Friday, December 31, 2010

Big in 2011 Round Table

This round table is one I am very excited about. As we enter 2011 I wanted to be able to allow you to get to know more about some competitors who I think will have big years and really breakout in the fitness industry. While that is a prediction, one think is not prediction, it is fact. That is that the women presented here are all amazing women who are all a combination of beauty, physique, dedication, and passion. The women are Christine Anderson, Tamara Ashton, Michelle Beck, Heather Grace, Danny Johnson (aka Danny-J), Beth Polisson, Kayte Steenberg, Eryn Strickland, Bethany Tomaszewski, and Patty Wilson. You will see their thoughts on the industry, competitors, respect, and competing, and other things. Each woman is represented by their initials, so it is CA (Christine), TA (Tamara), MB (Michelle), HG (Heather), DJ (Danny), BP (Beth), KS (Kayte), ES (Eryn), BT (Bethany), and PW (Patty).

Part 1: Word Association

1. Competing
CA: Expensive
TA: Excitement
MB: Love the rush of being on stage and the look of the completed physique
HG: Fun
DJ: Not always what it seems
BP: Exciting
KS: In my blood
ES: Passion
BT: Is something I think everyone should try. Really shows you how structured and disciplined you really are both physically and mentally.
PW: Adrenaline

2. Contest Prep
CA: 12 weeks
TA: Goal
MB: Exhausting
HG: Consistency
DJ: The "fun part"
BP: Exhilarating
KS: Exciting
ES: Exciting
BT: Say good-bye to carbs, bulking and lifting heavy....say hello to cardio..... and lots of it.
PW: Determination

3. Motivation
CA: 4AM cardio
TA: Adrenaline
MB: Becoming an IFBB Figure Pro
HG: Tighter tie-ins
DJ: Needs to be renewed daily
BP: Posing suit
KS: Competition
ES: Nay Sayer's
BT: Just to be able to stand there and say I do something that most people wouldn't ever have the dedication or courage to do.
PW: To win

4. Dedication
CA: No day off
TA: Never ending
MB: The ability to come back after disappointment and continue after your goals, time and time again. "If you fall, fall on your back. If you can look up, you can get up."
HG: Late night cardio
DJ: The only way to achieve anything
BP: No cheats
KS: Myself, inspiring others
ES: Required
BT: What keeps me dedicated and keeps me going is knowing that I can change myself so drastically in just a few months. To see the progress from week to week keeps me shocked at what the human body can really do with hard work.
PW: Never giving up

5. Cardio
CA: Love it/Hate it
TA: Sweating it out
MB: Boring
HG: Step mill
DJ: A necessary evil
BP: Unnecessary!! Stop the madness with the 3hrs of daily cardio.
KS: Easy
ES: Exhaustion
PW: Stairmill

6. Diet
CA: Fish
TA: Strict
MB: Plain and repetitive, but great results!!!!
DJ: Why does this word make me think of Diet Coke?
BP: Yummy!
KS: Delish
ES: Challenging
BT: Sucks but it is so worth it. If YOU CHEAT ON YOUR DIET YOU CHEAT YOURSELF!
PW: Always cooking

7. Inspiration
CA: Ava Cowan
TA: Pro card
MB: The ability to wake up every day and create what I want to accomplish in life through the power of my thoughts. "Life has no limitations, except the ones you make."
HG: Valerie Waugaman
DJ: People beating odds
BP: Erin Stern
KS: Other competitors
ES: Mandy
BT: My inspiration is my coach. She keeps me on track, focused, and most of all....she's honest!
PW: Transforming

8. 2010
MB: Was my first year competing at the National level, I learned a lot and made some great friends along the way.
HG: Lessons learned
DJ: I'm so over that year!! A roller coaster of events
BP: Just the beginning
KS: Tough
ES: Improvement
BT: Is almost over!!!! Yay to the new year!
PW: Ready for 2011

Part 2: Questions

1. Why did you decide to compete?
CA: I wanted a goal to get my body in better than average shape.
TA: I wanted to push myself to my limits
MB: Back in 2002 my trainer convinced me that I should give it a try, so I started contest prep and 8 weeks later I competed in my first Figure competition at the 2002 NPC John Sherman Classic in Houston, Texas.
HG: I still had the drive to compete after playing basketball and had already built a decent physique training. It seemed natural.
DJ: People told me I should, and I liked the idea of taking my body to a new level.
BP: I was bored with my exercise routine and needed a goal. I saw results quickly and knew I'd make a great Figure competitor.
KS: Loved to change my physique and goal. The fact that it was an independent sport was awesome. Been hooked ever since. The goal to change my physique and to improve it. To show my hard work off and excel to the next level.
ES: I decided that instead of talking about it, I was going to actually do it.
BT: I wanted to try something most people I grew up with don't normally do. I wanted to have a set goal to really be able to push my body and see mentally and physically what I really could do. I never really accomplished many out of the ordinary things in my life so I wanted to start with this.
PW: I needed a hobby and a goal.

2. What was the thing that most surprised you about competing?
CA: It's so damn addicting!
TA: How many sacrifices I would make to achieve my goal.
MB: How addicting it is! The mind wants to keep going no matter what until you reach your goals, but the body needs a break.
HG: The necessity to be so strict with my diet.
DJ: How there aren't really any "standards" by which to judge. Two judges can give you completely different scores.
BP: I learned just how much diet is involved when you have physique goals. I figured lifting heavy would give me big muscles, but I quickly learned that you can't get those big coconut shoulders if you're eating garbage. There is a big difference between elan mass and ass mass, your diet has to be right in order to not gain the latter.
KS: Cost
ES: How difficult it has been for me to come off a contest diet and into real life.
BT: I was surprised about how many friends wanted to do it after seeing me do it. Also, the diet becomes a habit and it's not as bad as you think it is first going into it.
PW: The commitment you must go through to achieve your best.

3. What is the biggest misconception about female competitors?
CA: That we're all taking "something", "supplements", to compete. Yes, some women are, but I don't worry about what others are doing.
TA: That we don't eat a lot of food to loose weight and to get lean, which couldn't be farther from the truth.
MB: Where to start.... I think the biggest one is that women that have muscles are masculine. So far from the truth, but you would be surprised how many women at my gym still are afraid to lift heavy weights because they think they will get to big and bulky!
HG: That we do not train as hard as men.
DJ: That we;re all divas and/or "don't need to diet".
BP: That they're bitches. A lot of people compare Figure competitions to pageants, and they are an athletic pageant or sorts. But there's no suit-cutting or costume-stealing backstage. If anything, I've noticed all the girls are helpful and willing to assist each other. I've met some really amazing girls backstage and have made some great friendships. I love my fellow sisters of steel! I think there's an incredible amount of respect between all the girls: We know how hard we've worked individually, so we know all the people up on that stage have gone through the exact same thing- interval sprints, morning cardio, weeks of strict dieting. There's no way I could be mean to someone who has just put themselves through such an incredible amount of stress.
KS: How much hard work and dedication you put not only yourself through but family.
ES: That we are all on steroids.
BT: That's a tough question... I don't know really. Probably that female competitors all take "performance enhancers".
PW: That we all take steroids.

4. On a scale of 1-10, how much are female competitors respected as compared to men?
CA: I would rate the respect factor a 5. The prize money for female competitors is still less than male competitors.
TA: I think it's an 8.
MB: Maybe a 4 or 5!?! I think it depends on the division as well.
HG: 6
DJ: Maybe a 5..I think some girls are gaining some more respect.
BP: I think it depends on the division. Overall I'd say about a 5 or 6.
ES: 9
BT: You don't see that many women getting credit for competing like guys do. I would have to give it a 5.... sadly.
PW: 10

5. For people to predict me to have a big year in 2011 means __ to me.
CA: Something
TA: The world, and drives me to achieve all I can.
MB: A lo to me personally, but that doesn't really mean anything. Some girls you will see hyped up all over the web before a show and others you have never heard anything about, but at the end of the day it is all about what is up on stage with you and who the judges want for the win.
HG: I would be extremely honored.
DJ: I would try very hard to make that come true, it means that people see something in me and it would motivate me.
BP: The world
BT: It means a lot to me. With new goals and motivations I plan to do well with everything I try.
PW: A great support group and fan base who believe in me.

