Monday, March 26, 2012
Amanda Alger Interview
When I first interviewed Amanda Alger I saw some stage pictures from her first show. She looked decent and showed potential, but also looked nervous. Then I saw pictures when she was getting ready to compete in the same show a year later and was blown away. She had added so much muscle and really improved her physique. Then I saw the pictures from that show, and its no wonder she won. She looked amazing. Her physique was incredible, her posing was so much better and that once nervous looking girl looked confident and sure of herself. Amanda plans to compete three times this year, and I am excited to see what package she brings to the stage because she has the potential to be a real force and do big things in bodybuilding.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I got started in the gym because I worked there my first year of college. It wasn't anything other than getting a job. Then I started working out because you are around it everyday and see people working out. Then I got a trainer who helped me realize my potential with weights and lifting and what not. He ended up being boyfriend and it wasn't a great relationship and we broke up. That pushed me to want to compete because I had nothing left after that. I felt all I could turn to was competing and it was the best decision I ever made. It was a great thing for me.
Q: Looking back to when you started, if someone told you you were gonna get to the point you are now, would you have believed it?
A: Definitely not, I wasn't even aware of bodybuilding competitions until about two years ago when I started lifting. In the magazines there are the pictures of competitors, and I knew nothing about it and never thought it would be me. Getting on stage is where it got real, and then after a year of meeting some amazing people who compete or are involved in the industry, I have grown to love the lifestyle it has provided for me. And then competing and winning this past year, I feel like its been a hell of a ride and I don't regret any of it. I never would have believed my life would take this turn.
Q: When I look at pictures from the 2010 New England's, you looked confident but also nervous, is that accurate?
A: I would say that is definitely accurate. I was really nervous my first year. All sixteen weeks of prep I kept thinking "How am I going to get on stage", I went through it, did the dieting, cardio, workouts, but it didn't get real till I was on stage at pre-judge. Then after I got second place the first thing I said to my friend was "I really did it, it happened". So it was obvious I was nervous, but I did have confidence that I put in the work to get there. As soon as I was finished I couldn't wait to get on stage again. In 2011 it was obvious I loved every second of being on stage. Its a feeling you cant describe to someone who hasn't felt it.
Q: From then till the 2011 New England's I was amazed at the amount of muscle you added in one year. Obvious our goal is always to add muscle, but was it a goal where you said you felt you had to add more size or did it just happen?
A: Actually no, it just happened. I didn't plan on getting bigger like that. What happened was, for the last eight years of my life I struggled with eating disorders so I never ate a lot of calories and fed my body for the kind of building for the potential I have. After my first show, I didn't know if I was gonna compete again. I wanted to get back on stage, but didn't know if I wanted to go through the process again. During the off season I had no plans to compete and ate what I wanted, food wasn't a fear anymore. So I fed my body the way it needed to build, and I just grew. I didn't expect it. I lifted really really heavy with a group who really did push me. Once I dieted down and saw how big I was I was like "wow, I really did add a lot of size" haha.This year once I finished prep I decided to just focus on muscle fullness. Not stay where I am at, but didn't go crazy with he eating and building.
Q: Dumb question, but at the 2011 New England's you won the overall, how happy were you?
A: Oh my God, I cant even describe it. Everyone was telling me I had first, but I never believed it. All day long I stayed humble. If I took last or first I would have felt just as accomplished, but getting first overall I never saw. I cant describe it, it makes the twenty-four week prep worth it. You come to times were you question if its worth it, but getting overall makes you know it was worth it.
Q: You say you didn't believe you had a chance, but from what I saw, you just looked two levels above everyone else. Can you look at pictures now and see you were that good?
A: Yes and no. Its a hard thing and I am sure anyone who has done it can sympathize that when you look at pictures its still hard to believe its you. You don't see yourself like that and we are all our own worst critics. Weeks, days and minutes out we are still picking apart our bodies. You always question where your limits. Looking at pictures now I see where my competition was, but I look to see where I can bring myself up. I could have been dryer and leaner. Its more using competition for my own improvements. Backstage the girls are all in the same boat and its hard to view them and say "I am better than that girl". Its not in my nature.
