Thursday, December 31, 2009

Maria Cabading Popov Interview

Just one look and you can see Maria Cabading Popov is a beautiful woman. But that only tells a small portion of who she is. Maria is one of the nicest people I have ever had the honor of knowing. Whenever I have a training or nutrition question, she is quick with an answer. But she doesn't just answer the question, she explains the answer. She has a physique where you can tell figure or bodybuilding, whatever she competed in, she would be a success. Simply put the fitness industry is better because Maria is in it. She is an asset to the industry for so many reasons. So please read this and find out about her, and then go find out even more at,, and

Q: First, Maria, thank you for taking the time to do this. I appreciate it, and am honored you agreed to it.
A: Thank you Jason for this opportunity. I also am honored to be asked to be a part of your blog.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where are from, things like that.
A: I was born in Agana, Guam. My dad was in the Navy so I grew up a military brat. We didn't move around a lot but I spent some of my childhood in San Diego, California and most of my life in Virgina. I have two brothers both living in Northern Virginia. I currently live in Virginia Beach with my husband.

Q: Were you an especially athletic or active child?
A: I grew up both active and athletic. I mentioned I have brothers so I grew up a tomboy playing street football with other neighborhood kids, climbing trees, and going to baseball games with my dad. I've always enjoyed sports and other outdoor activities.

Q: How long have you been training and what got you into the gym to begin with?
A: I picked up weight training in my late 20's. I knew nothing about equipment...let alone what a bicep curl was. What got me in the gym was just the shear desire to be healthy and look great!

Q: I see instances where a beautiful woman life yourself is not taken seriously in the gym at first. Did you feel you had to prove yourself at first, or did you feel you belong right from the start?
A: For being a novice in the gym, no, I didn't feel like I had to prove myself. I'm good at looking like I know what I'm doing when I actually don't...haha! I self educated myself by reading everything I could get my hands on that pertained to weight training and exercising. I felt very comfortable in the gym, even from the very start. I didn't have any workout partners or anyone else to guide me. Everything was trial and error but I love learning new things and challenging myself so the process was awesome. I'm still learning after all these years.

Q: What made you decide to compete?
A: I'm a very goal oriented person. Whether it's business or in my personal life. I ALWAYS have to have an objective or goal. This way I stay focused. I constantly need to be stimulated and challenged so after working out for years and changing my physique, I felt like I needed something else, something more to keep me "in" my workouts....So, competing was a logical choice for me. A new goal to keep me challenged.

Q: Was your first contest what you expected or did anything surprise you?
A: My first contest was great. Back then, there was no "figure" just bodybuilding. I learned my mandatories and 60 second routine. That was probably the hardest part of prep!! I had a girlfriends of mine who had experience with competitors help me with diet and workouts. She was a big help.
Surprised? No, Nervous? Yes, but I am so happy I went through with it!!

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: *2006- NPC Body Rock- Figure A 5th place
*2008- NPC East Coast Tournament Of Champions- Figure A 4th place
*2008- NPC Lenda Murray Bodybuilding- Figure A 1st place
*2008- NPC Team Univers- Figure A 14th place
*2009- NPC Jr. USA- Figure A 5th place
*2009- NPC USA- Figure A 15th place
*2009- NPC Nationals- Figure A 12th place

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time, and how about now?
A: At first, before the figure division came along, I did compete in a couple local bodybuilding shows, and I was dating someone that was at first very supportive. As time went on, and I spent more time in the gym and watching my diet, he didn't like it too much. I tried to include him as much as possible but he felt threatened by my new body and confidence. Things got a little hairy. I took a few years off from competing because of him and we eventually ended up breaking up. Now, fast forward some years and I'm happy to say that I met and married the most wonderful, patient, and supportive person in the world!!

Q: Do you have a favorite and least favorite part of competing?
A: This goes back to growing up a tomboy; I don't like the part where you have to pay extra attention to tanning, hair, makeup, and nails...haha!! I love to train and love to diet but that girly stuff I can leave it, but it is a part of the journey so I accept it :-)

Q: What do you consider your best body part, or the one that gets the most compliments?
A: Shoulders...I've got great capped shoulders!!

Q: Favorite part to train or favorite exercise?
A: To be honest Jason, I LOVE TO TRAIN! Doesn't matter what body part...haha... I love to train hard too!'s all good in my book!! Ask me what I dislike...ABS!! I never train abs!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, both for off season, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Because my body consists of a lot of muscle ( I compete in Figure) I do focus on a lot of cardio. Cardio 6-7 sessions a week. Weight training is typically full body circuits once a week and then I'll do lower and another day upper. My workouts are pretty much the same on and off season. Diet is pretty much the same. I do 1 refeed day, which is usually Saturday or Sunday... but I'm clean the rest of the week. Off season my portions of protein is bigger and my fat grams are a little higher, but I consume all clean foods. I take in a lot of veggies too.

Q: Any lack of proper gym etiquette that really bothers you?
A: Not cleaning your equipment! Nasty!

Q: When people see your figure for the first time, what is the most common response? More negative or positive?
A: Always a pretty good response and I really don't care for the negatives. I love my muscles. God blessed me with them and I'm going to show off my gifts.

Q; When people see it that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: Requests: "Flex your muscles"....or "How much do you bench?" Haha
One question I get all the time is; "What do you eat?" or "How do I get rid of this?" (as they point or grab onto fat on their body)...haha.

Q: Are there any misconceptions about women who weight train?
A: Oh yes, people who know nothing about the industry or about competing think girls with muscles are automatically on "something" which I am 100% natural so are a lot of my fellow athletes.

Q: Why figure over bodybuilding?
A: I've done bodybuilding on a local level but I love the Figure division. I've been playing around with the idea of bodybuilding again but I'm sticking to Figure for now.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Sushi and toasted pecans with splenda and cinnamon.

Q: If someone came up to you and said they wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would want to give them?
A: There is soooo much advice I would love to share but if there can only be one thing; Be patient!!...losing, developing, and building a physique is a process. Enjoy the journey.

Q: You also have your website. Can you give that out.

Q; You are also a personal trainer. Whats the best way for a potential client to contact you and what is the benefit of being trained by Maria Cabading Popov?
A: You can reach my via email, phone, text...
Benefit of training with me? My experience and patience and I like to think outside the box!

Q: Do you have anyone in the sport you admire or are a fan of?
A: I have many inspirational people.... Pauline Nordin, Adela Garcia, Nita Marquez, and many more for many different reasons!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love skiing, traveling, reading, training clients, running boot camps, and especially spending time with my husband.

Q: Describe a typical day in the life of Maria Cabading Popov.
A: My day is typically full. Besides training clients, I manage a gym, teach group fitness classes,I have a small airbrush tanning business, workout, and work more...LOL...that's the truth!!!

Q: Favorite TV shows or movies?
A: Anything on the Food Network! Love watching movies too.

Q: Describe Maria Cabading Popov in five words.
A: Focused, Determined, Strong, but loves to Laugh, and Love :-)

Q: Anything you want to plug or promote?

Q: Now obviously, for people that compete, sponsorship is important. Are you looking for any, and if so, what does a sponsor get as far as an athlete and competitor in Maria Cabading Popov?
A: I'd love to volunteer my time, selling, marketing, and networking the sponsors services or products- Advertise the sponsors log on my website- I frequent contest venues as a competitor and spectator and would love to advertise the sponsors logo.

Q: Maria, I want to again thank you for taking the time to do this. I appreciate it, and hope it helps shine a brighter light on an incredible woman. Anything you want to add before you go?
A: Thanks again Jason.

Maria Cabading Popov Pohots

Always Looking For More

Just to let everyone know. If you are a female in bodybuilding, fitness, figure, or MMA and want to do one of these interviews, I am always looking for more. Only goal is to promote you and help get your name out there. The reason I do this as a blog instead of website, is because websites are about making money, this is about trying to make you famous

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

IFBB PRO Tonia Moore Interview

If you follow, support, or participate in bodybuilding, fitness, any of those things, you know you can not be an IFBB Pro unless you are among the elite. I first found out about Tonia Moore many years ago in a issue of Women's Physique World. It was just a one page thing with a photo and a little info. I was amazed at what I saw. An incredible flawless physique, and just a beautiful woman. Recently I have had the honor of communicating on Facebook with her, and the honor of getting training tips from her. That is like a young basketball player getting tips from Michael Jordan to me. But what I have found it that Tonia Moore the bodybuilder is not as impressive as Tonia Moore the person. Tonia Moore the person is an incredible woman. She has had obstacles and beat them all. Her story is one that inspires, motivates, and makes you feel you can accomplish anything. You can see more of her at or or or and finally Also Tonia sells signed 8x10's on her site as well as a t-shirt, whcih as the owner of both I can tell you are awesome and worth the price.

Q: First, Tonia, thank you so much for doing this. As you know I am a huge fan of yours.
A: Thank you for the opportunity and yes I thank you for being a fan and your great show of support.