6. What will make you consider 2011 a success?
CA: A Pro card damn it! No, really it's a success for me if I walk on stage complete from head to toes AND place in the top five.
TA: Getting positive recognition in the Fitness/Bodybuilding industry. Beating my past placings at shows and moving up. Ideally obtaining my Pro card.
MB: Becoming an IFBB Figure Pro.
HG: An Olympia qualification would make 2011 a success.
DJ: If I can continue to create opportunities for myself, get a few more publications in writing, photos, and also triple my online training business.
BP: Placing top 10 at Team U in July.
KS: Qualify and hit the national stage to TURN PRO BABY
ES: To win at the Arnold Classic and start getting the attention of the National judges. Also, to land a spot with a supplement company and grow my own business.
BT: What will make 2011 a success is by making new gains after seeing my flaws after I compete in April. Moving out of Ohio and getting settled in Florida, getting a new career started. And there's so much more! I just hope for the best!
PW: Earning my Pro card in Figure

7. My highlight of 2010 competing or otherwise was?
CA: Placing better than expected at two National shows: 6th at USA's and 5th at Jr. USA's.
TA: Stepping on stage at the USA's, and being blessed to be sponsored by NorCal Bodybuilding for my next show suit and Roc Body Angel's for the skin care line, and being a sponsored athlete with Dangerously Hardcore.
MB: Placing third out of thirty-three women in Figure Class F a the 2010 NPC Jr. Nationals, which was my first National show ever.
HG: Going home and winning the Emerald Cup Overall in front of my family and friends was without a doubt, the highlight of my career to date.
DJ: My highlight of 2010 was competing in my first Crossfit Competition (I came in 2nd, but I BLEW everyone away in the last event).
BP: Placing 5th at Jr. USA's. I had such a great time at this show. It as a wonderful experience for my 1st National show. I will never forget it.
KS: Being able to work with Felicia Romero and Damian Segovia. Learned lots.
ES Learning from my first National show experience and figuring out who my true friends are.
BT: After April I took a year off to enjoy life, food (aka carbs, carbs and more carbs), and to really gain some size. I placed 6th in my show out of 13 in April and was very pleased since I was one of the youngest in the show for Figure. I had surgery soon after that show and I've healed up really well and am still lifting like I was before surgery.
PW: Proving to myself I can push myself to the limit with weight training

8. The biggest improvements I want to make for 2011 are?
CA: I need to continue to chisel and shape the back of my legs.
TA: In my physique I want to improve my v-taper, build my delts, bring up my calves, and round out my glutes more.
MB: Continue to work on making my back and shoulders wider and bringing a different and better physique to the stage in 2011.
HG: I WILL improve my quad sweep and ham development for 2011.
DJ: To improve my overall conditioning and also am always working on more size and shape to my back.
BP: I need to add mass to my upper body, especially my lats and shoulders. I'm almost where I want to be. Almost. I'm also going to switch to Fitness after Team U (I think- it depends on how quickly I can pick it up), so nailing my routine at a state show will also make next year a success for me.
KS: Being leaner on sage...not STRESSING on stage and practice posing!! 100 x more.
ES: Tighter and tinier on stage. More streamlined physique and a nice tight backside! NO SMILIES!!!!
BT: I have definitely widened my lats and shoulders and thickened my back up nicely and want to continue to do so. There's always room for improvement!!!
PW: A tighter, more leaner physique then I ever stepped on stage with.

9. The best and worst parts of competing are?
CA: The best part is seeing your body look better and better. The worst part is not being able to find clothes that fit properly because you're so lean.
TA: Best parts are being able to present your hard work for all to see, and hanging out back stage with all the girls you've made friends with. The worst part is when it's over and having that sense of "now what", also I hate the rebound that I've experienced.
MB: The best thing is the feeling of pride and accomplishment when you reach your goals and having the physique to prove it. The worst thing would be the fact that I am drained of my energy after a long day of work, then training, cardio and dieting.
HG: I personally love the regimentation and structure of competing. I hate the post-show blues.
DJ: The BEST part is meeting new friends from all over and doing something you all enjoy. The worst is the COSTS: travel, suits, hair, tan, adds up!! Not a cheap hobby!
BP: Best: Seeing those weekly, exciting physique changes. It is SO rewarding to watch your body change almost daily in those last few weeks. You can literally see your hard work paying off right before your eyes. Worst: I tend to become a recluse at about 3 weeks out. It's just not fun to be around other people and their delicious food at that point.
KS: Judging and what they are looking for.
ES: Best and worst parts are one in the same. To be able to face each challenge everyday and then overcoming it is both the best and the worst. I win long before they hand me that trophy. I win each time I push myself through a brutal set, or a killer craving, or a lazy moment when all I want to do is relax. These moments can really suck sometimes....but the payoff in the end will be priceless.
BT: The best part of competing to me is achieving my goal, knowing I did something so hard and structured within a certain time frame. The worst part is how pricey it is for girls. Those suits are outrageously pricey!
PW: Giving up cookies :-) and the best is the feeling of satisfaction and succeeding.

10. The final thought that goes through my head before I take the stag is?
TA: Deep breath, you got this.
MB: "This is it, show them what you've got Pistol Pete!" (Pistol Pete is an old guy that works out at my gym and walks around with his back flared and acts like his arms are so big they can't even touch his sides! It just reminds me to stand up straight and walk with confidence! LOL)
HG: "Dear God, Please give me the strength to glorify you and to inspire others"- (Oh, and not flex too hard! LOL)
DJ: Have fun and smile FOR REAL
BP: It's go time, baby!! Let's do this!
KS: Walk slow!!!
ES: "Come on Eryn.... 20 weeks comes down to this moment. Two minutes to show em' watcha got"
BT: Don't fall!!
PW: I did it and I am gonna rock this competition with my all!

11. The competitor I most admire is?
CA: I really admire Kassandre Harper Cotton. She wears so many different hats (mother, wife, athlete) like I do and it's good to not feel alone.
TA: Ava Cowan
MB: Wow, there are so many, I can't pick just one!
HG: Monica Brant without a doubt. She just keeps coming back, better and better (although, Valerie Waugaman is my all-time favorite Figure athlete)
DJ: She doesn't compete anymore, but Valerie Waugaman....she had her OWN style, posing, and attitude. I think she was a really cool chick and I miss her in the industry. I also admire Monica for her longevity (I don't know if I could compete for that long) and for moving this year to bigger and better things for herself.
BP: Erin Stern
KS: Oh my, SO many. Erin Stern
ES: Mandy Blank and Monica Brant. Both are such icons and have met life's adversity head on and overcome it with flying colors to be two of the most sought after women in our sport. They don't let people dictate to them how it's going to go and they live their lives with such faith, beauty and grace. They are amazing souls with a passion for fitness and helping others. Both have taught me so much.
BT: Trish Warren, she has shoulders I would kill for! And also Cory Everson has the most impressive set of quads a gal could ever have! And with her epic life story really makes me believe you can do anything you set your mind to.
BT: I love Ava Cowan

12. If a book is ever written about me, it would be called?
CA: Don't know what I would call it!
TA: The Face of Determination
MB: It would be called "I AM"... that's it! I believe whatever you put the words "I AM" to, you become.
HG: Hmmm... tough one...I'll get back to you!
DJ: Try Everything Once
BP: Cleats to Heels: A Soccer Girl's Rise to the Fitness Pros
ES: The Fabulous Life and Times of Eryn Strickland
BT: Bitty 101
PW: Wonder Woman!

13. In five years I will be?
CA: Happier than a clam!
TA: A successful Bodybuilder Figure Pro, doing something that I enjoy and that helps others achieve their goals.
MB: An IFBB Figure Pro, won a Pro contest and have competed on the Olympia stage.
HG: Living on a beach, training hard, raising my lovely children (that have yet to e conceived), and running my company.
DJ: Trending more towards online training, publishing my 1st or 2nd book, possibly still competing, because I **want** to.
BP: Married (hopefully-God, how long does it take you people to put a ring on someones finger!!)
KS: Pfff! Easy! IFBB Pro!!!
ES: A Figure Pro, A Fitness personality, an accomplished businesswoman, a good wife and mother, and a damn good cook :-)
BT: In five years I'll be 27 years young. Hopefully still living in Florida, still competing and dieting year round to make proper gains. I hope to be walking and strutting y stuff on an IFBB stage with the big shots. I dream to be sponsored by that time also.
PW: A Pro Figure competitor and a successful fitness icon.

