Monday, January 31, 2011

Rita Penteado Interview

If I were to be asked name the one bodybuilder who does not get as much credit as she deserves, Rita Penteado is easily my answer. The goal is to win right? Rita does..... every time. She has won every show she has done. She has been unable to do National shows due to being Brazilian. That is a shame because I truly believe Rita could do those and continue winning. She is prepping for the Arnold's, and seeing her on stage will be a highlight of the weekend for me. Rita is also an incredibly nice person, offering me support in my own goals. Rita brings a physique, beauty, stage presence and energy to the stage that very few can match.

Q: Rita, thanks for taking the time out to do a second interview.
A: My pleasure being on your website again!

Q: For those who may have missed the first interview, can you tell a little about
A: Well, I am originally from Brazil and came to the US in 2008. I've been training
since I was 15 but only started competing at 25. I am graduated in Physical
Education by a very respected Brazilian University and was working as a personal
trainer before I moved here. Fitness is my passion and I dedicate my life to a
healthy lifestyle and hard training. That's what makes me happy!

Q: Congrats on 2010. What were your feelings on the shows you did?
A: Thanks again! I am very satisfied with the results from 2010 and extremely excited
for 2011. I've been working to improve my physique and learning more and more about
diet and contest preparation every day, so hopefully I will show a great
improvement this season.

Q: So you have won every show you have done, but because of not being a citizen you
have been unable to do National shows. Does that get frustrating? Would you like to
be able to step up and do National shows?
A: Oh sure!!!! I wont call it frustrating but its more challenging (well, a little
frustrating...)....I have to figure out ways to go to higher levels of competition.
I am only allowed to do regional shows and, even been qualified for National level,
I cant do it because I am Brazilian...I should compete Nationals in my country, but
living here in US makes it a little complicated to travel all the way there to
compete (and very expensive too).

Q: After pre-judging do you have a good idea about how you will finish?
A: We always look at the pre-judging pictures before the night show to check out what
I should improve, if I posed nicely and also to see the opponents strong/weak
points so we can have an idea of what to do for the night show. The most important
part is the pre-judging, when the decisions are made. If u know u did great, then
is time to plan the battle for the Overall.

Q: You look amazing every time. How did you feel about the overall package your
brought to the stage in 2010?
A: Awwwwww, Thank you very very much! I give a lot of attention to all the details I am going to show on stage. I think bodybuilding is not only about the physique/muscles
itself but the complete presentation, so I focus on my hair, make up, suit, nails
and performance so that I walk on the stage looking as feminine and pretty as I can
look and always bring my best smile to the stage.

Q: What part of your physique would you say made the biggest improvements in the
last year?
A: My lower body for sure. I am working hard on it and its improving very very well!

Q: Was there one aspect of your physique you thought could have been better or you
wan to improve on?
A: More thickness and more details in my glutes, hamstrings, quads, inner thighs and
lower lats/lower back...all the power parts.

Q: Did your prep go as smoothly as hoped for this year?
A: Yes, its going as planned and I am very positive with the results.

Q: Is there a point in the prep process where you say "O.K. I am ready"?
A: As I am walking to the stage for the pre-judging, I always carry the "I-am-ready"
feeling. Always extremely positive, knowing I did my best for that moment.

Q: Anything about the prep process that you can say you want to do different next time?
A: Just come in better, improved, more symmetrical and more conditioned. We always
have something to improve. Bodybuilding is a sport where u will always have
something to get better...its about creating yourself and getting better and better
every time.

Q: After a show , is it a mental let down at all, now that the process is over?
A: No. I always feel hungry for more! After the show, I check my pics, see what I like
and what I could make better and guide my workout for it! Competing makes me
inspired to improve my physique and get as muscular and conditioned as I can, while
keeping myself feminine and pretty. I have a vision of the body that I want to
build and that's what I am working to reach. I got a trophy in one of my shows and I
just LOVE that sculpture, so I decided I want to look like that...everyday I see
that pretty muscular girl on my desk and put my face on her body.

Q: The week before a show, what are you thinking about? Nervous or excited, or what?
A: I am always very excited and positive! I look back and see all the way I walked to
get there and, seeing the work done is an awesome feeling of victory....just for
not giving up and doing the whole preparation without losing the focus on what I
wanted to build. The support of my fans is very important and I really appreciate
all the positive energy and incentive you guys send to me in my journey about
creating myself.

Q: How about those last 5 minutes before you hit the stage, what are you thinking
A: I am thinking, "lets do it! I'm here to show the best Rita I can show"

Q: When you are on stage do you try and read the judges reactions at all or just
focus on what you are doing?
A: I focus on what I am doing and just try to show them my best...they always give me
a very nice and positive look back. Its great!

Q: Whats the first thing you eat once it is over?
A: That's a GOOD question! I plan so muuuuuch what I would like to eat when its over
that I never know what I want first! What I know, for sure, and is the BEST thing
in the world is....WATER!!!!!! HEHE Also, my stomach is so tiny after all the
months of diet that, even wanting to eat (and being allowed too!!!!) it doesn't fit
so much fairrrrrrr!

Q: How important is support from family and friends during prep and when on stage?
A: Its extremely important! Without their support is easier to give up or don't give my best. They push me if I am not as inspired as I should and always show how positive
energy can make u keep going.

Q: Which trophy are you most proud of at this point?
A: Each trophy has its own story. My first trophy is very important because its the
one that initiated all this big picture I am creating. I have extra care for that

Q: Have you decided when you will be on stage next?
A: Yes, I did. You guys will see my progress on the next Arnold Amateur stage in 2011,a big and important show for me.

Q: Anyone you want to thank for helping you in the process this past year?
A: Yes. I want to thank all my fans, friends and family for the support and a SUPER
SPECIAL thanks to my boyfriend Justin, who is also my contest coach and biggest
believer in my potential.

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: I would like to promote the 2 best gyms I've ever been and that really put me into
the sport: Power Fitness, the gym where I work as a trainer and is a place to get
inspired (the gym has over 400...yes, literally over 400...motivational quotes
everywhere u look, from the ceilings to the floor!) and it really helps u keep
going and don't give up. Its the most inspirational gym in the world, very colorful
and full of good energy! You feel very motivated to workout since you first step
into that place! Also, Powerhouse Gym, in Syosset has an extremely special place in
my heart, because there I started being a competitor and always had all the support
from everyone, from the members to the owners...that place is like a family and I
am very thankful for them making me feel so welcome. I arrived there and my English
wasn't very good...I was shy and they were always patient and had a positive
attitude stimulating me to compete, which now is my passion!

Q: Would you like to get involved with fitness modeling?
A: That's something cool. Sometimes I do some photo shoots when dieting and I enjoy
that. I look at the pics to keep myself inspired and don't get out of shape. .

Q: Looking for any sponsors? If so what are they getting in Maria Rita Penteado the
athlete and competitor?
A: Sponsors are very welcome. I am working and improving myself and, specially now,
going on a big stage like the Arnold Amateur is a great time for sponsors to get
the best I can give. They will have a very feminine and gracious
athlete with positive and happy attitude, showing a blend of femininity, muscularity
and symmetry. To me the ultimate challenge is "how developed, conditioned and
proportioned can a female become while still maintaining her feminine features...I think that is the true beauty (and ultimate challenge) of female bodybuilding. My goal,should I be able to earn a pro card, is to compete in the new "Physique"
division as it sounds like something that is in line with my vision I see for myself in the future. I'd like to see how far I can take it and how good I can become while
maintaining a certain blend of femininity and muscularity. I believe you can do
both! That blend is different and unique to each individual. I admire the top female bodybuilders in the sport today for how developed they are,but that's not my vision for myself. I compete at 125 future vision is a vastly improve version of myself but at somewhere around 130 lbs., not 150 lbs or 160 lbs...I respect the level of development of today's top pro bodybuilders but I don't want that for myself. Its just my personal preference. Hopefully the new variety in female divisions help increase opportunity for ALL the female athletes
so that they can make money just like the men. Women are more appealing and sexy
to look at for advertisers than the men but yet the men make all the money. Why?
There are WAY more female competitors than male competitors...just add up the
numbers at any amateur show...its completely lopsided in favor of the females!
Hopefully the creation of this new division will help create more interest, appeal
and opportunity for muscular female athletes and bring more interest
from supplement companies. I'm a hard worker and a very friendly genuine person
and would represent anyone's company in a positive light. So anyone interested in
speaking with me further about sponsorship is more than welcome to contact me...and
I hope they do! I feel I have alot to offer but for now I'll just continue to
improve and work at continuing my streak of success....its been a fun ride so far.

