Monday, April 29, 2013

Toye Nigey Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-2: Brett Seeley
Photos 3-5: NPC News Online/

After not placing too well at the NPC Rocky Mountains in November, Toye Nigey brought a much improved package to the NPC Northern Colorado's and took second in both Novice and Masters. She knew she had to come in with a tighter and leaner package, and took the appropriate steps to do so, the sign of a good competitor. After starting with figure, she made a smart move in switching to physique, and with more work, those second place finishes can very easily become first place finishes.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I originally started in the gym when I joined the military in 1988. It was just to stay fit.

Q: What made you decide to try competing?
A: I turned forty and had had a couple of kids and fallen off the wagon as far as the gym was concerned. I decided that I needed a goal so I decided to try a competition.

Q: Why did you go with physique?
A: I actually started in figure. I had done three figure competitions and placed in all of them. The judges always told me that my body shape was better suited for physique. I took a year off and spent time bulking and then went into physique. I didn't place at all the first time, which of course lights a fire under you. I took six weeks off and hit it again and did the last one in April and placed second.

Q: November you took ninth at the Rocky Mountains and then recently took second in masters and Novice at the Northern Colorado's and looked so much better, where do you feel you were better?
A: I think I spent more time dieting and focusing on leaning the areas that I have trouble with, which is typically my lower half.

Q: You did look a lot leaner, did you do something specific to help with that?
A: I actually started my diet a little sooner than the previous show. I gave myself an extra three or four weeks of dropping my calories and paying attention to how that affected my leaning in my lower half. I also increased my cardio.

Q: Did you know going in that you looked better and would do better?
A: I knew I was gonna do better but it is like all my friends say "it really depends how you place on who shows up."

Q: You are obviously happy with a second place finish, but do you walk away at all thinking "what do I have to do to get first?"
A: I think you always feel that way when you walk away with anything less than first place. But I am the kind of person that that motivates me to do better. You just look at the pictures of the person you were competing against to see what the judges want, but really it comes down to what the judges see as what they want for that show.

Q: Your posing also looked a lot better, did you spend more time practicing posing?
A: I think because it was my second show in physique, I just felt a lot more comfortable with what I was doing.

Q: For people who maybe don't follow the sport as closely, can you explain to them how important posing is?
A: Absolutely! If you walk out on stage and look weak and scared and not confident of yourself, the judges will see you that way. If you spend a little extra time with your posing, especially in the gym where you can have big mirrors and see the full picture of what it is that they are seeing, I think that helps. Plus, posing in itself is a workout, people don't realize that. If you stand on stage and hold poses for three to five minutes, that is a serious workout and you can really cramp up and hurt yourself on stage if you are not prepared, and at times, you can even pass out from it.

Q: Do you know when you want to compete next?
A: I actually have been talking to a trainer, a really good friend of mine, about that. I wanna do a Jr. National show. Now that I have placed top three, we are considering that. The judges I spoke with said I need to be a lot harder. That, for me, I don't know how to do that, I really put everything I had into that show, so I guess I have to hire somebody to help me. So probably a Jr. National show, not this summer but possibly next summer.

Q: From the last show, where do you need to improve?
A: My legs and my butt. They are never as lean or tight as I want them to be and I need to figure out why that is.

Q: When you are in the gym, do you get the stares or attention from people?
A: Yes, I actually have a lot of people approach me. Sometimes it's negative and sometimes it's positive, it depends on the individual. Most of the time I get a lot of really positive comments as well as questions from people on how to do certain things.

Q: When people do ask, when they do it at the wrong time, like the middle of a set, does it get frustrating?
A: You try to stay positive and understand that they are asking because they are impressed by how you look or how you workout. You try and stay positive for yourself and for them, but it can be frustrating.

Q: When you are out in public are you more of a cover up and avoid attention or proud and showing it off?
A: I am a proud of it person.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with before, who would it be?
A: Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is an icon in bodybuilding. If I were able to talk to someone who did it old school, you would get a lot of responses that you don't get from new trainers.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I would love to thank my husband and children for putting up with me on those carb depleted anger days. My trainer for the last show, Ken Baldwin. He is amazing and I would recommend him any day of the week.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Melissa Lesage Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-5: NPC News Online/Ron Avidan

After starting out in figure -including winning the overall at her first show- Melissa Lesage made a successful transition to physique -in part so she could continue to do what she likes and lift heavy- taking second place and the NPC Grand Prix. She will be taking a long off-season to build for the USA's in 2014. With so much time for improvements, Melissa can be a real threat to end 2014 with a pro card.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I started going to the gym back in 2008. Basically just doing your typical gym goer thing. I did cardio, a little bit of weight training here and there and then just head home. Eventually I was convinced by all the trainers at the gym to hire I trainer. I hired a trainer and had gym trainers off and on for about two years. In 2010 I came across a trainer who was a competitive triathlete and he convinced me to give a triathlon a try. I competed in that in August 2010. It was fun but I spent a lot of time just doing tons of cardio and being pulled out of the weight room because I had to much muscle. I took first in my age group but I knew it wasn't where my heart was. I enjoyed weight training. Shortly after I started to get back to the weights. I was still running quite a bit but I would run and then weight train.

Q: What made you decide to try competing?
A: I met a couple of girls at Gold's Gym here in Tucson. They approached and asked if I competed. I said "no, I don't even know what that means." I came home and did some research and decided "what the heck, I spend enough time in the gym and I love weight training so why not give it a try?" I hired a coach here in town and did my first show in March 2012 in Phoenix. I competed in figure, I was nervous as can be and took first in my class and the overall and was hooked.

Q: What about it caused you to get hooked?
A: I have an addictive personality. Once I find something I like to do, I just do it and it becomes part of me like getting up and brushing my teeth, I get up and go to the gym, it's just something I do.

Q: What made you decide to switch to physique?
A: I like to lift heavy and hard. With figure, I had restrictions. My coach at that time kept telling me "you need to keep the weight down, you cant be getting too muscular, figure is more feminine." I wasn't comfortable in figure because I am not into wearing heels, not into being a girly girl, I am not like a little Miss Priss. I decided physique was for me, I can go flat footed, lift as heavy as I want, get as lean as I want, it's a better route for me.

Q: When you decided to make the switch, did you make any drastic training or diet changes?
A: Not real drastic. I actually went into physique thinking my food would be more and my cardio less, but it is the opposite. I went no carb from fourteen weeks out, that was hard at first, but I got acclimated and actually felt better. My cardio nearly doubled from figure, but I come from a triathlon background, so running ten miles a day and biking ans swimming helped with what I currently spend on the stairmill each day.

Q: Were you any more nervous doing a routine as opposed to quarter-turns?
A: I was at first. I had a hard time picking a song. I asked people for advice and got mixed things from everyone. So I picked a song and started dancing around in the living room and put some poses together and it flowed smoothly. When I got on stage I wasn't nervous at all compared to figure. I was so afraid of walking in heels and falling. Going out there flat-footed and doing my thing is much more relaxing.

Q: You just took second at the NPC Grand Prix, how satisfied were you with what you brought to the stage?
A: I was very pleased. This is the leanest I have ever been. My coach Shelby Starnes, it was my first competition prep with him and I couldn't be happier. Everything went as planned, I wasn't starving the entire time like I have in the past, he listened and helped me through the whole process. Overall, I had a really good experience and was very happy with what I brought to the stage.

Q: So now that you have done physique, how happy are you that you made the switch?
A: The best decision I could have made. I am in a much better place. I can lift heavy and not worry that my shoulders or legs are getting too big for figure. Making the switch was the best decision I could have made.

