How did you first get started in the bodybuilding and fitness industry?
As a child, I was intrigued with sculpted and muscular bodies and I wanted to be that, as well. There was one Christmas in particular, that I wanted some water weights (the ones you fill with water or sand). When I finally got them I was in love. I had found my calling. Throughout my childhood and high school, I read every muscle mag I could get my hands on, I studied it, and I lived it. As soon as I graduated, I got a job at a local, hole in the wall gym where I got involved with a large group of men who traveled around for powerlifting competitions. I ended up a part of the travels almost instantly and through all of that, I began gaining more muscular size and couldn’t be beat. Twenty two years later I am still undefeated and hold state records in two weight classes. Bodybuilding came quickly after and I excelled there too.
Was there a defining moment that got you to start training at a whole different level?
Training is like a drug and anyone who reads this who has gotten into it will probably agree. It seems like everyday I wanted to stay longer and work harder at the gym. Through bodybuilding and countless competitions I was always the most symmetrical, most muscular, and with my height being on the short side I seemed to stand out more. As the addiction grew and being that I consider bodybuilding an art, I strived to sculpt even more, to see what other changes I could make, and to see just how big I could get. I am unsure what the one defining moment was, as every day what a defining moment for me.
What are the top 2 or 3 ways you keep yourself motivated?
Motivation is key in every aspect of life and I’ve always felt that if I were going to doing anything, I would excel and be the absolute best I could be. I demand perfection from myself. My motivations are many…I grew up with a single mother and on welfare and had nothing. I always sought acceptance from my family but never felt like I fit in. I was always so different from everyone and bodybuilding made me even more different but there was an acceptance in the sport that was amazing to me. I’m speaking of the people who got to know me and pushed me every day because they believed in me. As years flew by and was personal training, as well, there were people who would remember me and ask for my help and knowledge and they always asked when my next contest was, if I’d help them get ready for one, etc. All of this was motivational. I’m also always told how I motivate others and inspire them. Being able to motivate others is the best motivation.
In your opinion what is the biggest hurdle you or most people have to overcome in regards to their fitness career and goals?
I believe that for women there are many hurdles in the fitness industry. We really have to have the drive and motivation to gain respect and to make people believe we know what we are talking about. We have to stay strong every minute of every day. I’m in no way saying it’s easy for anyone but as a female in bodybuilding, powerlifting, personal training, etc., sometimes it is difficult to get and keep male clients. A lot of guys prefer a male trainer but I will tell you, I’ve gained the respect and trust of many men who I have trained and I have been told that I work them harder than anyone they’ve worked with. Also, there are many people out there who think bodybuilding is gross and what not. I personally feel that they don’t understand it and anyone in the fitness industry has to stay true to themselves and to what they love.
If you had to ratio the importance of training, diet and rest, what would the percentages look like. And why? (e.g. 20% training, 30% diet, 30% rest)
I would say 25% training, 25% rest, and 50% diet. All aspects are obviously important but what you put in your body is huge. You need to be mindful every time you think about putting something in your mouth. You need to think about fats, carbs, protein, and all the vitamins and minerals and a million other things. Rest is essential, as after strenuous training your body needs to recuperate, relax and repair itself in order to grow or move on. Training is huge as well. You need to find what works for you, as everyone is different but if you reach a plateau you need to have enough knowledge to change things up in order to continue your growth and sculpting.
How useful do you think supplements are? Do you use supplements? What is your current top supplement?
I do think supplements are important. When you are training hard you need more vitamins and nutrients, and sometimes that extra push. One of my favorites is Hydroxycut Hardcore but I also take many vitamins and amino acids, and of course a good protein shake.
In general what does your current training routine look like?
Currently my training routine is hardcore, as usual. I do a lot of circuit training but split things up frequently. Being a power/bodybuilder I really try to keep my training equaled out for both sports. I have been hitting light weight / high reps with 3-4 exercises per body part for 4-6 sets and at least 12 reps per set. I like to go through the circuit 3-5 times. I do that for a couple weeks and then hit a medium weight and drop reps to at least 8. I also do that for a couple weeks. I then hit a couple weeks of heavy weight. Max out. I love doing that. Its all a rush but max outs are insane.
What is your current diet routine?
My diet routine never really changes. I have my cheat days but I tend to stick to chicken/turkey/tuna, red potatoes/rice/broccoli, no carbonated beverages, lots of water…I like to get in 5-6 small meals a day and try to eat them at approximately the same time each day. If I plateau I just tweak things a bit to get past it.
How do you feel about ketogenic diets and extreme diets in general?
I personally think any diet is fine as long as you aren’t starving yourself. Everyone is different and I feel like each person needs to find what works for them.
How did you get those awesome arms of yours?
