Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tisha Rodrigues Fight Journal

Woah.. Its been a crazy two weeks... Seriously. I am in between mommy
duty, teaching classes and organizing the next Fight card for
February! Can u say it with me.. Insanity!! I am taking a new class at
my gym, which is great its MMA style conditioning which could not have
come at a better time. Being about 6 weeks out of my next fight..
Well, and here comes the tricky part...I no longer have an opponent
FOR my next fight, which was scheduled for March 20 th. They are
however, trying to find a new one for me. What is meant to be will be,
I truly believe that. Am I bummed? Yes, very much so, but I also know
by now that it's part of the game and it happens.. I'm not retiring
anytime soon..( laughs) so if I'm meant to fight at GFight, I will and
go 2-1 cuz I'm not liking my record blemish;-) So for the time being I
have decided to compete in my first NAGA tourney this Sat, Feb 6th.
Last time I was training for my first grappling match, I dislocated my
knee two weeks out and was completely out of comission. I'm super
amped up for it, I'm not really nervous at all. I think the fact that
shoot, I have already got in the cage and had MMA fights, I can handle
just the jiu jitsu part at this point. Plus, I think its a great
experience for me to concentrate on just my ground game and see where
I'm at. Thanks to Slade, who has become a really true friend to me
this past year, I will be all geared up in my "Tussle" Looking all
cute n stuff to get all messed up, hair all over the place, gotta love
it! If you don't know Slade in the MMA scene he is a huge advocate of
female fighters, sponsors many of us and helps out so many of us who
would have otherwise been completely looked over. He is by far just
the guy that.."sends u a t-shirt" and calls himself your sponsor. He
was there for me after my last fight, which I had lost and was just in
a really bad place and he is just there for you whenever, to make you
laugh or just to listen OR to send u funny faces through your Iphone.
So.. Some love and a big fat shoutout to the guy that does everything
for everyone and deserves so so much back in return. Thank you
So, as far as my training is going, its been fantastic. I'm thinking
I'm very close to getting my blue in GI, my standup is improving
everyday, I'm loving jiu jitsu class and all in all feeling much more
rounded. I have been meeting up with Jorge Rivera to get in some cross
training as well, which is so important for every fighter, to stand or
to roll or whatever with different people with different styles. So my
husband and I have been taking his invite up to Sat MMA classes at Tim
Burrills in RI and its been awesome. The guys there have been really
inviting and helpful and I am definitely going to continue training
wherever and with whomever I can as often as I can. So.. Thats about
it for now. Congratulations to Ms.Sarah "Piranha" Goodlaxson for her
armbar victory last night and until next time..Do what ya do;-)...xo

Leslie Faulkner Kerns Interview

There are people in the Fitness industry you know can be a success, there are people you want to be a success, and there are people who will be a success. Leslie Faulkner Kerns is all three of them. She is the kind of person who makes you proud to be in or a fan of the industry. Her journey to the stage is of particular inspiration to me because she started for the same reason I did, and is where I hope to be in a few years. From working out and dieting just to get in better shape, to being on stage competing and looking amazing. That is my goal. You can feel the love she has for fitness just by reading her written, or typed words. She is the kind of woman I want if I sponsor competitors. Beautiful, great physique, love for the sport, and very outgoing. For those of you who are unaware of Leslie Faulkner Kerns, please read, become aware, and walk away a fan.

Q: First, Leslie, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: My pleasure.

Q: Can you start out by just telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: My name is Leslie Kerns. I'm 38 years old. I'm from Calhoun, Georgia. I've been teaching second grade for 12 years. I've been married to Douglas Kerns for 6 years. We don't have any children, but we have three cats who are treated and spoiled like kids.

Q: Before you started training, were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports?
A: Yes, I've been playing sports since I was a little girl. I grew up in a household where my father was a high school football, basketball, and track coach. I also had two older brothers who played every sport known to man. So, you could say that I came by sports honestly. It's in the blood!

Q: What initially led you to the gym?
A: I had gotten to a point, or let's way a weight in my life , that I was not happy with. I was 30 years old and had just finished grad school and my diet was horrible. With my schedule I was eating anything that was convenient. Needless to say I wasn't getting any exercise either. I knew it was time to do something about it.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you saw results?
A: I would say yes. I believe my athletic background helped me develop good form when I began lifting weights. My results came almost immediately. I began losing weight in August 2005. My height is 5'7" and I weighed 172 pounds. This was the heaviest that I had ever been in my life. I began using the South Beach Diet. It worked well. By February I had lost down to 148. I then attended a PHAT camp hosted by Jen Hendershott. She put me on a new and cleaner diet, along with a harder workout. By June I stepped on stage at my first figure show weighing 125 pounds.

Q: How long were you training when you decided to compete and what made you decide to compete?
A: I have to give credit to my husband on this. It was his idea for me to do a figure show. I had began losing the weight in August and was happy with the results. But my husband and I are goal oriented people and we needed something else to strive for besides just loosing the pounds. So, I upped my training a little bit more and entered my first figure show in June of 2006. I had only been training 10 months before I entered my first show.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time, and how about now?
A: At first my family and friends were like me, clueless. They had never heard of figure shows. The knew what bodybuilding was of course, but not figure. But, they were always supportive. They never said anything negative about my training. They only thing they couldn't understand was how someone could eat that clean and stick with it.
But, I couldn't have done any of this without my husband. He is my number one supporter, biggest fan, and also my trainer at the gym. He pushes me a lot harder than I push myself. He has gotten me to where I am today.

Q: Was the first contest what you expected, or did anything surprise you?
A: I honestly didn't know what to expect. I had been to one figure show to watch a friend I had met at PHAT camp (Jen Hendershott's fitness camp), but nothing can compare you for standing on stage for the first time in front of strangers with a bathing suit on. It was small show. It was the first time this town had put this show on so not many competitors showed up. I thought I looked good at this show. I left the pre-judging show thinking I might have this in the bag. Even all my friends and family thought so too. But, I ended up getting 2nd in the masters and 4th in the tall class. Needless to say I was a little disappointed. Looking back now at pictures, I can see why I didn't win. LOL! But it was a great experience.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
June 2006 - Battle at the River, Chattanooga TN, 2nd in Masters 35+, 4th in Tall Class.

June 2006 - Southeaster NPC Golds Gym Classic, Gadsden AL, masters 3rd place

November 2006 - Elite Classic, Greensboro, NC, 3rd D class, 2nd Masters 35+

June 2007 - Battle at the River, 4th masters, 4th tall class

June 2007 - Southeastern NPC Golds Classic - 4th tall class

November 2008. Elite Classic, NC, 1st class D, 3rd Masters 35+

March 2009, NPC Atlantic, 1st class D, 2nd Masters 35+

June 2009, Battle at the River, 4th Dclass, 3rd masters 35+

November 2009, Kentucky Muscle, 1st place in Dclass, 1st place in Masters 35+, 3rd place overall in the show.

Q: What do you feel is your best body part, or the one that gets the most compliments?
A: My best body part by far is my back. It always gets hoops and hollers when I show it.

Q: Do you have a favorite part to train or favorite exercise?
A: My favorite body part to work is shoulders. I love seeing the striations in them when they are pumped and being worked.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I get up every morning at 4:00 A.M. and do one hour of cardio before going to work. Then I head to the gym around 4:30 in the afternoon to workout a body part and then another hour of cardio after weights. My body is carb sensitive so it doesn't like many carbs. I normally do a carb rotation diet. This seems to work best for my body. In the off season I still eat healthy but I just add in a more healthy carbs than I have during contest prep.

Q: When someone sees or hears you train and compete for the first time, is the reaction more positive or negative?
A: More positive. They always wish they had the discipline and dedication to do it themselves. I tell them that if is was easy, everyone would look like this.

Q: When they see or hear it that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: Can you give me your diet or can you make me look like you? I tell them that they won't follow my strict diet. They don't understand that these contest diets are not for the common person trying to lose a few pounds.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete?
A: I get so sick and tired of women saying that they don't want to workout with weights because they don't want to get BIG and bulk up! They don't realize how hard it is for a woman to build muscle.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Jen Hendershott has been a big inspiration for me. She gave me my first diet that put me on the road to cleaner eating and competition training.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Mexican food and Margaritas!!!

