Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fern Ster Interview

It is very rare when I see one single photo of someone and even though had at that point not heard of them, immediately ask them for an interview. That means they really impress me. Such is the case with Fern Ster. First time I saw a photo I was really impressed and had to ask. Looking at her contest history you see a lot of first places which shows you that a lot of people are impressed with her. She is taking 2011 off, but when she gets back on stage in 2012 I expect to see a lot more first places.

Q: First, Fern, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: No problem! I'm quite chuffed you have asked me!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I come from a small country town in New South Wales, Australia. I am currently living in Brisbane, Queensland with my fiance. I have two older sisters and a younger brother. I am first generation Australian, i.e., my parents were both born in Italy and migrated to Australia as young children, Dad being 10 years, mum was 5 years old. We were raised on a farm, I have fond memories from my childhood, playing with animals and getting dirty !
I'm a very independent person and quite stubborn at times, I'm very much a no bullshit type of girl, who knows what she wants, and will do anything to get it ;)
I have a varied education, Diploma in a few different fields such as Shopping Centre management, marketing, project management, fitness...I like to use my brain and keep it active - just as important as my body!

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: No! I dabbled in aerobics, but I was never an athletic person at all! I did play some team sports, basketball, touch football, netball but nothing ever serious. I had a crack at triathlons and found it extremely friggen hard!

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I started teaching aerobics and in my studies of being an aerobics instructor, I learnt a lot about the body. My interest grew from there knowing how scientific our bodies really are! I loved aerobics and keeping fit but soon realised that cardio wasn't my "thing". My hometown opened a gym, I started teaching aerobics in the gym and ended up swapping aerobics for weight training! Have not looked back since!

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Yeah - I loved the feeling of lifting weights! I started seeing results straight away. I'm genetically gifted where I have no problem gaining muscle, so when I started lifting weights, they became hard and shaped my body in a great way! Although I have no problem gaining muscle, I also have no problem gaining fat, so nutrition is a huge factor in gaining results.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: In early 2004 I went to a show to watch a girlfriend compete. I met her coach and he took a look at me and said "you have great symmetry, you should give the stage a shot" I ended up in the USA for a holiday, was back home in July and competed in my first show in October 2004.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: Initially no, in hindsight I think the lack of understanding of the sport made my friends and family a bit worried about my health, but as the years have gone by, my condition has improved and my health is in top condition. I'm pretty certain my family are quite proud of my achievements as are my close friends.

Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: I never have expectations in life! So no surprises! I LOVE the stage and I LOVE the spirit backstage on comp day.
Biggest surprise has probably been the amount of life long friends I've made through competing

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: Sure can! It's not a long one, but one I'm proud of ;)
*2004 - INBA A.C.T Natural Physique Titles - 3rd place - Bodybuilding
*2005 - ANB Sydney Titles - 3rd place - Figure
*2007 - INBA Sydney Titles - 1st place - Bodybuilding
*2007 - WNBF Sydney Titles - 2nd place - Bodybuilding u/52kg
*2008 - ANB Central Coast Titles - 1st place - Bodybuilding o/52kg
*2008 - ANB Australian Titles - 1st place - Bodybuilding u/52kg (YAY)
*2010 - ANB Asia Pacific Titles - 2nd place - Bodybuilding o/52kg
*2010 - INBA All Female Classic - 1st place

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Have to say BACK and LEGS. Used to HATE my legs, remember being teased as a kid for having such large legs, works in my favour now!!!! So those who used to tease me about having thunder thighs........."in your face baby!" ha ha

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Legs - LUNGES!!! lots of them! and Squats - love them!!! I truly enjoy training my legs!!
Other fav part is my:
Back - Chin ups would have to be my fav exercise along with anything with ROW in it! Fun!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: TRAINING - I train 5 mornings per week weights (usually Mon-Fri). My weight sessions last about 40-45mins, I like to get in and go hard. I have no time to rest between sets as I'm in a bit of a rush most mornings!!! I perform HIIT for cardio 3 days per week - usually on the step machine or rower for 30mins.
Contest prep - the only thing that changes is the type and amount of cardio. I increase cardio to 2 hours per day. One hour first thing in the morning, then another in the afternoon. -As far as timing - I perform my first hour of cardio at 4am-5am, so I can get to my weights session between 530-615am then the other hour after work.
NUTRITION - I think my Diet is like any other bodybuilder, I like to keep it simple and basic as possible. Off season - I make sure I eat lots of variety of vegie and low G.I. fruits, variety of protein sources, good fats like avocado, flaxseed oils etc and the usual carbs like sweet potato and rice. I allow myself a few cheats off season, so out of 42 meals a week, I'll generally have 3-4 off plan meals.
Contest prep - pretty much the same but the portion sizes alter dramatically! ;) egg whites for breakfast with some carbs, fruit and protein source for morning tea, lunch always protein and vege/salad, afternoon tea is protein source and vege, dinner is usually chook or fish and vege. IF I'm hungry at night, I'll go for more egg whites, but mate, I'm so tired by the end of the day - I generally am asleep by 8pm when in training for comp! Oh and I always allow one cheat meal a week in prep mode to keep to metabolism and mentality firing!
I'm actually looking at going RAW for a few months, I love experimenting with food and I LOVE being in the kitchen!

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: In general - it's positive. My nickname is "Miss Tank" as I'm quite short and hold lots of muscle (gotta love genetics) for a girl my size. I've never been skinny (never want to be either) I like looking healthy and strong.
IF (that's a BIG if) I get negative comments, I always return it with a positive. No time for negative energy or energy vampires in my life. I'm quite a positive, energetic person, so nothing gets me down :)
It shits me that people think that competitors starve to get into condition. It's near opposite! It's about high volume work and good clean food.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: OMG - most other people will agree but the good old question "How much can you bench?" OR "Can you give me a diet?"

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Those that compete will agree that it's bloody hard work, plain and simple! It's totally about being consistent and sticking to a plan and not listening to anyone but your coach.
One misconception is that everyone that competes "must be on drugs". That kind of shits me, don't get me wrong, I respect any competitor that has the guts to get on stage, regardless of their choice to use - we all diet the same and train to obtain a desired result.
I wish people understood the time it takes to prepare for a day/week/month. It's not as easy as "oh we'll have healthy food so you can eat" that doesn't cut it. When prepping, it's all about weighing my food and ensuring I stick to my plan!

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: BEST - friends made, people you meet and comp day is friggen awesome fun! Oh and cool photo's for memories! AND doing stuff like this interview - rad!
WORST - ummmm not sure, cause if I didn't love it - I would not compete! I suppose the worst part for me is maybe the last few weeks, I know and am aware that I become a bit selfish (with my time) so I do turn into a bit of a hermit and do what it takes to make the last few weeks as relaxing as humanly possible performing all the training whilst dieting!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: No real favorite competitors, I admire the family and friends of people who compete. I think the support and understanding received from those close to you when you compete is amazing. So I'd have to say they are the ones I admire!
I do admire Michelle Nazaroff from Nazafit, she coached me this year (via online). She has the most determined nature and her story is amazing having had heart surgery and beat the odds big time, to then go on and win a world title and have a baby....she's pretty darn inspiring.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Would have to say anything with coconut or peanut butter in it! Ice cream is also a favorite cheat!

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: Consistency is key, keep positive, keep balanced and always have contingencies in place. There are no secrets, it's about setting the mind straight, getting rid of past negative thoughts and knowing that you can do anything you set your mind too. impossible is not an option!

Q: Do you think it is becoming more accepted by society for women to be in the gym training as hard as men?
A: Definitely!!! There are many studies that show how weight training is SO beneficial for woman!!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Love the beach, so swimming and surfing is something I love, also love being in the kitchen. Really enjoy wandering through markets and I absolutely enjoy going out to new restaurants and trying delicious foods! Love hanging out with my gorgeous fiance, he is quite active. We like going to watch live sports, like Australian Rules Football, Muay Thai boxing etc...

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Fern Ster.
A: Like anyone - BUSY!!! Days go so quickly (or am i getting old?)
Currently - Up at 445am, take supps and get myself to the gym,
620am home shower eat rush off to work, making sure i take all my packed meals
work from 8am-5pm, home,
5-8pm walk, eat, prepare next days meals, shower
8-9pm vege out on the lounge then bed time

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Every single person has a story, we all have a past that moulds up to be who we are today.
No surprises here, I'm your everyday "girl next door" who loves life and makes the most of every day (corny!!)