That’s funny because I have always thought of my arms as one of my favorite body parts. No matter what I’m training, I concentrate hard on that area, I mix up my workouts when needed, and I do feel that my powerlifting has helped in a big way with growth and even sculpting. I don’t work harder on any one body part, so I would have to say that hard work and concentration brought about every body part…including my arms!!!
If you were to upload your arms to our muscle voting site (http://vote.ratemyarms.com/) right now, what do you think you would rate?
Well, I would hope they would rate pretty high but it would depend on the audience, I guess. We’ll see!!!
How did/do your family and friends feel about your training?
My family hated my training and my diet. You definitely can go through some mood swings especially when you have people throwing food in your face and being completely withdrawn from what you’re trying to do. There wasn’t a lot of support within my family, as far as bodybuilding went. I was told I looked like a man and I was ugly, and all kinds of things but when they saw me in competition they seemed proud and said I was beautiful. My grandfather went to every powerlifting contest and supported it all the way. Sometimes it was rough but its all been a part of my life for 22 years, so obviously I didn’t let any of the bad stuff get to me.
Can you give us a brief summary of your competition history?
Oh my gosh, I don’t think I could actually name them all. I have been in countless powerlifting and bodybuilding competitions and as I’ve said, I am undefeated in powerlifting, hold state records and hope to keep it that way. In bodybuilding, I’ve had several 1sts, some second and a couple thirds but I have been nationally qualified. I had been away from the competitions for a bit as I joined the US Navy and was injured pretty bad, so I went through a few surgeries…I’ve been back at the gym and training and helping others…Still killing it!
What are your fitness/bodybuilding plans for 2012?
I’m concentrating on my training and diet and what not in 2012. I do not have plans to compete in bodybuilding this year.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 20 years?
No matter what…no matter how old I get…I will still be into fitness and bodybuilding and everything. I love it. It is a passion. I see myself doing what I do now and happy…
Who is your favorite fitness model or bodybuilder? (other than yourself!)
I have to say I love Cory Everson, Lenda Murray, and, wow, there are so many…I love them all. There are so many that I grew up following, reading about, and learning from. They are all great.
Describe what you see when you look at yourself in the mirror every morning!
When I look in the mirror I see the changes I’ve made and the things I need to fix. I don’t use a scale unless at a competition, so the mirror is my tell all.
What did your physique look like before you started training?
I’ve always been muscular but I do know that my symmetry has gotten better with age and knowledge and I have definitely grown in size.
Do you feel that you are treated differently because of your physique and fitness goals?
Sometimes, yes, I think I am treated differently. many people don’t understand this sport and there are a lot of people out there who will judge and condemn anything they don’t understand. Its unfair but I will not judge back. I take the good and the bad for what it is and still walk tall with my head held high.
If you could tell a fitness newbie just one sentence of advice, what would it be?
I would say, ” be true to you and never give up on what you’re passionate about.”
What is your all time favorite workout song?
It used to be TNT, because that’s what people called me. Now, I’d have to say anything by Pink…keeps me going and its very motivational…I love her!
What is your favorite quote?
“Wake up! Kick ass! Repeat!”
What do you feel is the best type of cardio for yourself and why?
I love ellipticals, treadmills, jumping rope, swimming,etc. I do what I love as far as cardio…I mean if you don’t love it, why would you keep doing it? Right? So, I have picked the things that work for me and that I love and I stick with that.
What is your favorite cheat meal?
Outside of training and dieting how do you like to spend your time?
I love camping, water skiing, knee boarding, kayaking, swimming, hiking, and I do a lot of artsy things. I love to draw, write, photography, wood working and volunteering…
What is the dumbest thing you yourself have done or witnessed in the gym?
Oh my gosh, i have seen so many stupid things in the gym, I’m not sure I could pick just one. All I can say is that gym etiquette seems to have flown out the window these days and there are too many people going in and haven’t a clue about what they are doing!!!
What is your favorite body part to train? What about your least favorite?
My favorite body parts to train would be arms, chest, shoulders…I don’t really hate doing any of it.
What is the one question you hate hearing the most? (e.g how much do you bench?)
There are a couple questions I hate…when people hear that I am a bodybuilder and they ask oh, how much do you lift…seriously, that’s not what bodybuilding is about…drives me nuts…and when I am off season and people see competition pics they always ask why I’m not ripped like that all the time. My personal beliefs in bodybuilding is that if you want to grow and make changes, you can’t keep your body depleted and ripped all the time. I’m always fit but not always ripped.
The RateMyArms team would like to thank you greatly for taking the time to do this interview. Do you have any last words for our readers?
I guess all I have to say to your readers is that no matter what your passion is, do it, keep doing it, and don’t let anyone tell you can’t or that you shouldn’t. Don’t believe the bad things, concentrate on the good. Be you, be passionate, be strong and love yourself. I also want to thank you for including me as one of your interviews. I truly enjoyed it and appreciate it.