Q: If a woman came up to you and said she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give them?
A: I would ask them what their goal is? What do they want to accomplish? I would tell them that they need to start off with a small goal and work at accomplishing that, then we would go from there.

Q: Would you ever consider moving to bodybuilding?
A: No, I'm much more suited for figure.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Watching movies and Food Network, cooking, spending time with my husband. My husband laughs at me because I watch the Food Network while I'm training for a show. I tell him that is the closest I'm going to get to that food, so let me enjoy it. lol

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Leslie Faulkner Kerns.

Q: Favorite actor, movie, TV show, and musician?
A: I love American Idol, I'm embarrassed to say, but I'm a reality TV junkie!!!! LOL

Q: Describe Leslie Faulkner Kerns in five words.
A: Dedicated, Disciplined, Goal-Achiever, Hard Worker, FUN!!!

Q: Any set plans for 2010 as far as competing or anything else?
A: Yes, I'm moving up the National level Figure shows in the NPC this year. I want to try and get my pro card. My plans at the moment are to compete at the Master's Nationals in Pittsburgh, PA in July.

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: My fan page on Facebook. Please come join. It is under Leslie Faulkner Kerns.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors. If so, how can they contact you and what are they getting in Leslie Faulkner Kerns the athlete and competitor?
A: Yes, my email is Or they can contact me on Facebook at Leslie Faulkner Kerns or on Myspace at
They are getting person who dedicated and disciplined and will do whatever it takes to reach her goals. I'm a very hard worker. I will promote their product to the best ability that I can and hopefully by helping them they will be helping me as well in my fitness career.

Q: Leslie, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you for doing this interview. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. It was nice going back and reminiscing about my first shows.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Looking For New Column Writer

So I am looking for a new column writer. Someone to write a weekly column. Can be about fitness/bodybuilding, or yourself, your training, things outside the industry. Pretty much anything. The women writing them so far have gotten more people to follow them, so it can help you to maybe get a bigger following and more attention. You do not need to be some great writer. No writing skills are needed at all. Does not matter at all if you have yet to do your first competition or have done 100 of them. What I will do, is if interested, email me at or leave a comment here, but prefer the email and title it something about wanting to do the column. I will tell you how. Basically I will require a sample column so to speak. Write one as if it was a real one. I will have a few people judge them, and the winner will get to do the column. I think you will find that the other women are having fun with it, and I know that people read them and learn from them. So I am sure you will have fun. SO let me know if interested.

Lotte Musclemom Interview

Lotte Musclemom is one of my favorite bodybuilders. I love her physique, and to top it off she is one of the nicest women I have met. She is always encouraging and has given me some great advice for my own training. Lotte has a great love for the sport, and it comes across in this interview. Lotte is the kind of person you root for to be a success, and she is a success. I say a lot how much I love her biceps, but really the fact is, her entire physique is outstanding. So here is my interview with Lotte, and hopefully after reading it, you will be as amazed and as big a fan as I am.

Q: First Lotte, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this. It is an honor for me,
as I have told you, I am a big fan.

Q: If you could, maybe tell a little bit about yourself. Such as family, job, where
you are from, things like that.
A: I´m 42 years old, mother of two girls , they are 12 and 15 years old. Married to the love of my life. I work full time as an accountant in a IT-Retail company.

Q: How long have you been bodybuilding and what got you interested in it?
A: Some 20 years off and on..

Q: Was it something your family and friends supported at he time, and how do they
feel now?
A: My family didn´t when i was young, but as I got my own family they did. My kids and husband are my biggest supporters.

Q: You train with Helle Nielson. Helle is one of the best in the sport. What is that
A: Fun, I learn a lot and it´s great to finally be stronger than her. LOL

Q: Do you keep track of your measurements, and if so, care to share those?
A: Not really , I don´t care much about that.. what is important to me is how it looks!

Q: What is your typical training and dieting routine, both off season and for
contest prep?
A: I train 5 days a week, mostly at 6am and do some cardio when i get home from work. My diet is for the most the same all year round, except for the number of cheat meals.. off season they tend to get a bit out of hand, but I try to stay some 5-8 kg over my contest shape.

Q: I have told you I am a great admirer of your physique. If you had to pick one
body part you like most on yourself, what would that be?
A: My abs and biceps.
I never work my abs, they are awesome no matter what shape i´m in, when fans ask me what it takes to get abs like mine, I always answer ,- just get two kids, that did the trick for me. LOL

Q: Do you have a favorite part to train or a favorite exercise?
A: No , I just love to train, the feeling of the pump in my muscles are the best I know.

Q: Any thing that people do at the gym, that really bothers you?
A: Yea ... stare..LOL, but it kinda goes with this sport, so it´s ok.

Q: When people see your physique, what is the usual response to it? Is it more
positive or negative?
A: Most are very positive... very impressed. But as I always say, I´m just a mom and an average accountant..

Q: When people do see the physique, what is the one question you are sick of people
A: What bothers me is that people thinks my body is made by roids... but hey , it´s 20years of hard work, more than most could ever put them self up to and I absolutely hate that some men thinks that it is a fetish not a sport. They do not respect us for all the hard work, they just want.... well you know..

Q: Do you think female bodybuilders are more accepted by the public today, then
maybe five years ago?
A: No, most men see us as either sex objects, which makes me real mad or as freaks, cus they don´t know anything about this sport.
And in Denmark where I live there is only a hand full female bodybuilders, so we turn
heads every time me and my kids are out shopping.

Q: Would you care to share your contest history.
A: I have won the Nationals 2 times and placed 4 in the Nordich Championship and 1st place for best free pose.

Q: What if anything have you learned from competing?
A: Discipline !

Q: What is your favorite thing about the sport?
A: Discipline ! And being strong both in mind and body !

Q: I am very critical of the judging in bodybuilding, especially the women's. Is
there anything you would like to see change in the judging, or do you think it is ok the way it is?
A: It will always be wrong, cus the men in IFBB trys to get rid of female bodybuilders, and turn us into fitness chicks.

Q: Do you have any hobbies or activities you enjoy besides training?
A: LOL.. like i would have time for that... I have my full time job as an accountant, 2 kids, 3 cats,1 dog,1 horse a big house and my wonderful husband.. so there is not time for anything else

Q: Could you describe a typical day in your life.
A: I get up at 4,30am make breakfast,oatmeal, make lunch ready for me and the kids, walk the dog, leave for training at 5:45am. Done training at 7:30am go home and send the kids off to school, and leave for work. I get home at 5pm , do 30 minutes of cardio, make dinner and help the kids with home work. I go to bed at 10pm...

Q: You have given me some great advice before, so if someone brand new to
bodybuilding came up to you and asked for one piece of advice about getting started, what would you say?
A: Listen to your body, not to all the people that come with all kind of advice, they mean well, but you need to learn to feel it in your muscles. Get a personal trainer, so you can get the right training techniques.

Q: What would you consider your greatest achievement so far in bodybuilding?
A: LOL.. for me it was to win the Nationals 2006, with my two girls in the audience, that was all I could think about, them being proud of Mom.
And again in 2009 with the girls next to the stage , shouting "GO MOM.." no 1st
place can ever beat that, your kids being so damn proud...

Q: If someone said to you that you could only watch the movies of two actors, watch
two TV shows, and listen to two musicians for an entire year. Who would you pick?
A: I don´t have any favorite actors, TV shows: Top Gear and Overhauling with Chip Foose, music, Meat Loaf and Jon Bon Jovi.

