Thursday, October 28, 2010

IFBB Pro Mandy Henderson Interview

The word inspiration gets thrown out a lot. Few people are as deserving of that word as Mandy Henderson is. As you will read, after 6 years, 17 shows and medical issues, Mandy earned her IFBB Pro card at USA's. Count me as one of the many who felt she deserved it before that, but she has it and Mandy is going to keep getting better and do some incredible things as an IFBB Figure Pro.

Q: First, Mandy, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for being interested.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I was born and raised in Newark, CA and just moved to Morgan Hill. I am married and have a 12 year old son. I also have 2 Yorkies. So, I basically have 4 kids:)

Q: Before you started training, were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports?
A: I never really played any sports other than cheerleading. I was a cheerleader all four years of high school. I was always the one who got thrown up in the air because of my size. Being the flier meant I got dropped a lot!

Q: What initially led you to the gym?
A: I always thought women with muscles looked amazing. Up until my junior year in high school, I thought I was in good shape. I could eat anything I wanted and stayed tiny. Then, I gained 8 lbs over one summer. That's a lot of weight when you're only 4'11". When people started singing "Baby Got Back" to me, I decided it was time to go to the gym.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I was pretty strong when I started lifting, but I didn't see results until I focused on my diet. Once I started eating clean, it took about 3 months to notice a change.

Q: How long were you training before you decided to compete and what made you decide to compete?
A: I trained for about 8 years before I decided to compete. I had always wanted to compete but was too chicken. My husband was the one who encouraged me to do my first show.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time,and how about now?
A: My husband and son supported me every step of the way. When I felt like quitting, they were right behind me motivating me to keep going. The motto in our house is to never give up. My husband didn't want me to regret not living out my dream of competing. Six years later, they are still my biggest fans.

Q: Was that first show what you expected? Did anything surprise you?
A: The first time I stepped on stage, I was hooked. The show was so much more than I expected. I was surprised at how addicting it would become. Every show was my last show until this last season.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: I competed in about three amateur shows until I actually placed. I placed 2nd at the San Jose Bodybuilding Championships in 2007 (I think) qualifying for nationals. I competed and did not place in the top ten for almost two entire seasons. Both years, I competed at Team Universe, USA and Nationals. Then, finally, I took 2nd place at National in 2008. I had a great season in 2009. I took 2nd place at Jr. Nationals and USA. I also placed 4th at Team Universe and Nationals. 2010 didn't start out quite as well. I took 6th at Jr Nationals but then placed 3rd at Team Universe. Then, FINALLY, I took 1st place at the USA's on July 31, 2010. My height class win made me eligible for my PRO CARD. I am now and official IFBB Figure Pro!!! Woohoo!

Q: What would you consider your best body part or the one that gets the most compliments?
A: I get the most compliments on my legs.

Q: Do you have a favorite part to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love training back because I can do a lot of pull-ups:)

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I workout 6-7 days a week on and off-season. I eat clean 80% of the time when I'm off-season. When I'm on-season, I eat 98% clean and double my cardio time.

Q: When someone sees or hears you training and compete for the first time, what is the most common response? More negative or positive?
A: Most people have positive comments when they learn I compete. There are also some people that can't understand why I compete. They constantly ask when I'm going to be done with all the dieting. They make it seem like it affects them in some way. That gets a little old and frustrating but most people are very interested and ask a lot of questions. I think people are fascinated with fitness and appreciate the discipline that competitors have.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question you are sick of hearing?
A: "How can I lose weight if I don't have time to exercise?" I tell them that I get up at 3 a.m. That usually ends the conversation.

Q: Are there any misconceptions about women who train and compete or anything you wish people understood?
A: A lot of people think all women who compete don't work or have families. I would say at least 85% of competitors have full time jobs and are moms.

16. Do you think women who have the kind of body you have are becoming more accepted and respected instead of the skinny Paris Hilton type figure?
A: I think it's getting better but I think there are still people who think skinny is more attractive.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: The best part of competing is making life-long friends in the industry. The worst part of competing is spending more time at the gym than home with the family.

Q: Do you have any competitors you are a fan of or admire?
A: I admire every single competitor who has dedicated themselves to this amazing sport. Whether they compete at one show or 50 shows, every one of them is a champion and has achieved a true accomplishment!

Q: If someone told you that they wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give them?
A: I would encourage them to never give up. It took me 6 years and 17 National Level Shows to achieve my goal of getting my Pro Card. I've had 3 major back surgeries and still never gave up. Whether they want to get on stage or just look their personal best, just do it! Don't make excuses.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Anything chocolate! Or, McDonald's Fries

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy doing anything with my family!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Mandy Henderson.
A: The alarm goes off at 300 AM, coffee and internet time, gym by 345 AM, cardio, weights, home to shower, start work at 630 AM, home to cook for family by 5 PM, ALWAYS eat and talk about the day with husband and son at the dinner table, more cardio (if competition coming up), shower and in bed with hubby by 8 PM. Wow, I'm tired just thinking about it:)

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I have had medical problems my entire life... BUT, this 4'11" itty bitty person has overcome 3 major back surgeries and is now an IFBB Figure Pro!

Q: Describe Mandy Henderson in five words
A: Maybe six? Mandy Henderson: mighty, determined, motivated, passionate, mother...and very blessed

Q: Any set plans as far as competing or any other projects?
A: Possibly make my Pro Debut at Jon Lindsay's Border States Pro. Not set in stone yet. I'm planning on enjoying the family for a little while (and yummy food).

Q: Is there anything you want to take the opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I want to thank my husband Ken for putting up with my crankiness and never giving up on me. My son Jeff for inspiring me when he became a Black Belt, my mom for always being there, my trainer Mike Davies who always knew how hard to push me, Jon Lindsay for being a great mentor and friend and to all of my friends (and fans...surreal to think I have fans) who supported me whether I won or lost. Last but definitely not least, the Big Guy Upstairs who guided me every step of the way! I am very blessed!

Q: Are you looking for any sponsors? If so, how can they reach you, and what are they getting in Mandy Henderson the athlete and competitor?
A: I am ABSOLUTELY looking for sponsors! They are getting a motivated, passionate athletic role model that has never given up. I promise to give 110% of myself to promote the company! My email address is

Q: Mandy, again, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am truly thankful for the opportunity to express my gratitude to everyone who took the time to get to know me a little better. I would be honored to hear from anyone with questions or
Thank you so much!


  1. Thank you so much for posting this Jason! I can't explain how amazing it feels to have someone post my story and believe in me...thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I forgot to mention my new website designed by the beautiful Fitdesmar.

  2. All the thanks is to you. It is my pleasure

  3. Mandy Henderson was arrested in Las Vegas for Felony Workers Comp fraud. She claimed to have a medical disability that prevented her from lifting and bending.