Friday, June 29, 2012

Janet Martin Invicta Fighting Championships Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-6: Invicta FC

The first Invicta FC card was a big success. Well run with some talented female fighters, highlighted by a fight of the year candidate between Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith. On July 28th the second Invicta card takes place, including some of the names from the first, like Kaitlin and some other stars such as Liz Carmouche, Alexis Davis and a great main event between Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler. The people at Invicta are taking the lead in promoting female mixed martial arts fighters and giving them a place to show that they have the same skill set and skill level as male fighters. This is such a great opportunity to not only support women's MMA, but just to see some great fights featuring great athletes. One of the main people behind Invicta is Janet Martin, so here is my interview with Janet.

Q: Before we talk about the next card, with the first one, just overall, how satisfied were you with how it went?
A: We were very pleased with the event overall. We had great attendance, outstanding viewership of our free live stream. The fights were phenomenal, all the fighters stepped up and performed in an outstanding way. Win or lose it really made a statement for women's MMA.

Q: You guys have been great at dealing with media and women's MMA supporters, how big a part did that community play in the success of the first show?
A: It helps. Everyone got their shoulders on their heads and lifted the event up. They supported the fighters and Invicta FC. The women's MMA community has been phenomenal, the advocates, the fans, the media, the fighters themselves were really supporting each other. That support was a vital component for it. It really made the difference in the success of the event.

Q: Looking at the whole event, was there one thing that stood out that maybe ten years from now will be your big memory from the event?
A: From a fight perspective, definitely the Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith fight was outstanding. Going toe to toe, it ended in a draw. It was phenomenal fight for both fighters, it was exciting for the fans, it carried the momentum forward. It really helped make a statement on the quality of fighters out there. Throughout the event we got outstanding support from fans watching it, tweeting about it, facebook comments. It really helped elevate the event for us. That is something I will take forward. We put our first event out and the enthusiasm about is something I will remember ten or twenty years from now.

Q: Kaitlin and Leslie had a great fight, a possible fight of the year, was their any consideration into matching them again?
A: I see that in the future. It was our first event and they put on an outstanding fight and I think they would be eager to fight again. I see us possibly making that in the future, I think they would embrace it. Both fighters were excited about their performances, each one wants to get that win, so I see that happening in the future.

Q: I have said I think Sara McMann is pound for pound the best in the sport right now, how big is it to have her in the main event?
A: Sara is an outstanding fighter and an outstanding role model for women's MMA. She brings her Olympic experience as well as a dedication to training to adapt from wrestling to MMA. It is a pleasure to work with her and her camp. She has a great personality that spills out of the cage. It is our pleasure to have that relationship with Pro Elite and have her on the card.

Q: Shayna Baszler is a great fighter who gets overlooked, would you agree she presents Sara with her toughest opposition to this point?
A: Oh yeah! Sara and Shayna squaring off in the cage is an excellent challenge for both fighters. Shayna has experience and has fought on all kinds of levels of shows. As far as skill match-up, they have their individual skills but they also cross over and compare in the type of skills they bring to the cage. I wont get gutsy and predict a winner, they are evenly matched. They are stepping in to win so the best fighter will win, but I cant predict who that will be.

Q: You also have opened up relationships to get some good talent in from Japan, did you actively seek that out or did it come to you?
A: It was kind of we met in the middle. I have worked with Sucker Punch before with Roxanne Modafferi, and she has that relationship with the Japanese fighters, so I came to him talking about talent, and we are happy to have the relationship with Jewels. It will bring some unique talent to the United States. Sharing that talent with Jewels and maybe in the future send some fighters to Japan is exciting.

Q: For this card, with people like Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis, you seem to have more names known to the casual fan, does that make you optimistic this can reach a wider audience than the first one?
A: Yeah, I think the fighters like Liz and Alexis and Amanda (Nunes) have put themselves out there at a different level and have expanded their fan base. For the casual fan it is recognizable names, so I am optimistic we will bring in additional viewership. It allows us to showcase some talent stepping in across the cage from them who may not have that recognition but their fights will speak for them.

Q: The first event you had so many females who were not even on the card hyping it up and saying how great it was, how satisfying was that for you?
A: It was very satisfying. Both Shannon Knapp and I wanted to make a difference and that was one way we saw the potential for that, the female fighters rallying around each other and supporting. They are competitors in the cage but understand it is a community and they are in it together, they train and condition the same and fight their hearts out. They saw a lot of themselves in the fighters on the card, using social media to get the word out, it introduced women's MMA to more people. I feel females will benefit from that kind of impact.

Q: There is a lot of good amateur talent right now, do you closely follow the amateurs and see who might be the future fighters for you?
A: Most Definitely! I keep tapped into the ammy fights, look at the rankings, look at the promotions and title holders. I am constantly doing research on both amateur and pro fighters. The amateur fighters will be the next wave of fighters coming up so to find that new wave of talent and step in and challenge the upper level fighters is what will keep women's MMA fresh, exciting and moving forward.

Q: Has their been any talk of having titles in the future?
A: Yes, as we progress and possibly even in the very near future we will start putting together title matches. In some weight classes it may take a little longer to progress. In the near future their will be some exciting title fights.

Q: One thing I liked was for example Miesha Tate being able to commentate a fight even though she is with a different organization, to me that helps show you aren't out there trying to compete, but more give female fighters a place to fight, is that accurate?
A: Yeah we want to have a cooperative working relationship in the MMA community. We are showcasing female fighters, that is our platform. We want to be cooperative and competitive and have a great experience for fans. It is about the experience we can create as a women's MMA platform.

Q: What is maybe one thing you learned from the first event that will help make the second one better?
A: There is always opportunities to learn. There is small little things within the venue, the flow of the show and great input from the fans. We will keep tweaking things to make the events a better experience for the fans in the venue and viewers at home. I can't say there is one specific thing, but as we move forward there are some small things we will do better. That is our challenge to our self, to keep making it a great experience and show for the fans.

Q: For someone reading who doesn't know what Invicta is, why should they watch it?
A: It is the outstanding depth of female talent. We work with people making their pro debut to higher ranking veterans. Give it a chance, sit down, we offer it for free, or buy a ticket if you are local, and enjoy it. All the hard work they put into their fight camps, they will bring it, they will have the heart and passion. It will be exciting to watch them give it their all. You will walk away satisfied, it will be some of the best fights MMA can offer.

Q: Anything you want to add?
A: We are excited to be working with all of the females on the card and bring in International talent. We wish them all the best, they are training hard and we are here to support that and give them the platform they deserve.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

IFBB Pro Laura Boisacq Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos1,2,4: David Aboody
Photo 3: Twixpix
Photo 5: RX Muscle

At Nationals in 2011 Laura Boisacq won her pro card in bodybuilding. It was no surprise as anyone who closely follows the sport surely expected that it was only a matter of time before she received it. Always bringing a great package to the stage combined with a great stage presence and incredible posing. In May she made her pro debut in the physique division, while she probably would have liked to place higher, she clearly showed she belongs on a pro stage and will continue to improve upon that placing. If you are a fan of the fitness industry you should be a fan of Laura. She is one of the truly good people in the industry.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: Well, I got started when I was about eighteen years old. I liked working out, it felt good. I also grew muslce really easily so I stopped because I was getting bigger and that wasn't what I wanted at that point in time. So Is tarted a t a young age.

Q: How long had you been training when you decided to compete and why did you decided to compete?
A: I had been training off and on since 1997 and my first show was in 2003. Not really training, just going in and working out to stay fit. I like to eat haha, so I eat so I workout. So five or six years of working out pretty consistently before I started to compete. I did it because several people said "you look good, you look lean, you should do bodybuilding". So just listening to people around me, I decided to give it a try.

Q: A lot of society still doesn't consider consider bodybuilding to be the most feminine sport, did any family or friends have a problem with it?
A: Yeah, my husband at the time wanted me to compete but wanted me to do fitness. When I see that I think of the gymnasts and the dancers. I just thought there was no way, I'm not built like that, that looks way to hard. I would rather just push a lot of weight around. Those fitness girls have it rough, it's not just lifting and cardio, they have that super intensive tumbling practice. My hats off to them. He didn't want me to do it because of what society perceives female bodybuilding to be. You think of Iris Kyle, Kim Chivesky, and how these women looked at one time and how they looked as they progressed. He wasn't happy about it. Every time someone would ask me if I was a figure competitor and I tell them I am a bodybuilder, they just stop and look at me like "o.k.".