Q: Describe Lotte in five words.
A: I can do that in two words: A mom. That is the most important to me, and then my husband ;-)

Q: Any websites or anything like that, that you would like to let people know

Q: Sponsorship is important in this sport. Are you looking for any,and if so, what
kind of athlete is a sponsor getting in Lotte Musclemom, and how can they or anyone else get ahold of you?
A: I´m am a dedicated athlete, very feminine and a good business woman. I have always worked hard and i like it.
I have an e-mail

Q: Lotte, I want to thank you for doing this. I think you are an amazing woman and
am very honored that you did this for me. Is there anything else you would like to add before we end this?
A: I´m just happy that you thought of me , thanks for that.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jason's Weekly Post

Well originally this post was going to be more of an MMA post, since last week was about fitness and bodybuilding and things. But instead I have something different. This is about respect. I hear from more and more women in bodybuilding and fitness about the creeps. Those creepy guys who see the women and then find them on Facebook and send them creepy messages. Guys, these women do not work their ass's off because they want to be your sex object. They don't do it because they like to dominate men. They do it because it is what they love. Yes, they are beautiful women. But beautiful not because of their outer appearance. Yes they have that beautiful outer appearance, but their true beauty is their work ethic, their dedication, and simple determination. But does being beautiful mean you have to be subjected to rude and inappropriate comments. These are regular women, they just are able to lift heavy weights and are in better shape then most men. I look at an Allison Moyer. I always loved her, but getting to communicate with her I found out how amazing a person she is. I look at Ann Titone. Always a big fan and admirer, of her beauty and physique. Turns out she is one of the nicest women ever. I look at Helle Nielsen. Always a big fan, never thought I would meet her. Not only have I talked to her, I talk with her online quite a bit. Such a nice and encouraging woman. I look at Colette Nelson. Again a beautiful woman I was always a fan of. Turns out she is super nice. Guys most of these women are like that. And they are very approachable and willing to talk to you, just show respect. I just started bodybuilding, and so many of these women have taken their time to help, advise, motivate and encourage me. And it isn't just the names you are familiar with. There are so many more who are newer to competing who are just as kind. Admire them, apprecaite them, respect them. You will find out they are pretty cool people and apprecaite the respect and admiration. Sex objects? NO. Sexy symbols? YES. Dont treat them as an object. You are not impressing them when you tell them you "want to get with them" or "you want to do this" or "you want to do that". You are impressing them when you show them respect. They do this because they love it. Keep being disgusting and they will not be so approachable.

Beth Schneider's Contest prep Journal

Hey There...
Wednesday 1/27:

I did shoulders. calves, abs and of course cardio am and pm
Thursday 1/28:

was leg day with Sagi!
Morning and evening cardio...45 min stairs am 45 hi incline tread pm
Started with some standing lunges to warm up

Leg Press ss with wide plie squats holding a db between legs....
pyramiding up in plates form 2 to 4 to 5 to 6 total and drop set..then same on DB squats using 20,35 45 and 55 and drop set

Giant set: 3 sets
Standing lunge holdng a BB between legs ss with body weight squats withe heels on plates then walking lunges w 20 lb DB

I have some progress pics to post....I am glad I have 5 weeks left...I am used to being much leaner but I am feeling pretty good about my weight still at 119 so if I was at least 115 on stage that would be a big improvement for me...

Oh and these were taken after I was killed on legs by not looking too good!

AM cardio 45 min stairs

Massage for my leg again...definetely seeing some improvement! It hurt but not near as bad as last time..hurt in a good way!

I trained clients then got in a shoulder and back workout and more cardio - 45 min stairs! Still on lower carbs and going up tomorrow for a few days on carbs... only 33 more!


Once again I was approached about sponsoring my blog. Let me explain. Will I accept them, sure, if the offer is right. But, I will not do it at the risk of selling out. I will not feature your athletes. Each woman is equal here. I will not take free supplements or anything in exchange for promoting your sponsored athletes over any other woman here. Honestly, I cant provide much. I am not computer whiz. I can add a banner, or let you write up a post for the blog, or both, but thats really about it. So you want to ask me, fine, better to do it by emailing me at BUt understnad the conditions I layed out before you email

Sarah kaufman Interview

Sarah Kaufman is one of my favorite fighters. Not favorite female fighters, but fighters in general. I remember the first time I saw her fight and was a fan ever since. One thing I loved was striking or getting hit, standing or on the ground, she was always smiling or having fun. She is undefeated with some wins over some outstanding fighters, and the best part, she is young and still improving, and has a long career left. She has some great wins on Showtime, and that has made her even more well known. Sarah is for sure on my pound for pound list, and will be recognized as one of the best in the sport.

Q: First Sarah, thank you for doing this. I make no secret of you being my favorite female MMA fighter, so this is such an honor.

Q: Can you start out by just telling a little bit about yourself. Where you train, family, where you are from, things like that.
A: Well, I'm a 24-yr-old female bantamweight fighter out of ZUMA Martial Arts
in Victoria, BC. I have always grown up in Victoria, and I feel really
lucky to have found an amazing coach in Adam Zugec, and strength and
conditioning trainer Ty Goodale.

Q: Where you into athletics as a child to, play any sports in school?
A: I was always quite an active child: and extremely competitive. I always
tried to be the best in all the sports I dabbled in; however, I was mostly
focused on dance.

Q: What made you decide to get into MMA? It obviously isn't the most popular sport for women to get into.
A: I never made a clear decision to start MMA. For me, Adam opened ZUMA up
below my dance studio, and I tried out a Thai Boxing class. From there, I
couldn't get enough. What started out as just a fun workout, turned into a
passion that took over my whole life. I wanted to become as good as I
could, so, for me, that involved trying my hand in Kickboxing tournaments,
then grappling, then finally MMA.

Q: Did you immediately feel accepted when you started training, or was it a case of having to prove yourself?
A: I train at an amazing facility, and never had an out of place feeling. I
believe that anyone wanting to get into the sport for exercise, fun or
competition, needs to find the gym that best suits him/her - not a gym
where he/she feels the need to prove oneself.

Q: Now your first fight was 2006. What was it like leading up to the fight. Where you nervous?
A: My first fight was against Liz Posener, on June 3, 2006. I was really
excited and nervous all at once. I think the big thing for me was not
knowing what to expect at all. It was actually really funny because in that
first fight, I had to massage my coach's shoulders since he was more
nervous than I was.

Q: Do you remember anything about the fight, and how exciting was it
after the win?
A: I remember that fight really well. I remember almost the entire fight as it
happened. I thought that I was doing what my coach wanted me to do...then I
landed this huge right hand and down she went. It was the strangest
feeling, because I had practiced so many times for that moment, yet didn't
believe that it could happen until it did. As soon as that fight was over I
wanted to do another one...I really haven't looked back since.

Q: Was fighting pretty much what you expected that first time?
A: Honestly, I didn't know what to expect, but it was an awesome experience!

Q: After that you fought twice more for HCF, then they folded. You were off for 13 months. Was that for a reason or just unable to get a fight?
A: Fighting for HCF was great. They treated the ladies well, and I got to
fight and defend a Title. That meant a lot to proved to myself that
I was a capable fighter, and it was when I really started believing that I
had the ability to really do well in the sport. I was really upset when
they went under. This also led to the long layoff due to unfortunate
circumstances. I wanted to fight, but every time I thought something was
coming up, the organization either went under of the date got pushed.

Q: Finally you came back for Palace Fighting Championships and stopped Sara Schneider. Any memories about that fight?
A: It was strange to get back in there after such a long layoff. I like
fighting a lot...and I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be back in
that competitive mind-frame: AWESOME

Q: Shortly after that you got your big break and stepped in as a late replacement and fought Miesha Tate on Showtime. That was a very exciting fight. It appeared your striking made the difference in that fight, which was also your first time going the distance. What do you remember about that fight and the excitement of fighting on TV?
A: There were a lot of things that really opened my eyes in that fight. The
number of interviews and medicals that California required blew my mind.
For 7 days straight I was either in doctors' offices, on flights or doing
interviews on the phone. It was crazy, yet great all at once. It truly
believe that something can be learned from every fight. I have never had a
perfect fight, and probably never will. My hope is that I am able to
improve 1 thing each time I show up, and I'll be happy...of course winning
helps that, too :)

Q: Your next fight was Shayna Baszler. Again, your striking being the major difference in getting the decision. Also that was the first five minute round women's fight for Strikeforce. What was that like to be the first five minute rounder, and do you prefer that?
A: Well, that was the first fight where Strikeforce allowed 5 min rounds;
however, I had fought nearly every other fight at 5 mins. MMA has evolved
around the longer round structure; it allows so many different factors to
come into play - cardio, wrestling, ground control, striking. I was
extremely pleased when Strikeforce adopted the 5 mins for women as well as

Q: You have been off for awhile. Does that get frustrating?
A: I think one of the hardest things as a fighter is the in-between fights.
Some fighters only like to fight a few times a year - I am not one of those
fighters. I truly enjoy training hard, even makes me feel like
I have a focus. If I were to be told that I would have a 10 month
layoff...I would be upset but at least I could focus on improving and
changing so many aspects of my game. The really hard part, is training for
a fight that is uncertain, or a fight where the date is continually
changed. The constant rise and fall of peaking then having to taper is
really hard mentally - what can you do though?

