Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Shirley Madera Interview
Photos 1,4 and 5: RX Muscle
Photos 2-3: Shirley Madera
We hear stories of transformations all the time. From overweight to in shape, from skinny to healthy, and everything in between. These days it often seems as if everyone has a transformation story to tell. All are great successes, but how about the transformation of Shirley Madera? Shirley went from obese to skinny to competitive bodybuilder. Shirley got on stage after overcoming to forms of being unhealthy and now passes her knowledge on to help others get in shape. A true inspiration anyway you look at it.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I lost one hundred and twenty-eight pounds and I was too thin, so I needed to put on more muscle because I lost not only fat, but muscle. I went into the gym and hired a trainer and told him what I needed to do. We got started in 2005 and in 2006 I decided I wanted to compete but I was in a car accident and that put me out for a year.
Q: When you look back to when you started, would you have ever imagined you would be at the point you are at now?
A: No, because honestly, I am so short, I am only 5'1 1/2", and I was two hundred and fifty-six pounds, so I kept looking at the fact that I was a thinner version of the big me. I still had areas that needed to be worked on and I had the extra skin that I was worried about.
Q: When you started to add muscle did any family and friends react negative to it?
A: Yes I did. My husband did not want me to lose weight, he said he loved me the way I was. I had to explain to him that I was doing this for me. When I started doing the bodybuilding he especially did not like that. But I again explained it was important for me to do, it was for me. I explained it in a way he would understand. He works on cars and customizes them and puts them in car shows. So I said basically I am doing the same thing, I am making changes and customizing my body and when I do a show, it is because I am putting on display the work I did. Now he is more accepting. At first, he went to my fist show but didn't go to any others. I just did the Europa in April, and he came and had fun, took pictures with pro bodybuilders and he started going to the gym last year.
Q: How did you know you were ready to compete?
A: It wasn't so much that I knew. It was the comments other people made when I would work out. I was doing pull-ups and someone commented on my back, and I never knew what my back looked like. I asked my trainer "do you think if I continue the way I am I will be able to get on stage?" and he said "you will definitely be able to get on stage". That was the beginning of it and I just worked as hard as I could and did what he told me to do, watched Pumping Iron every day during cardio to get motivation. In took from January to October, training hard and dieting and I did my fist show.
Q: Some people say it becomes an immediate addiction, was that the case with you?
A: Yes! It is very addicting. The feeling of accomplishment at the end makes it all worthwhile. I always get the critique from the judges and work on that so I can go back and show the judges that I accomplished what they told me. For me it is addicting, I love the feel of the weights, forget myself in the weights, hit the cold steel and figure out whatever issue I need to work out.
Q: You took a lot of time off before doing the Europa Show of Champions this year, was there a reason?
A: Yes! Last year I was prepping for a show in January. I was on the leg press and blew out my left knee and had to have surgery. They replaced the ACL, so I was out for eight months of rehab. It happened in January, in February I had surgery, and October, November and December, I slowly came back to the weights and hit it hard in January.
Q: Does an injury like that stay in your head when you are training?
A: Oh yea definitely. I was very very cautious with squats. It wasn't so much leg press that scared me, it was squats and lunges. I wouldn't go as heavy. My squat max was 315 and now I go t 135 and right now I am in the process of getting ready for a show and am dealing with two bulging disks in my lower back. So they asked me not to squat but I have to squat so now I do about 75 pounds.
Q: From your last show till this one where have you most improved?
A: I think my upper body. I was very small on top, I did not have shoulders and pecs, the fullness in that area, and my biceps. Because I took off for a year, I was able to concentrate on my upper body because I couldn't do anything with my lower body. Lower body did suffer but it also needed the rest because I over trained it. So it helped a lot and I am more symmetrical. I have a better v-taper and my legs have thinned out.
Q: For the next show what improvements do you want?
A: We are hoping to tighten up my legs more. With every show we want to get tighter and tighter and still full out my biceps, shoulders and chest. My back has always been great. I have good quads and hams, but my problem has always been my glutes, so we are working to tighten that up.
Q: For the Europa, as a bodybuilder, how do you feel when you see such a small turnout of female bodybuilders?
A: It makes me sad to know that a lot of women are not doing the bodybuilding. But physique isn't to far off, they just aren't as big. it works for me cause I am so petite. I haven't switched over, I am still working on the hands and that little twist. Learning how to hold yourself differently. I don't wanna give up bodybuilding, I love it and don't wanna see it go away.
Q: What show are you doing next?
A: I am doing the Florida State on August 18th.
Q: When you are in the gym, muscular women are not overly common, do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: When I was at a commercial gym, yes, I got a lot of attention, guys saying stuff and girls whispering. But I try and show them I am a woman like they are, I just like to lift heavy weights. Now I am in a private studio so it's me, the owner and the people we train. So we don't have to worry about people gawking or taking your machine or guys saying inappropriate stuff. I am enjoying having a four hundred square foot facility that I have a key to and can walk into whenever I want and not be interrupted. But I get it in the super markets haha.
Q: When you are in public do you dress to show it off or cover up to avoid attention?
A: I dress the same way all the time. I have my gym clothes on, I wear a tank top, I live in Florida and it is one hundred percent humidity. I do get stares in the super market and people looking in my cart, it is really funny. I appreciate everyones opinions and tell people "I know what it feels like to be really thin and what it feels like to be obese because I have been at both end of the spectrum". Right now at about one hundred and fifty pounds is where I feel comfortable and look the best. I love competition weight, but off season at one fifty, I don't look overly muscular but still am muscular.
Q: What do you enjoy about training others?
A: I train mainly women, I do have some guys who come for advice. I enjoy watching how they change. Not so much physically, but mentally, the way they look at themselves. I tell everyone my job is to empower women to see how beautiful they are, that they can do things they never thought they could. To make you healthy, not skinny, skinny is not healthy. My job is to make you healthy and feel good about yourself, to see the beauty of being a female.
Q: People often come to me asking for help, I think because they are overweight, I was overweight, I know where they are coming from. Does that give you a benefit that many don't have, that you have been there?
A: Yes! I have been there, I know what it feels like to not wanna look in the mirror, to not feel pretty, to not love yourself enough to allow others to love you. That's why people over eat, cause they lost love for themselves. I tell people all the time, you have to love yourself enough to want to do this. Not just want to lose weight, have a desire to be a healthy person. Until we love ourselves we wont succeed in losing the weight.
Q: You can spend one day training with any one person, who do you pick?
A: That's a tough question haha. There are a couple people. I am very much in love right now with Dana Linn Bailey. If it had to be a female bodybuilder, it would be Cory Everson.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My coach, she is wonderful and beautiful. Her name is Alivia Terrell. She has been amazing, she understands me, I can call or text with any issues. And Shane, the owner of the facility were I work. he has been a friend since 2007 and is like my big brother. We sometimes train together and he pushes me to limits I never though I could go. And of course my husband Rich and daughter Ariel.