Thursday, October 6, 2011

Julie Hamilton Interview

Q: First, Julie, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: No problem at all, thanks so much for asking me to do it!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born and raised here in St. Louis, Mo. I attended the University of Missouri, Columbia for my degree in Nutrition and Fitness and worked as a personal trainer all through college and also did a year of strength and conditioning coaching for the athletes at Mizzou. I moved to Dallas, Tx right after graduation to help open an Equinox down there. I loved the company and the gym but my entire family was in St. Louis so after 3 years personal training there I moved back to St. Louis to be closer to them. I am now at a place called Emerge Fitness in St. Charles and I absolutely LOVE working there. It is a great environment and very supportive of the competition aspect of training.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I definitely grew up in the gym!! I started dance at about 3 years of age and gymnastics when I was in preschool. I did gymnastics competitively for about 12 years and was a 2nd year level 8 gymnast. I swam on the neighbourhood swim team as well growing up. My passion was gymnastics though so that is the sport I focused on. I ended up having surgery on my arm which put me out of the sport completely. I wasn't able to hang on my arm after the surgery and having to be in a sling for about 3 months affected how my shoulder blade sat on my thoracic's so it threw off all of my tumbling passes and such. I took up kickboxing at the boxing gym in O'fallon shortly after and that was my intro into the fitness world. I went to classes about 5 times a week for about 2 years. One night, the instructor canceled right as class was about to begin and so the owner asked if I felt comfortable teaching it for the night. I went so much that I knew all the routines and what to do so I did it and I fell in love with it! I taught a few more classes there and then decided that was what I wanted to pursue as my career in the future.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: In gymnastics, we were in the gym practicing for a good 15- 20 hours a week so it was only natural to me to make the gym a priority in my life because that's all I knew growing up. I am very fortunate that I have great genes in my family so for me going to workout wasn't about trying to lose weight, it was about doing something that I really enjoyed doing. The challenge of pushing myself and setting goals to keep progressing gives me such a great feeling of accomplishment so I think that's what keeps me coming back.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Training was easy for me to understand having taken a bunch of anatomy and exercise physiology classes in school. It fascinates me to see how the different styles of training affect the body so I spend a lot of my time reading different articles about that and also just testing out on my own body what works and what doesn't. Honestly, I started seeing the results of my training when I really manipulated my diet... that is about 90% of the equation right there!

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I had tossed around the idea of competing for a few years and I have always had people tell me I should do it because of my gymnast frame but it took a bunch of people at the gym all deciding to do one together for me to do it. I'm glad I did though because we were all there to support each other through the training process and it made it fun to know we were all going to be competing together. It was such a great experience and it really brought us together like a family.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: My family is very supportive of competing so much so that after my first show my dad decided to do the Gateway Naturals show with me! I'd say the biggest thing my friends and family didn't understand was how strict I had to be with my diet!!

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Competing is amazing!! From stepping out on to the stage and showing off your hard work and discipline down to all the people you meet along the way, it was all around such a great experience. I really didn't know what to expect of the other women competing, I think in my mind I was worried it would be a bunch of catty women, but that is far from how it is back stage. Everyone knows the work and effort it takes to compete so there is a tremendous amount of respect for all the other competitors because they have worked just as hard as you to get where they are.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: My first show was The Missouri State NPC Figure competition July 23,2011. I placed 3rd which I was happy with but being the competitive person I am, I immediately started training for another show because I want to win! Over the 2 months between shows I really improved on my legs and was able to get leaner than I was for the July competition so I was thrilled about that! I just did the Gateway Naturals October 1st, 2011 and I placed 4th in Figure... it was a really tough competition, there were some amazing competitors that showed up to compete. I am going to work on some things this winter and do another show in March or April of 2012... Gotta get that 1st place prize!!!

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would say my back because I am so broad from gymnastics and swimming and my abs, I am lucky because I don't have a hard time leaning out there!

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: My favorite to train is either back or shoulders! I see the most results there so I think that's why I enjoy working them out.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I lift 4-5 times a week and then do cardio 4-5 times a week as well. The main thing I alter during contest prep is the amount of cardio. I gradually build up to doing an hour first thing in the morning and the 30 minutes of HITT in the evenings 6 times a week when it is a couple weeks out from show time!

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: It has always been a positive response from people when they hear that I compete. Most people ask how they can get their body to look like mine and when I tell them what goes into it most people say they don't have the self discipline to do it or that they enjoy eating junk food way to much to give it up.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I would have to say the junk food comment bothers me... people will complain about their weight, how unhappy they are, and how it effects everything in their daily life but yet they are unwilling to give up something as simple as eating poorly. It is crazy to me how many people are so obsessed with food or have such a twisted relationship with food and it's become such a problem in our country today. The obesity epidemic that we have going on is proof of that. In my mind, food is my fuel to get me through the day...yes, some food tastes better than others but so what! If eating super clean for a few months gets me to a goal where I am in the best shape of my life and feel great about myself, how is that not worth giving up a cheeseburger for?!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: The biggest misconception would have to be that they think they will get bulky or look manly if they weight train so they stick to only doing cardio and wonder why they don't lose weight... As we age we have a decrease of lean muscle mass so unless we do something to keep the muscle on or change how we eat we will just gain weight because our metabolism decreases without the muscle mass being there to burn all the extra calories to fuel it through out the day.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training is the sense of accomplishment and seeing results, the worst part would be the amount of time that goes into training for a competition. It is definitely something that you have to plan into your schedule like a part time job!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I admire anyone that has the guts and discipline to compete!

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: My favorite cheat meal is a bacon cheese burger and fries or chicken fingers and fries and dessert of course!

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 say find a coach and listen to only them... everyone will have a different opinion about everything so trying to mix and match does not work. Also, do not deviate from the diet plan and workouts! Going into a competition knowing I did everything thing I could to prepare for it allows me to be happy with however I place because I know I did my absolute best!

Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: I think it is becoming more common but many women just don't know what to do in the weight room to begin with so they stay in the cardio area because it is the only thing they know how to do. If you are one of these ladies- invest in a personal trainer for a few months to learn the ropes of the gym!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends so any time I am not working or working out I am usually spending time with them.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Julie Hamilton.
A: A typical day for me starts around 6am when I have my first client of the day. I'll usually work till about noon and that's when I get my workout and cardio in for the day. I go back around 3 or 4 till about 7pm to train a few more clients. I enjoy just relaxing with friends or my boyfriend after work whether its going out to grab something to eat or watching tv! Nothing too exciting!

Q: Describe Julie Hamilton in five words.
A: Loving, outgoing, disciplined, hard working and fun.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Hmmmm that is a tough question... I guess the fact that I was born with too many veins in my right arm, I have never met anyone else that has it so I guess that makes me unique!

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Yes! I hope to compete in the spring, I am thinking March or April will be my next show :)

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: If you are looking for a personal trainer, I am at Emerge Fitness in St. Charles. Check us out online at!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Julie Hamilton the athlete and competitor?
A: I would love to be sponsored and ultimately my dream is to do the photoshoots demonstrating the exercises for magazines like Oxygen, Fitness RX or Muscle and Fitness Hers! With me, you are getting a hard worker, someone who is very disciplined and someone with integrity. You can contact me at

Q: Julie, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you so much for asking me to do this! I think this is such a great site for ladies to get their voice out there about competing and what it entails.

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