Q: Describe Fern Ster in five words.
A: Loyal, Positive, Fun, Motivating and a Smart ass ;)

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: As far as competing - I'm looking at taking a year off, back on stage in 2012.
I'm getting married in October this year, so that is taking up a little bit of time at the moment as I was not able to organise much during prep this year!
I like to take time off the stage, I think I look better on stage after a good rest and good year of training and making gains where necessary. So when I make my way back to stage in 2012, I'd love to make it to an international competition for the experience and also the opportunity to meet awesome people overseas!
I would love to dabble in judging, so will make enquiries with some Australian federations to hopefully give me the experience as a trainee judge. I don't like being away from the stage!!!! ;)

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Love to plug my mates and my fiance for supporting me this year! Special thanks to Michelle Nazaroff and the absolutely amazing Dianne Hunt also the lovely Lindy Olsen. ALL amazing women who I'm glad to call my friends.

Q:Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Fern Ster the athlete and competitor?
A: I would not say no to sponsor support! As far as an Athlete and competitor, they would be gaining someone who is loyal and has a great network of friends in the industry. I have a few years left in me so I'll be around for a while and plan on improving on my condition on every stage I appear....that's my goal.

Q: Fern, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks heaps for this opportunity and thanks for promoting this sport and all the beautiful woman who grace the stage !

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

IFBB Pro Vanessa Prebyl Tournament of Champions (Pro Debut) Interview

Two weeks after winning her IFBB Pro card at Jr. USA's, Vanessa Prebyl made her Pro debut at the Tournament of Champions, and as always Vanessa looked incredible. I said the other day, the Bikini division seems to have been made for Vanessa. What I mean by that, is it allows someone to look as amazing as she does, with the body she wants, earned, and is proud of, to go on stage and do what she loves. My fondness of Vanessa is no secret. I believe she is both an amazing woman and competitor. It was Vanessa who taught me to love the Bikini division. Mark my words, Vanessa will soon be on that Olympia stage.

Q: Vanessa, thanks for taking the time out to do this.
A: I’m happy to do the interview Jason.

Q: For those who may not be familiar, can you tell a little about yourself?
A: I am a 28 year old Bikini competitor who started competing about a year ago.
I am a small-town girl. I was raised on a ranch in Southern California. My sister and I rode horses, built forts, played hide-and-go-seek on 22 acres. Of course, living on a ranch also comes with the mandatory chores such as; feeding all of the animals, getting the chicken eggs, building fences, cleaning up the pens (you know the fun stuff).
My mother raised my sister and me by herself. She is a very strong woman who was never afraid to get things done and taught me also to be a strong and determined woman. I have always been one for a challenge. When I was in eighth grade I signed-up at the Boys and Girls Club for Freestyle Wrestling. I loved the challenging workouts and when I started High School I joined the Cabrillo Wrestling team. I wrestled all four years of High School and it was the best learning experience I have ever had. I learned so much about who I am and how far I could push myself no matter what anyone said.
After I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Accountancy from CSU Northridge, I was hired on at a great Accounting firm in Los Angeles where I preformed Audits on public and private companies. I learned so much within my first year, however, the long hours and stress levels added to my waistline to say the least. One day I looked in the mirror and I asked myself “Am I happy”? I knew if I was asking myself, I already knew the answer. That was it; I put in my notice without having any other employment lined up.
I had worked out before on my own, but after gaining over 20lbs from the long hours of accounting; I knew I needed help to shed the excess in a healthy way. My husband did some research and found Kim Oddo’s web site. Kim helped me become fit and gain muscle. I must give credit where it is due “Thank you Kim Oddo for everything”.
I now am a Personal Trainer in Santa Barbara County, Ca. and an IFBB Pro Bikini Competitor. I can truly say I am “living my dream”.

Q: Congrats on your first Pro show, the Tournament of Champions. You looked incredible as always.
A: Thank you so much! I was very eager to hit the pro stage for the first time.

Q: Was there a different feeling the days leading up, knowing that now you are competing as a Pro?
A: I actually had to remind myself to keep everything the same. I wanted to bring the same package as I brought when I won Jr. USA’s.

Q: Did you take any time at all off between this show and Jr. USA's?
A: I wanted to jump right in the mix on the pro stage and see where I stand among the pros. I only had 2 weeks in between my pro card win and my first pro show.

Q: As a show itself what did you think of it?
A: I LOVED it!! I live in California about 3 hours from the venue so I didn’t have to travel too far. The show did however go faster than I expected.

Q: How confident were you going in?
A: I am always confident in myself and my body. I was more curious than anything on the comparisons to top bikini competitors.

Q: After pre-judging how were you feeling about your chances?
A: Well, this was the first time I had not been picked for the first call out. I must admit I was bummed, however for my pro debut being called out second I was soooooo HAPPY!! :)

Q: How did you feel about the overall package your brought to the stage?
A: I felt very confident because I stuck to the same hair, makeup, suit, and routine.

Q: You take an extra sense of responsibility in representing the Bikini division as a Pro now don't you?
A: Yes I do. I feel that I should. I am very grateful that the judges picked me to represent the Pro Bikini Division and I want to show them that they made a GREAT decision.

Q: Having competed as a Pro now, is there anything you feel you need to improve on to compete at that level and continue being the success you have been?
A: Yes. After the competition the head judge Lee Thompson made himself available for the bikini pros to ask him for critiques of their performance. He would like me to build a few muscle groups in order to move up the ranks. Also on a personal note, I noticed many of the pro bikini women had spicy routines so I may play around with different poses and see what works well with my body.

Q: The days leading up to it, did you feel you were ready for the Pro stage?
A: I felt ready for the stage as I always do. I have always brought my best package NPC stage or Pro stage.

Q: Was there a point at all in the day were you said “I belong here" or did you already know?
A: I know this may sound weird, but in a way I was ready for the Pro stage. I feel like I had climbed the ladder and yes I felt I did and do belong there.

Q: Was there anything different competing as a Pro that maybe some people who have yet to do that would be surprised about?
A: The surprising thing is that it feels exactly like competing in the NPC. The best way I can describe it is the day before your birthday and then the day of your birthday. Yes, you are a year older; however, it feels just like yesterday. I have always had a passion for competing, but yes this show felt extra special ;)

Q: After a show like that, are you mentally drained at all?
A: Nope. I was just very happy I didn’t have to jump on a plane to get back to my home :)

Q: I know you, and I know you love competing and are always excited, but do you ever get nervous at any point?
A: Haha well I wouldn’t say nervous more like rushed.

Q: I know your routine for the minutes before you step on that stage, but did you do anything different this time?
A: Yes, the minutes leading up to prejudging were very rushed. The show was moving super fast due to the 4 Masters classes before us only having a few people. They actually had to come get me when I was getting my hair done. So my amazing hair stylist Nancy Jambazian (Who is amazing by the way) through some volume in the back and hair sprayed it. Then I flew out of her chair thinking “Well I better rock this hair” and I ran to the Pro Bikini dressing room. All of the girls are already lined up except for two other girls rushing around as well. I start taking off my Oddos Angels shirt and find my heels. Ok. Mental Check list: bikini, heels, lip gloss, wait…wait… my earrings and bracelets. Alright I head out to get in line and a very kind worker backstage asks “where is your number?”. Geez!! I really can’t forget that! Haha run back to the dressing room (They are starting to call out numbers for the line-up check) I pin my number on. I let the workers know I was there while Kim Oddo fixed my suit. Haha WOW!!! And I still rocked the heck out of that stage!!! That is what I personally consider a PRO. No matter what is going on back stage you always give the audience what they paid for “the BEST show you can possibly give no matter what”.

Q: When you were on stage did you try and read the judges reactions at all or just focus on what you are doing?
A: I just smile at the judges and audience. I truly feel like I am beaming on stage. It is an AMAZING feeling.

Q: What’s the first thing you ate once it was over?
A: Well I had booked a photo shoot the week after so I had the same dinner as I always have chicken, asparagus, and almonds.

Q: Was there any other competitors you noticed who really impressed you?
A: Well let’s just say all of the women impressed me. There is a reason these women are pros and each one of them looked so good.

Q: What will be your biggest memory from the entire weekend?
A: My biggest memory is meeting so beautiful bikini pros with great bodies and great personalities and sharing the stage with them. I am very proud.