14. If they ever make a buddy cop comedy with competitors the two best to star in it would be?
CA: Me and Adriana Sanchez, yin and yang.
TA: Well, I'd have to say me as one since I do have a background in being a police officer, and my side kick would have to be Charise Parker.
MB: Kayde Puckett and Beth Polisson
HG: Not sure about that one either.
DJ: Erin Stern and Mike O'Hearn. The two of them are pretty funny people.
BP: Kayde Puckett and Sandi Stuart (I have seen them together in person- they're like Thelma and Louise)

15. One competitor who should write an autobiography is?
CA: Ava Cowan
TA: Mandy Henderson
MB: I just heard the story of IFBB Pro Tonya Knight and thought it would make a good book.
HG: Tanji Johnson- such an inspiration!
DJ: Monica Brant or Elaine Goodlad...except I want ALL the REAL juicy details of the IFBB, photographers, judging, etc. They've been around to see a lot of stuff.... so I think it would be a great gossipy trash novel...LOL
BP: Tanji Johnson. Words cannot describe how amazing I think she is. I'd love to know what's going on in that brain of hers. She brings such athleticism and energy to the stage. I have nothing but respect and admiration for what she does. She's part of the reason I switched to Fitness.
KS: Monica Brant fo sho
ES: ME :-) People wouldn't believe my story.
BT: Frank Zane and Trish Warren

16. One competitor who doesn't get the coverage she deserves is?
CA: Alicia Harris
TA: Wendy Fortino
MB: If I were to have to choose one then I would have to say myself, LOL! Just kidding.... I can't pick one, but I do think FBB should get more coverage than they get for all of the hard work and dedication they put into their bodies and this sport.
HG: Erin Stern
DJ: Alicia Harris...LOVE HER!!! She is competing more though, and she'll rise to the top.
BP: Jackie Hoppe. I first noticed her when I was at Jr. Nationals watching my friend compete in Fitness. Jackie's physique is so amazing-perfect symmetry and well-balanced. I don't see NY flaws in her physique at all. She seems very humble and grateful as well, which makes her even more likeable. Also, so many competitors complain during contest prep, as if it's their cross to bear. I don't understand that. Sure, the diet sucks, the cardio sucks, but we CHOOSE to do this. I've never seen Jackie complain on a public forum- ever. She's not a martyr and I respect the hell out of that.
ES: Heather Grace
BT: Trish Warren

17. One actor whose movies I always need to see is?
CA: Jet Li, he's so unassuming yet he can kick some serious ass.
TA: Will Ferrell, he is hilarious!
MB: Tyler Perry movies, I love them!
HG: Denzel, BABY!!!MUAH :-) LOL
DJ: Will Ferrell I guess. I'm a sucker for really bad comedy. I LOVE Anchorman and Step Brothers.
BP: Will Ferrell
KS: Not too picky. If the line up is good and reviews I go to see it. But Gerard Butler is sexy as hell.
ES: Johnny Depp
BT: Arnold and Rachel McAdams
PW: Will Ferrell

18. The sports team whose games I always need to see is?
CA: TEXANS, yes I said it.
MB: I don't watch "normal" sports. I really only like the UFC, boxing, and bodybuilding.
HG: I don't know about always...back in the day, I was a Pistons fan- all the way. These days, I try to catch the occasional Nuggets game.
DJ: Steelers because my hubby is a fan.
BP: Patriots, baby!!!!
KS: None
BT: Ehh I rather play it than watch it.

19. If I could spend one day training with someone it would be?
CA: I would love to train glutes/hamstrings with Heather Grace!!!!
TA: Ava Cowan. Her determination and drive to push herself to the limits is motivating.
MB: To many choices again, and all for different reasons. But a few would be Charles Glass, Kai Greene, Erin Stern and Zoa Linsey.
HG: Charles Poliquin without a doubt... The man has trained hundreds of Olympic athletes.
DJ: I would love to train with Erin Stern because I'm sure she'd have some kick ass running drills to put me through and maybe she could teach me how to pole vault.
BP: Erin Stern- I love her athletic track workouts. They remind me of my old soccer workouts from college. I LOVE working out like an animal.
KS: Ava Cowan, Erin Stern
ES: Mandy Blank
BT: Flex Lewis....have you seen him! Hellllllllllo hottie and his accent will make you melt. Bu on a professional level including Flex, the Warren couple probably takes the cake for me. Yates is up there also. Just too many to choose from!
PW: Ava Cowan

20. Anything you want to plug or promote?
TA: I'd like to promote NorCal Bodybuilding, they have a great clothing line, and beautiful posing suits, Roc Body Angels the skin care line is like no other, it is truly a great product and made will all natural ingredients. Team Dangerously Hardcore, and Team Quest Nutrition. I'd also like to let anyone know they can check out my website at
MB: A big thanks to my trainer IFBB Pro Abdul Sharif for all of his help, USPlabs for believing in me and my husband and parents for all of their love and support!
HG: Please visit my new site:
DJ: Check out my new project This is a cool collaboration with Nutrex and 7 strong women who model, work, train, etc. Updates on blogs and pics all the time!
BP: I'm actively seeking sponsorship! I have a great portfolio and could offer a lot to any company seeking athletes. I think my cooking background could be tapped into quite easily, and I bake with protein powder on a daily basis. I'm eager to share my recipes!
ES: I am now the spokesmodel and East Coast Rep for Karmma Fight Gear, a clothing company for all who have "fought the good fight", whether it be in life, love, fitness or MMA. Please contact me if you would like info on how to purchase yours today. My trainer is Mandy Blank. She can transform you just like she is transforming me. If you would like to become a member of our tribe and evolve your mind, body and spirit please contact her at It's the best decision I have ever made
BT: Best couple to work with when it comes to diets and training for ANY TYPE OF ATHLETE. They go out of there way to help their client get to their goals. Not only are they professional and have super low rates, they are awesome people in general.
PW: My website which will have upcoming events.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Glena Avila Interview

Want to know why I support and promote women in MMA? Look no further then Glena Avila. She is a perfect example of why I do. She has a love for the sport, and a love for being a good positive role model. Her hard work, dedication and passion are admirable. I have wanted an interview with Glena and thought I had asked her, only to find out I never did ask. SO when i finally got the opportunity I was very excited. When you read this, you will see why I was so excited.

Q: First, Glena I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Actually, I should be thanking you! It's important to me to get a positive message out there about women in MMA. I appreciate people like you giving me the opportunity to address the common misconceptions and allowing me to express myself about what the sport means to me.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I'm a 35yr old mom from a very small town in Oregon. I've been fighting for a little over a year now. My current amateur record is 4-0. I'm training for another fight that will take place on January 8th. I hoping to go pro with-in the next year.

Q: Were you especially athletic growing up? Play any sports?
A: I wasn't particularly athletic. My family couldn't afford for me to participate in most sports. I did excel at dancing and won dance competitions regularly. I had even considered dance as a potential career choice.

Q: What initially got you started training for MMA?
A: I've always been a fan of Mixed Martial Arts. My boyfriend had taken on a couple fights. He did well and I was very excited for him. At some point I caught a youtube video of a female MMA match. I contacted the promoter to see how I could try it and the rest is history!

Q: Was the training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: Some parts of it, other aspects took me a long time to grasp. Even though I feel like I've come a long way, I'm still a work in progress.

Q: How long did you train before your first fight?
A: I didn't have any formal training before my first fight. I worked with some local wrestlers a little to get an idea of what to expect. Even though they did a lot to help me out, I realize now how ignorant I was. I wouldn't recommend going about it that way to anyone. I won that fight but it could have easily gone the other way and I could have been hurt badly. Mixed Martial Arts is no joke and everyone should have proper training before trying it.

Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported?
A: I would say there is about a 50/50 split. It's still a constant struggle to break past the misconceptions about the sport but I also have a lot of fans and supporters.

Q: Where do you train at now?
A: I train out of Rise Above MMA in Portland, OR with Ron Andersen as my head coach.

Q: Can you give your overall record so far?
A: So far my amateur record is 4-0. I'm hoping to get another win in January.

Q: Which fight so far is the one you are most proud of?
A: That's a tough question! I'm really proud of all of my fights! Every opponent that I've had so far was an incredibly tough competitor. My fight with Janna Piper was the first female title fight for The FCFF and my fight with Tia Spurlock was the first female main event for the FCFF. I felt like those were huge accomplishments, but if I had to pick one fight to be MOST proud of, I would have to say it was the title defense against Maygen Sato. She came in the cage with guns blazing and ready to take me out. I took a beating for two solid rounds but was able to make a comeback in round three. I took her down and got a TKO. It was a really rough fight for me but I proved to myself and others that I'm never to be counted out.

Q: What would you say is your biggest strength and the one thing you most want to improve?
A: I would say my work ethic is my biggest strength. If there is a way for me to be in the gym training, then that's where I'm at. I most need to improve on my lack of self-confidence. I still get overwhelmed at times with where I'm at and the level of competition I'm faced with. My coach, teammates, and fans do a great job helping me overcome that.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training and competing in the sport?
A: The best thing for me is the opportunity to be a role model for my daughter. I like the fact that she is proud of my accomplishments and she is seeing first hand that with hard work anything is possible. The worst part of course would be the injuries.

Q: Are there any fighters you are a fan of or love to watch?
A: I am a fan of fighting, period. There are just too many fighters for me to list!

Q: In your opinion, who are the top five female fighters in the sport pound for pound?
A: Ok, in no particular order, because they all rock in my book; Mega Megumi Fujii, Cris Cyborg Santos, Marloes Coenen, Meisha "Take Down" Tate, Lisa Ward-Ellis.

Q: Do you ever see a major U.S. women's only company being viable?
A: Sure! Anything is possible. Personally I would be happy to see women in MMA get as much attention and respect as the men do.

Q: Often you watch a show that has one women's fight. Somehow that fight always turns out to be the most exciting fight on the card. Why do you think that is?
A: I think right now women in this sport are on a mission to prove themselves and prove that we belong here. It makes each fight so much more intense.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about female fighters?
A: I would say that the biggest misconception about female fighters is that they have to be masculine to be great fighters. There are a ton of beautiful, feminine, and dangerous women making their mark in this sport.

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to train for the sport, what's the biggest piece of advice you would give her?
A: The biggest piece of advice I would give her is to find a great coach/team that she can trust. There are way to many people involved in this sport that are willing to throw you out to the wolves for their own benefit. Find someone to look out for your best interest and train hard.

Q: Outside of training and fighting, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Mostly I love hanging out with my kids. We are very close and we like to stay home and goof off. I also enjoy dancing. That's something I wish I had time to do more often.

Q: You have new website up. Can you give the address and tell people what they can find there?
A: Sure, there are two websites actually. There is a fan-owned, fan club page, On that site you can meet and chat with other Heartless fans and find out about my upcoming appearances and events. But my official website is It's still under construction so look for changes on that in the near future. On that site you'll see the link to a teaser for the miniseries/documentary currently being filmed. Both websites have links to my sponsors and my contact info.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Glena Avila?
A: Well, a typical day for me isn't so typical to most. I'm generally up by 5:00am to get my workout in before my daughter, Annie wakes up. After I get that out of the way, I rush through feeding our pets, getting my daughter up and ready for school, and myself ready for work. I work a regular 7.5 hour day at a Veterans' facility doing admission paperwork. After work, I pick up Annie from school, get Annie something to eat, pack up my gym bag and Annie's funpack of toys and snacks and head out to Rise Above which is about an hour and a half drive. I train for about two and a half to three hours before I turn around to head back home. It's a quick pace from start to finish but it's worth it!

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Usually people are most surprised by my age. I'm 35yrs old and it tends to throw people off a little. They usually assume I'm quite a bit younger.

Q: Describe Glena Avila in five words.
A: Hmmmm, that's tough but here goes: Funny, Stubborn, Courageous, Empowering and Loyal.

Q: So what's next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?
A: I'll be fighting very dangerous "Mighty" Maylee Seikowitch on Saturday, January 8th at Budo Fights "Resilience" Bend, Oregon. I'm excited about this fight. I feel like it's a great opportunity for me to show how much I've grown and I love the challenge of fighting someone with such an impressive record. (She's currently 5-0)

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: Here is a link to project that I'm working on. It's a teaser for documentary following me through my struggles as an upcoming amateur MMA fighter, trying to work my way up to the pros. Anyone wanting to donate to the project should click on the green button that says "BACK THIS PROJECT" Then follow the instructions. I am forever grateful to anyone willing to help me get my story out there.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Glena Avila the fighter and person?
A: Yes, sponsors are great! Potential sponsors can reach me via email, or they can reach me on Facebook,!/glena.avila. What Sponsors get from me is a respectful fighter that will handle herself inside and out of the cage with class also I'm a hard worker that is not afraid to put it all on the line.

Q: Glena again, I want to thank you for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: Yes, I'd like to thank you for your time, my sponsors; Tussle Fight Gear & Ranger Up. I would also like to give a shout out to my coaches and teammates from Rise Above MMA, Thank you for helping me become the fighter I am today! Last but not least, I'd like to thank my fans and supporters for having faith in me and motivating me to become better for every fight!

IFBB Pro Marina Lopez Interview

After an incredible competition history, in both Figure and Bodybuilding, that began in 2004, Marina Lopez won her very much earned and deserved IFBB Pro card at the 2010 Nationals. She is a great representative for not only female bodybuilding, but the Fitness industry as a whole. I am excited to see her pro debut and continue till she reaches her goal of competing at the Olympia.

Q: First, Marina, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for inviting me to do an interview with you.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born and raised and currently reside in Denver Colorado. I am 42 years old. I own a personal training studio and Bootcamp. I enjoy skiing in Vail and partying with the rich and famous.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: As a teenager I use to lift at Johnson’s Recreation Center with my Aunt Joann here in Denver. We used the book Hard Bodies by Gladys Portugues and Flex Appeal by Rachel McLish as our guides. I was very inspired by their physiques. It was not until I was 35 that I competed in my first competition. I was successful winning my weight class and the novice division. The more I learned the more interested I became. I hired a full time trainer in 2006. He encouraged me to compete in figure as well as bodybuilding. I entered 3 figure classes and 3 bodybuilding classes at the Northern Colorado Bodybuilding Championships and won each class and both overalls. I made the decision at that time to compete as a figure competitor. I won the overall at the Shawn Ray Pro/Am six weeks later and qualified for nationals. I competed in figure at the national level two more times but was not so successful. In 2009 after some encouragement from Steve Stone I returned to BB and I won the Colorado State and qualified for nationals.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I can’t say I picked it up easy. I am always learning things everyday and science changes so fast that you need to make changes with current information. I did see results right away when I began lifting and it inspired me to work hard. I have been lifting for many years. As a get older my body seems to develop more defined harder looking muscle.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I participated in a body transformation challenge sponsored by iSatori. In 2004 I was selected to be featured in the iSatori Lean System Success Plan book because I had such great success by following this basic eating plan. This eating plan is what introduced me to healthy eating and bodybuilding. The owner of the company asked me to consider competing and he would help me with the diet and training.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: I am really self motivated and I would have competed weather I had the support or not. My mom has only been to two of my shows and only a few family members ever attend. I do get support from my immediate family. Our oldest son travels with me to all the shows and trains with me on occasion. Our daughter is always asking to see me pose or dance. Our youngest son trains with us daily at our gym also. I have a very close knit group of friends that are very supportive. My clients are supportive and enthusiastic. I am encouraged by the people I love and that love me.

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: At my first competition I was very nervous. I was not sure what to expect. It seemed like everything was in slow motion that day. I did not expect everything to move so slowly. Allot of waiting and standing around. I had years of stage experience so the actual competition was not anything surprising. I was not sure what to expect, I just went with the flow.

