Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lisa White Interview

Q: First, Lisa, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for the opportunity. It’s my pleasure.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I came to the U.S. from Korea when I was a baby. My dad was in the Army, and I was raised with my brother Chris. I also have another brother and two sisters from my biological father, whom I met when I was 26. All of us kids are of mixed ethnicities, and look like a mini United Nations. I’m married and I have two fabulous gingers, too. My daughter Jaden is six and my son Marcus a.k.a. Chunk is four. My family keeps me on my toes.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Yes, I was. When I was younger my parents were very supportive of sports participation. I’ve participated in everything from ballet to bowling. My parents were adamant that my brother and I finish any sport we started, but if we didn’t like it we didn’t have to continue it the next season.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I ate my way through college on Papa John’s Pizza and midnight grilling parties, but I wasn’t heavy. It wasn’t until after I graduated from Georgia Southern University that the weight began to “stick.”
I gained weight in my midsection, and wore a size 10 to 12 at 135 lb. I was working with little down time, and was sick of having a donut around my waist. I jumped in head-first and bought a two year membership at Cosmos Fitness.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Yes, the training came easy, but I was also determined to make changes. I weight lifted four days a week and in six months gained five pounds. My weight was 140 lb. but my pant size was a four or six. My body composition was changing steadily.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I trained to compete ten years ago, and backed out one week before the bodybuilding show. I had severe stage fright. Again, in 2007, I decided to compete. I was two weeks into contest prep when I found out I was pregnant with my Chunk.
Finally, in 2009, I didn’t like the way I felt or looked. I was reverting. For years I spent my time running a business and raising kids while eating donuts and coffee well into the night. I was tired of being the mom that looked like the mom stereotype; haggard and fat. I decided to compete to give myself a goal.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Most of my girlfriends are active, and a few compete so they are very supportive. My dad is supportive, and has seen me compete. On the other hand, my mom is not. My mom is old school Korean and thinks I look like “Skinny-bones-Jones” when I’m in contest prep. She likes everyone to be heavy.
My kids walk around flexing, and my husband is also supportive. Josh was a power lifting athlete while attending Elon University, and he understands the training, diet, and mental aspect of what it takes to compete. He evaluates all of my photos and gives advice; but only when I ask for it. He’s become very wise over the years.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Absolutely not! It was nothing like I expected. The girls were very catty, and ambitious. I thought it would be more sportsmanlike, but it wasn’t. As for being on stage, it was as scary as I expected. The lights are so bright, and everything moves very fast. Of course, I had the terrible fear that one of the judges would call my number and say, “Your other left…”

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: Sure. In my first show I placed sixth and I’ve placed first through fourth since.
*2011 NGA Mount Rogers, November 19, 3rd place open medium class
*2011 Charm City Classic, October 22, 3rd place masters class, 4th place open short class
*2010 OCB Midwest States, November 20, 1st place novice 2 Class, 2nd place masters 2 Class, 4th place open class
*2010 ABA Natural North American Championships, August 7, 3rd place short class,
*2009 Muscle Mania October, 10 , 6th place open class

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would say my shoulders. My shoulders are naturally broad and square, but I am careful when posing. In certain poses my shoulders over power the rest of my body.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Actually, I really love to workout regardless of competing. I’d have to say, in this order: back, shoulders and legs are the best. I have two favorite exercises. I love close grip lat pull downs without a seat. I sit with my knees on the floor and do the lat pulls from there.
My second favorite exercise is plate pushes on the basket ball court. I use a 45 lb. weight on a towel and push it across the court. Do enough of those and you’ll vomit.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: In or off-season I try to train at least five days a week. I do a basic split of back, chest, legs, shoulders and arms. I train seven days a week when in contest prep, and on the additional days I do short sessions of plyometric exercises and cardio. I have been known to take days off if my body needs it.
In the off-season I eat what I want. I don’t think twice about having chicken fingers and fries if that’s what I crave. I love to live life, and worrying about my caloric intake verses my caloric expenditure in the off season isn’t going to happen.

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: Actually, both the positive and negative comments are about the same. When my husband and I owned a gym a woman came in for a personal trainer. Her goal was to get in shape, but she said, “I don’t want to look like you.” When I asked what was “wrong” with me she said I was too big.
Meanwhile, I was stopped by a woman the other week who said I looked fantastic. I told her I was a figure competitor, and it intrigued her. She asked me questions in the grocery store about the process.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: For many athletes, the most avoided or annoying question is, “Are you on steroids?” For me, I get a lot of flak from friends and acquaintances because I don’t use enhancement drugs. I don’t care who uses gear, but I never thought that not using enhancement drugs would be disapproved of.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Hands down—Turning into She-hulk. It just doesn’t happen unless you have a great combination of genetics and the right “pharmacist.”

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: I love to lift, but I hate, and I mean hate, cardio. I’m a weights kind of girl. Cardio sucks ass.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Beni Lopez. Kris Murrell. Both women are power houses. Lopez and Murrell are crossing over to physique and I’m interested to see the changes. IFPA Pro Patricia Beckman has some of the best posing I’ve seen. She’s artistic and creative without posing like an “entertainer.”
Monica Brant of course. She’s one of my favorites for several reasons. She’s lasted a long time in a tough industry, and she’s an astute business woman. She wouldn’t have lasted otherwise.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I’m such a foodie that there are days I wonder why I bother to compete. When in contest prep cheat foods are usually Nutella, BBQ or a cheeseburger.

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: I tell her how much time it really takes to compete. Most people have no idea how much time it takes to prepare for a single bodybuilding show. They don’t realize every minute counts. Training, cardio, posing practice, tanning and food prep all take time. Add your life away from bodybuilding into the mix and time management is the top priority.

Q: Do you think it’s becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: No, I don’t. I wish it wasn’t the case, though. Women are still so fearful of bulking up, and looking like their husbands. It’s an old myth that keeps persevering.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activates you enjoy?
A: I love to hang out with my kids, read, play scrabble, cook, and travel, visit museums and go to plays or shows. I’ve seen the Lion King on Broadway. Miss Saigon in London. Phantom of the Opera in Hotlanta. Henry the V in Stratford-upon-Avon. O in Las Vegas.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Lisa White.
A: I’m very, very predictable. My alarm sounds at 3:3O a.m. I head to the laundry room, start a load of wash, and fold whatever remains. I heat water for coffee, and begin cooking breakfast. I eat breakfast, and check my emails and websites so I can start writing. If I’m in contest prep I do cardio after checking e-mails.
Then I’m off and running once the kids get up. I get them ready for school by 8:40 a.m., and head to the gym where I train for an hour. When I’m in contest prep it’s two hours. Then I’m back at the house to write articles between taking care of my Chunk, cleaning and cooking. I pick my daughter up from school, and then its dinner, baths, story time and bed by 8:00p.m.
Damn, that’s boring!