Q: Has it sunk in yet you are a Pro?
A: Quick pinch me!!! Haha Nope. Wow, Vanessa Prebyl, IFBB Pro Bikini Competitor. I cannot begin to explain how those words make me feel ;)

Q: Have you decided when you will be on stage next?
A: Yes, The Sacramento Pro Bikini Grand Prix on Saturday, November 6. So if anyone is in the area feel free to watch the show!! :)

Q: Anyone you want to thank for helping you in the process or want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: Yes, I would like to say thank you to my trainer Kim Oddo
Promoters Jon Lindsay for putting on the Tournament Of Champions
and IFBB for making the Bikini Division
Further thanks to my family, friends and of course my fans. One of my biggest and most supportive fans Jason and “Promoting Real Women”
Jan Tana for an amazing stage color
My amazing hair and makeup artist Nancy Jambazian.
Thank you soooooo much to all of you!!

Q: Vanessa, each time you get on stage, you look better than the last time. I have told everyone, I have learned my love and respect for the Bikini division because of you, and really was impressed with your Pro debut, and I know it will keep getting better. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you for all of your support!!!!! :)

What Makes Me a Bodybuilder by Janelle Gallo


The physique world of competition has come a long way for women since the Rachel McGlish days. Back then, women had only one category to compete in and that was bodybuilding. Now, in 2010, there are so many opportunities for women to compete in. We now have bodybuilding, fitness, figure, and the newly developed bikini division. So much to chose from! But, how does a women, who wants to enter a physique competition, know which division she wants to pick? Simple. It is the division that she feels she is comfortable in. What do I mean by that? Well, let me tell you from my own experience.
I first started to compete in bodybuilding in 2001. Then there was only bodybuilding and fitness. So, I knew that my dance and gymnastics days were over and I didn't want to revert to that so I chose bodybuilding. Since I been on the stage dancing since I was 5 years old, my first competition was an awesome experience. I loved it! I love the mandatory poses we had to do and performing a routine was great! But that was not why I loved competing in bodybuilding. As the years passed, a new division was formed and that was figure. All of a sudden I saw more women flocking to this division than bodybuilding. The numbers diminished at the Team Universe show, when I first competed in it in 2003 and there was 15 competitors in my class alone. Now, in 2006, when I returned to the stage I found only 8 competitors in my class and figure was looking like 20-30 girls in each division. Still, I stuck to my guns and continued to compete in bodybuilding. I got pressure from a number of people. Friends, family, even strangers at the shows would often give me comments like, "Why don't you switch over to figure?" or "You can't compete with those girls in bodybuilding, figure would be better for you" and even "You are too pretty for bodybuilding, you should be in figure." I would just listen and laugh. Did I contemplate possibly crossing over to figure? Shit, yeah! I started investigating what I would have to do to compete in figure, from what is the look they want to the training that I would have to do. I sought out advice from top fitness and figure coaches. Well, I didn't like the feedback. Comments like "You would have to lose a ton of muscle", or "Stay the hell away from weights and just do cardio," and "You need to cut your protein down and your meals", and further "You would have to compete at 115lbs". It was just not what I wanted to do. I felt like that was something I just COULDN'T do. I love training hard and heavy with the weights and low reps. I hate lighter weights and higher reps. Also, to stop lifting weights horrified me. No way! I like eating 6 meals a day with high protein and carbs. The thought of me going out there on the stage in heels and doing model poses was just not me. Now, I am not knocking on figure girls. I just felt that this was not the type of girl that I am. And now with the new bikini division added, seemed even further away from the girl that I really am. It is great that us women have all these divisions to chose from
So, I ask myself, what makes me a bodybuilder and not a fitness, figure, or bikini girl? Part of it is the look. I love having big, strong muscles. Maybe it's the fact that me being really thin and light just makes me sick. Or the though of not having a big quad sweep in my leg, and having a straight skinny leg where your inner thighs don't touch is unappealing to me on my body. The thought of being ripped, and striated and barely having any fat on my body makes me so happy! Having veins popping out and a v-taper is so cool to me. This is where I belong. The training, the look, the competition, the whole aspect of being in the bodybuilding division. I couldn't be anywhere else. It wouldn't be me. I like having a stocky look rather than a very lean, straight, slightly muscular look. It is my genetics and my calling in this world to be a bodybuilder instead of a figure, fitness, or bikini girl. The point I am trying to make is, that I feel comfortable competing in bodybuilding. I will not cross-over to another division because everyone else is doing it, or it is the most popular, or it is more marketable (so some people say). If it doesn't feel right to compete in a certain division, than my advice is that you probably haven't listened to your calling.
So, in choosing a division that you want to enter in a competion, ask yourself some questions. Do I feel comfortable in this division? Do I have the genetics? Do I enjoy competing in this division? Does the training and diet fit to my personality and the person that I am. Don't push yourself to compete in a division just because your coach, friends, family, or anyone else pushes you to. It has to feel right and you have to be happy where you are. Until next time, have a great week!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

MMA Roundtable

This is without a doubt the post I am most excited to have. Bodybuilding and fitness is my passion, but MMA is my love. So to be able to do this roundtable, and do it with six amazing women is something I am very excited about. The women are Miesha "Takedown" Tate, Roxanne "The Happy Warrior" Modafferi, Tisha "Lil Bully" Rodrigues, Lacey "The Ladie" Schuckman, Sarah "TNT" McLeod, and Sarah "The Piranha" Goodlaxson. Some of the top fighters in the sport, and some of the future stars of the sport. Part one is name and word association and part two is specific questions. The initials by each answer represent each fighter, MT (Miesha", RM (Roxanne), TR (Tisha), LS (Lacey), SM (Sara McLeod), and SG (Sarah Goodlaxson). Also I want to thank Georgia Tsao from my favorite MMA website for helping me put this together.

Part one: Name/Word association

1. Chris Cyborg
MT: Strong
RM: Muscles
TR: Unbeatable
LS: Dominate
SM: Powerhouse
SG: Favorite

2. Sarah Kaufman
MT: Striker
TR: Great striker
LS: Powerhouse
SM: Champion
SG: Deserving

3. Gina Carano
RM: Movie star
TR: Beautiful and talented
LS: Absent
SM: Overrated
SG: Overrated

4. Dana White
MT: Ignorant
RM: Smart businessman
LS: Cash cow
SM: Misogynistic
SG: Smart

5. Scott Coker
MT: Supportive
RM: Highly influential in the MMA world
LS: Phantom
SM: Progressive
SG: Clueless

6. Tara LaRosa
MT: Emotional
RM:Stubborn and strong
TR: Great fighter and good rep for women's MMA
LS: Confident
SM: Brute
SG: Quality

7. Pride
RM: Japanese fighters
TR: Honor
LS: Earned
SM: Love
SG: Needed

8. World Class
MT: Talent
RM: Olympics
LS: Ultimate
SM: Conduct

9. Trainer
MT: Respect
RM: Sean and Kunioku
TR: Greg Jackson
LS: Inspiration
SM: Partner
SG: Miletich

10. Sparing Partner
MT: Bond
RM: Sakura, Mai Ichii
TR: Someone you work well with and can learn from and vice versa
LS: Dedication
SM: Challenge
SG: Mitch

11. Humility
MT: Important
RM: Promote your opponent
LS: Necessary
SM: Insecurity
SG: Underrated

Part 2: Questions

1. Which is better, same day weigh-in or day before?
MT: Day before
RM: Day before
TR: Day before
LS: Definitely day before. It gives you adequate time to refuel your body and prepare it for the challenge ahead. I also prefer weigh-ins a day prior to fighting because you can see your opponent, get a bit of the pre fight jitters out as well as get a read on your opponent. Then you can go home with your team and talk about how your feeling about your fight after seeing your opponent and get your mind in the proper state.
SM: Day before. I usually like to sleep in, relax and do nothing all day before a fight.
SG: Same day for me since I don't cut much... makes the weight difference more fair for me.

2. What is your most hated training exercise?
MT: Running sprints
RM: Kicking the thai pads, once, once twice, one two three times in a row, all the way to twenty, and then going back down.
TR: Squats
LS: I hate doing hurdels!! My trainer/husband loves to kill the team with them and it works out your whole body. Not that I don't like the whole body work out but we always end up doing them after about 3 hours of class!!
SM: There is no exercise that I hate or even dislike. I appreciate the struggles that each one puts me through and I know that I can only get better with practice.
SG: I don't mind any of it.