Q: Do you know when you want to compete next?
A: We are planning on USA's in Vegas in 2014. So a fifteen month off-season to put on some size and train hard, condition better and bring an even better package.

Q: From the Grand Prix, is there a specific area you most want to improve?
A: I would like to bring up my shoulders and back a little bit. I work hard on my core also, trying to make it tighter. Chest and shoulders are my favorite lifting-wise so those two things come in pretty easy for me. I would like to bring up my arms, my biceps, back and abs for the most part.

Q: When you are in the gym, do you get the stares or attention from people?
A: Oh yeah! I get a lot of people who come up and ask me "what do you eat, how do you make yourself look like that." People have literally asked if I take some pill to look like this. I'm like "no, I train my butt off, I am here every morning and every afternoon, I follow a strict diet". I do get weird creepy stares in the morning on the stairmill or crazy looks when I am lifting.

Q: Is it hard to block out and not get upset?
A: Sometimes it irritates when people wanna talk or interrupt my set. For example, I was using the lat pulldown a couple weeks ago. Someone came up as I am pulling down the bar and smacks me on the back and says "hey, what's up." I'm like "really, in the middle of my set?"

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with, who would it be?
A: Dana Linn Bailey. Dana was one of the reasons I got into physique. I have been following her a long time and totally inspired by her physique. I would wanna hit delts and chest with her.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My coach Shelby Starnes for helping me get through the diet and cardio part of this. I am also a part of Mountain Dog Training by John Meadows, so I wanna thank John for getting me my workouts and kicking my butt in the gym. Of course my boyfriend for supporting me and putting up with me through the dieting process. I have put him through hell but we come out stronger each time.

NAAFS Combat Challenge 24 Report

NAAFS Combat Challenge 24 was a card that featured a lot of fighters very young in their career, if not in their first fight. Some fighters showed some real potential. In the main event, J.T. Miller scored an impressive knockout of previously unbeaten Cody Tominack. Miller has to be considered a front runner for the amateur title. Joe Callari continued his hot streak as one of the most improved amateur fighters in the area. Mad Dog Fight Team had a good night as the won both of their fights including a devastating knockout win for Chris Varner.

1. Amateur 200LB Catch Weight 3x3x3 Rounds
Steve Stocker (0-0 Triple Threat MMA) vs Samuel Hercules (0-0 Ohio Valley MMA)

RD 1: Jab by Stocker. Cross by Stocker. Hercules shoots in and they clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Stocker. Punch to the body by Stocker. Knees to the body by Stocker. Knees to the leg by Stocker. They separate and Stocker lands punches. Nice slam by Hercules into guard. Hercules pushes him to the cage and goes for a guillotine and they stand with him still looking for the guillotine. Stocker escapes and they are clinched on the cage. Punch to the leg by Hercules.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Stocker

RD 2: Jab to the body by Stocker. They trade punches. Cross by Stocker. Cross by Hercules. Jab to the body by Stocker. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Stocker. Body shots by Stocker. Takedown by Stocker into mount. Head shots by Stocker. Stocker gets his back but Hercules rolls into him and is on top in half guard. Stocker gets full guard. Hercules moves to side control as the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Stocker

RD 3: Cross by Stocker. Knee to the body by Stocker. Knee to the head by Stocker, and he is warned for the illegal move and they stop the action. The resume and Hercules lands a cross. Hard cross by Hercules. Hard hook by Hercules and it knocks Stocker's mouth piece out. Stocker hurts him with punches. They clinch on the cage and separate quick. Hercules lands punches. They stop the action to put Stocker's mouth piece back in. They resume and Stocker lands punches on the cage. Clinch on the cage and separate quick and Stocker lands more punches. Knee to the body by Stocker. They clinch on the cage and separate and Stocker lands more punches.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Stocker
My score card: 30-27 Stocker

Result: Steve Stocker by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/30-27)

2. Amateur 140LB Catch Weight 3x3x3 Rounds
Chris Varner (1-0 Mad Dog Fight Team) vs James Owens (0-0 Independent)

RD 1: Body kick by Varner. They trade punches. Owens catches a kick and takes him down landing punches to the back of the head. The ref stands them and warns Owens. They resume. Varner puts him out with a hook.

Result: Chris Varner by KO at :37 of Round 1

3. Amateur Lightweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Tony Bonacci (1-1 Mad Dog Fight Team) vs Justin Fife (0-0 Ohio Valley MMA)

RD 1: They clinch and move to the cage. Takedown by Fife but Bonacci rolls and gets on top in guard. Head shots by Bonacci. Fife goes for an armbar and it looks tight but Bonacci is hanging in and escapes and is back on top in guard. Head shot by Bonacci. Punch to the body from the bottom by Fife.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Fife

RD 2: Leg kick by Fife. They clinch and move to the cage. Takedown by Bonacci into half guard. Head shots by Bonacci. Fife gets full guard. The ref stands them. They trade crosses. Leg kick by Fife. They clinch on the cage. Bonacci is working hard for a takedown. Fife is warned for grabbing the cage. They drop down with Bonacci on top in guard. Punch to the head by Bonacci.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Bonacci

RD 3: Bonacci shoots and takes him down into guard. Two head shots by Bonacci. The ref stands them. Second time he has stood them very fast. Bonacci shoots and gets a takedown into half guard. Bonacci gets side control but Fife gets half guard. Bonacci is back to side control and pushes him to the cage as the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Bonacci
My score card: 29-28 Bonacci

Result: Tony Bonacci by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/30-27)

4. Amateur Welterweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Zachary McLeish (0-0 Independent) vs Shaun Paythress (0-0 Black Dragon)

RD 1: Paythress shoots and takes him down into side control. Head shots by Paythress. More head shots by Paythress. The ref stands them. They clinch and a takedown by Paythress into guard. Head shots by Paythress. Paythress moves to side control and the ref stands them. Takedown by Paythress.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Paythress

RD 2: They trade leg kicks. They trade punches. Takedown by Paythress into side control. Body shots by Paythress. Head shots by Paythress. Paythress gets mount and lands head shots. McLeish is bleeding from the nose. More head shots by Paythress and the ref stops it.

Result: Shaun Paythress by TKO at 1:40 of Round 2

5. Amateur Bantamweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Terry Smith (0-0 Ohio Valley MMA) vs Cody Lewis (0-1 GriffonRawl)

RD 1: They trade jabs. Takedown by Smith into guard. Head shots by Smith. Lewis goes for an armbar but Smith escapes it. Head shots by Smith. Lewis goes for the arm again but can't get it. More head shots by Smith. Lewis again goes for the arm but Smith escapes and moves to side control. Lewis gets full guard. Lewis tries for the armbar again but can't get it. He tries again but Smith again escapes. Head shots by Smith.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Smith

RD 2: They clinch and a takedown by Smith into half guard. Head shots by Smith. Lewis tries for the arm but can't get it. Lewis gets full guard. The ref stands them. They clinch and move to the cage. They trade head shots. Knee to the leg by Lewis and another. Takedown by Lewis and they are back up quick. Takedown by Smith into side control. Head shots by Smith.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Smith

RD 3: Leg kick by Lewis. They clinch on the cage. Punch to the leg by Lewis. Takedown by Lewis but Smith lands on top and gets mount. Head shots by Smith. Lewis gets guard. Smith lets him up. Hook by Smith. Takedown by Smith into half guard. Lewis gets full guard. Lewis goes for an arm but can't get it. Smith lets him up. They clinch on the cage. Head shots by Lewis. Knee to the leg by Lewis. Takedown by Smith into side control. Punch to the head by Smith.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Smith
My score card: 30-27 Smith

Result: Terry Smith by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)

6. Amateur Welterweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Nick Rados (0-2 Independent) vs Josh Belle (0-1 GriffonRawl)

RD 1: They trade punches. They clinch and a takedown by Rados into guard. Belle goes for a triangle. They stand and drop back down with Rados on top in guard. Belle goes for a triangle and then an armbar and gets it for the tap.

