Sunday, October 17, 2010
IFBB Pro Tonia Moore Interview
Even before I started doing this blog and learning the sport, Tonia Moore was one of my favorite bodybuilders. Getting to know her, Tonia Moore is now one of my favorite people. On stage I saw her as this beautiful woman with an incredible physique. Now I know she is even more beautiful on the inside. She has helped me with advice in my own competing goals, when she could have turned me away. She has been battling crohn's disease, and battling it with the same strength she shows in the gym. You would expect someone who competes in such an appearance based individual sport to shy away from the public and not want to have people see her in anything but top shape. But Tonia has been very open in discussing and posting photos and videos of her illness. Tonia Moore the bodybuilder has been an inspiration, now read about why Tonia Moore the woman is such an inspiration.
Q: First Tonia, thanks so much for taking the time out to do a second interview.
A: Hey Jason...no problem at all...it's a great pleasure.
Q: For those who may be unfamiliar can you tell a little about yourself?
A: Hmmm let's see...I'm a Cali girl, born and raised in Long Beach. I'm 5'1" mixed with Spanish, Irish, Am. Indian, French & German. I'm an IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, Personal Trainer, Actor & soon to be Zumba Instructor (I love dance). I was a dancer in High School, I started working out not so serious in like 1990-1991 but serious weight training as in bodybuilding in 1992, I began competing in 1993, I'm a 2x USA Lightweight Champion of 1997 & 1999 and as far as I know I'm the 2nd person to ever obtain the USA LW title twice...the 1st is Clifta Coutler. I earned my IFBB Pro card in 2001 at the NPC National's, I have a Min-Pin dog named Lucy, and a ferret named Lisa....I love animals, oh and I'm a survivor fighting & living with Crohn's Disease...I was diagnosed June 12, 2009
Q: For those who may not know, you have been battling Crohn's Disease. Health wise, how have you been doing?
A: Yes I have, and what a serious battle it's been for me. My story is on my websites Blog area at www.blog.toniamoore.com/?p=46 As for my health now...well I'm soooo glad to say I'm feeling a whole lot better and that my life has not been revolving around the toilet or staying in bed from pain & chronic fatigue. My symptom's right now are practically zero....making me wonder some days if I really do have this awful disease. I'm glad to be off that nasty steroid Prednisone generally used for Crohn's, and my doctor just took me off another medication called 6-MP in the class of chemotherapy drugs. Right now I'm only on 2 medications for my Crohn's and that is Colazal (6 pills daily), & Remicade Infusion's every 8 wks at the infusion clinic. I also take my regular vitamins/minerals & health supplements like Omega's, Vitamin C., MSM, Flax Seed Caps, Iron, Folic Acid, Potassium, & Daily Detox drink. I have to say that the Remicade Infusions have helped me out tremendously...but not cheap mind you...about $12K billed out to my insurance for each infusion...I've had 4 infusions so far. But I FEEL GOOD!! YAY!!!
Q: Can you explain exactly what Crohn's is?
A: Crohn's Disease is an auto-immune disease referenced as an IBD meaning Inflammatory Bowel Disease it effects the entire digestive system from the mouth to the anus it causes thickening of the intestinal wall and inflammation of the intestinal lining (mucous membrane), causing ulcers in the intestines, mouth and all through out the digestive system (I had massive ulcers in my large intestines and in my mouth preventing me from eating). Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, weight loss, loss of appetite, along with fistulas & possible perforation of the intestines which all of the above has happened to me along with a deadly infection that almost killed me called C.diff not a lot of people are aware of this disease and how debilitating it can be. Now that I have Crohn's I just hope that I am able to help bring more awareness to this disease.
Q: Any places you can point people to to learn more about it?
A: Yes...www.crohnsonline.com, www.livingwithcrohnsdisease.com, www.webmd.com and of course my favorite for doing research is Google...I Google everything that I want to possibly find more info on.
Q: Have you been able to get back in the gym, and how much are you able to work out?