Q: Rita, you have become someone I really admire and you have encouraged me in my
goals and it means so much. You are one of the really good people in this industry
and I know 2011 will be great for you. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks Jason!!!! You are doing a great job improving your physique and its my pleasure to support you in your journey. You support me too giving me incentive and promoting me as an athlete. Thanks for all your help and I hope 2011 will be a great year for you and for all my fans! Hope to see you guys rooting for me in 2011!

IFBB Pro Karly Woodle Interview

A friend who knows about my blog asked me if I knew a girl named Karly Woodle that he used to work with. I knew the name but knew little about her. So figured it was time to find out. In no time, I went from knowing little, to a fan. Looked at some pictures and saw a beautiful woman with a great physique (highlighted by an amazing back). What also struck me, is she seemed from those pictures to have a great stage presence and enjoy being on that stage. Asked her to do an interview which obviously she did, and she did a great interview to. She is prepping right now for the St. Louis Pro, and I am excited to see the package she brings, which will no doubt be incredible.

Q: First, Karly, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for the opportunity!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I'm an only child, originally from North Carolina. A former flight attendant, I moved to Phoenix AZ in 2006 when I rebased. Here I met one of my best friends who introduced me to my trainer and this sport.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or
A: Haha, oh no, I had a fear of team sports, I'm the ultimate klutz! I always worked out, but didn't really have all the pieces put together (diet, etc), that took some time to learn.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: One of my good friends who I worked with introduced me to my current trainer, after I decided that I wanted a better workout that would show results.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started
to see results?
A: It was pretty easy to pick up, I'm a gym rat by nature. My body has always responded well, so I saw results pretty quickly.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: My trainer is a former competitor and told me I had the genetics to do well at the sport...I went to my first bodybuilding/figure show and decided it was something I wanted to try.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: At first my family was kinda like "What?"..haha, it caught on though, they're my biggest fans. My friends are somewhat supportive...but there are always those people who want to tell you that what you're doing is unhealthy.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: My first contest prep was a bit're never ready for how you're physically going to feel. I knew it was hard but not that hard!

Q: Can you share your contest history
*2008-Tournament of Champions, 3rd place,
*2008-Excaliber, 1st place
*2009-Jr Nationals-1st place (earned pro card)
*2009 Sacramento Pro-16th place
*2010-Pittsburgh Pro-8th place
*2010-Dallas Europa SuperShow-16th place

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: My back/lats have always been my strongest body part, it's been work to bring everything else up to match.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I most enjoy back and biceps day, but my favorite exercise in general would be deadlifts.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it
for contest prep?
A: My normal training is 4 days of lifting per week, witha split of back/biceps,
chest/shoulders/triceps, and legs, with the fourth day being a mix of shoulder and leg work. My diet is consistently pretty low carb, we just change my amounts of carbs around during contest prep

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: It's a mix, a lot of people really don't understand the sport. They'll complement my physique, but then tell me what I do is way too extreme for the body to handle haha.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you
are most sick of hearing?
A: "What do you eat!!!" Most annoying question ever haha!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the
one thing you wish people understood?
A: That all of us must be taking some sort of supplement to gain muscle because it isn't normal for women to look that way...either that or we must be starving ourselves to get as lean as we do! I eat more than most guys I know!

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part is the fact that I get to compete at this level doing something I truly love, and something that allows me to channel my natural drive. Worst...I really can't think of anything.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I'm a fan of Erin Stern and Jessica Putnam.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Anything peanut butter! Hide that stuff from me!! :)

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: Most women think cardio is the answer to everything, so I'd advise her to start weight training. Also to be patient, anything worth having is worth putting in the hard work for.

Q: Do you think it is becoming more accepted by society to see women training
as hard as men in the gym?
A: It is, I feel like society is stepping away from that heroin-chic look that took over in the 90's, women want to look healthy and be strong now and I think that's commendable.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Just the normal stuff, shopping, going to movies, reading, hanging out with friends.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Karly Woodle.
A: Right now I'm in contest prep, so I get up about 4:45 (during the week), do my first cardio,come home eat, get ready for work, work til about 3:30 or 4, back home for another meal before training and my 2nd cardio, hit the tanning bed, then home to rest up!

Q: Describe Karly Woodle in five words.
A: Loyal, Ungodly stubborn, Persistent, Focused, Thoughtful

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Haha that I'm really not as mean as I look in the gym, I'm just focused!!

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I'm about 8 weeks out from the St Louis Pro right now, and I plan on competing in a handful more of shows this season.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they
getting in Karly Woodle the athlete and competitor?
A: Always interested in sponsors, my personal website is, I can be contacted through there. I have a formal education in public relations, and as an athlete and competitor, you're getting someone who lives the part full time!

Q: Karly, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words
before you go?
A: I'd like to thank you so much again for the opportunity to do this interview, I think it's awesome that you promote strong women athletes. Ladies, get off the treadmill and hit the weights with the boys!!! :o)

Lacey Schuckman Interview

This is a very special interview for me. No secret what I think of Lacey Schuckman. I have interviewed her before, I have her write for me. I think the world of her, both as a fighter and a person. So it makes me very excited to have an interview with her about her recent title win over a very talented Diana Rael. This is step one on a road to bigger and bigger things for Lacey. Lacey can go as far in this sport as she wants. She comes from a great camp run by her husband Randall, she loves the sport, and she is always improving. As she says in the interview "Lacey Schuckman is no stepping stone", that is true, in fact more and more you are going to see Lacey doing the stepping.

Q: First, Lacey I want to thank you for taking the time to do another interview.
A: Thanks for interviewing me again! Always a pleasure!

Q: For those who missed your first interview can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I am 22 years old. Born and raised in Colorado. I train at The S.H.O.P. with Team Rugburn. My husband Randall is an amateur MMA fighter as well as my coach. We train 5-6 days a week about 30+ hours a week. We do Muay Thai, Wrestling, Boxing, Strength and Conditioning, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in which we have our blue belts from Rex Payne. We also raise Pitbulls and fight against breed specific legislation. God is #1 in my life, through him I am blessed enough to do all that I get to do!

Q: I must say congrats on your Victory on January 21st for RMBB "Bad Girlz Gone Wild". A first round submission by rear naked choke over a very tough fighter named Diana Rael.
A: Thank you very much! It was a very hard training camp and it truly paid off!

Q: Was their anything that made you think that choke would be available to you in the fight?
A: I didn't I was actually totally prepared to stand and bang with Diana but I took what presented itself.

Q: What did you know about Diana as far as her style and what her strengths are?
A: I know that she has pretty exceptional Muay Thai, especially her clinch. I know that she has been cross training a lot and has been working her ground with The Pangsuko Fight Team out in Scotts Bluff. So I expected her to be pretty well rounded for this fight but definitely more of a striker.

Q: Did she fight as you expected?
A: Not at all I thought she would come out totally aggressive and bully right into clinch. She was very patient and was looking to really pick her shots. I really like fighting that type of opponent because I feel it brings out the best, most technical fights.

