Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jill Lord Interview

Q: First, Jill, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: My pleasure, thank you for asking me.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born and raised in Massachusetts, south of Boston. I have a half brother, in Texas who is also a bodybuilder. I am married, 28 years with my husband and we have a 16 year old son.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Laughing, Absolutely not. I am probably the most unathletic person I know. I never played team or individual sports. I was always last to be picked in the line-up when it came time to choose your team members in gym class. People always ask me if I was a runner, gymnast or a dancer, etc and I just laugh to myself.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: Well, even before I started my fitness journey, I used to look at Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazines. I loved looking at the female bodybuilders, Lenda Murray, Corey Everson, Laura Creavalle, and without knowing how they got their physiques, I wanted to look like them. I love the way muscle looks on a woman. Myself and two other men I worked with used to sit at the lunch table, look at the magazines and talk about the workouts as I would eat my salad, no protein on it and a bagel and then I would go outside and smoke my cigarette before returning back to work. Little by little, I started to understand that it was weight lifting, not hours of cardio that added the muscle. (Duh!)

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: To be honest, I was incredibly motivated but so unknowledgeable. I started with the Nautilus circuit at my first gym, the YMCA and quickly got bored with routine. After two weeks of joining the gym, I quit smoking so I was able to last through a cardio class. Back in the early 90’s when I started working out, high impact aerobics and step classes were all the rage so that was my focus for my first year. I thought I could get “cut” jumping up and down like crazy. Then one of the Personal Trainers at the “Y” introduced me to free weights, showed me how to use them, I was hooked. The free weight room was a tiny room in the basement, and very few women were down there. I didn’t see results for quite some time because there was so little protein in my diet. It was the era of Snackwells and fat-free was the buzz word so I tried to eliminate all fats and just ate carbs. It wasn’t until I changed gyms and I was telling the gym owner (a competitive bodybuilder at that time) that I wanted to get that hard muscular look. The first thing he asked me was “What are you eating.” When I told him, he laughed and said…”Where is your protein?” We spoke for a while and that’s when I really started educating myself, reading more and that’s when I noticed the changes. It took about a year and a half to “get it.”

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I am always looking to take my training, mental and physical to the next level. I constantly need goals. I had always dreamed of being up on the competition stage but didn’t think I could ever make the dietary sacrifices. There were a couple of figure competitors, both Pro Figure status, at the gym where I currently train and teach classes, who I spoke to. They encouraged me and helped me along with the decision. I loved the look of the figure competitors, and I just knew in my gut it was something I had to do!!

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: My husband and son are always supportive as well as my mother. My friends and some family members don’t understand it and poked and teased a bit but that doesn’t bother me in the least. They will say something biting, and then in the next breath, ask me for nutrition advice. I have been into fitness and nutrition for almost 20 years before I started competing so it just seemed like a logical flow for many people in my life.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I really didn’t know what to expect. My first prep was a lot easier than my second. I was so excited and focused for my first competition that my cravings took a backseat. My second prep was a lot harder because it was a different approach. I had only been to one other show and they didn’t have a figure division back then. I was surprised at how much I loved being on stage…I was so nervous but it didn’t show and the excitement was palpable.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: Sure. I started at the age of 40 and my first show was in June 2009, I placed 2nd in the NPC Connecticut State Women’s Figure and Bodybuilding show in New Haven, CT in Figure Short.
In April, 2010, I did the OCB Tri-Cities Championships in West Nyack, NY and placed 2nd in Novice Figure Short; 3rd in Open Figure Short and 3rd in Masters 35+
In November 2010, I did the OCB Hudson River Classic in White Plains, NY. I placed 1st in Open Figure Short and 1st in Masters 35+.
In May 2011, I did the OCB Tri-Cities in West Nyack, NY and placed 1st in Masters 35+ and 4th in Open Figure Short.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I guess it would have to be my calves. They are naturally big, I really don’t have to work them. If the rest of my physique could match up to my calves, I would have a very promising career as a bodybuilder…LOL