A: Yes I've been back in the gym working out again. I started off slow at first and have been gradually working my way back up the ladder. The last few weeks I've managed to be on a roll getting in the gym 4 days in a row Mon. thru Thurs., Off on Friday, Sat. Cardio only, Sunday Off again...then Monday start all over. I've been focusing a lot on my cardio, endurance & stamina making it a point to do at least 1 hour cardio each day I'm in the gym...and hit the weights for about 45mins. I have also been doing Zumba classes which is another hour of a total calorie blasting cardio workout.....I love it.
Q: Do you plan or at least hope to be back on stage at some point?
A: Hmmm good question. Right now it's up in the air for me...I'd like to see where I am in the next 6 months to possibly consider getting back on stage...it depends on where my body & genetics take me in regards to shape and size....don't know if I'll get all my size back to where I was before I got sick in order to do bodybuilding again so I'm thinking I may do Figure if I do get back on stage...but like I said...I just don't know yet. I feel like I've had to go back to the drawing board but lucky for me I still have some muscle left, good genetics & muscle memory. I'm missing a good 30lbs of hard earned muscle. Right now I'm just barely getting started again and I know I need a good solid year of training so I say check back with me in about 6 months to see where I'm at.
Q: You have been very open in discussing your medical issues, where as I think a lot of people who compete in such an appearance based sport might not be as willing to be so open about it. Why are you so willing to be so open about it?
A: You're right Jason...most people people in such a sport may not be so willing to share such an ugly time or experience in their life. I could have easily made the decision to disappear after getting sick leaving people wondering what happened to me not showing my face until I was better and back in shape again but I just couldn't do it. I love the fans, and being in connection with them and my friends. Including them in my new journey of life has been therapeutic & motivating to me. Plus of course when people saw how I looked after being sick asking me what happened I had to tell them...well I chose to tell them which in turn brings awareness to Crohn's Disease. Another thing, as for me, aside from my achievements & the persona I represent I have never thought of myself to be better than anyone. We are all human beings...and I too like any body else can be knocked down in life facing struggles. It's how we react & what we do when we are faced with these struggles that define us as individuals. I feel that if by sharing my story helps another person out there in some way shape or form then I have done a good deed. Motivation, & Inspiration comes in all shapes & sizes which can be manifested in more ways than one...I just want to be a contribution to that. Health & Fitness is my career and what I'm about and going through this has added to my experience & education as a Health & Fitness Professional so I am able to help others even more.
Q: Have you been following the sport much while you are battling this illness?
A: Yes and no...I try to keep up but I am not always good at it...lol I have been trying to stay active & involved in the sport by going to the local shows still showing my face & my support and I also have been going through the process to become a local NPC Judge. Since I'm not competing right now I figured I'd become a judge...once I'm officially in we'll see how I like doing that.
Q: Any competitors who have impressed you lately?
A: Well Iris Kyle is the first on my list, then I'd have to say Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia, Heather Ambrust, Betty Viana-Adkins...and one gal that has really impressed me and is my light ray of hope for making a come back (on stage or not) is Danielle Gardner who looks great and has yet to have competed....she too like myself is a Crohn's Disease patient who has had this disease much longer than I have...she's been living with Crohn's for about 10 years and has had surgery and been in the hospital a lot more times than me....and has fought her way through it and looks awesome considering the challenges crohn's brings especially to a bodybuilder...if she can do it so can I. She is #1 to me.
Q: Is there anyone right now you think has a chance to take the Olympia from Iris?
A: Well from the looks of this years Olympia, which was a very good show by the way...I'd say Yaxeni is pretty up there...Iris has lost to her before already, so it's a close one...but I still think & I always say Iris is in a league of her own.
Q: Is getting back on stage the victory or is there a certain level you want to get back to?
A: Living life, working out & getting back into shape is my victory right now....but yes if I do get back on stage that too would be a great victory to me.
Q: How far do you think you would be now if not for this big setback?