Q: A lot of people say competing becomes an addiction, was that the case with you?
A: I don't know that I would say it becomes an addiction so much as working out is already a part of my lifestyle. So it is kind of like putting something to use that you already do on a daily basis, like brushing your teeth or taking it shower. It is just part of what you do everyday, so if it is something you can do and make a living off of it, not that I make a living off of bodybuilding, but I do make it off of personal training. I can replicate what I have done for other people.

Q: Anyone who has seen you knows you excel at posing, people who may not follow closely may not realize how important posing is, can you explain the importance?
A: I would say that stage presentation is huge. When you step on stage, how you feel about yourself and your self confidence comes out to judges. If they the deer in headlights look or uncertainty it comes across and translates to the judges as less poise, less strength. People come out on stage and aren't very good at poisng, haven't done homework or are hitting things all wrong, you cant judge what you cant see. So as a bodybuilder if you don't know how to pose, judges cant judge what they cant see. If you do a routine as a woman, it is supposed to be beautiful and graceful and feminine and flowing but fun. It is all a part of how people perceive you. it is huge as far as scoring with judges and as far as the audience and fans. You have to practice. It comes across as being sloppy or not entertaining.

Q: You and your husband also like to do mixed pairs, is that something you would like to see more of at shows?
A: I love mixed pairs. It is something Shawn and I have talked about when we get to Arizona. Trying to get mixed pars back to the national level. It is such a beautiful sport, it is so wonderful to see two people when it's done right. Part of why I think it came off the main circuits is because people get up there and make light of it. Even though it is supposed to be entertaining, it is also supposed to represent what the sport is about, power, grace, transformation of the body. You think about the days of old and they really put together powerful routines and as time passed they got ore comical. It lost its validity which is unfortunate. I would love to see more of it.

Q: In November at Nationals you won your pro card, what went through your head when you realized you won it?
A: I think the first thing is how it would affect Shawn and I. That was probably my first thought. How would it work? We couldn't do mixed pairs anymore because I am a pro and he is not. How would he feel about that? It was something we would have to deal with.

Q: In May you did the N.Y. Pro and did physique, why did you try physique?
A: Well, when I got my pro card, the first thing I did, with the new division coming up, I spoke to several people and they said to compete as a pro I would need to put on ten more pounds. If you know anything about me, in 2008 at USA's, the Washington State was the week more and I was 116.5LBS, and I had to cut water twice at USA's to make weight and came in at 112.5LBS. I went from that to coming in at Emerald Cup last year at 121.2LBS. It took three years to put on that size and it was only a difference of five pounds. The thought of putting on ten pounds, it didn't seem realistic for me. So when I heard physique was coming, I spoke with Steve Wennerstrom and he said "don't downsize too much, just a little bit, keep your muscle" and I had already put my application in for the N.Y. pro. I wanted to do the Europa, but I had significant surgery. It took me a good four or five weeks before I could train. So I was only able to train for N.Y. for nine or ten weeks. I wanted to do physique because I thought it would fit me. As it turns out, when the first physique pro show happened, and it ended up being drastically smaller, almost figure like, the line between the two was almost invisible. I think everyone was in shock. After a few shows they started to develop a pattern, starting to solidify what they wanted to represent the division. It gave me something to focus on. The package I brought was more right for physique. I placed with Debbie Leung, Michelle Blank, the next weekend Debbie took third at the Toronto Pro, Dana Linn Baily was fourth call-out. It was a total flip-flop of placement. It was an interesting call-out. I like the look that they called-out. I thought "that's good, I can do that, that looks like lightweight bodybuilding to me".

Q: Do you know your next show?
A: No, I was just talking about it. I told a friend "I am not even sure if I would do bodybuilding or physique". I think I am still to big for physique. As soon as I came back to the gym, I lifted how I wanted to lift, what is fun and feels good for my body, and as soon as I lift heavy that size comes right back. So I don't know what I am gonna do. We thought about doing Wings of Strength cause it is a pro/am and we can do it together. So we can go through prep at the same time.

Q: When you are in the gym, do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: People look, but not a lot of negative attention. I have been in my gym since 2005 and it is a small town, everyone knows everyone else, so a lot of people know me here. So I don't think a lot about it.

Q: In public, more dress to cover it up or show it off?
A: I think it's more according to the weather, which it is pretty crappy here most of the time haha. I am usually covered up cause it is rainy or cold or snowing. In the gym I have worn shorts two or three times the last couple years cause I don't like sticking to equipment when I work out haha, it grosses me out haha. Otherwise, if it is fifty degrees, I wear a tank top cause I hate long sleeve shirts.

Q: If you could spend one day training with any one person, who would you pick?
A: There is a couple women, but if I have to pick one, I would love to train with Lindsey Spittler. She is awesome. I love her back, shoulders and abs.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: Of course my husband. He has always encourage and supported me. He was the head judge my first show. All my friends here that have supported and pushed me through my low moments, and my friends on facebook. Thank you to for the interview and opportunity. A special thank you to Steve Wennerstrom who always gives me the lift in my life when I need it most. Given advice and direction and is a blessing to many women in the industry. I really want to make sure you all know that had it not been for LSR (my good friend Marilyn), Max Muscle Anchorage (my dear friend Froilan), Lottie Michael (my family), and, my journey to New York would have been much more difficult, and burdensome to my family. So a special thank you to my sponsors for being so kind and gracious to me

Monday, June 25, 2012

Jamey Peters Interview

Photo Credits:
Photo 1: Jeff Binns
Photos 2 and 5: RX Muscle
Photos 3-4 Mike Eckstut

Jamey Peters is newer to competing. Perhaps that is why I wasn't aware of her. But I saw a single picture of her and knew right away I had to have her do an interview and be on my blog. In her short time competing she has been quite successful including starting out 2012 with a very impressive third place at the Emerald Cup. Keep an eye on Jamey, she has a bright future in the industry.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: Always an athlete in high school. I played volleyball, basketball and track. Then stuck to year round volleyball. I was that cardio girl, I didn't lift weights. Did a lot of running and endurance training. I went to college and was on the female rodeo team. I realized strength is important, especially when picking up ninety pound goats and tying them in eight seconds. I started lifting a little here and there. I met a gal who introduced me to her nutritionist Pete Grubbs, who I work with. I walked in and he looked and said "are you gonna be a bikini girl? and I said "no, I wanna compete in figure", he said "really?" and I said "yeah". I met him weighing maybe a buck fifteen with very little muscle. He said "you better start hitting the weights". I started training with all guys and lifting as heavy as I could. That's what got me started. I started my first diet the week of Thanksgiving and competed last April in my first show at the NPC Vancouver.

Q: So the plan all along was to compete?
A: When I met Pete, yeah the plan was to compete. Before that it was just to take out stress. Once I met Pete and started lifting extremely heavy, the goal was to compete.

Q: The first time competing, were you nervous?
A: Extremely nervous. Anything that could go wrong, went wrong. Starting the day before, we got tanned, and they batch of tan was bad. After three coats, I had a tank top on and our coach was doing room checks and asked me to take it off, I couldn't get it off, it was glued to me. It ripped most of my tan off, and this is 3:00AM. I had to shower and re-paint myself. I was late for hair and make-up, it was a disaster. By the time I hit the stage, all the nerves of everything going wrong, by then it was "o.k., here we go."

Q: A lot of people say after the first show it becomes an addiction, was that the case for you?
A: Absolutely! My first year competing, 2011, I did six shows. I did Vancouver, two weeks later the Emerald Cup, a week alter the Empire Classic, Washington States in July, and a week later USA's, and November the Northern Classic.

Q: You won that last show of 2011, being so new, what did it feel like to win the overall at a show like that?
A: Amazing! My first show, after all that went wrong I won my class and overall and then in November, winning overall was a fantastic feeling. I had just gone back to school and am working on my Master's in Exercise Physiology.So I moved everything from the west side of Washington to the east side. I started a Master's program and was training for that show. Figuring out how to juggle homework, my assistant responsibilities, managing all that with food prep and cardio and training. It was overwhelming, so when I got to the stage I remember breaking into tears winning the overall. The hours juggling, staying up late doing home work to get up early for cardio. It was exciting and rewarding.

