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 !