Q: I also noticed your posing was a million times better, is that something you put a lot of effort into improving?
A: Oh yeah! That was a big thing. After I saw the pictures from 2010, other than obvious things I needed to change, I could tell my posing needed to me more precise and I could improve how I looked based on posing. So I hired and OCB judge to help me pose. I saw him every week. Everyone said I knew how to pose and just needed to practice, but I felt that one hour a week with him and practicing every chance I got, all made it work and come together. It was one of my biggest improvements. For a bodybuilder working that hard to be on stage, you might as well make your posing worth it, ti demonstrates how rd you worked to get there. Learn the poses that work best for your body and your muscles.
Q: When you train, do you have a set routine you follow or do you like to change it up?
A: I really hate change. If I could keeep the same routine fifty-two weeks a year it would be great, but its not practical. You have to add in certain things for lagging muscles, include isolation things. For things like squats, deadlifts, bent-over rows, bench press, curls, the general exercises I keep it the same, but add in a little extra. I have a tendency to over train, its hard to tell yourself enough is enough. But I do change my splits every three weeks or so.
Q: In the gym, you are a beautiful girl, and women your size are not common, does it cause unwanted attention?
A: yeah, that's a really big problem, the one downside of the industry. For me its not social hour, I set aside time for that. When I am in the gym, I am there for usually a limited time and have things I need to do. I planned out what I need to do and it doesn't allow time for me to sit and talk about how I got to be this size, and what I eat, and what to do for abs. Everyone has a question and I don't mind that, but its also negative attention from men. I deserve the same respect as any other woman. You wouldn't talk that way to your mother or sister so why talk that way to me? My boyfriend is awesome about it. If it is a distraction for me, he makes sure he handles it for me. It makes it easier to focus. I do take it a little to personal sometimes. Girls like us are rare, and its taboo so I understand the curiosity, but we aren't freaks.
Q: When you are in public, do you dress to show it off or cover it up to avoid attention?
A: You know, my first year bodybuilding I would say it was about showing it off. I was always a little smaller so the first year I enjoyed showing it off. But this past year, since I took first at New England's, it's changed in my head. I don't want the attention, I am not sure how far I would go to avoid attention. There are certain gyms I wont go to or at a different time. I understand wanting to show it off, but I don't dress like that anymore.
Q: You recently posted some photo shoot pictures where you look great, is that something you want to do more of?
A: Oh my gosh yes. I love the modeling. The two shoots I did after New England's, with Bill mack and Mike at MTM, were the first two I did like that. I surprised people with it. I surprised myself because I never had done a sexy photo shoot with the softer side of muscle. Didnt know I was capable after it. Then I got the proofs back and was like "that's me? I cant believe it". This year I plan on doing three shows I think, but would like to keep going with the modeling and try and maybe get a sponsorship that way instead of needing to get on stage to do it.
Q: Outside of how it makes you feel, is it something were it allows you to say "look bodybuilders can be sexy"?
A: Yes absolutely! I am also a trainer so I know for women the idea of having muscle can be scary. Clients say they don't want to be as muscular as me or look like a guy. You don't have to worry about looking like a guy, the female body can hold a lot of muscle, but most women don't train their body like that or eat like that. I am sure some women would love to be more muscular but worry what their husband would think or if its attractive. I am biased but I think female bodybuilders are the most beautiful people on the planet. Look at Debbie Bramwell, she is stunning, there are so many out there that I aspire to be like cause they have the muscle, the attitude and a sweet side.
Q: Before we finish, did you want to add anything?
A: I encourage people to follow me this year. I plan to be more public with my updates on shows. I plan to do three shows this year, starting at Empire States on July 7th and am thinking about the Hartord Europa and maybe Team Universe and maybe go for my pro card. I am doing things different this year, more carbs than ever. I do hope everyone follows along and stays supportive. The constant support from family, friends, and even people I haven't met eye to eye.That makes me feel like sticking it out. People who hope you make the best of yourself, those are people you don't want to let down.