Q: Let's start out by just telling a little about yourself. Where you are from, family, things like that.
A: I'm from Long Beach, California. I was born and raised here. I'm divorced, my former married name is Tonia Villalobos, no kids. I have a big family, but my immediate close family is my mom, step-father, me, and my two sisters. I'm the oldest in the family, one sister is 4 years younger than me (married with three boys), and the other sister is 19 years younger than me. My Ethnic background is Hispanic (Spanish/Mexican Latin origins what have you), Native Indiana, French, German, and Irish (my dad is Irish- last name Moore).

Q: OK, so what exactly got you started working out. Did you start right away bodybuilding or did that come from progression. Why did you become so serious with bodybuilding?
A: I joined the gym mainly to get in shape and toned since I had not done too much "actively speaking" since high school, where I took dance for 3 years. I've always been small and toning up was my first goal. Shortly after joining the Gold's Gym in Long Beach, February 1992, I met my husband (now ex-husband) in the gym. I started working out with him and learned how to properly workout. My body responded very well to the weight training and a year later, May 1993, I competed in my first you can say he got me started and pushed me. After that it just became an addiction of the ongoing task and and goal to always improve from one show to the next.

Q: Was it your plan right away to compete or did that develop over time?
A: It wasn't my plan at first but seeing how my body was changing and transforming from my working out, the fire became lit with everyone's support and comments on how I have good genetics and good potential in pursuing bodybuilding.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: 1993- NPC Amateur Grand Prix- 2nd place Lightweight
1993- NPC Ironman/IronMaiden- 2nd place Lightweight
1994- NPC Tournament Of Champions- 1st place Middleweight and Overall
1994- NPC Las Vegans Bodybuilding Classic- 1st place Middleweight, Overall, and Mixed pairs
1995- NPC California State Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships- 2nd palce Lightweight
1996- NPC Erica Kern's Pacific USA Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships- 1st place Middleweight and Overall
1996- NPC USA Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships- 4th place Lightweight
1997- NPC USA Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships- 1st place Lightweight and Most Improved Physique
1998- NPC USA Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships- 8th place Lightweight
1999- NPC Los Angeles Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships- 1st place Middleweight
1999- NPC USA Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships 1st place Lightweight
1999- NPC Nationals Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships- 8th place lightweight
2001- NPC Nationals Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships- 1st place Middleweight and IFBB Pro Card
2006- IFBB Atlantic City Pro Show- 16th place (pro debut)
2008- IFBB Tampa Pro Show- 11th place
2008- IFBB Europa Pro Show- 7th place

Q: Twice you won Lightweight as the USA's but lost the overall to the Heavyweight. Do you think that is because of a a preference towards heavyweights or just a preference by judges towards heavyweights?
A: Back then I was convinced they were just giving the Heavyweight the nod to win.... but my own critical eye was able to see I still needed to become a little tighter and sharper that is what a few judges had told me and I knew that is what I kept striving to attain

Q: What was it like to finally win your Pro Card at the nationals. What was the feeling.
A: Oh the feeling was awesome and such a relief to know that I finally brought the package they have been waiting to see me show up with. I saw the "YES NOD" from all the judges when I was on stage during my prejudge which boosted my faith and confidence that at the evening show I was walking away with my IFBB Pro Card, but it's not real yet until they call your name as the 1st place winner.

Q: After winning your Pro Card, you sort of disappeared for awhile. Why was that?
A: I disappeared due to dealing with terrible times of my marriage. My intentions were to compete, making my pro debut in 2002, but things just got too bad by 2002. I actually stopped working out for 2 years... I did not step foot in a gym during that time. I went through a lot during those 2 years, even losing my job, along with depression.

Q: Then, you started back in the gym in 2004 I believe. What led you to get back into it?
A: Yes, Is tarted working out again around April 2004. Well... I had finally left my husband by January 2004 and moved in with my mom, step-dad, and sister. After all the turmoil I went through, it was time to pick myself back up. My friends had just opened up his own gym beginning 2004 and he encouraged me to come work with him as a personal trainer which helped me with the start of turning over a new leaf and became the beginning of starting a new life again for me. It's been quite a journey!!

Q: How bad were you missing it while you were away?
A: I don't remember how bad I missed it while I was away.... some things are a blank to me from my past. I was so engulfed in my problems, and depression, that I would wonder how I made it through each day... and it amazes me how much I endured and that I didn't leave sooner than I did. I thank God I did make it through and I'm finally in a much better place now emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Q: You made your pro debut at the 2006 Atlantic City Pro. Your placing was an obvious disappointment. I was not there but have seen some photos, and it amazes me they had you so low. It was an incredible group of competitors, but the placement was so so low. Why do you feel you were placed so low and how big of a disappointment was that?
A: Yes, it was a big disappointment to me of where I placed, but again I know how the political game is played. It was like they were telling me I had been away fro so long that I need to pay my dues again. Plus I was in the middle of getting divorced so at that show I competed under the name Tonia Moore-Villalobos, so to the judges I'm a new name and face. If I would have pubbed myself more to welcome the name change or had competed as Tonia Villalobos the name the knew on the national level circuit and the name I won my Pro Card as at the Nationals, it may have been a bit of a different story..... that's what I think anyway.

Q: Let's talk about your bodybuilding. When you first got serious about it, was it something your family and friends supported at the time and how do they feel now?
A: My family and friends have always been very supportive of my career path in bodybuilding, they are very proud of me....I'm their "show and tell" topic or "don't mess with me or I'll get Tonia after ya" haha!!

Q; What is your typical training routine and diet like for off season and contest prep?
A: More like.... What WAS my typical training routine?? Now it's different since my battle with Crohn's Disease. So to let you know.... I used to train 6 days on/1 day off. I usually switch around the order of body parts trained, but for legs I only train them alone. Training routine for off season and contest prep for the most part remains the same with changes like during contest prep, I'll do more cardio everyday of the week, and calves and abs I will do every other day, and implement more volume and high rep training. As for diet, when prepping for a show I will eat more meals(in the off season I'm bad about keeping up on my meals), I'll cut back on carbs, cut out my candy (I like licorice, cinnamon bears, stuff like that), and switch to more complex carbs.

Q: Are you a keep track of your measurements person, if so care to share them?
A: LOL.... no I'm not really a keep track with my measurements kind of girl. Especially right now, I don't know them...I'll tell ya this though, before I got sick with Crohns Disease this year, and losing a lot of my mass, my biceps were 15", calves 14.5", quads 24", and chest 38".

Q: I have told you, I beleive you have one of the best overall physiques in the sport. Do you have a body part you like the most on yourself, or get complimented on the most?
A: The thing I like most about my physique and would get complimented on is my overall symmetry...although I was very proud of my legs that I worked so hard for.

Q: Do you have a body part or exercise you most like to train?
A: I used to love training legs when I was tring so hard to get my legs to where I wanted. I still like leg day even though it takes a lot out of me...but now I enjoy training on body parts I feel I'd like to bring out an focus in on more.

Q: What is the best and worst part of the sport?
A: The best part is the great fans out there that support us, and the personal achievements that come along with it. The worst part is the politics, the inconsistent judging and how us female bodybuilders don't rank like the men do when it comes to the shows, and not to mention the prize money.

Q: Do you prefer training alone of with a partner and why?
A: I usually like training with a male partner that is a bodybuilder or at least at my level of training or higher because he'll push me harder.

Q: When someone sees your physique for the first time, what is the most common response. Are people more negative or positive?
A: You look good... do you compete or are you a personal trainer? Most responses are very positive.

Q: When people see it that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: "How much do you lift?" I'm like "Lift what?" or "wanna arm wrestle?"

Q: What is the biggest misconception about female bodybuilders?
A: That we all like to dominate men.

Q: Any pet peeves or bad etiquette people perform in the gym that annoys you?
A: Not putting their weights away and sitting on a machine wasting time like talking.

Q: You have given me some great advice. If someone came up to you and said they were going to start bodybuilding, what is the one piece of advice you would want to give them?
A: I would say hire a personal trainer/nutritionist coach if they can. AND if they can't, then be sure to do a lot of research in regards to training, nutrition, and diet, and to get a magazine subscription to FLEX, Muscle & Fitness, etc. to try out the workout regimens published to find out what works for them. Everything is trial and error. Another thing.... be sure to go to any local regional bodybuilding shows in their area to get a feel of what it's like on game day.