Q: From that show to the recent Emerald Cup, what improvements did you want to make?
A: The Emerald Cup was a last minute decision. I decided to do it eight weeks out. Got on a pretty tough diet. My goal was to improve my v-shape and glute tie-ins. Also my legs and overall conditioning. It was a tough prep, dealing with nerve issues in my leg, so cardio was changed to low-intensity. It was a battle and hard emotionally. I just started wearing jeans again because it was a sensory nerve, so any texture that wasn't cotton made my legs feel like a bad sun burn. I saw doctors and therapists and to this day am still figuring it out. I struggled big time for that prep. So I was happy with how it went.

Q: You took third in a big show against a tough field of competitors, so how satisfied were you?
A: Very! There are always shows where you don't have the best prep. I was in school during that prep and was extremely happy with making it and pushing myself beyond limits when there were some days I wanted to give up. I knew there would be tough competition so I was very pleased.

Q: Where do you want to improve form the Emerald Cup?
A: For me, my posing. Coming in with the mentality that I struggled through the prep so when i got to the stage I didn't have my normal character. So I would go back to the basics of posing. Posing makes your physique look that much better.

Q: Do you know what show is next?
A: I am four weeks out from the L.A. Championships and five weeks from USA's.

Q: In the gym do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: I like to drop into gyms where people don't know me. I get stares, mostly from guys when I am lifting more weight than they are. I do get some from females that maybe isn't the most positive for having a lot of muscle. I get it even in the grocery store coming from the gym in my training clothes. I get some good looks, some smiles, and some not so nice looks. It's my lifestyle and I am proud of what I have achieved.

Q: When you do get the stares is it hard to not say "mind your own business"?
A: I have never said that. I live a healthy lifestyle and try and promote it. Whether a competitor or just wanna be healthy to prevent future disease, especially with children. I think it is important to promote that lifestyle. I just smile and go about my way. If you give someone the time and kindness they will open up to you. It can be intimidating when you see someone more fit. I try and be open and give them the opportunity to approach me. In the gym it is harder cause I am in the zone and training time can be limited. So I tell them to hit me up on facebook and we can chat or join me for cardio.

Q: You have done photo shoots, what do you enjoy about that?
A: My favorite part is if the photographer says "we wanna do this type of scene" or "these type of clothes", because it gives me a reason to go shopping. I love being comfortable in front of the camera. I have gotten a lot more comfortable and willing. You meet a lot of great people. At one shot last year I show with Mike Eckstut and there happened to be three others, so it gets your name out and has been beneficial.

Q: If you could spend one day training with anyone you wanted, who would you pick?
A: It's a toss-up. Male I would go with Arnold. He is one of my idols. I would like to pick his brain. Female, Nicole Wilkins. Have it be anywhere from competing to training to advice on maintaining relationships while competing. It would be inspiring.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: My coaches Pete and Apple Grubbs from Construction Zone and Case Tyler and my family and friends.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rachel Gilmore Interview

Photo Credits:
Photo 1: Dan Ray
Photos 2-3: Her Biceps
Photos 4-5: RX Muscle

From time to time I come across a girl such as seeing a photo of her and just know immediately I have to have her on my blog. While I knew of Rachel Gilmore, I didn't know much. I saw a photo shoot photo of her and immediately knew I had to get her on here. I really was impressed by her physique. Rachel recently took second place at the Emerald Cup and I really think has that pro potential. She has the physique for it and definitely has the attitude for it. I think we will be seeing a lot of Rachel on stage and in fitness modeling in the future.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I have a friend and when I met his dad, he was a personal trainer. He saw potential in me and he made me his project. I started bodybuilding and did my first show when I was eighteen. I did good but didn't have the frame or muscle mass for it. I enjoyed the whole experience, the dieting and being on stage, it was fun for me. Then I got pregnant and got out of it for three years. I wanted to get back in shape and decided to pick it back up. It was mainly just to get back in shape but I missed the stage as well. I did my first figure show and haven't been able to stop since.

Q: When you first started back then, was the plan to compete all along?
A: Yes it was. It was "you're gonna enter the show", and three months out was just dieting, I didn't have a prep, just "go with what you have", and then I cut and went on stage. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing.

Q: Were you nervous at all?
A: I was very nervous. In bodybuilding you do the routine and I am very very very shy. So to get on stage and do a routine was scary for me.

Q: What is it about competing that is addicting for you?
A: I like the structure of it. Having something I am heading for. I like to achieve goals and see progress. Also the end result of stepping on stage and presenting yourself and being proud of yourself. Your body is like a work of art. I like to see how much you can change your body.

Q: Last year you did a few shows and even won a couple, coming into this year, what improvements were you looking to make?
A: Mainly trying to be more of a figure body. I have a tendency to carry too much muscle, so I am trying to tone down my muscle and in the same process look more defined and bring a harder look, but not be borderline physique. I don't wanna go into physique yet. So I am trying to get more streamlined and the muscle more mature.

Q: You do seem to hold muscle, have you considered physique?
A: I work with my trainer, Kevin English. I presented it to him cause a lot of people have said I have a physique body. I thought about it. I am still burning muscle off, where most people doing figure are trying to gain muscle. I thought about it but he isn't for it. He says in the national and pro level they have to carry more muscle like I do. So our plan for now is stay with figure and in the national level I will blend in better.

Q: You just did the Emerald Cup and took second against some really good competition. In a situation like that are you more happy you did so well or is it more "oh, so close"?
A: I was disappointed. Everyone goes in to win of course. The girl who won is a great competitor and a good friend of mine. I am happy for her, but I felt I made such major changes to my body and I felt I had it. I was a little disappointed.

Q: Do you know what shows you are doing next?
A: Yes, we will be doing Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia on November 9th, that's all my trainer has planned. I want to go further and do Jr. Nationals and USA's but I don't know if he is for it. I let him make all my decisions.

Q: When you do a show, how far out do you like o start prep?
A: Well, I am just over twenty weeks and already started my prep. For Emerald's I did fifteen weeks, it was supposed to be sixteen, but things didn't happen as we planned. Kevin wants to start earlier, so I started my pre-diet, and will really start at eighteen weeks.

Q: For that show, where do you want to improve?
A: I wanna bring my legs down a little, they are still to muscular. I wanna come in tighter but not leaner. I wanna get my mid-section a little more streamlined. Also more depth in my back.

Q: You have done photo shoots and seem comfortable, is that something you enjoy?
A: I do. I wanna explore it further and break into fitness modeling. I really enjoy the camera and get positive feedback from photographers. So I do want to continue.

Q: Do you get any more nervous for that than the stage?
A: No, I am comfortable with the camera. I am not nervous with the stage anymore either. The only time I am nervous is if it's something I haven't done before and is out of my comfort zone. So if I did a more revealing shoot I would be nervous.

Q: When you are at the gym do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: Believe it or not, I don't get approached much. I work by myself, I don't have a training partner. I do have one person who has recently helped me, but mostly by myself. I get stares but no one ever says anything.

Q: Are you good at ignoring the stares?
A: Yeah, I am pretty focused and oblivious. The only time I notice is if I am training with someone and they say 'Oh my God, everyone is watching as you walk by". I don't notice. I am very busy. I have two hours in the gym, that's my time, I am not there to show like the girls in their little shorts, I am there to get it done.

Q: In public, are you more of a dress to cover it up and avoid attention or more proud of it and want to show it off?
A: I am more of a cover up person. There are times I am happy to present it, like right before a show. If it's warm I wear shorts or a tank top, but generally I am not a show it type person.

Q: Long term goal is a pro card correct?
A: Yes a pro card. My ultimate goal is to compete in the Olympia.