Result: Josh Belle by Tapout (Armbar) at 1:10 of Round 1

7. Amateur Lightweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Mike Davila (0-3 Team Benavides) vs Jon Looft (0-1 Evolve MMA)

RD 1: They trade punches. They clinch on the cage. Looft looks for a guillotine. Knees to the leg by Davila. They trade knees to the leg. Body shots by Daila. Looft goes for a takedown and Davila is warned for grabbing the cage. They separate and trade punches. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Looft into half guard. They stand still clinched as the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Looft

RD 2: Hook by Davila. They trade leg kicks. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Davila. Head shots by Davila. Takedown by Looft into guard. Head shots by Looft. Body shots by Looft. Looft gets his back and they stand clinched on the cage. Head shots by Looft. Knee to the leg by Davila. Knee to the leg by Looft. Body shots by Davila.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Looft

RD 3: Davila throws a leg kick on the glove touch. They trade hard punches. Takedown by Davila but Looft gets on top in half guard. Looft gets his back and gets his hooks in. Looft looks for a rear naked but Davila defends it well. Looft tries for it again but the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Looft
My score card: 30-27 Looft

Result: Jon Looft by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)

8. Amateur Welterweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Jonathan Flores (2-1 Turtle Jiu-Jitsu) vs Joe Callari (5-5 GriffonRawl)

RD 1: Leg kick by Callari. They trade hooks. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Flores. Knee to the leg by Callari. Callari is working hard for a takedown. Knee to the body by Flores. Punch t the head by Callari. Knee to the body by Callari. Punch to the head by Callari. They separate. They trade hard shots. Clinch on the cage and takedown by Callari and he gets his back but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Callari

RD 2: They trade jabs. Leg kick by Callari. Hook by Callari. Cross by Flores. Leg kick by Callari. They trade hooks. Leg kick by Callari. They clinch on the cage. Flores gets a takedown into guard. Callari defends well. Body shots by Flores. Head shots by Flores. The ref stands them as the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Flores

RD 3: Hard leg kick by Callari. Jab by Callari. Hook by Flores. Callari lands a kick low stopping action. They resume and trade crosses. They clinch on the cage. Punch to the head by Callari. Callari is working for a kimura. Punch to the body by Flores. Knee to the leg by Callari. Takedown by Callari and he gets his back and looks for a rear naked. Flores escapes and gets on top and lets him up. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Callari.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Callari
My score card: 29-28 Callari

Result: Joe Callari by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)

9. Amateur Light Heavyweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Tony Hodges (3-3 Team Prototype) vs Nick Dowe (3-3 Wrestling Factory Cleveland)

RD 1: Takedown by Dowe into guard. Body shots by Dowe. Dowe moves to half guard. They stand still clinched. Knees to the body by Hodges. Takedown by Dowe into half guard. Body shots by Dowe. Punch to the body from the bottom by Hodges. The ref stands them. Uppercut by Hodges. Dowe shoots and gets a takedown into guard. Dowe gets mount and then a kimura for the tap.

Result: Nick Dowe by Tapout (Kimura) at 2:55 of Round 1

10. Amateur Middleweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Cody Tominack (4-0 Ohio Valley MMA) vs J.T. Miller (3-0 Strong Style Fight Team)

RD 1: Hook by Tominack. They trade hard shots. They clinch on the cage. Punch to the head by Tominack. Knee to the body by Tominack. They separate. Jab by Tominack. Miller lands hard punches. More hard shots by Miller. Miller puts him out with a cross.

Result: J.T. Miller by KO at 1:28 of Round 1

Submission of the Night: Josh Belle

Knockout of the Night: Chris Varner

Fight of the Night: Steve Stocker vs Samuel Hercules

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Courtney Belcher Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 2 and 5: Terri Degenaars

Courtney Belcher first started training, as you will read, by learning things from her husband, who taught her some of the things he learned in the Army. She liked it so much that they made their garage into a gym to train. They then picked up and moved to Virginia and seeked to expand their training. Now Belcher is a title holder weeks away from defending that title when she takes on, with the hopes of an early knockout, as Belcher is a hard hitter who loves to show that in the cage.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started training for the sport?
A: My husband was in the Army. He needed somebody to practice his Army combatives on and I got involuntarily pulled into that. It was fun so we moved everything out of garage at the time and made it into our gym. When he got out of the Army, we moved to Virginia and looked up a local gym that would help train MMA. It was nine months after my son that we started training MMA.

Q: At what point did you decide you wanted to actually fight?
A: I knew right away. When we sat and talked about looking for a gym, it was something we both discussed doing. I knew I wanted to do it.

Q: For some people, they still are not totally accepting of females fighting. Did any family or friends react negative to you fighting?
A: Yes! Some of them still are. My mom was really supportive until I got hurt my second fight and then she backed off and it took her a year to be o.k. with it again. My husband's family still doesn't like it, but they support us. Last week I got the question "you aren't still fighting are?" I was like "Yes ma'am, I got a fight coming up." She said "you are gonna get hurt" and I said "how much worse can it get, I have had my eye socket broken". She said "you got a good point there."

Q: The first time you fought, were you nervous or excited or both?
A: I was both. It was really cool, right before they played my music, Matt Serra was there with a group of guys and he stopped and said "no matter what, no matter how long you do this, just enjoy this moment." It took all my nerves away. Right before I step out, I go back to that, just enjoy the moment.

Q: Then after the fight, was it relief, excitement, both?
A: Both! This last fight I didn't take any damage. It was relief there and then I was really tired. I wanted to come home and go to bed. I didn't go out and part, I fought, came home and went to bed.

Q: The last fight was a win over Jeanette Barkers, overall how happy were you with your performance?
A: We just re-watched the fight. Honestly, I was happy and unhappy. I was happy because from my second fight to that fight, I had eighteen months off. I felt like I showed I developed from a brawler into a fighter. Where there things I didn't like? Yeah, there were a lot of things I didn't like. My kicks weren't as good as they could be, not working technique as much as I should, not pressing the action, there were a couple times I could have put her out and didn't press like I should have. My husband was happy with it, i am unhappy with it.

Q: Speaking of your husband, how much easier is it for you to have someone like that who knows what you are going through getting ready for a fight?
A: It is a whole lot easier. He totally understands everything, the moodiness I get into that week when I am super nervous, don't want the kids bothering me, people touching me, calling with stuff. Just being able to lay there at night and discuss technique or things we need to improve on is invaluable. I don't know what it would be like not to have that.

Q: Is it hard to find a balance between training and being a mom?
A: Yeah! I feel guilty a lot. I feel I don't give them as much attention as I should. But at the same time, we train, we take them with us or train while they are at school. We make a point of setting aside time to take them to the park, do family stuff, watch a movie. So far, it doesn't seem to negatively affect them. My boy is about to turn four and I have an eight year old and both of them show an interest in learning how to fight. Both of them are doing really good in their classes. I still feel guilty, but at the same time, they know I love them and mommy is happy. As soon as it affects them negatively, I will stop.

Q: For those not familiar, your fight coming up, can you tell people where it is and when and against who?
A: I am fighting May 11th in Martinville, Virginia for Virginia Cage Fighting Championships against Amy St. Claire Wilmore. Don't know much about her other than she won a couple Toughman contests and I think they do some of the backyard brawling stuff. I don't know much about her but it doesn't change my game-plan.