Q: You have done some acting to. Care to talk about that.
A: Well not a lot of acting....LOL. I've done one gig as a body double on Sabrina the Teenage Witch back in 2001 after I won my IFBB Pro Card. You can find that video clip of my performance at and

Q: Now, for those who do not know, you are battling Crohn's Disease. Can you explain what that is, and what the effects are, what causes it?
A: Yes, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease this year on June 12 2009. It is an Inflammatory Bowell Disease (IBD)and auto immune disease that has no cure at this time. It effects the entire digestive system from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms inculde, ulcers throughout the digestive system, inflammation of the intestines, abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, blood in the stool, loss of appetite, weight loss, people with severe Crohn's may also experience fever, fatigue, arthritis, eye inflammation, skin disorders. Needless to say I personally experienced ALL that I just mentioned. Including being hospitalized with a deadly infection needing emergency surgery to drain out 600cc's of puss from my abdomen and cutting out 1/3 or my colon (ascending large intestine). I was 97lbs when I got out of the hospital on July 24, 2009 and now I'm back up to about 136lbs.

Q: You are getting back into training, is it your plan to get back on stage again?
A: Yes, I'm back in the gym again....YAY!! I would love to get back on stage again, back in the lime light :-) I'm not sure at this point whether it will be as a bodybuilder or figure competitor. I'm just going where my body will take me from a healthy standpoint and as long as I remain in remission with my Crohn's then I will keep plugging away and set my sights to get back on stage hopefully in 2011.

Q: You also do personal training. Besides geting trained by one of the best, what does someone get by being trained by Tonia Moore?
A: You get my genuine personal attention and years of knowledge and experieince bestowed upon you. Not everyone is the same so I assess you as an individual and give you workout and nutrition programs customized for your individual goals and needs.

Q: Are there any other bodybuilders you admire or are a fan of?
A: Iadmie Iris Kyle, Lenda Murray, Betty Viana-Adkins, Juliette Bergman, Valentina Chepiga...but Iris is in a league of her own.

Q: Any other hobbies outside of training or actiites you enjoy?
A: I enjoy reading, learning new things, listening to music, watching TV, movies, sleeping, haning out with friends, I'm down for any fun activity when they opportunity arises

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Tonia Moore.
A: Haha, right now my days are not so exciting...LOL. I usually sleep in a bit, but if I have a client that day I sleep in to the last minute (I'm also a professional sleeper...haha) then get up and get ready and eat something before I head out... usually a bowl of cereal. I train my client at their house, then on my way back home I stop at Henry's Market (usually on Wednesday). I get home, turn on the computer, checking, filtering, and replying to my emails and messages, then I will get online and do webcam chat for a bit on,, and, then eat, and take a nap, get up go to the gym, and come back home. I usually get back on my computer again doing the same stuff, and sometimes webcam depending on how I feel. I stay up late watching TV and fall asleep with it on.....ooops! Exciting stuff eh :-). On my bad days when I'm battling with the symptoms of my Crohn's I have to carefully plan my day if I need to leave the house otherwise I usually just stay home, relax, and take it easy and deal with it.

Q: If you could only watch the movies of two actors, two TV shows, and listen to two musicians for one year, who would they be?
A: Hmmmm.... two actors- Al Pacino and Robert Dinero, two TV show- House and NCIS, and two musicians- Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson.

Q: Describe Tonia Moore in five words.
A: Honest, Caring, Optimistic, Lovable, and Modest.

Q: If people wanted to get in contact with you for training, how would they find you. Is your website the best way?
A: For those serious about training and nutritional guidance, can contact me via email at Wherever you are I can work with you via online connection.

Q: Anything you care to take the time to promote, such as website or anything else. What does someone get by joining your website?
A: At this time mainly my website, which provides photo and video galleries updated every 4-6 days and webcam chat with the members. I will also be working with a vitamin company as a distributor but I will update you with that info a little later when I get moving with that.

Q: Any set plans for 2010?
A: Continue getting back on my feet, persevere my road of recovery in health and strive to stay in remission for as long as possible with my Crohn's Disease, and keeping everyone update on my progress. My goal is to spread awareness of this disease with hopes of helping and educating others. I plan to get more clients, start a boot camp, and distribute supplements. Helping the lives of otehrs is my plan as I usually find joy in doing so.

Q: Tonia, thank you so much for doin this. I think the world of you. I think you are a role model for so many people. I know you will beat Crohn's, get back into top shape and show you are one of the best in the world at what you do. ANy last words before you go?
A: Again, thank you for the opportunity. I and the other Female Athletes appreciate fans like you with your dedicated support for us. I noly hope to help and inspire others to be the best they can be, and to always stay strong and true to one self as I believe in myself to do the same and I'm determiend to win this battle wih Crohn's Disease and make a strong comeback.
Much Love, Health, and Happiness
God Bless Always,
Tonia Moore

IFBB PRO Tonia Moore Photos

Gail Auerbach Interview

Gail Auerbach is one of the first people I became friends with on Facebook. Meeting many of these women of Facebook is what inspired this blog. In that time I have found Gail to be an amazing woman. Intelligent, beautiful, and always polite. Gail is one of those people who can be a huge success in bodybuilding if she wants to. Her physique is highlighted by an amazing back. I ask you to get to know Gail, and see why I find her to be such an amazing woman.

Q: Gail, first, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. I am a big fan.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little bit about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: I am from Chicago, Illinois. I have two brothers and two sisters. I currently live in Arlington Heights, Illinois. I just bought my first condo and everything inside it.

Q: I know you have a Master's in Educational Administration and are pursuing your Ph.D in Special Education. What got you interested in that, and what are your long terms goals in the field?
A: I am hoping after my Ph.D to become a National Board Certified teacher in the state of Illinois.... I would like to teach Special Education resources or RTI and eventually become an assistant Principal after establishing a family life.

Q: Were you an especially athletic or active person before you started training. Play in any sports?
A: I played a lot of sports, including softball, ran track and cross country, and soccer. I owned two horses and competed with them jumping.

Q: I believe you are one of the more beautiful women in the sport. Does that ever affect your training. Does it make it harder to train and worry about guys bothering you?
A: The gym I workout at is the MECCA for Illinois bodybuilding, so I tend to be left alone and allowed to focus on training.

Q: What got you interested in training and bodybuilding to begin with?
A: I did a show called Greek Physique at Northern Illinois University and loved the lifting and competing. I have always enjoyed muscular physiques. When I graduated I started working out just to stay healthy and met people who competed. I decided to see how I would do at a local level show, so I started lifting to put on size in 2007.

Q: What made you decide to compete?
A: I wanted to challenge myself to accomplish something besides what I was doing currently in my career. I loved competing in college and started researching the NPC. I like how individual the sport is.

Q: Was your first competition what you expected or did anything surprise you?
A: I was surprised at how hard it was to diet and do 2 hours of cardio a day. I thought that bodybuilding was a lifestyle in the off season and was surprised when it was my whole life when I was prepping for a show.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported.
A: My family has always been wonderful and supported everything I have done in my life, whether they approved of it or now. They asked a lot of questions at first because they truly had no clue. I think they were worried when I dieted that I was losing too much weight to fast, but they learned that is how it has to be!

Q; Can you share your contest history.
A: *2007-NPC Midwest Ironman-local show-Chicago Illinois-Open, Novice, and Overall Champion
*2009- Jr USA's- Charleston, South Carolina-1st in Middleweight class and Overall Champion

Q: Do you have any other bodybuilders you are a fan of or admire?
A: Anyone that has gone pro! I know it takes a lot to get there! I especially love Colette Nelson and idolize her. I am a huge fan of Michael Liberatore, who when living in Chicago, I was honored to train with. At the gym I workout at, there are many other competitors who inspire and motivate me. I admire each of them for different reasons.

Q: Do you keep track of measurements?
A: I do track my measurements monthly to track my progress along with keeping tabs on my bodyfat.

Q: What do you feel is your best bodypart or the one that gets the most compliments?
A: My back

Q: Do you have a favorite par to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love training shoulders, arms, and back.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I train 5-6 days a week. Dave has me on an off season diet to gain size. When it is time to diet my whole diet changes to a lot less food and 5 meals instead of 6. My cardio increases and I only train 5 days a week.

Q; When someone sees your physique for the first time, what is the most common response? More negative or positive?
A: Negative! Most people think muscle on a girl is unsexy. I get a lot of stares and people whisper comments to others around them.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: "Do you work out?" I want to respond with "Do you think before you speak?"

Q: Are there any misconceptions about muscular women, or things you wish people knew?
A: I wish they knew how hard we work to look the way we do, and how difficult of a lifestyle it is. I wish men weren't intimidated by us. It makes dating a challenge.

Q: Someone says to you "women should not be that muscular.", how do you respond to them?
A: My mother taught me that if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.... so I thank them for their opinion and say :It is better than being fat and unhealthy."I have been very critical of the judging in the sport. Do you think it is o.k., or is there anything you would like to see changed?
A: I would like to see physiques and conditioning matter more than how pretty a girl's face is.

Q: Do you think female bodybuilders are more accepted by society today than 5 years ago?
A: Nope.

Q: If someone came up to you and said they wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would want to give them?
A: Consistency is key!

