I don't know about you, but when I think what a Ms. Figure Olympia should be - I think of the very beautiful, very gifted, and very hardworking, Ann Titone. Ann is the embodiment of everything that a true ambassador for Figure should look like. In addition to being one of the most dynamic competitors in the sport, she also finds a way to include roles as contest promoter and business owner into her daily lifestyle. Ann is blessed to have the love & support of a great husband and support network that includes family, friends, and very loyal fans. In just a few days she plans to step onstage at the biggest show of her life, and knowing her - SHE'S GOING TO BRING IT!!!
Christian Duque: It's a pleasure to have one of the most celebrated IFBB Figure Pro's in the world join us today. I'd like to welcome Ann Titone to RxMuscle.com!! Ann please take a moment to introduce yourself to the RxMuscle.com audience.
Ann Titone: My name is Ann Titone, and I am proud to be an IFBB Figure Pro. I reside in St Louis, MO…no we are not affected by the Ferguson drama. I train at a gym called Xist Fitness, formally a Gold’s Gym. I love it there not only because of the great equipment, but because of the atmosphere. All the members and staff are supportive and like an extended fitness family.
I was born in Hamilton, Bermuda, but am not British, I am an American Citizen. My parents have been married for forty years, and I have two younger brothers.
I'm married to Jack Titone. We recently celebrated our ten year anniversary. We have four children, and they all have four legs! We have three dogs: a Malamute named Patton, an Akita/Chow mix named Hannah and a Chihuahua named Louie (after Mr Ferrigno himself.) I also have a cat. Her name is Sible... because I am :)
Contrary to popular belief, I don't work in, or own a gym/ fitness studio. I am an Office Manager of a dental office. I have worked for the same dentist for about nine years and been in the dental field for about fifteen years. I also co-promote 5 very successful IFBB/NPC events in the Midwest with my husband. I cannot lie, he really does all the work and organization! I just make the confirmation calls, mail out the entry forms and, because he is Italian, he trusts no one with his money. So I do the ticket sales at the events too. LOL
CD: When & why did you first get started working out? It seems everyone has a unique story as to why they picked up the weights for the first time? Were you active in sports during your adolescence?
Ann Titone: I never stepped into a gym until I met Jack. He was an avid bodybuilder, and he actually introduced me to lifting weights. I joined New Lady Fitness and also trained at his gym with him once in a while. After we got married and bought a house together, I slacked off. There wasn’t any reason, just pure laziness, and I had no motivation to get back into shape. I got to my heaviest I’d ever been at 5'3 3/4 weighing 148lbs. It was at our yearly Christmas party on December 23, 2006, I was talking with IFBB Fitness Pro Angie Schemch and complaining about how unmotivated I was when she said that I should do a photo-shoot with her. There was NO WAY I was going to pass up that opportunity, or look silly doing it, so I asked Jack to make a training and diet plan for me. I gave 110% balls to the wall effort and my body transformed so quickly. I didn't have the best shape, but my conditioning was awesome. Needless to say the photo-shoot never happened, but she when she suggested I consider competing, I was all over it.
I was active in high school. I was part of the basketball team my senior year, but sadly a life threatening car accident that left me in a coma for two weeks, and in the hospital for two months, so I missed the season.
CD: In terms of competition, that seems to be a pretty daunting decision for some. I often see men & women in the gym with great physiques, but they just don't have that mental component - call it self-confidence or dedication - to get on stage and be assessed by the judges and the fans. Who or what inspired you to take the plunge?
Ann Titone: Other than my conversation with Angie, I went to my first Arnold Festival in 2007 to watch her and fell in love with the sport. I watched Gina Allioti grace the stage, and became obsessed with her physique. I was simply in awe of her presence. I’m a firm believer that if you want something bad enough you'll have it, one way or another. PERIOD. I wanted this physique, so I worked with the best people I could to help me get it.
CD: Take us back to your very first contest prep. Who did you work with, and what was your mindset like? If you had to pick the single hardest aspect of the whole process, what would it be - diet, training while diet, the posing?
Ann Titone: The GNC Indiana Regional was my first show. It’s funny, we wanted a show out of state and selected what we thought was a smaller show. Little did we realize at the time, it was a regional show drawing from several surrounding states!
It was my husband and I alone for the first few years of competing. Jack covered all the aspects of my training and nutrition. He took me to my first Olympia.
Diet and training isn't the hard part for me. Not being able to share a lot of my free time with my family is what I struggle with the most. I’m a daddy’s girl, and my mom is my best friend other than my husband. I hate missing birthdays, weddings and family gatherings.
CD: Now I'm sure that while you were competing, like anyone else, you were paying your dues and gaining stage experience. Describe to us the feeling you had in 2009, when you won your class at the Jr. USA's - was it validation? Not just anyone wins their class at a highly competitive contest like that. For some people a win like that is the crowning jewel in the fitness career.
Ann Titone: Not to take anything away from that moment but I have experienced so many amazing feats since then, it’s just become a stepping stone to where I am now. It’s been an amazing journey with ups and downs, but I wouldn't change one moment.
CD: It seems 2009 was the year of Ann Titone - you won the Jr. USA's, followed by stellar placings at Jr. Nationals, USA's and turning Pro at the '09 Team Universe. For people that preach that people can't compete non-stop like that - that it's just not possible - you're proof positive that they're full of it. How were you able to keep bouncing back show after show?