Q: If you could train with any one person in the industry for a day, who would you pick?
A: I really like Kai Greene. His documentaries are motivational. I would really love to see what its like to train with him. His story is inspirational. He has come from such a long way. You think you struggle until you hear his story.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Yeah, my trainer and sponsor and nutritionist, Kevin English. All my competing friends in Spokane, Washington who pick me up when I need it. My friends who help me through cardio.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sassie Says by Cassie Rodish

Staying strong in the shadows
We’ve all heard Women’s MMA won’t last a million times.
Men don’t want to train with girls
Fans don’t want to see women get hurt
and my favorite
There is no depth in the weight divisions

I believe there is a little truth in each the these three statements but with a little hard work we can shatter these stereotypes
Men don’t want to train with girls. This is a subject that is close to my heart. If you are truly interested in being a female fighter, amongst the men, be prepared to work longer and harder. If you work hard and put your time on the mat you will gain the respect of the team and coaches. When its time to spar or roll with the guys, don’t get down on yourself. You are going to come across those guys that don’t want to train, get hit by or tapped out to a girl. I’m the only girl in the gym and many times I’m the last to get a partner. Don’t let it bug you. Keep pushing forward and show them you aren’t a quitter. It will take time for some people to get use to the fact that a girl can do the same thing they can, if not better. I tell myself all the time if I get tapped out 50 times, that is 50 times that I learned how not to. Practice makes perfection

Work harder than the guys

One of my biggest pet peeves is when women come into the gym in skimpy little shorts and a sports bra and want to try a jits class. This is very disrespectful, to the guys, their significant others and for other women. I’m very concisions of the way I dress for each class. I’ve been with the same group of guys for 4yrs. Not once have I had any drama or sexual issues with anyone in the gym. You can quickly make the wrong name for yourself. No one will take you seriously if they think you are there to get a date. Have respect for the girlfriends/ wives of the other fighters. I wouldn’t want my husband rolling around with some chick in a hussy outfit. The gym is not a runway show. Stay professional and you will keep your integrity. Stay Strong in the Shadows
Fans don’t want to see women getting hurt. My thoughts are; if someone doesn’t want to see people getting hurt it really doesn’t matter if it is male or female. From my experience the audience goes crazy when the women fights start. I believe that we make a much bigger impact on fans. They aren’t expecting women to come out with athleticism and technique. Keep training and fighting hard and soon cards will have equal men’s and women’s bouts. Stay strong in the Shadows

Train and Fight Hard

There is no depth in the women’s divisions. This really chaps me because it’s kind of a catch 22 for us. We aren’t getting fights because there’s no depth. It’s nearly impossible to afford to train full time . We don’t get sponsors because we don’t get those big show fights. We need a few big shows to make the commitment to females and in a year or two you will see some of the best athletes in the world emerge. There is no depth because no one is looking!!!! Stay strong in the shadows

Saturday, June 16, 2012

School of Hard Knocks 25 Report

1. Amateur 197LBS
Dylan Cuvilier (0-0 Pix Martial Arts) vs Kerry Cardinal (0-0 Elite Training Center)

RD 1: Jab and hook by Cuvilier. Cuvilier shoots but Cardinal lands on top. Cardinal moves to side control. Cuvilier tries to wall walk but Cardinal holds him down. Knees to the body by Cardinal. Head shots by Cardinal. More body shots from Cardinal. Two more head shots by Cardinal. Cardinal gets mount and lands punches.
I scored RD 1: 10-8 Cardinal

RD 2: Hook by Cardinal. Two leg kicks by Cardinal. Body kick by Cuvilier. They clinch in the center of the cage and Cardinal lands a knee to the body.They separate and trade punches. Cuvilier looks real tired. Cardinal lands a kick low stopping the action. They resume and clinch in the center of the cage. Nice throw by Cuvilier. Cardinal sweeps and is in side control. Cardinal hooks a kimura and gets the tap.

Result: Kerry Cardinal by Tapout (Kimura) at 1:21 of Round 2

2. Amateur Featherweight
Ryan Clark (0-0 MMA Center) vs Ren Besarra (1-1 True North Combat Sports)

RD 1: Lots of feints by both fighters. Hook by Besarra and then a hard hook. Takedown by Besarra. Besarra lands body shots. They stand and Besarra takes him down again. Clark's corner is yelling for him to wall walk, but he isn't even by the cage. Hard shots landing for Besarra. Besarra stands and drops down punches. Besarra gets into side control and lands punches. Besarra gets a crucifix and lands punches. Besarra lands an elbow to the head, which is illegal, and is deducted a point. They resume and trade leg kicks. Spinning back fist lands for Besarra. Leg kick by Clark. Takedown by Besarra.
I scored RD 1: 9-9 Even

RD 2: Jab by Clark. Two leg kicks by Besarra. Besarra catches Clark's kick and takes him down. Punch to the body by Besarra. Head shots by Besarra. Besarra moves to side control. Head shots by Besarra. Now more body shots. Besarra stands but jumps right back to side control. Besarra gets the mount and gets an armbar for the tap.

Result: Ren Besarra by Tapout (Armbar) at 2:25 of Round 2

3. Amateur Lightweight
Miguel Tock (0-0 MMA Center) vs Curtis Belcourt (2-0 Underground Training Center)

RD 1: They clinch in the center of the cage. Takedown by Belcourt. Belcourt trying hard to get out of half guard. Tock's corner is yelling for a wall walk, but he is not near the cage. They are the same people who yelled it to Clark in the last fight. Body shot by Belcourt. Tock is holding him close. Head shots by Belcourt. Belcourt stands and gets his back. Head shots by Belcourt. Belcourt gets a rear naked and the tap.

Result: Curtis Belcourt by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:00 of Round 1

4. Amateur 140LBS
John Young (0-0 Team Extreme) vs Joel De Villa (0-0 True North Combat Sports)

RD 1: Jab by De Villa. Leg kick by Young. Jab by De Villa. Leg kick by Young and another. Leg kick by De Villa. Leg kick by Young. Leg kick by De Villa. They continue to trade leg kicks. Cross by Young. Leg kick by Young.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Young

RD 2: Hook by Young. Leg kick by De Villa. Takedown by Young into side control. Young is not very active from the position. Two head shots by Young. Young gets his back and a rear naked for the tap.

Result: John Young by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:01 of Round 2

5. Amateur Featherweight
Zach Snyder (1-2-1 Canuckles MMA) vs Mitchell Carlson (1- Underground Training Center)

RD 1: They come out trading shots. Leg kick by Carlson. Superman punch by Snyder. Leg kick by Carlson. Hook by Carlson. Jab by Snyder. Carlson shoots and gets a takedown. Snyder trying for an arm but can't get it. Snyder is defending well. Snyder lands punches from the bottom. Hard punch by Carson. Body shots by Carlson. Head shots now by Carlson.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Carlson

RD 2: Jab by Snyder. Hard hook by Carlson. Clinch and they move to the cage. Snyder gets a takedown. Body shots by Snyder. Punch to the head by Snyder. Snyder gets mount and then gets his back. Snyder gets back to mount and lands punches. Snyder stands and lands punches to a kneeling Carlson.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Snyder

RD 3: Leg kick by Carlson. Nice jab by Snyder. Takedown by Carlson. Body shots by Carlson. Snyder trying for an arm but Carlson pulls it out. Snyder is defending well from the bottom. Two hammer fists by Carlson. Carlson gets the mount and lands head shots. Carlson moves him to the cage and lands more punches. Carlson looks for an arm but Snyder escapes and gets on top.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Carlson
My score card: 29-28 Carlson

Result: Mitchell Carlson by Unanimous Decision (scores not read)

6. Amateur Bantamweight title
Jeremy Kennedy (7-1 West Coast MMA) vs Patrick Ward (4-1 Elite Training Center)

RD 1: Leg kick by Kennedy. Kennedy shoots in and gets a takedown. Ward looks for a guillotine but can't get it. Body shots by Kennedy. Kennedy stands and drops down punches. Ward pulls him back down and gets on top. Kennedy tries to stand and is able to. They clinch against the cage and Kennedy gets a takedown. Ward sweeps and gets on top.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Kennedy

RD 2: Hook and leg kick by Kennedy. They trade jabs. Takedown by Kennedy. Elbow to the leg by Kennedy. Punch to the head by Kennedy. More punches from Kennedy. Body shots by Kennedy. Head shots by Kennedy. Ward lands body shots from the bottom. More body shots by Kennedy. Ward is working hard to escape. They stand and Ward gets a takedown.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Kennedy

RD 3: Leg kick by Ward. Hook by Ward. Leg kick by Ward. Takedown by Ward. Body shot by Ward. More body shots. Ward moves him to the cage. Kennedy wall walks to stand up. They are clinched on the cage and Kennedy takes him down. Ward gets right back up. They clinch against the cage and Ward lands body shots. Takedown by Kennedy. Ward gets up quick but Kennedy takes him right back down. Ward gets up and again Kennedy takes him down. Ward sweeps to get on top. Head shots by Ward.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Ward