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Peanut butter, sushi, ribs, Mc Donalds, and Taco Bell.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy reading, ice hockey, playing the guitar, writing poetry, and love music!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Gail Auerbach.
A: When dieting it is much different than the off season. When I have to do morning cardio, I get up at 5AM to get it done, get ready in 30 minutes and head to work. After teaching all day I go back to the gym for another hour of cardio and lift for an hour. Then I go home, cook and pack my meals, get my schoolwork done and head to bed to do it all over again! I usually run a day from 5AM -8PM when dieting. When not, I run a 6AM-8PM day. I do my cardio at night in the off season a few days a week.

Q: Favorite actor, movie, TV show, and musician.
A: Actor- Samuel Jackson
TV show= Grey's Anatomy, Dexter. Don't watch a ton of TV, more of a music fan. When I do watch TV I prefer movies.
Musician- TOOOOOOOOOO many to name one!!

Q: Describe Gail Auerbach in five words.
A: Dedicated, Hard Working, Easy Going, OCD, and Determined

Q: Any set plans for 2010 as far as competing or any other projects?
A: Jr. Nationals in Chicago in June.

Q: We know how important sponsors are to the sport. Is that something you are looking for. If so, how can they contact you.
A: YES!! I would love a sponsor! I just want it to be a good fit for both them and I! They can contact me via email

Q: Gail, I truly do thank you for taking the time to do this. I am a big fan, and think you have the potential to become very big in the sport. Any last words before you go?
A: I want to thank my training partners Suzanne Germano and Chase Sowden. They encourage, support, and keep me pushing each and every day. Even though I hate them in the gym, they have become incredible friends and special people in my life!

Gail Auerbach Photos

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sarah's Weekly Ramblings

Before I let her take over. I just want to remind you about Sarah Kinney. I recently posted her interview. I have so much respect for her. If you read the post before this one, you read how I have made competing in bodybuilding competition my goal. It is going to be a long road, but I will get there. I will get there because I have allowed Sarah to take over my training. I have that much faith in her that I am going to follow her lead. She is someone I just met, but am so proud and honored to know. In her interview I mentioned briefly that she would be doing a weekly column for this blog. A change of pace. I have other ideas that you will soon see, such as certain women doing weekly updates on their prep as the begin to get ready to compete. But Sarah's column will strictly be about whatever she wants to write about. I know you will like it and like Sarah and that she will make the impact on you she made on me. This will be a weekly thing, and more if she wants. Now I will give way to Sarah.

An introduction

Hello fellow strong, beautiful, and amazing females!

Well, as Jason mentioned in my interview, I will be writing a weekly little blurb on life, training, diet, recipe ideas, probably even some dating frustrations, and my attempt at meshing it all together without going completely insane.

So a little refresher course on who I am.

My name is Sarah; I'm 26 years old and live in Southern California. I work full-time as a Mechanical Engineer, and while about 75% of the time I love what I do, the other 25% leaves me longing for something totally different. But that's beside the point, for now...

As you can probably tell just by the nature of this site and the fact that I'm writing for i0 I'm a fitness fanatic. I love working out. I love the feeling I get the second I step into that stinky gym, hell, I even love the stink. I love how I can forget about my long day behind the computer screen and those darn "big wigs" breathing down my neck to get a project out. I love how I can turn up my headphones and listen to whatever I want and block out the worries in my world. Not to mentioned the feeling and rush I get from pushing and pulling as hard and heavy as I can, telling myself I can finish that particular set, even when I'm not sure I can. Now, cardio....That's another story that I'd most of the time rather live without- too bad it's a necessary evil!

I've only done one figure competition, on December 5th 2009. I'm a total NOOB when it comes to competing. It was a goal of mine for YEARS- five to be exact, and I went through many trials and tribulations before finally making it to the stage (which I'll save those stories for later blogging). But, low and behold, I finally made it and couldn't have had a better experience!

My life outside the gym is very typical for a 26 year old. Well, I take that back.... I guess not many twenty-something single girls would rather go o the gym and cook chicken in bulk on a Friday night than carouse the local bars for her future husband. However, even if I weren't so into this lifestyle, I'm nearly positive the local bar would be the last place I'd look for my future baby-daddy. But who am I to talk, I do have a profile on a FREE online dating site, but really, where do you meet (quality) people now-a-days? If you are reading this and happen to know someone please give them my email addy =D

My overall goal for this column is to write about anything and everything. I'm not shy, so I'm excited to share my experiences at making an honest attempt to balance training (in both the off season and the hectic contest season), my job, my friends, my family, dating, dieting, and just living life as normal as possible.

"set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there" - Bo Jackson

Monday, December 28, 2009

About Me

I had this long speech written, and as I sat here to to type it, I realized, it is better to just let it flow. Type it as it comes to my head. This speech is about you, the women in bodybuilding, fitness, figure, and MMA. Women who bust their ass on a daily bases to look how you want to look. It is not about me. But you are the people that inspire me. You are the people that made me come to a decision, and this is my way of letting you know how I feel.
I was born with a disease called leg perthies. Basically the short version is it is a degenerative hip condition. My hip is basically deteriorating. For all 33 years of my life, my hip has hurt. There are times I can not sleep at night. My legs are about an inch different in length because of it. Basically the hip needs replaced. I can not afford it. The doctors told my mom i would not be able to play sports as a kid. Well, I proved them wrong and I played sports. I was pretty damn good at it to. The told my mom it would be replaced by age 20 or I would be in a wheel chair. Here I am at 33 and I am walking with my own two feet. I sort of make it a habit of proving people wrong. I also had a bad speech problem. In third grade while reading in class my teacher said to me " if you are gonna talk like an idiot, I will let someone else read". My speech is great now, but that hurt, and school was never the same. I dropped out of high school and got my G.E.D.
When I turned 18, the pain in my leg was bad. Real bad. I became less and less active and basically got pretty overweight. Started to hang out with people who were not into sports, and more into drinking and smoking pot. Did I drink? Yep. Did I smoke? Nope. But I was the one who didn't. The one who did not fit in with the people I hung out with. I have a "friend" who is in jail for life for killing someone. Why did he kill the man? So him and his friends could steal the guy's $12. I am 33 and have 6 friends from that time who are dead. I realized I needed to distance myself from that.
At 21 I met a girl. I fell in love quick. Call my a loser, but it was my first real girlfriend. Yes I dated, but never serious. She cheated on me, I took her back. She cheated again, I took her back. Finally we broke up. She was pregnant. She ended up having a miscarriage, which is not her fault. But her and her mother blamed me, saying I put too much stress on her by not taking her back. All these years later I still have dreams once in awhile where a young girl just keeps yelling at me "why did you let me die". I have no problem admitting I am crying as I write this. Also a girl I became very close with and dated, also cheated on me. I took her back, and she stole a lot of money from me for drugs. She got me to remain friends, and I was still giving her money because she said she needed it for things for her daughter. Well that was a lie. I got to the point where I said "all this things keep happening and the only common denominator is me. I must be the problem".
I am living with my parents. I am not ashamed. My dad is a retired police officer who has had major heart problems and I was afraid to have my mom be stuck alone, so I am here for her. He is better now, and as soon as I find work I can be out of here again. But it makes me feel like a loser, even though it is only out of concern for my mom. For years I have dealt with depression. Still do. When people convince you that you are a loser, you start to believe it.
All my life I have been fascinated by bodybuilders. But was embarrassed to do it myself. All my life I have felt that fit muscular women were the most beautiful women of all. It made me very angry when people said they looked like me, or that they were not feminine. When did muscles become a gender specific thing. Why is a woman looking like a man because she has big arms. That is why i admire the women more. They work just as hard in bodybuilding, fitness, figure, whatever they do, as the men, yet get no credit. They get half the coverage, half the respect, and compete for half the prize money. But as beautiful as I found them, I never realized until I started working out, how much more there was to them. Now I have talked to so many of you, and have such respect and admiration for how hard you work. Which brings me to where I am now.
A few months ago, I looked in a mirror and was disgusted. I looked terrible. I said right then and there, that my hip made me get to damn lazy, and that the doctors were right. The people who called em a loser were right. I vowed then and there to get in shape. I fell in love right away. I said to myself now I can do bodybuilding. I love it. I got on Facebook and started meeting so many women and men in bodybuilding and fitness, and have found the women are for the most part more friendly and supportive, and that is part of why I support them so much. One person who I really began to appreciate was a woman named Laura Kline. Her story was very similar to mine, and she inspired me. She is months away from her first figure show, and is going to rock it. And you know why she will? Because she can. It is that simple. She can do it, so she will do it. So I started to think, I can do this. I want to be as thin as I can, I want to be as muscular as I can, and I want to be as healthy as I can. And I can do it.
Many of you said I should set competing as a goal. "No way" I said. I am way to shy. I could never be on a stage and have all eyes on me. Besides I am 33 and just starting out, so long to go before I could even think about it. But the more I thought about it, the more I became interested. I knew I had to find out more. I still am learning about so many aspects. But then it got to the point I asked so many people, that I got so many answers and it just confused me and I was ready to forget that dream. That is when I realized, yes, I only know most of you from Facebook, but I feel you are friends, because so many said not to give up. I think my problem is I simply listened to too many people. Not everyone is the same. What works for you, may not work for me. What works for him, might not work for you. I realized I need to listen to one or two people. You all are great, but how can I learn what works best for me, if 50 people are all giving me different advice. All the advice is great, but not all the same. Enter Sarah Kinney.
Sarah is new to competing but not new to the gym. I recently met her through Facebook, and she did an interview. I was impressed and she now will be righting a new article each week for this blog. She offered me her help in getting me where I need and want to be. She is all the way across the country, but sometimes you click with someone. You know they are the one to help you. I am going to take her help, let her give me her thoughts. Basically I am going to give myself to her and let her help me, and not question her. Even last night I was ready to quit and she kept telling me not to. I need that.
So the point is this. I think I can compete. I know it will take a few years. I have a good amount of body fat to lose. I do not look like a bodybuilder. But I can at some point. If I were to get on stage, I would prove the medical community wrong. I can prove a lot of people in my life wrong. I can prove myself wrong. I can prove a whole hell of a lot of people wrong. All those times I just said the word "can". Let's change them. Let's make that word "will" I will prove the medical community wrong. I will prove a lot of people in my life, past and present , wrong. I will prove myself wrong. I will prove all of you who have supported, encouraged, and inspired me RIGHT. It is going to take time. BUT I WILL GET ON STAGE AND COMPETE IN A BODYBUILDING COMPETITION. I will get on stage and even if I finish dead last, I will be the biggest winner of all. I want to make all who have encouraged me, proud of me, to make you all know your time and effort was not for nothing. Everyone else who is in that competition will be competing to try and win first, and first will be their victory. For me, competing will be my victory.
All of you in my life who have said I was a loser, was worthless, made me feel like crap, I hope you are all taking notice, because in a few years, you are going to be proven wrong. That I am not a loser, I am not worthless, I am me, and me is something I am proud to be.
Thank each and everyone of you for your support. Everything I accomplish, every pound I lose, every inch I add to my arm, every 5 pounds I add to me bench, every lest rep I do, every minute of that day when I can say "i am a competitive bodybuilder" would not have happened with out you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Just wanted to let my readers know of an outstanding blog written by an outstanding woman. Her name is Victoria Felkar. This blog gives you insight into a phenomial woman, and also gives you so much great information that you can use for your own training. I ahve gotten to know Victoria and have the greatest respect and admiration for her. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Sarah Kinney Interview