Q: From November to May, in a perfect world, would you like to have fights closer together?
A: I would love it to be closer, I really would. At the same time, I have to remember, my husband fights to, so it lets him get one or two fights in in between.

Q: If someone was going to the fight and haven't seen you fight before, what can they expect from Courtney Belcher the fighter?
A: Heart, determination, and this one I am going to war. I wanna keep the same things I did my last fight and bring a little of what I had my second fight. I plan on bringing a war to this girl. I don't know if she has that "I have won Toughman competitions" attitude and I don't care. I am defending my title and if she wants it, she has to knock me out or submit me.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I would like to end it in the first round by knockout or ground and pound. If that doesn't happen, I will make her quit if I have to, that's fine.

Q: Who gets more nervous, you for your husbands fights, or him for your fights?
A: I think he gets more nervous watching me fight. I don't know if it would have been so bad if I didn't have the broken eye socket. I watched him after this last fight and he was relieved but he was so pale. It is hard on him. He hasn't passed out, I almost passed out at one of his fights.

Q: Do you know what you would like after this one?
A: I already have another fight lined up for June 15th. I am pretty excited for it. Then I will take a few months off and Eric get a couple fights in. I am trying to get in some grappling tournaments, kickboxing, Muay-Thai, anything to get experience. If not, I will keep training and beating up my fellow training partners.

Q: Is there anyone you like to watch and maybe pick things up from?
A: In boxing, Mike Tyson. I watch a lot of Mike Tyson stuff. I am short and very powerful. I used to do powerlifting in high school. I love Kaitlin Young's knees. I watch her and pay attention to her knees and kicks. Pedro Rizzo, I pay attention to his kicks, and Bas Rutten to. Ground game, any of the Gracie's, I look at anything from them. I am hoping to go to New York and try and slide in some training with Renzo Gracie if I can. I study a lot of stuff, we catch every UFC, every Invicta, I try and catch some of the Bellator's, always finding fights on Youtube.

Q: As a female fighter, how happy are you to see women in the UFC?
A: I am happy with them having Invicta, that's our place. It is cool they are in the UFC but I am very happy with Invicta, our own place to fight. I am glad with the talent they have pulled in to show we are just as talented and fight just as well.

Q: All the hype is on Ronda Rousey, who do you feel has the best shot against her?
A: Sara McMann right now. maybe Shayna Baszler. Both of them have excellent ground games. Anybody who can pull off a twister is amazing. One of those two. I like Cat Zingano but don't know if she can stay away from Ronda's Judo tosses.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I want to thank Bella Boxer, Nicole Teigen has been great. I will be decked out in full Bella Boxer gear for this fight. Melissa Traynor from Traynor Athletic Services, she is my nutritionist, although I have slacked off, but she gets me right back on track and takes great care of me. My husband Eric, right now he is my trainer, we don't have a gym right now. He is always patient with me. My manager Molly Hoskinson, she is my partner in crime, I love her. Dana White, she has been a big supporter, Steve Rychel has been a big supporter. They helped me get sponsorship to go to a Duane Ludwig seminar, I wanna thank Duane for that, it was a random tweet he saw and said he would take care of it. My training partners who help me. You for the awesome interview.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shayla Trujillo-Bowler Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1 and 5: Brett Seeley
Photos 2-3: NPC News Online/
Photos 4: Don Hales

Many people can get on stage and look incredible. It is what the sport is all about after all. Some have inspiring and emotional stories that go along with their competing stories. One such person is Shayla Trujillo-Bowler. In this interview you will hear Shayla's story and be amazed that she overcame it and recently got on stage at the Northern Colorado Championship's looking her best yet in winning her class.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I worked out through high school but I never got serious till I was about twenty-one or twenty-two. That is when it took off.

Q: Was there something specific you enjoyed?
A: I enjoyed the weight training part because it was competitive but more competitive with yourself. It was a way to better yourself, I didn't have to worry about anybody else. It was based on my efforts. It was quite a challenge and allowed me to do things I never thought I could do.

Q: What made you decide you wanted to try competing?
A: I have always seen those ladies in the magazines and thought their physiques were beautiful. There was a lady who used to manage the GNC here and always told me I should do it. I was leery about it because I have a lot going on working full-time and going to school and was afraid to put that in the mix. One day I decided "what's the worst that can happen?" I figured I would set a goal and decided if I don't like it I don't like it and if I love it, even better.

Q: Were you nervous the first time?
A: I was so nervous. I can lift weights and do the diet but when it got to the part of being on stage in a small suit, it was scary, out of my comfort zone. I had my husband backstage with me and he comforted me and was by my side the whole time.

Q: Last year you did the Colorado State and took third out of three, were you frustrated or disappointed, or just happy you did it?
A: I was actually very happy with myself. You don't know what the show is gonna be, there could be fifteen or three girls. I was glad I could stand up there and look like the rest of them. I made it to that point and it was a big accomplishment. It became addicting after that, after going through the training and stepping on stage, it was an eye opener and I challenged myself to bring it to the next level.

Q: So you knew right away you wanted to keep doing this?
A: Yeah! I was on a budget so I made sure to stay within that budget. It is an expensive sport so I did my own makeup and hair and bought a used suit and cut as many corners as I could in case I hated it. Of course I ended up loving it. Part of it was being backstage with other people. I am from a small town and nobody really understands what I do. When I got to be backstage with others who share that same goal, it made it more fun, people are encouraging.

Q: Just recently you did the Northern Colorado and took first and I thought the improvements you made were incredible. Where do you think you were better?
A: Actually, it took me almost a year and a half. I was training for the Northern's last year but had a life threatening illness five weeks out. I had to get eight inches of my intestines removed. I had a rare condition that doesn't have very often. They didn't have an explanation why it happened, I was real healthy and competing was my healthiest I could be. I think the most improvement would be from my surgery, it was a year and a month, and that is where I did my most improvements, trying to overcome being in a situation where I couldn't lift five pounds or do ab exercises till four or five months out from my show.

Q: If someone told you going in that you would get first place, would you have thought it was a realistic possibility?
A: The way I looked at it my second time around, it was like I already won. I was so proud of myself before I went on stage, overcoming an illness like that was a big thing for me. When something is taken from you and you overcome that, I felt like I already won, it didn't matter if I got a trophy. I think it showed on stage. I wanted to have fun doing it. It is only the opinion of five or six people, so it is what you make of it.

Q: You did look so much more confident, is that part of everything you overcame?
A: I think a lot of it is. I learned to appreciate my body. It was showing how proud I was to be there. I have a scar to, you cant see it in pictures. At first I didn't think I could compete, it healed so weird, but I kept at it. I think ti showed how proud I was of my body and accepting it.

Q: Your posing was a lot better, did you practice a lot for this one?
A: I did. When I did my first show, it was new to me and I was nervous. I practiced every day and had a coach to help me, Derek Trombetta with 970 Muscle and also another former competitor, Amy Manzanares. They both helped me extremely because they understand and have competed for years. I knew I had to get it right because if you don't know your poses it is kind of a wash.

Q: Do you know when you want to compete next?
A: My next goal is to compete in a National show. I am not sure which one yet. I go to school and have a full-time job. It will be a big thing for me, so maybe over the summer so I don't have to interrupt school. My husband also competes and is competing in August. I am hoping he places top five and that may decide where I go next.

Q: For the next show, where do you want to be better?
A: Capping out my shoulders a little bit more and more cuts in my leg. I came in fuller and harder than my first show. They love those capped shoulders for figure girls and my legs are always the last too come in. Overall, I am proud of how my body came in, especially with my surgery.