RD 4: Jab by Kennedy. Leg kick by Ward. Uppercut by Kennedy. Takedown by Kennedy. Head shots by Kennedy. Now body shots by Kennedy. More head shots. Ward is working hard to stand but can't. Sweep by Ward to get on top but Kennedy gets right back on top. Kennedy gets side control and lands knees to the body.
I scored RD 4: 10-9 Kennedy

RD 5: Flying knee by Ward lands to the body. Kennedy drops him with a hook and gets into Ward's guard. Body shots by Kennedy. Ward stands but a nice slam by Kennedy takes him back down. Ward tries for an arm but can't get it. Body shots by Kennedy. Kennedy gets side control but the round ends.
I scored RD 5: 10-9 Kennedy
My score card: 49-46 Kennedy

Result: Jeremy Kennedy by Unanimous Decision (Scores not read)

7. Pro Featherweight
Reza Kamali (0-1 Extreme Couture Toronto) vs Patrick Besarra (2-3 True North Combat Sports)

RD 1: Leg kick by Kamali. Jab by Besarra. Besarra catch a kick and takes him down. Body shots by Besarra. Besarra has him pushed against the cage. Kamali reverses and gets on top but Besarra does the same and gets back on top. Body shots by Besarra. Elbow to the head by Besarra. Two punches to the head by Besarra. Kamali is able to stand. Two hooks by Kamali. They clinch on the cage. They trade knees to the body and leg. More knees to the leg by Besarra. Knee to the body by Kamali. They separate. Leg kick by Besarra. Body kick by Besarra. Cross by Besarra.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Besarra

RD 2: Two leg kicks by Besarra. Hook and takedown by Besarra. Body shot by Besarra. The ref warns Besarra to get busy. Besarra moves to side control but Kamali pulls guard. Elbow from the bottom by Kamali. Besarra stands and drops punches and then gets back into guard. Kamali is trying to stand but can't. He finally is able to stand and they clinch against the cage. Takedown by Besarra. Punches from the bottom by Kamali. The ref stands them. Body kick by Besarra. Takedown by Besarra. Elbow to the head by Besarra.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Besarra

RD 3: A head kick by Kamali pokes Besarra in the eye but the ref didn't see it. Trip takedown by Besarra. Besarra stands and drops down hard punches. Besarra gets his back and tries for the rear naked but Kamali escapes. Besarra is back in side control. Besarra gets the mount and moves right back to side control. Now Besarra gets his back. Head shot by Besarra. Kamali pulls guard. Head shots by Besarra. Hammer fist by Besarra. Besarra lets him up. Hook by Besarra. Leg kick by Besarra. Push kick by Besarra. Besarra is landing hard shots against the cage. takedown by Besarra. Body shots by Besarra and now head shots.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Besarra
My score card: 30-27 Besarra

Result: Patrick Besarra by Unanimous Decision (Scores not read)

8. Pro Bantamweight
Chad Anheliger (1-2 Canuckles MMA) vs Adam Imhoff (2-2 Heltown Hybrid MMA)

RD 1: Body kick by Imhoff. They trade leg kicks. Hook by Anheliger. Takedown by Imhoff. Body shots by Imhoff. Imhoff stands and drops punches down. Anheliger pulls him back down and gets mount. Head shots by Anheliger. More head shots. Anheliger traps is arm and lands more shots. Hammer fists by Anheliger. Elbows to the head by Anheliger and the ref steps in.

Result: Chad Anheliger by TKO at 1:56 of Round 1

9. Pro 147LBS
Adrienne Seiber (1-2 Academy of Self Defense) vs Charmaine Tweet (1-2 Chi-Ki Training)

RD 1: They trade leg kicks. Two leg kicks by Tweet. Another leg kick by Tweet. Seiber catches a kick and takes her down. Tweet tries for an arm but can't get it. Seiber gets side control and lands knees to the body. Seiber gets mount and lands punches. More head shots by Seiber. Tweet tries to escape but can't. More head shots by Seiber. Elbow to the head by Seiber. More punches to the head by Seiber. Seiber tries for an armbar but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Seiber

RD 2: Leg kick by Tweet and another. Another leg kick by Tweet. Jab by Tweet. Leg kick and jab by Tweet. They clinch on the cage and Seiber gets a takedown. Two punches to the head by Seiber. More head shots by Seiber. The ref stands them. Jab and a leg kick by Tweet. Takedown by Seiber. Punch to the head by Seiber. Tweet lands punches from the bottom. The ref stands them. He is standing them to fast. Leg kick by Tweet. Takedown by Seiber. Tweet tries for a guillotine but Seiber escapes. The ref stands them. Jab and a hook by Tweet.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Tweet

RD 3: They clinch and quickly separate. Seiber shoots in and gets a takedown. Seiber has her against the cage. Tweet landing body shots. Tweet gets her back but Seiber gets back on top. Body shots by Seiber. Elbows to the thigh by Seiber. Head shots by Seiber. More head shots by Seiber. Tweet defends well. The ref stands them. Hook by Tweet. Hook by Seiber. Clinch against the cage and Tweet lands body shots. Knee to the body by Tweet. Knee to the leg by Seiber.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Seiber
My score card: 29-28 Seiber

Result: Adrienne Seiber by Split Decision (30-27/28-29/29-28)

Submission of the Night: Curtis Belcourt

Knockout of the Night: Chad Anheliger

Fight of the Night: Reza Kamali vs Patrick Besarra

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Erica Cruikshank Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-2: Mike Eckstut/HerBiceps
Photos 3-4: Jules Clifford
Photos 5-6: RX Muscle

Practically growing up in a gym, competing is something that seems like it would be natural for Erica Cruikshank. She started out in figure to get used to it, and she did very good at that. Recently she has decided to put her gymnastic ability to use and has had two impressive national showings. Fitness also allows her to have the harder look she prefers. I don't think it would be wrong to predict a pro card in Erica's future.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: Our family owns a couple of gyms. I was young starting off. If you remember all the aerobics video tapes, my cousin used to do them all. I had so much fun doing it with her. I was a gymnast so I enjoyed doing it with her. When she got married, her husband started Total Fitness for Women with his mom, which has evolved, they have a business partner and are now World's Gym. So at a young age I was exposed to the gym, from my training for gymnastics and my family getting more into the commercial stuff. Then having my son, I became a runner and I wasn't really pleased with my physique. I was getting that lean stringy look. I like the fuller, curvy, muscular look. So I started hitting the weights again.

Q: At what point did you decide to compete?
A: Well, it was right when I started back in the gym. My son was a couple years old, I was done with the running. I went in and put a program together and got serious about focusing on mind muscle connection. A couple people at the gym asked "what are you getting ready for", and I didn't know much about the industry. Someone said "you would be perfect for NPC, you look like you are only four to six weeks out, you should try it. I went with it from there. I got a program together, picked a show, had a little guidance from some friends. I was kind of on my own my first show. Did research and went with it.

Q: Why figure at that point?
A: Starting with figure was to get my feet wet. See if I could dial my physique in and see how to get myself to look good on stage. Also being comfortable. My nerves sometimes, even with gymnastics, on the beam, it's dead quiet, I would get nervous. I was nervous about going out there in my five inch heals in the spotlight. I wanted to make sure I was comfortable with that and bring my physique the way I wanted it to be. From the start I wanted to do fitness, I did figure till I was comfortable enough.

Q: For some it is an immediate addiction, was that the case with you?
A: It is a rush, it becomes a whole new lifestyle. I don't know if I would go as far as addiction, for the simple fact that if I miss a day cause my son has practice, I don't stress and freak out. my priority is my family. Competing is something fun, a hobby. I'm trying to make sure that that's how I keep things. Sometimes I do get blocked and clouded and lose sight of them. Once you are in, you are in, it's amazing. Being able to bring my son to shows makes it like a family experience. He enjoyed going to Vegas, he got a vacation out of it haha.