Q: What do you consider your biggest strength?
A: I think my strength is in my team. I trust my coach, Adam Zugec,
implicitly. I also have an amazing Strength and Conditioning coach in Ty
Goodale, and also have Greg Jackson on my team. On top of them, I have
great training partners at ZUMA Martial Arts, who are even willing to come
in with me on Christmas (thanks Nick and Andrew), or any other time I need.
Without the team I wouldn't be as well rounded as I am.

Q: What is something you feel you are still wanting to improve?
A: I feel there are many things that I want to improve on. My main thing would
probably have to be trying to get those strong finishes. I always hope to
put on an exciting fight, but I also always want to get that finish.

Q: I think for awhile there was resentment by some that Gina Carano was the one with the big spotlight. But she did bring new fans to women's in MMA. Did you have any problems with the spotlight being on her?
A: If the spotlight wasn't on Gina, it would have been on someone else. I
don't necessarily envy all that Gina has gone through...spotlight doesn't
appear to be the easiest thing. Everything up to this point has helped make
women in MMA as strong as we are, so I just need to say: Thank you to every
woman, fighter, promoter, reporter and fan who has made this possible.

Q: As a woman how happy were you when she Fought Cyborg and seeing women main event a show?
A: I think having a female fight as the main event was a huge step for females
in the sport. The fact that it was on television where many average people
could access it was even better. I hope to be in a position to fight as a
main event at some point in my career.

Q: Is there anyone person you would most like a chance to fight?
A: There really are quite a few talented 135er's, but since Takayo Hashi is
number 2 under me, I should fight her next. If Tara Larosa ever decides to
make her way back up to 135, I think I should be her first fight, though :)

Q: Do you have any favorite fighters to watch, men or women?
A: I am an HUGE BJ Penn fan. I always have been and always will, win or lose. The same goes for Denis Kang.

Q: One reason I am such a fan of yours is no one seems to have as much fun as you when they fight. Are you really always that happy?
A: Fighting is what I love...and I don't think there is a place in the world
where I am happier, than when I am stepping in to that fight.

Q: Any hobbies outside of training and fighting?
A: Not really, LOL. Training is my job, but also my passion and hobby. I do
enjoy crosswords and jigsaw puzzles, though...really anything that challenges my brain.

Q: Describe a typical day in the life of Sarah Kaufman.
A: A typical day usually involves me doing a morning workout (either weights
and conditioning or just a light jog), heading to ZUMA to teach and manage
the gym, then training again either midday or in the evening. I'm usually
out of the house for at least 12-14 hours, but it's an awesome job!

Q: OK, if you were told you could only watch the movies of two actors, watch two TV shows, and listen two two musicians two one year, who do you pick.
A: Actors: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds
TV Shows: Dexter, House
Don't really know about musicians...I generally don't really know who sings
what, but maybe Sting and Bullet for my Valentine?

Q; Describe Sara Kaufman in five words.
A: Dedicated, Persistent. Stubborn, Nerd/ Academic, Routine.

Q: SO anything set in stone as far as fighting in 2010?
A: I'm still waiting to hear what's happening with me in the New Year. I will
be fighting by the end of February for least I think LOL

Q: Now you have your website up. Can you give that out and tell people what they can find there.
A: My website is ON it you can find media links,
management contact information, but most importantly you can keep up to
date on my life. I try and blog daily (sometimes it is every 2nd or 3rd
day): sometimes about training, other times just about something
interesting that I came across. Please check it out if you are at all

Q: Obviously sponsorship is important. What is the benefit of sponsoring Sarah Kaufman, and how can someone get ahold of you if they are looking to sponsor you?
A: Well, I do my best to get myself out there; therefore, any coverage I get,
is also coverage for a sponsor. One HUGE benefit is that a sponsor is
supporting what I do in MMA and me as a fighter. They are allowing me to
grow as a fighter and person and get to new levels in all areas. Anyone
interested please contact my management at

Q: Sarah I want to thank you so much for doing this. I have been a fan of the sport for 15 years and there are not alot of people I enjoy watching more than you. You always keep your fights entertaining and I truly feel there is no limit on how far you can go in the sport. Anything you want to add before you go?
A: I would just once again like to thank everyone who has helped me get this
far. Coaches, teammates, fans: you are all awesome and I wouldn't be here
without you. I would also like to encourage anyone who is procrastinating
the start of his/her training to get in contact with your local gym and get
going. Don't "get in shape" so you can train, get in shape WHILE you train!
Find a gym that you feel comfortable in, and get sweating!

Thanks again,


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sherri Gray Interview

Sherri Gray is one of my favorite bodybuilders. Not because the fact that she has the shoulders I hope to achieve, not because she has an all around awesome physique, not because has is one of the more beautiful women in the sport. But because she lives the sport. She wants it. She works hard to look that good. She started in Figure, but due to having so much muscle, has moved to bodybuilding, and the bodybuilding industry better be thankful. Sherri can be a huge star in the sport, and I really believe she will be.

Q: First, Sherri, thanks for doing this. As a real admirer of you and your physique, this is an honor for me.
A: Thank you for asking me to become a part of this. I hope it will benefit in promoting the sport of women's bodybuilding.

Q: First can you tell a little bit about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A:I am a 38 year old, married mother of 2 great children. I have a son and a daughter that keep me pretty busy. We live in Wilmington, NC and love it here. We all love boating and going to the beach so it is a great place for us to live. My husband has lived here all his life so we have grown to love it as much as he does. I work full time as an Instrument Engineer at a pharmaceutical company. I am responsible for calibrating equipment in the analytical and manufacturing facilities to make sure they are compliant for the FDA, etc. We are also owners in a furniture store here in town that my husband and his brother own and operate. Needless to say, we stay pretty busy year around. I usually train at lunch time, so that is a good break in the day for me. Both children are involved in sports almost year round so we are usually on the go as soon as I leave work. We have a great time watching them do things they enjoy and cheering them on.

Q: What is it that first got you into the gym?
A:I have always been athletic, all through school. Even lifted weights some in high school for sports but not until college when I took a weight training course did I get more interested. So I guess that is what really got me started. It has only been within the past 3-4 years though that I have gotten serious and focused on changing my body and life for the better.

Q: Was weight training something you picked up naturally. How long did it take before you started to see results.
A: I feel like weight training did come naturally. Even when I started in the gym I must admit I did more machines than I do now but not totally. I still did free weights but not to the extent I do now. Once I committed myself to compete, changing my eating habits and focusing on my weight training I could see results within 4-6 weeks initially. It was probably mostly body fat but losing that is when you see what is underneath it!

Q: Now, you started out doing figure. What led to you deciding to compete in figure?
A: I was in the gym one day and some friends came up and asked me if I competed. That led to a lengthy conversation that got me thinking. My first thought, what in the world do I do to get myself ready for that and when would I have the time? I went home discussed it with my husband and decided I would go for it. I wasn't getting any younger and with the kids getting older, our life would be getting busier and busier. Luckily I had some guidance from others who had competed so I wasn't going into it totally blind. After I started training for my first show I realized how focused it made me and it was good to have an individual goal that only you have the power to achieve.

