Friday, April 13, 2012
Michelle Brent Interview
Michelle Brent has been competing for several years in search of her pro card. It would be fair to say it is a pro card she has deserved to win on multiple occasions. Michelle Brent the bodybuilder is an amazing woman, but Michelle is equally amazing off the stage. That was reflected when she one the voting for Most Inspirational Bodybuilder on this blog. That inspiration is why I myself often wear my Team Brent shirt to the gym, because Michelle is very inspiring. Her physique, her attitude, her kindness, all things that are admirable. So this interview with Michelle is one I am very excited to present.
Q; Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: It was technically when I was a teenager because I was always athletic. I always wanted to be in sports. In high school we did a little bit of weight training. I really didn't get into the weight training part till I was in college. I was a Physical Education major so I had to do weight training and things. I got super serious as far as to compete in 1985. I saw it on TV, back then Rachel McClish and Cory Everson were starting. I said "wow, I really like that look". I knew I had an athletic body from my years with sports. So It was 1985 when I started serious training with the idea I wanted to compete from the get go.
Q: When you look back to the beginning, would you have ever imagined adding the size you added?
A: You know what? No, because I just didn't have this plan when I started. It was kinda like your situation, where I just wanted to lose some weight. I really started to get in shape and whatever muscle I had, I was fine with. But as the years progressed, I thought "o.k., that's where its going". I wasn't obsessed saying "I want to be this big and have this much muscle". It just gradually happened over the years.
Q: Recently you posted a picture from when you started competing. What keeps you going now, the desire to win that pro card, or just a love for the sport?
A: I think its a combination. Of course, that pro card dilemma I have been having. All these years its been the goal, and so many people are getting it. People say "Oh Michelle you are a pro in our eyes, you are so professional". But its that goal, I always wanted to be a pro athlete of some sort. Its a combination, I am not gonna lie I want that pro card, but I love to compete, the theatrical part of it, helping people, so its a combination.
Q: Last year at Masters Nationals you took third and fourth at light heavyweight. To me, it was two years in a row at Masters where you could have won your pro card. Did you feel you had a shot?
A: Last year I felt I did because the year before at North Americans I finally won the thirty-five and over and the open, but no pro card cause you have to win the overall. So I felt I had a shot going in, but it was weird. During the prep I wasn't feeling it, so I went in hoping to get it, but when I was called third and fourth I was kinda o.k. with it. The whole prep last year I felt I didn't give one hundred percent. SO I was o.k. with what happened.
Q: At North Americans you were heavyweight, was that the plan, or just what you ended up weighing?
A: Two years ago at Masters I planned to be heavyweight cause some people said "Michelle, you are killing yourself, you have the muscle mass, you can be a heavyweight". I always fought the heavyweight thing because with my eight and structure that I didn't feel it was good. Last yea I just went in and wanted to do the show with my husband cause he couldn't do Masters because he had a leg injury. We do it as a team. So I gave North Americans a try and didn't worry about weight. I knew with the competition I needed to be more of a solid heavyweight. The Canadians came in and blasted through and it was great.
Q: At Nationals you took tenth, safe to say you weren't happy with that?
A: Oh boy Jason, I figured at my age, I really put the age card there and said "I'm fifty-four, I am gonna go for it, they have seen me, they know who I am." I hadn't done Nationals since 2003 I believe. I felt like I could go back to light heavyweight, be shredded and look my best. I didn't realize how differently they do judge. I had a little pow-wow with Anita Ramsey and Chris Szabo, Chris is a little younger but we concluded they wanted us to stay in the Masters divisions, they like that new talent a little more. I was happy the way I looked, I thought I looked awesome, my glutes were the best they have been. To get tenth I was like "wow, that's a message". But I had to let it go, I cant let it stay on my shoulders forever or it ruins who I am as an athlete.
Q: What do you want to improve on for 2012?
A: At this point in my career, twenty-six years with only three years I didn't compete, I wanna stay conditioned and full. Stay where I was, I don't wanna put on any muscle. I wanna do Team Universe because they put two Masters classes for pro cards available. perfect for me, no weight class. I am gonna be the best I can be with about the same amount of muscle. I like the size I have. Keep that positive attitude.
Q: A lot of people sort of have to go through prep alone cause people just don't understand it. When you compete with your husband, how much easier is it to have someone to go through it with you?
A: It makes it so much easier. I am very fortunate that my husband Bill is in the sport himself. With the support and him dieting with me, and living the life of eating good, we have our moments of course, everyone does, but it helps tremendously to have someone on your side who is totally in it with you.
Q: Anyone who has seen you on stage knows you are an amazing poser. Some people think you just get on stage and flex, can you explain how important posing actually is?
A: Oh my God, its very important. I have even come across like I have no practiced. If you don't display the posing the way you should and practice, it ruins a physique. We just had a seminar and talked about it. Everyone has to hit a pose a certain way to make their physique look the best. There is no set standard, I always thought there was, but now that physique has come along, I can see where even bodybuilders have to work at it. Its so important, you cant just get up there and do a little flex. Its part of the presentation.
Q: At the gym, women your size are rare, do you get a lot of stares and attention?
A: Haha I guess being in my gym here in Connecticut, they look. There is a lot of kid athletes, teenage athletes, and I get looks and everything. For the most part its positive. People leave me alone when I am training with Bill, but I have this personality that people wanna come ask questions or talk, and I do it, unless I am in the last two weeks of my prep. I have had positive feedback from people.
Q: In public are you more of a dress to show it off or cover it up person?
A: Haha I am a cover it up type person. Friends say "come on you work so hard". If its a moderate day I wear a little t-shirt, but I don't show it off often. I am like you, I hide it a lot. Unless at the Arnold's or something where everyone is in the same industry. For the most part, in the summer maybe I will wear shirts, but usually a half-sleeve shirt, never a tank top or anything.
Q: On my blog, you were voted Most Inspirational Bodybuilder. Does that mean something to you?
A: Its really cool, I think a lot of the ladies really love that and wanna be on that. A lot of times I don't think I am that well known. it makes me feel honored and motivated that I can inspire people. I am very appreciative.
Q: Cant do this without talking about your cookies, Michelle's Magic Morsels. I once said to someone "They aren't the best protein cookies, they are the best cookies period". How did you start those?
A: It was a long time ago. Back in California, protein bars were getting popular and I think in 2000 the Tri-o-Plex cookies were out there. I worked in a cookie bakery and felt I could do that. I had closed my gym and worked at Gold's and had extra time. I brought them to bodybuilding shows to see if people liked them. Now I wanna decide how big I want it to be. It has that personal touch, and I already did big business with the gym. I like my little niche.
Q: Anything you want to add?
A: Just that everyone has to be true to themselves in fitness and bodybuilding. Be true to yourself, love it, don't go out there and say "I want that pro card so bad. I will get that pro card in a year or two". Just be true to yourself and dedicated. Love it and have fun. its hard in this sport but do it and inspire. For instance a man yesterday, I was doing legs and he was watching and said "can I ask a question". I said "o.k.", and he said "can you do my workout for me". It was so cute. Helping inspire people makes me feel so good. If I can touch one person a week It makes me feel really good.