Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Steph Beck Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-2: Stone Photography
Photo 4: Muscle Insider

I found Steph Beck on the fan page for my blog. I saw one photo and was incredibly impressed So I had to get her to do an interview. While still pretty new to competing, she has already shown a great deal of potential to excel and earn a pro card in the future.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: As a kid I always did things my own way. I never followed the crowd; I never wore Nike shoes, or Tommy Hilfiger and Fubu clothing like a lot of the other kids. I had my own opinions about things even in kindergarten, and never let kids convince me otherwise unless they had valid explanations, which they never did. So, I carried on doing things my own way, and as I got older, began to get picked on by older girls. Oddly enough, this made me feel pretty important – “Why would I stand out enough to be picked on?! Cool!” I thought. As a kid, that was great for my confidence, as soon as I walked into school people would stop what they were doing just to call me names. I felt that I must be important for people to actually stop what they’re doing just to threaten me or laugh at me. From grade 4 to grade 10 I competed in Public Speaking competitions in both English and French, and won first place every time because of my confidence and way of getting my point across. I would also play piano and sing at assemblies, memorials, and other events to showcase my talent in front of all the people that hated and threatened me.
The relevance of my confidence, getting my point across, and doing my own thing regarding how I got started in the gym is that:
1.) No one else was doing it, I signed up for the gym in February 2009 when I was in Grade 11 and I soon was hired to work at GNC in April 2009. I felt a sort of high doing things for myself, learning about how to enhance myself mentally and physically. I saw at a young age that kids and adolescents would do things more so for their peers as opposed to themselves. I had a lot of friends in grade 9 and 10 and was considered fairly popular, but quickly saw that my own identity was fading due to trying to please peers. So I completely distanced myself from these people and spent all my spare time at the gym, working at GNC, learning about supplements, and researching Nutrition and Fitness. I went from pleasing my friends by partying, making a fool out of myself and failing school in grade 10 to getting 90s and 100s in grade 11 and dropping 30lbs. I clearly saw that I was benefiting by doing this. I decided to write a book entitled “Beacons and Shadows: Finding the Way Beyond the Collective Experience” in grade 11 to discuss the importance of being able to step away from exterior circumstances and influence and find who you truly are, find what you really need in your life to enhance the quality of your reality.
2.) I soaked up all the information I could about Nutrition and Fitness. It was my thing; it was my force, my meditation, my life. I continued to see the benefits so I continued putting in more work. I always wanted to be able to get my point across with whatever I believed in, so I must have good sources of information and good ways to back things up if I were to ever need to discuss it.

Q: As you started to add muscle, did any family or friends react negatively to it?
A: As I started to add muscle, Mom and Nan didn’t like it – especially Mom. “But you’re my daughter, Stephie! Don’t get any bigger!” My father hadn’t been in my life for many years after my parents divorced, and growing up, he’d always wanted me to be an engineer, and play sports, and do everything that I didn’t really want to do. As an independent kid, this didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t care if my family told me not to build any more muscle, I didn’t care if they didn’t realize my passion in life, because I was going to do it anyway. I’ve seen the way most people live their whole lives of being drones of society hating their job and hating their life – I didn’t want that to be me. I was always encouraged to get a university degree and get a “normal” job. I wanted to be a Personal Trainer, a Nutritionist, and someday a Pro Figure / Physique competitor; as of now, I have two complete. Growing up I got used to always hearing a negative response to anything I’d say, so I ended up being very introverted for a while because I’d rather not talk to anyone than talk to people that were going to shove negativity in my face. I loved doing good things for myself, living out my passion, and not taking “no” for an answer when it came to that. Proving to myself that I didn’t really need others to believe in me helped my enthusiastic personality to shine again.

Q: What made you decide to compete?
A: Working at GNC for three years I would see people coming in for supplements around the time of the show and telling me how they are in Contest Prep. I was fascinated by their changing features weekly, and said that I would compete in the Figure category of the NLABBA in 2011. When it came time to diet and overall prep, I didn’t really know anyone that could help me, and I began to see as I lost weight that I really didn’t have enough muscle to compete in figure. I looked at the National competitors; boy, were their shoulders and legs huge! So I decided to take another year and compete in November 2012. In March, 2012, I met the love of my life, John Perry, who was after competing before, personal training for 4 years, and managing a fitness studio for 2 years. We shared the same life morals, work ethic, values, perspective, passion for nutrition and fitness, and many other qualities of character. He brought what was good out of me and made it great, my work ethic became intensified, as did my outlook on life, my optimism, my hunger for more knowledge, results, and new goals. We both competed in the bodybuilding show in November 2012, both placing 3rd in our categories (Figure Short and Men’s Heavyweight classes) – a great success for my first show!

Q: When you competed for the first time, did you have any idea what to expect and was it as you expected?
A: When I first competed, I had a great idea of what I was getting myself into, because John competed before, and his contest prep was extreme. He explained in great detail the exhaustion, the sores on his feet he would get from doing so much cardio, the emotional roller-coaster, and the loss of strength. I already had my mind made up that I would do whatever I had to do to get stage ready, and I sure did. I gradually increased cardio from seventeen weeks out from thirty minutes 3 times a week to 2 hours and 30 minutes 7 days per week at the end of it, and decreased calories from 1800 to 900 on off-days, 1100 on training days at the end. I had forty-four pounds to lose, and I did it. It was excruciating, but well worth it!