3. Is cutting weight harder for women than men?
MT: Yes
RM: Yes
TR: Yes
LS: Definitely for women!! We have to deal with a lot more obstacles, monthly cycles, retaining more water, as well as many other chemical differences. I can't cut 10lbs in a sauna in an hour if my life depended on it but I can do it by dieting and upping my cardio. SO I believe it's harder because not only do you have to train for the upcoming fight you also have to be loosing a steady number of pounds along the way so you can cut your last 2-7lbs in the sauna before weigh-ins.
SM: I don't think it's fair to say it's any easier or harder for a certain gender. Fighters make a choice of how much they are able to cut and it takes a lot of mental strength to reach any goal.
SG: Since I don't cut much weight I couldn't have a fair opinion on that!

4. Is there a way you think is best to wear your hair for a fight?
MT: Braided somehow
RM: Cornrows
TR: Cornbraids
LS: I definitely say cornrows! It keeps your hair securely fastened thus not impairing your performance and they look pretty tough too!
SM: I hate ponytails- they can get very messy and uncomfortable. I haven't tried cornrows and I don't think I ever will. I really don't want to sit for an hour and struggle to take them out the next day. My favorite hair style is to make 5-6 sections of small ponytails from ear to ear, use elastic to make a half ponytail, then braid the rest and add elastics for additional support. Takes me less than 5 minutes to do and there's no problem taking it out.
SG: Cornrowed

5. What is the biggest difference between three and five minute rounds?
MT: Five minutes gives all styles a fair chance to implement game plans
RM: Three minutes suck, five don't. Three minutes encourages faster stand-ups which favor the striker over the grappler.
TR: Huge, cardio more than anything
LS: I feel it is imperative to have 5 minute rounds. You just can't accomplish much in 3. This is the case in more evenly matched fights because the feeling out time is much longer. It is harder as you fight tougher competition to break them down quickly. Also in more technical fights it's important for say a good BJJ fighter to have more time to work for a submission. Very rarely do you go in and get your first submission attempt, so you have to work, constantly transitioning for position and other submissions.
SM: The only difference is that the 3 minute rounds are too short!! The 5 minute rounds gives much more time to work a game plan.
SG: You obviously have more time to work for positioning with 5 minute rounds.

6. Who is the most underrated fighter in the sport?
MT: Lisa Ward
RM: I'm not sure
TR: So many
LS: Lana Stefanac. I feel that she doesn't get as much attention because she fights very rarely. I also think it has a lot to do with there not being a whole lot of females in her weight class. She is a BJJ black belt and undefeated in MMA! I don't know if she is still actively fighting because she teaches but I don't think she has gotten as much recognition for her contribution to the sport as she deserves.
SM: I think Zoila Frausto "The Warrior Princess" is going to shock the MMA world and open up a lot more opportunities for smaller weight classes. The 135lbs is so stacked, thanks to some amazing women like Sarah Kaufman and Miesha Tate. Zoila competed with the best of these women and now she's sneaking to the top of the 115lbs category. She could very soon earn a shot at Megumi Fuji, ranked #1 in the women's pound for pound listings. I believe that Zoila will be the next champion.
SG: I think Zoila Frausto deserves people looking at her in a more positive light. She works her ass off and fights her heart out.

7. Take yourself out of it. Who are the top five pound for pound in the sport for both men and women?
MT: Men- Frankie Edgar, George St. Pierre, Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Fedor Emelianenko. Women- Megumi Fuji, Sarah Kaufman, Chris Cyborg, Tara LaRosa, and Marloes Coenen
RM: Men- Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, after that I'm not sure. Women- Megumi Fuji, Sarah Kaufman, Chris Cyborg, Marloes Coenen, and Tara LaRosa.
TR: Men- Georges St. Pierre, Frankie Edgar. Women- Megumi Fuji, Roxanne Modafferi, Chris Cyborg
LS: Men- Anderson Silva, Jon Fitch, Georges St. Pierre, Gegard Mousasi, and Andrei Arlovksi. Women- Sarah Kaufman, Megumi Fuji, Chris Cyborg, Miesha Tate, and Lisa Ward
SM: Men- Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Mauricio Rua, Jake Shields, and Jose Aldo. Women- Chris Cyborg, Sarah Kaufman, Erin Toughill, Tara LaRosa, and Zoila Frausto.
SG: Cyborg!... After that I'm staying out of it haha

8. My dream fight would be against?
MT: Sarah Kaufman
RM: Shayna Baszler (avenge my loss) or Amanda Buckner. She is so talented but she said she might retire, so I wanna hurry up and fight her.
TR: Not at that level yet
LS: Carla Esparza rematch
SM: Zoila Frausto at 115lbs
SG: Lisa Ward. Nothing personal at all. Since I started training she was the person I paid attention to at my weight-class and it would be an honor.

9. What one men's fight and one women's fight would you pay to see?
MT: Urijih Faber vs anyone and Shayna Baszler vs Hitomi Akano
RM: Megumi Fuji vs Lisa Ward
TR: Megumi Fuji vs Felice Herring
LS: Georges St. Pierre vs Anderson Silva and Lisa Higo vs Jeri Sitzes
SM: Anderson Silva vs Jon Jones and Sarah Kaufman vs Chris Cyborg
SG: I think the fight I'm most looking forward to currently is Zoila Frausto vs Megumi Fuji.

10. One fight I will always remember is?
MT: Gina Carano vs Chris Cyborg
RM: Hitmoi Akano vs Chris Cyborg and Sarah Kaufman vs Miesha Tate. I've been paying attention lately.
TR: Gina Carano vs Chris Cyborg
LS: Vitor Belfort vs Marvin Eastman where Eastman incurred a vicious gash to his head by way of Belfort's knee
SM: My first live female MMA fight was the most inspirational experience. Julie Kedzie vs Kelly Kobold was in August 2007 at the Bodog event in Vancouver, BC. I was working as a ring card girl and when the women were just about to walk out, I left the job to go watch the fight in the stands!
SG: Any of the women I first started seeing fight when I first started training. They inspired me and made me excited to step in the cage- especially Cyborg.

11. The biggest missconception about female fighters is?
MT: We can't fight haha
RM: We get easily damaged
TR: There aren't enough talented women
LS: That we are lesbians
SM: The biggest missconception is the puzzlement of why a woman would want to fight. Physically and mentally we are complete equal to our male counterparts so it takes a fool to seriously wonder why we wouldn't enjoy a challenge.
SG: I don't like people hollering in a sexual way when women step in the cage. Our time in the sport is so new and women's sports in general are still developing... there still aren't quality wrestling programs in schools for women and we don't have access to a lot of things the men do just yet... the talent pools in all weight-classes aren't as deep as the men either and therefor we need to work harder in all aspects so that we can help build the sport! Being given respect when we step in the cage is a big thing that is needed!

12. My proudest moment in the sport so far is?
MT: Winning the women's 135lb tournament and earning a shot at the Strikeforce World Championship Title!!
RM: Defeating three opponents in one night to win the K-Grace Tournament in Japan. And the bitter sweet moment of being slammed by Sarah Kaufman. I was showing that my technique could hold off a stronger opponent..... and then was shown that my technique really was no match for brute force.
TR: My last fight. It was more about what I went through to get to that point of victory.
LS: When I won my amateur MMA title in February 2008. I knew then that I was destined to continue with the sport.
SM: After 6 months of training and an amateur record of 1-1-1, I was honored to fight for the Armageddon Fighting Championships. After taking zero damage in a main event fight one weekend before, I was a fill-in fighter with one weeks notice. On the 3rd consecutive weekend, I competed on stage in Bikini at the BC Provincials. My proudest moment was at the end of July....a very impressive month!
SG: My submission win in under a minute.

13. WHy are sponsors so important to a fighter?
MT: Because they are the financial backers and they support fighters to achieve their dreams and they often don't get the credit they deserve.
RM: Because promoters can't pay the fighter enough to survive, so the fighter needs outside support.
TR: They help promote us get fights, give us cool gear and are there to support us like family through not just the up's but especially the down's
LS: Well for me they are my saving grace. I don't make very much fighting and I can't fight every weekend so it is a hard sport to earn a living at. I train everyday but Sunday and that's my job and unfortunately training hard doesn't pay for all the things you need in order to train at peak effeciency, let alone your bills. My sponosrs have quite literally put the shirt on my back. Without sponsor clothing I would still be wearing clothes I bought in 9th grade! I still don't pay all my bills, but I love this sport and will do it until I literally can't anymore! Sponsors allow me to continue doing what I love even if all it is is the clothes on my back. They are vital to my training as well as provide a support system outside of my team.
SM: Food, shelter, supplements and a gym are very expensive. Basic living is pricey and affording it can be stressful. Sponsors can be very helpful to a fighter along this journey. MMA is an influential sport, together, sponsors and fighters can be very empowering.
SG: When we are just starting out it's hard to work full-time and train full-time... any help that is given is like heaven.

