Sunday, May 29, 2011

Debbi Kanoa Interview

Having a father who was Mr. Hawaii, you may say Debbi Kanoa was born to be a competitor, and born to train. In a sense, she was, first showing interest at 14 and always having what she called "an unrealistic goal" to compete. After moving away from Hawaii, Debbi added some weight. While that may be viewed as a negative, in my opinion, it was a good thing. It made Debbi get in the gym, lose the weight, build a good physique highlighted by great legs. And on her 42nd birthday Debbi Reached that "unrealistic goal" and stepped on stage for the first time. She has competed twice more since then and looks better each time.

Q: First, Debbi, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Well I am 43 years old originally from Hawai’i. I am married and have 4 children ages 21, 19, 16 & 13. We moved to Las Vegas back in 2001.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I was very athletic as a teenager running track competitively. My dad was Mr. Hawai’I back when I was a baby; I remember when I first showed interest in weight training at 14 years old my dad gave me no slack! I asked “can I go to the movies and his response was “did you train yet”.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: Moving away from Hawai’I for the first time was really hard for me and I gained a LOT of weight. In December of 2008 I had surgery, and was taking medication for hypoglycemia because I was so heavy. In January 2009 I after I finally mentally decided that it was time. (I talked about it A LOT before but always found excuses). My girlfriend said “I am going to train for a Figure Competition and I said “well I will too”. My DREAM even as a teenager was to be a Fitness Model, I always had such respect because Fitness models are much more than a pretty face they work hard at looking that way. Even though I started training I still did not think competing at 42 years old was a realistic goal. Well, March of 2010 on my actual 42nd birthday I competed in my first Figure competition. It was so surreal to be on stage at that moment.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Training was the easy part. The competition diet can be a challenge at times especially being around all my Polynesian family that LOVE to eat and are AMAZING cooks :-). I started seeing real results about 3 months into my training.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: Being a Figure Competitor was an “unrealistic” goal for me since I was a teenager. I never believed I could do it. It was my goal.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: My family has actually been my BIGGEST fans. At family BBQ’s (every Sunday) I always had my gallon water of chicken breast. Everyone was supportive and did not try and tempt me.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Competing was everything and more! It was so surreal. I have to be honest though, this past March I did my first Bikini competition and literally right before walking on stage I seriously contemplated RUNNING away! I was so freaked out to walk on stage and “be sexy” Figure is much “easier”. I did it though and it was GREAT!

Q: Can you share your contest history.
*March 2010 – NPC Excalibur in Culver City, CA- 5th place. Figure
*June 2010 – Nevada State Championships in Reno, NV- 3rd place. Figure
*April 2011 – Jay Cutler Classic in Las Vegas, NV.- Bikini

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

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I love doing arms because I want nice arms :-)

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: During competition training I up my cardio to 2x a day, 6 days a week, weight train 3x a week and I start my “competition diet”. During off time I do cardio once a day 6 days a week and still weight train 3x a week.

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: I get a lot more positive feedback. One of the things that keeps me motivated is the emails or comments I get (on facebook or face to face) on how what I am doing has motivated them to start training and living a healthy lifestyle. I LOVE getting others motivated!

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: The one comment/question that gets old is explaining that drinking 1-2 gallons of water a day is NOT a bad thing and you will NOT drown yourself :-)

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: That by lifting heavy weights you are going to get BIG and bulky! Lifting weights DOES not make you get “too big” no matter what your goals are, incorporating weights in your training regiment is a GOOD thing :-)

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The strict diet and extra cardio :-)

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I admire first and foremost my trainer Lisa Maloy who is an IFBB Pro! Another person I admire would be Gina Ostarly because she is another reminder that we are the “New Forty” year old women and we ROCK! :-)

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Ice cream and brownies :-)

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: That she CAN do it! It is a lifestyle change not a diet and it is so much more than going to the gym it is a mental and emotional commitment to be BETTER!

Q: Do you think it’s becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: Yes! I had a friend who wanted me to help her. I took her to the gym and she was all embarrassed and said “I don’t want to go into the men's section!” I smiled and took her, she now LOVES the “men's section” much more than the cardio machines.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I just love spending time with my family and friends, hanging out, bbq, pool & listening to them play Hawaiian/jawaiian jams. That makes me smile :-)

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Debbi Kanoa.
A; 5am morning alarm, head to the gym for round 1 of cardio. Home, get ready for work and prepare my food for the day. Work 8-4pm and head back to gym for round 2 of cardio and weight training. Home, study for my CPT and bed by 9pm :-)

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Looking at me now, if you did not know me 1.5 years ago and I showed you a picture you would be surprised. I lost 90lbs and look like a totally different person. I recently posted a before and after picture and there were some that questioned if that was really the same person. A proud accomplishment :-)

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I possibly will be doing a show in July in Culver City (depends on finances). If not, for sure the Las Vegas Classic in November. I am also working on getting my personal trainers certificate.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: For anyone interested in being a part of an AMAZING group of people come check out Fit Fizeeks! You too can do it! I did :-). You not only can get into the best shape of your life but you can meet some great people and gain a whole realm of new friends!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Debbi Kanoa the athlete and competitor?
A: Sponsors would be GREAT! I can be reached at as well as on Facebook.
By sponsoring me you would be getting a self-starter full of determination and motivation. You are not just sponsoring Debbi Kanoa ( a 43 year old mother of 4), you are sponsoring a story that could/would help to motivate others and assist in changing others lives.

Q: Debbi, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Jason, thank you for interviewing me. I am not a pro competitor yet and possibly will never be but I thank you for the opportunity to get my story out there so women can realize that ANYONE can accomplish their goals. I had this goal since I was 14 years old and I never knew I would get here!
Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much)

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