Rx Muscle Forums member since July 5, 2014 (Happy belated 1-year anniversary!), when baby muscle's not posting she can be found powerlifting, Olympic lifting, bodybuilding, boxing, gardening, cooking, enjoying yoga, and recuperating (from a broken foot)! Let's learn more about baby muscle!
Q: How did you learn about Rx Muscle Forums?
A: My boyfriend (who I met in the gym) is a forum member and showed me the women's section. He mostly lurks, I post.
Well, many thanks to your boyfriend for introducing you to Rx. Lurkers are as important as posters as they can obviously spread the word of a good site and forum. I'm glad you're both here!
Q: I'm a hopeless romantic. Did you notice him first or did he notice you? And who gets to choose which movies you see? :-)
A: I'm not sure about the who noticed who. He says he saw me right away, but there aren't many women at the kinds of gyms I work out in. He gets final word.
Q: What's your favorite part of Rx Muscle Forums?
A: I love how many smart, knowledgeable, wise and experienced women share information with one another in "The Women" section. I love the support that so many of the guys have for those women, and also helping newer, strength-seeking women too. Dave is a great resource, and it's amazing how much knowledge he has. I enjoy Steve Wennerstrom's writing a lot.
I like how many of the pros post and also the different viewpoints on contests. I like when I realize I'm wrong too, then I know I've learned something from someone here. Do I have to pick one thing?
lol Pick as many as you'd like!
Q: I'm a longtime fan of Steve Wennerstrom's writing (from his days as editor-in-chief of Women's Physique World) and I wouldn't be on Rx Muscle if it wasn't for Dave Palumbo. Who are some of the women you seek out on the forums?
A: I can't think of many women whose opinions I don't value! I admire and respect our female moderators very much and I try to follow all the training journals that are regularly updated. I'm watching Sassy69 and Sunnyday's journals and value their opinions and experiences. I admire Tammy Patnode very much and hope to emulate her physique. I miss Sally Anne.
Q: What would you do to improve the site in general and the forums in particular?
A: I can't change the way other people interact in the forums. I can only control myself, so I aim to debate, if you can call it debate, disagree, whatever, in a respectful way. There is some hilariously funny trolling, and then there is some bizarre, personal trolling I see. I accept that it all has to occur in any forum to some degree but I am not entertained by nasty, threatening bickering, particularly amongst people who work for the site, even if it is in an unpaid position.
I enjoy reading debates, but in a healthy way. I do worry about security sometimes if people who work here become upset. Even though I'm obviously choosing to be put in a spotlight here, I value my privacy at the same time. Does this make any sense?
Absolutely. Makes a lot of sense and I know I can be guilty of bickering.
Q: Who would you note as guilty of hilariously funny trolling?
A: No comment
Q: How were you introduced to the weights?
A: My father. A maniacal force of nature, everyone in the neighborhood was afraid of him. He would have me shovel a mountain of driveway gravel with him in the summer, and I was proud to do it. I was probably in the 6th grade. We deadlifted crazy things like car axles with tires, which is a strongman implement now.
I remember when I was maybe 12, hearing all these big cops he worked with, screaming in our basement. I was fascinated and sat on the basement stairs for a long time petrified (maybe a year?) before working up the courage to ask if I could lift too. My father had rigged up a home gym in our basement, made his own pulley system and everything with hardware store cables, ropes and carabiners, a wooden triceps pushdown bar that he lathed and sanded himself. He had bought what seemed like a ton of mismatched weights over the years at garage sales, consignment shops, etc.
When my dad had gotten so strong that he needed more weight, he started to build his own, filling old paint cans with lead, melting it down and weighing them on a scale, then adding them to the bench press bar, swinging precariously off the ends as they would do 400lb-ish bench for reps on a rickety bench I'm sure wasn't rated for it.
I don't think it ever occurred to him that his daughter was odd that she wanted to lift or that girls shouldn't be doing it. He did and does, exactly as he pleased. Our pull up bar was a steel pipe through thick wood rafters. My father would lift me too it and have me flexed arm hang on it while he would time me. My dad also taught me my first bench press. I remember not being able to bench the bar!
I can remember struggling with 40 lbs. on the bar, benching on an old picnic table bench.
Q: Did your strength increase rapidly or have you had to work at setting those PRs?
A: I have had to work my tail off for everything I've accomplished athletically and in all aspects of life. I enjoy all of the "work" I do.
Q: Were your classmates aware of your father's strength and your interest in the weights?
A: My father was a widely feared man when I was growing up and I'm sure the weights played some part in it.
Q: What is your favorite part of the iron game – strongman, bodybuilding, Men's Physique, Bikini, etc.?
