Friday, September 7, 2012
Tina Kohl Interview
Photos 1-5: RX Muscle
After thinking about doing it for many years, Tina Kohl finally stepped on a figure stage. In only her third show, she stepped on at National stage at USA's. While she didn't place where she would have hoped, she showed potential to move up in her placings and eventually reach her goal of winning her pro card.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: When I was in high school, I was in the grocery store with my mother. I saw an issue of Shape for the first time and requested to purchase it. I was thirteen or fourteen. My mother bought it for me and let me subscribe to it. After that, there was an all ladies gym here in Las Vegas called the Golden Venus and it was right next store to George Eifferman's gym. That was the only gym in town where the serious bodybuilders went. My mother got me a membership at the Golden Venus and would drop me off, I was not old enough to drive, and I would work out and call her to pick me up. That is where I got started. When I went away to college there was not a gym there but there were aerobics classes held in an auditorium and I attended those regularly. I would also stay active by skateboarding around a lot. No one had a car, it was a college town, if you needed to go to the store or anywhere it was a good one mile walk. I came back to finish my degree at UNLV. I guess I have always had a gym membership.
Q: What made you decide to compete?
A: I only started competing this year It was something I had in the back of my mind for at least two decades. I was inspired last year when I attended the Olympia Expo for the first time. I had been interested for a long time but never thought I could compete. Wen I went to the Expo, I was inspired and decided it was something I should work for. Why dream about something for twenty years that you could have been doing? My first show was the Jay Cutler in April and my second show was the NPC Championships in Reno in June and because I placed high enough I am eligible to do Nationals shows. I did USA's at the end of July. I did not do as well as I hoped but I am gonna keep doing it till I get a pro card.
Q: Some people say after their first show that competing becomes addicting, was that the case with you?
A: I would say the first show, it was very scary. I became addicted to the lifestyle. To compete you have to live a lifestyle and that lifestyle is what has become addicting, the people I have met along the way, the journey has been enjoyable. The competition, I have met very friendly competitors, the strategy, I am addicted to that as well. So many things are enjoyable, I couldn't say the competition itself, but the journey leading to it. The love and support you get and give to others. It leads to a positive experience. Even if I was disappointed with my placing, the experience was so wonderful, I wont stop any time soon.
Q: At USA's, physique wise, were you happy with how you looked?
A: Overall I was happy. Each and every time I have been. It is a humbling experience to compete in a National show. You are going against the best of the best. I walked in feeling great, then you see the best of the best, you cant let it get to you. There were moments where I felt I could have done better, and you cant let that bury your self esteem. I was happy walking in, when I walked out I was still happy but I knew I needed more work. It was only my third show. I had to look at the big picture and see how far I have come in a small amount of time.
Q: Was the experience of a National stage any different than the previous two shows?
A: I cant say it was any different except maybe I got more comfortable as time went on. I am used to being on stage because I am a professional belly dancer. I am used to being on stage and I have been able to sue to my advantage. I am comfortable with people looking. I am growing more comfortable as time goes on. Luckily for me I have previous experience on stage to draw on and have been encouraged to draw on that.
Q: When do you plan to compete next?
A: There are two shows. November 3rd is the Las Vegas Classic, it is a state qualifier and I am already qualified, but I am considering it since it is in Las Vegas and use it as a warm-up for the Nationals which I am doing on November 10th. I have decided even if I never do anything with it, I want a pro card before I die.
Q: For that show, from USA's, what improvements do you want to make?
A: There are two things. One, I need more capped shoulders, a little more cap. Two, getting my lats spread in a hurry. I always panic when they announce the quarter turn to present your back, it seems like the quickest two seconds ever. It takes me a minute to figure out how to get my alts out and figure if they are symmetric. I have to practice it with cameras because I cant see my own back. I am gonna practice on getting a good lat spread in a hurry. I know for a fact it will improve my standing in shows.
Q: Belly dancing is performing, would you ever consider physique were you could do a routine?
A: I have considered that. Right now I am gonna stick with figure. When I do model poses I bring a little bit of belly dance into the show. As far as doing a physique routine, that is something we will see in 2013 or 2014, but right now I want to focus on doing my best in figure.
Q: When you are in the gym do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: I have noticed that quite a bit. It is flattering, it is motivating. Lots of people, now that I compete, ask for advice or want me to train them. I always tell them that someone who looks in good shape may not be the best trainer. I am not a trainer, I am not comfortable giving advice on what's best for them. Even what is best for me, I consult with others and treat myself like a science experiment. As far as people looking, I get that, and people who ask for advice. I am always happy to talk unless I am in mid-set or training intensely, if I am in the zone, it is not a good time to approach. I think on a very minuscule level I have seen what it must be like to enjoy some type of celebrity status.
Q: Are there any competitors you enjoy watching or trying to pick things up from?
A: There are competitors whose physiques I admire. I am keeping track of the Erin Stern and Nicole Wilkins battle. I might try out something I think they are doing, but like I said, I treat myself as a science experiment, what works for them might not be best for me. I have a lot of respect for a lot of competitors.
Q: If you can spend a day training with any person, who would it be?
A: My daughter. She has been a huge source of support and is a lot of fun to be with. She is a competitor in volleyball and basketball. I would like to see her pick up some weights though. She might be a little afraid. She loves me and appreciates what I am doing and thinks I look good but is afraid if she picks up a weight she Will get to muscular haha. It is something I hope to enjoy with my daughter some day.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I have to thank my daughter for always being there for me and supporting me. If I have a good day or bad day she is on the front lines to deal with it. Also my coach Mike Alexander, he helped me with the transformation to compete. When I got promoted in my job, I joked that I was now going to be working on my supervisor body, as a result of that I put on twenty pounds. He got rid of that and fine tuned my physique with excellent training. Also, countless friends and family who have supported me. There is an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I have adjusted it for me, it takes a village to get me on stage. I have had love from a lot of people and they know who they are.