Q: At the gym, do you get the stares and attention from people?
A: Yeah, I do. I am in such a small town that it is not normal to see a woman so fit. Some people like it and some don't. It doesn't matter what they think, it is what I think and I am happy.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with, who would it be?
A: It would be Larissa Reis. I think she is so beautiful, I love her legs. She looks hardcore all the way around. Also Dana Linn Bailey is very good. She would be wonderful to train with.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I want to thank my husband David. He has been my rock through this. Amy Manzanares for being there and her support and helping with posing. David Trombetta he has helped me tremendously.

Gabrielle Aguilar Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-4: RX Muscle/Jeff Binns

Still a few months short of her seventeenth birthday, Gabrielle Aguilar has not stepped on the figure stage twice, most recently winning the teen division at the Europa Super Show. She made a big impression on people for obvious reasons. Gabrielle has an amazing attitude and her head on straight and has unlimited potential.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: My mom has always been really healthy and she worked out. She got me a membership at the gym. I started weightlifting and stuff. My mom got a personal trainer, Belinda Hope, and she got sessions for me with Belinda. Belinda talked about figure and competing and I got interested. I started intense training from there.

Q: Did you know right away that competing was something you would wanna do?
A: No, because I was mainly just working out for swimming and wanted to get in shape. Belinda was always talking about it and it seemed interesting.

Q: When you did decide to compete, were your family and friends o.k. with the idea?
A: My dad didn't really like it. Neither of my parents did. After they saw me compete and do well, they started to get used to it and now they are on board.

Q: The first time doing a prep, did anything surprise you about the process?
A: Not really. I am good with my diet so it was easy to stay on it. I always workout every day so that wasn't a problem. The only thing was at the end I would do cardio for forty minutes every day and I don't like cardio.

Q: You mentioned Belinda, how much did it help to have her, a great coach and pro who has been through this so many times?
A: It was amazing. After my first competition I got in a mental slump and she was very supportive. She always has my back and helps me when I don't wanna work out. She is the best coach ever.

Q: Were you nervous the first time on stage?
A: Yes I was. I always watched posing and practice but I had a feeling on stage I would forget my poses. Belinda was very good about every week doing posing and it got drilled into my mind.

Q: You just won the teen division at the Europa, how happy were you with what you brought to the stage?
A: I was very happy. I was very nervous at first cause it is a big show and a lot of people watching. I was very happy with the package I brought and the outcome.

Q: It is a big show, is it hard for someone so new to not get star struck with all the big names there?
A: Yeah, I was definitely nervous about that. Pros were there and big photographers. I tried to keep calm and my teammates helped keep me calm.

Q: From a lot of people there, I am told you made a really good impression, is it hard to not let that go to your head?
A: I try not to. I don't wanna be one of those people that turn into a different person because of their fame. I am not gonna let it go to my head no matter what happens.

Q: Do you know when you want to compete next?
A: Yes, my next show is July 12th in Ft. Lauderdale.

Q: From the Europa, is there any area you want to be better?
A: My legs! I have a very hard time bringing my legs up. I don't like to do legs, I don't like the feeling. My sister is gonna help me cause legs are her favorite. I hope to get bigger legs, more muscular.

Q: On the flip side, is there a part you feel is your best?
A: My back, I love my back.

Q: Being the age you are, do you ever feel you are missing out on things people your age are doing in order to live this lifestyle?
A: No, I love this lifestyle and I wouldn't change it. I like bringing my meals to school and getting looked at funny. I would rather eat healthy and get stared at and look good.

Q: When you are in the gym, do you get the stares or attention from people?
A: Yeah I do. I don't pay any attention because they are distracting, but I don't like it at all.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with, who would it be?
A: Dana Linn Bailey. She is really funny. I met her at Europa. I would love to train with her and maybe make a video for her Youtube page.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Belinda because she is my coach and she is awesome. My teammates, they are all supportive and I love them all. My sister, she does my hair, makeup and tan for every show. My parents for supporting me in this sport.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Samantha Sage Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-2: Kevin Kruger Photography

Photos 3-5: RX Muscle/Lloyd Terry Jr.

After someone mentioned to her at the gym that she should try competing, Samantha Sage was instantly interested. She has put the foundation she built through gymnastics to good use and has done quite well in a short time including just recently winning teen figure at the Texas Shredder and also was the only competitor to compete in fitness. She is now getting ready for the Ronnie Coleman Classic and then Jr. USA's. At such a young age, the sky is the limit for Samantha and how far she can go.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I got started in the gym right out of high school. I was a gymnast my whole life so I just trained for gymnastics pretty much. After I finished high school I started working out in the gym a little more to maintain my gymnastics body. I didn't know what I was doing with the weights, I just suck to cardio. Then I started working in a World Gym and was introduced to the whole competition world. One of the trainers noticed I had a good physique and told me I should do a competition. I didn't know two things about it but they told me about it and it sounded like something I would want to do. I was pretty much all in before I knew anything about it and was training for something that I didn't know too much about. I didn't even go watch a show before I decided to do one. I started training and didn't know if I would do bikini or figure. I first planned on bikini and as I started to diet down we discovered all the muscle I had under the layers of fat so we decided I would do figure. That is when I entered the Ms. Buffalo last March.

Q: When you decided to compete, did anyone close to you react negative to it?
A: Friends of mine would try and get me to go out with them all the time. Trying to get them to understand what I was doing was extremely difficult and it took a very long time for them to understand. They were asking "why?" and now I have them all asking me how?" they can do this. They would constantly say things like "why cant you come out and drink water, there is zero calories." They didn't understand that all the amount of energy to get through one day of workouts and nutrition and work, all the things I was doing, let alone go out and have alcohol which is just a simple ball of sugar. Friends were hard to deal with at the time but now they understand me and what I do.

Q: Being so young, do you ever feel like you are missing out on the things people your age do in order for you to live this lifestyle?
A: Not at all! I am not missing out at all. I think that that is a waste of time. I get to go out and celebrate when there is a real reason, for example when I win a show. I get to go out and celebrate and have my fun and jump back into training for my next show. Like last week, I won my show, went and had my fun and it felt like I deserved to go out and not just going out for no reason and wasting time and money.

Q: For that first show in Buffalo, were you nervous?
A: A little bit. Like I said, I had never even been to a show before I got on stage. I didn't know what to expect. I had seen pictures and knew what I was in for. I was a little nervous about posing, we could have practiced more. The way that coach did things at the time, he just threw things together and wasn't organized. But other than that I felt confident, I knew I was at my best and did my best. Like he told me, competing is a marathon, all the hard work is done, on the day of the show you cross the finish line and present your hard work.

Q: You just did the Texas Shredder, you won teen figure and were the only girl to do fitness, how happy were you with the package you brought to the stage?
A: I was proud but not satisfied.

Q: In doing fitness, does it bother you that at such a big show, no one else did fitness?
A: Not at all. I loved it because I knew that I was the one who went the whole nine yards. In my opinion, bikini girls don't have to train as hard as figure. The fitness girls, it is the whole nine yards, you have to train hard, diet hard, and routine training. That is what I love doing, I love performing, I love gymnastics. Where I am training now, I get to incorporate all my gymnastic skills and I get to train like an athlete, not so much like a bodybuilder.

Q: Long term, do you see yourself focusing more on fitness or figure or when you can, do them both?
A: Definitely fitness. I loved it, I had so much fun performing. I was always that little kid during gymnastics and cheerleading that would be doing flips and saying "mom watch me do this." Whoever wanted to be my audience, I would perform. I love fitness, it makes everything worth it. That will be my main focus in the long run. I am doing the Ronnie Coleman in two weeks and for that show I will do figure and fitness and then after that is Jr. USA's and that will be strictly fitness.