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love training my back and shoulders. I love the pump I get and the stretch. Nothing is sexier than a woman with a strong looking back and delts!
My favorite exercise is the underhand or close grip seated row.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I consistently change up my training routines. I always stay in the 8-12 rep range with 1-2 warm up sets for each body part and pyramid up. Although I do incorporate, giant sets, reverse pyramiding, drop sets, etc, just to shake things up. I get bored very easily. I typically train one, or no more than two body parts in a workout. I just recently changed this for a brief period of time, a “deload” type of workout where I’m working full body three times a week. That is not the norm for me though but I must say, it definitely broke me out of a few plateaus. It was hard to not lift 5-6 days a week but the rest was needed and certainly beneficial for me both physically and mentally. I am currently 14 weeks out and I’m starting another new training protocol for hard-gainers, so we shall see.
As far as cardio, I don’t do much because I lose too much weight too quickly. I love walking outside, or I’ll ride the stationary bike for 20 minutes at a low intensity.
As far as my diet, I stay pretty clean all year round. I usually don’t start dieting until about 8 weeks out. My diet coach is PJ Braun and he keeps my food pretty high. It doesn’t start to get really “gnarly” until about 2-3 weeks out. I can lose weight really fast and get stringy as I was for my first show and he wants to keep my physique looking full and muscular.

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: The majority of people are positive. Most people tell me they could never have the discipline to diet. I tell them, it’s all about how badly you want it. I have received some criticism or those who tell me I’m crazy but it doesn’t bother me in the least. I just smile and change the subject.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: Well, people think that I have to starve myself and do hours of cardio. That’s not the case but most people aren’t truly interested in knowing what goes into prepping for a competition. They often are just making conversation because they don’t know what else to talk to me about. I love helping and speaking to anyone who is truly interested in nutrition as I am certified in nutrition as well as Personal Trainer but most are just making conversation.
I think what can be most frustrating is the question..”So, what do you eat?” I tell them whole, unprocessed foods, lean meats, fruits, veggies and clean complex carbs. What I eat is irrelevant to what they need to meet their fitness goals.

Q:What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: To be honest, there isn’t anything I wish people understood. This is a lifestyle that you either get it or you don’t. Just like any other lifestyle. For me, it’s like I don’t get people who travel around the world and seek out destinations for bungee jumping, but it’s what they are passionate about, I don’t need to understand it.
I do think one of the biggest misconceptions is that we don’t eat anything and just starve ourselves.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: I would say the best part is that it really keeps me focused and is a great tool for taking my internal and external stressors away. It’s my anti-depressant. The worst part is that it can take time away from my family but they are incredibly understanding and I try to schedule my workouts around planned family events.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I do, Ava Cowan (she’s small framed like myself) and Jelena Abbou, she’s just gorgeous from head to toe.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I love Mexican food. Chips, guacamole, salsa….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: I would tell her to be patient, it’s a marathon, not a sprint and to really “be in the workout. Feel your muscles working and don’t just go through the motions.”

Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: From my observations, it’s more common for women to participate in resistance training classes. They take the same classes, do the same routines in those classes and their bodies never change. I still believe the majority of women are intimidated by the free weight area in their gyms. If they do anything they mostly stick with machines, and usually demonstrate improper form. I think we have a long way to go for women to be comfortable in the weight area.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love hiking, reading and activities close to my home. A few years ago I went to an Art Farm in Vermont and learned Folk Art and I plan to do my spare time…

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Jill Lord.
A: Sure. My days are pretty consistent. I drop my son off at school, head to the gym for my own workout. Then teach a fitness class after. If I have time, I might do an errand or some housework and then it’s clients for the rest of the day. In between clients, I drive my son to his activities, run more errands and do more chores, there’s always laundry. I do wake up early to prepare my food for the day because I don’t have the time in between clients. I plan my clients around my meals. My days start around 5:45 a.m. and I’m typically in bed by 10:30

Q: Describe Jill Lord in five words.
A: Hard-working, Compassionate, Responsible, Diligent, Considerate.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I am extremely sensitive. It’s both a strength and a weakness.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Absolutely, I plan to compete in the NPC Easterns in November and then the Masters Nationals in July 2012.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Jill Lord the athlete and competitor?
A: Sure. I’d love to get a sponsor. I can be reached via email at or on Facebook at Jill Davidson Lord.
When I am committed and love a company or a product, I spread the word to everyone I know. If I believe in that company or product, I will promote it with the highest level of integrity and passion because as a matter of integrity, I would have to believe in it.

Q: Jill, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you Jason for giving me the opportunity for your blog readers to get to know me. I really appreciate it. Good luck to everyone competing or not, who enjoy the lifestyle of bodybuilding and fitness, I can’t imagine doing anything else. God Bless!


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