Look at the photos below this interview. You will notice some things. You will first notice she is incredibly beautiful. You will also notice she looked amazing for her first figure show. Her name is Sarah Kinney. It just recently met her, and in just a short time I have become so impressed. Not with Sarah kinney the Figure competitor, I mean with Sarah Kinney the woman. I think very highly of her. So highly in fact that I am now going to have her write a weekly... column for lack of a better term for this blog. It will be all her content. I give her no ideas no restrictions, no nothing. It is what she wants to write about. I know this will be a very well liked part of the blog and very well received. But before you read her work, I think you should know more about her. So here is my interview with this amazing woman.

Q: Sarah, first, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: It's my pleasure!

Q: Can you start out by sharing a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: Sure! I'm 26 and was born, raised, and still reside in Redlands, California- about 60 miles South East Of Los Angeles. I went to the University of California, Riverside, and graduated with my BS in Mechanical Engineering. I work full time designing food packaging machinery... you know those little ketchup packets you get at fast food joints! I', responsible for the ketchup getting in there properly!
I also have my personal training certification so when I have extra time I train a couple people here and there after work.

Q: Before you got into the gym, were you an especially athletic or active person. Play any sports?
A: Oh, definitely. I have been athletic all my life, interested in every sport imaginable. I've played soccer, water polo, swam, golf, surf, and snowboard. My main focus through high school was water polo and golf. I had a couple golf opportunities in college, but turned them down to focus on my school work.

Q; So what initially got you into the gym?
A: Like I said, I was always very athletic prior to going off to college. once I started living in the dorms, eating all the junk that comes along with dorm life, and not being active at all, I definitely started seeing that dreaded "freshman fifteen" starting to pack on. I had never stepped foot in a gym before because I always played outdoor sports and never felt the need to. So my first gym experience was our little dorm gym... I had NO idea what I was doing, but was determined to figure things out, so I read up as much as I could about weight lifting and nutrition and just fell in love with it! The dorm gym didn't last long. I stepped it up a notch and joined a "real" gym so I could lift with the big boys.

Q: Was training something you picked up pretty easy. How long before you saw results?
A: I think at that point I was more interested in studying up on training routines than studying for my degree! So, yes, it was pretty easy for me to pick up on what I needed to do to see results. I started to add muscle fairly quickly, but it took me a long time to realize nutrition is the most important aspect when it comes to seeing results.

Q: Is it ever hard to be an attractive woman trying to work out. Any problems with guys trying to talk to you and interrupt your work outs?
A: Every once in a while I'll have issues. I've been working out at the same gym for quite a while so now I'm just "one of the guys" there. The only time I have issues is when I go to different gyms, then it's usually guys thinking they need to "help that poor girl lift the heavy weights off the rack".... well, I make sure to show them I don't need their help!

Q; How long were you training before you decided to compete, and what made you decide to compete?
A: It had been a dream of mine to compete for YEARS. I'd say I got the bug to compete back in 2004, but it was always something I saw as just a dream for a later date. I didn't have the faith in myself that I could stick to the diet, and not to mention the fact that I have suffered from panic attacks as well as major stage fright! Finally, this year, I decided to face my fears, and just go for it! It was literally a dream come true. I had the time of my life, and even though I was competing in one of the toughest and largest shows of the year, where I knew I wouldn't necessarily be competition for the ladies, I was able to live out my dream! I can't wait to do it again!

Q; Was competing something your family and friends supported initially, and how about now?
A: I have been talking about doing this for years, so I think it got to the point where some just didn't think it was ever going to happen. When I finally started prepping, I don't think my family really understood what it was all about. They didn't understand the diet, why I had to weight and measure everything, why I couldn't go out to dinner and eat whatever I wanted, and why I'd choose going to the gym over hanging out some nights... but even though they didn't necessarily understand, they all took it as a learning experience jut like I did. They asked questions to learn more about it and were definitely supportive of my goals. A lot of them actually went to the show, and my mom even helped me with the tan- although I'm not sure she wants to go through that again! HAHA!

Q: Was the first show what you expected? Did anything surprise you?
A: I wasn't sure what to expect. I loved the whole process prior to that. I even loved the lows of dieting and the hours of cardio. But as far as the actual show, I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't sure how the girls would be backstage, if I would be so nervous on stage that I would make a fool of myself, if I would have the time of my life, or just want the day to be over with. I could only hope that I'd love it so I would want to do all this craziness again. And I DID! All the people I met were great, and the whole process was an amazing learning experience.

Q: Is that your only show so far or have you done any since?
A: I've only done the one show, three weeks ago. The 2009 Excalibur in Culver City, California. Now that I have that first one under my belt, I do plan on continuing to compete in 2010, and bring a better package to the stage!

Q: Do you have a favorite part to train, or favorite exercise?
A: I love training shoulders, I'm not sure why, I just do! My favorite exercise would have to be seated dumbell shoulder presses. I love to challenge myself with what weights I can press!

Q; What is the one lack of gym etiquette that most bothers you?
A: Sometimes it's insane what people do in the gym! I've had a lot of bad etiquette experiences, but I'd have to say my biggest pet peeve would be people sitting on the machines talking- or even just sitting there talking on their cell phone.

Can you share your typical training routine and diet, and how it is altered for contest prep.
A: This if my first real off season, so I'm still learning a lot. But, since I'm just coming off a show, from being so dieted down, I'm doing a full body routine 3 times per week along with three 20 minute cardio sessions per week. I lift heavy and challenge myself with each set. I'm also slowly starting to add in more calories on the diet so I can build quality muscle for the next show. I just started this routine, last week, and I love lifting heavy again! My trainer ( Mandy Polk) will probably have me switch up the split in a few weeks.
As for on season training and diet, I did a carb cycle program, which Mandy specified weeks by week depending on my progress, and I did a lot of circuit training, supersets, plyometrics all with lighter weights and of course cardio daily.
My next attempt will be completely different. I only started working with my coach 8 weeks prior to the show date, which didn't leave sufficient time to diet and train properly. So I'm working really hard this off season to stay as lean as possible, yet add as much muscle to my frame. So when I start prepping for the next show, I can do much less cardio and focus more on dieting properly. It's been such a great learning experience!

Q: When someone hears you train and compete for the first time, what is the common reaction? More negative or positive?
A: I'd have to say I get a lot of confused looks initially. It's usually more of a negative reaction at first, until I explain what it is the competition is about. Most people think it's really neat and interesting and they ask a lot of questions and want to learn more about it. But some people don't understand it and don't want to understand it so they react negatively. It doesn't bother me, I do this for me, not them.