Q: When you first got the choke, did you know you had her right away?
A: I didn't. I thought I would just mount her and start working ground and pound or maybe bring it back to standing but when she rolled the first time, my hooks just flowed right into place. That made me more confident to ride it out and work for the choke. A few times she rolled back to being mounted. When she rolled back over and I actually started working the choke I knew I had very little time to finish it if I didn't want to go to a second round and I got a rush of confidence and just worked to finish it. By the time she tapped I had let go of my neck and thought I was going to have to work back to mount.

Q: Is there anything you can learn from this fight about yourself?
A: I ALWAYS learn about myself from every fight and every training camp! This one taught me so much discipline in my training and conditioning. I pushed myself in ways I never have. As far as the fight, I learned that the next one will not be same. Every fight will continue to get tougher and more challenging.

Q: Where would you rank this fight on your list of accomplishments?
A: I would have to say #1! Like I said before I pushed myself so hard! I ran in blizzards for miles. Sure runnings great but it was the mental strength I gained that really brought this one home for me. I was so in tune with God for this fight, my training was so intense, and I cut weight properly (even during the holidays). Everything was just right for this fight! I am so humbled by this whole camp and fight!

Q: What did you think of her over all as a fighter?
A: I think that she was ready for this fight but I think it was just my night. I've seen her ability in other fights and she's great. I think I just took her out of her element and it proved to be victorious for me. I think she will do nothing but become even better from this fight and I'm sure we will meet again!

Q: What did you think of the RMBB people?
A: I love Keith and all the Rocky Mountain Bad Boyz crew! They are like family and treat the fighters as they deserve to be treated.

Q: How long after a fight do you like to take off before getting back into training hard?
A: I only take a week off. I mainly took this week off to get fat and eat a lot because I am preparing to drop to 105lbs. and the discipline is so tough!!!

Q: Your husband Randall is also your trainer. DO you think it is a positive for you to have someone who cares so much for you guiding you?
A: Definitely because my success is his success, and my failure is his failure. When it's him or me in that cage no matter what we are both in there. We are so intune to each other it helps in cornering tremendously!

Q: Is it hard on him at all to watch you fight and get hit?
A: No I'm his fighter when I'm in there. There is no emotion just work to be done.

Q: How important is support from family and friends when getting ready to fight?
A: I am very reserved when I have fights. I really don't go out or talk on the phone. I love my family to be there for the fight and support me and be there for me win or lose. I know up to the fight my family is always praying and thinking positive for me but I am a bit of a recluse from them pre fight.

Q: I often ask what is the biggest misconception people have about female fighters. This time I will ask, what is the biggest misconception people have about Lacey Schuckman?
A: That I am a stepping stone! It's a big deal to beat "Lacey Schuckman" and move on to bigger shows and paydays but yet I don't get any recognition for being Lacey Schuckman. Then when I do well all the best think I want to step right up and fight them. I am a baby in MMA and am looking to evolve with the sport as a grow my challenges will too!

Q: Finish this sentence. In five years Lacey Schuckman ____.
A: Will be ranked in the top 3 Strawweights in the world!

Q: Anybody you want to thank for helping you get ready for the fight and supporting you?
A: My husband Randall of course. He pushed me beyond my beliefs for this fight! Team Rugburn, Corey, Kyle, Lisa, Kelly, and Justine you guys all rock!!! Slade and Tussle Fight Gear without his support as a sponsor and friend no way could I have made weight!

Q: So whats next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?
A: I have received a few offers but nothing set in stone right now. I also have some of my fighters debuting in the upcoming months so I want to have the right focus. I am determined to stay at 110 and lower after this last fight. It is my home for sure. I had a fight scheduled with Patricia Vidonic at 115lbs. February 26th for the IWC but after this past training camp, I need a break and I want to focus on losing the weight to get to 105lbs. I will definitely keep you posted though!

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: Hit up Tussle Fight Gear also Fight Soap and First String Athletics and Knuckle Up!!!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Lacey Schuckman the fighter and person?
A: ALWAYS!!! This is a tough sport to support yourself through and sponsors make it possible! Please email me at or hit me up on Facebook.

Q: Lacey again, I want to thank you for doing this. You really are one of my favorite people in my favorite sport, and I know you have such a bright future. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks for what you do for us girls Jason!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meghan Spears Interview

After not placing in her first few shows, Meghan Spears hired a good coach and took 3rd and 2nd in her next two. That is obvious improvement, which is all you can ask for. As she continues to improve and get better I think we can expect to see some 1st places next to her name in the very near future. Here is my interview with Meghan Spears

Q: First Meghan thanks for taking the time to do this.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself?
A: My name is Meghan Spears and I grew up in Northwest Iowa. I have two younger sisters. My family is the most important thing to me. They are my rock.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports?
A: My athletic career started before I even began competing. I ran track and cross country! Loved every second of my 400 meter race! Played softball and basketball also, but my love was track.

Q: What initially led you int the gym?
A: I initially came to the gym after I tore my right hip flexor. I started lifting weights to strengthen my body after the injury.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I started seeing results quickly, and once I got the form down the weight came fast.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I first decided to compete after my ex boyfriend’s brother competed. It looked like a blast.

Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: My family was a little hesitant about the whole deal. It was a little less conservative than they were used too. My ex was supportive to a extent. He pushed me in the gym, but not in the diet.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Competing was nothing like I expected. I thought I’d do it once and be done. The hardest part was getting painted!! However once I got on stage and did my walk I loved it!!

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: I have competed in seven shows. My last two were with a coach and I placed 3rd and 2nd. Prior to working with someone I never placed. I have a show coming up May 8th. I WILL win it. :-)

Q: What would you say is your best body part?
A: With my body my best asset are my legs.

Q: DO you have a favorite part to train?
A: Legs are my favorite to train. My second favorite to train is my back.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I am normally a 6day trainer I like to stay trim, but during prep the intensity ramps up dramatically. My diet is clean with a few beers and pizza mixed in. I’m addicted to diet dew!! During prep I am by the book.

Q: When someone sees or hears you compete for the first time, whats the normal reaction?
A: When someone asks about me competing they are normally surprised. They think everyone who competes looks like Ronny Coleman. After a quick explanation they understand and think it is very cool.

Q: When they see or hear it that first time, whats the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: The question I am sick of hearing is “why do you do it?”

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train or compete?
A: The biggest misconception or issue that I face is when people ask why I do it. They ask what your significant other thinks about you doing it; some people hope it is a phase for me. It is not I will still do this after I have kids.

Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
A: They best part about competing is being on stage and being free! The worst part is still getting painted. The spray tan is the best option, but still cold!!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors?
A: My favorite competitor is Ava Cowen! She is stunning.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: My favorite cheat foods are a cheeseburger and a beer!

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: If another woman told me she wanted to compete I would tell her to do some research prior to just going for it. It is not a hobby it is a lifestyle, and you have to be ready for the change!

Q: Do you think more women are starting to train as hard as men?
A: When I train I do train harder than some men. I love it, and it gives me a sense of power. To be able to lift heavy and smile is a great accomplishment.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Outside of the gym my favorite things to do are to be outside. I love fishing, camping, lying on the beach, and just having fun. Life is too short to be bored.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Meghan Spears.
A: A typical day in my life is am cardio, work 8-12 hours, pm lifting and then relaxing on the couch.

Q: Describe Meghan Spears in five words.
A: To describe myself in five words they would be: stubborn, driven, open, loving, and able.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: One thing people would be surprised about me would be that I am the first one to go to college in my family.

Q: Any set plans for the future as far as competing or anything?
A: My plans for future are to win my next show and buy a motorcycle after.

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: I would like to promote Pro Body Solutions my coach and friends. Love them!!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors?
A: As of now I would love sponsors! They can call 712-260-0368 or email .

