Monday, July 23, 2012
IFBB Pro Michelle Beck Interview
Photo Credits: Photo 1: Marty's Photography
Photo 2: Dan Ray
Photo 3: Doug Jantz
Photos 4-5: Muscular Development
Michelle Beck has been on the doorstep of winning her pro card on multiple occasions. It can definitely be argued that she has deserved it before now as well. Michelle put everything into coming to the stage this year in her best shape ever. At Jr. Nationals she finished a disappointing fifth. Disappointing because Michelle did indeed come in with her best package ever and her fifth place placing was surprising. But if you know Michelle, you know she won't be kept down and at Team Universe she finally earned her IFBB pro card. Michelle is going to make a great pro because of her hard work and determination, both being things she displayed so well just to earn that pro card.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I was about nineteen years old and was looking for job. I got a job from a friend at the front desk of a gym. Back then I used to bring fast food all the time, I never lifted before or worked out. I grew up in dance and ice skating, so nothing in the way of weight lifting. I was eating junk food at the counter and one of the trainers said "you should start working out with me", so I started and enjoyed lifting weights and seeing the changeses in my body. Then he said "you should try a show", so back in 2002 I did my first figure competition, the NPC John Sherman Classic. Back then I was just more skinny haha. I placed I think twelfth place out of twenty or so girls. Back then they only had figure short and figure tall. After that I was like "I wanna do this again, I wanna get better". I was right out of college and started working at corporate jobs, so life got in the way of those plans. Years later, in 2009, I came back to the stage and was older and had my priorities straight.
Q: After the first one you wanted to do it again, what about it did you enjoy?
A: I just liked getting on stage. All through high school I did dance and skating, very singular sports, it is you on stage. I loved performing. Back in college there wasn't anything I could do, but I missed being competitive and in the spotlight. So with figure I knew it was something I could do. I started training fro my second show back then, but life got in the way and I lost track of what I wanted to do back then.
Q: Knowing how much you wanted that pro card, did you do anything this past off season differently to improve your chances?
A: The biggest thing, and I guess it worked, was try and keep my weight down in the off-season. Being so tall, it is easy for me to put on ten or fifteen pounds after a show compared to someone smaller where my ten or fifteen would look like there five or seven. I focused on making my shoulders wider and my legs, hip and thighs are a trouble area. So keep my weight down and try different techniques adding in plyo's to help for prep this year.
Q: At Jr. Nationals you took fifth, up till then it was the best you have looked, so how frustrating was fifth place?
A: It was strange. I don't know if frustrated is the word, it was more like "what happened?", it was one of my lowest placings at a National show. I thought as well that it was my best and I worked since 2011 USA's on improving and getting my pro card. I got on stage and felt I looked my best, hair, make-up, suit, I felt they were spot on. I was second call-out and was shocked. I still felt good about myself because I brought my best. No one goes out there to get second call-out, we all go out to win. Whether that happens is case to case and show to show. So I was happy with what I presented. I got critiques from the judges and found out what I needed to improve. I worked hard the last three weeks to tweak some things for Team U. Some judges said there was nothing to work on, it just wasn't my day, and others said things like just tighten it up. So I came into Team U and it wet my way.
Q: At Team Universe, after pre-judge did you feel it was finally your day?
A: Yeah, it was one of those things that when I was up there, when they called me out and I did my model turns I felt so confident. Then I accidentally stepped to the back of the box in the middle of the stage where the lighting wasn't good. They called me to the middle of the box and my confidence went away and I got shaky and nervous thinking I messed up. Before I came back for comparisons I told myself "get it together, this is your one chance". So I walked backstage and got the confidence and came back and when they called me out and I was in the middle, I was like "you are not moving me to the outside, not this time". When they called me and Amy Puglise off stage, I was like "I think we did it". But you don't wanna get too excited cause I have been close before.
Q: After pre-judge I got a text from someone who also was competing and she pointed out how great you looked. How does it feel when someone you competed with goes out of their way to say how good you looked?
A: That's amazing because all these women, all these women, I cant express that enough, ALL of these women have amazing physiques and are beautiful. When I am backstage I am usually a pretty friendly person, but backstage I shut everything out because if I look around I will see all these beautiful women and compare myself to them and my confidence will go right down. For a fellow competitor to say that about me is amazing, because we all work hard and have obstacles to overcome. So for someone I am competing against to say it, there is no better compliment. That meant more than the moment they called my name as a new pro, the support after the show, the texts, emails, and facebook messages. I didn't realize how many people believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself.
