Monday, August 19, 2013
Alex Townsend Interview
After stepping into what she calls the "big boy gym", the room with all the weights, squat racks and things of that sort, Alex Townsend found something she enjoyed. She took that enjoyment into deciding to get on a figure stage and is now prepping for her first show. One thing needed to do well when competing is having a passion for what you do, just from talking with Alex, you can see that passion is there and I think can lead to her doing quite well.
Q: What initially got you interested in training?
A: I danced for eight years, all through high school. I acme to college and couldn't afford the dance classes and didn't have a car. I needed some outlet for physical activity. School had a gym so I checked it out and started going. I did cardio and lifted light. I was scared to go in the big boy gym, where all the squat racks and heavy dumbbells and barbells are on the floor. I wouldn't do it till this past year. I had been going for five years and didn't see a change so I expanded my territory.
Q: When you started in the "big boy gym" and adding muscle, a lot of people don't realize how addicting adding muscle is, was that the case with you?
A: Absolutely! This spring I signed up to do kind of a boot camp class at our gym. We did circuit training, cross-fit, intervals, a mix of everything for an hour and a half. Once I got into that I was like "holy cow", I could see changes in my physique from really pushing my body harder than I ever had before.
Q: How long were you doing that kind of training when you decided to compete?
A: I had done the boot camp for sixteen weeks. They did a competition between two classes and my goal was to see if I could do the first mile. I ended up winning the competition, totally not expecting to. I needed a bigger goal. If my body can do this, I wanna push it as hard as I can and have the best physique I can and that is when I decided to do a competition.
Q: What show are you doing?
A: I am doing the Elite Muscle Classic in North Carolina. I am about eleven weeks out.
Q: How long have you been doing the prep for?
A: Seven weeks. I started about eighteen weeks out. I wanted to do a show in October but the coach I am working with it wanted a little longer prep and longer time to lean out and see how I respond to more intensive dieting. So far it has been pretty good,
Q: So far, has anything about the prep process surprised you?
A: So far nothing has been incredibly difficult up until this week. This week when I started cutting some carbs, school starting, working part-time, I am feeling some exhaustion. I was expecting to have to work hard, feel tired, have to put in extra effort to prep meals. I didn't expect I would be able to lift so much so often. I am doing two days of upper body and lower body and then three other days where I split them up. I never thought I would squatting heavy or deadlifting twice a week and continuing to add weight.
Q: Why did you pick figure?
A: I feel like I have never been a bikini type of girl. I don't wanna be that tiny. Nothing against bikini, they are incredible and work incredibly hard, but I like to see a little more muscle and I wanna grow a little more. I don't wanna be quite as big as physique, so I figured figure is perfect.
Q: Are you at all nervous about being on stage?
A: A little bit. I haven't really done any posing practice yet. I haven't found a posing coach locally because my coach is in North Carolina. I do love being on stage. Growing up dancing and being in the spotlight, this will just be a little different experience.
Q: Is this something you know you want to keep doing or want to do the first and see how it goes?
A: I already know that I want what I present on stage to be like a before photo for next season. I came into this thinking "I am gonna do a figure competition" and not taking into account that I could have done a lot more to prep myself before I even started but I was so excited to jump in. So I feel like I can have a solid off-season and grow a lot and be able to diet down better next year and have a different physique. So I will continue to do this. There is not many people in the world who really enjoy this, counting macros, meal prepping, working your tail off all the time.
Q: In your opinion, what is your best body part and the one you most want to see improved by the time you get on stage?
A: I definitely think my legs are my best part. I have always had a solid base of muscle from dancing for so long. My calves have been pretty toned. My back would be my weakest. It was something I never trained before. I would do lunges or pus-ups or shoulder stuff, but never trained back till this year. I am seeing changes but there is a lot of room to grow.
Q: When you started adding muscle did you get any negative response from family or friends?
A: Yeah! Both of my parents, when I told them I was going to bodybuild, they were in the mindset that if women lift heavy that they will blow up with all this muscle. When I came home for the summer after six or seven weeks of training they were like "you look fantastic" and I said "I told you I am not gonna explode." They were not super supportive at first. They also think the bodybuilding world is kind of narcissistic, which it is a little bit, but I will do my best to stay humble. Everyone else understands that lifting heavy is not gonna make you explode.
Q: Are there any competitors you admire?
A: I always loved Nicole Wilkins. She is fantastic. I follow all of her stuff. Amanda Latona is super positive and encouraging and has an incredible physique.
Q: If you could spend a day training with any one person, who would it be?
A: It would be Layne Norton. I follow him and all of his science. It would be so scary yet so much fun. I would work harder than I have ever worked in my entire life.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My trainer Ryan Blackburn and my gym Kinetix, I feel at home when I am in there and everyone is super encouraging.