Q; When they hear it that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: "How can I get a flat stomach?" Oh man, I'm so sick of trying to explain that just doing crunches won't get you anywhere!

Q: Are there any misconceptions about women who train and compete?
A: I'd say so. What I noticed most of all was that when people don't understand something, or they don't care to learn more about it, they make negative assumptions. I got a lot of comments, especially towards the end when the real noticeable changes were occurring that what I was doing was unhealthy because they assumed I was starving myself, yet I'm certain I was eating more than they were!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or people you admire?
A: Oh tons! I'd have to say above all I really admire my coach, Mandy Polk. She's a great person inside and out. I also love Monica Brant and Jamie Eason, I Quickly met them both at the Olympia Expo and hey were SO friendly!

Q: If someone came up to you and said they wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would want to give them?
A: If it was a female, I'd tell them to not be afraid to LIFT HEAVY. I've definitely always believed in going hard and heavy, but only really learned the importance of this through training for my competition. I switched over to a lighter training routine with higher reps and I didn't see nearly the same results as I see when I lift heavy. There are so many misconceptions about women getting "bulky" from lifting heavy weights. That's not going to happen!

Q: What is your favorite and lest favorite part of competing?
A: Favorite: Watching the transformation my body goes through. I can't wait for next season to see an even better transformation.
Least favorite: The tanner. HAHA! My mom helped me out and we did not have much fun applying that stuff.

Q: You are a very beautiful woman. Is fitness modeling something you would like to get involved in?
A: Well, thanks for the compliment! I would absolutely love, love, love to get into fitness modeling. I'm hoping one day I can get some photo shoots under my belt. I think that would be amazing!

Q; Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I really enjoy spending time at the beach. I'd really love to get back into surfing next summer. I haven't been in a couple summers.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Sarah Kinney.
A: I wake up around 6AM and at work by 7AM. I do 3D design on the computer so I pretty much spend my day in front of the computer screen. I usually try to get out of work by 4:30PM and go straight to the gym for my training/cardio. I usually finish up there by 6-6:30PM and head home to cook dinner and prep food for the following day. I'll usually relax a little by watching some TV before heading off to bed.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Oh goodness, I love all food, so that's difficult! But my favorite would have to be pasta! Chicken fettuccine with some bread sticks.

Q: Favorite actor, movie, TV show, and musician.
A: Actor: Ryan Reynolds, not necessarily because he's a great actor, more because he's so good looking.
Movie: Dirty Dancing
TV show: Two and a Half Men
Musician: All-time favorite would have to be Garth Brooks

Q: Describe Sarah Kinney in five words.
A: Dedicated, Competitive, Honest, Compassionate, and Loving.

Q: Any set plans for 2010 as far as competing or anything else?
A: Nothing is set in stone yet, but I am definitely going to compete, and I'm aiming for an August/September show date. But I'll discuss it again with my coach in a few months and nail plans down then.

Q: Anything you want to take the time to plug or promote?
A: Not at the moment...hopefully one day I'll have something for you, I'll keep you updated.

Q; Sponsors are great for a competitor. Are you looking for any, if so, how can they reach you, and what are they getting in Sarah Kinney the athlete and competitor?
A: I would love to get sponsored. I'm open for any sponsors that want to knock on my door! They could reach me through email,, or even on Facebook. The sponsors would be getting a fresh face, someone who will definitely improve in the future, and only go up in the ranks, as well as a dedicated and motivated athlete, who's is always doing her best to succeed in and out of the gym!

Q: Sarah, I thank you so much for doing this. Anything you want to add before you go?
A: I just want to say thank you! I really appreciate the opportunity to do this interview, and I think the blog you have going on is excellent! Keep it up!

Sarah Kinney Photos

Jennifer Petrea Interview

Jennifer Petrea has been competing for a few years in figure. She will be moving towards bodybuilding now. She is someone I have come to really respect and admire. Her physique is top notch. Also in every photo I see of her, she has an amazing stage presence. Jennifer is one woman who I can promise is going to go very far in the industry. She is someone that myself being very new to bodybuilding, can draw great inspiration and motivation from. So please take the time and read and fin out more about this beautiful and amazing woman.

Q: First, Jennifer, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: You are very welcome.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: I am a 28 year old single mother of two little boys, Jake (6), and Aidan (2 1/2). I am a registered nurse and I work with terminally ill patients and their family through the Hospice Organization provided by our county. I am from a very rural town called Mount Pleasant in North Carolina. While there are no mountains withing a 50 mile radius, it is also sad to say we only had one stop light in the whole town. I am desperately searching for the man of my dreams, but until I find him, I am perfectly content with the way my life is now. I HATE tornado's and scorpions and would rather stay at home and watch a movie in my bed than go out and party. I have a twin sister and a younger brother. Married once. I am a bit random, I know.

Q: Before you started training were you a fairly active person? Play any sports or anything?
A: In high school I played soccer and volleyball. I attempted to play basketball, but hand/eye coordination was not my strength.

Q: What led you into the gym to begin with?
A: Unfortunately I packed on the "freshman 15" in college and got pregnant during my senior year of nursing school. After the birth of Jake, I had a hard time getting rid of those 50lbs that accumulated over my pregnancy. It was my fault though. I was clueless. I accepted that U could no longer eat what I wanted as I always had as a teenager. SO... I joined Weight Watchers.... It worked and I instantly lost 20lbs. But the downfall to that was all that damn counting.... I was literally obsessed with food... so I reviewed what my life was missing and what else could possibly be done to combat my insecurities and my fatness... and like a light bulb....DUH!! I knew I had to get to the gum and get moving.

Q: You are obviously a very beautiful woman. Did that make it harder at all at first to train. I see times where beautiful women start in the gym and just are not taken serious or have to worry about being hit on.
A: The gym I have been faithfully a member of is great. I never really had a problem working out or having been hit on. I am a very blunt woman. Cross the line with me and I assure you that you will feel my scorn. On a serious note, at first I think that a lot of people brushed me off when I asked about certain exercises, diet info, etc. After a while of getting 50 different opinions, I hit the net and educated myself. I am the type of person that likes to know about things I am involved in. Being a nurse and understanding the human body and its systems, I really dived deep into diet and nutrition and training. Now I can say that many people, male and female come to me for diet and nutrition advice and it is an honor. Also, over the years I have learned to hold my own as one of the strongest girls in the gym... men ahve even admitted to me that I intimidate them and put them to shame with my strength... :)... WHHAAT? Little ol me? Aw shucks

Q: You have up until now been doing figure. What made you decide to do your first contest?
A: Well, I had finally dropped all the baby weight and was in the best shape of my life. My trainer and friend, competitor Cole Beane encouraged me to do a show... so I put in 110% into the diet and training and was on point... until I began to get sick and not feel well. After 8 weeks of contest prep, I learned that baby #2 was on the way... so that put a halt to that show... after staying very active during Aidan's pregnancy (was on a treadmill when my water broke) I was back into contest prep... I stepped onto stage when he was 5 MONTHS OLD!!!! Go me!!! Sorry, I have to give myself props on that!! It was one of my biggest accomplishments.

Q: Was competing something your family supported at the time, and how do they feel now?
A: My family always supported me. My parents think it's great that I can live comfortably and take on the amount that is on my plate at all time, without them, I wouldn't do it. My boys think that it's great that mommy has bigger muscles than their daddy....LOL

Q: Was your first contest what you expected or did anything surprise you.
A: I did Jr. Figure the first time. It was hard but I surprised myself by competing at 5 months post partum

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: 9/07-NPC Mountaineer-Jr Figure-2nd place
10/07-NPC Carolina Clash-Jr. Figure-1st place
11/07-NPC Quincey Roberts The Elite-Open Figure C Class-4th place
10/08-NPC Carolina Clash-Open Figure C Class-1st and Overall Figure Winner
11/08-NPC Nationals Figure B Class
11/09-NPC Nationals Figure C Class

Q: You have decided to move towards bodybuilding now. Some women do that because they are maybe too muscular for figure. Is that why you are doing it, or is there another reason?
A: Well, I think that my physique is more muscular than most figure girls. Last year at NPC Nationals, I was told I needed more muscle, so I busted my ass in the off season and bulked up ( LIKE A LINEBACKER) and this year it appeared I was too big. The thing is... I love muscles and I love to be strong...also I love to eat...I hate seemed all Iw as doing was cardio this year to get that tiny tight package. Well, guess what? Maybe I am genetically predisposed to being a bigger chick!!! That's ok...I'll go with it and we'll see.

