Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tiffany Oertel Interview

I met Tiffany Oertel through my trainer Danny-J. For being fairly new to the industry she has come pretty far pretty fast. Only competed once to date, but looked amazing, and keeps working and will continue to look more amazing. She has done a few photo shoots and look more incredible with each one. At the rate she is going, Tiffany is going to be a name for a long time in the industry.

Q: First, Tiffany, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thanks Jason. I'm such a huge fan of so many of the women that you've interviews. I was honored to have the opportunity.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I am a NPC Bikini competitor and aspiring fitness model and personal trainer. My husband of 4 years, Nate and I live in Anaheim, California, and we both were born and raised here in Southern California. I have a full-time job as a travel agent specializing in all-inclusive tours of Europe and Australia. I started competing in 2010 and my first show was the Orange County Classic here in Anaheim.

Q: Before the gym, were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I really wouldn't have considered myself athletic. I was a cheerleader in high school for a few years but I was always just "skinny fat". I'd go to the gym with my sisters or friends and do cardio, but that was pretty much the extent of it.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: The first time I got serious with the gym was with Nate. He had always worked out with the various sports he played in high school and college, and after we got married we found a new gym near our apartment. I knew I didn't want to be one of those girls who gets married and then blows up and with a full-time job and new responsibilities, I knew I needed to make some changes. He taught me about using weights and how to use the different machines to target muscle groups.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: I did seem to pick things up very quickly. I think because of my lack of experience, and my age, my body responded very quickly to the training. I have my trouble areas like everyone, but for the most part, I've been able to gain strength and put on muscle pretty easily.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: The first time I competed was a bit of a trial by fire. When Nate started working with different supplement companies and attending events like the Arnold and Olympia, he'd come back with tons of pictures of the expos and shots with him and some of the models/competitors. I was a little jealous and wanting to be more involved in his career was a good start to me working out harder. I attended one of my first Pro shows and got to see how hard a lot of the girls were working. A few weeks later, Nate asked me if I was interested in competing. I was curious but hadn't made up my mind. He offered to pay for a 12 week contest prep for me with Kim Oddo if it was something I was serious about doing.
I thought about it for less than a day, and told Nate I wanted to do it. Instead of him calling and setting things up like he usually does, he handed me the phone and the credit card. Looking back, he was tempting me to explore something new without pushing me into it. My first competition was a huge step for me as a woman and as an individual. Afterwords I felt like I could do anything.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: At the very beginning of my comp prep I had the support of my family and Nate's family. Shortly past the first couple weeks of prep, I didn't have any support of my family. My mother seemed to think I was going to strut my stuff on the counter of some bar in front of a bunch of perv's. She couldn't get past the label o a "Bikini Contest". My in-laws remained supportive as they were actually all working hard to lose some of their unwanted weight and live healthier. When the competition day came, my family was there to support me and they were able to see how much work really goes into competing on stage. Perceptions haven't totally been changed but it's a great start.
Nate on the other hand has been 100% behind me since even before day 1. He backed me physically, emotionally, spiritually and in every other way possible. Every step from putting me in contact with Kim to picking out my comp suit and shoes, to helping me find someone to do my makeup. I couldn't ask for anyone better in my corner.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I was completely surprised about the camaraderie between the girls competing. It was so comforting to see that most girls were as nervous as I was. We were able to support and learn from each other backstage and it was a great experience.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: To date, I've only competed in the O.C. Classic. After the show I started working on putting more muscle on so that I could be more balanced on stage and this year I've turned a lot of my focus to modeling and attaining my personal training certification. I'd like to get back on stage the end of this year or the beginning of next year at the latest.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I've been told by more than a few that my butt is the money maker. No matter how lean I've gotten, I keep a nice round bootay!

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I love to train my legs because the amount of weight I'm moving is always motivating. It's also a muscle group that I really spend a lot of time on and really exhaust myself.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like?
A: Even when not dieting for an event, I typically eat very clean year round. I train with weights 5 days a week and do cardio 5 days a week. For weight training I separate my muscle groups into legs, back, shoulders, arms and a special day just for my butt. I switch up my cardio often because I get bored of the same machines.

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: Most people are confused when they hear what I do. I'm approached by people at work who ask if I'm a bodybuilder. Friends of my family think it's like a Hooters Bikini contest when they first hear. It's sad that more people aren't aware of organizations like the WBFF or NPC/IFBB.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I hate hearing people ask me what I'm eating. It's not the question that bothers me, but once they hear it's chicken and sweet potatoes, so many people instantly assume they can't do it. I hate being asked a question when I know all the person wants to hear is the easy answer. I also go nuts about the "what's your secret" question. There is no secret and I think most girls that compete would agree, we eat a lot, we eat clean and we train hard.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: People seem to think that the Bikini competitions are about showing the most skin or having the biggest boobs. I love taking them through a gym session and helping them understand what a hard workout is like.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The training itself it the best part. I love everything that weight training brings to my life. The hard part is the time management of it all. Work with family responsibilities and travel really cut into my normal training routine.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Erin Stern and Amanda Latona were both huge influences to me when I first decided to compete and have remained good friends ever since. Since that first show, a few of my biggest influences have been Jamie Eason, Danny J Johnson, Krissy Chin and Laura Michelle Prestin.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I love pizza and cheeseburgers. Pizza is only a couple times a year for me now, but a double double from In-N-Out is a pretty standard meal for me every few weeks.

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what it the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: The biggest advice I could give anyone is to pace yourself and stay consistent. It's easy to start strong and spend hours in the gym, but then you burn out and the roller coaster begins. Start a little at a time and stay consistent.

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 becoming more common. Women are realizing that to get the physique they are looking for, they need to lift weights and I think it's a great thing.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love to travel and try out new things with Nate. We also love to try new restaurants and just explore the cities that we visit.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Tiffany Oertel.
A: A typical day starts for me around 4:30am. I have my first meal, get dressed and head to work. My shift starts at 5:15 and I'm there till 1:30pm. It's great to get off so early but the early mornings take a toll on my body. By the time I'm home from work, I've usually finished my first 4 meals of the day. I head to the gym for my first round of cardio or sometimes even my weight work, then back home to make meals for the next day and get the normal house stuff taken care of. Nate gets home between 5-6 and I head back to the gym with him. Some days I'll train with him so he has a spotter, and some days we'll both do our own thing. Afterwords we usually just head home, clean up and throw a blue-ray disk in the player or start playing on facebook/bodyspace. It's a pretty standard routine without anything too exciting.

Q: Describe Tiffany Oertel in five words.
A: Motivated, Persistent, Reserved, Spontaneous and Easygoing.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Most people are surprised to hear that I'm only 24 and that I got married when I was 20 years old.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Right now I'm prepping for my first studio shoot on March 19th. After that I'm making travel plans for the Boise Fitness Expo, Dallas Europa show and the Olympia. I'm working on networking and booking shoots in each of the cities that I'm traveling through.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I'd really like to promote the two trainers that I've used so far, Kim Oddo of Body Bo O and Danny J Johnson of No Excuses Personal Training. Also keep an eye out for my website, which should be up and running around July.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you?
A: I am looking for opportunities to work more in the fitness industry. Interested parties can reach me through my Facebook or Bodypace pages or by email at

Q: Tiffany, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Just thank you again for the opportunity. I think the blog you run and the facebook page are a great thing for all women competitors and a great place for us to support one another.

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