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

I’ve always been active or competed in some type of sports. When I was a teenager, I read magazines like Muscle & Fitness and Flex. Then I’d try to pose in the mirror. As I got older, I put the thought of being a part of the fitness industry to the back of my mind. When I turned 30, I had an ah-ha moment on the way to the gym. A light bulb turned on for me and said it was finally time to take the plunge and compete.

Was there a defining moment that got you to start training at a whole different level?

I think that happens on a daily basis. Each day, I want to be better and do better than the day before. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. So, it seems natural to me to always want to push the limits.

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

No matter what it is I do, I want to be the best. If I’m at the gym, I want to work harder and lift more than the other people there. On stage, I want to have the best body, hair, make up and suits. That drive constantly motivates me. My fiance James is also my Trainer, biggest fan and greatest supporter. Sharing the experience with him as well as wanting to make him proud also keeps me going.

In your opinion what is the biggest hurdle you or most people have to overcome in regards to their fitness career and goals?

For me personally, the biggest hurdle I may face is financial. It takes money to create and maintain my body – food, supplements, gym memberships, competition expenses…it all adds up quickly. For other people, I think a fear of failure becomes reality. In my experience as a Trainer, I’ve seen several clients talk themselves out of success because they don’t believe they can do it.

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)

The exact percentages can shift from day to day depending on how I’m feeling and whatever else I have going on. Diet is definitely the most important aspect of getting a lean looking, competition ready physique. You can train like an Olympic Athlete and get the proper amount of rest needed, but if you’re not fueling your body with the right kind of nutrition, you’ll never see what’s under the layers of fat.

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

Supplements can be very useful if you fully understand what you’re taking and why. A well balanced meal plan is key though. Supplements are what the name implies…a supplement to cover any deficiencies that are lacking from your food’s nutritional content.

Yes, I do take some supplements. And I prefer to take products from the Max Muscle line up of sports nutrition because I always know I’m getting quality. Regardless if I’m getting ready for a competition or not, I always make sure that I take a multi-vitamin and fish oil caps on a daily basis. Once I get into heavy training, my needs change. So I take a variety of sports nutrition products that take care of the extra demands I put on myself. That being said, I believe less is more. There’s no point in over taxing your system with a bunch of un-needed pills.

In general what does your current training routine look like?

I workout 7 days a week. Six of those days, I do cardio/conditioning in the mornings and go back in the evenings to do full body workouts. Sunday is my active recovery day. I don’t workout in the morning. But I will go at night and do a lighter weight training session.

What is your current diet routine?

I keep things pretty basic. The less I have to think about what I eat, the better. Every morning, I have egg whites and oatmeal. The rest of my meals consist of lean protein (usually chicken), lots of veggies and sometimes carbs depending on the time of day and how close I am to my competition. I also like to have Granny Smith apples as a snack.

How do you feel about ketogenic diets and extreme diets in general?

It all depends on how extreme it is and for how long you do it. If it’s a non athlete just looking for a quick fix, that bothers me. These types of people are generally (but not always) uneducated about nutrition and don’t realize their weight loss attempts will end up doing more damage than good.

How did you get those awesome arms of yours?

How awesome my arms are is a matter of opinion. But, I am proud of what they’ve helped me accomplish over the years. In order to get them where they are today, I’ve made sure to lift heavy and use proper form.

If you were to upload your arms to our muscle voting site ( right now, what do you think you would rate?

I think my arms would rate well. However, there are a lot of beautiful, fit and strong ladies out there would also kick butt in the same type of contest. I guess it depends on who you ask.

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

Everyone is very supportive. My family and friends all know how hard I work and how much I want to be the best. Every night, my fiance James and I train together. He motivates me to push harder, at the same time keeping an eye on me so that I don’t do something that may end up hurting myself.

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

I began competing in 2005. I competed in bodybuilding for my first show. I did that mainly because I wanted the experience of getting ready for and completing my goal of getting on stage. Since then, I’ve competed in Figure….with the exception of a couple of competitions, I’ve always placed in the top 5. And this past weekend, I competed in NPC’s show where I placed 1st in the Masters 35+ Class C Figure as well as 1st in Unlimited Class D Figure.

What are your fitness/bodybuilding plans for 2012?

Right now, I’m taking a few weeks to plan my next move. It looks like I may be doing a show in July in Los Angeles. After that, I’m not quite sure. I may take a few months off and reassess and refresh.

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

Great question! Whether it’s 5 years from now or 20 years, I know I’ll still be in the gym trying to outdo myself. I also hope to continue to write and share my insight and experience with the masses. Beyond that, it’s difficult to say. Plans don’t always turn out the way you may have envisioned. So, it’s important to keep an open mind to possibilities and opportunities.

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

Other than bags under my eyes, I see someone who is ready to tackle whatever comes across her path as well as discovering new adventures.

What did your physique look like before you started training?

I’ve been lifting weights since I was 15 years old. So, it’s kind of hard to remember what I looked like before that. I think I look the same…just with more mature, fuller muscles.

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

It all depends on where I’m at at the moment and who I’m surrounded by. For the most part I don’t notice any negative reactions. The only time it can be an issue is if I’m in an environment where there are a lot of women who aren’t really into fitness. Sometimes their insecurities cause issues. On a positive note, I can get treated differently when people realize what I do and that I can help them reach their goals.

If you could tell a fitness newbie just one sentence of advice, what would it be?

Have fun with your fitness journey and learn as much as you can from reliable sources.

What is your all time favorite workout song?

That’s tough to narrow it down to just one song. Kick Start My Heart by Motley Crue is one. I also like American Woman by Lenny Kravitz. Anything with a good, hard beat that makes me want to punish my workout is good for me!

What is your favorite quote?

I should come with a warning label. ~Karma Schopp

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

I prefer conditioning workouts for the cardio portion of my program. I get bored easily. So, walking on a treadmill or pedaling on an elliptical aren’t really productive options for me. High intensity, constant changing exercises, plyometrics and MMA style workouts are what I like to do.

What is your favorite cheat meal?

There are a few different things I like to eat when I have the opportunity to have a cheat meal. I like Velveeta Shells and Cheese, BBQ chicken pizza, James’ chicken wings and a juicy steak. Each time I get a cheat, I don’t always crave the same thing. Sometimes, I just want some crunchy granola cereal. Regardless of what the meal is, I always like to have cake with icing…mainly icing!

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

I love to hang out with my fiance, watch TV and writing is also a passion of mine. Sometimes, it’s nice just to be able to take a nap.

What is the dumbest thing you yourself have done or witnessed in the gym?

I see and hear dumb things in the gym all of the time. And when I have full blown diet brain, I’m guilty of doing some silly things myself. But the dumbest thing I ever witnessed was a Trainer tell his client that the bicep is one third the tricep. It was extremely difficult for me to walk away from that one and not say anything to the poor client.

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

Shoulders and back have always been my favorite and a strong point for me. So training either one of those muscle groups can be enjoyable. I have a love/hate relationship with my legs. They’re quite strong and I like to see how much weight I can push. What I don’t like about legs is how long it takes to visibly see results or get rid of the stubborn fat on my hamstrings.

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

The one question that does drive me nuts is, “What pill should I take?” I believe that supplementation is an important aspect of your health & fitness goals. But generally speaking, the people who ask that question are the ones who want a quick fix without having to work for it. Results will only work if you do.

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

I don’t know if there is one particular fitness personality that is my favorite. I get inspired and motivated by watching my friends and family improve on a daily basis. When I see someone who’s overweight and giving it everything they have, that gets me going as well. Whoever is giving their 100% regardless of the circumstances outside of the gym, I’ll look up to them.

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 just want people to be awesome and do awesome stuff. When you do that, you can share with other people and help them be awesome, too.

Yours in health, fitness and fun,
Karma Schopp
NPC Figure Athlete, Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach and Freelance Writer

Photo Credits: Nga Azarian, David Ford, Thomas Oed, Jeff Clovis, Trevor Howell, Erich Herber

Categories: Interviews, Women