Thursday, August 2, 2012
IFBB Pro Cynthia Colon Interview
Photos 1-2: Chris Zimmerman
Photos 3-5: RX Muscle
After starting in figure and doing really well, Cynthia Colon made the switch to bodybuilding and impressively won her pro card very quickly at the 2011 Team Universe. Instead of rushing to compete as a pro, Cynthia has waited to make her pro debut, wanting to make the improvements she feels she needs for the pro stage. As with everything Cynthia has done since she first stepped on stage, Cynthia will surely make those improvements and continue to impress each time she steps on stage.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym
A: Back in 2000, I was dating somebody who competed and although I didn't know anything about it he introduced me and got me hooked to the world of bodybuilding. After going to one of his shows, I pointed to the figure ladies and said, "that is gonna be me one day." Friends laughed because I was a much smaller little thing who never really trained, but once I started going to the gym it was all over. I was one of those girls who went to "tone up" and stay fit. Once I started noticing the changes my body was going though there was no stopping me and years later in 2007, I finally started training for my first figure competition.
Q: When you started to add size, did any friends or family react negative?
A: Honestly, no. I've always had a stocky look because I am so short. Once I started adding muscle, it was a bit more obvious and people would actually compliment me. Dad makes fun of me all the time, which is typical, but Grandma gets upset when she makes a delicious dinner and I bring my plain chicken & veggies. She's finally starting to understand it all though. All of my friends support me one hundred percent, even the ones who have no idea what I am doing are at the shows cheering me on. It's such a great feeling to have that support system behind me.
Q: A lot of people say after the first time, competing becomes addicting, was that the case with you?
A: Yes and no. I love the feeling of competing, not against other people, but against myself. I love the challenge to better myself each and every time. From where I started to where I was when I first competed was a huge change that I was so proud of. It's almost like you want to get up there on stage just to display your hard work. At the same time, it's not too addicting because you can't stay in competition shape forever....it almost messes with your mind. Eventually once you start eating normal food your body changes again. I'm not competing this year, but I AM dying to get on stage. For me it's all about having fun, more of an 'expensive' hobby, not a career. I love meeting new people, learning new things associated with training and helping friends who are competing...so I guess you can say the whole industry is kind of addicting.
Q: As you mentioned, you started in figure, why did you switch to bodybuilding?
A: After winning the overall in my second figure show in 2007, I continued training as hard as I could and started prepping for another show in 2009. After not placing too well in those shows, most of the judges' feedback was that I was "too big" and carried "too much muscle". They offered advice and told me to stop training legs, do extra cardio, do this or don't do that. I go to the gym because I like to train and lift heavy. I challenge myself every day. It wasn't worth it to stop training the way I wanted to so my only other option at the time was to switch to bodybuilding. After seeing a few female bodybuilders at the local shows I figured, I can do that - and now I love it.
Q: Your first time in bodybuilding was the 2011 Garden State and you won, at that point did you realize bodybuilding was the right decision for you?
A: Definitely!! Just the feedback I have gotten from friends and people I met throughout the years confirmed that I made the right decision as well. I look at my figure pictures and can't even believe that's me. At first I was a nervous wreck to try bodybuilding - I'm really a shy person - and to get up on stage shaking my everything and flexing in front of a room full of people almost felt unreal. However I had so much fun with my routine that I couldn't wait to compete again. I think I definitely made the right move!!
Q: You won your pro card at the 2011 Team Universe, can you describe the feeling when you realized you were a pro?
A: Oh my gosh, it still hasn't hit me yet, even after a year!!! It was crazy. I remember being onstage, completely nervous, even shaking. I was even competing against friends of mine, but I was just happy to at least be in top 5. Once they called 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd in my class, and I was still standing there I was totally in shock. At the overall, when they called my number (#72) I couldn't believe it!! I cried backstage, I'm telling you it still hasn't hit me. My friends tease me all the time saying, "Oh I train with an IFBB pro" and I laugh like, oh yea that's me......it just doesn't sound right. The first time I actually said, yes I'm a pro bodybuilder was when a woman at the gym complimented my physique. With all that said, I've learned that I really can do anything I put my mind to. I didn't expect to win my pro card at only my second bodybuilding show so I always say that I was "in the right place at the right time" - everyone assures me that I deserved the win because I put in the hard work and looked great. It really makes me feel better to know that people actually acknowledge and appreciate all the hard work.
Q: You still have not made your pro debut, is there a reason you have waited?
A: There were a lot of areas I felt needed improvement such as my conditioning, back and abs. My lower body is a lot bigger and overpowers my upper body so I am working on bringing my upper body up to match. I also want to feel comfortable on stage with all the great pro ladies. I didn't want to jump in to anything and not be completely prepared. Everything has to be as perfect as possible, from posing, routine and suit...I'm learning as I go along, but I really am excited to get back on stage!!
Q: Do you have any idea when you will compete again?
A: It all depends on the schedule next year and where I am physically. I know there should be at least four shows, but just have to see when they are. I'd like to try and compete at the Europa in Hartford or Tampa Pro. Again I also have to take in to consideration where my physique is at that point - I'm dieting now to see where I am and get an idea of what additional changes I may need to make.
Q: You kind of touched on it, but from Team Universe to when you do compete, where do you want to be better?
A: I would absolutely love to get more lines in my legs, cut them up and shred them. My abs and back both need work as well. I'm happy with my improvements so far and as long as I'm better than last year I will be even happier!
Q: This year at Team Universe there were so few girls who did bodybuilding, as a female bodybuilder does that upset you?
A: Absolutely. I was surprised there were only a few girls competing. I think a lot of girls are just switching to the new physique division. I wish more ladies would stay with bodybuilding and not switch divisions. I really want to see female bodybuilding stick around - there is so much gossip about it disappearing soon. Only time will tell, but with all the different judging patterns at every show (local and national), you don't know what to expect. Can I compete with the already established pros? Who knows, but I hope I get the chance to find out.
Q: When you are in the gym, girls your size are not common, do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: Honestly, I know pretty much everyone in my gym so they already know my routine. New people walking through or training may see me with my gallon, training with the guys and stop to stare. The younger guys look at my like, what the hell? I do get a few compliments from people I don't know or someone asking if I need a spot. I welcome the strange looks and it makes me feel good when I notice someone watching me (even though I'm shy). Some girls don't like how I look, but then again they don't have to look at me at all, haha
Q: When you are in public do you dress to cover it up and avoid attention or dress to show it off?
A: It all depends on how I'm feeling. There are days I throw on a tank and shorts and then days I'm in jeans and a t-shirt. My friends try and dress me up when we go out but it's all weird to me. I'm a very simple person and I like to be comfortable. When I train I wear layers, especially in Winter. Slowly though, as I see changes, I start peeling off layers. Now that my legs are one of my favorite body parts, which again I used to be shy about, I do try to show them off a little.
Q: If you could spend a day training with anyone who would you pick?
A: There are so many great athletes out that's it's hard to choose just one. Alina Popa has been one of my favorites for a while, but again I'd love to train with each of them, pick their brain about this and that and just learn everything possible.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: First and foremost, my mom who passed away in 2005. She was such a strong woman, both physically and mentally and such an inspiration to me. She has given me the strength to do what I do and it is because of her that I am what I am today. I would also like to thank Chris Z for pushing me to do my best, over the past few years and helping me win my pro card. My training buddy Joe G for his brutal honesty and my family and friends, who are all overly supportive and put up with me during contest prep (even though they tend to eat all the good stuff I can't have in front of me).