A: Last year I was where I wanted to be size wise...I was prepping for the NY Pro show before I had to pull out from getting sick...I had planned on bringing to the stage a package more like the one that won me my Pro Card in 2001...that was my goal. I believe I would've been doing pretty good placing in the top 5 for sure in the shows.
Q: You also do personal and online training. What do you enjoy about helping others?
A: It feels great knowing that I've helped someone improve their quality of life inside and out...BODY - MIND - SPIRIT getting a person to reach their goals and make new ones is such a treasure to me and makes me happy.
Q: Can you tell people what services you offer?
A: I offer One-on-One Personal Training in person or Online via Webcam for those that are not local or in another state or country, I'm also available for Group Training like outdoor Boot Camp...and then their is Zumba in which I will become a licensed Instructor next month and then I will be available at select gyms. I am just now working on building my business back up since I did not work while being sick.
Q: If someone was interested, how can they reach you.
They can reach me through my website www.toniamoore.com as a VISITOR and clicking on my BLOG Link and to the left you will find my CONTACT ME & PERSONAL TRAINING pages with ways to reach or simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and to my Facebook friends my Contact Info. is on my Info. page.
Q: You have kept yourself busy doing things such as visiting military bases. Can you share at all what you do with that?
A: LOL....well I work on the Marine base in the desert of 29 Palms, California as a "Role Player" for a company that's contracted with the U.S. Marine Corps...basically an acting job...doing "Cultural Simulation Training Mission's" for the Marine's that are getting deployed out to Afghanistan. My Role is an Afghani woman...we live there on the base out on a range that they've replicated to be that of a village in Afghanistan simulating the ways of their life & culture. I wear a burqa and remain fully covered up when I come out of our living quarters....and as an Afghani women we are not to have any interaction with the Marine's we are to run & hide from them and they are to never see our face. It's a pretty interesting experience seeing and learning how they live. Makes you appreciate the freedom we have here in the U.S. They run several of these Mission's a month but the big Mission that I work is usually once a month and it lasts for 4 1/2 getting paid for 70.5 hours of work but to me it's like getting paid to be on camping trip roughing it. I enjoy it...
Q: You also have a great website. Can you give out the address and tell people what they can find there?
A: Thank you very much....glad you like it. My Official Website is www.ToniaMoore.com
Q: As the owner of one, I can say, you sell a really cool Tonia Moore shirt as well as signed photos. Is the best way to get those by visiting your website?
A: They can reach me through my website as stated above....sorry to say that you can not order them through my store because I do not have a paypal account at this time (they banned me...long story) so you just have to email me if you want to purchase any items.
Q: Finish this sentence. In three years Tonia Moore will be.......
A: Healthy, Happy, Successful, and in Love with Life...and perhaps with a person too...lol
Q: When it is all over, how would you like people to remember Tonia Moore the bodybuilder?
A: I want people to remember me in the sport as a down to earth person that loves the sport & the fans and as a person that represented the sport well with a complete package encompassing poise, muscularity, and feminine beauty with class & style. Remembering that it was my hard work & dedication that got me there.
Q: I know you well enough to know that if you say you will compete again, then you will compete again. So are you looking for sponsors? If so what are they getting in Tonia Moore?
A: Well I guess when that time comes if or when I make the decision to compete again that I may want to seek for sponsors. Anyone who sponsors me will be getting a person that represents health, fitness, hard work, determination, passion & integrity with a champion attitude & the will to fight.
Q: Anything else you may want to plug or promote?
A: I just want to plug in my wish & hope for everyone to be true to your self, to love & take care of yourself....Mind - Body - Spirit you only have one Body be kind to it and don't take it or anything else in life for granted. Got Gutts!!
To keep in mind that you can find me on the following sites......
Q: Tonia, again, thanks. You know you are one of my role models and have helped me in my own competing journey, and I think you are such a special person. Any last words before you go?
A: I just want to Thank You Jason for this opportunity and for your hard work and dedication that you have put into this site and the recognition of us female athletes...you should really be proud of your self knowing that you can do anything you put your mind to. I'm always here for ya to help any way I can. Much love and respect to you....your friend always from Cali.