Q: Last year, at USA's, in figure you took ninth, what were your thoughts on where you placed?
A: You know what? To tell you the truth, I was thrilled. To be second call-out against an amazing group of physiques, in I think the biggest show in NPC history. When I got called for second call-out I had to look down and make sure it was me. At that point, with all the amazing physiques, we did not get a lot of time on stage because there was so many of us. You had to flaunt it and hope you caught their eye. In my opinion unfortunately, when you have the top ten girls in phenomenal condition, I think it becomes a popularity contest. Like "I remember her from last show", and they kind of remember and see your changes from last show. So to be second call-out against girls who competed way longer than me, I was very pleased. I did smooth out for that show, I had been criticized for being too hard previously. So I took in extra carbs and was happy with the look. I prefer to be harder which is why I love fitness.

Q: At North Americans you had switched to fitness, why at that point did you switch?
A: I had to qualify so I won the Maryland States. I decided even before USA's, I knew I was doing it. I wanted one more national show under my belt. It was my last time doing figure and couldn't pass up the opportunity. I have a friend whose partner is a pilot, so they said "a hundred bucks and you are in" and I said I was in. Plus it was a chance to do some things and fine tune my physique. I couldn't turn it down. All the while I was working on my fitness routine. In the hotel room I was showing off my fitness rooms. In August I won Maryland States and then took that to North Americans.

Q: To take second in your first national fitness show, would you have thought that was possible?
A: Honestly, no. I guess, I don't think like all competitors do. They are like "go out there and own it, you know you will win". I tend to not get my hopes up. It's easier to not be disappointed. That's one of my weaknesses, not being confident in myself. I worked with Jen Henderschott before the last show and we added some neat stuff to it. She said "you gotta own it", and it got my confidence level up.

Q: After that you did Jr. USA's, after those shows, from how you are talking, safe to assume you are sticking with fitness now?
A: Absolutely! I have to pull together and tweak my routine. Hopefully it will be exciting and entertaining. It's a little dramatic, different from the little fast paced dance ones. I am excited to bring it. Fitness is where my heart is. A couple people have approached my about physique, because I have the ability to put on and keep on muscle. I love the routine. I love that two thirds of my score is based on my routine. I feel I am being judged for abilities, which is more rewarding to me.

Q: Do you know what show you are doing next?
A: I wanted to do Team U, because it's local and fun. I don't wanna take my old routine. There is no way my new one will be ready. I have had family stuff lately. I was asked to guest pose at the Virginia Grand Prix. They offered to bring me down. I have something with work so haven't given him a hundred percent yet. I am doing my fair well to my old routine at the Maryland Grand Prix. I cant compete since I won last year. I will be there helping out and working the MET-Rx booth. I do plan on doing North Americans next time.

Q: For the next time, physique wise, what improvements do you want to make?
A: I was a little disappointed looking at my photos. The lighting was not great. I have gotten images that someone else took that look a lot better. My photo shoot pictures show my hardness and lines more. I had a lot going on this winter and trouble putting on some weight. I was below contest weight in December into January before I finally could get weight on. My legs suffered. I was disappointed to see they were smaller, not where they were. In figure girls want to bring legs down, in fitness I can keep my legs hard. I have gone ahead and carb loaded, added forty grams to each meal and focused on nutrition. Added a couple pounds and lifting heavy for legs, so they will be more full.

Q: Besides the routine are there any major differences in how you train or prep for fitness?
A: I would say so. I am a little different. I tell people what I do and there are like "are you kidding me?" With fitness you get a lot of cardio in your routine. I don't do cardio anyway. I did it my first season and got really small and my body doesn't need it. When is tarted fitness I got small fast. I had to up the calories. It got to where my suit was sliding off my hip. You are allowed to eat more carbs and fat than someone doing figure because of those explosive routines. Being completely depleted, you can't do the routine. Cutting water to. I need plenty of water for the routine and afterwords I guzzle water. I don't want to be dehydrated doing the routine. You can be more layed back with the diet. Some girls are different.

Q: Anyone who sees your pictures, will notice your abs, do you do a lot of ab work or are you just lucky?
A: I think genetically I got very lucky. I had abs when I was eight years old. I remember going to pool parties at friends houses and having abs. They were just there. My first season competing I did weighted ab work and it changed the shape and the judges said I didn't need it. So I toned down how much I train them. I train them like every body part. Weighted stuff, burn them out. Do ten minutes non stop and don't do them for four to five days so they can recover. In fact, I don't do abs much the last week before a show because I don't need them bulking out so much. That's whats cool about fitness, getting away with having rock hard abs. I am glad I switched to fitness haha.

Q: In the gym, beautiful girl, great physique, do you get a lot of attention?
A: Everyone is used to me. I wear knee socks to the gym, everyone knows me around town as the girl with bright colored socks. My training, I do explosive rounds of twenty pull-ups, ten body-weight deadlifts and ten hand-stand push-ups or something. People look at me, but they are used to me now. On shoulder day I walk on my hands up and down the track, so people see me upside down more than right side up. I definitely get looks, but not in a bad way. They appreciate it and are interested.

Q: You can spend a day training with anyone you want, who do you pick?
A: I actually got to. The first time I saw Jen Henderschott's routine at the Arnold's, I said "I want to do that". I contacted her and finally got to have her tweak my routine. She was amazing. We spent hours talking and bonding. If there were one person, that dream came true, spending a day with her. I am still overwhelmed. She was amazing. She is good at reading people. She read me like a book in ten minutes. I look forward to going back. This past time we just tweaked my old routine from what she called the elementary level to the wow level.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?A
A: My photographer Jules Clifford has worked with me until I was comfortable. Mike Eckstut from HerBiceps is amazing. I possibly have job opportunity with him. Being able to refer to SiouxCountry at any time I want is amazing. My chairman Rich has been so supportive, always checking in. My sponsor Modern Door Equipment. Marvin Chappelle, for him to ask me to guest pose is an honor. MET-Rx, I have enjoyed working for them. Tamee Marie Suits also. My gym is amazing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shirley Madera Interview

Photo Credits
Photos 1,4 and 5: RX Muscle
Photos 2-3: Shirley Madera

We hear stories of transformations all the time. From overweight to in shape, from skinny to healthy, and everything in between. These days it often seems as if everyone has a transformation story to tell. All are great successes, but how about the transformation of Shirley Madera? Shirley went from obese to skinny to competitive bodybuilder. Shirley got on stage after overcoming to forms of being unhealthy and now passes her knowledge on to help others get in shape. A true inspiration anyway you look at it.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I lost one hundred and twenty-eight pounds and I was too thin, so I needed to put on more muscle because I lost not only fat, but muscle. I went into the gym and hired a trainer and told him what I needed to do. We got started in 2005 and in 2006 I decided I wanted to compete but I was in a car accident and that put me out for a year.

Q: When you look back to when you started, would you have ever imagined you would be at the point you are at now?
A: No, because honestly, I am so short, I am only 5'1 1/2", and I was two hundred and fifty-six pounds, so I kept looking at the fact that I was a thinner version of the big me. I still had areas that needed to be worked on and I had the extra skin that I was worried about.

Q: When you started to add muscle did any family and friends react negative to it?
A: Yes I did. My husband did not want me to lose weight, he said he loved me the way I was. I had to explain to him that I was doing this for me. When I started doing the bodybuilding he especially did not like that. But I again explained it was important for me to do, it was for me. I explained it in a way he would understand. He works on cars and customizes them and puts them in car shows. So I said basically I am doing the same thing, I am making changes and customizing my body and when I do a show, it is because I am putting on display the work I did. Now he is more accepting. At first, he went to my fist show but didn't go to any others. I just did the Europa in April, and he came and had fun, took pictures with pro bodybuilders and he started going to the gym last year.

Q: How did you know you were ready to compete?
A: It wasn't so much that I knew. It was the comments other people made when I would work out. I was doing pull-ups and someone commented on my back, and I never knew what my back looked like. I asked my trainer "do you think if I continue the way I am I will be able to get on stage?" and he said "you will definitely be able to get on stage". That was the beginning of it and I just worked as hard as I could and did what he told me to do, watched Pumping Iron every day during cardio to get motivation. In took from January to October, training hard and dieting and I did my fist show.

Q: Some people say it becomes an immediate addiction, was that the case with you?
A: Yes! It is very addicting. The feeling of accomplishment at the end makes it all worthwhile. I always get the critique from the judges and work on that so I can go back and show the judges that I accomplished what they told me. For me it is addicting, I love the feel of the weights, forget myself in the weights, hit the cold steel and figure out whatever issue I need to work out.

