Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tenecia Phillips Interview

Q: First, Tenecia, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: You're welcome, Jason! I appreciate you giving me the opportunity.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born in Richmond, VA but moved to Tucson, Arizona with my mom when I was almost 2 years old. I've lived in Tucson since then with the exception of the time I spent in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University. I've been married for almost 7 years and my husband is a firefighter with the Tucson Fire Department. I'm also the mother of a gorgeous 10 year old daughter. I work as a public librarian and yes, I know the Dewey Decimal System and will shush someone if I need to! :)

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I did play...or shall I say...I attempted to play sports in high school. It was strongly encouraged that I play basketball because I was taller than most of the girls my age so I played in middle school and throughout high school. When I was a freshman in high school, my P.E. teacher decided to do several lessons on tennis. For some reason, I was a natural at it and my teacher encouraged me to tryout for the tennis team. I made the junior varsity team, played one match on that particular team, and then was moved up to varsity! I played varsity tennis for the remainder of my high school "career". I love the sport and fantasize about being the AZ version of Serena Williams :)

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I wanted arms like Angela Bassett's in What's Love Got To Do With It and Linda Hamilton in The Terminator. I found out that the only way that was going to happen was if I lifted weights...heavy weights!

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Yes, training was something that did come fairly easy to me. I am fiercely competitive so my husband/trainer would say things like "I'm sure this is too heavy for you to lift" just because he knows that I HAVE to prove him! I have to say that I've been blessed genetically so I see results, whether it's putting on muscle or dropping weight, fairly quickly.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: My husband has been in love with the sport of bodybuilding since before we met and he is the one who introduced me to the sport. After watching my first competition, I longed to step on stage like the women I had seen. It did take some time from the point that I decided I wanted to compete to actually stepping on stage but I finally did it in July 2010!!!

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: My family is definitely supportive! My daughter will remind me that I need to get my cardio done or will even ask me if I'm allowed to be eating something! It did take some time for some of my friends to support me but I have never had anyone be outright negative about my desire to compete.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: It surprised me that I would be so determined to improve my physique each time I stepped on stage. I was surprised that I felt like I needed to know what kept me from walking about with the win so I always ask the judges for feedback. I may not always agree with the feedback I received but it's still beneficial to receive it.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
*2010 NPC Arizona Open Class E Last place
*2010 NPC Western Regional Class E Last place
*2011 NPC Orange County Muscle Classic Class E 4th place
*2011 NPC Terminator Class B 2nd place

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: My biceps! I don't have Angela Bassett's arms but I'm pretty darn close :)

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I enjoy training back. Right now, I'm trying to build up my back and one of my favorite exercise for back is barbell bent-over rows! I love them!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My normal routine is cardio 3-4 times a week and lifting 3 times a week. I try to eat fairly clean but allow myself treats if I want them. Since I am currently prepping for my next show, I am currently doing 45 minutes of cardio in the morning 5 times a week. I am lifting 3 times a week with one workout focusing solely on back and the others are full-body workouts. I am currently following a keto diet with occasional re-feeds.

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: People are mostly positive in their reactions - they are usually in shock that I am able to balance competing with my job, family, friends, etc.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "You must work out ALL of the time to get a body like that!" I want to shake some sense into I just tell them that of course I spend time in the gym but I have life so all of the hours of my day are not spent there.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Every woman who competes is not taking steroids!! I'm so tired of people assuming that because I have muscles, I must have taken some type of steroid to get them. It can be really annoying and I try not to let it upset me but it does at times.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training is seeing improvements. I love looking at my progress pictures and seeing improvements from the previous days, weeks, months, etc. The worst part of training is feeling weakness. I hate that there are times during my training where I feel weak and unable to do a lift or exercise but I always remind myself that weakness is temporary!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I definitely worship at the feet of Erin Stern, Teresa Anthony, and Candice Keene! These ladies have incredible physiques, are well-spoken, intelligent, and have such grace & poise.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Carne asada fries! French fries topped with carne asada, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, pica de gallo, and jalapenos! Trust me when I say, it's heaven on a plate :)

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: Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for help! I have heard so many women say that they want to get into working out but they didn't know what to do and were afraid to ask for help. How will you learn if you don't ask questions???

Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: I do. I think women are realizing that there are more options to working out than treadmills and aerobics! Weight training can be fun and challenging and women are starting to realize that.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy bikram yoga, spinning, spending time with my family, and just sitting down & reading a great book.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Tenecia Phillips.
4:45 Wake up
5:00 Cardio
6:30 Wake up my daughter, make her breakfast, and get her ready for school
7:10 Out the door and off to school
7:45 At the gym for work out
8:45 Out the door and off to work
9:00 - 6:00 Working at the library
6:30 Dinner with the family and homework
7:30 Put my daughter to bed
8:30 Time for bed!
*I eat 6 meals somewhere in that day too :)

Q: Describe Tenecia Phillips in five words.
A: Stubborn, determined, funny, sarcastic, reliable

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I'm very very uncomfortable in front of large groups of people and I'm a klutz. That's why I'm always thankful that I didn't pass out or trip over my own feet each time I step on stage :)

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I will be competing on October 29 at the NPC Border States in San Diego, CA. After that show, I'm going to give my body a rest and I'll look at show schedules at the beginning of next year.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I write a blog entitled Boobs, Barbells, and Broccoli and I talk about my life, work, competing, and other random topics.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Tenecia Phillips the athlete and competitor?
A: I would love the opportunity to partner with companies that share my passion for healthy living, family, music, and food :) I can be contacted on my blog, on facebook or via email

Q: Tenecia, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to do this interview. It was a great experience!


  1. As a personal friend of hers growing up, I'm so proud of her. She inspires me and I hope to one day balance such a lifestyle even though I plan on going back to school next spring to become a teacher. ;) Rock on, girl!

  2. yeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
    I've been following Tenecia along her past 2 shows and i have fallen in love with her determination and drive!
    she is one awesome,inspirational lady!!!

  3. Tenecia is a pillar of grace and strength! Thank you for taking the time to interview her - she's awesome!!

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