14. Which is better, the old Pride scoring or the 10 point must system?
MT: They both have pros and cons but I like the Pride scoring better because they judge on the overall fight.
RM: I'm not sure
TR: 10 point
LS: That's tough because in some situations they are both good. I personally understand the 10 point must more and I think a lot more AMericans do to so although at times the fighters pay the price for this system, I don't think we will say any change anytime soon.
SM: The 10 point must system is necessary to prevent bias scoring. It makes much more sense to score each round seperately, as opposed to judging the fight on it's entirety.
SG: 10 point

15. In the movie of my life __ would play me.
MT: Scarlett Johansen, I really liked her character in Iron Man 2. She's tough yet feminine.
RM: I would play myself..... but Milla Jovevich would be freaking cool.
LS: Duh! I would play me :-)
SM: If there was a movie made of my life, I would gladly act as myself. If an actrss were to play my part, then my name would forever be labeled and assocaited with what that actress does in her spare time. I want to be responsible for everything about my character, on and off the screen.
SG: A short skinny person haha

16. In five years I will be?
MT: A world champion.
RM: I'll be 33, living in Japan, hopefully teaching part time, maybe teaching at a dojo part time, a few belts on my wall...
TR: Making huge waves in the sport
LS: Ranked in the top 10 strawweight or featherweights in the world!
SM: I hope to be a champion MMA fighter with the Ms. Bikini Olympia title. Outside of competing, I will be increasing awareness of different issues around the world.
SG: Graduated from college and fighting professionally.

17. If I wasn't a fighter I would be?
MT: A cake decorater
RM: A writer or teacher or translator
TR: Interviewing fighters, hosting MMA events
LS: Not breathing! Seriously though I would probably be an interior decorator
SM: If I wasn't fighting at events, I would be encouraging healthy living and positive choices. A lifestyle coach, fitness trainer, and motivational speaker.
SG: Working in the field I'm going to college for- Exercise Science

18. Favorite movie?
MT: Braveheart
RM: The Die Hard's, The Resident Evil's, The Lord of the Rings
TR: Lost Boys
LS: Devils Rejects
SM: There are waaaay too many great movies to pick a favorite!
SG: Anything with Will Ferrell

19. The two best fighters to play partners in a buddy cop movie would be?
MT: Quinton Jackson and Jason Miller
RM: Tara LaRosa and Molly Helsel
TR: Tonya Evinger and Michelle Ould....LOL
LS: Tonya Evinger and Quinton Jackson
SM: Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley
SG: Clay Guida and Jason Miller

20. What five songs are always going to be on your IPOD?
MT: Heart of a Champion" by Nelly, "Breaking the Habit" by Linkin Park, "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls, "Who Will Save Your Soul" by Jewel, and "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera.
RM: "The Dance" by Battlestar Galactica, "Borderline Case" by Evangelion, "The Perfect Drug" by Nine Inch Nails, "Bad Japanese" by Fireball, and "Looking up" by Paramore.
TR: I'm Not Afraid, Let the Bodies Hit the Floor, Hip Swing, and Pop Champagne
LS: I don't have an IPOD :-( but my five favorite songs on CD are "Billionaire" by Travis McCoy, "Here Comes the Hotstepper" by Ini Kamoze, "St. Stephen" by the Grateful Dead, "Mercedes Benz" by Janis Joplin, and "Tik Tok" by Kesha
SM: Right now I'm listening to a lot of Tool, Disturbed, Aurdioslave, Damian Marley, and Static X. I like variety and I always switch it up.
SG: Drop the World, Anything Nicki Minaj, Anything Carrie Underwood, Anything.

21. One food I can't live without is?
MT: Cake
RM: Chicken
LS: Ice cream
SM: I wouldn't be too stoked about life without salmon
SG: Chocolate and Red Bull

22. One fighter who needs to write a book is?
MT: Lyle Beerbohm
RM: Me
TR: Me and I am
LS: Jens Pulver. The life and times of a fallen and broken champion that was pissed on by the UFC
SM: Miesha Tate

23. If they ever make an all women's MMA Hall of Fame, the first inudctee will be?
MT: Probably Gina Carano, but I feel it should be Megumi Fuji.
RM: Tara LaRosa
TR: Gina Carano
LS: Debi Purcell. She helped bring female MMA mainstream as well as showed that beautiful women can be strong, technical fighters.
SM: Sarah Kaufman

24. Anything coming up in the near future you want to mention?
MT: Possible trip to Korea for some Korean Belt Wrestling! Then I'll be waiting for my title shot!
TR: Ooooh boyeee stay tuned!
LS: I am fighting in Las Vegas on October 9th for MMA Xplosion against Michelle Gutierrez
SM: Exciting things are coming soon
SG: Hopefully fighting October 30th, but I've had so many fights fall through lately I'm almost afraid to say for sure!

25. Any sponsors or anyone else you want to plug or promote?
MT: Thanks to my sponsors Cage Hero, 5 Star, Full Tilt Poker, Bad Reputation, Scramble, Body Architecture, Tussle,, and Cage Candy!
RM: Fightchix, Sprawl, Nogi, Combat Corner, Tussle, Tokyo 5,, Seven Duece inc., my new trainer Sean Frew, and my manager Shu Hirata.
TR: You of course Jason... Slade from Tussle, Bon Cacho from Fight Soap, Tracy Tate from Cage Candy, Elisabeth Neusser from Fight Chix, Boston Brawler, Caithlyn Daley for repping female fighters, and my newest sponsor Rising Fighter
LS: I want to thank Tussle Fight Gear, Fight Soap, Carried Out Fight Gear, Primal Instinct Wear, and First String Athletics, and most of all my family at Team Rugburn and my husband/coach Randall!
SM: All of my close friends and fans
SG: Thank you to FightChix, Tussle, Bad Reputation, Defense Soap, AdapTXLabs, Vegas Chompers Mouthguards, CatFight Gear, Fight Banner, and Velvet Industries!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tisha Rodrigues Column

As many of my friends and supporters know, I have been writing a book
on my life and how I came into the MMA scene and most importantly I
suppose, they will have a better understanding as to why and the
reason I'm so passionate about it. I have learned so much about the
sport in these past three years and it only makes me want more and
push harder. More interestingly, is how much I have learned about
myself through MMA. I have never had to dig this deep in my life and I
couldn't be happier with the person I have become and will continue to
be. I have honestly met the most genuine people in my life just in the
past 3 years doing this sport. It's such a tight knit and caring
community and it can sometimes even be overwhelming. Ecspecially when
you are not use to the outpouring of support. I love it!

I can't complain about my life these days. It doesn't matter the
battles I sometimes continue to tred through nor the demons I have
come face to face with in the past..what matters today, is TODAY. It's
only straight ahead from here and it's looking really bright! I'm on
board with The Next Great Fighter now, so I travel to different MMA
events and gyms in the New England area interviewing rising stars in
MMA. What could possibly be better then covering MMA when I'm not
actually in the cage fighting? It also helps open the doors for my
future. There always has to be a backup plan..always. I have a
wonderful family, a great Team, lots of great new friends/ supporters
and sponsors. I'm truly blessed. I don't plan on slowing down anytime
soon either. I have more new plans to share very soon! I'm extremely
grateful, I know I have awesome things awaiting me.. It's all about
positivity and putting it out there, that's what I believe in. The
Universe is just open to your thoughts. I'm a good person and friend
and Karma comes back around for the good and the bad! I ecspecially
want to thank Teri C. Edwards, Lauren Belmont and Jillian ( Starfire)
for connecting me with great contacts and always, always being so
supportive of me. All of the awesome friends that make me believe I
can do anything and as always Jason Adams for sharing our stories.. Go
for your dreams, you only live once couldn't be said any more simply!

Thanks to: Slade from Tussle, Bon Cacho of Fight Soap, Boston Brawler,
Tracy Tate of Cage Candy, Elisabeth From Fight Chix, Lead Creative
Group ( and Rising Fighter Gear!
Tisha Rodrigues

Trisha Barr Interview

I recently had the pleasure of watching Trisha Barr fight for the NAAFS. I had not heard of Trisha before the show, but within nine minutes I became a fan. In fact Trisha became a new favorite. So much so I asked her to write for this blog. She impressed me with her constant activity, always looking for a submission regardless of being on top or bottom. She showed the heart and poise of a much more experienced fighter. I really expect to see huge improvements and a bright future for Trisha in the sport.