Q: Was your first show what you expected or did anything surprise you?
A:To be honest, I really didn't know what to expect. I had never been to a show so I was going in with no expectations really. Of course I wanted to do well but I was new to the whole things so I didn't set my expectations too high. The first show was definitely a learning experience and let me know what I needed to work on before the next one.

Q: You moved from figure to bodybuilding. Why make that switch?
A: After each show I would wait to get feedback from the judges. Each time they would say I was muscular so I may need to tone down this or build up that. So I tried to make improvements for each show. By the last figure show, which was Jr.USA's in 2008, the word was they were not looking so much for muscularity in the figure girls. That is when I decided to make the switch. I did not want to compromise my workouts to try to lose the muscle I had worked so hard to put on. So from there I have been trying to improve my physique and be a competitive bodybuilder.

Q: Was bodybuilding something your friends and family supported at the time, and how do they feel now?
A: I don't think any of them really understood it all. They didn't realize how important nutrition is to it all and how your workouts can differ depending on your goals. With each year, as they watched me change, they were supportive but I still don't think they totally understand it all. Everyone has their hobbies I guess and going to the gym is part of my lifestyle now. I don't feel like my day is complete if it is a day I am supposed to be training and I can't make it. If I want to be the best I can be, I have to keep that commitment. My husband has been great with it all. He allows me the time to train and helps me cook healthy meals. He realizes how important this is to me and how bringing my best physique to the stage takes a lot of commitment, and dedication. I try to never take time away from my family because of it but if I have to in crunch time, he understands and supports me. I want him and my children to be proud of me when I walk out on that stage. They know how hard I work and it means the world when I know they are cheering me on. Friends are always supportive but really, it's hard to totally understand it until you do it.

Q: You have not been competing for long, are people often surprised at how much size you have put on in a short amount of time?
A: Well, it has taken me 3 years to get to where I am now and I'm still trying to grow! Luckily, I have some genetics on my side and I have always been athletic so once I got serious about lifting, it came naturally. A few people are surprised at how much size I put on over the past few years but I am a stickler with my diet. I keep it clean pretty much year around. I also started working with Mike Davies and that has done wonders. Planning my nutrition around my training and using the foods to fuel my body to help it grow has made a great difference in the past year and a half.

Q: Any bodybuilders you would call favorites or that you admire?
A: I guess the ones I admire the most are the women who work and have kids who still find time to do what they enjoy, which is bodybuilding. Finding time for yourself is very hard when you have a family and work full time. I think it is very important to make time for yourself or you will lose yourself! I love my family but if I didn't train to release stress, frustration etc.. I wouldn't be a good mother or wife.

Q: With a family, kids, work, how do you find time to train?
A: I tend to plan my training around my family. I don't want to miss any part of my
children growing up. Saying that, I get up at 4:45 am some mornings to go to the gym to get some cardio in, then get home to see the kids off to school before I go to work. I use my lunch break to go to the gym and do my weight training and maybe some cardio as well. If it gets to where I need to add in another cardio session later on then I will go to the gym at night after the kids go to bed or try to go.

Q: What do you consider your favorite body part, or the part you get the most compliments on?
A: My favorite body part is my shoulders. I tend to get the most compliments on those but lately though, to my surprise, I have been getting compliments on my legs. I really never liked my legs until recently. I have molded them into something I can be proud of. The part I liked the least has become one of my favorites and biggest assets.

Q: Favorite part to train?
A: Shoulders used to be my favorite part to train because they were one of my stronger muscle groups. Now, I am trying to get my back and hamstrings to grow, so back and legs are my favorites to train at the moment. I am focusing on growth so when I see improvements it keeps me motivated.

Q: When you train, do you have a preference of alone or with a partner, and why?
A: I do have a partner that I train with. It's nice to have him around so when we are going heavy I have someone to spot me so we can get a few more reps out. Some days I need to be pushed and if I were alone then I don't know if I would do that every day. I do like to train alone some days though. I put my Ipod on and just zone out, I need that time to myself to regroup and refocus.

Q: Can you share your contest history so far.
Competition History:

May 2009- Jr. USA Bodybuilding/Fitness/Figure Championships
Middleweight Female Bodybuilding- 2nd Place

April 2009- NC State Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships
Lightweight Female Bodybuilding- 1st Place Lightweight and Overall Winner
June 2008- Jr. USA Bodybuilding/Fitness/Figure Championships
Figure Division Class C- No Placement

May 2008- NC State Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships
Open Figure Class B- 4th place

June 2007- Atlantic Coast Crystal Cup Bodybuilding and Figure Championships
Open Figure Class A- 1st place

May 2007- Gold’s Classic Bodybuilding and Figure Championship
Open Figure Class A- 2nd place

April 2007- NC State Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships
Open Figure Class B- 4th place

Q: For me, one thing that drives me crazy is when people do not rerack the weights. Any lack of gym etiquette that bothers you?
A: That is funny because that is one of my pet-peeves as well. I also can't stand when someone leaves their sweat all over the equipment. I mean come on, can you just wipe it off? No one wants to sit in a pool of sweat! Another is when people sit on equipment and read magazines or talk on their phones. Leave those in the locker room!

Q: If someone came up to you and said they wanted to start bodybuilding. What is the one piece of advice you would want to give them?
A: My one piece of advice would be to get yourself mentally ready for it. It takes a lot of motivation, determination and your attitude has to be right. Get ready to change your diet and start eating clean on a regular basis.

Q: When people see your physique for the first time, what is the usual reaction? More positive or negative?
A: Sometimes I can't tell if the reaction is positive or negative. It's just a big STARE coming from them. Especially when you are lean and only a couple of weeks out from a show. You don't see too many women walking around muscular and lean, so you get some crazy looks! However, most reaction are positive. Men and women will compliment me on my physique. Others, who don't understand will throw out a negative comment here and there but they just go by the wayside.

Q: When people see you for the first time, what is the one question you are sick of
A: "Do you workout?" I mean you really think I don't??

Q: Do you feel there are any misconceptions about female bodybuilders?
A: Certainly there are misconceptions. A lot of people think we are becoming too masculine. If they take a look at a lot of the new and upcoming bodybuilders these women are far from masculine. Muscle doesn't make you masculine. It makes you strong and beautiful! You can have muscle and be feminine.

Q: What is for you the best part of the sport and the worst part of the sport?
A: The best part is staying focused and knowing that it is totally up to me on how I look in the end. I can never blame it on anyone else. The worst part I think is that there isn't enough attention paid to female bodybuilders. The focus tends to be on figure and bikini competitors. I wish they would give the bodybuilders as much attention as they do those women. We work hard as well to achieve the physique we are striving for.

Q: I have always been critical of the judging in female bodybuilding. Do you think
anything needs changed, or is ok the way it is?
A: I think overall the judging has been good. There may be a few times I could question the end result but most of the time when I go back and look at the placing and take it all into perspective, symmetry, conditioning, muscularity, it all falls into place.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love going to the beach or on the boat in the summer with family and friends. Just sitting on the beach relaxing or playing with the kids is awesome! I love being
outdoors. We also enjoy going to the mountains to ski and ride 4-wheelers.

Q: Describe a typical day in the life of Sherri Gray.
A: Well, it's not very exciting but it's my life- I try to make my own excitement. We stay pretty busy with the kids activities, working full time and then training. When show prep is in full swing- life is pretty hectic but when it's your passion- you make time. Work, train, chauffeur the kids, eat, homework, bed, repeat....

Q: One thing I have noticed is you are very photogenic and it looks like you have fun on photo shoots. Is that something you enjoy doing?
A: Actually, at Jr. USA's this past year in 2009 is the first time I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot. I had a really good time with it. It was a lot of fun and great to have pictures of yourself when you are at your peak. Pictures last a life time. I hope I get the opportunity to do others in the future. There are a lot of great photographers out there.

