Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Eunika Desir Interview
Photos 1-2: Muscle Papa John
Photos 3-5: RX Muscle/Arno Photography
After initially joining the gym just to fit into a wedding dress, Eunika Desir found something she loves. She started out by competing in bikini and then with the help of some judge feedback, made the move to the division that is clearly a better fit for her, the physique division. In her first time stepping on a stage for physique, she took first place at the Jax Physique, a clear sign of the potential she has going forward in the division.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: The main reason that took me to the gym was I was getting married and had bought a dress. The price was good but the size was too small. That was my first motivation. I have a family history of diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure and was pre-diabetic. I got close to being on cholesterol medicine and my doctor gave me the option to drop ten to fifteen pounds or be on the medications and deal with the chance that I could be on them for a long time. That is when I took it seriously and really went to the gym and took classes. I really got hooked, became certified and am still there.
Q: What about it got you so hooked?
A: I am a big fan of fitness classes, I love the environment and the instructors were really motivating. Once I started dropping the weight, I started liking what I saw in the mirror and started wondering how far I could take this. I like the fact that I felt my health had gotten better and I wasn't dreading going to the doctors anymore and getting any bad news. It all tied in together.
Q: What made you decide to try competing?
A: I was already a personal trainer and fitness instructor. I'd watched them for awhile. I was turning thirty, my first competition was last July, it was on my bucket list to compete before thirty.
Q: You started with bikini and switched to physique, why did you make the switch?
A: Because of my body type. I didn't know any better when I got into it and in my mind I thought bikini was easier to achieve. I was wrong, I was putting a lot of muscle on and had to stop lifting and I really enjoy weight training and I had to struggle to keep my weight down for bikini. My first show I did really well, I took first and overall. The second one I started coming out too lean and too cut. I spoke to one of the judges and I thought my next move up would be figure and he said to go physique cause I can put a lot more muscle on. So I went into off-season for eight months and tried physique for the first time and I think I found my division, I am really enjoying it.
Q: For physique, how drastically did you change training and diet?
A: It was a whole lot different. For bikini I wasn't lifting, I was a hundred and fourteen pounds. I approached my coach Sarah Long from Team Long and she explained to me "you are tiny, we have to put some serious weight on you." I think she wanted me to be ready for the mental part of it. I had to gain about fifty-five pounds during bulking to gain muscle. The weight training was very intense, I lifted as heavy as I could. Every day in the gym was me trying to beat a record. Believe or not, as painful as it was, I really enjoyed it.
Q: Was the posing hard to learn for you?
A: I am still learning, it's a brand new element. Bikini is more flirty, you have more options. For physique, you have the mandatory poses that you have to know how to do and display it to display your physique the best. Posing is still kind of interesting but I am still practicing. I can't say that I have mastered it.
Q: You took first at the Jax Physique show, how happy were you?
A: Jason, that is all I had been living and breathing for for the past year. I went to the Jax Physique show in 2012 and saw one of my teammates do women's physique. I told my husband "I like what she is doing, next year I am gonna come win this show." I did it not knowing what would happen but I gave it my all. When it happened, in my head I had rehearsed it so many times that when it happened I was just happy it finally became a reality. I was very happy.
Q: Were you any more nervous knowing you had to do a routine?
A: No, actually the routine is one of the things that really attracted me to physique. I don't have a dance background but appreciate that you have more stage time for your hard work. I really wanted to portray everything I had gone through during the journey, struggles, power, all that. It gave me an opportunity to connect with the crowd and show them. I am happy for the stage time we get.
Q: Do you know when you plan to compete next?
A: I spoke with my coach and my goal is to go for a National qualifier. I'm debating the next one but wont take too long.
Q: Where do you feel you need to improve from the last one?
A: I am very critical of myself. I look at my picture and think everything needs work. Now that I have that "bigger fever" that I call it and wanna get a little bigger. Overall, I was happy with my initial package. If you want something specific, I would probably say my legs and glutes and bring my calves up. Till my next show, just overall improvement. The higher you go in shows, the higher the level of competition.
Q: You did add a good amount of muscle in a short time, did anyone react negatively to you adding that muscle?
A: That is my daily life. Yes, especially being that I am originally from Haiti, so my cultural background does not support it. I get it everyday from people at my gym who come to me and say "you are getting too muscular." It's a personal choice and I keep my focus and move on, but it's an everyday thing for me. Usually it is a negative comment on how manly I am looking.
Q: When you go out are you more of a cover it up and avoid that attention type person or more proud and show it off?
A: I don't really have a social life anymore. I did go out last Friday and someone recognized me. She came up to me with her friend and took pictures and wanted me to flex. It was a little embarrassing so next time I may cover up a bit more.
Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with before, who would it be?
A: My very first person was Dana Linn Bailey. But now I have discovered so many talents, Karina Nascimento, Asha Hadley, it would be one of those three.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: So many people. My husband, my friends, especially Shanda Brooks, my coach Sarah Long, I would not be doing this if it wasn't for her. Also my supporters and those who don't support much, it helps anyway.