Sunday, August 7, 2011

Spotlight Interview: IFBB Pro Jackie Hoppe

Q: Can you start out by talking about how you got started training?
A: I started working out at a gym when I was in college after I gave up competitive sports. I had been a college cheerleader and when I quit doing that I kind of felt lost in terms of what I was working towards. So I joined a gym and started doing group aerobics kind things cause I didn't know what else to do. I transitioned from there to doing my own thing with free weights. I was approached by some of the staff to try competing because they thought I had a good structure or it. So in 2006 I did my first contest, I was 20 years old, a senior in college. Been doing it every year since.

Q: You have mentioned you never had a trainer. How did you get this far with no trainer?
A: I don't know really. I never had a trainer, I did have a girl kind of telling me what she ate when she competed. I started from there and the first couple years was kind of bumping along and then I met my husband Nate and he is the one that kind of morphed me into a National level competitor. I had given up on the sport cause I was doing it myself, but he helped me figure a diet that worked for me, and I have always done my own lifting. I just think that nobody knows your body as well as you do. Its all trial and error.

Q: Having said that, I assume as a trainer yourself, you would suggest people starting out, get a trainer?
A: Yeah, I think its all on a one by one basis. A lot of trainers take on a bunch of people and then don't give them any personal attention. I think that's counter productive. But if people can find a trainer that's knowledgeable and makes them feel comfortable, I think its in their best interest to use that trainer just to have a second opinion and keep them on track. I don't do a lot of contest prep for people, but I have a few that compete and I only want to work with the ones who listen to what you say and not listen to me and five other people.

Q: The first time you competed, did you know it was something you would want to do more of?
A: Yeah. Its funny because when I did my first show, I had never seen a show before so I was clueless as to what it was. I knew you wore sparkled up suits, so I had a Victoria's Secret two piece that a seamstress bedazzled for me, and that was when one pieces were still around, so I had a Nike Speedo one piece that had been bedazzled. I went to the show, didn't have any Pro Tan, Jan Tana, didn't know what any of that was. I had on some bronzer and the expediters backstage thought I was ridiculous. They painted my backstage, and I ended up winning the overall. From then on I knew it was something I had fallen in love with. I was that weird girl completely out of her element.

Q: Last year you took 2nd at Jr. Nationals. Knowing you were that close, was it more frustrating or exciting?
A: I think it was more excitement. Prior to that Jr. nationals I had finished 6th and 7th the prior two years prior. So just to be top 5 was enough to make me ecstatic. I definitely wasn't upset, it was a bitter sweet, to be so close but still happy to be where I was.

Q: Then you won your Pro card at Team Universe. When you first realized you got your pro card, what went through your mind?
A: Wow, too many things. Don't fall over, I was just excited that my husband and mother-in-law where there to watch me. Its a weird feeling to describe cause it is what you worked for for so long but in the back of your mind wondered if it would ever happen. A real surreal moment.

Q: You then made your pro debut at the Kentucky Pro. What was the biggest difference being on the Pro stage?
A: I think for me, what really hurt me in Kentucky, is the National level has so many girls and they want you to come on be quick and move on cause there is 40 of you in the class. At the Pro level I didn't realize you have more time on stage, take your time. I came on to do individual turns and I was like wham bam and done as opposed to taking my time. I took that with me when I went to California and tried to take my time more. The biggest critique I got after Kentucky was I looked rushed and uncomfortable on stage.

Q: That first time on a pro stage do you get star struck?
A: Yeah kind of. Ava Cowen was there in Kentucky, and she got first call outs and they called me in 2nd call outs, and I was like "Oh my gosh, I am actually being compared to someone who I looked at her pictures 10,000 times. You definitely get that, but I think its more humbling I guess. You get star struck but not to where you feel you don't belong.

Q; Besides rushing, did you notice anything that first time where you needed to improve on?
A: Yeah, I knew going into it that I was gonna be smaller than the other girls in terms of muscularity. I think my structure is smaller, so I have been making it a point to grow my back and shoulders so I don't look dwarfed.

Q: Does carrying the pro card carry more responsibility?
A: I really think so. When people hear you are an IFBB Pro, when they are new to the industry, they put you on a pedestal automatically and I think if you carry yourself in a way that is cocky it gives a bad name to all pros because people do look up to us whether we realize it or not. its important to reach out and help competitors who are coming up.

Q: When I talk to competitors, your name often comes up when talking about the friendly and good representatives are in the sport, is that something you try and make an effort to do?
A: I am actually really flattered. To me the whole sport is about the experience of it. I don't understand how anybody can go to a contest and put themselves up higher than anybody else. I am there to compete for one, but to get experiences and meet people and make friends. At the end of the day it doesn't matter who won, its what you walked away with from the experience. I don't understand overly competitive mind sets. It doesn't make sense to me.

Q: You do train people. Is there one aspect you really enjoy?
A: I love all of it. Its so rewarding to me. I have a broad range of clients, from Figure competitors to the 60 year old that is trying to get off her blood pressure medication. Just to see them become healthier and their self esteem and confidence change through out the process is the best part for me. I have one client, she is 60 years old and she was so excited cause she could walk all the way up a flight of stairs without stopping. She said "I could never do that before, but can thanks to you" and I said "I didn't do it, you did it". Its so rewarding to be part of something like that.

Q: Any idea when you will compete next?
A: I don't know. Probably not till next year. This is the first summer since 2006 that I didn't diet all summer so I think I will take time off and make improvements and enjoy my husband and family. Go on a vacation that doesn't include bodybuilding haha. Try and make a run at it next year.

Q: Before we finish, is there anyone you want to thank?
A: Yeah, my husband who helps me with all my training. My family, my mom, my dad, My gym Riviera Fitness here in Alabama. They do a really good job supporting me and promoting my name. All my family and friends, and you.

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