Q: For someone so new, you looked extremely confident, were you as confident as you looked?
A: I honestly could not have been more confident. My coach Kalani Barber- she is an IFBB figure pro- was by me the entire time and could not have made me feel any more calm and collected. Now, I have another two weeks of training and dieting and I know my next show it will only be better. Each show I have a goal of things I want to make better.

Q: For the Ronnie Coleman, where do you want to be better?
A: My goals right now are more focused towards Jr. USA's, that is what I have been working for for so long and am putting everything into, but before that is the Ronnie Coleman. For that show I would like to see my routine a little better, a little tighter, I did put some more advanced skills in. I have another two weeks after that to work harder for Jr. USA's to tighten up my skills and tighten up my physique.

Q: With Jr. USA's being a National show, do you think you might be a little more nervous than previous shows?
A: Maybe a little bit but I am gonna try my best to stay calm and collected and I know I have worked as hard as I can and did my very best and should be able to stay confident.

Q: When you are training at the gym, do you get the stares and attention from people?
A: I do! I used to train at an L.A. Fitness, a big chain gym. People would make me feel uncomfortable there. I wasn't comfortable training there because everyone stared at me and I knew they were. When I met my coaches Kalani and Heath, they own a gym in Katy, Texas called Cinco Fit, it is my second home, a small little studio gym that has everything we need to train. It has a big open space for me to work on routines and everyone is like family and knows what I do. For example on shoulder day, I will train really hard and burn them out and then run to the floor and do handstand push-ups or flips, whatever I want. A lot of gyms are too busy for things like that.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with, who would it be?
A: I am really luck to train with an IFBB pro as my coach and I love working with her. She does incorporate my gymnastics in my training like no trainer has done before. She gives me supersets like squats and have me do standing back tucks, she knows I love that stuff. Other than that, I look up to Jodi Boam. I love her style of training and her routines are awesome. I have seen her v-logs and would love to spend a day training with her.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Kalani Barber, she has been by my side the entire time. My mom who keeps me going every day. She tells me to stop and smell the flowers. Heath Purcell, he is my nutrition coach and Kalani's fiance. Also Hoss Choreography, he did my choreography.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Maura Gay Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 3-5: RX Muscle

After initially joining the gym to get bigger so she could join the wrestling team, Maura Gay, Maura stuck with it and late last year stepped on stage to compete in bikini. Recently she made the switch to figure for the John Kemper Classic and took second place. Maura seems a natural with a great stage presence. With some time and improvements she can do some big things in the sport.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: When I was in middle school I wanted to wrestle. They wouldn't let me, they being the athletic director, because I wasn't as big or as strong as the boys. I decided to start lifting three days a week before school. It kind of snowballed from there. I finally got to wrestler my freshman year of college and that is when I really started to lift. A couple injuries and a change of sport later, and here I am.

Q: Why did you want to wrestle?
A: At that school, sports were required because they don't have gym classes. I didn't wanna play basketball and that was my only other option.

Q: What made you decide to compete?
A: I transferred to a new college. The first day I was here was the day I met my current boyfriend who was prepping for a men's physique competition. I looked into everything and decided it was something I wanted to do. I started in bikini in November and then decided to switch to figure and competed in that last weekend.

Q: That first show, were you nervous?
A: I was o.k. up until the last three days and then I was a mess. As soon as I stepped on stage the nerves were gone.

Q: A lot of people I interview say that they do the first show and it becomes addicting, was that the case with you?
A: Definitely!

W: What about it did you enjoy?
A: I love competition, I live for competition. I have been a life long competitive athlete, a competitive equestrian from age three till last year. That was the change of sport I mentioned. To be able to lift heavy and eat right and really feel good and compete on top of that, it is the perfect sport for me.

Q: For figure, did you make any drastic training or diet changes?
A: Not really. I had been putting on a lot of good size and even since that competition I have put on good size. I haven't been doing this that long so I think that just progressing through and getting bigger is the way that it is going. I intend to not do anything drastic, I don't feel the need to go to extremes for anything.

Q: You just took second at the John Kemper Classic, how satisfied were you with what you brought to the stage?
A: I am really happy with what I brought. I know what I need to work on and I have eleven weeks to do that before Team Universe. I am really happy with the size I put on and throughout the diet and prep I was able to keep that size, I didn't lose anything.

Q: I was impressed with how confident you looked being so new, were you that confident?
A: Yeah, I felt really good. It wasn't like that the whole prep, there were days when it is like "I look like crap today." That last week everything came together. I peaked differently for this show than the last show and that really made a big difference. I woke up that morning and it was "game on."

Q: Your posing was also good for someone so new, how much posing practice did you do?
A: We have an aerobics room with full length mirrors at the rec center at school. I try and spend ten or fifteen minutes in there after a workout. I try and do it three or four days a week. I practice in my apartment to and take pictures and tweak things.

Q: Did you have any idea how hard the posing would be?
A: I have a bad lower back and I knew it would bother my back. The amount of work to put into it, I didn't expect although I should have given I am a perfectionist. Now that I have figured out what looks best, it is easier to play within that little range rather than "do I wanna keep my legs straight or bend?" That was the hardest part.

Q: Did you look at pictures of other competitors to get help?
A: Yeah, I looked at everything from the pros down to the local competitions. See what the judges are looking for and liking.

Q: For Team Universe, compared to this last one, where do you need to be better?
A: I need to pack on some size in my legs. That has been my weakest point throughout this whole thing. I have made some changes to my split in my program so we will see how that plays out.

Q: You are still young, do you feel ever like you are missing out on things people your age are doing?
A: Not really because the things my age are doing are not things I ever took part in. This weekend at my college is something called Block party. I knew about it coming here, but it isn't my thing. I would rather get up in the morning and do some conditioning.

Q: When you are in the gym do you get the stares or attention from people?
A: I do! I tend to be at the gym at the same time so that crowd is used to me. If I go a different time, I do get looked at a little bit.

Q: Is it hard to block out?
A: As long as they aren't saying anything, it is easy to ignore. If comments are made, it gets annoying but not enough to deter me from my workout. I am in there to do a job. Being a student I have limited time to get that job done.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with, who would it be?
A: I would love to train with Dana Linn Bailey. It is because of the amount of intensity she brings to a workout.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My boyfriend, he has been a rock behind this whole thing. I wouldn't be where I am without him.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tamikka Brents Interview

Photo Credits:
Photo 1: Esther Lin/Invicta FC
Photo 2: Knuckle Junkies

After having a hard time getting fights, Tamikka Brents is finally getting regular fights and in doing so, is showing why no one wanted to fight her. Still yet to suffer a lose, Tamikka is coming off a decision win at Invicta over Amanda Bell. On April 20th she fights for Freedom Fight Series when she takes on Holly Bartley.

Q: Last fight was for Invicta, you won a decision over Amanda Bell, how satisfied were you with your performance?
A: I saw things I could have worked on of course because I am nit picky. At the same time, I thought it was a quality opponent. I was pretty happy and it was pretty cool having "Big" John raise my hand.

Q: Does it give you confidence knowing you can do the three pro rounds?
A: Yeah, I think it does. Fighting for Invicta was the most nervous I have ever been. My coach said he didn't see it and I was like "that's cause I am good at hiding it. It gives me confidence I can do all three and I will still win but I would rather end it in the first.

Q: You did catch her with some good shots, were you surprised she didn't go away?
A: No, she was resilient. She was number one or two at 145 as an amateur. I knew she wasn't a chump. We grappled the first two rounds. I think it would have been different if I had landed those shots in the beginning as opposed to the end of the fight. But a win is a win.