Q: OK, if you were told that you could only watch the movies of two actors, watch two TV shows, and listen to two musicians for one year. Who would you pick?
A: That's a pretty tough question.... actors I think I would choose Vince Vaughn, his movies make me laugh and I like to have a good laugh as often as possible. The other would probably be Tim Robbins. Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies and he is such a good actor. As for TV shows, I think I would pick The Biggest Loser because it motivates me. If these people can make such a great change in their lives, why can't I get up and get moving? Everyone has the opportunity to better themselves, you just want to have to do it for yourself, it has to come from within! The other show would have to be a comedy, probably Two and a Half Men. It is a pretty funny show that has me laughing every time I watch it. Music wise, I really can't pick 2 that are my favorite. I listen to such a variety of music I can't pick 2particular ones. I listen to Old School R&B, Rock, 80's, 90's and current Top 40 music. So to choose just 2 artists is about impossible. I like to have a variety.

Q: Describe Sherri Gray in five words.
A: It's pretty hard to describe yourself but I'll give it a shot. Caring,Fun,Dependable,Friendly and Organized!!

Q: Now obviously in bodybuilding, sponsorship is so important. I am sure you are looking for some. Would you like to take this opportunity to let people know what you are looking for, how they can get ahold of you, and why they should sponsor Sherri Gray.
A: Sponsorship is a great opportunity and I am currently in search of one. I just hope I will be fortunate enough to be picked up by a company or person who is looking for female bodybuilders to sponsor. I would love to promote supplements, fitness wear, anything in the industry that I believe in. Being able to get your face and name out there not only helps yourself but the company as well. Seeing different faces as well as different ages motivates all types of people.

Q: Anything else you want to promote?
A: Other than promoting myself.... promoting the sport of female bodybuilding and fitness in general is very important. I'd love to help motivate people to get to the gym and start living a healthier life.

Q: So what are your plans for 2010 as far as competing or any other projects?
A: I am currently training to compete at the Arnold Amateur in March. I have been accepted already so I'm hitting it hard to bring a great physique to stage. I do plan on doing another National show in 2010 but don't have one set just yet. I always like to take one show at a time and make sure I make the improvement necessary to bring my best physique.

Q: Sherri, I want to thank you for doing this. You are an amazing woman and an amazing bodybuilder. I think it is a sport you have only scratched the surface on how far you can go in it. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you for the opportunity and I hope this will bring some positive feedback not only for myself but for the sport in general.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mascha Tieken Interview

Mascha Tieken is a woman I have so much respect for. She is an inspiration to me. The biggest reason is she has overcome her own physical problems to become a very accomplished bodybuilder, which makes me feel I can overcome mine. Mashca has done it all in terms of competing, and is about to return to bodybuilding and prove she is among the best. She writes for several magazines, owns her own gym, trains, and has been an IFBB judge. Simply put, Mascha is an amazing woman. Here is my interview with her, one I am very proud of.

Q: First, Mascha, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: My name is Mascha Nathilda Tieken and I was born (15th of January) in a little town called Heemstede in the Netherlands.
In 1990 I walked into a gym for the first time and from that time on I was hooked on the sport. In just one year I walked on the stage to do my first competition and I ended up first. My love for competitions was born there and then. I have done about 30 competitions in the last few years and I still love it. When I was young I used to ride horses and because my parents owned a stable I had to help out. So at a young age I had to clean the stables and walk with the wheelbarrow. I had to do all kinds of jobs on the farm and maybe that's why when I first started working out, people told me I was very strong.

Q: SO what made you get started in weight training?
A: I started working out because my parents did not allow me to box. I wanted to do a sport that I can do by myself. And because people always made jokes about my butt.... they made me feel fat and I wanted to lose it..... looking back, I'm happy I have a butt. Hahaha

Q: Often a beautiful woman like yourself has trouble being taken serious at the start. Was this ever a problem for you? Did you feel you had to prove yourself?
A: No, I did not feel this at all.... maybe because I was very strong and people knew they should not mess with me. Hahaha

Q: What made you decide to enter your first contest? Was it what you expected or did anything surprise you?
A: Well the reason I started competing was actually a joke. A boy at the gym told me he was going to compete. I laughed at him and told him "if you are going to compete, I will also". I never thought he would actually do it. Well, he did and I kept my promise.
Back in those days they did not have Figure or Fitness (at least not in the Netherlands) so my first competition was in Bodybuilding. I was very excited because I had seen some female bodybuilders before (actually my best friend Heidi was a bodybuilder back in those days) and I was very impressed with there physiques. I never expected to end up in first place and take the Overall title as well.
After the competition a lot of people came up to me and told me I had talent and I should do more competitions and shows. One of the judges liked my physique so much that she tool me under her wing and taught me everything. She taught me how to diet (my first diet was about 50 grams of rice and green beans-I hate green beans!!! and 100 grams of fish, that was all for one day) and how to do my poses.
I owe her a lot and she helped me to get better and better.
Somehow the competitions helped me to build up my self-confidence because I found something I was good at and something I liked doing.

Q: Can you give some of your favorite contest you have done or the ones you are most proud of.
A: As I said I have done more than 30 competitions. I have won several and there are several highlights of different kinds of levels. I mean, some are highlights because of the outcome of the competition, others are because I have special memories.
Of course the first competition is special because it gave me a rush and a lot of things happened that day that I never expected.
The highlights of my amateur days are becoming World Champion twice and receiving my Pro card. I never expected to become World Champion, (you can imagine my surprise winning it twice, because I never won the Dutch nationals or the European Championships. The organization invited me and he winner of the show to compete at the World Championships. Between these two shows there was only three weeks and I pushed myself to the limit. I changed my physique so much! I beat the winner of the Dutch nationals and won the World Championships. During these three weeks I had to go to the doctor because my joins were hurting a lot and my eyes turned red. To tell a long story short, he told me I had Bechterew, also called Spondylitis Ankylopoetica. Maybe that's why I was more determined than ever to be in the best shape ever. I thought it would be my last show, boy was I wrong. Hahaha. But enough about that.....
There is one competition that is very special to me, and that is the Dutch Pro Grand-Prix, not because of the outcome........ No, because my dad got to see my on stage. My dad was my biggest fan and he was so proud of all the things I achieved, but he had not seen me on stage as a Pro.
My dad was very sick at that time. He had Colon Cancer and he had to take a lot of medicine. And although he felt very weak, he was there. The venue was dark but if you looked at his face you saw the venue light up. My dad died October 15th, 2007.

Q: Now, you have been doing mostly Figure lately but I understand you are going to go to doing more Bodybuilding. Why are you going back to bodybuilding?
A: I feel it is time to "go home"
I started competing in bodybuilding (because we did not have other competitions back then) in 1991 and I really loved it. But I realized I did not have enough muscle and because the other categories came I crossed over. But I missed posing and working out hard a lot. In the beginning of my Figure competitions I cam in a few shows and placed quite well, but I started to end up lower and lower. Every time I asked the judges what I should change they told me I had to lose muscle.
Now a days the girls are getting smaller and smaller and to this point I sometimes see girls and I wonder if they have ever lifted weights in their life. No disrespect, but I feel, and a lot of girls and audience will agree, the Figure contest is getting more and more to be a beauty contest.
I do love to compete, love to work out and lift weights because I have changed my physique so much this last year, I feel it is time to go home and just do MY thing.....

Q: Do you have a body part you like most on yourself, or one you get the most compliments on?
A: Well that is the body part that was the reason for me working out, my butt.

Q: Do you have a favorite part to train?
A: I do not have a favorite part. I love working out, but if I really have to choose......uhmmm, shoulders.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Normal training is a workout where I train as hard as I can. Sure there are days I workout a little less because my body is asking for a little rest, and I listen....... As for the diet.... when I'm off season, I just do not eat as regular as in a competition prep. I mean I do eat the right things because I do not want to be fat in my off season, but I do not eat by the clock.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported at the start and how about now?
A: Yes they did and still do. Every time they are excited. And I'm very proud to have these people in my life.

Q: When people see your physique for the first time, what is the usual reaction? Is it more positive or negative?
A: Well, here in the Netherlands, people do not appreciate athletes, so mostly people react weird..... I do not say negative because they simply do not know what to say. But in the States I get mostly positive reactions.