Q: Meghan thanks so much for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: My last words are “do what scares you till you are afraid no more!” Life is too short to sit on the sidelines.

Kristin DeWitt Interview

I have yet to see Kristein DeWitt fight in person. But I think it is a sign of the person she is that I now look forward to see her live and am even going to be doing a story on her. What she went through before fighting and now getting ready to come back from mono is very inspirational. Her attitude about herself, training, the sport and life in general is very positive and enjoyable. While a record of 0-2 seems unimpressive, you must look at who the two losses are against. Very quality opponents. As Kristin continues to improve there is no doubt the record will as well.

Q: First, Kristin I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: You are so welcome I’m super stoked about it.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself?
A: Sure I’m extremely tiny! Hints the name Tiny Terror. I was born in Bogotá Colombia and I got that crazy Latina fire in me. I was adopted at 4 months old and got to go back to Colombia with my family this past summer. My brother who is also my best friend is adopted from there as well. I live in Springboro Ohio and it’s boring. I’m out going and love watching hours of House and NCIS (I was Abby for Halloween). My family on my mom’s side is from long island NY.There are a lot them and they all talk New York like. I have my dog named Julie and she steals my bed, probably one of the reasons I don’t sleep I’m pretty simple yet complex. Did I mention I’m a total goof ball?

Q: Were you especially athletic growing up? Play any sports?
A: I started out playing soccer, and softball like every other kid in this country. But my heart was not much for sports even though I’ve been told I would have been awesome at soccer like my brother cause its in our Colombian blood. I was more artsy fartsy than anything. I played flute and was in the band all away from 4th grade though high school including 2 years of marching band. Whoever says that’s band is not a sport, then they haven’t experienced band camp. Ha-ha jokes aside it was really hard and gave you a great exercise and nice calve muscles. I also was into art especially graphic design, which was later, my major in college. Besides band and art I also am huge on writing. I write blogs, do interviews, poetry, short stories and random thoughts and such. So I guess I was kind of a nerd, or still am.

Q: What initially got you started training for MMA?
A: Actually I’ve always been a tomboy. I hated girly stuff and ballet was not for me. I hung out with the boys. I always loved roughed housing with them. I got in fights and had an anger problem and did not listen to authority. In Jr. high the principal office was my second home.
Growing up I had some relationships that caused me to make some bad choices. I became depressed and turned to hurting myself. I fought those demons for a bunch of years. During high school my depression got worst and I was in a huge rut. I needed an outlet to get rid of my anger and the anxieties of being a teenager. I felt lost and had so much animosity. So instead of taking it out on myself, I’d take it out on something or someone else.

Q: Was the training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: Yes! It was second nature. Though wrestling is not. Ha ha

Q: How long did you train before your first fight?
A: I trained Mma for 2 years before I fought. I had a lot of weight to gain. I was 85 lbs when I started training , so I was going to end up fighting 105, which now I am. However I had trained 3 years before that in other forms of martial arts. (Tae kwon do, kickboxing)

Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported?
A: My friends totally, my guys were super excited I was not gonna beat up on them anymore, even though now I hit them harder and they normally dropped on my ass. They make me tougher though and I love them. My girlfriends like all 3 of them were stoked too.
My family was not. Well can’t exactly say that. My brother was excited and has supported me from day one. My mom grew up in a strict Italian catholic home where a girl had to act like a proper lady. She was shocked that I wanted to fight. It took my coach talking to her and convincing her I’d be fine for her to be ok with it. Hell my dad even asked if I wanted to be a boy because I loved to fight. In the end they both supported me and were at my last fight in July, minus the fact my mom left during the actual fight.

Q: Where do you train at now?
A: Now I’m a Walker Girl. I train at Walker Mma with an amazing coach Kru Robert Walker and a bunch of really tough and talented guys. They treat me like their little sister so any guys decides to mess with me they got them to deal with. They also push me as hard as they can and treat me like one of the guys when we are training. We got a new Bjj instructor, Bodhi Jones, who is teaching us gi. I learned grabbing fabric is deadly and it’s funny to watch the guys make funny noises and faces due to the collar chokes; all and all we are a big happy family.

Q: Can you give your overall record so far.
A: I get crap about my record. Haha but dammit I’m proud of my 0-2. Those are 2 fights most people don’t have. Plus I had the honor to fight Jessica Philippus who is ranked #1 in the 105 division. She is a great ground fighter. And really showed me that I needed to work on my ground, big time. I was bummed I got caught due to a stupid mistake but I was still all smiles. I was happy to be part of G fight 2010, and started her on her wining streak. She even fought in Ky and my coach cornered her and she won. We became very good friends. I also fought Summer Atherton for NAAFS in July. Though I lost I have the up most respect for her. She took the fight on a real short notice and came all the way from Omaha to fight, since my opponent dropped out due to health reasons. That fight was a mess I was 98 lbs and she was 115. She is tough! I got a TKO because my contact got lost and I had the ref stop the match, my coach and I had agreed if that happened then to stop, because “It’s the one you don’t see that gets ya” and I can’t see anything with out my contacts. I was again all smiles. Plus I had just competed on the card with 2 of my teammates who both won that night.

Q: Which fight so far is the one you are most proud of or is there something else you would say you are most proud of?
A: Not to be conceited I’m just proud of myself. I’m proud of how far I have come both in the gym and in the real world, that I have fought some of the toughest girls in the sport.

Q: What would you say is your biggest strength and the one thing you most want to improve?
A: My strength is my striking and my heart and my will to fight. Oh and my head kicks. What I need to work on is my ground esp. takedown, and strength training. I’m small and every girl I will fight will be bigger than me so I need to over power her. Oh and the big things are my weight and my health. I’m tired of being sick and losing all the hard work I do to gain a few lbs.

Q: Name the one fight you have seen that you will always remember?
A: My teammate Jeremy Kamikaze Myers vs. Roger Hahn for absolute mma in Ky. He knocked out this kid with a nasty head kick. His shin was soo swollen. It was his last ammy fight and he wore a Thai skirt to thank our coach. Best part of that fight was him getting beat up by coaches 4 year old grandson, who is a monster in the cage. It was too cute.

Q: Are there any fighters you a are a fan of or love to watch?
A: I love to watch Forrest Griffin. Also I enjoy watching the ladies i know fight. Which is probably a given. I get overly excited for them and waiting for the results of the ones I missed. I just love watching fights. Cant wait for the Forrest and Franklin fight, it’s the battle of Ohio!

Q: In your opinion, who are the top five female fighters in the sport pound for pound?
A: No order – Megumi Fuji Cris Cyborg, Marloes Coenen, Zoila Frausto, Miesha Tate

Q: Do you ever see a major U.S. women's only company being viable?
A: Hell Yeah!! The ladies are here and are ready bang!

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: We are awesome. Duhh .No really the women train just as hard as men and want to put on a good show. Plus women are very competitive with each other. Its believed that they are more technical and brutal than expected especially because they are not all huge like and cant’t always relay on their strength, plus we are flexible so its easier to get out of moves and get back to your feet. So that is always a crowd pleaser.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about female fighters?
A: “Aren’t you afraid to mess your pretty face up”
I cant tell you how many times I hear that. Just because a women is pretty doesn’t mean she can’t fight. Heck just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she can’t fight. We belong here just as much as the boys do. And a fighter isn’t worried about messing up her face; there are surgeons for that, she just want to fight.

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to train for the sport, whats the biggest piece of advice you would give her?
A: Go for it the worst that can happen is you get beat up, which some concealer can cover some bruising. If you like it stay. At least there is no doubt or regret that you didn’t even give it a try.