A: Powerlifting, followed by bodybuilding/women's physique. Which makes sense, as I believe the former is what builds the body for the latter.
Q: You've competed in powerlifting? What's your current total? (Is that precariously close to "How much do you bench?")
A: My most recent total was a paltry Raw 655. I'm shooting for 700 at my next full meet, but I may be doing the single lifts for a while (bench only). It's not Susan Salazar's total, but it's 10lbs from "elite" standing as they currently formulate it. Of course, things will shift around now as I attempt to come back from injury, but I've also PR'd my bench twice this prep despite it.
Q: What's your favorite thing about bodybuilding?
A: My favorite thing is its uniqueness. It's an opportunity to create a work of art through athleticism, but there's also the nerve-wracking stage. You can test your own limits with enduring/suffering, push your strength and to me, the art of sculpting and using the body as performance art in the creation of the routine is equally important. I took ballet this year because I thought it would help me with my choreography and inspiration.
With that viewpoint I can well see why you look to Sheila Bleck for inspiration.
Q: What's your take on Kai Greene's posing? Who are some of your favorite performers on the current stage and in years gone by?
I am a fan of Kai and Kai is an artist. I don't just mean with painting/drawing. Bodybuilding is unique in that it's a performance art. It uses a hyper-masculine male physique ideal built with suffering, devotion, rigorous schedules of various intake of many things, not the least of which is large amounts of food. All that stuff costs money and these guys make a living partially by guest posing and he is one of the best at it.
He doesn't just show up like some guys, hit a few poses and put you to sleep. He works at it and deliberately tries to find costumes that are different. If someone spends any time at all around/as an observer of urban street fashion, you would see tons of late teens/early 20's east coast fashion and it has been about the revitalization of spikes and leather look stuff and the 80's. It's good for us to be uncomfortable sometimes with what we observe.
If you ask yourself why, the answers can lead to a lot of self awareness/growth whatever you call it. If someone is uncomfortable with any sexual feelings or thoughts they're having about what they're watching, they might best deal with that with a therapist or a journal or... writing in a forum or blog I suppose. Or just don't be a fan of him.
I favor free choice in almost all things. I am in favor of people doing pretty much whatever they want as long as the public is not unsafe or any individual's rights are violated. Kids/teenagers are not "unsafe" by seeing Kai pose.
Q: What's your least favorite thing about bodybuilding?
A: Inconsistent standards in judging. I'm not complaining for myself. I think I was judged fairly, but I'm not sure of what I'm seeing on the IFBB stages.
Q: From your avatar it's clear you've competed. Was that in Bodybuilding or Women's Physique?
A: I competed once in Women's Physique and placed 5th out of I think 17 or 18. I learned a lot about my body and had the opportunity to work with an emerging unknown musician, whose work inspired my routine. My philosophy is similar to Sheila Bleck's in that I view it as my "art" and that the routine should be uniquely complex, with posing and choreography emphasized as extremely important. Next time I'd like to be coached by Dave Palumbo and see how it goes.
Q: What is your goal so far as the weights go?
A: I'm currently trying to break a world record in the raw bench press in the 123lb weight class. Next year I'd like to qualify again for Nationals. And it'd be cool to lift in Dan Green's Boss of Bosses III next year.
I broke my foot 4 weeks ago but I'm not giving up, though it does create yet another obstacle. Ask me again about my goals after the world championships in two and a half weeks, I'll be the one competing in a cast.
Q: I like to joke that my mutant super power is clumsiness. How did you break your foot? And how soon until you're out of the cast?
A: It happened at work. I can't really go into detail about it. I'm sure you get the idea.
Q: Do you have any favorite bodybuilders or strength athletes?
A: Old school bodybuilders for a variety of reasons, not just physiques. Arnold, of course, Bev Francis the powerlifter AND bodybuilder, Cory Everson, Lenda Murray...
Newer physiques would be Juliana Malacarne, Helle Trevino, Sheila Bleck and Beni Lopez inspire me. I liked Baito Abbaspour a lot. He was my favorite 212 guy. I admire Evan Centopani and Cedric. I'd like to see him and Evan get crazier legs though, back squat and cleans, baby!
Powerlifters, wow so many... Ed Coan, Brandon Lilly, Konstantin Nerchenko, Dan Green, Jamie Lewis, John Rivas (I call him a friend and I can tell you as someone who has trained with him/around him, he's going to be #1 in the world very soon)...
Powerlifting women... Stella Krupinski, Sioux-z Hartwig-Gary and IFBB Pro Susan Salazar. I'm interested to see what Maryana Naumova does with her life.