Q: When they see it that first time is their one question you are most sick of hearing?
A: I do not get sick of questions because people that ask questions are people that do want to learn and understand this kind of sport. People that do not ask and only judge are the people that I honestly try to avoid.

Q: Are there any misconceptions about female bodybuilders, or something you wish people knew?
A: Well, some people say female bodybuilders are just like men.... but hey!!! Have you ever seen such a cute man hahahaha..... no really, have you ever seen a man that looked like a female bodybuilder?? No!

Q: If someone came to you and said they wanted to start bodybuilding, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give them?
A: Go and enjoy, and if you want to know and learn all about your body, read a lot of books of the "old" generation. Because they knew a lot of things that really work and are forgotten lately.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors in bodybuilding of Fitness?
A: Wow, that's hard one because I really admire everybody that works hard to reach their goals. But as a Dutch girl, I'm very proud to know Berry DeMey as a friend and I'm a fan of his physique. And of course the girl that made Bodybuilding in the Netherlands a sport that was more appreciated, Erika Mess.
But as I said, I have a lot of favorites.

Q: Now you are the owner of For Fun Sport. Can you tell people what that is.
A: I started For Fun Sport 12 years ago. I wanted to create a gym where everybody loves to come. I want everybody to enjoy their self. There are people here that workout once a week and people that come every day. I want everybody to achieve their personal goals whether that is to lose weight or gain muscle....

Q: You are also a trainer. What are the benefits of being trained by Mascha Tieken?
A: Because I have been around for a long time, I have seen a lot in the almost 20 years I have been working out. I have tried a lot so I do know how the exercises feel and what they do. Also I have a degree in Medical Fitness, Personal Training, Aerobics, and Nutrition, so I have covered a lot of fields of expertise. :-)

Q: If people want to train with you, what is the best way to contact you?
A: They can email me and we can set a time and date.

Q: You also have a website. Can you give out the address for that, and tell people what they can find there.
A:, They can find a lot of background and information about me. And also, there are tons of pictures.... you can see all the competition pictures from the first to the last competition. :-)

Q: You also write articles. Who have you written for, and what do you write about?
A: I write for several magazines. I write for Muscle & Fitness, Flex, where I have my own column. I write whatever I feel like. For example, I can write about an exercise, but I can also write about a party where I met a lot of athletes.
And, I cover all the competitions for these magazines and Sport & Fitness as well. I also cover the photography at the competitions for these magazines.

Q: I know you are also an IFBB judge. How did you get involved with that?
A: Yes, I have been a judge for a couple years, but because I do so much for the magazines, I had to stop. But I hope I will find the time to judge again.

Q: What is your favorite and least favorite part of the sport?
A: Favorite: I love to workout and build my body.
Least favorite: The politics.

Q: Favorite actor, movie, TV show, and musician?
A: I do not have a favorite actor. I love movies and some actors are born to play a certain part.... I like almost every kind of movie, but I do not like horror!! Give me nightmares. As for music, I love all kinds of house music, but the sound has to be really loud.. so great movies for parties. When I'm at home I like lounge music, just peaceful and nice music.

Q: Describe Mascha Tieken in five words.
A: Fun, Stubborn, Reliable, Hard Working, and Fun....owww, I already said fun hahaha

Q: Is there anything you want to promote or plug. Tell anything about your sponsors?
A: I'm very proud of my 2 sponsors I have. First of all, Lee Labrada. One of the best bodybuilders ever, and he helps me to achieve my goals with his awesome nutrition. And secondly, Suits By Amy. Amy makes my beautiful posing suits and takes care of me, to look stunning on stage.
I want to thank these two awesome people for helping me achieve my goals and dreams.

Q: Obviously sponsorship is important in this sport. Are you looking for any more, and if so, tell people what they get in an athlete and competitor in Mascha Tieken.
A: I love to work at booths and because I have been around for so long, I know what has to be done. I love to pose and I do a lot of guest posing. But mostly they get a girl that has seen a lot in the sport. I have done all the categories (Fitness, Figure, Bodybuilding), so I understand every athlete. And mostly they get the first and only Pro Figure athlete in the Netherlands... (owww I lvoe to travel soooooo they can send me across the world :-))

Q: Mashca, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. I appreciate it. Is there anything you want to say before you go?
A: Yes, I really want to thank my fiance Rob. He has come into my life and made it so much more fun. He helps me with so many things and stands by me no matter what! Thank you sweety :-)
Thank you Jason for the interview and keep up the good work!

Brains & Biceps

Brains & Biceps

A Weekly Column By Laura Kline, BSN-RN and future NPC Figure Competitor

Friends, Family and Everyone In Between

Let me take you back about 8 years in my life. I was 17 years old and messing up every way I could. My friends were not the best bunch; they consisted of mostly high school drop outs and druggies/alcoholics. I was skipping school and putting myself into the worst situations possible. Needless to say I was a hot mess! When I made the decision to stop all this nonsense I also made the decision to take every negative person out of my life that I could, and well that was just about everyone! This was extremely difficult at first (especially being the age I was) but as each day went by and with each pound I lost I felt like I made the best decision for myself. Not only was I shedding weight but I was releasing every bad memory I had with these people! Something that made it easier was that my mother and I moved about 20 miles away from where we used to live which built another barrier of separation. Sure I cried and felt lost for a long time but if I hadnt of separated myself and let go of what I thought was my whole world then one can only imagine where I would be now..

Having a negative relationship with anyone in your life is never a good thing. It doesnt matter if they are a super close friend, a sibling, or somebody that you see everyday at work, it is having an effect on you not only mentally but physically! Stress leads to increased cortisol levels which in turn leads to saddle bags and love handles, this is certainly not something anyone wants. So why is it so hard to remove these people from our lives? Because we have known them for so long? Because we have to see them everyday? Sure, but what is worse, distancing yourself from somebody that brings you down in life in multiple aspects or keeping the negativity close and spending days stressed out over someone elses drama? Sounds like an easy choice to me!

I know that as friends and family we are expected to be accepting and we are supposed to be there as support but there needs to be a line, an actual and understood boundary that shouldnt be crossed. No one should hurt the others feelings for instance, making each other cry should not be a common occurrence, ever! There should be no malicious or jealous feelings towards the other person when you are in any relationship. Sounds like common sense but we all know somebody that we dont quite get because they are always so angry or never have or will warm up to you. I work with somebody that doesnt like me and hasnt since I started my position more than a year ago! Despite my attempts to try and reach a middle ground nothing ever made this person nice to me. So I gave up and just discontinued communication. I am not going to waste anymore energy than I already have which was probably too much to begin with!

Take some time to reevaluate those who you allow to be closest to you in your life. Do they bring you happiness? Are they supportive and encouraging of the changes you are making in your life? What about what they do, do you support them in their decisions? Are they good decisions that they are making? I let people in my life that were making all of the wrong decisions, that were influencing me to join them in their lives not as a friend but as someone they could use for money, for a ride and for a place to stay sometimes. Then when I made a decision to change, they resisted it and immediately turned against me. All of a sudden I was this person that thought they were better than everyone else because I wanted something bigger and better in my life. I wanted peace, I wanted health, I wanted to know where I was going in my life and if that made me better than them so be it. You need to live your life for yourself, for your own health; mentally and physically speaking. You CAN do it and it may be the most lonely time in your life but without that time by yourself away from the negative you will never know what life really has to offer!!

From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life. Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life. -Anais Nin

Amanda Butz Interview

Amanda Butz is very easy to describe. One word comes to my mind, That word is...... AWESOME. First there is Amanda Butz the competitor. Look at photos of her on stage and she always in top shape and always looks AWESOME. Then there is the Amanda Butz who is such a great Representative for the Fitness industry. She knows what she is doing and knows what she is talking about. Amanda has a wealth of knowledge and and is proof of what hard work can produce. It produces someone who is AWESOME. Then there is the part I most like. Amanda Butz the person. There was a time when I was frustrated with things and ready to quite my own training. Amanda, not knowing me from a hole in the wall, took time to encourage me and motivate me. Not just with one simple message on Facebook. But with multiple ones. She said all the things I needed to hear to let me know I was on the right track and I could achieve my goals. She did this because she is AWESOME. Here is my interview with this AWESOME woman.

