Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sue Knott Interview

At this years Arnold's I met several people I had not met before. One person who really stood out was a beautiful woman named Sue Knott. She was also incredibly friendly. She was someone I had to have do an interview. As you can see, not only is she beautiful, she has a great physique as well. Sue did a great interview, and I am now a fan of Sue Knott and look forward to watching her on stage this year.

Q:First, Sue, 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 was born and still live in Columbus, Ohio. I did move to St. Petersburg, Florida for 4 years while attending Eckerd College, graduating in 1999-Bachelors in Business Management, with a minor in athletic administration. I am an only child but have lots of aunts, uncles and cousins; so we are still a large family especially at holidays. I’m a true Ohio State Buckeye at heart – both my parents graduated from there and my father played lacrosse. My mother has worked at Ohio State for over 30 years and I have now worked here for 8 years. My current position is administrative assistant for two breast cancer surgeons at The Ohio State University Medical Center/James Cancer Hospital. Go Bucks!

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I have always been an athletic/jock girl. When I was younger, I took gymnastics lessons and played basketball. In High school, I cheered for football, was allowed to double sport in the winter – cheering for basketball and competing in gymnastics and spring ran track. I was in season year round for all 4 years and my sophomore year even added double sport in fall with running cross country. But 5 sports was too much so for my junior and senior years, I switched back to just 4. I went on to cheer basketball for my 4 years at Eckerd College, Division II.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: As you can see, I have always been in the gym or some sort of workout routine. When I graduated college, I was ready for a break from a formal schedule. I stayed active doing mostly cardio and occasionally lifting weights. But after a few years found myself bored and anxious to find something to fill that competitive edge. I started lifting more regularly and was lucky to have a close friend who got his personal training certification. He wanted to compete in bodybuilding and introduced me to the world of figure competitions. I started my figure lifestyle – lifting 4-5 times a week, eating 6 meals a day, etc in May of 2005. 5 month later I competed in my first figure show, October 2005. I was hooked :-)

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: With my athletic background, I loved being back on a workout schedule. It clicked almost instantly. Leaning out for that first show was a new experience for me and really seeing those changes come together on stage was amazing. I still had a lot to learn about the sport and looking back at pictures also a lot to learn about posing.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: A few years after graduating college and being on a “break”, I was looking for something to get involved in athletically and had always thought of some sort of fitness competition. Having a friend who was interested in competing as well, made the decision final.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: I have always had support from my family and friends in anything that I do. They will tell you that my figure competitions and lifestyle are sometimes difficult to fully understand and relate to. But they are always there to cheer me on.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I did not know that much about the sport when I started out in 2005 and so did not know what to really expect.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: My first show was in October 2005. I have competed in 12 NPC figure shows (8 Local/Regional and 4 National) highlights include
*October 14, 2006 – NPC Big Dust Classic, Overall Winner, 1st Place Class B
*April 5, 2008 – NPC Natural Ohio Drug Tested Bodybuilding and Figure Championships, Overall Winner, 1st Place Class C
*August 29, 2009 – North American Figure Championships, 3rd Place Class D
*June 18-19, 2010 – Junior Nationals Figure Championships, 7th Place Class D

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: My core – Abs and back (ok so I cheated I have 2, but they are both equally my best). I have always had a strong core probably due to my athletic background as a kid and gymnastics training.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I like plyometrics and abs training. Probably since it reminds me of my gymnastics practices and I miss those workouts more than I thought I would. I just wish I had kept up with that type of training after college.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I lift weights 4-5 days a week. I do very little cardio in the off-season and add in as I am prepping for a show. I will use 2 a day sessions, first thing in the morning and then after lifting. I also add in HIIT (High intensity interval training). I eat 6 small meals through out the day year round, reducing my calories while I’m prepping. Here is a typical day of meals while prepping:
Meal 1 – Egg whites, egg yolk and oats (made into a pancake)
Meal 2 – Chicken, sweet potato, veggies
Meal 3 – salad, protein powder and oats (made into a muffin)
Meal 4 – Chicken, sweet potato, veggies
Meal 5 – Steak and white potato (post workout meal)
Meal 6 – Protein powder (baked into a pudding/brownie)
I have become creative in the kitchen with my meals. A normal protein shake just doesn’t fill me up so baking protein powder with other ingredients is a better fit for me.

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: They ask how many hours a day I train – they think I always spend several hours every day training. They don’t understand it’s more my diet than my training. In the off-season, I only lift for about 1 hour a day 4-5 days a week. I do supersets and short rest times to keep cardio at a bare minimum.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: Probably that I am too lean or must starve myself to get lean/skinny.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: The biggest misconception is also an important piece of advice that I try to pass onto other women who are getting started in weight training and that is how hard and heavy you need to lift and push yourself. Women often tell me that they are afraid to lift too heavy and they don’t want to get bulky looking, they want to be toned. What they don’t realize is lifting heavy will not get you bulky unless you are taking something to alter your hormones. Women are not naturally going to get bulky but that the heavy lifting of course with correct form will get that toned look we are all after.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training is pushing my self with my daily workouts. I truly enjoy working out with weights. If I have had a bad day, it all disappears once I hit the gym. Competing helps give me a goal to push even harder.
The worst part of training is the time commitment. Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day to fit it all in.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I admire all my fellow competitors. We all work hard – lifting, cardio and dieting. I especially admire my friends who are competitors and mothers. Keeping it all together while caring for their kids is a remarkable task. I don’t know how they do it all with such grace.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Definitely Italian – pasta and pizza

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: Build your support network – people who can advise you with workouts, cardio, nutrition and supplements as well as friends who will help you reach your goal. Do your homework and ask questions. I have not met a competitor who doesn’t like to talk and share about their fitness lifestyle. We are all passionate about what we do.

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: Most definitely, I think that the health and fitness message is getting louder and louder for all. As people look for ways to get a better handle on their health they are turning to weights as a great tool to reach their goals. The media and TV shows that promote ways to maintain a healthy bodyweight thru weight training, cardio and clean eating are helping to deliver this message.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy all sports – watching and playing. I’m a huge Buckeye fan and go to many football and basketball games. In the summer, play kickball – a great way to have some fun after work and hang out with friends. I also enjoy traveling when I can get away.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Sue Knott.
A: I’m pretty routine, but I think most competitors would say the same thing. I work 7:30am-4:30pm Monday-Friday. Depending on where I am at with training, I will get up and do an early morning cardio session before work. I go to the gym after work and then it’s home to do cooking, laundry, etc and get ready for the next day. I try take at least 1 night a week to catch up with friends but definitely fit more social time in on the weekends.

Q: Describe Sue Knott in five words.
Passionate, Detail orientated, Organized, Energetic, and Giving

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I can be somewhat of a worry wart/perfectionist. I am better than I used to be but I tend to worry about little things and let them cloud my thinking.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: My plans are to do a local show in April/May to requalify for the National level shows. I am aiming for 2-3 shows this year, 2011.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Sue Knott the athlete and competitor?
A: Of course – all of us competitors are looking for sponsors to help us out. I have always been a very passionate and athletic person. I enjoy sharing my passions and giving back/paying forward whenever possible. I would like the opportunity to partner with a sponsor. You can find me on facebook to learn a little more about me and see photos (Sue Knott) or contact me via email sue.knott@ymail.com

Q: Sue, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go
A: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share a little bit about myself and chat about one of my big passions-my figure lifestyle

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