Q: You won your Pro card this year at Nationals. What did winning that Pro card mean to you personally?
A: Yes, I earned my pro card this year at Nationals in Atlanta. I was very excited about earning my pro card. I set a goal to earn my pro card in 2010. This was the third show that I competed in this year. I had been dieting for almost 10 months so I was pretty exhausted. I felt a sense of urgency to win it at this show. Even though I earned my pro card it was bitter sweet. I am very competitive and I was set on winning the overall. Winning the overall at Jr. Nationals was an amazing feeling. From day one we have taken a business approach to bodybuilding, with the understanding that we would use the publicity from competing to build our business and my brand. This was very exciting for us because turning pro is an important part of achieving our goals from a business prospective. It was also very personally fulfilling. Being successful is rewarding.

Q: Can you share your contest history/
A: Here is a list of my contest history.
*2004 Northern Colorado
1st Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
1st Place Novice Bodybuilding
*2004 Rocky Mountain Bodybuilding Championships
1st Place Masters Bodybuilding
2nd Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
*2006 Northern Colorado
1st Place Masters Bodybuilding
1st Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
Overall Bodybuilding
1st Place Figure Masters 35-39
Overall Figure Masters
1st Place Figure A
Overall Figure Open
*2006 Shawn Ray Colorado Pro/Am
1st Place Figure A
Overall Figure
*2006 USA Championships
15th Place Figure A
*2008 Jr. National Championships
N/P Figure B
*2009 Colorado State
1st Place Middleweight Bodybuilding
Overall Bodybuilding
*2010 Jr. National Championships
1st Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
Overall Bodybuilding
*2010 USA’s
2nd Place Lightweight Bodybuilding
*2010 Nationals
1st Place Lightweight Bodybuilding - earned IFBB Pro Card

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would have to say my back. When I competed in figure my trainer placed a huge emphasis on my back and shoulders. So for several years that was my target body part. My back has a few years of training emphasis compared to the rest of my body.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I don’t have a favorite exercise. My workouts change every 4 to 6 weeks. The exercises vary so much from workout to workout I stay fresh and excited about my whole workout. I like to see the changes occur in each body part as I develop. I like to lift heavy and enjoy the exhilaration of achieving new personal bests. I have a difficult time squatting. It’s not that I don’t like squatting, but I injured my tail bone when I was young and it is very painful for me to go deep with heavy weights.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My everyday diet consists of balance. I follow the Lean System Success Plan by iSatori. You may order the book at my web site. I eat low glycemic carbohydrates, a portion of quality protein; I vary and utilize a combination of all three fat types and a green vegetable. I have one cheat meal a week. My favorite cheat meal is sushi.
Here is my pre contest meal plan. It is very restricted, but necessary to get the last bit of fat off. Depending on how much body fat I am holding determines how far out I need to begin dieting. I followed this plan for 9 weeks prior to nationals.
2 whole (OMEGA-3) Eggs with 4 egg whites
35g Whey protein isolate with 1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter
5oz chicken (ostrich, or turkey) with 1/4-cup (1oz) cashew nuts, or almonds, or walnuts (vary it)
5oz salmon, swordfish, or RED MEAT with a green salad (no tomatoes, red peppers, or carrots) with 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil or Mac Nut Oil and vinegar
35g Whey Protein Isolate with 1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter or 2 whole (OMEGA-3) EGGS with 4 whites
30g Whey Isolate with water
I train between 5 and 6 days a week. I use a variety of training principles. I train high volume for my legs. I often use pause rep training for all body parts. There are periods in which I utilize supersets comprised of insertion point and origin point training. I use allot of heavy compound movements. Heavy compound movements seem to be what makes my body respond the best. The only part that really changes during contest prep is I increase my cardio at 10-12 weeks out. I start with 30 minutes increasing it by 5-10 minutes each week. For Nationals I was up to 130 minutes a day. I am not a big fan of cardio, but it is a necessary evil. My focus is on growing my legs and maintenance on my upper body until each are balanced with each other.
Here is my current leg routine.
7 sets of wide stance back squats at 10 reps heavy with 2 minutes or less rest between sets.
5 sets of Romanian Dead lifts at 12 reps. Increase weight each set
Superset leg curls and extensions 5 sets at 16 reps no rest until all sets are completed. Use the same weight for all 5 sets.
I finish with 2 sets at 20-25 reps of weighted hyper extensions.

Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: I have never heard anything negative about my physique. I believe I am relatively small so I don’t tend to attract negative attention when I am in public. Maybe they are afraid to say something… I don’t know. For the most part I dress conservatively and try to keep things as discreet as possible. I don’t engage in behavior that would generate negative comments while in public. Once in a while a catch a glance of someone’s snicker or grimace that would indicate they might be somewhat put off by how lean I am. It is always women, so I just chalk it up to jealousy and have fun with it.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "How much do you lift?" or "How much can you bench?" my answer is usually the same I politely say “not very much”, while I imagine smacking them in the face repeatedly.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Let me explain things from my perspective. The judges in women’s bodybuilding have not done the sport any favors. They have encouraged women to be bigger and bigger to the point where the masculine look has dropped the sport out of the main stream fitness realm. Most of America does not want to look like some of the reigning women in the sport. The women in the sport have created a physique to meet the expectations of the judges. They would not have pushed themselves to this degree if it was not being rewarded, after all the judges set the standards. The IFBB has been talking about scaling back the size of the women in the sport, but yet they continue to reward the athletes that are the biggest and most defined. Of course the competitors are going to create these huge physiques, it is what the judges want. The misconceptions are that female bodybuilders want to be men and we all do drugs. Absolutely not, we want to win and we create the desired look based on the IFBB standards. On the other hand, there are allot of women who have sacrificed all their feminine qualities just to be big and have gone to the point where it has hurt our sport.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: It’s not the worst part, but the most difficult part is dieting. I can say there aren’t any worst parts. It’s fun and it is whole lot more healthy and competitive than slow pitch co-ed softball. The most annoying part are some of the competitors and their off the wall comments and ridiculous behavior. I could do without some of that. The best part is all the travel and meeting so many great people. I have made lifelong friends both competitors and fans alike. The part that attracts me the most is the healthy lifestyle of eating clean and exercising. I like the challenge of pushing my mind and body as far as I can. The structure and discipline required for bodybuilding is a test of my will power and is the single most difficult activity I ever participated in.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I have to go with a hometown lady, Heather Armbrust. She has wonderful stage presence and a great physique, She takes allot of time on the little things that make her look very beautiful on stage. Now I am going to date myself but I have to also recognize the ladies that got me interested in the sport Rachel McLish and Gladys Portugues.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Yes of course, I am a sushi connoisseur. I can put some sushi away. Every Sunday is my Sushi day.

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: Don’t be intimidated by this sport and don’t try to make your body into something you are not comfortable with. You don’t need to add tons of muscle or “bulk up”. There is an evolution going on in bodybuilding and once again the sport will recognize that conditioning, symmetry, stage presence and beauty will become a major factor in the sport. If you are the kind of person that seeks challenges bodybuilding is a great sport to become involved with. I have never undertaken any single challenge that required more commitment and will power to be successful. It is also very important to have a supporting cast. This is a lifestyle for us. We are all proud of each other in our home and my bodybuilding is no more important than each of their interests. At home, I am just Mom. We don’t have any photos or anything relating to my bodybuilding. We keep my trophies and one 8x10 photo at our gym. The sport can be very self serving and selfish. It is important to keep it in perspective and remember all the people around you.