Q: First Amanda I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it.
Thank you for the opportunity and the interest to know a bit about me:-)

Q: Can you start out by just telling a little bit about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: Honestly, I could write a novel. But to make a long story short: I was born in Arkansas, lived in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arizona. Attended 14 schools (5 high schools) I swear I wasn't a bad kid. My mom was a traveling nurse and my dad retired from the government when I was 8. I was a very shy kid, so it was hard to make friends. And I looked like a boy, so boys weren't always interested in me. Luckily, I met my husband in a gym when I was 19. We got married when I turned 20, started having babies when I was 21, by the age of 23 I birthed 2 boys and began competing in figure 3 months after my 2nd was born. I worked in the medical field since I was 18 and had to quit my job for childcare purposes when I turned 24. I was personal training at local gyms and out of my home, then developed a business plan and opened Healthy Butz Fitness Club at the age of 24. Been in business for 3 years and still competing, working with a great supplement company(Panthera Labs) and I love working in the fitness industry.

Q: Before getting into the gym, were you an athletic person, play
any sports or anything?
A: I began weight lifting and playing sports in the 7th grade. Volleyball, basketball, track(pole vault, sprints, and hurdles), and rugby. I played sports all through school until I graduated.

Q: What lead you into the gym initially?
A: I began learning the basics of lifting in 7th grade, and was able to get my first gym membership when I was about 14. During the summer, the gym was my main hangout.

Q: Was training something you picked up pretty quickly? How long before you saw results?
A: I was always good at training. I think that's why I liked it so much. It wasn't about the physical appearance for me. The results I loved, were the strength gains, and being able to lift more than the boys.

Q: Was competing the goal from day one, and if not, what led you to
A: I was not aware of the competitive sport of women's bodybuilding until I was 19. I used to model when I was 17,18 and gave it up when I moved to Arizona because I couldn't find the opportunities in my local community. When I was working at the front desk of a local gym, a good friend suggested I try competing in fitness to continue my modeling career. That's when the light bulb went off in my head to get involved in fitness. I did my research on fitness training and a fitness competitor helped me get started.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the
start, and how about now?
A: I have always had support from every person around me from the very beginning and still today. I'm very fortunate.

Q: Was the first show what you expected? Did anything surprise you?
A: My first show was very scary. I almost backed out. I just had a baby and didn't think my physique looked like a competitor. Luckily I placed 2nd and have been hooked ever since. I was surprised at how supportive all of the competitors were and the positive attitudes.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: Began in 2005 with the ABA/INBA competing in Physique, Bikini, Model, Fitness, Mixed Pairs, and won numerous titles in each category. I did my first NPC show in 2009 and tried doing a show every month. I went to Vegas for the USA's this year. I'm still learning and hope to do very well in the NPC one day.

Q: Do you have a favorite body part, or one that gets the most
A: My legs used to get the most compliments, but since I've had kids, my abs get the most compliments now. I'm very lucky that my body doesn't show any stretch marks or sagging.

Q: Favorite part to train or favorite exercise?
A: My butt is my favorite to train, mainly because my last name is Butz. However, I think my butt needs the most work.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how does
it alter for contest prep?
A: I train 5-6 days a week and I teach 1-3 Zumba fitness classes a day. My workouts a quick and become more focused closer to competition. I am a vegetarian, so the normal bodybuilding diet is not the case for me. I eat alot of fruits, veggies, tofu, soy, grains, nuts, seeds, and beans.

Q: Does being a good looking woman make training hard at all? Maybe to many people talking to you or even trying to hit on you?
A: Everyone at my gym respects me and knows I am happily married, so I don't ever get hit on. Maybe because everyone knows how huge my husband is. Ha. It is a challenge working out at my own gym because of my focus on the phone ringing, the dirt on the crack next to the wall, the person next to me doing a bicep curl wrong, etc. But it comes with the territory of owning a gym and I accept it and work with it.

Q: When people see or hear you train or compete for the first time, what is the usual response? More positive or negative?
A: I think it depends on what type of people you are surrounded by. Any time I have a "Debbie downer" or negative person hanging around me, I immediately disconnect myself from that person. I believe that's why my support is so large. I do not tolerate negative people who try to bring me down.

Q: When they see or hear the first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: "Is that YOU?" when people see photos of me. It's funny, but I get sick of hearing that.

Q: Are there any misconceptions about women who train, or things
you wish people knew?
A: I am still surprised at how many women still think that they will get bulky from lifting weights. I truly wish this misconception would go away.

Q: Do you have any favorites in the industry, or people you admire?
A: I don't like to single one person as my favorite because there are so many amazing people in the industry. But I have to say that the old school bodybuilders are the ones we should look up to the most because they are the ones who layed the pavement for this wonderful road of competitive bodybuilding.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Cheesecake seems to be my favorite, but I'm lactose intolerant, so
you know what that means.

Q: You are also a trainer. What kind of services do you provide, and what are the benefits of being trained by Amanda Butz? How can they find out more or contact you?
A: I am a trainer and I design each program specific to each client's needs. I can be contacted through my website

Q: What is the biggest mistake you see people make when they start training?
A: Many people set unrealistic goals or don't want to change current habits to reach their goals.

Q: Outside of training and competing, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I am hooked to Zumba fitness. That is considered my hobby at the moment.

Q: can you describe a typical day in the life of Amanda Butz.
A: Oh day can change at any moment. If my day goes as planned, here's what it would look like. 2:30am alarm goes off for my husband....the bedroom light stays on when he leaves. 4am, my alarm goes off and I push snooze 3-4 times. (competition time I would get up for cardio at home on the treadmill) 5am (depending on who has kids) I go to the gym and begin personal training clients until 12pm. If I have an opening I will plug my workout routine into my time slot. Some days I leave the gym at 12, others I don't leave until 2 or 3. I have to pick my oldest son up from the bus stop and some days I will have my friend's 3 kids plus my 2 at my house until about 430-5pm. While I'm home for these few hours, I'm practicing choreography, checking emails, book keeping, sometimes I fit my workout in here if I didn't get to it. I begin getting my playlist ready and get my Zumba clothes on at 5pm. My husband gets home at about 530 and we have a quick meeting then I head off to the gym to usually teach a 6pm Zumba class and sometimes a 715 Zumba toning class following. I stay at the gym to work until 10pm(sometimes get my workout in at this time). Go home and get to bed by 1040-11pm.

Q: Favorite movie, actor, TV show, and musician?
A: Movie: Napoleon Dynamite Actor: Will Ferrel TV show: I have no idea what shows are even on Musician: Cumbia Kings, or anything Latin.

Q: What is one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?
A: People who know me....nothing surprises them:-) I lived out of my Geo Metro with all of my belongings including my full size electric piano when I was 18.

Q: Describe Amanda Butz in five words.
A: Glitter, Fluorescent, Unique, Energetic, Thankful

Q: Any set plans for 2010 as far as competing or any other projects?
A: I plan on competing in NPC again this year, I plan on working with Panthera at the Arnold Classic Expo in March, I plan on going to the Zumba master class with Vanessa with the NBA Suns vs Bulls game January 22nd, I will be going to Florida in August for the Zumba convention, I would love to get my clothing line up and running, and I plan on helping more people reach their fitness goals in 2010!

Q: Anything you want to take this chance to plug or promote?
A: Panthera Labs, Zumba Fitness, Healthy Butz Fitness Club.

Q:Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they contact you and what are they getting in Amanda Butz the athlete and competitor?
A: Competing is very expensive and I am always looking for any help I can get to cover expenses. Anyone who is interested in sponsoring can email me at I always represent myself and any company I represent professionally and with hard work.

Q: Amanda, I want to thank you again for taking the time to do this. It is much appreciated. Anything you want to add before you go?
A:I'm sure I forgot to include many things about myself, but hopefully
these answers give everyone a basic idea of who I am and what I do.
Thank you again for the opportunity.