Q: You took a lot of time off before doing the Europa Show of Champions this year, was there a reason?
A: Yes! Last year I was prepping for a show in January. I was on the leg press and blew out my left knee and had to have surgery. They replaced the ACL, so I was out for eight months of rehab. It happened in January, in February I had surgery, and October, November and December, I slowly came back to the weights and hit it hard in January.

Q: Does an injury like that stay in your head when you are training?
A: Oh yea definitely. I was very very cautious with squats. It wasn't so much leg press that scared me, it was squats and lunges. I wouldn't go as heavy. My squat max was 315 and now I go t 135 and right now I am in the process of getting ready for a show and am dealing with two bulging disks in my lower back. So they asked me not to squat but I have to squat so now I do about 75 pounds.

Q: From your last show till this one where have you most improved?
A: I think my upper body. I was very small on top, I did not have shoulders and pecs, the fullness in that area, and my biceps. Because I took off for a year, I was able to concentrate on my upper body because I couldn't do anything with my lower body. Lower body did suffer but it also needed the rest because I over trained it. So it helped a lot and I am more symmetrical. I have a better v-taper and my legs have thinned out.

Q: For the next show what improvements do you want?
A: We are hoping to tighten up my legs more. With every show we want to get tighter and tighter and still full out my biceps, shoulders and chest. My back has always been great. I have good quads and hams, but my problem has always been my glutes, so we are working to tighten that up.

Q: For the Europa, as a bodybuilder, how do you feel when you see such a small turnout of female bodybuilders?
A: It makes me sad to know that a lot of women are not doing the bodybuilding. But physique isn't to far off, they just aren't as big. it works for me cause I am so petite. I haven't switched over, I am still working on the hands and that little twist. Learning how to hold yourself differently. I don't wanna give up bodybuilding, I love it and don't wanna see it go away.

Q: What show are you doing next?
A: I am doing the Florida State on August 18th.

Q: When you are in the gym, muscular women are not overly common, do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: When I was at a commercial gym, yes, I got a lot of attention, guys saying stuff and girls whispering. But I try and show them I am a woman like they are, I just like to lift heavy weights. Now I am in a private studio so it's me, the owner and the people we train. So we don't have to worry about people gawking or taking your machine or guys saying inappropriate stuff. I am enjoying having a four hundred square foot facility that I have a key to and can walk into whenever I want and not be interrupted. But I get it in the super markets haha.

Q: When you are in public do you dress to show it off or cover up to avoid attention?
A: I dress the same way all the time. I have my gym clothes on, I wear a tank top, I live in Florida and it is one hundred percent humidity. I do get stares in the super market and people looking in my cart, it is really funny. I appreciate everyones opinions and tell people "I know what it feels like to be really thin and what it feels like to be obese because I have been at both end of the spectrum". Right now at about one hundred and fifty pounds is where I feel comfortable and look the best. I love competition weight, but off season at one fifty, I don't look overly muscular but still am muscular.

Q: What do you enjoy about training others?
A: I train mainly women, I do have some guys who come for advice. I enjoy watching how they change. Not so much physically, but mentally, the way they look at themselves. I tell everyone my job is to empower women to see how beautiful they are, that they can do things they never thought they could. To make you healthy, not skinny, skinny is not healthy. My job is to make you healthy and feel good about yourself, to see the beauty of being a female.

Q: People often come to me asking for help, I think because they are overweight, I was overweight, I know where they are coming from. Does that give you a benefit that many don't have, that you have been there?
A: Yes! I have been there, I know what it feels like to not wanna look in the mirror, to not feel pretty, to not love yourself enough to allow others to love you. That's why people over eat, cause they lost love for themselves. I tell people all the time, you have to love yourself enough to want to do this. Not just want to lose weight, have a desire to be a healthy person. Until we love ourselves we wont succeed in losing the weight.

Q: You can spend one day training with any one person, who do you pick?
A: That's a tough question haha. There are a couple people. I am very much in love right now with Dana Linn Bailey. If it had to be a female bodybuilder, it would be Cory Everson.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My coach, she is wonderful and beautiful. Her name is Alivia Terrell. She has been amazing, she understands me, I can call or text with any issues. And Shane, the owner of the facility were I work. he has been a friend since 2007 and is like my big brother. We sometimes train together and he pushes me to limits I never though I could go. And of course my husband Rich and daughter Ariel.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tecia Torres Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-3 Tom Hill Photos
Photo 4: Mike Wrobel
Photo 5: SPM

Tecia Torres will look to remain undefeated as she takes on Ashley Greenway in North Carolina for the USFFC on June 23rd. Torres has been on a roll beating some quality opposition. With each fight her competition gets tougher and that will continue when she takes on Greenway. Torres is one of the top amateurs fighters in the country and has a tremendously bright future in MMA.

Q: You just recently did a photo shoot, is that something you enjoyed?
A: Yeah, actually I would like to get into some type of fitness modeling. If there is anybody out there, look at my pictures, and if you like them contact me haha. It's an aspect of the whole package I want to try out.

Q: I have said before, and I know that industry, that you would be really good at fitness modeling. So that is something you want to pursue?
A: Yes, I would definitely like pursue some type of fitness modeling and on my bucket list of things is to do some type of fitness competition in the future.

Q: Moving to the fighting, your last three wins have been by decision, including the fight with Sarah McLeod, wehre everyone expected someone to get knocked out. Are people seeing what you are capable of such as the Rebecca Gruitza fight, and are fighting more careful with you standing?
A: Most definitely I feel that is correct. My last fights have all gone to decision, I think they know my striking is what I excel at, so what they tend to try to do is tie me up on the cage. If that was me going into the cage, I would do the same thing, I wouldn't want to strike with me. So I have to come up with a different game plan where I can get in and get out and not have them tie up with me.

Q: But you are still winning the decisions, are they maybe underestimating your ground?
A: Quite honestly, yes. I do have stand-up, but I would like to have a fight that takes place on the ground. So far my stand-up has allowed me to keep it off the ground and to get up when I am taken down. There is more to see with my Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling, and there is more to learn.

Q: This will be your fourth fight this year, are you comfortable fighting that often?
A: Actually, yes. As an amateur yes, when I go pro I don't see me fighting as often as I am now. Maybe every three to four months taking a fight. I am trying to get as many as I can right now cause my pro debut will be soon. I have a fight lined up for June, July and August and then looking into some bigger things.

Q: So no worries of burning yourself out?
A: At this point no. I enjoy training and competition. Between the fights I do Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and things. I am always competing. When I go pro, it's a different level and I will take it step by step so I won't be competing as much as I am now.

Q: You have Ashley Greenway coming up, what do you know about her?
A: From what I see, I only found one thing on YouTube, a Muay-Thai fight. I know she comes from a Muay-Thai background, not sure how many fights she has. She likes to strike and looks taller and thinner than me. I think she will try and tie me up and see if she can strike with me. But I believe once she sees my striking ability she will try and take me down. She looks a little unorthodox, I see she starts out as a lefty and once she gets a girl on the cage she turns into a righty, so practicing for that and whatever she wants to do.

Q: You are used to being the shorter fighter by now aren't you?
A: Yeah, they are all taller than me. I am not sure how tall she is, maybe 5'5" or 5'6". I shouldn't have any problem.

Q: Do you like to do a lot of research on an opponent or just worry about your game plan?
A: I do like to find out as much as I can. I Google them to death I guess haha. I like to be ready, look at what they are doing. It always helps to know what they have done before, but they could always have a different game plan. So I go in ready for what I have seen them do and what they may do.

Q: Does it being a title fight make this fight more appealing for you?
A: It makes it more fun and nicer to know that at the end of the night I could be going home with a shiny belt. It is another win. Just to go out and show my abilities.

Q: She was won by tko and by submission, does that indicate she would be comfortable wherever it goes?
A: I guess, I am not sure who her opponents were before me. Like I said, I could only find that one Muay-Thai fight, not much information. I've heard people underestimate her Jiu-Jitsu, which is fine, I have good Jiu-Jitsu. I am ready for whatever she wants to do. If it does become a Jiu-Jitsu game, more fun and power to me, I can use ground and pound.