Q: Describe Lisa White in five words.
A: Confident. Harsh. Honest. Bold. Sensual.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I am a complete nerd, and a huge fan of reading. I don’t get to read as much as I like, but I used to read a book a day. I also have many other aspirations besides competing. I plan to go back to school to become a registered dietician, and I don’t care if I’m 60 when it happens.
People are very surprised to find that I don’t speak Korean. My mother wanted to me to be very “American” and never taught me.
When it comes to competing people are always surprised to learn that I loathe water, and anything on a competition diet. I don’t care how you dress it up; a sweet potato is just a gnarly root.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: The additional cardio and tight diet is very taxing during contest prep. I like to take six to eight months off between shows to recover and grow. As of yet, I plan to compete in October or November. I’m not sure which shows I’ll do though, since I was recommended to crossover to the NPC. I’ve been doing natural bodybuilding shows and have never done NPC.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Thank you for the opportunity. People can find me at CPT Lisa M. White™ or CPT Lisa M. White™ Bodybuilding blog, or check out my column as a National Bodybuilding Examiner.
I am also the owner of Bodybuilding Event Tips. The site offers tips on things that occur during bodybuilding shows, information on products, or answers to questions that are commonly asked. Please don’t be shy and “Like” the Bodybuilding Event Tips Facebook page, also.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you?
A: Yes, I am. Thank you for asking. Please contact me at cptlisamwhite@yahoo.com. My resume and photos are available upon request.
Future sponsors can also see that I’m a sponsored athlete of Vandella Costumes. 2012 will be my third year being sponsored. Thank you Vandella Costumes.

Q: Lisa, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I’d like to say don’t get lost along the way, and forget to enjoy the journey. This is about having fun. Once again, thank you for the interview invitation.

Nichole Moran Cruz Interview

Q: First, Nichole, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Absolutely! I appreciate the opportunity to let people know a little bit about me.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Sure. I’m a former athlete, basketball and collegiate track & field. I was married at 21, and had 3 children by the age of 24. My marriage was riddled with domestic violence and I began to lose my confidence and sense of self. In order to begin to rebuild myself physically, emotionally and spiritually, I began to reach back to my athletic roots and get back into the gym. The stronger I became on the outside, I began to gain strength on the inside. I eventually rediscovered myself and found the strength to leave the marriage. I have looked forward ever since and never looked back. My children are now 18, 17 and 15 and are 3 of my best achievements in life!

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I’ve actually been an athlete from as long as I can remember. I played basketball in high school, however track was my passion. I began to develop craft, running on a track team in the summer, participating in the Junior Olympics in 1989. I also attended Colorado State University on a track scholarship. I truly believe sports keep you motivated. It teaches the value of hard work, perseverance and a healthy lifestyle.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: The gym has been a constant throughout my lifetime. From high school, college, during all pregnancies and post pregnancy. My life could be chaotic and constantly changing, however they gym has kept me grounded in every point of my life. It’s become somewhat of a comfort blanket. I can be stressed and emotional, however once I step into the gym, put my hat on and earphones in, nothing else matters but me and the iron.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Training for me started in high school. My basketball coach had training techniques that were advanced for the time: plyometrics, cardio conditioning, weight training, were all part of our weekly regimen. Because his training was so tough, I have always been prepared to work hard. Training as a Competitive Fitness Athlete is definitely not easy, however I am always eager to learn new techniques and always prepared to work hard.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I was actually working as a Personal Trainer for a large gym when another trainer planted the seed to compete. I was also looking for a new challenge to push myself. Making the decision to actually train for it was the toughest part as it was uncharted territory for me. It was also a little scary thinking about getting on stage and being vulnerable enough to be judged by others. Being a competitive person, I eagerly accepted the challenge and the rest is history!

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Initially I was on my own. The sport of Competitive Fitness is very time consuming, demanding and a bit narcissistic. You have to take time away from family, friends and “normal” life to train. I am the athletic one in my family, therefore they really didn’t understand the “why.” They would see me tired, grumpy, carb deprived and somewhat disengaged. There was some negativity and I had to separate myself during my training. It wasn’t until my parents came to my first show and could actually see what the sport was about and the results of my efforts, that they were able to be on board with my chosen sport.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I don’t think you can actually grasp what it’s like until you step on stage for the first time. It was more exhilarating and rewarding than I had anticipating. I was actually surprised that there were not many women of color competing. It was at that time that I developed a Facebook page: Figure Competitors of Color which is a group that supports and encourages the women of color in the sport of Competitive Fitness. I now have over 700 page members across the globe. I also developed CFAA – Competitive Fitness Athletes Association which is an organization that promotes and supports Competitive Fitness Athletes and the sport of Competitive Fitness.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: Absolutely: 2006 NPC Novice 5th place; 2009 NPC Novice 6th place; 2010 NPC Masters 5th place: 2010 Masters 3rd place. I’m particularly proud of myself for getting back on stage in 2010 after a major surgery in December of 2009 which had me out of commission for almost 12 weeks. I had another major surgery in April of 2011 and am equally as proud of my hard work for my national qualifying 3rd place in November of this year.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: My body is still under construction, however I’ve grown quite fond of my quads and triceps. They are always the easiest to develop.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love to train legs. When you involve all of the muscles within the leg during your workout, it feels more challenging in terms of cardio. I always feel like I’ve achieved something when I burn out my legs. I actually don’t really have a favorite exercise as I’m always looking for variations to hit muscles differently.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I’m still fine tuning my training schedule, however I typically will get my cardio done in the morning before work. I work at a desk during the day, therefore I’m ready to get up and move some iron by the end of the day. Last year I incorporated Muay Thai and TRX training within my schedule which propelled me out of that 5th place category to qualify for nationals. This year I’m going to continue with the fight training 2-3 times per week as well as weight training to develop those areas that were underdeveloped for the last show. This year, I am also working with the authors of the book Turbocharged to trial their fat burning techniques as it pertains to extreme athletes such as myself. I will be blogging about my results, so stay tuned!

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 think people are inspired by my drive and commitment to fitness. As a 39 year old woman, maintaining a fit physique encourages many to aspire for ultimate fitness. Many women approach me in the gym and ask “how can I have arms like you?!” I like to think that my story and seeing me in action, sparks a sense of hope within the average woman.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I honestly never tire of hearing comments or receiving questions. I typically hear “I could NEVER do that!” I like to take that as a challenge to prove that I’ve been through the depths of despair and have come back stronger and more confident than ever before. If I can do it yes, YOU can do it!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I believe people look at the sport as somewhat of a beauty pageant. My goal is to really educate the sporting community that Competitive Fitness is a legitimate sport with devoted, committed athletes. If you watch a Figure competitor train, you will never view her as anything other than an athlete.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training is seeing the end result and staying youthful. The worst part of training, the exhaustion that sometimes comes with it when holding down a full-time job. I would love the opportunity to train freely without the corporate commitments. Until then, I do what is necessary to train hard every day!

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I have an admiration for all competitors. A number of us are mothers, wives, girlfriends bosses, and hold down a 9 to 5 job. It says a lot about woman’s character that she can juggle so many titles and responsibilities with grace and strength.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: We have a place called Wing Stop here in Colorado that has the most amazing garlic parmesan wings. Besides that, anything that’s NOT on the competition diet is my favorite cheat food.

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: I would say visit a show first. If you can’t visit a show, conduct your own research to become educated on the sport itself and the demands it requires. Once you’re comfortable with what you’ve learned, set a date, put it on the calendar and find a trainer or a friend who competes to guide you. Train hard, and don’t let anything stop you from attaining your competition goals!

Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: I think we still have a long way to go in convincing women that weight training is almost necessary to incorporate into regular fitness routines. I still do not see enough women in the weight room. I do hear a number of times from women in the gym that they would like to lift weights, however they don’t know what to do. We’re coming up in the weight training game, but still have work to do to make it more mainstream amongst women especially as we get older.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love Fight training: Muay Thai and boxing. This is my second passion. I love the sense of empowerment it develops and how it shapes my body. I created Fyter Fitness to promote Fighter Intense Training as a tool to develop mental, spiritual and physical fitness and empowerment. I also enjoy anything athletic and being outside.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Nichole Moran Cruz.
A: My day starts early: 5am – cardio time, off to work by 8am until 5pm, back to the gym for more cardio and weight training or muay thai class, home to cook and spend time with kids, working on Fyter Fitness or CFAA – Competitive Fitness Athletes Association projects, packing food for the next day and then off to bed by 12 hopefully. Days are long during the competition season.

Q: Describe Nichole Moran Cruz in five words.
A: Resilient, Relentless, Committed, Determined, Evolving

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I absolutely love monstrous pickup trucks. I’m only 5’5 ½”, but my next dream vehicle is either an F150, Dodge Ram or Toyota Tundra. Orange, big and powerful!

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I intend to compete as much as I can this year. I will definitely hit the USAs in Vegas, possibly Figure Masters and Nationals in Atlanta. My first show of the year has yet to be determined. I will also be hosting the first conference for CFAA – Competitive Fitness Athletes Association this year date yet to be determined. I will be training with various MMA fighters throughout the year, conducting interviews and blogging about my experiences in order to provide an inside view as to what it truly means to be a Fighter and how to spark the Fyter within.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I have a couple of ventures being developed right now: CFAA – Competitive Fitness Athletes Association which promotes the sport of Competitive Fitness and its athletes. This website can be found at: www.cfathletes.com . My other venture is Fyter Fitness which promotes empowerment: mind, body and spirit, through Fighter Intense Training. Information about Fyter Fitness can be found at: www.fyterfitness.com

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so what are they getting in Nichole Moran Cruz the athlete and competitor?
A: I am looking for sponsors for myself and many other phenomenal athletes. I am the ultimate athlete: I have overcome domestic violence, being a single parent, and have always kept myself grounded and excelled as an athlete regardless of my circumstances. I am a role model to many who have survived trauma and utilized those battles as a springboard for achievement and greatness. I train hard, work hard, and always strive for the Ultimate fitness and personal success.

Q: Nichole, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: You bet! Thank you for such a great interview. I look forward to many accomplishments in 2012!

Monday, January 23, 2012

My better late than never Combat Challenge 18 Results
 ;) -LY

145 lbs – Male Featherweight
Josh Myers 0-2 (Independent) vs. Derek Wright 0-0 (Dragons Den)

1st - Wright comes out quick to land a few shots, pulls guard and sinks in a guillotine.  Myers doesn’t get a chance to tap, and is out cold.

Win:  Derek Wright
Reason: KO Guillotine
Time: 0:17 Round 1

135 lbs – Male Bantamweight
Robbie Wilson 0-0 (Team Impact) vs. Nick Espinoza 0-0 (Brown Pride MMA)

1st  - Both are trading a few punches until Wilson shoots in for the takedown,  Espinoza stuffs and adjusts to start working from the back, holding Wilson to the ground in a turtle position.  Espinoza advances into side control, as Wilson is fighting to gain better positioning, but Espinoza lands in the mount position continuing to work his ground and pound mixing in a few hard knees to the body of Wilson until the end of the round.
Espinoza worked Wilson’s right eye over enough to leave it swollen shut at the end of round 1.  The doctor has been called in to check, and apparently Wilson won’t be continuing on.

Win:  Nick Espinoza
Reason: Medical Stoppage

205 lbs – Male Light Heavyweight
Chris Hogue 0-0 (Independent) vs. Nick Halkides 1-0 (Evolve MMA)

1st- Quick heavy hands and Hogue goes right in for the takedown, he gets caught in arm bar positioning but slams out it to land into half guard, works to mount, and back to half.   Halkides is controlling Hogue’s posture well but Hogue is able to work a few shots in on Halkides.   Chris Hogue has control of first round.

2nd – The fighters clinch up quick working back and forth for fence positioning, and even sneaking in a few foot stomps as well as Hogue landing a nice flying knee to the body of Halkides.  Hogue is working for the single leg as Halkides works to sink in a Guillotine.  Hogue gets the takedown he’s been working for, lands in half guard and is able to land a few more heavy hands onto Halkides before the bell rings.

3rd – Hogue gets the take down at the beginning of the round, working in to full mount.   Hogue works through Halkides attempt to control is posture and landing a few heavy shots to the face.   Halkides attempts to get in a better spot but Hogue continues to control the ground and keep Halkides on his back.

Win:  Chris Hogue
Score: 30-27 Unanimous Decision

 135 lbs – Female Welterweight
Angie Reinhardt 1-1 (Power of One MMA) vs. Norma Rueda 2-0 (Cenrockda Siam Muay Thai Attack Force)

1st – Round starts off with the exchange of punches, they clinch and Rueda works her knees into the picture.   Referee resets the fighters, and Rueda lands a heavy 1-2 clinches, and throws an accidental knew to Reinhardt’s face.   Quick break, and they’re back at it with Rueda getting the takedown landing in Reinhardt’s guard and working her ground and pound while Reinhardt attempts to control posture until end of round 1.

2nd – Rueda starts out the round with leg kicks but Reinhardt answers with an over hand right.  Fighter’s trade punches into the clinch and Reinhardt pulls guard with a guillotine attempt.   Rueda is able to pull he head out and starts to work her ground and pound until the referee feels it’s time to reset.  Punches are traded to the cage where Rueda is able to pin Reinhardt and get her takedown.  From the ground Rueda is able to work to side control, landing pretty heavy on Reinhardt.  Rueda gives a good attempt on the Americana, but can’t pull it off before the bell rings.

3rd. Reinhardt comes out landing a heavy spinning back fist, which leads to Rueda clinching up on the cage and scoring another takedown.  Rueda works knees to the body, reaching full mount position.  Reinhardt tries to climb the cage in effort to get out from underneath, but leaves an arm out for an arm bar attempt for Rueda.   It almost looks like Rueda can finish it, but Reinhardt rolls out, and the round ends with Rueda in side control.  Great round on both ends.

Win: Norma Rueda
Score: 30-27 Unanimous Decision

135 lbs – Male Bantamweight
Allan Froelich 0-1 (VIP D-Boyz) vs. William Freedson 1-3 (Vanyo Fight Team)

1st – Froelich starts the round off with a roundhouse which opened up for Freedson to go in for the takedown and work himself into full mount landing quick and heaving giving Froelich no other choice but to give up his back.  Freedson has both hooks in and is working for the guillotine.  Froelich is able to fight out, but leaves an arm out for Freedson to latch on and apply a nasty arm bar.

Win:  Allan Froelich
Submission: Arm bar
Time:  1:51 Round 1

170 lbs – Male Welterweight
Kyle Fenton 0-0 (Team Impact) vs. Larry Merriweather 0-0 (Instigator Fight Team)

1st Fenton goes right in and shoots for the takedown, Merriweather sprawls and lands a few heavy shots but Fenton still pushes forward and gets the Takedown.   Back on their feet, Fenton lands heavy and knocks Merriweather to the mats, leaving Fenton working for a Guillotine.   Merriweather moves him to the cage, and gets his head out standing up just go get taken back down.   Fenton works to full mount, and attaining Merriweather's back to sink in the rear naked and get the tap.