Q: First, Trisha I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: No - thank you! It's an honor.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself?
A: My husband and I are Christians who also happen to love the martial arts, using them as a major part of how we minister to others and help spread the Gospel. Raymond Barr, my husband, runs the dojo where I train. I took kempo for several years, received my black belt, and decided to start training for MMA a little more than a year ago to test some of my skills and learn where I needed to improve.

Q: Were you especially athletic growing up? Play any sports?
A: I was not particularly athletic. Actually, I was kind of pudgy! I did a little track and field, but nothing serious. I didn't start gaining athleticism until I started lifting weights consistently and joined martial arts classes at age 18. All in all, a lot of people with whom I went to school would be completely surprised that I do cagefighting.

Q: What initially got you started training for MMA?
A: Since I was 18, I loved learning martial arts and enjoyed watching the UFC. MMA looked like fun. Plus, although it isn't necessarily real fighting because it is a sport and has rules, I thought it could still take my training to another level and teach me a lot. It's basically like the sparring we do in class, except much more intense. I continue to improve so much because of it. I have to admit, I've also dreamed of making a career out of it someday.

Q: Was the training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: At first, because of my kempo background, I of course picked up striking much more quickly than grappling; however, my ground game has recently come to surpass my stand up. After my first two losses, I became driven to work on my grappling to increase my finishing power and defense. Now, while I continue to work that, I am focusing more on my striking again.

Q: How long did you train before your first fight?
A: I only trained MMA for about 6 months, but I had 4 years of kempo experience before that. Now I realize that I should have practiced my grappling a lot more before I first entered the cage. I just had so much confidence in my hands that I thought it would be a non-issue. But I found out that my footwork and ability to maintain striking distance was actually lacking too much for that to be true. So while I currently work on those aspects of my striking, I also work my ground skills more diligently.

Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported?
A: My mother didn't support it at first because she didn't want me to get hurt, but she's starting to come around. The rest of my family and friends have supported me and encouraged me from the beginning - even my church at Harvest Christian Fellowship. They understand that it is a sport and that I don't compete with any sense of hatred or rage, but that I do it to test myself and better myself.

Q: Where do you train at now?
A: I practice under the tutelage of my husband at his martial arts school, Infinity Arts, in a little ol' place in southeastern Ohio called Cambridge. It's a small, out-of-the-way dojo with only about 10 core students. In fact, the school was actually converted from a 2-car garage! It might not be the fancy MMA gym that some people are used to, but it is still very effective for those who are dedicated to the martial arts. Although we are willing to train with others, Ray is an excellent teacher who will always be my main instructor.

Q: Can you give your overall record so far?
A: I am currently 3-3 as an amateur, hoping to improve to a winning record soon. I guess that remains to be seen. I will say that, in my heart, I'm 4-2: I lost my second fight by split decision, which I and the majority of the people there thought I won. But that just goes to show the importance of finishing your fights rather than relying on the judges' scorecards.

Q: Which fight so far is the one you are most proud of?
A: That's difficult. It could be my fight at Eve of Destruction because I had to dig down deep for that win, but I didn't get to display much of my stand up like I wanted to. It could be my fight at UVC: Showdown because I actually got to show both my striking and grappling skills.

Q: What would you say is your biggest strength and the one thing you most want to improve?
A: My biggest strength lately seems to be my submission skills, although it used to be my hands. The one thing that I have always been weakest on and am desperately trying to improve is my throws/takedowns.

Q: I just got to see you in person fight against Shannon Floyd. I was very impressed. Did you see anything earlier in the fight that made you believe you could get the submission?
A: I never know how a fight is going to end. When I think I know, I'm wrong. I just have to feel confident that I can win. If I don't, then I've already lost before I've entered the cage. I originally envisioned something completely different for this fight. I wanted to strike with her - land some combinations and hard punches, but she was always able to close distance. I just dealt with each circumstance that I found myself in to the best of my ability.

Q: Seemed to me she tried to use her size to sort of bully and push you around, but you stayed very composed, and even from the bottom never seemed to panic. Really looked like you were comfortable on the bottom. Is that an accurate statement?
A: While I prefer top position, especially side control, I have learned to not panic when on the bottom. That shows I've come a long way since my first fight! And I do feel pretty comfortable with guard because I have a very active guard. I can defend strikes and submissions well from there, and I can often land strikes and get a submission of my own from there as well.

Q: One thing I really liked is you were always trying something, from the top, bottom, wherever, always looking for the submission. Is that something that is typical for you, or did you just feel it was the right strategy here?
A: There are so many different options with which to submit somebody that I'm almost always able to go for something, so I don't like to just lay there and give my opponent any unnecessary opportunities. I like to keep them defending submissions and strikes so that they have difficulty landing any of their own. And if I try enough things, then I can usually pull off something.

Q: What were you feeling when you finally did finish her?
A: I felt very blessed and relieved! She was a challenging opponent who pushed me nearly to the limits of my strength and abilities. Hopefully, because of that, my strength and abilities will expand and I'll return to the cage better than ever.

Q: Are there any fighters you are a fan of or love to watch?
A: Megumi Fujii and Erik Paulson are a couple of the best submission specialists in the world. When it comes to striking, it's all about Anderson Silva, Manny Pacquiao, and Jose Aldo. Cris "Cyborg" and Brock Lesnar are beasts in their divisions. Sarah Kaufman, Jon Jones, Ben Henderson, and GSP are not only highly talented fighters, but they also behave as good role models in the sport. Most importantly, while my husband doesn't currently compete in a cage or ring, he is my greatest inspiration as a martial artist.

Q: In your opinion, who are the top five female fighters in the sport pound for pound?
A: Megumi Fujii, Sarah Kaufman, and Cyborg are definitely in the top three, but the list gets a bit muddled after that. There is a growing number of talented women coming up through the ranks, so we'll see who can make themselves stand out from the rest of the pack.

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: As much as WMMA is growing, it is still a novelty at most shows because there are still a lot less female fighters than men. And a lot of people are impressed to see women who aren't afraid to get into the cage and lay it all out on the line. So a lot of the excitement starts from the crowd itself. As for the women themselves, they don't tend to put on "boring" fights because they usually don't carefully circle around one another to strategically pick and time their shots. A lot of my peers still rely on aggression to overwhelm their opponents.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about female fighters?
A: That it doesn't hurt when we get kneed in the groin! But other than that, a lot of people think that all female fighters lack technical skills. True - many of them do, as do a lot of men. But there are also some women out there who have the proper instruction and work ethic to become technically skilled fighters rather than just aggressive fighters. Those women put a lot of men to shame.

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: Don't rush into competing. Make sure that you get the proper amount of training first. Way too many people, especially women, take their first fights after only about three months or so of training. They do so under the false assumption that cagefighting is a lot easier than it actually is. I myself never dreamt that it would be so hard. My suggestion: 6 months to 2 years of training minimum.

Q: Outside of training and fighting, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: My husband and I love to stay involved with the church and study scripture. We also like to relax from all the training by going to the movies or vegging out in front of the TV. I have a BA in English and have always been a writer, so I try to make time for that when I can. I currently write MMA articles online for the Columbus Examiner (and soon for this site as well!), and I try to work on my fiction in addition to that.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Trisha Barr.
A: I typically try to do cardio and writing in the morning, strength-training and housework in the afternoon, martial arts and quality time with my husband in the evening, and prayer and scripture before bed.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 20 and could barely get up out of a chair by myself much less think about cagefighting someday, but I have come a long way by the grace of God and continue to be a testimony of His miraculous healing. Another interesting fact is that, despite what people have seen me do in recent fights, neither I nor my instructor have any rank in BJJ.

Q: Describe Trisha Barr in five words.
A: I am faithful, honest, determined, resilient, and respectful.

Q: So whats next for you?
A: I plan to continue training hard and improving my fight record. I want to fight at the amateur level for at least another year to continue learning and gaining experience before possibly turning pro. In the meantime, my husband and I intend to expand our fight team and invest in a larger school. We also have some other business ventures that we're looking into. Ultimately, we want to grow spiritually, find the Lord's will for our lives, and walk it out.

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: I currently have no sponsors to promote, but I am an evangelist at heart who encourages everybody to have a relationship with Jesus! Other than that, people should come check out our school if wanting to practice martial arts, train MMA, learn self-defense, or even just to improve fitness. Just look up Infinity Arts in Cambridge, Ohio and give us a call.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Trisha Barr the fighter and person?
A: I do welcome sponsors, who can contact me by email ( or by calling Infinity Arts. I am a constantly improving fighter with a lot of heart, and I believe in treating my opponents with respect. Most importantly, I try to give glory to God in all that I do.

