Monday, September 3, 2012

Ila Reed Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-2 Ana Frias De Bernardo
Photos 3-5: Michael Simon Photography

After being a successful figure competitor, Ila Reed made the switch to 2012 to the physique division, and made it a successful switch as she looked better than ever at both the New Mexico State and even more so at the Phoenix open. The division seems a perfect fit for her as she says she wants to add more muscle and the division will allow her to add some more size and continue to look better and better.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: It was probably about five or six years ago, I started getting into weightlifting again. I did it when I was like sixteen to twenty. I started lifting seriously again and started looking on-line on I found out there was a division called figure and loved how those girls looked. It was the old figure look not the old figure look, and I said "oh my gosh I wanna look like that. After that I just started training and dieting with the goal to do that. I did my first show in 2008 in figure. I did it with the OCB, we don't have a lot of shows here. I loved it. I got fourth place and was pretty happy with that, I just didn't want to get last. I trained and did another show a couple months later in New Mexico. I found what I needed to fix and won first place in that show. The rest kept coming, I enjoyed being on stage so much.

Q: What about competing did you love?
A: I love the discipline of dieting and training. Seeing my body change through prep. Just getting ready is so fun. Usually we go out of town for shows. I love getting on stage. I have always been really shy, so I am almost a different person on stage. Getting on stage in a bikini is an adrenaline rush that I just love.

Q: Did any family or friends react negative when you started adding muscle?
A: Actually, no. In person I look really small, I am only 5'3". I want to have more muscle than I have. When I am leaning out I am really tiny, I am like 114 pounds. Most people see me and say "you don't look anything like I would think a bodybuilder looks". I hate comments like that because I am like "I wanna be bigger". I hate people that people have the opinion that women with muscle is gross. I am glad people see me and think it looks attractive. Even the big bodybuilders, I am so impressed with the work and how they look. I admire bodybuilders. I feel that how I look, they see me and see it can look attractive to have muscle. It is a big conversation I get in with people, training and not doing a lot of cardio and putting on muscle, it makes you look toned.

Q: In 2011 you did your first National show, what was the experience like?
A: It was an interesting experience. I didn't know what to expect. I guess the neatest thing about it was meeting people I had meet on the boards, which was part of my reason for doing it, I got to met Michelle Beck and Roxie Beckles. It was a neat experience, it was overwhelming. I expected it to be more elaborate and it wasn't any different than my other shows haha. It was exactly the same. The accommodations for the athletes was not what I expected. It was under-whelming in some aspects and exciting in other aspects if that makes sense.

Q: This year for the New Mexico State and Phoenix Open you switched to physique, why did you make the switch?
A: Well, I think when physique came out last year, just the look, more muscle, leaner, that look is something I like. When I was first interested in figure, that is a little more what the look was. I also like the idea of doing a routine, I played in my mind with doing fitness in the past because I wanted to do a routine and do more stuff on stage. Following the National show last year I was sure it was what I wanted to do. I loved it. I loved doing the routine, it was so much more fun than figure, I cant even compare it.

Q: Was posing hard to learn?
A: When I first started I was like "oh my gosh, there is no way I will be able to do this". Figure posing I have down, I have done it for years and knew what I had to do. When I started the poses I thought I looked like an idiot. But as I got closer with more practice I felt comfortable. On stage it was easy, it was so fun.

Q: After your first two physique shows, did you feel good about how you looked?
A: Yeah, I was really happy with how my physique came in this year. I think I looked the best this year that I have ever looked. My first show I felt I looked the best ever and was happy. It as a smaller show, but I was happy with how I came in. Arizona I came in even better and more lean. I was so ecstatic, I think it was better than New Mexico State even. I got fourth, there were twelve in my class. Regardless of where I placed, I was so happy. I look at pictures and say "I cant believe I looked that good" haha.

Q: For physique did you make any big diet or training changes?
A: I did diet a little different this year because I worked with different trainers. But I don't think it would have been different if I did figure. I d a goal of getting a little leaner than for figure. Other than that it wasn't any different.

Q: When do you want to compete next?
A: My plan at this point, I wanna try and do Nationals again next year. I am looking at Jr. Nationals. That will probably be if not my first show, my second show, I am deciding on a warm-up first, but more than likely I will do Jr. Nationals.

Q: From Arizona to your next show, where do you want to be better?
A: I would like to have a little more size. I am trying this off-season to put on more size on my upper body. Looking at the physique girls who have placed Nationally, they are a little bigger than me in the upper body. Then legs, not that they need to be bigger, but there are areas, like the lower quad and hamstrings. I would like to be a smidge leaner, we will see how that turns out.

Q: At the gym, do you get a lot of stares or attention?
A: I do actually. The gym I train at, there isn't a lot of girls that compete, there are a few, but not a lot who do physique or bodybuilding. I do get a lot of looks. I get asked a lot of questions. Especially girls asking about diet and training.

Q: Is it hard to block out the stares?
A: No, not really. I am very focused and intense. People say I look so serious. I go to work out and not socialize. When people bug me a lot I am like 'Oh, my gosh" haha. I don't pay a lot of attention to it. I am focused on my workout.

Q: In public do you dress more to cover-up and avoid the attention or dress to show it off?
A: I would say it depends. I would say in general I am more of a cover it up person. Especially when I am almost contest ready and really vascular and my arms are really lean, like if I just did my workout, I don't like to go to the store after the gym because I don't like people staring at me that much haha. But I have my occasional days if me and my husband go out to dinner or something, I dress nice and show off stuff a little haha.

Q: If you could spend a day training anyone, who would it be?
A: You know who I would wanna work out with? Suzanne Germano, I would love to workout with her one day. She is pretty intense and it would be neat.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I would like to thank Roxie Beckles for last years prep. She was amazing and helped with my diet and training. She was there for any questions or support, which is huge for me cause I am a big baby in prep haha. She was always there to talk to me. I hope to work with her again next year.

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