Q: When you first realized you were now a pro, what went through your head?
A: When there was just three of us, it is known I have gotten third at Team U, Jr. Nationals, Jr. USA's, I was like "this time you are not calling me in third", so I just started shaking, I was like "this is it, finally it is my time". They always say number seven is good luck and it was my seventh National show.
Q: Do you know when you will make your pro debut?
A: I've thought about it. I have been dieting since end of January, so we will see. Maybe the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013. Now being a pro, there are so many pro shows, I can take my time and decide when I want to compete. At the national level there are only so many shows. Now I get to choose. It is about what I want to do, where I want to go. But I don't know yet, nothing is set in stone.
Q: Were do you want to improve for your pro debut?
A: The same stuff I was working on at the National level. You just wanna keep working and making improvements. My glute-hamstring tie-in, get that tight as possible, make the front of my legs tighter. I was disappointed, I worked really hard and had cuts in my legs, but they didn't show as well because two coats of tan kind of took over my legs. I was like "no I didn't push Sheila's SUV in the back alley in this Texas heat for nothing" haha. So those are the big things, and just working on me medial delts and make them pop. They are big, but I feel like I am missing meat in the middle of my shoulders haha. But now there is no more height classes, I am 5'10", so I will be one of the tallest on stage and out-weigh them so I will look bigger. I don't know how that will work out for me. I am interested to step on stage and see how I compare and where I need to make improvements. Being on stage will them will help me see where I can improve.
Q: Someone told me to ask you, and I quote "can you ask Michelle how she always has the best abs of anyone on stage"?
A: That's nice, I didn't see that coming. I think it is part genetics and part diet. I hold my weight in the hip and thigh area, I am Puerto Rican, so that is how I was born haha. I don't have a lot of fat in the stomach area. Also diet, I stick to my diet. I train abs maybe three times a week, doing things like hanging leg raises, but I don't do abs a lot. If I don't stick to my diet and eat how I should, it shows. If I stick to it, my abs come in. At the end of prep I wear neoprine wraps around my waste which helps sweat out water weight. It is temporary. I wear them at the gym and then suddenly people in the gym wear them 24/7 haha. It just helps sweat out water weight.
Q: In the gym, do you get a lot of unwanted attention or stares?
A: I go to Metroflex Forth Worth, where everyone is pretty much a competitor. My husband works out there to and says he will see people starring and looking, but I am so focused I don't notice it. It doesn't bother me. At the other gym, it is older clientele, and some older men I can feel their eyes on em and it is creepy sometimes haha. People stare. They stare at the mall, just people aren't used to seeing women with muscle. You hear the whispers as you walk past.
Q: In public do you dress to cover-up and avoid attention or proud and show it off?
A: I am proud of it, I show it off. I work hard, this does not come easy. It is hard for everyone I am sure. I can put on muscle easily but also fat easily. So I wear tank-tops and things like that. Most of the people are used to it cause they are around me all the time. It is places I don't go often where you feel the stairs. Some times people think they are talking negative or saying something bad about your muscles. But most of the time they people brave enough to come up to me just say they admire me and wanna know what I eat and how I work out. It is flattering. I don't pay attention to the negative stuff, life is too short.
Q: If you could spend a day training with anyone, who would it be?
A: One of the first figure competitors I looked up to was Erin Stern. I was looking for a tall figure competitor who was around my height at the top of the game. So I would say Erin. She has been an inspiration. I like that when I sent her a bodyspace message before anyone knew who I was, and she responded. That is something I try and do for new competitors or anyone who wants to talk to me, respond to everyone. If I got as big as her could I do that? Probably not haha. But at least take the time to answer questions and give encouragement. It was her personality that caught my interest and then that she has an amazing physique. I could learn some tricks from her that I don't know about. I may not get to her level but I wont stop trying to improve myself. Stay humble along the course and acknowledge your friends and fans, that is more important than your placing on stage.
Q: I want to thank my trainer IFBB Pro Abdul Sharif, without him, none of this would be possible. He has changed my physique and helped me be a positive person and visualize the laws of attraction. IFBB Pro Sheilahe Brown, my posing coach. She has helped and improved me. My parents, my mom loves to come to all my shows and help me out. My husband Kyle, without his support I couldn't do this. My friends and fans, all the people who believe in me. And of course you, you gave me my very first interview way back when and we have become friends and look at me now, I am administrator on your page. Being in the industry and meting these people is what I will carry with me.