Q: Until recently you have been getting ducked a lot, are you happy to be getting regular fights?
A: Definitely! I figured turning pro would cut down on people backing out. The Randi Miller fight was an exception and thankful after that one it hasn't been a problem finding anyone. It has been kind of a struggle sometimes if it is not for a major organization, but other than that it has been pretty good.

Q: You have Holly Bartley coming up, how has the camp been?
A: Great! After Invicta we went up to Jorge Gurgel's camp and trained with all the guys there because all the girls were in California for their own camps. We trained a week there and came back here and worked everything. Training hard, I feel good, no injuries, I am happy.

Q: She is replacing your original opponent, do you give her some credit for stepping in and making her pro debut against a top ten fighter?
A: Definitely! I was excited to fight Breea Gilbert because I know she has that really good grappling base. When I found out she got hurt I was afraid I wasn't gonna have a fight. Holly stepped up and she is not afraid, it should be a good one?

Q: Do you know anything about her?
A: No! Her name is Holly, she is a girl and we are fighting on Saturday.

Q: Does it add pressure to win impressive since it is gonna be your crowd?
A: Yeah, I think there is added pressure. There is always pressure, but when you are at home it is a win/lose situation. You are at home so you don't have to travel and you are comfortable but then you don't wanna lose in front of your hometown. Then you have the haters from your hometown that come to see you hoping you lose. I like it. I get more nervous to fight at home but I think I perform better at home to.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I got some new tricks people haven't seen, I might bust out some new stuff. I've been training with the Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles a lot lately. They have taught me things but I cant use nunchucks cause that is frowned upon in the cage. I got some new tricks that people will be pleased to see.

Q: Is the hope after this to be on the next Invicta?
A: Definitely! I definitely wanna be on the next Invicta. That was the original plan but so many changes happened at the last one. We have a lot of offers, overseas, the east coast, west coast, everywhere. Either way, this will be a good year.

Q: Is there anyone specific you would want on the next Invicta or just someone ranked?
A: I definitely want someone ranked. I know a lot of fans wanna see myself against Veronica Rothenhausler. I kept getting tweets after the last Invicta that they wanna see us fight. If they wanna see it, I think it would be pretty good. If it's not her, I wanna fight someone ranked above me.

Q: If you were on The Ultimate Fighter, Ronda or Cat's team?
A: Well, I know you probably didn't think I would say this, but I would wanna be on Rousey's team. Mostly because I am holding a grudge because Cat was Randi Miller's coach and I blame everybody involved in that.

Q: Best Will Farrell movie?
A: I like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, but I liked Night at the Roxbury to.

Q: Item of clothing that when you see girls wearing it, you want to head kick them?
A: I hate when girls wear tank-tops and scarfs. I don't understand why your shoulders are hot and your neck is cold.

Q: If they were to remake a movie with you as the star, what role would you wanna play?
A: I would wanna play a villain that gets away.

Q: Rocky vs Rambo, who wins?
A: Rambo has all the firepower. Rocky has heart but bullets can stop your heart very easily so I am gonna go with Rambo.

Q: Stupidest movie ever?
A: I have seen a lot of stupid movies. A Robert Pattinson, Cosmopolis. It was awful.

Q: Have you seen Napoleon Dynamite?
A: Yes!

Q: Then would you vote for Pedro?
A: Yes, I would definitely vote for him. He has this Mexican gang behind him.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My friends and family, my gym Team Warrior Concepts, my head coach and the owners of TWC, Scot and Jenn Ward, also known as my seconds parents, the Ladies in our women's fitness class, they are always cheering me on and pushing me to go harder. I'd also like to thank my teammates who help push me, Morgan "Lil Boom Boom" Becker, Frank Sloan, Trevor Ward, Brea Elston. All my coaches, head coach Scot Ward, my BJJ coaches Jake Bell and Lex James, my wrestling coach Curt Bee, my Muay-Thai coach Jared Rusk and my strength and Conditioning coach Ryan Molohan. A special thanks to Jorge Gurgel and his team for the amazing week myself and some teammates spent there learning so much from world class fighters and coaches. A huge thanks to my awesome F's, Scoops and Kel for being there for me and helping me through this crazy fighter life along with my A-Team and the Oreo who are always supportive no matter where they are. My amazing sponsors, Complete Nutrition, AMB Construction, Spartan Sports Park, Keppler Environmental Management, Jansen Concrete, Marc Passoni of Green Hyundai, New Age Tattoos, my awesome chiropractor Clint Scott, my amazing massage therapist Renee "Magic Hands" Dean, The Body Quest Store, Alien Ape, Bar Oasis, Corrective Exercise SP, Defense Soap, Intimidation Clothing, Scandals Nightclub, Fastest TKO, Lids, Title Shot Apparel, Punch Tow, Janet Boyer of Body by Vi, Stevenson Drive Pawn, Maids R Us Inc., Jason Craig of the Perrysburg Heights Community Association, Unique Blendz, Just Beds, Brown Excavating and the Gyro Stop. They are awesome and support me as much as possible, Also a big thank you to Freedom Fight Series for the opportunity to fight at home again. Thank you to Jason "Sweet Cheeks" Adams for being and awesome person and interviewer.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eunika Desir Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-2: Muscle Papa John
Photos 3-5: RX Muscle/Arno Photography

After initially joining the gym just to fit into a wedding dress, Eunika Desir found something she loves. She started out by competing in bikini and then with the help of some judge feedback, made the move to the division that is clearly a better fit for her, the physique division. In her first time stepping on a stage for physique, she took first place at the Jax Physique, a clear sign of the potential she has going forward in the division.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: The main reason that took me to the gym was I was getting married and had bought a dress. The price was good but the size was too small. That was my first motivation. I have a family history of diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure and was pre-diabetic. I got close to being on cholesterol medicine and my doctor gave me the option to drop ten to fifteen pounds or be on the medications and deal with the chance that I could be on them for a long time. That is when I took it seriously and really went to the gym and took classes. I really got hooked, became certified and am still there.

Q: What about it got you so hooked?
A: I am a big fan of fitness classes, I love the environment and the instructors were really motivating. Once I started dropping the weight, I started liking what I saw in the mirror and started wondering how far I could take this. I like the fact that I felt my health had gotten better and I wasn't dreading going to the doctors anymore and getting any bad news. It all tied in together.

Q: What made you decide to try competing?
A: I was already a personal trainer and fitness instructor. I'd watched them for awhile. I was turning thirty, my first competition was last July, it was on my bucket list to compete before thirty.

Q: You started with bikini and switched to physique, why did you make the switch?
A: Because of my body type. I didn't know any better when I got into it and in my mind I thought bikini was easier to achieve. I was wrong, I was putting a lot of muscle on and had to stop lifting and I really enjoy weight training and I had to struggle to keep my weight down for bikini. My first show I did really well, I took first and overall. The second one I started coming out too lean and too cut. I spoke to one of the judges and I thought my next move up would be figure and he said to go physique cause I can put a lot more muscle on. So I went into off-season for eight months and tried physique for the first time and I think I found my division, I am really enjoying it.

Q: For physique, how drastically did you change training and diet?
A: It was a whole lot different. For bikini I wasn't lifting, I was a hundred and fourteen pounds. I approached my coach Sarah Long from Team Long and she explained to me "you are tiny, we have to put some serious weight on you." I think she wanted me to be ready for the mental part of it. I had to gain about fifty-five pounds during bulking to gain muscle. The weight training was very intense, I lifted as heavy as I could. Every day in the gym was me trying to beat a record. Believe or not, as painful as it was, I really enjoyed it.

Q: Was the posing hard to learn for you?
A: I am still learning, it's a brand new element. Bikini is more flirty, you have more options. For physique, you have the mandatory poses that you have to know how to do and display it to display your physique the best. Posing is still kind of interesting but I am still practicing. I can't say that I have mastered it.