Q: You also have a great website. Can you give out the address and tell people what they can find there?
A: Thank you for the great compliment on my site. The web site is a work in progress. The nice thing about my web site is allows me show you my alter ego. I can let lose a little and reveal a sexier more playful side of me. The address is simple You can find tons of photos, videos, my bio and many more things there.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activates you enjoy?
A: That’s easy… SLEEP. I could stay in bed all day. I have one day off a week. I get up at my regular time eat and go back to bed. My time is so limited I wish I had time for a hobby. I do like to garden and spend time with my family on my days off. During competition season I don’t have enough time in the day to do anything but work and train. I competed in three shows this year. Jr. Nationals, USA’s and Nationals. I had been training since February and did not stop until October. In the winter I make time to be in Vail and get my skiing in.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Marina Lopez?
A: I am out of bed at 5 AM. My first Bootcamp class begins at 6 AM. I teach three classes back to back. I then do an hour of cardio. Eat meal 1. I complete business essentials, accounting, inventory, banking and so forth for a few hours in the morning. I train a few clients mid day. I then get my training in and some more cardio. I usually do live training session on I train another client or two and then teach two more evening boot camps. I usually go home around 8 PM, spend some time with my family before getting some things done around the house and going to bed around 11:30-12

Q: Describe Marina Lopez in five words.
A: Persistent, relentless, Determined, Forgiving and Loving.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I use to own my bird toy company. Lucky Bird Toys Int. We designed and distributed high end bird toys worldwide. The toys were constructed using a bulletproof polymer and we marketed them to large bird owners. My bird toys were featured on The Jay Leno Show. There is more, but you will have to go to my web site for that side of me...

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I am currently dieting for my appearance at the Arnold Expo in March. I will be working in three booths and doing numerous videos and photo shoots. You can find me in my sponsor booth iSatori technologies, I will be with Denise Masino and muscle Pin Ups and with Dave Palumbo and Species. I will be making my pro debut this year at the Phoenix Pro Show. My Competition goals are to compete at the Olympia and the Arnold in the future. We will continue to pursue bodybuilding for now and consider the physique competition once the IFBB establishes guidelines and standards. If my physique is relative to what they desire then we will try our hand at that.
My Personal goals are to grow my web site and continue to pursue the idea of franchising my personal training studio. At this time I am seeking investors and potential franchisees.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the important people in my life. I want to thank my trainer for all his support and knowledge. I have no idea how one person can know so much about bodybuilding. He has a real knack for knowing exactly what it takes to get me ready for a show each time. He also puts up with allot of my nonsense while dieting. I would also like to thank my children Joey, Jackie and Matias for their patience and encouragement. I would like to extend my appreciation to my friends for being supportive and positive through thick and thin. Lastly, I would like to thank Stephen Adele, CEO of iSatori for his continued support since the beginning of my competitive endeavor and signing me as an iSatori athlete. Being a part of the iSatori Team has inspired me to a higher level of commitment to excellence. iSatori is a leader in the supplement industry. Having the support of a reputable company backing me places me in the forefront of the fitness industry. Stephen Adele, owner and CEO of iSatori, have provided me with the best supplements, training knowledge, and nutrition information that are required for me to achieve my goals of one day competing in the Ms. Olympia.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Marina Lopez the athlete and competitor?
A: I am not actively seeking sponsors they seem to find me. Another area I have been very lucky. If there is a company that would like to offer additional sponsorship they can contact me at

Q: Marina, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I would like to invite everyone to join me on my site. I keep my blog updated as to appearances and upcoming promotions.

Miranda Odom Interview

A veteran of only two competitions, Miranda Odom is still early in what promises to be a very good competing career, including winning her class in her first show. She competed in Bikini and plans on moving to Figure, this year if she feels ready. In this interview Miranda very clearly comes across as someone who is very easy to root for, so I expect Miranda to have a good fan base after this interview. Keep your eyes out for Miranda Odom.

Q: First, Miranda, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: No, thank you for asking me and giving me this opportunity!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I'm from a pretty small town in South Carolina, where not much goes on. My family is my world! My Mom is the first person I call whenever I need advice or someone to talk to. I have a really good relationship with my sister. She and her husband just had their first child, and he is pretty much the cutest and sweetest baby ever! I can't wait until he's old enough for trips to the zoo, where I can get him all hyped up on candy then take him back to them! Just kidding...?

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Nah, I was never really athletic. As a child I took tap, jazz and ballet. I quit dance, then got into karate. I earned my black belt and then quit that too! I wish I would have stuck with it, but I was young and had the attention span of a gnat! Now, I'm back into dance. I have been doing bellydancing for a little over 8 years. I love it!

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: Well, I ran into my old karate instructor at the mall and he had opened several gyms and needed someone to work the front desk at one of the locations. So that got me in the gym lol.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Well in the beginning I pretty much just did the minimum, so it took a while for me to see any results. But I soon figured out I needed to really push myself, and that's when I finally started seeing results!

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: One of the personal trainers at the gym had competed before, and she got me interested in doing a competition. We started working out together and she was my motivation in the beginning. She introduced me to another awesome trainer that got her ready for her competitions. He helped me tremendously!

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: In the beginning they didn't really get why I wanted to compete. Now, I think they have given up and just accepted it. However, the training, dieting, and competing did break up some relationships I had. Those that really love you will support you even if they don't really get why you love this sport, or understand much about it. If it's something that is important to you, it's important to them.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I can laugh about it now, but the first time I went through the tanning process it about had me ready to say "forget it!". I have never had to get my entire body painted tan before, and it took a long time, and I was really tired...let's just say I wasn't a happy camper.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: Well, it's a pretty short one. I have competed in NPC bikini twice. My first show I got 1st in my height class, the 2nd show didn't crack the top 5. The shows were 2 weeks a part. Just goes to show how different each show can be from one to the next. Now, I have started training to try to get ready to compete in figure. I've made some progress, but still have a ways to go. But I am determined!

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Hmm...I would say either my back or triceps. Both have responded pretty quickly to my increase in training and I'm excited to see how much more I can gain in those areas.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I love training legs and glutes! I think I'm addicted to the pain, cause my favorite exercises are squats of all kinds! I love not being able to walk right for days afterwards. I call it my zombie duck walk!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My training routine is pretty much broken down like this: day one is back and bis, day two is hamstrings, day three is shoulders, day four chest and tris, day five is all over legs and glutes (after this day it usually takes me a while to recover, I hit my legs pretty hard) I fit abs in three or more times a week. This is my off season training schedule. My contest prep stays about the same but with insane amounts of cardio. My diet right now pretty much the same as contest prep, good clean food with more carbs thrown in, plus some extra cheat meals. I eat 6 times a day about 2 1/2 to 3 hours a part.

Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: I get a mix. Most people don't understand how I can do the contest prep diet. The diet is the hardest thing to do. When some people hear I compete, they want advice on how to workout or diet. They think that there is a secret that I (and others that compete) know and won't share. You just have to be willing to work your butt off (literally)!

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: Oh, my favorite is "why don't you eat real food?!" Silly me, I thought chicken, fish, and veggies were real food!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Well, where I work, a lot of the ladies are scared to train with heavy weights. They don't want to get big and bulky, which that won't happen! They shouldn't be afraid to be strong! Lift those weights!

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part is the stress relief and seeing the progress that I'm making. When I go up on the weight I can lift, it makes my day! The worst part... maybe making everything fit in around it. The gym takes a big part of my day. I work there and work out there. I pretty much live at the gym. Which isn't a bad thing most of the time!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Oh yeah! I really like Erin Stern, Ava Cowan, and Nicole Wilkins Lee for figure, Amanda Latona, Sonia Gonzales, and Jessica Jessie for bikini.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: WINGS FROM WILD WINGS!!!! I wish I could eat them every day!

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: Don't give up! It took me a while before I saw results. I still get discouraged. I know I got a long way to go, but it helps when you remember how far you've come!

Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women in the gym training as hard as men?
A: Not at the gym where I work. It's me and another girl that competes in bikini. When we work out together we are always right beside the big guys lifting as much as we can! It's a pretty good feeling when guys come up to you and talk about lifting without trying to hit on you. It's actually a respect thing.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Well, I still bellydance, and when I have time I love to draw and paint. I actually went to school for Graphic Design. A friend and I are working on designing some tanks and other gym clothing items.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Miranda Odom.
A: Well, most days I get up at 5 am to make sure I have time to cook my meals for the day and get in my training before I have to be a work at 9 am. I work until 8pm, so I when I get home I'm pretty tired and try to get to sleep pretty early. Eat, train, sleep, repeat. Pretty much my day.