Win:  Kyle Fenton
Submission: Rear Naked Choke
Time: 2:47 1st Round

145 lbs – Male Featherweight
Roosevelt Archie 2-3 (PA Brawlers) vs. Sean Clair 1-0 (Renzo Gracie Pittsburgh)

1st - Clair starts the fight off immediately going for the take down, working from half guard landing a few knees to the body.  Archie attempts to get out from the bottom but Clair has full control of this round, finishing off with another takedown and some heavy ground and pound.

2nd - Clair scores another take down, to side control while Archie attempts to walk the cage to get out from the bottom, but Clair uses this opportunity to take full mount.  Clair is able to use his ground and pound against Archie’s failed attempts to escape.   Round ends with Clair on top again.

3rd – Archie comes out of the gate landing a heavy right which stuns Clair,  Clair shoots in taking Archie to the cage and gets the takedown.   Archie is trying to work the guillotine but Clair is in no serious threat.   Referee stands them up.   Clair goes right back in for the takedown, back to side control, and mount trying to work against Archie’s effort to control his posture, landing a few punches and ending the round with an arm bar attempt but Archie is able to hold on until the bell rings.

Win:  Sean Clair
Score:  30-27 Unanimous Decision

155 lbs - Male Lightweight
Fadi Shuman 0-0 (Mad Dog Fight Team vs. Eddie Dayok 0-0 (Independent)

 1st – Shuman comes out landing a right roundhouse but Dayok quickly responds with his hands,   Dayok tries to clinch and pin Shuman to the cage in attempt to stop the flurry of punches and roundhouses Shuman is landing.  Shuman picks Dayok for the slam, and works to mount and back landing hammers to sink in a rear naked choke but bailed on it to land a few more heavy hands to Dayok’s face.   I’d say an easy 30/27 round for Shuman.

2nd – Instant replay of first round “ Shuman comes out landing kicks but Dayok responds with his hands”  Fighters clinch up and are working for cage positioning, Shuman is landing knees to the body while defending Dayok's takedown attempt.   Dayok switches to the single leg and gets his takedown he’s been working for. The round ends as Dayok is landing heavy hands from his feet while Shuman is on his back.  

3rd – Round starts off with a few wild punches, and ends up on the ground again to give Shuman another chance to work ground and pound to give Dayok no choice but to give up his back again.   Dayok is trying to protect himself while Shuman has him in a body triangle and is landing heavy to his head.   Shuman sinks in the RNC but Dayok isn’t quitting, Shuman bails on the RNC and throws blows until the referee is forced to call the fight.

Win:  Fadi Shuman
Reason:  TKO – Strikes
Time: 2:52 3rd

135 lbs – Male Bantamweight
 Zach Forrester 1-2 (PA-Brawlers) vs. Josh Burr 1-2 (Independent)

1st - A few heavy right hands were exchanged as Burr shoots and is stuffed.  Looks like they’re testing each other out, not throwing too much of anything until Forrester lands a wild right hook.  Shoot, Stuff, wild hooks.

2nd – Burr shoots again, and Forrester sprawls.  They’re fighting for positioning on the ground as Burr gets to side control but his head is caught by Forrester.  Burr trying to work the body until the fight makes it to the feet again.  By Burr’s 3rd shot in on Forrester he gets the legs and lands in Forrester’s guard.  Burr works a little bit of the body and head against Forrester’s attempt to control his posture.

3rd – Burr opens the round with another take down attempts, and Forrester lands one or two heavy to end up with Burr fighting to get out of Forrester’s triangle attempt.   Burr gets his arms out after taking a few clean punches to the face.  Referee stands them up, and Burr gets the takedown into half guard and is holding positioning until the bell

Win:  Zack Forrester
Score:  Split Decision, 29/28 Burr, 29/28 Forrester, 29/28 Forrester

170 lbs – Male Welterweight
Nick Adkins 1-1 (Team Impact) v s Kirk Cranks haw 1-0 (Vanyo Fight Team)

1st – Cranks haw gets a takedown after a light exchange and working to get head out of Adkins standing guillotine attempt.  Crankshaw is working Adkin's back before he gets dumped off of the top, and the fight goes back to their feet.   Crankshaw has Adkins pinned to the fence, working for the takedown as the round ends.

2nd - Crankshaw is working his kicks into the clinch working knees back and forth from the cage.  Few attempts for takedowns as the fight went from the fence to the center and back and forth until Crankshaw lands a few kicks and they have just enough time to clinch again before the bell rings.

3rd – This round starts out with nothing landing and fighters going back and forth clinching on the cage.  Crankshaw has his head down but Adkins can’t sink in the guillotine – they’re working knees just before Crankshaw goes down for a double leg and gets the takedown, landing himself into back control on Adkins.   Crankshaw has his hooks in, and looking to sink in the rear naked choke but Adkins is able to get his head free to end the round.

Win:  Kirk Crankshaw
Score:  Unanimous Decision, 30/27, 30/27, 29/28

 145 lbs – Female Middleweight
Allanna Jones 1-2 (American Muscle MMA) vs. Krissa Timbs 1-0 (Independent MMA & Fitness)

1st - Timbs comes out with a round house but Jones responds with her left.  Timbs shoots but is stuffed, and they’re back to their feet for Timbs to shoot again.   Timbs tries to work the double leg landing in Jones’s guard.  Timbs lands a few to the body and head, but Jones gives it right back and controls the posture.  The round ends with the fighters exchanging blows back and forth on the ground.

2nd - The first part of the round was spent exchanging punches,  Jones is using angles well and landing, so Timbs decides to shoot for another takedown.  She’s got Jones against the cage, still working for the left while she’s getting pounded by the hands of Jones.  Jones lands plenty clean shots while Timbs switches to the single leg, and the round ends.

3rd - Jones comes out landing from a quick flurry while Timbs hides behind her hands.   Jones is still landing hard and heavy leaving Timbs with no choice but to shoot for a double, switches to single leg, with Jones back on the cage again.  Replay of second round, Jones landing heavy clean shots until bell.

 Win: Allanna Jones
Score:  Unanimous Decision – 29/28, 29/28, 30/27

155 lbs – Male Lightweight
Devonte Smith 1-0 (Brickhouse MMA) vs.  Kegan O’Neil 2-0 (Dungeon MMA)

1st – Smith comes out with a front kick right off the bat followed by a flurry of punches, landing a takedown.  O’Neil looks for the heal hook but catches Smith in his guard and quickly grabs onto the arm for an arm bar to finish the fight in just over a minute.

Win:  Kegan O’Neil
Submission: Arm bar
Time: 1:01 1st Round

170 lbs – Male Welterweight
Rick Borowski 2-2 (PFC) vs. Josh Lasiche 2-0 (Evolve MMA)

1st – The round starts with Borowski answering Laschiche’s roundhouse with an overhand right.   Lasiche shoots for a single, hopping to the ground Borowski lands in guard.   Fighters are quickly back on their feet for Borowski to catch a kick to the nuts.  Borowski takes a few minutes to recoup. Back at it lock up and Lasiche gets the takedown, fighters working for ground positioning as the round ends.