Q: Trisha again, I want to thank you for doing this. In a few minutes you went from unknown to me to being a new favorite of mine. I see tons of potential and really think you can and will do big things in this sport. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks so much - I really appreciate it! Hopefully, I can meet that potential. No matter what, I will spend the rest of my life learning and getting better. Martial arts is a lifestyle, not a hobby. God bless!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jaimi Mize Interview

Jaimi Mize is one of the two beautiful women behind Iron Angels. Jaimi is that rare combination of beauty, great physique, intelligence, and kindness. Her story to get into the shape she is in is actually rather inspiring. If you are not familiar with Jaimi, I suggest you become familiar and don't forget to check out

Q: First Jaimi, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Its my pleasure Jason.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born and raised in Texas. I'm a proud Texan for sure! I was raised by my father Kim Mize, he was a single father and did what he could to provide for me and my brother Shane. My mom and my stepdad were very much a part of my life as well. I never was really into sports that much in fact I was the mascot at Burleson High School lol I don't admit that to alot people. I was what I considered a little overweight. The summer before my senior year I began having an eating disorder to be exact anorexia. I got down to 98 pounds then got really sick. After I got sick I started gaining weight back and started going to a local gym and I never looked back after that.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I saw a picture of Monica Brant and I wanted to look just like her. After I got sick I had ordered one of her DVD's and it motivated me so much. Still to this day she is some one I look up to

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: My body actually reacted very quick, I was shocked how easy I could put on muscle. I think it was just something my body had never experienced , I wasn't the most active person back in the day.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: Again really goes back to seeing that picture of Monica Brant. I never thought that I could get to that level. I started training back in 2003 and year by year by body got closer and closer to my goal. I'm very hard on myself and I struggled with alot of mind games that preventing me from competing. I researched so much on competing and got nutrition and training certs so I dedicated my life to train athletes for shows. I've trained with some amazing people over the years that I learned so much from Quincy Taylor and Trish Warren to name a few.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends support?
A: My family has always supported me in any path I took in fitness. When I do step on that stage they will be first people I will hear, my family is not known to be quiet. I can honestly say that I cant wait to have them see me on stage they have been with me through all my struggles and nothing you bring me more joy. Might even shed a tear :)

Q: Anything that surprised you about the competing process?
A: I think just through my experiences with clients and living and breathing bodybuilding. You never know what to expect. The judges at one show might like something different then at another show, it can be frustrating at times cause you don't know what they want. I always tell my clients we will do what best fits your body. Of course getting in front of hundreds of people in a bathing suit or if we can even call it that lol can always be nerve racking I don't care who you are.

Q: What would you say is your best body part?
A: Oh that's easy ask anybody they would say my Hamstrings. I'm known for my legs. I've even had people tell me to get them insured! I work hard to keep them conditioned by running sprints and the good ole' stepmill

Q: Do you have a favorite part to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love to train shoulders! Back in the day I always wanted nice capped shoulders and now that I have them I admit I'm obsessed now. As far as favorite exercise I enjoy doing lateral raises, I think that has really helped round my delts.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like?
A: When not getting ready for a show or photoshoot I work out weight 4 days a week still try to keep a healthy lifestyle don't want to get to far off track. When I have gotten ready for shows in past it was a very strict eating every 2-3 hours but I keep my carbs in my diet alot of people take them out but my body reacts better with carbs. Muscles look fuller. I on the other hand have to do alot of cardio sometimes 2 hours a day to look conditioned.

Q: When people see your physique for the first time, whats the most common reaction?
A: I get stopped all the time asking me if I compete or model. I think it's rare to see a women with muscle now days. I often see some women whispering about me maybe they think I'm to big but it has never bugged me. For the most part I think people respect us for what we have to sacrifice to look they way we do.

Q: When they see it that first time, what's the one question you are most sick of hearing?
A: " How much do you bench"?! I hate that question or" Do you workout?" Come on folks.

Q: Whats the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: People automatically think you take steroids. That really stirs me up if you eat right you can look just as good. I'm not saying that some women don't but don't label every women that has muscle. It makes people that have a goal to step on that stage think they cant do it without it.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: Best is definitely when you look in the mirror and see muscles that you never thought you had. You feel beautiful cause everything you try on looks good. The worst part besides strict dieting would have to be the after effects. I see it with my clients you can get a little depressed because you know you need to gain some weight back but its very hard on the mind.

Q: Any competitors you admire or are a fan of?
A: Monica Brant of course! I also admire Trish Warren, Jessica Paxton-Putnam and Traci Redding

Q: What is your favorite cheat food?
A: Your going to make me crave this now and I'm dieting for a photoshoot! I love Ihop pancakes!

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: I would tell her what Trish Warren told me one time. "Have fun" Which to me is the best advice cause you can get caught up with everything but if your not enjoying yourself then why do it.

Q: Do you think it is becoming more accepted by society to see women training in the gym as hard as men?
A: I think and I hope it is. I don't think society will ever accept women bodybuilders but for the most part back in the day you would never see a women in the free weight area. Now we are everywhere!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love to spend time with my family. We live in pretty the same area so we do alot of things together. I also have another addiction I watch FOXnews all the time, politics has always interested me.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Jaimi Mize.
A: Its pretty simple, If I'm not working for my stepdad. I wake up and go straight to the computer and start networking that can last up to 4 hours some days. I , of course, leave time for my workout and cardio. Usually have a couple of clients I train in the afternoons. I'm really busy right now with my business partner Brandi and our new company Iron Angels, LLC. Getting all the legal aspects nailed down can be stressful.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I was the mascot at my high school. We were the Elks so I wore a hot elk suit.

Q: Describe Jaimi Mize in five words.
A: Caring-Fun-Corny-Giving-Loving

Q: Can you tell people about Iron Angels?
A: Yes! Iron Angels consists of me and fitness and bikini model Brandi McCauley. Our website will be up and running September 2010. On the site you will find cute apparel designed by Brandi and myself along with workout attire designed by myself. There will also be links to our blogs, updated diary, our youtube reality series, which tracks us daily on what it takes to make it in this business, training packages for purchase and an exclusive VIP membership also available.

Q: Any set plans for the near future?
2A: As of right now focusing on my company and fitness modeling. We have a photoshoot set up with the amazing Dan Ray in mid August and some more in September for our website. We will be doing promo events which you can find our schedule on our website in September. Along with on reality series on youtube which you can subscribe to for free find it under Iron Angels. Brandi and myself do look to compete next year not sure which shows at this time

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Check out our website
Follow us on twitter- Iron Angels, we can also be found on myspace and facebook under iron angels and don't forget to check out our reality series on youtube under iron angels.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you?
A: We would love sponsors for our website and individually as athletes we can be reached at We booth have done several booth work for companies, if your interested we have references.

Q: Again, Jaimi, thanks so much for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: I appreciate your support of women in this industry. Much respect to you. If anybody out there wants to be on Iron Angels mailing list email us at ironangels007@yahoo.comThank you

What is Living? by Lindsey McFerran

What is Living? In the Realm of a Training Lifestyle:

I am so sick of people saying and thinking bodybuilders don’t live. What does that even mean? Living a training lifestyle, we don’t live. What is living? Maybe the bodybuilder and the Average Joe have a different concept of what is considered living. So I am going to explain what living for me is. I love this lifestyle, I like eating healthy and feeling that I am in control of my body which in terms leads to a healthy mind.

Living for me, A FIGURE COMPETITOR (Bodybuilder)

1. Rush of being onstage, knowing that you are working towards something

2. The feeling I get when I leave the gym after I had a monster weight workout or an awesome cardio session

3. The fact that I can control myself meaning I have the ability to set goals and achieve them

4. I live for a big bowl of oats with chocolate protein powder instead of a McDonalds Big Mac

5. I live for the feeling of knowing I have worked as hard as I can to achieve something which is a polished physique or anything else I want

Reading these (aside from the oats one of course) do you think they all pertain to training and diet? OF COURS NOT!!!!!!!! Are you blind?

So what is living to the Average Joe that I am apparently lacking?

1. Seeking satisfaction from food or other external sources like alcohol or drugs
2. Not exercising or having a feeling of accomplishment
3. Not Goal-oriented
4. Lack of hard work ethic

And for any competitors, bodybuilders, figure competitors or even athletes the people that criticize this lifestyle are the ones who are not able to live it themselves. Like I have said in previous blogs and I will say it again WE ARE A RARE BREED! Just look around.