Q: Describe Miranda Odom in five words.
A: Dedicated, Energetic, Funny, Caring, Stubborn

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I'm sort of old-fashioned. I kinda have that southern belle thing going on.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Oh yeah! May 2011 will be my first competition for the new year coming up! I'd like to say I'll be competing in figure this time, but I will just have to see how my body looks closer to May. If I have to get up on stage and compete in bikini again this year, I won't be upset.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I've started a blog. I'm trying my best to keep it updated. Oh, and keep an eye out for some t-shirts and other gym stuff my friend and I are designing. I'm sure I will have that on the blog when we get those ready!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Miranda Odom the athlete and competitor?
A: Sure, I'd love sponsors! It's probably pretty early in my competition career for that, but they can reach me through my blog or my e-mail address I'm determined and love to compete, so I plan to be on that stage as much as possible!

Q: Miranda, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity as an amateur competitor! It means a lot to me to maybe be able to inspire someone else to get started in this sport.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Sense of Gratitude by Trisha Barr

A sense of gratitude
A couple weekends ago, I had the privilege of hearing a sermon that really spoke to me, especially concerning a particular truth. It’s this: Everything that we do – everything – should be done in a spirit of gratitude. We should never lose our appreciation or thankfulness. Of course, this ultimately refers to our praise of God and our never-failing thankfulness for Christ’s sacrifice, no matter what our circumstances. But for non-believers, this concept concerning gratitude still applies.
This goes against the grain of the general sense of entitlement and self-centeredness that people tend to carry in this world. Many behave as if they have a right to anything that they want, and then they whine and moan if they don’t always get their way. Life would be a lot better – nay, people would be a lot better – if we could remember our numerous blessings, learn to appreciate them, and maintain an attitude of thankfulness. It’s not always easy when difficult circumstances come up against us, and sometimes we fail. But it is something to strive for, so we should all get into the habit of putting this into practice.
In what ways can a sense of gratitude help us? It helps to develop humility (different from shame), confidence (different from cockiness), contentment (different from complacency), and respectfulness (different from being a doormat). Now, what does all this have to do specifically with the martial artist, mixed martial artist, or athlete in general? Well, as I was listening to this preaching, it made me reflect upon a lot of things. But one thought that stood out to me was, “Am I exercising this as well as I should in every area of my life, whether in the cage, the dojo, the workplace, the home, the church, and so on?”
A lot of people who only know me from MMA think of me as fairly humble and respectful. I’m pretty successful at maintaining that behavior in the workplace as well. I wish I could say that I am just as successful in every other setting, but I must confess that I am still working on that. Treating my opponents with respect (not fear), win or lose, is one thing that I have gotten right: I’ve always shown up to weigh-ins on time, made weight, and gave my opponents props regardless of the outcome of the fights.
It never made sense to me that some fighters trash talk, get upset with their opponents when they struggle to make weight, or feel animosity toward their opponents in general. These things defy logic. A) You agree to fight at a certain weight – nobody forces you to; therefore, do not get angry at your opponent because you are hungry, tired, and thirsty the day of a fight from trying to make weight. B) Without an opponent, you would have no opportunity to get in the cage and do what you love to do. Really, you should be grateful to your opponents for stepping up (or at least when they show up, make weight, and don’t sucker-punch you when you touch gloves). And the more skilled you are, the less you have to rely on anger to win fights. You don’t see the Megumi Fujii’s or Jose Aldo’s of the world having to get all worked up in order to fight…very well…and win. You, too, will make a much better impression if you treat your opponents graciously and respectfully. It adds a whole new dimension to “Love your enemies,” huh?
I have personally even gone so far as to chat with my opponents before our fights, still fight my heart out, and leave the cage as friends. Of course, that doesn’t always happen. This all depends on the person whom you’re fighting as well. But I can always show good sportsmanship because, ultimately, I am grateful for the chance to test my abilities, discovering my strengths and weaknesses. As I said earlier, I wish I were more consistently that way. Perhaps the true test of character is away from the cage, back home or in the gym.
On a couple occasions, I must admit, bitterness over loss set in and affected my attitude in adverse ways. Disappointed and angry at myself, I began to take it out on family, friends, and even fellow students in my dojo. My husband had to point out on those occasions how unfair and ungracious I was behaving. The Holy Spirit further pointed out that I was dwelling in shame about my past mistakes rather than learning from them and moving forward like “a champ does,” as Brock Lesnar said after his recent loss of the UFC heavyweight title belt. Not that I have ever held a championship belt, but I definitely won’t ever come close if I do not focus on improving and never giving up.
Most importantly, I learned during that time that I had forgotten my sense of gratitude. I am blessed to have a God who loves me, win or lose. I am blessed to get to train under a wonderful teacher and supportive husband. I am blessed to get to compete and improve my fighting skills. I am blessed in many more ways than I have space to list. I’m still working on always having a genuine sense of gratefulness. I truly believe this attribute can make us better people and better fighters.

IFBB Pro Rhonda Lee Quaresma Interview

Took some time to get it all going, but so excited to present this interview with Rhonda Lee Quaresma. Rhonda Lee was one of the first bodybuilders I considered myself a fan of. Of course at the time, I knew little and it was really just her amazing physique and beauty that made me a fan. But now it is her attitude. Her attitude about herself, life, and the sport. Not to mention, winning her Pro card in her first National show, which is an amazing accomplishment. Though she has not competed in awhile, Rhonda Lee still looks amazing, and could step on stage and do really well at any time. Whether she does step on stage again or not, Rhonda Lee is someone you can bet, will do what she wants, when she wants, how she wants, and have fun doing it.

Q: First, Rhonda Lee, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: You are welcome Jason! I appreciate the reach out!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Born and raised in Kingston, ON Canada. Dad native Indian and french and mom dutch and Scottish. I came along late in my parents was 54 and mom 38. Siblings :2 half sisters and half brother and 2 full brothers. Because of my later arrival i lived only with my one brother first two years of my life! But that still made a lifetime bond! Otherwise its kind of like i was an only child so my parents treated me like a Princess!
Currently I live in Toronto, On Canada. Single but good! My children are my cats! Previous chapter in my life I had been married for 10 years and there is when the bodybuilding began for me! And still it continues and so long as I am on this earth and able I will live and love the bodybuilding/health lifestyle!

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: No!! Well probably though! I was an extremely shy little girl and was afraid of almost everything therefore assuming I couldn't do anything! Was just born like this...had great parents who thought I was the best child ever! Genetically i had it but mentally i didn't! That's how bodybuilding changed my confidence and life for the better!

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: A few things but I'd have to say first was the fact that after puberty I had curves in all the right places but then as my height stopped the curves kept growing...teehee. So I started putting weight on and it bothered me so at 16 my dad took me into my first gym called New World Nautilus in my hometown of Kingston and I started aerobics!

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Well at 16 I did aerobics for three years to the point of always getting shin splints and my body didn't really change. Then finally three years later a friend from my first gym New World Nautalis took me under his wing and taught me the basics of lifting and in three months my body changed!! I was hooked!

Q: Your first show was the 1989 Kingston Open, which you won. What made you decide to compete?
A: After almost a year of training I met my husband to be and he had just competed! An excellent bodybuilder I credit him for teaching me my foundation that made me the successful bodybuilder I am today. He saw that I had a genetic potential and encouraged me to do a show. The rest is history!

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: 100%! My parents were sooooo proud of me and this day even though they are gone they are my biggest supporters! And my hometown always did newspaper coverage and i had tons of friends travel to support me at shows. In my marriage it at times caused a strain as we were both bodybuilders and well I'll leave it at that!

Q: Was competing what you expected? Any memories of that first show?
A: Beyond what I expected in a completely positive way! Clear memories of an indescribable sense of accomplishment and facing a lifetime fear....probably a couple...EXTREMELY shy....ask anybody who knew me as a child!

Q: You earned your IFBB Pro card at the 1996 Canadian Nationals. What did winning your Pro card mean to you?
A: Well I truly didn't expect to win...I went in as I always did to shows doing beyond the limit training and believing in myself because I did what I was supposed to and then some. BUT the nationals was the one show I figured for sure I wouldn't win and I just wanted top 3, but of course I trained to win. Just prepared myself for the fact that this realistically is a show that would be tough to win if at all! I was just thrilled to have reached that level! So when I won, it was like ' I do now? Haaa'! So many thoughts and feelings!

