Thursday, July 19, 2012
Heather Payne Interview
Photo 1: Jeff Binns
Photo 2: Tom Nine
Photo 3: James Cook
Photos 4-5: RX Muscle
Since the physique division has debuted we have seen bodybuilders downsize to compete in it and figure competitors add size to compete in it. While it is still new and still some are trying to figure out what the judges are looking for, there are some things that are clear. It is a division that is perfect for some people. In my mind, one person it is perfect for is Heather Payne. It allows her to train more the way she wants to train. While Heather always looked great on the figure stage, I feel she has looked even better on the physique stage. This year Heather has had to really good showings at both Jr USA's and Jr. Nationals, and I expect that in the not to distant future Heather Payne will be a physique pro.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: When I was twenty-two I had quit smoking and about six months later I had replaced the cigarette's with food. The zipper on my jeans one morning on the way to work and I started crying. I decided to get a gym membership and got a Muscle and Fitness Hers. I stared losing weight and found out I had muscle under the layers.
Q: Why did you decide to compete?
A: At first I was really really reluctant to do it. I had a lot of people in the gym approach me about competing, people who had competed in the past. I didn't think that I was the material required to compete so I put it off and put it off. I still trained because I thought it was a great idea, but I never really wanted to. All of a sudden, probably five years after I started training, I was like "let's try it and see what happens", and I have been stuck on it ever since.
Q: The first time were you nervous?
A: I don't even know what to call it. It was nervousness because I had no clue what to do, but at the same time I felt confident with how I looked. Backstage looking at everyone I was like "I got this", but I didn't really have it like I thought I did haha. I was just nervous not knowing what to expect up there.
Q: Some people say after that first time that it becomes an addiction, was that the case for you?
A: No, it wasn't an addiction. For me the stage wasn't the addiction, improving myself became the addiction.
Q: You started with figure, why did you switch to physique?
A: So I could start training again. I was national level in 2005 and in 2008 was when they were starting to make the switch over from the bigger to the smaller girls. I was caught up in the transition period where I was still small and thought I had to be bigger. By the time I got to where I thought I had to be, I was too big. Basically I was told I would be better off in bodybuilding. So I layed off the training and had been training for two years straight to fit into the figure criteria and it wasn't happening. Since I wasn't training hard it made it harder to lose the body fat. So the last two years I was like "I cant do this, I want to train again". So, I decided I wasn't going to compete, so I trained how I used to where I enjoyed going to the gym and didn't have to just do legs, I could do upper body again. Six months later they announced physique, so I decided to give that a shot.
Q: Was learning the posing hard for you?
A: No, actually the posing was easy because I started out as a natural bodybuilder. I was in a different organization for two years before I went into NPC figure.
Q: Recently you took sixth at Jr. USA's and seventh at Jr. Nationals, with it still being new and still figure out what judges want, how satisfied were you with how you placed?
A: Every competitor wants to place better than they do. Results are what they are. All the girls were phenomenal so I cant complain.
Q: Do you know what show is next?
A: Yes, North Americans in six and a half weeks.
Q: Do you know what improvements you want to make for that you want to make from North Americans?
A: Just a better me. There isn't much you can do in eight weeks except clear your head and try not to be psycho anymore haha.
Q: Is your prep for physique any different than your prep for figure?
A: The diet is a lot tighter. When I prepped for figure I was starving off everything I had, so the diet was strict but I wasn't worried about maintaining muscle. This one, it is more strict but I am still worried about maintaining muscle. It is a little different, almost the same. Kind of the same and kind of different. I am one of those people that doesn't lose weight easy so it's always hard for me.
Q: On stage you have a great stage presence and always look confident, is that accurate?
A: This will sound horrible haha. I don't know if it is confidence, I almost have a cocky attitude up there. haha. I guess you could say I am confident. You can only bring what you can.
Q: For people who may not follow the sport as closely, how important is that stage presence and confidence?
A: It's extremely important. People notice it. If you aren't confident it shows. It shows in your posing, your posture, your whole presentation. it will take you so much further. People will remember it. I don't know how many people do well when they are insecure with how the have brought themselves that day.
Q: Is photo shoots something you enjoy doing?
A: Yeah it is. They are fun. There are two sides to it. It is a lot of how I make a living and when you are seventy years old you want to look back and remember yourself.
Q: In the gym, do you get a lot of the unwanted attention or stares?
A: If I go to visit a gym, people will stare. At my gym they are used to me so I am part of the fixture there.
Q: In public do you dress to cover up and avoid attention or more dress to show you are proud and show it off?
A: It depends on my mood. Some days I cant deal with people and cover up. If I go to the grocery store and my arms are exposed, I get stopped six or seven times. In prep, you don't wanna deal with that. You wanna get in, get out and go home. People ask a lot of questions and it is hard to deal with sometimes. So most of the time I wear a baggy shirt so I don't have to deal with it. It sounds silly but it's hard sometimes.
Q: If you could spend one day training with anyone at all, who would it be?
A: My mom. Because I know the strength she has, but she doesn't like to show it off. I would love to train with her. She used to work out but not so much anymore. She is one of the strongest women I have ever met pound for pound. She wont train with me, she thinks I am psycho haha.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My family and friends for always trying to support me. My mom,s he keeps me going a lot, especially with the diet. She tells me "it isn't the last time you eat, food will be there afterwords".