Wow. What a great list of athletes. Google those now!
Q: Where do you see Naumova going or what do you see her becoming?
A: It's too soon to say. Give her 10 years. She's likely going to have a fascinating life.
Q: I Googled Rivas and saw you and he share more than weights in common. He stated in an interview that his parents are his role models. Do you have brothers and sisters. If so, do they lift as well?
A: I have sisters and a brother. They aren't competitive at all, but they all enjoy lifting/athletics.
Q: Did you emulate anyone when you first became involved in the iron game?
A: I didn't know any better than my dad.
Q: Who is someone you look forward to meeting and perhaps picking their brain?
A: I dunno about brain picking but I'd like to meet some of the women of the forum someday! Maybe one day I can cheer some of them on at their next competition/show!
Q: Sunnyday comes to mind for a powerlifting competition. And I believe sassy69 has her eye on returning to the stage. Who are some women you'd like to cheer on?
A: I support both those ladies.
Q: What is something that most people don't know about you?
A: I like camping and hiking, nature etc.
Q: Speaking of nature, what are some things that can be found in your garden?
A: Gardening with a broken foot is not rewarding right now, so I'm just keeping it as small and neat as I can. Peppers, tomatoes, basil and kale. Some tomatillos. Many herbs.
Q: What has been the most effective workout you've followed?
A: I change programming up as needed. I've followed the Soviet conjugate system for a while, some Westside style. I believe in getting help from a competent coach.
Q: What supplement company or brand does it right?
A: Species! We get a couple 3.1lb tubs of whey isolate, plus fiberlyze, omegalyze, arthrolyze, etc. every month.
Q: Do you have a favorite TV show?
A: I actually don't even own a TV. I know, weird. We just use the home computer occasionally to watch things but rarely do.
Q: What are three things you couldn't live without?
A: My lifting partner/boyfriend of 3 years, access to weights and my garden!
Q: Does your boyfriend compete?
A: He does. He also doesn't like attention. He's a quiet man's man.
Q: What is your macro or food breakdown? Do you count calories, do calculations, and weigh your food?
A: We stay lower carb year round. I believe in the Dave Palumbo diet/ketogenic diets. When I need to make weight, I weigh my food meticulously for 10-12 weeks or so, cut carbs, add cardio depending on if it's for a contest, etc.
Q: Other than hitting the iron, what do you enjoy doing the most with your free time?
A: Gardening, cooking and more recently, we have been getting back into shooting, which is a family past-time. My sister and my dad both shoot more than 99 out of 100. We have a couple motorcycles but I've been sidelined due to injury from that.
Q: What guns? I qualified on a .45 in the U.S. Navy a million years ago. We needed to score 150 with a 1911. I scored 152 and was the proudest one-ribbon recruit there ever was. lol
A: Haha, no comment. You know the deal.
Q: And what bikes?
A: I go long periods where I don't ride, unfortunately. But I probably first started in my teens, borrowing bike from friends, not very well though. I've been plagued by injuries the past year and so has my bf, so we've both been scaling it back. I don't know if I'll ever ride anything other than Ducatis again. We have a non-Ducati custom street fighter and I love its look and speed and its handling is pretty damn good...but it's not a Duc. Ducati is Ducati. You have to experience the difference, especially when you're a very petite female, or guys I know who only track race. The lightweight frames and desmodromic drive make it a joy to see/feel performing... but most people don't ever go back unless it's about the budget, which I understand, to a certain extent.
Q: Can you say anything about your occupation?
A: I work in public safety, and I'm from a long line of folks who worked in many various ways in public safety.
Q: What about hobbies or pets?
A: I have a cat, she's awesome. She was an injured feral and is FIV+. Now 5 years later she's indoors only and seems happy to be so. I hope to add more and dogs also.
Q: What is your cat's name and how old is she?
A: Fuzz, she's somewhere between 7-10.
Q: And what type of dog would you like?
A: I've had a lot of them over the years. I'm partial to certain breeds for different reasons but I can't see some charming mutt might not be the next one.
Q: What frustrates you?
A: Injuries, illness. But I always learn from them and they have actually made me understand other people better, as well as myself.
I also get frustrated by some of the rules and leadership decisions of the 18 different powerlifting federations and also, rules of USA Weightlifting. When is a press out, a press out, for snatching and jerks? I've been to USAW meets where judges looked at each other for guidance before giving a thumbs up or down to a lift.
Leadership decisions in UDAW and some of the powerlifting federations are abominable. Does AAU drug test or not? They should make up their minds.