Q: Outside of training and fighting, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Well I love just hanging out with my friends, cursing around and just having fun. I also enjoy spending time with my boyfriend. I love to write, read, draw, and listen to music. My 2 best friends live in Texas and Las Vegas so I’m on the phone a lot. I’m a snow bunny and love to snowboard and t enjoy the winter. I’m sad though cause I’ve been sick since October so that means no winter fun for me. I love hanging out with my family especially when my brother Is home from college. Go buckeyes! Other than that I’m at the gym!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Kristin DeWitt.
A: Sure no problem.
I wake up take a bath; normally I have something random to do in the mornings. After I might get a nap in. Yeop I need my sleep because I can never sleep at night. I’m not in school right now. I’m trying figure out what I want to do. So I’m a NANNY! I watch two boys and a psycho dog that thinks I’m a chew toy. After all their swim practices, guitar lesson and hours of sponge bob I head to the GYM! I’m usually there 5 days week for about 3-4 hours. Next its either home or to see some friends and hang out. Then home to stalk facebook, take a bath, relax and try to sleep. That’s a normal day
Now I’m sick with mono so its sleep, appointments, sleeps, work, sleep. I cant train right now cause my spleen is swollen and it can explode, which is something I do not want. I should be back soon if everything goes well and I don’t get worst. Thank you every one who have been thinking of me and keeping me in your prayers this pass couple months and keeping my spirits up. It means a lot to me..

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I’m full of surprises. I love Billy Joel, I snort when I laugh and when I sneeze it’s a combination of a meow/squeak/high pitch noise. I’ m a complete clutz, I manage to jump on my bed, miss and knock my self unconscious on the night stand. I got a concussion. I love the Jersey Shore ( all fairness I used to live in NJ) Oh and the Jonas brothers …. shhh

Q: Describe Kristin DeWitt in five words.
A: Crazy, Spontaneous, Cute, Spunky, Tough

Q: So whats next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?
A: The biggest thing is to get better and get my weight up. But I have to take it slow for a bit so lots of healthy vitamins and strength training and cardio for me. As well as making up all the work I missed in the gym when I was sick and hopefully fight in mid or late spring. I got a lot of work to do. Especially since the 105 division got some tuff girls that I can’t wait to get in the cage and “tussle “ it up with them… (Mr tussle like the cheesy plug)

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: TUSSLE- Mr. and Mrs. Tussle are awesome and have really cute fight gear plus Mr. Tussle has done a lot for me. He took a chance on me and I thank him for his support and thank them for being my sponsor!!!!!!
International Women’s combat- they have been awesome too me look for these guys in the future. They are going to do big things
Gurl fytrz- Marica Mason works so hard to get the word out about domestic violence, being a survivor myself I’m proud to be sponsored by her. It’s a great cause and there are branches of the teams though out the country raising money doing food drives and anything they can do to help those who are effected by domestic violence.
And my other sponsor Phambraxcite mma- they also help Marcia so they are awesome.
Nonstopwmma is keeping up with the female fighters and gives us the details of different match up. So cool
Absolute Action MMA. They put on a hell of a show and have some pretty awesome fights. Ladies, keep an eye out for a possible all ladies card coming in the near future.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Kristin DeWitt the fighter and person?
A: Sure esp when I start fighting again. Easy hit up my email

Q: Kristin again, I want to thank you for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: It was my pleasure sorry if I rambled or anything., I do that.. uhh , Last words, , Stick to your dream and don’t let any thing get in your way. If they do kick their ass!!!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mindy Karuk Interview

Anyone who does what I do has that "list". The couple people they would LOVE to interview. Could be for a variety of reasons. One person who has loooong been on my "list" is Mindy Karuk. Mindy is a beautiful woman with an incredible physique who whether it is on stage or doing a photo shoot always looks amazing. But there is a lot more to Mindy than that. Mindy is a driven hard working passionate person. When you have a bad opinion of the fitness industry, take a look and learn about Mindy, she is a reminder of what is good about this industry.

Q: First, Mindy, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you so much for asking me!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Well I'm originally from small town Dauphin Manitoba, I grew up there with my Mom, Dad and older brother. I was enrolled in a Ukrainian School and began speaking Ukrainian, English and French as a child. When I graduated I moved to Winnipeg Manitoba by myself at the age of 17. Always being known as the artistic one, I set out on a path of becoming a Graphic Designer. I found my true love in the Health and Fitness Industry and have been following that passion! I also work as a Makeup Artist.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I always had a love for sports, but never indulged. At the time due to being bullied in my childhood, it stripped away my confidence to play sports and have courage to. I enjoyed things I could do on my own like riding my bike and rollerblading. Back then, that was how I kept active!

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: At the time I never put a finger on what was the cause of my habits. I later learned to recognize that what in fact I was doing was being an emotional eater. Stressed, depressed or worried. I would turn to food for comfort. I still lived a mostly sedentary life and those poor eating habits were starting to take shape in the form of an unfit body, void of muscle tone and strength. I had always wanted to workout and lift weights. One night it was some thing that just snapped in my head, I marched into a gym and basically never looked back.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I picked up training fairly easy in the sense that I had followed my preliminary session given to me by my gym's personal trainer, but I didn't know to change it up. I was so determined for change and results that I was over training in the beginning! I'd be in the gym for 3 hours just grinding away! I started to see the results within 6 months and i slowly watched my pant size lower, new trips to the store for new pants was happening and I couldn't have been happier!

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: To help augment my results, I frequently purchased fitness magazines like Oxygen, Flex, and Muscle and Fitness. Seeing the competitors featured in there was inspiring!! I admired the discipline and the sculpted bodies that displayed on stage, I knew it was something I had to try! I started off small though with local bikini competitions, those led to National Bikini competitions! After placing well and gaining back my confidence, I took it to the next level and entered a locally sanctioned amateur show in the figure division! I bought tapes of the Ms. Olympia show to learn how to do my quarter turns and practiced them every night!

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Absolutely 110%!! My Mom, Dad and family has supported my dreams so much! They can see the passion I have for it, and they truly have my back! My friends are amazing! They all understand that I can't always come out, or go drinking. It makes it so much easier! I'm truly blessed to have such an amazing support system!

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I can most definitely say it's what I had expected! Competing isn't about any one but yourself, it's beating your previous best. It's giving your all with no excuses!

Q: Can you share your contest history.
~WBFF World Championships 10th Place Fitness Diva
~WBFF BC Championships 2010 4th Place Bikini Diva, Top 10 Fitness Diva
~2010 Finalist in the Iron Man BodySpace Spokesmodel Search TOP 5
~WBFF Alberta Championships Top 10 Diva Fitness Model Top 10 Diva Bikini Model 2009
~FAME North American Championships Nov 2007 3rd Place Pro Fitness
Model, 3rd Place Pro Bikini Model
~FAME Online Swimsuit Competition 4th Place
~FAME Worlds Fitness Model Pro Show
~FAME Great White North Championships 1st Place Fitness Model and overall earning Pro Fitness Model Status
~MABBA Figure Novice 5th 2005
~Miss Hawaiian Tropics Canada Top 20 Finalist
~Miss Wild on Winnipeg 2005
~Miss Cycle World 2005
~Miss Molson Indy Vancouver 2004 Top 10
~Miss Molson Indy Winnipeg 2004
~Miss SUNshine 2003
~Miss Bartercard Molson Indy 2002 7th
~Miss Molson Indy Winnipeg 2002

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I am a fan of my back and shoulders! My abs are in my best shape ever after getting help from my wonderful boyfriend Chris!

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I love training my back, but I have learned you have to love to train each body part with the same love! It's no coincidence the parts you love are often the best on your body, learn to love training them all and then you will see the change!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I leave everything up to my trainer! With constant feed back and touch bases we tweak everything that needs it and leave things be that don't! I usually train on a 5 day split and have had contest diets that only had two rice cakes for carbs, or still allowing slow burning carbs! The body changes as you get older so it doesn't hurt to try something different, and tweak it way before competition time!