Q: I believe that was actually your first National show as well. Did you ever imagine winning your Pro card that quick?
A: I am flattered and impressed at your research Jason! Wow! As I said, not at all!! Really had no expectations. I really think that's part of why I was so successful! I took each moment as just that and when i finished a day of training i was always happy because I knew I was one second better than before.

Q: Can you share your contest history
*Miss Kingston Lightweight 1st place
*Miss Ottawa Lightweight 1st place
*Miss Ottawa Lightweight 1st place
*Miss Ontario Lightweight 1st place
*Miss Canada Middleweight 1st place and overall
*Miss Canada ?95
*International Federation Bodybuilder Professional (IFBB Pro)

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: When I was competitive, id say legs, now prob arms.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Again competitive career was legs/squatting; now hmmm I like something for every body part.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like?
A: Well here is an example of one of my training days now and I always try splitting my workouts so twice per day. ie.
Day 1 looks something like this: Legs, hams, buttocks, calves, stretching, cardio, then rest of body split up throughout week of a five day program that includes diet attention, my body & program assessment, and I like to add in another element ex. a finisher ie...tanning to add to overall affect. And psychological aspects also kept in check to keep you training hard, etc!

Q: When someone sees your physique for the firs time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: That depends! 75% positive...people recognize and respect the work and are just very gracious people who can be positive towards another; 23% neutral...people mind business or don't judge according to a persons looks, 2% negative...the ignorant and those unfortunately jealous maybe not so much of me but the lack of ability to even try to attain a goal...who knows their deal!

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "How do I get abs?" And I am supposed to tell them the magic answer then and there like its that simple....and even if it were like I would just tell...teehee

Q: What is the biggest misconception about female bodybuilders or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Ughh I even hate acknowledging this question I hate the misconception so much....That female bodybuilders are men or want to look like men and that we cannot be feminine! BS!! Yes the muscle can be deceiving to a simple mind perhaps, but I say I built my muscle with my mind! Not because I'm some tough ass aggressive chick and I'm sure that goes for all the women bb's! In fact it gives a confidence to be even more feminine ...ask any male or female muscle lover!

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best is the reward first of self gratification, accomplishment and empowerment which all transcends into id say all other areas of your life! ie. its so grueling and iron will disciplined that after if u do it all with that willpower and properly you feel there isn't anything you can't do in your life! The worst part is the pain of restricting yourself in almost all areas of your life for long stretches of time sometimes. ie no junk food or only maybe sporadically for months at a time; sacrificing time with loved ones as the sport requires eating,breathing, sleeping all facets of your life to focus on that show. It takes understanding and I say an empathy on the parts of both parties involved to balance career goals and a healthy loving relationship of whatever that may be.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I do and theres a few now male and female for different reasons but the same level of favouriting for me. ie. Rachel McLish: My first icon and who I aspired to be in my own way. She was strong but so beautiful and sexy! Sue Price: When i was half way through my amateur competitive career her striated glutes and legs with size inspired me! Her along with a couple other bodybuilders made me find out to do the same and for the first time I had striated glutes and full legs on stage! Dennis Newman: The male comparison of Rachel I'd say but obviously more muscular...his fullness yet perfect shape and lines in his physique was breathtaking to look at! And very handsome. Joe Deangelis: His hardcore training and attitude shows an undeniable pushing beyond the limit to make the pain almost seem pleasure...that's the true bodybuilding spirit! And obviously the physique speaks for itself, which he has used to make his success as an excellent business man in our LA bodybuilding and entrepreneurial , family and entertainment world, which is growing throughout the USA! Very inspiring!!

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Do I just get to pick one? Teehee.....well if I do lets say Chocolate! But with stuff in it, or around it or whatever...mmmm!

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: Not to be afraid to lift weights and not to be so confident that you will easily put muscle on the way she thinks like most women do! You need resistance to put muscle on or even to just firm up, and the muscle u r afraid of putting on requires a whole different type of training anyhow!

Q: It is not a secret, you have done adult films. How did you get involved in that?
A: Well, for a few reasons but I would say the main reason and the one I will tell here ;) is because I could! Really! And I'm a risk taker. Always been a sexual gal and comfortable and confident with my sexuality. Had just become truly single and I don't know maybe the idea of not having to answer to anybody made me go to the extreme...I just remember thinking it would be fun, Id get paid, would exchange pleasure and I just wanted to! I found an ad that seemed up my alley, called and ironically he was curious about the fitness gals and seeing as I called he scooped me up and the rest is another chapter in my history books! Also have been in the process of transitioning out of the adult business now at least at a hardcore level anyhow! And it never was anything I made a full time career doing and I could have but I just liked the spontaneity of being able too do it on occasion! And I think an observation I've made about myself is I really seem to get off (no pun intended) on the shock effect I create in the universe...not quite sure what that means...teehee!

Q: Have you ever felt any backlash from any competitors or anyone in the industry over it?
A: Surprisingly no and not even how you would think in the rest of the world too! If there has been any they certainly haven't been brave enough to say anything to my face! But I tend to do well at keeping that world in that world and I don't cross lines or disrespect others. I do what I do for my own reasons and I don't bother anybody else...lets just say whatever hat I am to be wearing at a given time is the hat I wear clearly giving 110%! ;)

Q: You have a great website. Can you give out the address and tell people what they can find there?
Its a personal website...basically a fan site and I use my persona to reach out to other people regarding bodybuilding, music/entertainment and sensuality. Working on store and my personal training page is there, photos a blog etc. Ive pretty much one it solo so forgive if not perfect and such little time, BUT I keep doing what I can when I can in the aim of eventually making it perfect as I want and know it can be. Oh and I also am open to sponsors and advertisers! I'm revamping site soon to focus more on my Personal training business which is where I'm putting most of my energy these days!

Q: Any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Dancing, dancing and more dancing...teehee. House music and coloring...yea for real, taking care of hanging with my baby cat mace!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Rhonda Lee Quaresma.
A: Too busy but I mostly do things according to my own choice as I'm my own boss. Of course I train and TRY to twice per day with a day off per week and two off every other week. Emails, phone calls, always working on the bigger plan(the business part), trying to get time with the special people in my life, and now really putting my energy into my training business on a more full time basis. So excited about this!

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I'm old fashioned at heart for real! I'm a closet geek I say...those who knew back when say I was a child or ex would verify this!

Q: Describe Rhonda Lee Quaresma in five words.
A: Intense, Fun, Determined, Caring, Scatty

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Well, you ever hear the saying, a boxer never really hangs up his gloves after his last fight? Well I ALWAYS have that burning desire to compete again but Ive never been able to have everything align as I need be for me to feel confident enough and focused enough I guess to do it again! But every year I think I have a couple serious moments of I'm going to do this then it just becomes clear I cant . ie. re my bodybuilding I'm such a perfectionist. So I just know what I need for me probably mentally first to continue. And the women have gotten even bigger which I absolutely LOVE but Ive not been focusing on the growth factor re my physique...quality and aesthetics always! Ive considered figure again as even they have gotten bigger...some I find bigger than me! BUT I get slammed with the stereotype...don't matter what I look like, once a bodybuilder, always a bodybuilder in the eyes of the biased which seems to be....u know! ;)

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
MY FOCUS THESE DAYS AND FOR A WHILE TO COME! Doing what I should be! - Personal Trainer Of The Month: RhondaLee ...
Congratulations RhondaLee on being our Personal Trainer Of The Month RhondaLee was awarded the Personal Trainer of the Month for her commitment to helping her clients achieve their fitness goals

Q: Rhonda Lee, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go ?
A: Hmmm....I guess just Thank YOU Jason for the faith and for the chance to speak, and of course to anybody who takes interest and support in me out there, Thank u!
I believe even if you dont know exactly what people (my fans, supporters, good intendors) do for u exactly, weather it be a thought or a particular thing, that all that energy is put out there and directed towards me so it has to do something great! I am always open and aware, so Thank You all!
;) xo Luv ya! xo
CONTACT RE TRAINING: RE Modeling/business: