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How did you first get started in the bodybuilding and fitness industry?

Growing up I was always fairly athletic, I played soccer, softball and was on my high school swim team. When I went off to college I did what most freshman do, I ate and drank my way through the first semester. By the time I went home for Christmas break I was 20 pounds overweight. I went back to school with a new found desire to get in shape so I hired a trainer and started working out 5 days a week. I fell into a very unhealthy relationship with a man that had no problem telling me that I looked fat or wasn’t working hard enough in the gym. His words had the opposite effect on me and I began a love hate relationship with food. I’d go days without eating a thing and then I’d spend a whole day gorging myself on anything sweet that I could get my hands on. Come summer of 2003 I had tacked on an additional 10 pounds and was more unhappy than I’d ever been. That fall I moved back home and began a new relationship with the man that’s now my husband. That “new love” feeling re-motivated me and I began running again and started lifting weights. It was when we booked a cruise vacation that I really wanted to show off so I hired a new trainer. The day we boarded the ship, I was a tight and toned 120 pounds – it was the best and healthiest I had ever looked.. My husband and I were married the next year and by the time I was 25 my trainer (who is a female bodybuilder) convinced me to give competing a try. Within a few short weeks my body began changing in ways I could never have imagined and when I stepped on stage for my first show I was an entirely different person – both physically and mentally. I had set my mind to something and accomplished it! It was a rush that I’ll never forget!

What are the top 2 or 3 ways you keep yourself motivated?

I keep a record of all my work outs and when I feel like my training is slipping I like to look back and see how far I’ve come from that first session with my coach. It’s also nice to look back at pictures from past shows – the bad and good – to motivate myself to push harder through those rough times. But my biggest motivations are my friends and fellow competitors, we have this way of keeping each other going that is like nothing else!

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)

As the saying goes “You can’t out train a bad diet” … none of these aspects works without the other. The food we eat fuels our training, but getting the appropriate amount of rest gives our muscles time to grow and heal. At one time I was training 7 days a week and by the time I stepped on stage for my last show of the season my body was over trained and overtired – and it showed. There needs to be a balance between these three aspects in order to achieve the best we can.

How useful do you think supplements are? Do you use supplements? What is your current top supplement?

I think the usefulness of supplements depends on the supplement you’re taking. For me, typical supplements are a pre-workout (usually MNC Surge), a BCAA for during and after my workouts and varying protein powders. There are so many schools of thought around supplements and some pro competitors swear by them while others take none at all. For me, it’s about keeping my body healthy and on track with my goals.

In general what does your current training and diet routine look like?

Currently I’m weight training 4 days a week with a split schedule of two upper body days and two lower body days. Cardio is every day alternating between 30-40 minutes of moderate activity and HIIT days. In terms of diet my coach has me on a carb cycle, that changes as it gets closer to show day. This method doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s the only thing that my body responds well to.

TRAINING SCHEDULE:

- Day 1 Upper Body: Flat dumbbell press (4×6), Close grip weighted chin ups (4×6), Incline barbell press (4×6), Bent-over rows (4×6), Weighted dips (2×6), Barbell curls (2×6)

- Day 2 Lower Body: Barbell Squats (4×6), Deadlifts (4×6), Dumbbell Split Squat (4×6), Standing calf raise (2×10), Seated calf raise (2×10), Hanging leg raises (2×10)

- Day 3 Upper Body: Incline Dumbbell Press (3×12), Wide Grip Lat Pull down (3×12), Smith Machine Flat Bench Press (3×12), One Arm Dumbbell Row (3×12), Incline Dumbbell Flye (2×15), Seated Cable Row (2×15), Overhead Dumbbell Extension (2×15), Dumbbell Hammer Curl (2×15), Rope Press Down (2×15), Rope Curls (2×15)

- Day 4 Lower Body: Barbell Split Squat (3×12), Lying Hamstring Curl (3×12), Alternating Dumbbell Lunge (3×20), Leg Extension (3×20), Leg Press Calf Raise (3×20), Seated Calf Raise (3×20), Cable Crunches – side & middle (2×20 each)

DIET ROTATION (P – C – F):

- Day 1: 165 – 75 – 30

- Day 2: 165 – 60 – 35

- Day 3: 175 – 50 – 30

- Day 4: 140 – 110 – 25

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?

I couldn’t even begin to guess. I don’t have a huge amount of muscle mass and in the off season I’m definitely not as defined/lean as during competition prep.

How did/do your family and friends feel about your training?