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: It's always been positive, sometimes people will tell me not to get "too buff" but I usually laugh it off. I'm not in the business of getting too buff. Nor do I train to. I focus on aesthetic muscle mass and symmetry.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: Nothing really gets old for me, I know a lot of people don't know or understand the world of competing so I'm always happy to share info and educate!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: That we're all not on steroids. lol

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best is meeting new people and constantly improving your body! There are so many "bests"! I'd say the worst part of training is getting in enough sleep! I usually keep late hours, but rest is important so sometimes it's hard to convince myself to just GO to BED!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I had the honor of being room mates with the amazing Erin Stern for the Spokesmodel Search. From there on out she's been a good friend and a constant source of inspiration for me! Jamie Eason is one of the most humble fitness personalities I have met! She gives me words of encouragement when I need to hear it and is a person of integrity! Monica Brant and fellow WBFF Competitor was one of the competitors I had always seen in the magazines when I was first starting out, since meeting her in person she lives up to the status of "Icon", humble, kind!

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I am a sucker for my Mom's perogies!!! I love chocolate too!

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: Hire a trainer!!

Q: Which do you prefer, competing or photo shoots?
A: Both offer great personal achievement! I think setting a goal of doing a shoot is a great way for those who are wanting to have something to work towards and look great! Competing tests yourself mentally and pushes you to new boundaries. Both are a way to have fun and become another person, on the stage or in front of the lens!

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love rollerblading along the sea wall with my boyfriend. Checking out new sushi places (there are SO many in Vancouver!), checking out Grouse Grind, or just chillin on the beach!

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Mindy Karuk.
A: Wake up, am cardio, eat brekky and get my meals packed into my 6 pack bag, go to work, come home, hit the gym, answer emails and some online stuff!

Q: Describe Mindy Karuk in five words.
A: Positive, Loyal, Trustworthy, Ambitious, Driven

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I can spin fire (poi), other than that nothing really out of the ordinary....I think! LOL

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I will be competing this May for the WBFF BC Championships! I'm currently working on developing my website further and will be releasing an ebook! I have several other things that I am in the works with but cannot divulge any info yet!

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I'd like to take this opportunity to say THANKS! Thank you to my loved ones in my life, my bf, my parents. I have amazing people in my life. Thank you to those who tell me I am their inspiration, for it's those people that also help inspire me to be my best and to push forward. To My Sponsor Magnum Nutraceuticals, SmartShake, LegareWear, Minx Tanning these people believe in me and my hard work, I'm happy and ecstatic to be partnered up with some of the best companies in the world!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Mindy Karuk the athlete and competitor?
A: I stand for honor, integrity and an all around hard working athlete. The amount of work I put into my training and goals is equal to how hard I work and promote the companies that stand behind me. I have a solid presence online through various sites and if this is something that you think your company can benefit from and can be a win win situation please feel free to contact me at

Q: Mindy, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Not a problem at all! Thank you again for asking me!! All the best!!

Shawnee Merrell Interview

Every once in awhile I refer to someone as "stuck with me". What that means is they impress me so much, I will go over and above to promote them. Not always what kind of fighter they are or competitor they are. But what kind of person they are. Shawnee is an incredible person, who also happens to be a talented fighter. On January 8th she fought and lsot to Liz McCarthy. She got caught in an armbar. Happens to everyone. But Liz is a talented fighter with huge potential, just like Shawnee. But the mark of a great fighter is learning from mistakes and to adapt. Shawnee learned from this, and will learn from each fight, win or lose. I implore fringe fans who may not know about a lot of fighters to find out more about Shawnee Merrell.

Q: First, Shawnee I want to thank you for taking the time to do another interview.
A: Thank you for having me do one. The last one was so much fun I couldn’t resist doing another

Q: For those who missed your first interview can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Of course, I’m twenty years old, and a full time student at Western Wyoming Community College. I’m the middle between two boys. I moved around a lot as a kid. But I was born in Payson Utah, then moved to good ol’ Wyoming and have been here for the past eighteen years. I’ve been fighting for about two years now, and I’m the only female on an all guys team, and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

Q: OK, let's talk about your recent fight on January 8th vs Liz McCarthy. You lost by armbar. Before we talka bout the fight. let's talk about leading up to it. How did you feel about the fight leading up to it?
A: Leading up to the fight was almost a train wreck. Training was hard, the cardio workouts I did were something I wasn’t physically used to so it took a lot out of me at the beginning. But father into the camp I seen great improvement. I was lucky to have Ty backing me all the way through training.

Q: Was their a specific game plan at all and were you able to implement it? Why or why not?
A: A specific game plan is understatement. We had a plan set up that I was not to stray from. I was supposed to stand with Liz and make her kick and box with me, because we knew my stand up would hurt her. If the fight ended up on the ground I was supposed to stand up and make her get back up. At the beginning of the fight things were great. I came out unbelievably aggressive, I brought the fight right to Liz. I turned my back into the cage because I’m to work a better take down defense from there. Unfortunately, Liz got her take down, but I transitioned just in time. Then when we hit the ground I realized I had half mount and got over zealous and decided I wanted to ground and pound that was a bad idea. I heard my corner yell at me to stand up and as I did so I ended up leaving my right arm out which Liz transitioned like a Gracie and caught me in a ridiculously tight arm bar. All in all, I had a game plan, and tried to stick to it, but own needs got in the way of winning that fight.

Q: What did you know about Liz as far as her style and what her strengths are?
A: First off, I want to say that during my workouts all I did was watch Liz’s previous fights on youtube for hours on my phone, as did my coach. I realized that Liz loved head kicks. She set them up with a one two combo and would through it. She had quick stand up, and loved to back her opponents up so she could throw her combo’s. Then I saw that she had a few grappling video’s on there as well, and saw that she is very good on the ground, and most of her wins were by way of flying arm bar and flying triangle. That I reported back to the coaches and we worked on staying out of them, and not setting myself up to get caught in one.

Q: Did she do anything that surprised you at all?
A: During the fight no. I knew that the minute I hit the ground with her she would be transitioning for a submission or something to that extent. After the fight and before the fight however she did surprise me. She was a huge sweetheart! I almost couldn’t see her as a fighter, at least not an aggressive one.

Q: As mentioned she got you in an armbar. How was she able to do that?
A: When we went to the ground the moment we hit she was already transitioning for a submission, while I was getting impatient and trying to ground and pound. My coach yelled for me to stand up, and as I did so she had her guard pulled on me, and I left my right arm out and she got it. I tried to stand up and slam her rather than fall into her and as I stood both hand were being used for the slam, and she popped her hips just in time and I tapped.

Q: Is there anything you can learn from this fight?
A: There is a lot I can learn from this fight. I realize now, that just because I don’t like the ground game, I need to perfect it to become a great fighter. I did however learn that my stand up needs work as well. I smothered my punches in this fight. I need to learn distance for sure.

Q: If you were to fight her again, what would you want to do differently?
A: First off, I’d love to fight Liz again. It doesn’t even need to be for the belt. I just know I can do better then what I did. But I would definitely train my ground game a lot more and a lot harder should she get the take down again. I would also work on my stand up as well, so that I’m not always rushing in and smothering my punches by not having enough distance.

Q: What did you think of her over all as a fighter?
A: Liz is a good fighter. She’s going to go somewhere in this sport. And I personally wish her the best of luck in it. She’s also a great person all around. She’s a sweetheart, like I said I was really taken aback by how nice she was.

Q: What did you think of the Budo Fights people?
A: Well, to be honest with you of all the budo fights people, the only one that Ty and I ever dealt with was Darrick Bruyn, the match maker. Darrick was a great guy. We drove fourteen hours to get to Oregon and hit town about 4 a.m. and he opened his home for us to stay until we were able to get into the hotel. The promotion was a great set up. Everything ran very smoothly. I really enjoyed the fact that budo fights livestreamed the fight on the internet. My families in Wyoming and in Utah were able to watch the fight, as well as my friend in Germany. Granted it was a little late, but he was happy to get to see me fight.

