Thursday, May 9, 2013

Haven Hennessey Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1 and 5: MAC Portraits
Photos 2-4: NPC News Online/Dan Ray

Haven Hennessey originally got into the gym to lose weight after giving birth to her second child. With urging from her coach Belinda Hope, Haven gave competing a try. Needless to say, Belinda's urging that Haven could do well was proven correct as Haven has done well on stage, most recently a third place finish in a tough class at the Orlando Europa. She will be back on stage in June. Not much time for major improvements, however I expect we will see the best Haven Hennessey yet.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: It was after the birth of my second son. I realized the baby weight was not coming off. He was five months old and something had to be done. That got me looking around for gyms and got me in the doors.

Q: At the time was it just to lose the weight?
A: At the time I was about thirty pounds over my normal weight. I knew I did not do the right things during the pregnancy. I ate too much and didn't work out enough. I wasn't a gym goer before the baby so I figured joining a gym would give me discipline and an outlet to burn off the extra weight.

Q: Obviously you stuck with it, was there something specific that kept you going?
A: I think it was just seeing the changes in my body so quickly. The adrenaline rush afterwords and the endorphins kicking in and the energy it kept you. Mostly just seeing my body change and become a body-type I was liking.

Q: What made you decide to compete?
A: The trainer that I ended up with at the gym, one of the trainers I looked up to and admired, Belinda Hope. I started training with her because I got a discount as an employee cause I started teaching at that gym. As I was training with her she kept telling me "you have the perfect physique for figure." I kept pushing her off "yeah yeah right." I believed her but I didn't believe her. I though maybe she was right but didn't see it. I couldn't see it but she could. Eventually I decided it was something I wanted to try to do and set a goal for myself. With her help, we started preparing for my first show last year.

Q: That first time, right before going on stage, were you nervous or excited or both?
A: I was both. I was so naive, I was up there like "Oh my gosh, I can't believe I am even on the stage." I went into it not knowing anything about that sport, just went in trying to present the best me and came out in first place in my class.

Q: A lot of people I interview say that after the first show it becomes addicting for them, was that the case with you?
A: Yeah, I think it was the thrill. In the past I was involved in dance, ballet and modern and directed a dance company. I was used to the stage and performing and I think it gave me that adrenaline rush again of being on stage, almost like acting in some ways. It got addictive, I saw the changes and wanted to create more changes. I looked up competitors and started combing the Internet looking at competitions and competitors physiques and wanted to be more like the pros out there.

Q: How much has it helped working with Belinda, a pro who has done this many times and have her guide you through it?
A: It is priceless. She is not only my coach and trainer, she is also a good friend. her expertise, knowledge, experience and even her ups and downs have helped guide me through the whole process. She has been there, she's done it, she knows how I am feeling when I am feeling it. She helps me through the tough times and the good times and directs me where I should be going.

Q: You just took third at the Europa, how happy were you with what you brought to the stage?
A: I was very happy. I was the leanest I have been since competing. I saw so many improvements in myself and was so excited to see those improvements in the pictures. I was really happy with where I was at the Europa, it was my best yet.

Q: You had teammates compete at the Europa to, does it help make it easier to have people go through prep with you and be there with you?
A: Definitely! Last year I did have one friend compete with me at one show. That was fun but having a whole team with the same goal, same prep, same vision and method of getting there and being there supporting each other was a huge difference. I had a blast this show, it was the best one yet in every aspect and made me look forward to when we do this again all together.

Q: With having two kids, how hard is it, especially during prep to balance the training with being a mom?
A: Very hard! You have to as a mom not beat yourself up too much when you slip up. You are preparing their meal cause clearly they can't always eat what you are eating. A competitors diet diet tends to be monotonous, same thing day in and out and of course as clean as possible. As you prep their food you are sitting there being tempted. So if you take a bite or two, you have to be like "o.k., stop, regroup, let's focus" and be aware it is a competition, you are doing this as a hobby and not be too obsessed to where it affects your emotional state towards your family. You tend to be grouchy when you can't have things and wanna sit and have an ice cream with your family or whatever. You have to balance your emotions, still have fun with it and not make it an obsession so you are still a decent mom to your family and kids.

Q: Europa is a pretty big show so you gotta be happy with third, but does part of you walk away wondering what you have to do to get first?
A: Yes! I am an analyzer, you can talk to my coach. I sit there combing through pictures and analyzing "what put me in that placement, what did I do right, what did I do wrong?" I look back at my physique versus the two girls who placed over me and say "o.k., I can kinda see there are areas I need to work on." I am definitely the one to go back and say "these are things I need to work on." As my coach would say "a few more tweaks and fin tuning and we will get those things situated for the next show."

Q: Do you know when you want to compete next?
A: Yes, at the last minute I decided to compete at the Tampa Bay Classic in June so I went right back into prep mode. Originally I planned to not compete until July at the Southern States. So doing the classic and then Southern States.

Q: It's not a lot of time to make major improvements, but is there anywhere you are hoping to be better?
A: I am hoping to tighten my waist. I notice a lot of figure competitors have that smaller waist, more v-taper, so I am trying to improve that. Shoulders are always a must for figure, so always trying to get them fuller. That will help with the illusion of a smaller waist.

Q: Having been a dancer, would you ever consider adding size and trying physique where you can do a routine or are you happy with figure?
A: I am happy with figure. I have never been into gymnastics or tumbling so I don't know that I could offer too much in fitness. I guess I could do physique, I have never watched the routines so I don't know what's involved in that, but I just like the look figure brings to the stage as opposed to physique.

Q: When you are at the gym, do you get the stares and attention from people?
A: I do yeah. It happens. My husband doesn't like it, but it happens. I am a woman and working on my body so it's bound to happen.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with, who would it be?
A: At this point, I am thinking Candice Keene. She is emerging as the star now so I would pick her brain and train with her for a day.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Definitely Belinda, she is an amazing friend, coach and trainer. I look up to her. My husband, and God for leading me down this path and into this season.

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