It has been a definitely up and down ride for me. In the beginning my family really didn’t understand what I was doing. They had an image in their head of what it meant and I spent a lot of time trying to explain to them my new lifestyle. After a time they came to realize that I wasn’t pushing this on them, that this was something I was doing for me and no one else. There are still times when they’ll voice their opinions and say things they don’t realize come across as hurtful and judgmental. But I do think that big picture-wise my family just wants me to be happy and they know that this makes me happy. My husband has been the most supportive, he’s traveled to shows with me, helped me with my tanning product, pushed me to go to the gym when I’m feeling tired and is always showing pictures of me to his friends and co-workers. He never complains when I’m eating chicken and brown rice (again) or doing a late night double cardio session. He knows that after competition my schedule slows down and it’s back to a sense of normalcy so he puts up with the craziness without a single complaint. I’m very lucky that the majority of my close friends are also competitors which makes having a social life a lot easier than some other competitors have it. I can go out with my girlfriends and not feel the pressure to eat off diet or have a cocktail. A lot of the time when we get together we’re doing something active, hiking/walking and even training.

Can you give us a brief summary of your competition history?

Being fairly new to competition to date I’ve only competed in three shows but have one more planned before the end of 2012! I was originally planning on taking this season off to focus on my family and try to put on some more size, but after watching my friends compete I got the bug! I’m currently 13 weeks out from one of the best shows of the season and I can’t wait to get back on stage!

- 2011 INBF Northeast Classic: 3rd place Novice Figure

- 2011 OCB Yankee Classic: 1st place Novice Figure (2nd Overall), 2nd place Open Figure

- 2011 OCB Cape Cod Natural: 9th place Open Figure

- 2012 INBF Monster Mash: TBD J

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 20 years?

Within 5 years I’d like to make my Pro debut and compete in the Pro circuit. I’d also like to have started a family. Twenty years from now I hope to still be in the industry whether it’s coaching, training or judging; and if my body will allow competing at the Master’s level! I hope that during this time I can create a name for myself and perhaps earn sponsorships that will enable me to promote this lifestyle to others on a larger scale.

Who is your favorite fitness model or bodybuilder? (other than yourself!)

Jamie Eason was the first fitness model that inspired me, but as of late, I look to those more “normal” women – people that aren’t necessarily in the media but love what they do just as much as the more “famous” ones. Jacquelyn Zediker is probably one of my biggest inspirations – she is a WNBF Pro Figure competitor, sponsored by both AB/ON supplements and Suits by Amy. She has shared her own story with me and then went on to share it with millions on the Dr. Phil show. She really is a wonderful person and I’m lucky to be able to call her a friend.

Describe what you see when you look at yourself in the mirror every morning!

I see a strong willed determined woman!

Do you feel that you are treated differently because of your physique and fitness goals?

After going through some difficult things during last year’s season I realize that I get to choose who I spend my time with and if people aren’t going to be supportive or are going to treat me differently because of my choices than I don’t need to be around them. I try to surround myself with like-minded people who “get it”.

What is your all time favorite workout song?

Anything with a good beat. Something that I can keep tempo with while doing cardio and will give me that extra pep in my step through training.

What is your favorite quote?

Go confidently in the direction of your Dreams. Live the life you have Imagined. – Henry David Thoreau

What do you feel is the best type of cardio for yourself and why?

I love to run. It lets me not only clear my head but it gets me out of the gym and into the fresh air. I work in the city but am right along a river so I like to run down there during my lunch breaks. I get to take in the noise from the city but get the breeze off the water – it’s the best of both worlds!

What is your favorite cheat meal?

Sweets! Ice cream, cookies, cake etc.

Outside of training and dieting how do you like to spend your time?

I like to read, go shopping, play with my dog and just spend time with my husband.

What is your favorite body part to train? What about your least favorite?

My favorite body part to train is back. My least favorite would have to be legs, because they are my most stubborn and because I push myself so hard on leg day that it’s usually 48 hours before I can walk again!

What is the one question you hate hearing the most? (e.g how much do you bench?)

When are you going to be able to eat “real food” again? …Since when are chicken, brown rice, broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggs and oatmeal not “real food”?

The RateMyArms team would like to thank you greatly for taking the time to do this interview. Do you have any last words or advise for our readers?

Thank you for asking! It’s always nice to be able to share what stories we have with others, you never know who else has the same one! While mine might not be a true “transformation” story, I am sure there are other girls out there, who like me spent their lives secretly hating themselves but hiding behind a genetically small figure. It wasn’t until I began lifting that I realized how strong I can be!

Photo Credits: Ripped Photography By Kalyn Camara, Andrew Swaine Photography and JJS Photo Design

Bodyspace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/RNovello712/

Categories: Interviews, Women