The doctor comes in to check above Borowski’s left eye, which was cut somewhere along the way in the first, but he has the ‘ok’ to move forward.

2nd –  Trading punches,  Borowski catches Lasiche’s roundhouse and responds with a solid right resulting in a quick clinch and takedown for Lasiche.   Lasiche is working to the mount and landing punches to take Borowski’s back and finish with a Rear Naked Choke.

Win:  Josh Lasiche
Submission:  Rear Naked Choke
Time:  1:49 2nd

135 lbs – Female Welterweight
Chandra Engel 7-7 (American Muscle MMA) vs. Trisha Barr 4-4 (Team Kana)

1st - Punches are traded between both which led into Engel’s quick takedown landing her into side control.  Barr is working to put Engel into her guard and succeeds while trying to control the posture and arms of Engel.   Referee stands them up.   Barr lands a heavy right hook, and Engel gets back in for her second takedown to land into full mount on Barr.  Barr gives up her back and Engel sinks in the RNC to end the fight.

Win:  Chandra Engel
Submission: Rear Naked Choke
Time:  2:20 1st Round

145 lbs – Male Featherweight
Francis Healy 7-2-1 (Mad Dog Fight Team) vs. Tyler Saltsman 5-2 (Tem Titan)

1st – Healy comes in with the right to knock Saltsman down; he capitalizes and takes the back while Saltsman is still on his feet.  Healy is working for the RNC and finally gets Saltsman to the ground while he holds back positioning against Saltsmans attempts to turn in.   Saltsman sneaks out the back grabs for the single to take Healy to his knees.  First round ends on feet while Saltsman spent the majority of the time protecting his neck.

2nd – Saltsman is trying to set up the takedown with his left, grabs for the single leg and drives.  Saltsman sucks up the legs and advances to take Healy’s back.  Healy spins and works back to his feet.   Saltsman shoots again while Healy lands two solid hammer fists.  Healy has Saltsman’s left arm trapped and is attempting to control the head but Saltsman pops out and lands heavy knees from Healy’s ribs to end the round.

3rd - The round starts off with Saltsman shooting multiple times until he gets the takedown.  Healy is back to his feet quick for Saltsman to land the over hand right and score another takedown.   Saltsman is in guard working to keep out of danger from Healy’s triangle attempt and works to advance positioning.  They’re back on their feet, and Saltsman picks Healy up for the slam.  Saltsman is looking to trap Healy’s legs, working to pass guard but Healy gets his legs free and they’re back on their feet.   The round ends with one last shot from Saltsman.

Win:  Tyler Saltsman
Score: 29/28 Unanimous Decision

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2011 Real Women Awards

OK, all the votes are in. Thanks to everyone who voted. We had almsot twice as many votes as last year. All awards are voted on by fans except for teh fighters and competitors favorites and the Leslie Wartman Courage award and "Mighty" Mia Hayes Courage Award.

Blog Awards

1. Cover Model of the Year: Brea Sharron
2. Best Spotlight Interview: Michelle Ould
3. Best Interview- MMA: Jordan McDonald
4. Best Interview- Bikini: Christy Merritt
5. Best Interview- Fitness: Michelle Blank
6. Best Interview-Figure: Rachael Novello
7. Best Interview- Bodybuilding: Jennifer Abrams

Fitness Industry
1. Best Organization- IFBB
2. Supplement Company of the Year- Gaspari Nutrition
3. Trainer of the Year: Kim Oddo
4. Industry Website of the Year: Sioux Country
5. Best Competitor Website: Tanji Johnson
6. Weiferd Watts Memorial Award (Photographer of the year): Isaac Hinds
7. Best Blogger/Writer: Diane Mueller
8. Fitness Model of the Year: Ava Cowan

MMA Awards
1. Reporter of the Year: Loretta Hunt
2. Trainer/Gym of the Year: Greg Jackson/Mike Winklejohn
3. Referee of the Year: John McCarthy
4. Matchmaker of the Year: TIE: Nichole Long and Sam Wilson
5. Promotion of the Year: Bellator
6. Best Website/Blog: Real Women and Men's MMA
7. Best Fighter Website: Miesha Tate
8. Best Blogger/ Writer: Lacey Neher
9. Best Nickname: Jessica "Evil" Eye
10. Biggest Box Ofice Draw: Miesha Tate
11. Breakout Amateur Fighter of the Year: Jordan Gaza
12. Breakout Pro Fighter of the Year: Ronda Rousey
13. 2012 is Their Year Amateur: Jordan Gaza
14. 2012 is Their Year Pro: Sara McMann
15. Most Improved Fighter: Miesha Tate
16. Most Underrated Fighter: Jessica Eye
17. Best Representitive for the Sport: Jessica Philippus
18. Voters Favorite Amateur: Taylor Stratford
19. Voters Favorite Pro: Miesha Tate
20. Fighters Favorite Amateur: TIE: Taylor Stratford and Jordan Gaza
21. Fighters Favorite Pro: Megumi Fuji
22. Submission of the Year: Ronda Rousey's Armbar over Julia Budd
23. KO of the Year: Amanda Nunes over Julia Budd
24. Fight of the Year: Jessica Aguilar vs Carla Esparza
25. Amateur Fighter of the Year: Taylor Stratford
26. Pro Fighter of the Year: Miesha Tate

Physique Award
1. Physique Competitor of the Year: Dana Linn Bailey

Bikini Awards

1. Best Stage Presence: Jamie Baird
2. Breakout Competitor of the Year: Skye Taylor
3. Most Inspirational: Nicole Nagrani
4. Most Underrated Amateur: Rebecca Staggs
5. Most Underrated Pro: Jaime Baird
6. Most Improved Amateur: Heather Nappi
7. msot Improved Pro: Nicole Nagrani
8. 2012 Is Their Year Amateur: Rebecca Staggs
9. 2012 Is Their Year Pro: Jaime Baird
10. Best Representitive for the Sport: Nicole Nagrani
11. Voters Favorite Amateur: Skye Taylor
12. Voters Favorite Pro: Jaime Baird
13. Comeptitors Favorite Amateur: Rebecca Staggs
14. COmeptitors Favorite Pro: Nicole Nagrani
15. Amateur Competitor of the Year: Skye Taylor
16. Pro Competitor of the Year: Nicole Nagrani

Fitness Awards

1. Best Routines: Tanjo Johnson
2. Breakout Competitor of the Year: Michelle Blank
3. Most Inspirational Competitor: Tanji Johnson
4. Most Underrated Amateur: Viko Newman
5. Most Underrated Pro: Stacy Wright
6. Most Improved Amateur: Paula Williams-Gulman
7. Most Improved Pro: Michelle Blank
8. 2012 Is Their Year Amateur: Viko Newman
9. 2012 Is Their Year Pro: Oksana Grishina
10. Best Representitive for the Sport: Tanji Johnson
11. Voters Favorite Amateur: Paula Williams-Gulman
12. Voters Favorite Pro: Adela Garcia
13. Competitors Favorite Amateur: Paula Williams-Gulman
14. Competitors Favorite Pro: Tanji Johnson
15. Amateur Compeitor of the Year: Paula Williams-Gulman
16. Pro Competitor of the Year: Adela Garcia