Ann Titone: I have a few thoughts about that. I was able to do so many shows back-to-back because I had a great coach that provided me with great nutritional and training information. The coach is the key. In the same breath of wind, I also believe it’s an individual thing that can be affected by both environmental and genetic factors.
CD: You turned pro & made your pro debut in 2009, which again is very impressive. But with the advent of new divisions, I'd like to ask you - how has the Figure Division changed? Do you like where it's at today? And is there anything you'd like to suggest to make it even better?
Ann Titone: I love Bikini and Men’s Physique. I think it provides an opportunity for everyone to stand on stage. Women’s Physique is probably my favorite division. I feel it’s the most beautiful form of muscle and femininity. The woman's physique is a work of art, and in my opinion, Gods most beautiful creation.
As for "where figure is at" now, this may sound weird coming from someone fighting for a top spot, but I think the physique Nicole Wilkins brought to the Olympia last year - the combination of her beauty and grace - is about as close as we can get to perfection. So I guess the answer is yes, I like where it’s at.
CD: 2013 has also been another big year with two wins, at the IFBB Europa and a very impressive runner-up finish at the Toronto Pro Supershow (where many thought you had the show in the bag). Talk to us about your Olympia aspirations and what you have planned, now just under 9 weeks to the big dance? Should we expect the best Ann Titone??
Ann Titone: I feel like the 2014 Arnold was the best physique I've presented thus far. Immediately following the Arnold Jack and I promoted our St Louis Pro event which, had close to 400 competitors and 3000 spectators in a one day event. It was stressful to say the least. I began not to feel well, but because I was prepping for the Pittsburgh Pro, I pushed through each workout and cardio session thinking it would go away, only it didn't. The feeling of fatigue worsened each day. I had tightness in my chest, and felt like each cardio session was going to put me into cardiac arrest when my heart rate would only be 96. I was experiencing something I wasn’t familiar with. After having blood work done my physician said that I had a virus, and was clinically exhausted. I suppose running full throttle for five months between work, home, posing sessions with clients, training, dieting and co-promoting, my body simply decided since I didn't want to listen, so it decided to make me. I’m telling you this because, admittedly, I was not my best for the Europa. My conditioning wasn't on point. I've been much better, but I committed to this show and I wanted to follow through with the plan. Following Dallas I should've wrapped it up with that win, but I felt compelled to push myself harder to compete in Toronto. I came in a bit tighter but can admit that it wasn't enough to pull off the win. However, since then, I had a very enjoyable and relaxing summer. I've healed myself from the inside to get back to 100% before I started my Olympia prep. I started my prep at 12 weeks and can honestly say that my body has responded in a very positive fashion. Sitting at four weeks my trainer, George Farrah and I feel we are ahead of the game. As competitors we are always striving to be the best we can be and say "this will be my best", but those aren't just words from me. THIS WILL BE MY BEST. My expectations are to bring the consistency of the shape I've presented with fuller, rounder delts, tighter glutes, and an equal level conditioning.
CD: I'd like to look beyond the Olympia. You clearly have a long, long time left in the sport, but I don't think there's anything wrong with talking about legacy. Ten or twenty years from now, what would you like for the next generation to know about Ann Titone and what she brought to the sport?
Ann Titone: With Jack stepping into the Chairmanship of Nebraska and our multiple show promotions, I think I’ll always be a part of the sport in some fashion.
For future generations of competitors I would just say, don't ever lose vision of your dreams. As I previously stated. If you want something bad enough, nothing will stand in your way to get it. Anything is truly possible. I was told on more than one occasion, I didn't have the shape to be a top ranked pro, but I wanted it, so I created it.
Furthermore, I have always had very strong faith, but my fitness journey has drawn me closer to God. Everyone has a fire in their belly for something, but some never find a way to ignite the fire. I’m am blessed to have been provided the perfect combination of support, knowledge and personal drive to achieve my goals.
CD: I'd like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I want you to know (if you don't already) that I'm a huge fan of your and when you win the Figure Olympia this year, I'm going to make sure to be one of the first to post on your facebook wall :-) . Please take this opportunity to thank all those that have helped you along the way and that have made a positive impact on your life. Thank you so, so much for taking the time :)
Ann Titone: After I won my pro card, when deciding if I was ready for my pro debut about one month later someone said to me, "Ann, on any given day you can stand next to anyone" I’ve thanked this person one million and one times, but he stands to get one million and one more thanks. JM Manion, thank you for believing in me as an athlete and realizing the drive and determination I have to succeed cannot be waived when I wrap my mind around something. Thank you for providing guidance of making good decisions with my career as an IFBB Pro.
George Farrah, I can honestly say, I love you like a brother. I believe in my heart you honestly and truly care for your athletes and it’s very evident in how you treat us. I can remember on more than one occasion before we started our venture together you telling me what a fan you were of my physique and presentation. That's what makes it so easy for me to trust and appreciate you wholeheartedly.
It’s hard to see myself as a motivator or and inspiration. It’s even more difficult to grasp the concept of someone "looking up to me", but for every one person I have inspired, two have inspired me.
Last but certainly not least, my husband, best friend, confidant, partner in life and crime, Jack Titone. Put simply, I would be nothing and no one without you by my side. Thank you for seeing in me more than I could ever imagine