls?
A: I have not encountered an jealousy...or at least none that I am aware of. All of the competitors have been very welcoming and friendly!
Q: Are there any competitors you look up to?
A: I think Jaimie Baird is super fab! I love her look and she couldn't be any sweeter :-)
Q: What do you say o those who say Bikini is just T&A?
A: Um...I don't have any 'T', lol! And you aren't going to see girls without good musculature placing well. I cannot speak for other competitors, but I work my butt off to look the way I do onstage! I can outlift MANY of the men at the gym..you won't see me with the 5 and 10 lb weights, that's for sure.
Q: My gym is mostly guys. Because I am female, I get a lot of the trying to talk to me or impress me stuff. Do you experience this, and how to you ignore it?
A: I would predict that many people at the gym may perceive me to be stand-offish because I put my headphones in and try not to make eye contact. I am there to work, not talk...I also don't go to the gym dressed to impress (just fitted t's and capris), never make-up.
Q: Are their any tanning products you recommend?
A: I have only been spray tanned. I really like the color I have gotten from Liquid Sunrayz, its more of a brown, not orange color. My husband has used pro tan in the past and it turned out very well. Doing the tan yourself takes soooo long though. If you can afford to get sprayed, your life will be way easier...
Q: My shoulders seem to be a lagging body part. Can you give me an idea of your shoulder routine and do you recommend I train them maybe twice a week to catch up?
A: This is one part I worked my butt off improving last year. I usually do 4 movements, DB press or military press first (heavy 6-10 reps, 5 sets); some form of lateral raises superset with front raises (8-12 reps, 4 sets); and finish up with a rear delt move (12-15 reps, 4 sets). Occasionally I will also throw in upright rows. Last season I did two shoulder days. But this year only one.
Q: What is it like competing at the Olympia?
A: Sooooo awesome! I didn't feel a lot of pressure, so I was not super nervous. It was a very crazy week before hand though, as I had just qualified 6 days before I took the Olympia stage, and had to get travel plans together on the fly. Very, very humbled to have been there for the first ever Bikini Olympia. I really hope I can re-qualify this year and improve my placing. Unfortunately I didn't go in with my best conditioning (we didn't anticipate losing water flying, but I did...a LOT; had driven to the 3 previous shows)
Q: How is the backstage atmosphere at the Olympia different from another show?
A: The only other pro show I have done was the John Simmons pro, but there were just a lot more of us getting ready (figure, bikini, and fitness) at the same time. I was quite in awe being around all the fabulous competitors I had followed before I got into the sport. Fun to be back there with the best of the best!
Q: Since you do Bikini, do you find yourself having to ever lift lighter than you know you are capable of?
A: I have had to go lighter on my back this off season...makes me a little sad :-( Other than that, I still lift quite heavy.
Q: What is the one diet myth that you really don't like?
A: I think people believe one of two things, either we starve ourselves to look this way, or we just have genetically amazing metabolisms. Don't get me wrong, when you get to the end of the diet you are real hungry, but it's not like we are eating 400 calories a day or anything ridiculous like that. And I don't believe any competitor up there is going to say they eat whatever they want and look ready to compete.
Q: I am new at this. I see so many different kinds of protein shakes. Which would you recommend?
A: There are many brands to choose from, that's for sure. The company I am sponsored by was started by a doctor who pulled a bunch of brands of protein and had them tested in order to formulate his own product. What he found was that the vast majority did not actually contain what they were labeled to have in them, i.e. they said there was 25 g of protein but really only had 12. ProBody Solutions beats industry standards as far as using the purest form of whey protein in their products. I use them, and love them. They may not have a hundred flavors to choose from yet, but at least you know you are getting what you paid for. And they taste real freakin good :-)
Q: Do you watch any other sports. If so what teams do you root for?
A: I LOVE sports. Especially baseball (Cardinals) and college basketball (MU Tigers). I never much got into hockey, but besides that I will sit down and watch or attend it all. Now that my little bro is all grown up I don't have any little league or H.S. games to go to. I miss it, didn't hurt he was a phenomenal athlete either.
Q: What makes you decide which competitions you want to compete in?
A: The first one my trainer chose. Each thereafter kind of fell into place because of how I placed at the previous one. I kind of had it in my head last year going into my first show that if I won the overall, I wanted to try and get my pro card. So I already knew that Jr.USA was the next national show I could compete in that was awarding 2 pro cards. And, although no one else was apprised of my desire or plans, I knew if i then won my pro card there, that the John Simmons Pro was a chance for me to qualify for the Olympia. That was my goal going into my first show. Crazy as it may sound...I don't think I really thought it would happen the way I dreamt it would... I just hoped, and did all I could preparation wise, to give myself the best possible chance to achieve that dream.
This season, the STL pro was a no brainer, I live here. The NY pro is Memorial Day weekend and worked into my schedule, and I will be working for ProBody Solutions at the Europa in Chicago, so those are the three I will do for sure.
Q: Do you do any kettle ball training?
A: Not too much. I really stick to the old school basics. Occasionally I will have my husband write me some workouts, when I feel like I need something new or have begun to plateau, and he has put the kettle bell in once or twice.