Figure Awards
1. Best Stage Presence: Nicole Wilkins
2. Breakout Competitor of the Year: Shelly Albetta
3. Most Inspirational Competitor: Nicole Wilkins
4. Most Underrated Amateur: Michelle Beck
5. Most Underrated Pro: Katherynne Ramirez
6. Most Improved Amateur: Shelly Albetta
7. Most Improved Pro: Ann Titone
8. 2012 Is Their Year Amateur: Michelle Beck
9. 2012 Is Their Year Pro: Ava Cowan
10. Best Representitive for the Sport: Ava Cowan
11. Voters Favorite Amateur: TIE: Michelle Beck and Shelly Albetta
12. Voters Favorite Pro: Ava Cowen
13. Competitors Favorite Amateur: Heather Grace
14. Competitors Favorite Pro: Nicole Wilkins
15. Amateur Competitor of the Year: Heather Grace
16. Pro Competitor of the Year: Nicole Wilkins

Bodybuilding Awards
1. Best Poser: Debbie Bramwell
2. Breakout Competitor of the Year: TIE: Tarna Alderman and Kira Neuman
3. Most Inspirational Competitor: Michelle Brent
4. Most Underrated Amateur: Sherri Gray
5. most Underrated Pro: Nicole Ball
6. Most Improved Amateur: Alyssa Stroud
7. Most Improved Pro: Alina Popa
8. 2012 Is Their Year Amateur: Kira Neuman
9. 2012 Is Their Year Pro: Nicole Ball
10. Best Representitive for the Sport: Nicole Ball
11. Voters Favorite Amateur: Kira Neuman
12. Voters Favorite Pro: Nicole Ball
13. Competitors Favorite Amateur: Alyssa Stroud
14. Competitors Favorite Pro: Iris Kyle
15. Amateur Competitor of the Year: Michelle Cummings
16. Pro Competitor of the Year: Iris Kyle

Leslie Wartman Courage Award: Zoa Linsey
"Mighty" Mia Hayes Courage Award: Mia Hayes

Woman of the Year: Nicole Wilkins

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why Ronda Rousey Deserves Her Title Shot

I am no writer, and have never claimed to be. I do interviews. It's what I like to think I am..... well, at least decent at. So when I do writer, there may be bad grammar r a punctuation mark in the wrong place. The rare occasion I do actually write something that isn't an interview, it's just so I can speak what I feel. After some thinking last night, I came to a realization. I realized, I do believe Ronda Rousey getting the shot at Miesha Tate is the right way to go. So, I decided to share my thoughts on why.

I have been very quick to say I believe Sarah Kaufman deserved the shot at Tate, even told a top ten pound for pound female fighter that just two days ago. I felt Kaufman earned it more than Rousey. How did she earn it? Building up some impressive wins over good fighters, and let's not forget, she owns a victory over Tate already. But if the NFL and NBA have taught us anything of late, it's that sports are a business. MMA and the UFC/Strikeforce/Zuffa is also a business. I feel Tate vs Rousey makes business sense. Let's go back to March 2007. Did Randy Couture deserve a title shot vs Tim Sylvia? A heavyweight title shot for a guy who was 4-3 in his last seven fights.... not to mention those fights were at light heavyweight? No, he probably didn't deserve that shot. But it made for good business. And oh how we all cheered when our hero, Randy Couture won a unanimous decision to win the title. Had Brock Lesnar earned his shot at Couture? Probably not, but it made business sense. Before you are quick to bash Zuffa and Dana White, remember, they are not alone in this. How about when Pride would do their "freak show" fights. Sure, they were often fights that were unfair to one participant, but people had interest in them and paid to see them. Fact is, every sport, be it MMA, football, basketball, any of them, will always do what is financially best.

Why are we so quick to hate on Ronda? I admit, I was guilty of this myself. But in a sport where it's hard to make a living sometimes, Ronda has done what she needs to do to set herself up financially. Isn't that the American dream? Make a living doing what you love? We get mad at the things she says. We get mad that she "talked herself" into a title shot. I say, good for her, she did what she had to do to help herself financially. To me, it's no different then when I was managing a pizza shop and I did something that helped business. I made sure to tell the owner, hoping that what I did would make my pay check a little bigger. Let's go back to the fight with Julia Budd. Who was that guy holding a watch in the cage? It was "Judo" Gene LeBell. Old school pro wrestling fans will remember when the LeBell family ran their wrestling territory and had the gimmick of The Monster, a wrestler created in a laboratory. Was it a stupid gimmick? Yes!! But it was an attempt to sell tickets, make money. Let's stick with the pro wrestling theme here. It's been reported Ronda got the name "Rowdy" because she was a Roddy Piper fan growing up. Why was Piper the best heel in the sport in his hey day? Because he knew how to cut a promo and make you hate him. The more you hated him, the more money you would pay to see baby faces like Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Snuka or even Mr. T beat him. I see that in Ronda Rousey. She is willing to play the heel, the bad guy to drum up more interest in her fight and make it a bigger event, and in the end profit more. Let's not forget the more interest in her fight, the better it is for her opponent as well. As Muhammad Ali once said "the more people hate me, the more they will pay to see someone beat me".

Everyone involved in women's MMA is talking about Tate vs Rousey, but so are a lot of people who don't follow the women's side of the sport. If Tate was fighting Kaufman, would that happen? Sure the supporters of women's MMA would be talking, but outside of that, there would be little or no interest. In the long run, I think this is good for women's MMA. If Rousey wins people who don't like her, keep paying or watching hoping the next girl beats her. If she wins, she wins in front of her biggest audience and becomes a bigger name and maybe propels women's MMA to bigger heights. If she looses, well her haters can say "I told you so" and we will still have people talking about the women's side of the sport. Plus, if she looses, Miesha wins in front of a big audience, becomes more well known, and perhaps gets more attention for her next fight with the winner of Sarah Kaufman vs Alexis Davis.

I know I won't change the minds of the purists who want to see Kaufman get the shot because they feel they deserve it. Quite frankly, I don't want to change anyones mind. If everyone agreed, what would the fun be in that? Healthy debate is good for the sport because it helps provide interest. We all have our opinions and are entitled to them. Opinions are never wrong. I was one of those "purists" who want Kaufman to get the title shot. But, I was also a purist who hated when MLB started inter-league play and when they introduced the wild card. But over time, I have realized it's good for business. For example, me living in Cleveland, seeing teams from the National League come here can entice me to pay to go see a game when I may normally not because I get to see a team I never got to see come here. Or the wild card keeps a few extra teams in the post season hunt, and helps teams get a few more fans to pay to come see a game they normally might not pay for if there team was out of the post season hunt. In this case, I have changed my tune on Ronda, because she has garnered more interest in women's MMA. There will be people buying tickets or turning on Showtime to watch. People who without Ronda wouldn't have paid for that ticket or wouldn't have been watching the card on television.

I am just one guy. One guy who wants to see the sport grow. In my opinion, Ronda Rousey helps the sport grow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Spotlight Interview: Kira Neuman

Kira Neuman is one of the Bodybuilders every fan and competitor seems to like. Its not hard to see why either. She always rings a great physique to the stage, but she also brings a great positive attitude to everything she does. In 2011 she competed twice finishing 6th and 8th but as you will read, she realized she wasn't in the right weight class for her. That being said, it's pretty impressive that she looked as good as anyone on that stage when competing in a weight class that wasn't right for her. Kira Neuman is one of those people who you can't say it's not about IF she wins her Pro card, its a matter of WHEN she gets it.