Q: Each fight you have stepped up the level of competition, was that the plan to each fight, fight someone a little better than before?
A: Yes most definitely. I will not take a fight, no disrespect to anyone, take a fight with someone with a losing record or who I don't see as someone with potential. I only want to fight better opponents. I am not looking to beat up anybody, I am looking for solid wins. She is 3-0, we are both undefeated, it will look good for me and be a solid win. I want to be the number one amateur before I go pro, and I believe I will accomplish that with this fight. Once I earn that number one spot I will leave the amateurs, until then I will not go pro.

Q: Whats the key to winning this fight?
A: Like every fight, use my size and power to my advantage. I am small and quick, so I can get in and get out, and I have a lot of power, so if I can connect I can maybe stop the fight. Like you said, people know me so they try and come in and tie me up and work in the clinch. I have been working on things to get out of the clinch and possibly end it early standing or on the ground.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: Right now I am just gonna go with a decision again haha. I don't wanna call anything wrong.

Q: I have a friend with a good record who says how she wants to finish someone finally. But I tell her, there is something to be said for dominating three rounds, do you take any satisfaction in beating someone like that for three rounds?
A: Oh yeah. It means that opponent was a tough opponent. I'm tapping myself on the shoulder and tapping her on the shoulder for standing three rounds with me and not letting me finish. Fortunately I have gotten a unanimous win in all my decisions and I felt in every round I did dominate and did what I had to do to show the judges that.

Q: I have been on record saying pound for pound, I think you are the best amateur in the sport. You said you want to win this and be number one, some have you ranked two, but do you feel yourself that you are number one right now or do you need to win this fight for that?
A: Actually I don't feel I need to win this to be number one. I would say I am number one right now. I would like to fight the other girl but I heard she is going pro. I look forward to maybe fighting her for my pro debut or in the pro rankings. She is a solid fighter, Stephanie Gonzalez, I'll put her name out there, she is an awesome fighter and I look forward to one day meeting her in the cage.

Q: With the reputation you are getting are you surprised you get so many fights?
A: At this point, yes, because for a minute I wasn't getting any fights, everyone kept saying no to me, then when I got this fight in July, fights kept coming in. I am just choosing which ones to take. Title fights just keep coming in.

Q: We have gone over coming fights, anything else you have coming up?
A: I have the three title fights coming up, I wanted to do the IKS tournament in July but it's between the fights. I wanted to defend my title but don't think I will make it. I will probably do one or two Jiu-Jitsu tournaments.

Q: You have gotten a lot of attention of late and do what many cant do, which is not let it go to your head. Is that hard sometimes?
A: I try to stay humble. Some days I am like "wow", getting attention, my fan page growing, and getting messages from people and I try and answer them all. I just try and stay humble. There are girls out there I really look up to and some who I looked up to and don't like there attitude. I want to be a role model, I don't drink or smoke pr party. I have my Bachelor's degree, fighting is one aspect of my life, I have other goals. I wanna show young people you can do this and still be educated and not smoke, drink or party to get somewhere in life.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: God, my family and friends, fans, American Top Team Coconut Creek, my coaches Bill Spicer, Rian Gittman, Master Ricardo Liborio, Bob Deluca, Tussle and Slade Bittler, and of course you for this awesome interview.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kate Pickett Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-5:

Kate Pickett is not your typical everyday competitor. Kate is a transformation story. Her before and after pictures can show you that. But what they can't show you is the obstacles she has overcome. Battling a disease called Neurofibromatosis that forced her to have spinal surgeries at a young age made her transformation and journey to the stage that much more amazing and inspiring. As you will read, Kate has found a love and passion for competing and fitness and has goals she wants to meet. Seeing where she has come from and where she is now, it would be very hard to doubt she will reach each and every goal she has.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: Basically after a series of spinal surgeries I was told I couldn't be active and live and active life again. When I turned eighteen I started a job as a front desk person in a gym. I saw people working out and working out with injuries. I said "I am not gonna let this hold me back. I'm not gonna live my life sitting on a couch being afraid I will hurt my spine". So I took it one day at a time, slowly working into being more active, taking yoga classes, lifted really lite. I saw myself getting better and better and I started getting stronger and working harder. Now you would never guess I had a full spinal fusion.

Q: Having the problems with your spine, does it limit anything you do when lifting?
A: It definitely does! I don't do any type of deadlifts. I take it easy when squatting because it puts so much pressure on my lower back. Safety first, I don't wanna do anything to injure myself. All my other lifts are fine, I just can not deadlift. Leg and back day can be difficult but there are ways around it, there are so many different exercises you can learn to substitute.

Q: What exactly was the cause f the problems with your spine?
A: I was born with something called Neurofibromatosis, which is the same disease that the elephant man has. My doctor noticed some spots on my back and it didn't look right. So I went in for an MRI and they found three tumors along my spine and they pushed my spine into a forty-five degree curve. So they did, I guess you could say emergency surgery a couple months later on my back. They put two titanium rods on each side. After that, every six months for about four and a half years they did a surgery to lengthen the rods. I was nine at the time and then when I was fifteen the rod came loose off my spine and they did a full fusion and that was my last surgery. I was fifteen and am twenty-two now.

Q: What made you decide to compete?
A: There was a couple women training to compete at the gym I was working at. I loved the posing and thought it was so much fun and do the same thing. Do something involving fitness which was the number one thing for me.

Q: How have you done so far?
A: I did my first show in November of 2011 and I placed ninth. I just did a show this past Saturday and placed fifth. I am training for a show in two and a half weeks.

Q: Was there anything about the competing process that surprised you?
A: I guess what surprised me was my strength and will power. Being on point with my cardio, my meals, I didn't cheat, I was able to mentally handle it all. It is definitely not an easy task.

Q: Those last two minutes before you go on stage, were you nervous at all?
A: You know, when I am backstage and pumping up I feel nervous, but when I step on stage I can't stop smiling, it;s the best experience. I am more than excited to step on stage again.

Q: Many people say after they do their first show it becomes an addiction, was that the case for you?
A: Absolutely! Absolutely, the second I got off stage I went online and tried to find what one would give me enough time to make improvements but still not be to long.

Q: What show are you doing in two and a half weeks?
A: I am doing the OCB Bay State Natural in Amherst, New York.

Q: From your first show till this past one, what was better about you?
A: Well, I made the top five this time which was awesome. I am much leaner even though I came in at the same wait. My shoulders are much bigger and broader. Overall, considering it was only six months, jumping from ninth to fifth, I am pretty proud of that.

Q: Anything you want to be better for this coming one?
A: Well, it was only a couple days ago. Only thing I can do is focus on conditioning and leaning out so I can bring somewhat of a different presentation.

Q: If you looked at yourself now, what would you say is your best body part?
A: My shoulders definitely!

Q: How do you train shoulders?
A: I hit them twice. I do chest and delts and then a separate day for delts. They are my best part, I like to bring them out the most. It's hard to get a lot of growth in my back so I focus on a strong point to have that one special thing. I want a full package but have to work with what I have.

Q: Any specific exercises you like to do for them?
A: I do a lot of lateral raises.

Q: When you are in the gym, beautiful girl, and women like you are not common, do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: You know what? Yes and no. When I go to the gym, it's those horse blinders, I am totally focused on myself or with my boyfriend, cause him and I train together,he competes as well. Not to sound cliche, but I am in that zone and don't even realize half the time my own surroundings.

Q: In public do you dress to show it off or cover it up and avoid attention?
A: Well, I pretty much am always wearing gym clothes. I guess my shoulders, even if I am wearing a tight shirt, can kind of show off, but never intentionally try and show them off. Till I am on stage at least, I try and keep it a secret haha.

Q: Long term, is the goal a pro card?
A: Absolutely. I have a couple shows I plan to compete in. September fifteenth is my next show after the Bay State show, depending on where it takes me, I have a couple shows in mind, but not sure yet.

Q: Is fitness modeling something that interests you?
A: Definitely. This whole fitness industry is my passion. It's where I belong and tend to stay in it as long as I can.

Q: If you could spend a day training with anyone, who would you pick?
A: I would have to say Kai Greene. He is the reason I fell in love with bodybuilding. I watched this video he did posing to Dirty Diana and I just loved it and knew I had to get myself into it.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: I would definitely have to thank my boyfriend Justin. We compete together, we prep together and there are times when I could fall apart and he held me together.