Q: You took first at the Jax Physique show, how happy were you?
A: Jason, that is all I had been living and breathing for for the past year. I went to the Jax Physique show in 2012 and saw one of my teammates do women's physique. I told my husband "I like what she is doing, next year I am gonna come win this show." I did it not knowing what would happen but I gave it my all. When it happened, in my head I had rehearsed it so many times that when it happened I was just happy it finally became a reality. I was very happy.

Q: Were you any more nervous knowing you had to do a routine?
A: No, actually the routine is one of the things that really attracted me to physique. I don't have a dance background but appreciate that you have more stage time for your hard work. I really wanted to portray everything I had gone through during the journey, struggles, power, all that. It gave me an opportunity to connect with the crowd and show them. I am happy for the stage time we get.

Q: Do you know when you plan to compete next?
A: I spoke with my coach and my goal is to go for a National qualifier. I'm debating the next one but wont take too long.

Q: Where do you feel you need to improve from the last one?
A: I am very critical of myself. I look at my picture and think everything needs work. Now that I have that "bigger fever" that I call it and wanna get a little bigger. Overall, I was happy with my initial package. If you want something specific, I would probably say my legs and glutes and bring my calves up. Till my next show, just overall improvement. The higher you go in shows, the higher the level of competition.

Q: You did add a good amount of muscle in a short time, did anyone react negatively to you adding that muscle?
A: That is my daily life. Yes, especially being that I am originally from Haiti, so my cultural background does not support it. I get it everyday from people at my gym who come to me and say "you are getting too muscular." It's a personal choice and I keep my focus and move on, but it's an everyday thing for me. Usually it is a negative comment on how manly I am looking.

Q: When you go out are you more of a cover it up and avoid that attention type person or more proud and show it off?
A: I don't really have a social life anymore. I did go out last Friday and someone recognized me. She came up to me with her friend and took pictures and wanted me to flex. It was a little embarrassing so next time I may cover up a bit more.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with before, who would it be?
A: My very first person was Dana Linn Bailey. But now I have discovered so many talents, Karina Nascimento, Asha Hadley, it would be one of those three.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: So many people. My husband, my friends, especially Shanda Brooks, my coach Sarah Long, I would not be doing this if it wasn't for her. Also my supporters and those who don't support much, it helps anyway.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sonya Urff Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1 and 3: Muscle Papa John
Photos 2,4 and 5: RX Muscle/ Arno Photography

Sonya Urff decided to do the Jax Physique with her sister who had already competed before. She won her class in Bikini, a very good class at that. Pretty impressive for a debut. As with her sister, Sonya has the right attitude about the sport, competing and improving and has a lot of time to improve and become a real name in the fitness industry.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: Growing up, my parents always had my sister and I active in sports, soccer, gymnastics, dance, cheerleading. In high school we kind of stopped doing our outside activities. We both talked about how we didn't wanna become lazy. We decided on a drive home from school one day that we wanted a gym membership. We started at the YMCA and doing cardio together. We were doing too much cardio and she developed an eating disorder, more focused on burning calories than eating calories. We went to a nutritionist and she slowly stopped doing cardio. I continued doing cardio, but the thing is, cardio gets addicting. I did more and more and more. Kyrsten found her passion in the weight room while I was in the cardio room running my little heart out. Eventually I would go into the weight room and do some. I was never in there the same amount of time she was. Eventually I saw all the muscle she was putting on and decided I like that look better. I started watching her and following what she was doing. I saw her as my new role model in the gym.

Q: What made you decide to compete?
A: I always was fascinated by people who did compete. I thought it was something neat that I wanted to try. After Kyrsten did her first show everyone was saying "you should compete" but I never thought I would be able to with school because I am a double major. I never thought of myself having time till after I graduated. I started thinking about it and was sure I could manage my time to study and am always in the gym anyway, same amount of time as Kyrsten, I eat healthy, so I decided to go for it. I decided to show people I could do school and compete, a challenge to myself.

Q: How nervous were you for this first show?
A: I was pretty nervous. I didn't know what to expect. Kyrsten's first show was smaller. Everyone said "they are gonna do Jax, such a big show against so many people." I didn't know if my posing was gonna be right cause I didn't practice as much as I wanted to. I was nervous posing on stage and being in front of everyone. Once I got up there I forgot about everyone and it came naturally.

Q: Still being so young, is it hard to pass up the partying type lifestyle people your age live to live this lifestyle?
A: Growing up my parents were really strict on partying and going out. When I first came to UF, I thought I was gonna join a sorority and didn't know how party oriented it was. When I first joined, there wasn't as much partying as I expected. I didn't feel the need to party, it offset what I did in the gym if I would go out and drink. That has always been my mindset, so I have no interest in partying.

Q: You won your class at the Jax Physique, if someone said beforehand that you had a shot at that, would you have believed that?
A: Probably not! It was my first show. I knew there would be a ton of people. My main goal was to get stage practice, so when I heard I won, I was kind of shocked, I didn't know what to do so I just stood there and was like "did you say my number?" It was a good surprise.

Q: When they are doing call-outs and you realize you do have a shot, did you get any more nervous?
A: I did, but I didn't know how critical it was or if it really meant anything. Everyone was like "it means so much, you have a shot" and I was like "I don't know", I still wasn't believing them.

Q: Your sister did the show with you and had competed before, how much did it help to have her going through prep with you?
A: It definitely was a lot easier. Without her doing it, I don't know if I would have made it. If I would have, I wouldn't have been as successful. She helped mentally and physically. It was easier having her there, we ate at the same time and the same thing and were feeling the same way and having the same lack of energy some days. It was definitely good. Having her support is something I that without it I wouldn't have been as successful.

Q: Do you know when you wanna compete next?
A: I haven't quite decided. I want it to be sometime soon, a National qualifier. I was shooting for Palmetto Cup, I am still talking to my coach about it.

Q: For the next one, where do you feel you need the most improvement?
A: Probably my legs. I need my legs to grow. They weren't big enough on stage. I need to definitely work on my posing.

Q: Your sister started in bikini and moved to figure, would you consider that down the line?
A: I told my sister I would never compete against her. It is something we promised each other because we already are so competitive. When she decided to do figure, that is when I figured it was o.k. to do bikini. I would never do figure unless she moved up to physique, and even at that point I would have to sit down and really consider it.

Q: Is fitness modeling something that interests you?
A: It does, but I never really expect it to go anywhere. I know how hard the industry is. If an opportunity came up I would definitely be interested. I just know you can't get your hopes up.

Q: When you are in the gym, do you get the stares or attention?
A: I have noticed it a few times, especially other girls. A lot of times other girls look at us like "why are they lifting so heavy?" They are afraid they will get bulky there is the whole thing out there that girls don't like to lift heavy cause they are afraid they will look like men. Sometimes I notice girls looking at us intrigued and surprised by us lifting so heavy. I see guys looking sometimes cause they have never seen girls lifting like that. There are times when people make it extremely obvious, but I just tell myself to ignore it cause they are either trying to figure why we lift so heavy or they are impressed.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with before, who would it be?
A: Probably Jamie Eason. She seems like she has a good head on her shoulders and is my role model.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My sister Kyrsten, she has always been by my side rooting me on. Sarah Long for helping me mentally and physically. Lynard Dicks has been by my side since I decided to compete lending a helpful hand even when sometimes I said I didn't need it. Also, my parents for supporting me to do both school and competing even though it is something they didn't really want me to do. Complete Nutrition in Gainesville for helping give me opportunities to fund my endeavors this year.