Q: Can you start out just talking about how you got started weight training?
A: Well, I've always been an athlete. I specifically got into training when I went to Ball State. They have an amateur show their every year. I said "that's cool, I wanna look like those girls, they look so good". I really got into weight training then and decided to do that show the next year.

Q: So you knew you wanted to be on stage before you even started?
A: Yeah, which is kind of weird. Those girls looked amazing and that's what inspired me to start. When I got into the weight room I was specifically training for a show.

Q: A lot of people say after their first show, it becomes addicting. Was that the case with you?
A: Yea, the first time obviously I didn't look as good as I have recently. But it was so much fun, the process, the food, all of it. It was totally for me.

Q: Obviously some don't consider bodybuilding a female sport. Was competing something the people close to you were in favor of or understood?
A: Oh hell yeah My dad used to compete, nothing big, but he did some local shows. He was super into it and it got my two older brothers back in the gym. My entire family thought it was cool and they are still all about it for me.

Q: This year you did USA's and took 6th and North Americans and took 8th. Overall, not the placings, but how you looked, how satisfied were you?
A: Well, I was bummed out, only because I wanted top five and it was the best I ever looked. At first I was like "shit, this sucks" but then I realized, it's the best I ever looked and I can be happy with that. But I definitely wanted top five and it was a bummer.

Q: When you look at pictures, for example at USA's I thought you should have placed higher, and you don't place top five, is it hard to keep your emotions in check?
A: Thank you for thinking I should have been higher. Yeah kind of. Luckily no one sees it. The way it happened, and it happened in 2009, which is another reason I was disappointed, they pulled six of us out and then compared us. So I thought I had a chance at top five, and everyone was look "you got top five" or "you got top three". But they didn't move us and I wasn't super confident. So really, you don't know until you walk off stage and they don't call you top five. Then that's when you know are are like "shit", so its hard to keep it in check, but no one was gonna see me so I didn't care.

Q: I look at pictures from 2009 and compare them to now, and to me, your biggest improvement is just overall symmetry, would you agree?
A: Yeah! I definitely think conditioning, that is always my weak point. I lost a little size at the time, but conditioning for me was better this year and I was happy about that. My legs looked a lot better, which is always my weak point.

Q: What improvements do you want for 2012?
A: Well, this will sound so weird and ass backwards, but I realize I am not big enough to be a light heavyweight and that's probably why I didn't place top five, so I am gonna down size a little and go back to middleweight. I feel like I look best at middleweight and am not light heavyweight material. So I am gonna down size and physique wise, be a little smaller.

Q: You mentioned down sizing, with that in mind, would you consider physique or are you happy with bodybuilding?
A: Oh my gosh, I love bodybuilding. That's where my heart is. I think physique is awesome to, cause it gives girls who wouldn't have a chance in bodybuilding to compete and do well. But, it will sound weird, but there are so many girls in physique that I would rather stick to bodybuilding. I so want a Pro card, and feel I have a better chance in bodybuilding. Plus I would have to really down size for physique.

Q: When you are in the gym, beautiful girl and great physique, do you get any unwanted attention?
A: Aww thank you. Not really. My girlfriend owns a gym and I train there and we both work there. It's fairly small so everyone knows everybody. At first I did, but now everyone just knows us, so we are old news now. But if I would go to another gym, yeah, I would get a lot of unwanted attention. And I get it outside the gym to. We both do, cause she is pretty muscular to.

Q: Outside the gym, do you dress to show it, or conceal it to avoid attention?
A: I dress to show it off. My thing is, I worked hard for it, I know I look good, I am proud of the way I look. I have no problem showing off a fit, healthy physique. I know I get a lot of looks, and yeah its annoying, but if I really gave a shit, I would cover up. Even when then I found people say "you look fit" or whatever, and I'm like "I don't know how you can tell, I'm wearing sweats", but whatever. But yeah I dress to show it off.

Q: I am a fan of your back. Can you give an example of what you do for back?
A: Well, the biggest thing is deadlifting. When I trained as a powerlifter, my back, I did deadlifting, and that's all I did for back, heavy deadlifting, makes a huge difference. I always go back to old school pull-ups. I keep it simple unless I am bored.

Q: You are popular with fans and other competitors. People say its because of your attitude and are personable, is that something important to you?
A: Hell yeah! I am always positive, rarely have anything negative to say about anyone. My thing is, I just am a big goof ball backstage. I like to have fun. Being uptight isn't me. I keep a positive attitude, no matter how shitty I feel. I am grateful I can do this because there are a lot of people who think they can't or won't for whatever reason, so I am grateful.

Q: For 2012, any idea what shows you want to do, or just playing it by ear?
A: Right now I am playing it by ear. We are going on vacation in April so I am dieting anyway so I can get in better shape, and I wanna keep in better shape for the off season. I will probably do another local show, it helps bring in business for me and the gym, and also I will probably do nationals, its in Atlanta and a short drive.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: Well, you of course, you are always supportive of all of us, and I appreciate it and know all the girls do. Thanks for letting me do this, I am flattered. My girlfriend, she puts up with my shit and mood swings, so definitely her. My friends and my family.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dani Mattisson Interview

Q: First, Dani, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Well, you are very welcome. I very much respect what you are working to do and I appreciate all the help and support that you provide for women in MMA, bodybuilding and fitness! We all greatly appreciate your efforts!!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself?
A: I have lived in the mid-west all my life. While the winters get a bit too cold for my liking I do enjoy the 4 seasons. I also love the country side, the people and the feeling that you get in all the small towns. I am a wife, a mom of two great kids, a business woman and recently have been involved in modeling and figure competitions. While I got started in modeling and figure a little later than most people I do feel that we all get out of life exactly what we put into it. So, theres really no excuse for not doing whatever we desire, today!

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Actually, when I was growing up there were limited opportunities for girls to be involved in athletics. Even at home we didn't do much as far as physical activities go. I have tried very hard to encourage and support our kids in athletics because it does teach so much about team work, overcoming defeat and perseverance. Its an experience that every boy or girl should have. But, for me, I really only started getting involved at the gym a couple of years ago. At one point, one of the trainers at the gym approached me and offered to help me out. Better late than never!

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: My kids are both what is affectionately known as gym rats. They lift a lot and they were very supportive and encouraging to me too. Usually its the parents that try to inspire the kids but when it came to lifting it was the other way around. Now, being at the gym is something that we all enjoy and can share. Oh, and you wouldn't believe the number of jars of protein powder we keep at our house lol!