USAPL seemingly, arbitrarily, erased all of their state records about a year ago and decided to start over. So your record doesn't count if it's a few years old. Their national website is wrought with pitiful 404 error messages. Jamie Lewis, of Chaos and Pain, has a great thread on reddit about the USAPL.
I think many of the different federations rules are preposterous, which is why I don't compete in those feds any longer.
Many of these federations judges interpret the squat depth "rules" according to personal preference and what their favorite lifter's style is. They run the show in such a fashion that breaking parallel is no longer acceptable, you have to go above and beyond for 2+ white lights and most people's squat style is not adjustable, so they bomb out of the meet. The Becky Rich incident at USAPL Nationals is a well known example that comes to mind, but she's only one of maybe hundreds of American lifters. It's a rule that the hip joint should be lower than the top of the knees in back squat, not ass to calves depth, which is risky to the lumbar for many people. They're getting the dreaded lumbar/sacroliliac rounding as they attempt to squat lower than they are used to and then get possibly permanent injury.
I've also seen people get red lighted for not "controlling the descent of the bar" on deadlift, just because, even though they had hands on the bar mind you, it was loud and fast on the way down. What do we expect to happen when someone pulls more than triple bodyweight? I've seen a judge who will hold the bar on someones chest for an extremely long period if the lifter is unknown or new when they are bench pressing. The rule is the bar should be held motionless on the chest, not held there for 5 seconds...
I want to offer firstly, I am against people who are enhanced, competing in tested federations. However, the so-called "drug tested" federations, (about half of them) use WADA lists of banned substances because their leadership is so lazy/biased/uncreative/greedy, they can't be bothered to come up with their own lists. I don't believe in drug testing in athletics, for anyone, period.
WADA laughably bans life saving medicine like prednisone and albuterol as PEDs, so if you have asthma controlled by both or either, sorry bro, go compete in the USPA or SPF, (which is a better organization anyway). Jesse Rodgers is doing an outstanding job, as is Stella Krupinski, who also runs some of the best meets out there.
These supposedly drug tested feds have plenty of enhanced athletes and they "test", if they are even tested, "clean" the majority of the time. There are a lot of politics involved and certain athletic darlings will either/both not be tested, given the best advice about timing and a heads up prior to testing so they cannot possibly fail. Sometimes tests may performed by an imbecile. I once watched someone do drug testing who took the sample in her bare hands, opened the cap and performed the test next to running water. Then, with the cap still off and next to the running faucet, she washed her hands with soap, rinsed and then turned her back to get paper towels.
When I used to compete in those federations I had never taken a single PED. I had been prescribed inhaled albuterol and prednisone, long, well documented asthma history and a life threatening asthma episode. WADA considers these banned PEDs, remember. I was told by my biased, hypocritical coach, I should stop taking medicine the day of and before the meet in case I "got popped" and/or bring a therapeutic usage form filled out from my physician. Getting that cost a co-pay plus $50 when one goes to certain doctors to get them to "fill out paperwork" sometimes! So one could argue that people with pre-existing conditions/ injuries treaded with prednisone, are being unfairly targeted for banning, which already happens to lifters who even have friends or lift a a gym where other people have been known to use WADA banned substances.
I actually have only experienced a couple of these issues first hand but witnessed people I think are great athletes, go through hell when trying to PR and qualify for nationals/worlds.
The responsible solutions are for athletes to research rules for themselves before you put a body through a grueling prep and decide which organization best fits your own philosophy. The other solution is also, to kick out the lousy leadership and judges. That would mean people try to change things in the feds they love. Maybe sacrifice a lifting season and study to become a judge? Maybe put on your own, unsanctioned meet and have a cash payout for winners? Unfortunately, those folks may be blackballed in their fed but then you will know how loyal they are to you after all your loyalty to them.
Interesting commentary. If only the athletes had more say in the sport's rules. You mentioned Becky Rich. Thought I'd include a video of her lifting last year.
Q: What motivates you?
I grew up in a house with four generations in it, the first generation from the old country. I miss my grandparents because they taught me how to sacrifice and also how to be civil, even with your enemies. I watch my dad getting older, still battling the iron. Life has an expiration date.
Q: How old is your father?
A: He's a Vietnam Veteran, one of the younger ones, 60ish.
Great learning more about you, baby muscle. Best wishes qualifying for Nationals again. I hope you post up if you compete at Dan Green's event, too. Thank you for sharing part of your story with the Rx Muscle Forums readers and members!
Discuss this interview on the Rx Muscle Forums @ http://forums.rxmuscle.com/showthread.php?133298-baby-muscle-is-the-September-2015-Rx-Muscle-Member-of-the-Month!