Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jill Crean Interview

Photo Credits
Photos 1 and 4: Anna Picinich
Photos 2-3: Rx Muscle

Some people can be considered an inspiration. Jill Crean is three inspirational people all rolled into one. You can decide which one you want to be inspired by. There is Jill Crean the cancer survivor, Jill Crean the competitor, or Jill Crean the person. All three are inspiring for different, yet similar reasons. At last years Garden State, Jill brought her best package ever to the stage, taking second in her class and first in Masters. She has shows coming up, which you will hear about, and its exciting to think of an even better version of Jill on stage.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: It actually started out as a bet with my father. You know that I had cancer right?

Q: Yes.
A: So when I got done with my chemo and radiation, it was like "woohoo let's go party and celebrate". So I put on a lot of weight. I wasn't fat by any means, but I was out of shape. I hit my thirtieth birthday and looked in a mirror and said "what are you doing? You are out every night, drinking with friends, eating shit foods, not sleeping. You went through hell to live and now you are destroying yourself". I asked my my friend Grace to take me to the gym. I would go with her as a guest and told my father this. He didn't believe I would stick with it. I asked him why and he said "you never stick with anything for to long", which he was right about. I was determined to prove him wrong. So I joined the gym and he paid for my membership. He said if I went every day he would buy my membership. So I went every day and ever day had to get a piece of paper from the gym to show that I had been there to bring him. He couldn't believe it and paid for my year membership. That's how it all started.

Q: Why did you decide to compete?
A: I was working with another trainer, by now at a different gym. I was working with sisters trainer, because she took kick-boxing with him. I thought "kick-boxing sounds interesting". I went with her and started doing it. It was the best workout. I found out her trained at a gym by my house. So I joined the gym and trained with him. I was getting ready for my wedding and had changed my whole body composition. I leaned out from training on my own, but now I had changed how I looked. He said "you look good, did you ever think of doing a show?" I always followed the whole fitness thing and said "no", he said "you should try and do one". So three months later I was on stage and got third place out of four or five girls. I got hooked after that.

Q: A lot of people become obsessed with competing and getting the pro card. You seem to be more of a person who sees it as a fun addition to training, is that accurate?
A: That's exactly how it started. I never thought of a pro card until Carlo (Filippone) put it in my ear. My old trainer, that I did the kick-boxing with, took me to Carlo seven years ago when I told him I wanted to keep pursuing competing. He brought me to Carlo, I was one hundred and nineteen pounds, and Carlo took one look and said "feed her, she needs food, she is to skinny. He said my structure was perfect and if I did what I was supposed to, I would be a pro. So I walked out all excited thinking I could be a pro. Richie said "no you can't." I said "Carlo just said I could." He said he didn't know why Carlo said that because your structure sucked haha. I never thought about it again because he had put it into my head that I would never be anything but a good local competitor. I started meeting girls and having fun and my old trainer and I had a big fight and I stopped training with him. I started training with P.J. (Braun), and he said "your structure is phenomenal meaning, you aren't the biggest girl but your structure is so perfect". I still didn't believe him until I saw Carlo last year and when I left Annette called and said "Carlo is obsessed with your structure, he thinks its perfect". That's when I started believing. I didn't think I could get a pro card, but he said I could.

Q: Your last show was the Garden State, you took second in your class and won Masters, it was the best you looked, how happy where you?
A: I was and I wasn't to be honest with you. I thought I looked better three days out than the day of the show, but overall I was pleased because i agree it was the best I ever looked. I killed myself to get there.

Q: Your biggest improvements looked to me to be shoulders and overall conditioning, would you agree?
A: Yes! I think it was more conditioning because he brought me in a little heavier on stage than any of my other shows. So the conditioning came in and because I wasn't as lean, it made me look bigger. That's what we are aiming four now. I am four weeks out and still six pounds heavier than last year and just as lean if not leaner.

Q: What shows are you doing this year?
A: I am doing the Garden State in four weeks, I have to defend my title. Then four weeks after that Team Universe, and then two weeks alter Masters Nationals.

Q: How do you decide which shows to do?
A: Carlo picks my shows. He wants to have a certain look, you might wanna do a show but he will tell you no if you aren't ready. He wanted me to do Atlantic States, and I begged him not to. I don't like the venue, its too crowded. Its like being in a small store at Christmas, wall to wall people. I told him maybe I should so I can get used to it at a National show, and he said national shows aren't that crowded, so I said "then I don't wanna do the show". I have to take time off work to do the shows, so It takes time away where i could do something with my family. Plus cost of the show, food and tanning adds up, so I wanted to skip the one show.

Q: From Garden State last year to this year, how will you be better?
A: I think my size is the same because I had two shoulder surgeries so I think my size will be the same, but since I started with Carlo, I have changed my shape. My back and lats are bigger, my legs are the same size but have more shape. Even with the bicep tendon that was just reattached, it has shape. My surgeon said it would never happen, it was too short a time. Carlo said we would prove him wrong and we did. I saw him a week ago and he was stunned.

Q: Is physique something you would consider?
A: No, because I am to small. I don't have the muscle size. People laugh but I think I could do bikini if I wanted to. Carlo says I have a skewed opinion of my muscle size and how I look and he is probably right. But I could never get big enough at my age.

Q: When you are in public, especially when you are in prep and more lean, do you dress and show it off, or cover up to avoid attention?
A: I don't change anything. I wear the same clothes in winter that I wear in summer. My gym clothes and regular clothes never change except I get to wear a smaller size.

Q: In the gym, more girls are doing cardio not lifting, do you get a lot of attention, people talking or asking for advice?
A: Yeah, mostly from women. Carlo has me do exercises in specific ways and my workouts are structured to work around my injuries. So people are curious why I do them that way.

Q: Does it ever get annoying?
A: Sometimes, usually it doesn't bother me cause people wait till I finish a set. Sometimes it takes to long and I get cold, but I am not the person who says "I cant talk to you right now."

Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: Shout out to my husband Michael for all his support, my girls Danae, Katie, Michelle, Annette, Anna, Lisa, Heather and Mary Grace, My trainers Carlo Filippone and Tatyana Redko for taking me on and making me an Elite Doll, and to my Mr. Fit It, Dr. Kraushaar for rebuilding me. Also you Jason, for doing a third interview with me, it is an honor.


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