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Well, its always a struggle to get over that initial hill but once you start to get going it comes naturally. Now, if I miss a day I feel bad, emotionally and physically. I guess I am somewhat lucky since I do see results quickly but I've always had a fairly healthy diet and that is the secret, I believe. The old adage "you are what you eat" is so true and when you combine hard work in the gym with a good diet I think anyone will see results quickly. I also started working with a trainer which really helped me to improve and understand the proper form and how to arrange my workouts throughout the week. At that point, I saw results come much faster and that is when I began to consider the possibility of entering figure competitions.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I have a friend that I met at the gym that is a body builder. I went to see her compete and was immediately motivated to try to do something for myself. Her inspiration really got me very focused and I got more excited when I saw the results. I decided that I would try taking this effort further and made the decision to enter competitions. It was a little daunting at first to consider competing but I figured if I didn't pursue my dreams they'd never be more than that, dreams.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: I am very fortunate to have a lot of support. I had friends and family at both my recent contests and I really thank them for being there. It is very difficult to stand in front of an audience wearing very little while a bunch of judges look you over to find any imperfections. You find out how you do in front of that same crowd too. So having a few friendly faces out there is so important and I appreciate all the help they have given me.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it
A: I think the thing that is the most surprising is the variation in judging. Even at the same contest you can have one judge mark you as first and another mark you as last. So trying to figure out what judges are looking for is a little more elusive than I anticipated. Still, I am completely committed to getting all "firsts" at one of my upcoming competitions!

Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: I have been in 2 figure contests during the fall of 2011. I have competed in the masters, open and tall divisions at both of my contests. My best finish is second in masters and open tall but, like I said, I am 100% committed to doing even better at my next competition!

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Oh, that is a good question. While I always feel like I could improve something, I guess I am most pleased with my abs. A lot of girls & guys at the gym even ask me for advice so its nice to get noticed for my work. Abs take a lot of exercise but also a lot of good diet and I think people really recognize that, which is nice.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or a favorite exercise?
A: Yes! It has to be my legs and butt because they are the hardest for me to get to where I want them to be. Walking lunges are my favorite exercise and I love what they do for me! I challenge myself by carrying heavy weights as I lunge. I always get a comment or two from my gym buddies as they watch me lunge past them.lol

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I try to consume 1.5 grams of protein for every pound I weigh. That means eating small meals several times to keep my metabolism high too. It was hard at first to get used to not ever feeling real full but then again I never really feel hungry either. I put my carbs mostly into my first breakfast and limit them the rest of the day. We go through a lot of fish and chicken around our house. I really don't like to change up my diet at contest time. If I shed too much water I can end up looking too striated for NPC figure guidelines.

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 think their first reaction is that they are puzzled as to what is involved in competing. When I explain what I have been doing to prepare and what I actually do in the competitions they are really excited and proud of me for putting so much into this in addition to continuing with my day to day life activities. So overall things are really positive and that really helps a lot!

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: This is really easy "you are so lucky / its easy for you". That is usually followed up by asking what kind of diet I am on. Now, I do feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to focus like I do on the gym. A lot of people are working two jobs just to make ends meet. What I do does take a lot of time and while I know I am not perfect and want to improve every day I have to say that there are just no short cuts to getting into contest shape. So, I try to take those moments as an opportunity to help spread a little experience and knowledge, maybe even help someone reach their goals.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Some people think it is just a physical thing. It surely is not. It is about living healthy, knowing my body, enjoying and feeling really good about myself. Unfortunately, a lot of us women are so hard on ourselves and have very low self esteem. I was like that for a very long time and it kept me from even dreaming of what I could do. Through my journey to my first competition, I have gained a self confidence that I hope always shows positively in every facet of my life.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: Well, I really like weight training. Its a lot of fun and the feedback is instantaneous. You know exactly how many reps you did and how much weight you were able to lift. You can chart your progress really easily. The thing I like the least is the aerobic work, like getting on the elliptical for instance. It seems to go very slowly and the feedback is a lot more nuanced.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I bought some DVD's and a book from Julie Lohre and that information really helped me out a lot. She also sent along a nice hand written note to me, which is special. I've also really been inspired by Jaime Eason. I have seen her in M&F several times and also seen her online. I really admire everything she has accomplished and also how she has molded fitness and modeling so seamlessly. She is something very special.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I can pass up on the sweets, no problem. I guess what I really enjoy a little cheat with is a nice wine on the weekends and some really good cheese. I guess when it comes to my diet I try to do everything in moderation, even moderation itself lol.

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: Just get started, today, not tomorrow. Don't worry about buying the right clothes or picking out the right class, get to the gym. Being involved is infectious and you cant get that unless you are there. Also, I would say that you must pay yourself first. By that I mean that you cant always put your needs last. I know that most moms would likely agree that their family comes first. I certainly understand, support that and feel that to the core of my being. But, I firmly believe you have to set aside some time for yourself every day to keep healthy. Not only is it very important to feel and be healthy but it helps inspire your family too, and isn't that what kids really need? If your kids don't dream big, they wont achieve the best they can be either.

Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: Some women watch me lift and no doubt think I am nuts lol. What they don't understand is that you can control how lifting affects you. By controlling the weight, the number of reps and your diet you can tailor your work out to give you exactly the look you want. I've seen a lot of women that strictly diet and don't lift at all. Thin is nice and thin is good but I tend to think having good tone is better. You cant get that just going to spin class.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love modeling. I am very lucky to live with my main photographer and in the course of a year we can do more than 20,000 pictures together. Our pursuit of the perfect picture takes us traveling all over the world and I've been very fortunate to work with other really gifted photographers as well. I am very much hoping to keep expanding my modeling options. It lets me live out the artistic side of life that I otherwise would never get a chance to experience.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Dani Mattisson.
A: Well, I am normally up around 5:30am and I get breakfast ready for the family. After everyone leaves I am off to the gym for a couple of hours. I use a trainer a couple of times a week and the other days I work out on my own. I normally finish up around 10 and then I am off to work until dinner time. We make dinner and then I take care of the bills, kid stuff and my modeling site and fan page on Facebook. It is a busy day but it is a lot of fun too! I love going to bed feeling like I made a difference.

Q: Describe Dani Mattisson in five words.
A: Driven, Fun, Happy, Loving, Confident.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I surely hope it is my age!!! lol

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I actually am considering three different contests around the Midwest this spring. It is always nice to be able to combine at least two competitions back-to-back since it takes a lot of effort to get to contest ready shape and you like to get all the use out of that you can before you have to step back for a bit to recharge again. I am also working on a number of modeling projects that will take me to Mexico twice, the desert southwest and perhaps to the southeast as well. Its a new year and the possibilities for all of us are endless!

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Thank you so much for this opportunity. I do have a fan page at www.facebook.com/modeldanimattisson. I am working to get some workout videos produced which will be available on the page for free as well as other dietary info. I am hosting a chat room on my page and of course sharing some of my modeling photos. People can also follow me on twitter @danimattisson. All of my efforts are designed to accomplish just one thing, to try to pay back to someone else the inspiration that I have received. Truly, my fondest dream is that someone, someday, lets me know that I helped them make a big change in their life, just like someone did for me. I wish for nothing greater quite frankly.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Dani Mattisson the athlete and competitor?
A: I am always looking for ways to help spread the message about fitness. I am very driven, focused and genuinely want to help others reach their goals. If that interests others, my email is danimattisson@yahoo.com. People can also reach me on Facebook or Twitter as stated above or if they are members they can find my modeling portfolio at www.modelmayhem.com/danimattisson.

Q: Dani, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I just want to thank you again for having me. I am deeply moved that you would consider me but even more so that you do so much for helping to promote so many women. This is a really great thing you are doing and I am humbled to be included in your efforts. Thank you sincerely!!! Dani Mattisson