Q: One thing I like from your stage pictures is your conditioning is incredible, is that something you take a lot of pride in?
A: Despite my true inner confidence, I am not the type of person to necessarily take pride in something like being conditioned. I mean, yes I worked incredibly hard for it, but, it’s a competition, you need to be ridiculously lean – not just gym lean, stage lean! It’s just something that comes along with competing, if you’re not willing to feel absolutely terrible for weeks to get that lean, you’re probably not cut out for it! It beats the crap out of you mentally and physically, there is no room for doubt, weakness, or excuses. I would not brag about my conditioning or anything, because I mean, the women that placed second and first were more conditioned than me anyway – props to them! There is always room for improvement in everything. I am never satisfied, I will always continue to set new goals, and once I reach them, more will be set again.

Q: How much does it help to date someone who competes and knows what the whole process is like?
A: When I think “date” I think people that are “kind of together, but not really together, just dating”. John and I have lived together for a year, and despite our ages (I am 21 and he is 24) we know that the search is over as for who we are going to be with for the rest of our lives. We have each other’s name tattooed on our wrists, and to us, this represents our morals (trust, forgiveness, honesty, loyalty) as well as our passion for what we do in life. We feel as if nobody has ever understood our passion in life as much as we understand each other’s. I have always been told “you can’t” or “that won’t work” or “that doesn’t make sense” or “it won’t happen like that”. But John tells me “you can”, and not only “you can” but “you will”. I have never imagined sharing such an understanding for an enlightened way of living, but now I have that, and I am so appreciative every day. It makes things so much easier to know that your significant other is on the same page as you in regards to so many things. He helped me get through contest prep, even though it was the hardest thing we’ve ever been through, but we stood by each other’s side and it helped to get through the worst of days.

Q: Do you know when you will compete next?
A: John and I are competing again this November (2013). Women’s physique has been brought here this year and I have been watching many videos of Physique competitors to see how their presentation differs from Figure and Bodybuilding.

Q: Physique wise, where do you want to be better for the next one?
A: Physique wise, I am aiming to have more muscle all over, but mainly on my legs. I am now training legs twice per week, one heavy day and one lighter day (higher volume). The lighter day is paired with shoulders, as I’ve been jokingly said to have “Jay Cutler shoulders”, so I’m not looking to bring them up too much. I have never been good at squats, but John has helped me to perfect my form and within the last year my squat record went from 185lbs for six to 245lbs for five. My legs have been getting bigger, but I’m still setting goals in the gym!

Q: I saw some photo shoot pictures and you seem very comfortable in front of the camera, is that something you want to do more of?
A: I used to have photo shoots done by my friend who’s a local photographer. I have always been comfortable in front of the camera, and would definitely love to be a fitness model, or a sponsored athlete for a supplement company. I believe that my personable, hardworking and confident personality would work very well to help represent a supplement or product that I believe in.

Q: When you are out in public, are you a dress to show off the physique type person or more cover it up and avoid attention?
A: Haha, it definitely depends! Off season if I’m fairly soft I will cover up, but as I am closer to competition and begin to reveal the muscles again, I’ll wear sleeveless shirts and show off the guns! In general, I am more comfortable in sweat pants, hoodies and sneakers. It’s funny because in grade 10 one big reason I was made fun of was because I would curl my hair perfectly every day and spray it with a half tin of hair spray, wear fake eyelashes, cake the make-up on, and dress up with clothes from Dynamite and Le Chateau.

Q: You have your own training business, what do you enjoy about training others?
A: With our business, Platinum Pro Fitness, we teach our clients about proper nutrition, training, and all the variables in between so that they can become empowered to take control of their own lifestyle and health. It’s important to be knowledgeable of preventative nutrition, supplementation and exercise to live optimally and add quality years onto your life. I love training clients who are absolutely ready for change, so much so that they are hungry for results – it makes me really enjoy every session and enjoy every success they have. I work with my clients outside of our gym too, I coach them via text whenever they have concerns or questions, and I’m always happy to do so. I’ve worked in the supplement industry for 3 years, after having left GNC this February since our business has picked up, so I can help all of our clients with supplement recommendations for different purposes. We really want to be able to help the client understand why they are doing what they’re doing in regards to the nutrition and training program we design for them. If they don’t understand it, then how can they help themselves? We don’t want to make it so that they rely on us for success; we give them the tools, support, guidance, and program to meet their goals and keep setting and reaching new goals.

Q: If you could spend one day training with someone you have never trained with, who would it be?
A: If I could train with someone I’ve never trained with, it would be Dana Linn Bailey. She is a goof ball like me and she moves some heavy weight!! I’ve never really trained with women before as I train pretty intense which a lot of girls at the gyms I go to don’t do. Dana Linn Bailey trains hardcore, puts 150% into everything she does; her diet, her training, and her business, and gets results. I’d love to train legs with her, as this is a body part I’m trying to bring up, and I’d like to see if she has any different techniques for training legs that I could incorporate into my own training.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I’d like to thank my life partner, John Perry just for being who you are! This past year I have had so many successes, with placing in my first Figure competition, finding the utmost happiness, and launching a successful fitness business, and I thank you for being there for me when things got hard and always made me realize how strong I am. We are an undefeatable team who will compete until we are blue in the face and come out on top, we love results and we love reaching goals. Through our business we want to teach others how to have the mentality of mental warriors, and be able to ignore excuses only seeing them as weakness. There is no reason why you can’t live the life you dream of living. Get the people out of your life who tell you that you can’t, and you won’t, and what you want is impossible to get. Surround yourself with people that encourage you, challenge you, believe in you, and there’s no reason in hell why you can’t believe in yourself.

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