Sunday, May 8, 2011

Claire Hayes Interview

She began weight training to rehab from injuries, and now Claire Hayes weight trains because she loves it and is damn good at it. Claire went to watch her boyfriend compete and fell in love with it, and having a competitive boyfriend gave her an idea of what to do, and she has since excelled at it. She is looking for this year to be her year, and I have a feeling it very well may be her year.

Q: First, Claire, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: I'm delighted to share a bit about myself and my passion for training and competing. Thank you for shedding a positive light on female athletes in this fantastic sport!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I'm from Port Coquitlam, BC. I grew up there and still live in the Tri-City area (Port Moody) with my wonderful man of over 10yrs, Jamie. I spent the majority of my childhood playing by the river & climbing trees in the forests close to my family's home.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: My parents insisted on both my brother & myself being active since we were very young. Although I swam, skated, & skied- my passion was Irish dancing and I lived and breathed dance from the age of 3 until a serious car accident put an end to my career as a professional performance artist in my late teens.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: My older brother was into working out since he was a young teenager. When I was 15yrs he old he got me a job at the front counter of his gym. I was so young and just enjoyed being surrounded by all kinds of very different people working their butts off towards very different goals.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I began to take training seriously several years after I started working at the gym. My car accidents left me unable to dance or even finish high school on time with my friends. So my weight-training began as a rehabilitation for my body. First to get in all in working order again and to re-gain some strength. BUT in the process I noticed my physique transforming. And it was the beginning of a new discipline and towards new goals.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: My boyfriend Jamie is also a competitor. When I sat in the audience watching him in his first contest, I couldn't help falling in love with the physiques of the female fitness & bodybuilding athletes (the figure category did not yet exist). I knew my body was very far away from being healed enough to attempt the high energy fitness routines. So I began to really train seriously hoping to build enough muscle to try bodybuilding. The figure category was introduced the following year and I went for it- placing third in my first show!

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Yes my family supports me. Although they don't really understand the sport, they do support my efforts. My boyfriend is my main support and my #1. I couldn't have done 10 shows without all his help with cooking my meals and reminding me of my goals when I think I'm too tired to do my cardio.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Watching my boyfriend prep for his contests, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But I was so nervous about walking on stage & being judged in a bikini! The applause from the audience and the support from complete strangers was the most unexpected pleasant surprise!

Q: Can you share your contest history
A: Its been a long road for me with lots of ups and downs:
-2004 Western Canadians: 3rd (figure medium)
-2004 BC Provincials: 4th (figure medium)
-2005 BC Provincials: 4th (figure medium)
-2006 Western Canadians: 4th (figure medium)
-2007 Northern Classic: 1st place
(figure medium)
-2007 BC Provincials: 4th place
-2008 BC Provincials
-2009Sandra Wickham Fall Classic:1st
(figure medium-tall)
-2010 BC Provincials: 2nd place
-2010 CBFF Nationals ((figure medium-tall)

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: My shoulders

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I love training legs!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for
contest prep?
A: My training routine is always changing. I try not to stick to any one style of training for too long. I like mixing it up: giant sets, plyometrics, and of course I enjoy old school hardcore lifting too. I change up my routine every 6-8wks because I believe my body responds best to variety (& so does my mind!)When in prep mode I include more cardio & I focus on what the judges have asked me to work on: be it building up a certain body part or tightening up another.

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: Almost always positive

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "oh you are so lucky"- luck has nothing to do with it, I bust my butt everyday
to look the way I do!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: It is consistency that is the key. It does not take 2wks of starving yourself to become lean. Nor can you build huge muscles by lifting a 5lbs dumbell! It is a consistent combination of clean eating & regular training that eventually provides your desired results- whatever a person's goal may be.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: Hardest part is dragging myself into the gym when I'm tired or have had a bad day BUT the best part is leaving the gym and feeling like million bucks after having had an awesome workout!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I admire so many competitors from all the different categories its hard to choose a few to name: Davana Medina (the very first Figure Olympia champ!), Monica Brandt cause she's a complete icon in this industry, my friend Leigh Brandt- Canada's first Bikini Pro, my trainer IFBB fitness pro Sandra Wickham. I admire so many female athletes I could go on for ever!!!

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I love cookies & I don't discriminate: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut
butter.....they all make me happy :)

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: Go for it & give it your all! Don't let ANYONE fill your head with their own ideas of what your goals should be. Its your body, your time, & your hard work that's going to make it happen. You will be happiest achieving your own goals as you progress!

Q: Do you think its becoming more common to see women using the weights in the gym as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: Oh for sure! And I think it's great. There is so much more knowledge regarding
weight/fat loss being learned now. The benefits of packing lean muscle mass and the
health benefits of building a strong foundation through weight training are becoming so much more mainstream. I love seeing women of all ages and fitness levels flooding the weight room instead of sticking only to the cardio zone. (And they are all looking tighter and more toned too!)

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy relaxing with my boyfriend or just chilling out & reading a good book.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Claire Hayes.
A: 6 days per week my day either begins with my own workout or by putting a client through a workout of their own. The rest of my day basically follows the same pattern: working with a client, eating my meals, and planning workouts/diet plans for the following day's appointments. I really really love my job and I hardly consider it work. If I have a slow work day I get out of the gym and take a walk or go for coffee with a friend who also has a unconventional schedule. (Sometimes I take a short mid-day nap as most of my days begin at 4am). Fortunately my boyfriend is also into this lifestyle (except he works as a plumber in the daytime), so he understands my crazy schedule and we always spend Sundays together :)

Q: Describe Claire Hayes in five words.
A: Caring, Loyal, Hardworking, Fun, A little bit silly

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Nothing bothers me more than to see someone feeling bad about themselves: I would give anything to switch places with a struggling client or friend & do the work for them so they could feel as wonderful as they should!

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Yes- I'm really excited for July 16 when I'll be back on stage at the BC Provincials! I've been putting more hard work into preparing for this show than ever before and I'm hoping this will be MY year!!!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you?
A: Yes I most definitely am looking for sponsors. I can be reached at:

Q: Claire, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you for providing an opportunity for me to tell the fitness industry a little about myself and my own personal fitness journey.

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