Q: How long after a fight do you like to take off before getting back into training hard?
A: It so hard for me to find fights, so usually it’s a long time span before I start to train hard. This time I was hoping to take about a week off and start back up but after being hit with such a hard arm bar, I need time to recover from that. So as soon as I’m able to stop wearing an elbow brace and throw a punch without hurting my elbow I’ll start training hard again.

Q: This was 105lb title ammateur title fight. How many more fights would you like before turning pro?
A: I personally don’t know. Between having a job and going to school full time, fighting usually takes a back seat. But as I said before my stubbornness gets in the way. I want to have a winning record as an amateur, and a few more fights at 105 under my belt before going pro at 105. My fight against Liz was my first ever fight at 105. But all in all, it will be a while until I go pro. Being a good professional fighter requires a lot of time and dedication, and with school, I don’t have the time for it.

Q: Is 105 a comfortable weight for you or do you ever think you may move up in weight?
A: I’ve had six fights, and all but the one with Liz were above 105. So moving up in weight isn’t really an option just because I’m so small. It would however, be easier to find fights for sure. Honestly though, 105 is a very comfortable weight for me. Anything higher I’m out of my element, but anything lower I’d look like a monster at 100lbs or lower.

Q: How important is support from family and friends when getting ready to fight?
A: I would have to say it’s pretty important. I love having family and friends back in me fighting. However, I would like them all to have a little more understanding about cutting weight and what it’s like for someone like me, who by far has the worst eating habits on the planet. I love Dr. pepper and cheeseburgers.

Q: I often ask what is the biggest misconception people have about female fighters. This time I will ask, what is the biggest misconception people have about Shawnee Merrell?
A: I honestly don’t have an answer to that question haha. I’m pretty straight forward about who I am, what I do, and what I represent. I guess one would be that I am a sore loser, I take losses very hard and have sense I started competing in sports. It takes me a minute to regain composure and present myself the way I know I should.

Q: Finish this sentence. In five years Shawnee Merrell will be__?
A: Most likely be teaching students and will have had at the very minimum two professional MMA fights.

Q: Anybody you want to thank for helping you get ready for the fight and supporting you?
A: I really want to give a huge thank you to Ty Hamblin, he took a lot of abuse while I was cutting weight. And also pushed me to do my best and be ready for this fight. I also want to give a big thank you out to everyone who tuned in Jan 8, to to support me. Twenty one homes across Wyoming as well as three in Utah, tuned into the website. That really means a lot to me to know I have so much support.

Q: So whats next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?
A: Right now I’m in the process of getting my elbow healed so I can start to train again. As for fighting again I’m not really sure. I was offered to fight Feb 26 in Salem Oregon which would’ve been great but we had to decline to due this injury. I wanted to be at 100% going into that fight. So right now I’m really just focusing on school which started Jan 19, and making a full healthy recovery.

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: I really want to thank my coach and boyfriend Ty Hamblin for having me ready for this fight. My coach Teno Trujillo for his inspirational words of wisdom for my fight, my family for taking the time to crowd into my big brothers house to watch the fight. My sponsor S&W Welding, the Honda shop in rock springs (Brandon Moses) for our first tank of gas, and of course Slade Bittler for my amazing hot pink tights and new gear that the commission wouldn’t let me wear. Also I want to say thanks to my new friends, Chris and Khia Oddo for being so supportive, and Maylee Siekawitch for being so awesome.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Shawnee Merrell the fighter and person?
A: I’d be open to new sponsors for sure. They can reach me at And they will be getting an aggressive, well rounded, classy fighter. I will do my best and everything in my power to promote them as I travel throughout the MMA world.

Q: Shawnee again, I want to thank you for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: I just want to thank you Jason. I really enjoy the effort in which you promote women in fitness and MMA. You do a great job, and definitely an inspiration to me. Thank you again for the opportunity.

INBA Pro Diane Mueller Interview

Really happy to have a second interview with Diane Mueller. Allows her to share some great news. First if you remember from her first interview she had an injury that hampered her leg training, and she is now healed, so that's great news. Also she had a great 2010. Did three shows, winning her class in all three and the overall in two of them. Not hard to figure out why she had that success either. Diane is as dedicated and hard working as it gets. She rated 2010 as a 9.5 for her, well get ready because I expect 2011 to be a perfect 10 for her.

Q: Diane thanks for taking the time to do another interview.
A: Thank you so much for the opportunity to do this again, it's always exciting
to visit with you.

Q: For those not familiar can you tell a little about yourself.
A: I am a light weight bodybuilder from Wisconsin, who is doing the best I can
to make the most out of every opportunity that comes my way. I am not the
most genetically gifted bodybuilder there is, but I have a very strong level
of determination to improve my musculature every year.

Q: Can you update people on whats been going on with you since our last
interview, on and off the stage.
A: The biggest news since our last interview is that my hip has healed up and I
am back into my leg training. For those who may not know, I struggle with
stress fractures in my lower body. I definitely have had more than my fair
share, this year being no different, as I had a stress fracture in the left
femoral neck of my hip. Trying to overcome these setbacks always proves to
be a real challenge for me, but little by little, I am making progress and
my legs are becoming more developed every year, despite these untimely
As far as upcoming contests for me, I will be competing as a natural pro in
the INBA Natural Team USA competition in Las Vegas, NV on September 24th. I
am so excited for this competition as I will be living my dream, competing
in a large venue as a natural professional athlete. It doesn't get any
better than that!!

Q: Have you been watching any of the competitions lately? Anyone impress
A: I have had the pleasure of watching a few local shows this past fall,
generally following the progress of my fellow teammates with Team Abrams. I
am always impressed with the dedication and passion displayed by the
athletes wherever I go. It is so inspiring to sit in the audience and watch
these athletes display all their hard work with so much pride and
enthusiasm. I never get tired of being around the sport of bodybuilding,
it's the most wonderful sport in the world.

Q: What are your thoughts on the new Physique division?
A: This is a difficult question for me, as I'm not overly familiar with the new
category. It's hard to have an opinion when you've never actually seen it.
But, since you asked me, I will go with my gut feeling on this. It makes me
wonder how many divisions for women there really needs to be? We have
bodybuilding with multiple weight classes, fitness, figure and bikini... and
now we have physique? All these divisions seem a little crazy to me. These
added divisions are probably great for the promoters who are lining their
pockets with entrance fees, but in my mind, it is hurting female competitors
more than it is helping them. The more divisions there are, the more our
already small pool of competitors there will be in each division. Female
bodybuilding has taken the hardest hit with the introduction of all these
other divisions and I think that is very sad. There is so much pride in
training as heavy and hard as possible trying to create the leanest and most
muscular body possible. In my mind, physique sounds like what female
bodybuilding would look like if the NPC had a standard of testing its
athletes for banned substances. In the natural federations such as the INBF
and ABA, just to name a few, there isn't a problem with overly muscular,
masculine looking women, because those athletes are all tested before they
ever step on stage.

Q: Have you noticed any one part of your physique that you really improved
on in 2010?
A: During my 2010 competition season, my goal was to work on leg mass and of
course the old standby's of back and shoulders. I was quite pleased with my
legs this past year, despite having to start all over in my training yet
again due to a stress fracture in my left foot. So I am always pleased
whenever I see any growth in my legs. Other than that, I was able to really
add some nice mass to my back this past year.

Q: Heading to 2011, what do you want to improve on?
A: This year I am focusing very heavily on my biceps. Now that I have brought
up some other lagging body parts, my biceps needed more work, so I am
working to keep my biceps in check with the rest of my physique. Aside from
my biceps, I am still trying to add size to my legs and shoulders.