Q: Bodybuilding, fitness, or figure, anyone in the sport you are a fan of or admire?
A: Bodybuilding: Ronnie Coleman, Victor Martinez (for doing this stuff after what he' been through), Lenda Murray.
Figure: Jamie Eason, Jessica Putnam, Valerie Waughman, Jenny Lynn
Fitness: Adela Garcia, Tonay Burkhardt, Kim Klein, Jenn Hendershott...TOO MANY TO NAME

Q: What do you consider your best body part, or the one that gets the most compliments?
A: UMMM... my back and booty!!

Q: Any favorite part to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love legs respond to them.

Q: When people see your physique for the first time, what is the most common response. More positive or negative?
A: Ordinary people- they look at me like I have a cancerous growth on my face... I think that it's now "abnormal" to be in shape. That is what modern society has come to.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: "Are you a gymnast?", "Do you work out?"

Q: Are there any misconceptions about women in bodybuilding or figure?
A: That they all do steroids...not true. Some women have better genetics on their sides.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how does it alter for contest prep?
A: The off season I add more carbs, fats, and protein to my diet. Eat every 3 hours and get 2 cheat meals a week. As far as training...I slow it down, increase the weights, lower my reps, and limit cardio to 3 days a week to low intensity. Contest time, I work with Mike Davis and he helps with that. It changes every three weeks. I do more cardio and a lot of running during prep time...that was for figure. I am of course going to have to change that for my new bodybuilding goal.

Q: Got a favorite cheat food?
A: Ice cream cake.

Q: What is the biggest difference between figure and bodybuilding?
A: More muscle i one regard, more glitter in the other- Seriously both are committed to being their all time best- so just size at that point

Q: If someone came up to you and said they wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would want to give them?
A: CONSISTENCY is KEY! Do not expect to see results over night...give it some time and they will be sucked in like the rest of us!!

Q: Do you get a lot of friends asking for diet advice and training tips?
A: Yes, and I help them anyway I can, but I do realize that you can;t do everything to lead a horse to water.

A: Someone says to you "women should not be that muscular.", how do you respond?
A: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My motto-You are your own trophy-if you like the way it looks, then you are truly a winner. :)

Q: What is the biggest mistake you see people make when training or preparing to compete?
A: Not being as educated as they should. Don't expect to rip out a page of a diet from a magazine and get the same results... GET A DAMN SPORTS NUTRITIONIST. Learn that early and save a lot of money and heart ache!!!

Q: Do you feel muscular women are more accepted today, than maybe five years ago?
A: I think so-but the way I see it is a woman must love and accept herself first- the stereotypes have changed.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Photography and cooking.

Q; Describe a typical day in the life of Jennifer Petrea
A: 7-8AM Get kids to school
9-5PM Drive around and visit patients. Stop every few hours to eat from my cooler.
5-6PM Pick up rug rats
6PM GYM!!!!
8PM Home for dinner, baths, homework, and laundry
9:15PM Kids to bed
9:30PM Wind down, pack cooler, shower
10PM Nite Nite time, do it again tomorrow

Q: Favorite actor, movie, musician?
A: Actor-Nick Cage, Movie-Too many favs, Musician- Breaking Benjamin

Q: Describe Jennifer Petrea in five words.
A: Independent, Compassionate, Hardcore, Strong, and Experienced

Q; Any set plans for 2010 as far as comepting or anything else?
A: Taeking 2010 as a season to grow... may compete this fall.

Q: Anything you want to take the time to plug or promote?
A: The Great Lord in heaven. He is my rock and strengthens me. Mike Davis--goggle him!! My best friend Jess Benton and all my family...Love ya! Also check out my friends MMA nutrition line

Q: We know sponsors are very important. Are you looking for any for 2010, and if so, how can they contact you, and what are they getting as far as an athelte and competitor in Jennifer Petrea?
A: Facebook me... I am tough and give 100%. I will never say I quit or can't... thats b.s.

Q: OK, Jennifer, again, I want to thank you. You are someone I ahve become very impressed with in a short time, and am rooting for your success in the future. Anything you want to add before you go?
A: Make 2010 a year to win!! Shhot for the sky and push yourself beyond your own limits.
Love and fitness-Jenn

Jennifer Petrea Photos

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Erin Toughill Interview

Everyone knows MMA is my favorite sport. Everyone knows boxing is my second favorite sport. Erin Toughill has competed in both. The kind of fighter I like is the one who always goes in the ring/cage and gives it all every time and shows heart. Erin does that. I like the kind of fighter who can rely on several different ways to win, a multi dimensional fighter. Erin Toughill is that. I still remember the first time I saw her. Many years ago I was at a magazine store and saw this beautiful woman on the cover of a martial arts magazine. I looked and saw her name was Erin Toughill. Curious to find out about her and see if she was as interesting as she was beautiful, I bought the magazine. I took it home and read the article, and I have been a fan ever since. Erin is for sure a top 5 pound for pound female MMA fighter and is very accomplished at boxing, even giving Layla Ali a great fight. She also was one of the Gladiators on the recent American Gladiators show. She has acted as well. Pretty much she is an amazing woman with many talents. She recently signed with Strikeforce, and it will finally give a lot more fans to see what many MMA fans have known for a long time........ Erin Toughill is for real.

Q: First, Erin, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. You are one of my favorite fighters, and this is an honor for me.
A: Thank you so much. I always enjoy hearing that. :)

Q: First can you share a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, where you train, things like that.
A: I am recently married to Neil Melanson, which I am so excited about. He's the man of my dreams. I do not have family really. My sister (who was my best friend ad we were inseparable) was killed drinking and driving a few years ago, then my father (who I was also EXTREMELY close to) died from cancer soon after my sister died. It still doesn't seem real; losing two people back to back like that. Both deaths were VERY unexpected and have changed me as a person ever since. I'm not close to the two other immediate family members in my life, but my husband is my family now and the best I could ask for. I am from Huntington Beach, California... but the past 6 months have been residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. I train at Extreme Couture, where both me and my husband work and train. Neil is Randy's head sub grappling coach, and he also trains top guys like Gray Maynard, and Akiyama, and has trained other greats like VItor Belfort, to name a few. I'm very happy with my life right now.

Q: Before you got into kickboxing and BJJ, were you always athletic. Compete in any sports?
A: I was always an athlete. I started playing soccer at 4 years of age and excelled in that. I played softball, basketball, a lot of sports. I would have received a scholarship after high school, but I went down the "wrong path", which is what lead me to fight, actually.

Q: I believe you were 18 when you started kickboxing. What started your interest in that?
A: I needed an outlet for all my aggression and anger that was building up in me over the years. I was an intense kid, I'll just say that much. LOL. It's not something I am proud of but I was getting into fights ALL THE TIME. I was getting hurt and hurting people, and someone suggested taking some kickboxing classes to release some of my pent up "negative energy". I actually started BJJ around the same age... I love both, but for some reason my fights are always on the feet, not the ground.

Q: Was it something you picked up quickly or did it take time for you to excel?
A: I picked it up quickly, especially when I started taking it seriously.

Q: How long after did you start training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and what made you start with that?
A: I started BJJ around 18... but got "serious" when I was 20. So that's typically when I started. i was basically introduced to kickboxing and BJJ about 15 years ago.

Q:You made your MMA debut on September 27th 1999 vs Irma Verhoes. What made you decide to fight, and what do you remember about the fight?
A: I don't know WHY I took that fight LOL. I did not know women even did MMA! I had been watching the UFC of course, but it was much rougher and did not have the rules (it does now) back then. I recall thinking I was crazy for stepping in the cage with this woman that looked like a man. I was in Aruba... half of the card were Dutch fighters, as well as the ref, and a lot of the island. I was barely 21 years old and thought I was "so tough", LOL, until I got to some island in the middle of nowhere, and then I felt pretty scared. I played it off good though :). The men fought ONE 30 minute round and the women fought ONE 15 minute round. I mean 15 minutes? Do you realize how INSANE that's is? I had never fought before, and was probably in no shape for that fight.... and I fought 15 minutes straight. This woman had a few MMA fights, but it was not disclosed to me she had 30 Muay Thai fights!! I knew I was crazy anyway, so I thought "just go for it". I got a draw with her, and actually should have won because she was cheating. But I will always, always remember that fight and how it shaped my career to come.

Q: You also made your boxing debut on July 20 2000 vs Elizabeth Rumpf. What made you decide to do boxing and what do you remember about that fight?
A: LOL. All I know is they said she was "my size" and I showed up and she was 6'4". I ad never been in front of an "Athletic Commission", done medicals.... all of the things that MMA fighters did NOT have to do since out sport was not legal yet. It was a tough fight, and again, one I was thrown into WAY before I was ready. I was being trained boxing by a kickboxer, God.

Q: Can you share your pro record in each sport, and which fights is your favorite or stands out.
A: Oh hand, I don't know. But I have had nearly 30 pro fights combined. I have won WAY more than I have lost, of course LOL, but those losses always stand out and have made me become a stronger fighter.

