For some people after doing local NPC shows heading to The Nationals is indeed a bit like ‘entering the dragon’. You never know what to expect, especially as a female bodybuilder since you never quite know who you could be up against. Although regional numbers are down, at the Nationals it could be a whole other ball game…..so you have to be prepared for anything and Linda Estavillo most definitely is!
This Las Vegas Native (part Korean, part Puerto Rican) has been preparing for this competition for months though and is Miami bound in a few days to do battle with her coach, Colette Nelson by her side.
So with days to go till the final showdown let’s find out a little more about Linda Estavillo…
First of all can you tell us a little about how you got in to the sport of bodybuilding? Were you always athletic?
“I started competing in 2006 and entered my first show, which was The Eastern USA, as a figure competitor. In 2007 I transitioned to bodybuilding and have been competing as a female bodybuilder ever since. I grew up in Las Vegas, and was highly active in sports. I ran track in high school and was the captain of my dance team as well. There are several things that turned me on to bodybuilding, I've always loved training and being able to see the hard work of your training in your own physical body is so gratifying, but more importantly it's the mental discipline and persistency that one must have to be successful in this sport that appeals to me.”
You have done quite a few shows, what do you think are the biggest lessons learned from those early outings?
“Well my biggest lesson and a very hard and LONG ONE at that is basic conditioning in the off season. I took a year off to get my diet straight and in order before competing again.”
What are your thoughts on the increasing part social media is playing in the sport these days?
“I really don't have that much to say about the increasing part social media is playing in the sport these days. I do however feel like women are getting more respect in various sports and also getting more in the way of the recognition they deserve as an athlete.”
Now you have chosen to stay competing in the bodybuilding class despite the current popularity of women’s physique. What made you decide to stick to your guns on this?
“Yes I have chosen to stay competing in the bodybuilding class despite the popularity of women's physique because I've always been the type of person to have my own opinion about things despite what others may say, and bodybuilding is no different. I feel that female bodybuilders have gotten a bad reputation. I want to show people that yes women can have "big muscles" and still be beautiful, feminine, and keep her dignity and be true to who they are despite the media perpetuated idea of what beauty should be in their eyes and what they portray in magazines.”
There are some that say the lines between figure and physique are blurring somewhat. Care to comment?
“Oh absolutely agreed! I even feel that there is a thin line between bodybuilding and physique as well. There should be a more clear cut distinction between all three.....now how will that be determined is all a matter of time I guess and ultimately in the hands of the judges”
As a diehard bodybuilder what are your thoughts on the runaway success of the bikini division?
“As my mom would say: "if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all." So no comment about bikini division.”
You took a bit of a break from competing to focus on other areas of your life can you tell us about your current career aspirations?
“Yes I did take a bit of a break from competing to focus on other areas of my life. First of all I had to get my mind right and reconnected to "mind, body, spirit" I went on several spiritual retreats last year which were life changing and I am currently getting my masters degree in acupuncture. I then plan on getting my doctoral degree thereafter. I am also in the process of marketing myself in doing more fitness modeling work too.”
Why did you opt for Oriental over ‘conventional’ medicine?
I chose oriental medicine over conventional medicine because in Traditional Chinese Medicine they believe in treating the body as a whole instead of treating the symptom. Looking at the persons patterns, past history, appearance, all play an important role in making a proper diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This is something that western medicine neglects to do.”
For those who love details what is your current training philosophy and your approach to diet?
“In the past I have always been a huge advocate of lifting heavy all the time. Well as a Licensed Massage Therapist, lifting heavy ALL THE TIME will get you injured "all the time" lol it is about balance. Listening to your body and training in unison with the signals it is giving you. Some days you feel like the Hulk and are good to go so lift heavy....and on other days u may feel like shit so get your ego out of the way and do what your body can do for THAT DAY. I basically alternate from heavy to supersets to light. if I do a heavy back and triceps workout one week the next week I'll superset or do a lighter workout. As far as my diet goes, I actually had my blood work done to find out what food allergies I had. This was 8 years ago and this was with a holistic reputable doctor that I went to that educated me thoroughly on certain foods. To make a long story short I stay away from dairy, wheat, gluten, and baker’s yeast. By eating these foods, it had caused a huge drop in serotonin levels which is produced in the small intestine. Not to mention fatigue and inability absorb nutrients properly. So I stick to something similar to the Paleo diet (not eating a lot of fat though)”
After coming back and taking second at the Eastern USA’s you are now Miami bound for The Nationals. How is your mind-set going in to this contest?
“This is the first time that I am actually calm, focused, and confident going into nationals. Before, competing used to be extremely hard and taxing on my body. I am in graduate school now going FULL TIME, working as a Licensed Massage Therapist, and preparing for nationals all at the same time and yes it's taxing on my body, but it's not nearly as ‘hard’ as it used to be in the past. I am very focused and centered this time around.”
And when the curtain falls on this years contest season what are your plans for the future?
“I plan on competing with my coach Colette Nelson in my first pro show next year. I also would like to get endorsements and sponsorships as well. Now as far as which show I will do.....I haven't figured that out yet. Let’s just say, to be continued........”
To quote a Korean proverb “Dduhsi itnuhn kose kiri itda” ….In a place where there is will, there is a road. And for Linda Estavillo the road leads to Miami and her will to succeed will certainly carry her through…and you can quote me on that!