Q: Looking back on 2010. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the year for
yourself competing wise?
A: 2010 was an AMAZING year for me... I would rate it at a 9.5%! I competed in
three shows in 2010 and I won my class in all of them and won the overall in
two out of three shows!! That is an incredible success rate, most of which I
attribute to searching out and finding the proper assistance I needed to
perfect my presentation. In the fall of 2009, I contacted Jennifer Abrams to
work with me on my stage presentation, and the rest as they say, is history.
The time I spent working with Jennifer became invaluable to me and I decided
to make the most of my efforts by training with her and joining her team.
She turned my off-season and competition season training around, and I am
convinced that she is the reason for my success this past year.

Q: As far as the fitness industry, are there any changes you would like to
see made?
A: I wish there was a greater emphasis on natural athletics. There are so many
beautiful physiques built drug-free, yet all the magazine attention,
supplement contracts and prize money is given to the people who have turned
their backs on their morals and sold out to using performance enhancing

Q: Depending on who you talk to, some think women in the industry are getting more respect, then others say less. Which side do you fall on?
A: I think you have been getting conflicting opinions on this topic because
there are two very dominant sides to it. I feel women are getting more
respect in health and fitness because they make such wonderful examples and
role models for the industry. I love seeing women who are taking care of
themselves and look healthy. Magazines are scattered full of them.
The opinion turns negative when unnaturally large women are showcased, who
have given up their femininity in return for overly large muscles. Men don't
have this problem because they are already male, so using banned substances
only makes them capable of building more muscle, it doesn't mess with their
nature/gender. People enjoy seeing strong women, but only to a certain
extent. I hear comments all the time saying, "I like the way you look right
now, but don't get any bigger." I hear that A LOT! Of course my goal is to
get bigger, but how much bigger I get will be determined by genetics and

Q: Do you get a lot of people asking for diet and training advice? If so, whats the most typical type of question?
A: Yes, people ask me to train them or ask for advice all the time. The most
typical question, is also the most difficult question to answer, "How can I
look like you?" That's a pretty generalized question, so I tend to give them
a generalized answer. I usually say, "Train heavy and hard, and follow a
healthy diet." When people ask me to train them or ask for training advice,
I give them a very flattered smile but simply say, "I'm not a personal
trainer, so all I can do is tell you what works for me..." and then go on to
try to answer as many questions as I can.

Q: Can you give people an idea of what your typical training routine and
diet are like.
A: Right now I am in my off-season, so this is my opportunity to add quality
muscle for my completion in September. As such, I only train 4 days per week
and don't really do any cardio to maximize my recovery time. You grow while
you're outside the gym, recovering from your workout, not while you are in
the gym working out. I am also a believer in training the smaller body parts
with the larger body parts to give those smaller parts additional growth
opportunity by tapping into the anabolic spillover. So a regular week looks
like this for me: Sunday - Chest, Tuesday - Quads and Biceps, Thursday -
Hamstrings and Shoulders, Friday - Back and Triceps. Abs and calves are
spread out amongst those training days.
My diet stays pretty close to my contest diet all year round, the only
difference is that I eat A LOT more in my off-season. I understand that in
order to grow quality muscle, you need to eat a full diet of healthful,
nutritious foods. So my meals stay with the same staples of: Chicken breast,
bison, fruits, vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, peanut
butter and protein powders. These are all quality foods that serve your body
well, whether you are in growth mode or contest prep mode. Your body always
appreciates quality fuel.

Q: What is your favorite healthy meal and favorite cheat meal?
A: My favorite food to eat is this mixture I make up of: chocolate casein
protein powder, cottage cheese and then either strawberry yogurt or peanut
butter (depending on how my calories are for the day). My favorite cheat
meal is quite simply, pizza! I have a hard time walking past a pizza without
snatching a piece when it is sitting out at work.

Q: What body part do you most enjoy training and why?
A: My favorite body part to train is Chest, because it is a muscle group that
responds really well for me.

Q: Which do you least enjoy training and why?
A: I've never been too much of a fan of training Biceps, however, since I've
began training them harder than ever this year, I've adopted a love/hate
relationship with them. I still hate training them, but now I love to train
them because I can see the fruits of my labor already with increased size. I
can't wait until diet season to see how they look when I'm stage-ready!

Q: When it comes time for off season, how long do you consider your off
season, and how far over contest weight do you like to go?
A: How long my off-season is depends on when my next show is. I'm a believer in
stripping off the body fat at a slow and controlled pace to prevent losing
too much muscle. So I usually count out 16 - 20 weeks from the date of my
show and that is when I begin my diet. I think 15 to 20 pounds over contest
weight is a satisfactory place to be, but once you start hitting 25 pounds
over contest weight, I think it becomes more of a hindrance than a help. My
body responds really well at 15-20 pounds over, that is when I feel my
strongest and healthiest. When I weigh around 135, I feel like I can take on
the world.

Q: Do you prefer training alone or with a partner and why?
A: I'm definitely an advocate of having a trainer. I like having someone with
me who is solely focused on me and who only has my best interest at heart.
When I'm working out with a trainer I am able to lift heavier because I have
a spotter to make sure I don't hurt myself, and I have someone to help force
me through those last brutal, muscle building reps.

Q: Usually I ask what the biggest misconception about competitors is. This
time I will ask whats the biggest misconception about you?
A: The biggest misconception about me is that I am full of myself and
difficult. When I'm at the gym, I'm in the zone. From the moment I walk in,
until I'm ready to leave, I'm all business. I am completely focused on and
preparing for my training session, and not making small talk with all the
other ladies in the locker room or scattered about the gym. Most women tend
to be put off by me because they want to talk to me the entire time that I'm
in the gym, but when I'm there, I have a very limited amount of time to
accomplish all the things I need to do, and making small talk is the last
thing on my mind. I train very heavy and very intense, because that's what
it takes to make your body look it's absolute best, and improving my body is
my only mission.

Q: What would you say is your biggest achievement so far in the fitness industry?
A: By far, my biggest accomplishment was on August 7th, 2010 when I earned the
privilege to compete as a natural pro. I was so overcome with emotion and
pride, I think I smiled for two weeks straight.

Q: What is a typical day like for you?
A: My days are really quite normal and boring. I get up, get my things ready
for the gym and for work and head off to the gym, I go straight from the gym
to work and I don't get home until 10:30 pm, so I finish a few odds and ends
at home and then go to bed to start the crazy cycle all over again.

Q: Finish this sentence. In five years I will be____?
A: Standing on the stage for the INBA Natural Olympia, anxiously awaiting to be awarded the championship. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she...? :-)

Q: Anything else you want to plug or promote?
A: If you or anyone you know is looking to improve their competition
experience, I highly recommend contacting my coach, Jennifer Abrams. She
provides on-line coaching, personal training, assistance with competition
prep, and is the leader of her formal competition team, Team Abrams. Since
I've begun working with Jennifer, my confidence level has increased
dramatically and my competition results have been supreme. I am so thankful
I chose her to help me with my competition preparations and I am confident
that anyone else would feel the same way. She is wonderful to work with. You
can find her at

Q: Looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what do they get
in sponsoring you as an athlete?
A: Yes, I am definitely in the market for a sponsorship. As you all know, the
costs of competing are very expensive and now that I'm competing on a
professional level, the costs have gone up even higher. By sponsoring me, I
would advertise that company's products like crazy, I'd be a walking/talking
billboard for them all day long. I'd wear their tank tops to the gym, their
t-shirts out in public and would talk about their products to everyone I
come in contact with. I'm a hard working person and would be honored to work
at their booths at expos, too. If anyone is interested in getting in touch
with me, please email me at and I'd be honored to talk to

Q: Diane, again, thanks so much for doing this. Any last words before you
A: Don't lift like a girl, lift like a bodybuilder. Train hard, train strong,
train natural.