Sunday, October 2, 2011
Spotlight Interview: Alyssa Stroud
An athlete all her life, Alyssa Stroud wasted no time in being successful making the transition to physique sports. After starting out in Figure, she won the 2010 Europa in her first Bodybuilding competition. After making great improvements she did the 2011 USA's with a more than respectable third place. I think the sky is the limit as to how good Alyssa can be, and see no way she will be denied her eventual Pro card.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started with weight training?
A: Honestly I have always been an athlete. I have played sports since I was 5. What got me into Bodybuilding was when ESPN used to air the Mr. and Ms. Olympia shows, I was watching when I was 13 and told my mom I would do that one day. And here I am trying to do it, so that's where it all started.
Q: You started in Figure, but was the goal all along to eventually do Bodybuilding?
A: I think initially it was. When I started Figure I had just turned 20. My first show as in 2007 and I just turned 20, and I knew that I needed to build a bigger foundation but wanted to get started in doing shows. So I knew eventually I would switch, I just didn't know when.
Q: You went some time between your last Figure show and first Bodybuilding show. Was that strictly just to build size?
A: Actually, a lot of people said I took time off, but I really didn't because my last show for Figure was June 2009 and I started dieting for the Europa in 2010 in the second week of April. I really didn't have more time off than I did for any other show. So, basically, I have always been a heavy person in the off season and was tired of losing 40 pounds just to be in Figure. No one gets to see me in the off season, so there really wasn't time off. I already had the muscle, I just had to put it back on.
Q: You won the overall in your first Bodybuilding show, the Europa, how big of an accomplishment was that for you?
A: Honestly, it wasn't that big of an accomplishment. I know a lot of people think it was great, but I was disappointed when I got to the show and saw there was only one middleweight, one light heavyweight which was myself, and one heavyweight. I was disappointed there was only 3 Bodybuilders total when in previous shows there was 2 or 3 per class. So that's why last year I wanted to do another show but waited till this year to do a National show.
Q: From the Europa to this years USA's, you went from light heavyweight to heavyweight. Was that something you planned or just naturally happened due to added size?
A: Honestly its been pretty consistent. Each year I put on ten more pounds so from 2010 off season to this year I had put on 9 pounds. I was weighing 185 pounds when I started dieting, and I was like "I highly doubt I am going to lose 45 pounds to get into light heavy", so I knew I would be a heavyweight this year. It wasn't really planned, so I went with the flow.
Q: Do you prefer being a heavyweight or does it not really matter to you?
A: Honestly, when I was at USA's I weighed 158-160. Looking at the other girls backstage, they were huge compared to me and it was really intimidating before I went on stage. The good thing about me is I am so dense, but the girls just have more muscle than I do, and I don't look as big as them. To compete in Bodybuilding I just have to put on more size.
Q: Everyone wants to win, but having said that, how satisfied were you with 3rd at USA's?
A: I was ecstatic actually. Yeah, everyone wants to win, but being backstage and seeing who I was against, and what 1st and 2nd looked like compared to me, I knew going in, that if I did well it was cause of my structure and symmetry and not my size, so I was happy.
Q: From that show, what do you feel you need to improve on?
A: I know I need more size, that's always gonna be the biggest thing. I know my conditioning was not where I wanted. My upper body was fairly good, my legs had filled out, and my abdomen was not where it could have been due to stomach issues I had been having. I didn't look like crap but wasn't 100% either.
Q: Some people post progress pictures and some don't like to. Leading up to USA's you did post them. Is there a reason you wanted to?
A: Good question. OK, a lot of people like to follow their competitor friends, my friend Chad Ray Martin and I had talked about this. When you are dieting you want to show what you worked hard for. There are some things I want to keep secret and some I don't. When I am 4 weeks out I will still post pictures because the person against me will get motivated and work harder or won't be able to do anything about it, if that makes sense. I have seen others post photos and I look and think they look ok, but I think "I got this on them". I use it as a tool to motivate others and show where I am at.
Q: Are there any competitors you look up to or anything?
A: I have been asked this several times. I honestly don't. I got into bodybuilding because it was something I knew I was meant to do. I don't have any competitors that I am like "wow I want her physique". I have been told I have a mixture of peoples physiques and it is flattering. I have been told its between Cory Everson and Isabelle Turrell, both have incredible physiques, so being told I look similar makes me happy.
Q: I talk to other competitors, and you are often mentioned as a future pro. Does that mean more coming from other competitors?
A: Honestly, you telling me that is flattering. A lot of people don't tell me, which I can understand. For people to follow me and have faith is... almost speechless. It makes me push harder and I don't like to let people down. Pulling out of Nationals is not something I wanted to do but I will be better in 2012.
Q: In the gym, being attractive and that big, do you get a lot of stares or annoying comments?
A: Funny that you say that. Thanks for saying I am attractive, because in the gym I don't feel that way a lot of times. I feel like I am being stared at just cause my veins and muscles are popping out and everyone is in admiration at that, and just looking at that and not the whole picture. Some may think I am attractive and some have a grotesque look on there face. I have admirers and people who think its disgusting. I would rather look like this than out of shape and sloppy looking.
Q: I really like your Back. Can you give an idea what your back training is like?
A: It's good that you said that because I have several people comment on my back. I had a wide structure and width is something I don't have to work on a lot, but I do. I am a big fan of pull-ups, usually 4 to 5 sets whether to warm up or at the end to burn out. Also I am a fan of barbell rows, I like close grip rows, T-bars, I usually do 12 to 18 working sets on back. 70 percent for width and the rest for thickness. A lot of people ask if I do deadlifts, if I do, its once a month. I would say if someone wants to build there back, start with pull-ups and 90 degree bent over row.
Q: Have you thought of what show is next?
A: I have a new training partner named Angela Pearson here in Kansas City. Her and Chad Ray Martin both want me to do Jr. nationals with them. I have contemplated it, but it isn't set in stone. Go ahead and look for me at Jr. nationals, but we will see. When she told me last, we were 36 weeks out, not a lot time from now, so not looking forward to the dieting thing.
Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: I think one of the biggest questions I am asked is if I have a coach. I never have, I do training and nutrition and supplementation myself. Noel Fuller and I were going to work together but didn't since I backed out of nationals. I look forward to Noel doing my prep in 2012. I have to thank Angela Pearson, she has been inspirational, and Chad Martin, we worked before USA's, he was there for me, and helped when no one else was around.