I just want to clarify I am not dissing or bagging on people who are not into the whole training and dieting. I am just saying how about you just accept it and leave the CRITICISM AT THE DOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s my life and you need to accept it or get the F*** out and stop making assumptions about me not living a fulfilled life!

Sorry if this is a little more real then my usual blogs but it has to be said

AYO AYO AYO Keep training hard and your eye on the prize

More Than Air?? by Lacey Schuckman

More then Air???

So I got a video email the other day. It was a video of a motivational speaker talking to youth about success. His break down was this: When you want to breathe as much as you want to succeed, that is when you will be successful. So I got to thinking how could I apply this to the MMA world? Then I started to dwell on my feelings over my current loss by way of Rear Naked Choke. In my 20 fight experience it was the first time I had ever tapped out in a fight the worst part I wasn't even submitted. I was paniced, I was scared, and I gave up. Thats when it hit me: When you want to win as much as you want to breathe when you are in that choke, that is when you will win!!!

Now obviously this is metiphorical but what I am saying is that when you want to fight out of that choke, or submission more then you want the physical air you need to survive that is when you will have won your personal battle. A huge part of fighting is about how you challange yourself by literally pitting yourself against yourself. The mental battle is so much tougher then the physical.

You have to "want" to win it's not something that is given to you. It is something not only do you have to train for, you have to live for. It has to be so important that it hurts inside to imagine it not being a part of your life. Obvioulsy you can't win everytime but you can win your personal battles and be more satisfied in your growth not only as a fighter but as a person. You leave that cage a different human everytime and you want to make sure that when you come out, you haven't left anything to be desired! Go in everytime and fight your whole fight because then you won't be left with the what if! If you love MMA and it is what you want to be successful at then you have to want it more then oxygen! You must tap into your warrior spirit and bring out your beast within! Use all of your talents to full potential and go get it done, EVERYTIME!!! Winning isn't everything but it is much nobler to die trying then to defeat yourself and choose to fail!

-Lacey Schuckman

Thanks to my sponsors: Tussle Fight Gear , Fight Soap , Carried Out Fight Gear , Primial Instinct Fight Wear , and First String Athletics !!! Good luck to my wonderful husband Randall Schuckman as he takes on Abe Alvarado September 24th in his 14th amatuer mma fight for the RMBB 125lbs. title in Denver, CO!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

NAAFS Eve Of Destruction

As a long time fan of mixed martial arts, I watch if whenever or wherever I can find it. One such place is on the weekly television show for the NAAFS. I like companies like the NAAFS, because it is filled with young, hungry fighters trying to make a name for themselves. The result is men and women doing their best to put on entertaining fights.
I had never been to an NAAFS show, despite them staging their shows in my own home state of Ohio. Mostly because I don't have friends who follow the sport, and those who do think MMA is really just the UFC. SO who wants to go alone? Then I heard of the NAAFS putting on their Eve Of Destruction show, Ohio's first all women's MMA show. Even better, a friend from Vancouver was booked on the show, and finally we could meet in person. I wanted to do a story on her and decided I should do one on the entire show. Thanks to the great people with the NAAFS, namely Jake Digman and Nichole Long, I was given a press pass. Unfortunately my friend had to pull out from the show. But I still was very interested in covering it. Especially when I found out Tara LaRosa, one of, if not the pound for pound best fighters in the sport, would be there.
So then a little bit of fear set in. I mean, I just interview people. Can I write a story that would make them glad they allowed me to cover it? But quickly I realized, I love the sport, I love to write, so seems like a natural to me, so what is there to fear?
So on fight day, I set out to make the forty-five minute drive to the show, wanting to arrive early to kind of get a feel for everything. I arrived and saw a long line to get in. Longer than I even expected. I made my way past the line to get my press pass and entered. The first person I saw was a woman named Nichole Long. After taking a second to try and figure out why this woman is not a high paid Supermodel, I decided to approach her and introduce myself. Nichole is the amateur matchmaker for the NAAFS. I found Nichole to be incredibly friendly. Then I noticed half the building seemed to be wearing shirts for Jessica Eye, a fighter I knew of, but had yet to see fight. I was thinking to myself "Did her whole family come and bring all their friends?" But the reality is, as Nichole stated, "Jessica has a huge local fan base....... she has a ton of fans, but at the same time, she earned them", and I would later see why.
With an hour till fight time, I decided to take my seat by the cage, just to soak in the atmosphere and observe everything going on around me. Sitting there I realized when watching the different fighters scuttling, it has to be hard to put together an all female card. Has to be a lot more work. Nichole says it was "ten times harder and also that makes in ten times more rewarding." Nichole is pretty busy on fight day, taking care of paperwork, weighing-in fighters, helping make sure everything runs smoothly, and "bringing tape and garbage bags in case someone forgets their sauna suit", but I could also see throughout the night, she had a real sense of pride over this show. This is revealed in her statement "I have been wanting to do (an all women's show) for about a year now." Then I thought back to my friend who had to pull-out close to fight day. How hard is it to replace a fighter that close to a show with such short notice? "I had several fighters pull-out the week of the show. Luckily the female MMA community all supports one another......sending me names" Nichole said.
Fight time arrives. The crowd is filled with hardcore fans, the usual people who don't really understand the sport but just want to see a fight, and family and friends of some fighters. One thing I noticed right away is ring announcer Jake Digman. I mentally said to myself "He out Bruce Buffer's Bruce Buffer" with an obvious enthusiasm for what he is doing. Jake is not just the ring announcer, he is also in charge of media relations for the NAAFS and is responsible for me covering the show. His ring announcing really helps bring the crowd up and get them excited. You can't teach that kind of passion.
The fights continued, each one exciting in it's own way. Leading to the main event, two fighters really impressed me. One was Trisha Barr. Trisha fought Shannon Floyd. It was interesting because while I found Trisha the more talented fighter, I had to give Shannon the first two rounds. She used a size advantage on Trisha to push her around and get on top on the ground. But I was very impressed in Trisha constantly looking for submissions and felt she was going to catch her, and she did. Trisha showed the poise, heart, and skill of a much more experienced fighter. Plus as Jake Digman said afterward, "Trisha Barr is the most polite fighter!" Trisha Barr is loaded with potential.
Also, I was impressed with Tamikka Brents. Tamikka got a first round TKO over Tera Carper. Tamikka came out aggressive landing good strikes before getting the takedown. On the ground she was dominant, twice going for an arm, before finally using great ground and pound until the ref had to step in and stop it. It is easy to see why Tamikka is undefeated and is another one loaded with potential.
Later in the night, I got my chance to meet Tara LaRosa, even though I had to miss a fight to talk with her. Tara was amazing. We talked about the sport, shared thoughts on some fighters, and I got her to agree to an interview. Meeting Tara by itself made this night worth it.
Main Event time. Jessica "Evil" Eye vs Marissa "Shorty" Caldwell". I was amazed at the crowd support for Jessica. Is this normal when she fights? According to Nichole Long "Every time she fights, we see the crowd the same way, loud and excited!" Watching her in the cage, I soon saw the reason for that excitement. For fifteen minutes, Jessica was non-stop excitement. Whether standing or on the ground, she was in control. She showed tremendous skill. The fact she didn't finish Marissa is a testament to Marissa's heart, as she kept plugging away, never gave up, when many would have. I don't think a single person was in their seats the whole fight. When the anti-climactic score cards were read and Jessica got the unanimous decision, the place erupted. Jessica is going to be a star, and as Nichole Long put it, "Keep your eye on this girl, she's gonna go far in this sport." Very true words.
After the last fights, several fighters took time to talk with fans, including Jessica, who seemed to really enjoy taking pictures with several fans. I thought "How great is that? It's that kind of atmosphere and willingness to interact that keeps fans coming back."
On my drive home I reflected on the show and was so impressed. Great fights, great people, and so professionally run. The people with the NAAFS clearly make sure to put on entertaining, fan friendly shows. I suggest anyone who is close enough, get out there and see them when you can. You won't be disappointed. For a very reasonable price, you will be highly entertained.
So whats my last thoughts on Ohio's first all female MMA show? I loved it and hope Nichole is successful in her goal to make this "an annual event that NAAFS puts on." When I asked Nichole to rate the show from 1 to 10, her response was a very accurate "....Every girl who fought that night really wanted to be there and it showed. They put on a hell of a show." I agree with Nichole when she rated this NAAFS show "a 10!"