Q: You recently had to pull out of your fight on November 7th for Strikeforce. Had, or should I say, when you won, you would have been the top contender for Cyborg. How hard was it to pull out of that fight.
A: Well, no one has a crystal ball LOL, but I feel I would have won. I could not begin to tell you the level of training I'm getting in Vegas or how great my coaches are; I am a very lucky woman. I have world champion fighters and coaches all around me and I still have to pinch myself when I remind myself who I am working with. Over my ten year career as a professional, I have pulled out of three, maybe four fights, over that span. One time I tore ligaments in my ankle, and then one time I had passport issues, and then for November 7th, I had a very serious health issue, and I was not going to hurt my body any longer if I did not need to. It's always hard to pull out of a fight, but I have had WAY more people pull out against ME, then I have with them. My priorities in life are different now. I have been there and done that so to speak. I have to keep my body healthy for myself and my husband, and the future family that we are planning to have. I am turning 33 in 2010. I have been fighting and training almost HALF my life. I know when to push and not to.

Q: Is Cyborg Still the main goal, or is there someone else you would really like to fight?
A: If Cyborg is still the champion after she fights Marloes, then yes, she is the goal. I have always fought the best competition in boxing and MMA that were available to me. My goal is to have the 145lb belt, and I KNOW I will have it. I'm patient and everything happens for a reason. Look, I could have kept fighting 16-170lbs. I could have said I'm not gonna kill myself and lose 20-25lbs to make 145lb division, but I DID. I started fighting for a much different reason than a lot of people, both men and women. In 1998 and 1999, you weren't watching fights on CBS or getting the same type of money and exposure athletes are getting today. I did not fight for money, because I was NOT making any. Before I retire, I want to say I was the best Erin Toughill that I could be. I want to make sure I have no regrets and that I did THE best I could. Gina Carano helped women's MMA exponentially, and I;m forever grateful for her bringing female MMA to mainstream fans. The average fan does not know who I am, and that's a goal for me. And if people are saying Gina is the "best", I wanna fight her. If they're saying Cyborg is the "best", I wanna fight her. If people are saying Jane Smith is the "best"...well you get the picture.

Q: What do you consider your biggest strength in the sport, and is there anything you feel you still need to improve at?A
A: I am not above saying I can always improve. You can always be a better fighter. if you are complacent, then problems will arise. My experience and my mental strength are something you can not each- you have it or you don't. I can tell when fighters are mentally weak; it's easy to see, whether someone is a "Champion" or not. The women that are mentally strong are the ones that are more dangerous.

Q: Being a female, what did it mean for you to have Cyborg and Gina main event a big show like that?
A: It worked both ways. There was A LOT of pressure on them, and I understand that, but that's part of the deal they had to overcome. Gina is a great fighter, with the potential to be so much better. I think Cyborg looked the same as she does in every fight, but Gina was not herself. Gina could have won that fight. At any rate, from a fan's point of view, it was very exciting and people would LOVE to see a rematch- I know I would. From a fighter's point of view, I was not too happy about SOME of the technical abilities that were displayed.

Q: Are there any fighters you are personally a fan of or enjoy watching?
A: Sure. I am friends with lot's of women, and those are the ones I like to support. I like Megumi Fuji, Shayna Baszler, Satoki Shinashi, Hisae Watanabe, Roxanne Modafferi, Meisha Tate, Seo Hee Ham, among others. I think they all put on exciting fights.

Q: Leaving yourself out of it, who do you think are the top five women pound for pound right now?
A: LOL. Well thank you. I don't know about a particular order, but Megumi Fuji, Shinashi, Carano (she could be even BETTER if she committed herself 100%), those are just the ones I can think of off hand. There's other girls I think are good too, but they are still weak in other areas. When they start displaying improvements in those areas, there would be more I'd name.

Q: Do you ever see the day where there is a major U.S. women's fighting company?
A: Women's only? Like Women's UFC or something? HMMM, I don't know. In my opinion it would not work. There's not enough women (yet!) that are so highly skilled that we could have several weight divisions with deep talent in each of them. One day, I believe there will be, but right now, I would not want to see it. There have been several companies that have tried all women promotions, and they have not done well. Combat sports will ALWAYS be male dominated, and I just don't think it would peak enough interest in audiences to stay strong. They have women's soccer, basketball, softball... and they're just not as successful as the men's, even though it's the "best of the best"/ Women's volleyball is highly rated, but it might be the bikini's LOL. I'd support it either way though. I just wanna see great talent- male or female. I'm tired of seeing men and women taking a couple cardio kickboxing classes and then thinking they can be the next champion. Promoters have to start implementing standards or women will never be taken seriously. Everyone is a "fighter" now- it's so mainstream that any person who did any sport thinks they can fight. I don't know why, but it will eventually destroy the sport. Anyone who has 2 or 3 fights can be on a main event card, co main, or fight for a title. It sickens me. I worked hard to get where I am, and so have a lot of other women. I wanna see the one's who deserve it- not wanna be's who love the "fighter lifestyle", whatever the hell that is anyway.

Q: When the time comes for you to quit fighting, how do you want to be remembered in the sport?
A: Good question. I want to be remembered as one of the best female fighters ever. I want people to say "So and so is a great fighter, but I don't think they could have beaten Erin Toughill", even if it's five, ten, or fifteen years later. i am sure I will finish out my contract and then be ready to move on. I have not reached my full potential yet, so I really can't wait to see what 2010 brings for me.

Q: How did you get the job on American Gladiators, and was that something you enjoyed?
A: I loved it and I miss doing it. I had an agent, and when the first season was being cast, I got to go straight in and meet the casting crew. They really liked me, but in all honesty, I did not think Gladiators would become what it did LOL. I came in 2 weeks before the show was to start shooting. They asked me to come for a second interview but I did not. And right after that, Gina was hired! I was like "maybe I made the wrong decision" LOL. Anyway, my agent told me they were hiring new Glad's for season 2 and that they specifically asked to see me. They did a HUGE casting call again, but I just got to go right in. It came down to a group of ten women and ten men, and from those, they only picked a couple of each. It was a very hard auditioning process, an I'm very lucky they liked me and I was hired. The funniest thing is when "someone" knows "somebody" that "auditioned", and they tell people they "almost got hired" HA. Thousands of people "auditioned" and only 14 or 15 were "almost hired". They were very strict and very specific with what they wanted, but I guess people wanted to seem like they got farther than they really did.

Q; You have also acted. Can you share what you have done, and is it something you would like to do more of?
A: I have done some acting, print modeling...but what I really enjoy is commentating or doing pre/post fight interview for MMA shows. I have done a half dozen of those, and it's something I'd like to pursue after I'm done fighting.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love spending time with my husband and very close friends. Neil and I have two dogs: I have a 5lb Troy Yorkie, and Neil has a 10lb Toy Poodle. WE LOVE our babies and they are our family. We all spend lots of time together and relax. Neil and I are homebodies; we love to stay home and relax or go to dinner and watch movies. We work and train a lot, so we enjoy sleeping, eating, and more sleeping and eating LOL. I got all of the partying out of my system, thank God. I still like to go have fun, but I have been going out since i was 16 or 17 years old...I'm ready to relax and I'm so lucky I found someone on the same page as me.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Erin Toughill?
A: Right now.... training. I train a lot and work a lot. I have a decent balance right now, so I enjoy it.

Q: When someone says they are a fan of yours, what does that mean to you?
A: It means so much. The fans are what makes it possible to have the careers we have.

Q: Are you happy the women are now getting five minute rounds?
A: Yeah, sure. I have always fought five minute rounds. I fought three minutes round for PFC, and that was just three times. It goes way too fast. You actually have to work HARDER and FASTER to make an impact on the judges or go for the finish.

Q: Favorite actors, TV shows, movies, or musicians?
A: Oh, there's too much to name. But right now, my guilty pleasure is watching reality shows. My husband laughs at me, but I just think "Thank GOD my life is not like that!" It's all in good fun.

Q: OK, you are the matchmaker. Name two fights you would pay money to see.
A: I'd like to see Frankie Edgar fight BJ Penn- that kid deserves a title shot. And if GSP and Anderson Silva could have a catch weight? That would be pretty amazing. There's more, but I'd have to think a while.

Q: Describe Erin Toughill in five words.
A: Driven, Funny, Committed, Loyal, and Sensitive

Q: Any st plans for 2010 as far as fighting or any other projects?
A: Winning the 14lb Strikeforce title. That's the main short term goal I am after.

Q: Sponsors are always nice for a sponsor. Are you looking for any, and how can they contact you.
A: You can't give a blanket statement, all sponsors want different things from their athletes. But if they are interested in me they can contact

Q: Erin, again, I want to thank you for doing this. It has been an honor, and I along with a lot of fans can't wait to see you in the cage again, and showing why you are among the elite at what you do. Any last words before you go.
A: Thank you to all my fans and people who support MMA. I'm striving to be the best I can be, and show women have a place in this sport. I will be fighting soon and they can follow me on Facebook, Myspace, and my website It's under construction right now, but will be up shortly. Thanks again.