An Exclusive Interview: Dr. Margaret Negrete, Wife, Mother, Anesthesiologist, NPC Women’s Physique Competitor!
There aren’t very many
competitors who’ve managed to compete at an elite level longer than NPC Women’s Physique mainstay Margaret Negrete. She already has two top-ten finishes at the Masters Nationals and the USA Championships to her credit this year. Now Margaret has her sights set on taking the stage at Nationals, hoping to finally capture the Pro Card that has narrowly eluded her thus far, but first she dropped by to give Rx Muscle fans an exclusive interview and to talk about the details of her decorated career thus far.
Q.) You've been a mainstay on the competitive stage since you first began competing in 1985. What was it that initially made you decide you wanted to step onstage?
A.) I had always been a runner but when I moved to Iowa for med school I found it very difficult to keep up with my early morning running ritual mainly because it was so cold. I secured a job at the local YMCA gym working at the front desk. At first I watched people training while I hit the books. I was intrigued by it all and I eventually started to join in with the weight training.
After the first year of training it so happened that there was to be a local bodybuilding competition. Some people who trained at the YMCA gym were getting ready for it. I needed something to take my mind off of school so I decided to sign up. Once I got out on stage I was hooked for life!
Q.) Over the course of your career you've been able to witness the
evolution of the sport from Cory Everson to Iris Kyle and the birth of the Fitness, Figure, Physique and Bikini divisions as well. What's your opinion of the direction that Female Bodybuilding has taken over the years?
A.) I think that the birth Female Bodybuilding was a beautiful thing. It empowered women from all walks of life and finally gave women a platform to express their beauty and strength. But, as the years passed, it evolved into a physique that was not attainable for the average woman. In some cases the physiques developed into the extreme musculature that most women and most men did not think was attractive or desirable. This is what led to the birth of Fitness, Figure, Physique and then the newest division Bikini.
I think that it is fantastic that we have all of these divisions now. There is now a division for any woman no matter what level she is at. Women need a means to keep health and fitness in their lives and what better way to do just that than for them to participate in a competition.
Q.) Whenever we start a new journey in life there's always an initial
excitement that often fades with time. How have you managed to keep
yourself motivated over the course of your career?
A.) I have always been a goal oriented person. Once I finish a competition I am starting to plan for the next one. I need that goal in the distance that keeps me going. I love the thrill of knowing that I am getting better every time. At least I know that I am trying to get better every year. I had a little setback in 2011 when my brother passed away suddenly on the day before I was leaving for Nationals. That year I ended up at my sweet brother's funeral on the day when I thought I would be dominating Nationals.
It took me awhile to come back after that but I eventually found my way back and know that my brother would not have wanted me to give up the fight. I feel that leading the life of a competitor has served me well. I have made so many good friends from all over the country. When I competed at the Arnold in 2011, I even made some international friends. I also think that bodybuilding and weight training has kept me looking and feeling much younger than I really am, and that motivates me to stay in the game.
Q.) Away from the stage you’re a wife, dedicated mother of two, and work full-time as an anesthesiologist. How have you managed to maintain a balance between work, maintaining a home, and making the necessary sacrifices to build the physique of a top amateur competitor?
A.) I am very good at time management and multitasking. I find that the more things that I have to do, the more I get done. I figured out ways to get cardio done while I was stuck at work. I purchased a weighted vest and many times I would wear it and run up and down the seven flights of stairs at the hospital in between cases. I also always plan ahead and bring my own food to work. The doctor's lounge is always full of tempting foods and confections that are replenished frequently so I always come prepared.
My husband and I actually first got together in the gym and the gym is where we usually meet up at the end of the day. My husband is a great support to me and I to him. We share the same passion for health and fitness and that makes it really easy to have a good relationship. We have been married for 20 years and are still going strong. My only regret is that I did miss out on a lot when our kids were growing up. I attribute this more to time spent at work and not so much to the time spent in the gym.
My husband and I trained late at night after the kids went to bed for many years so that we could spend time with them after work. I try to remain flexible in my life and many times I do have to sacrifice one thing for another. I try to prioritize my time and always try to put my girls, my husband and my family first. I have sometimes made the wrong choices but I feel like I have become much wiser as I have gotten older.
Q.) Your passion for the stage has become infectious in your household and the competitive bug has bitten your husband and daughters as well. Do you think having a supportive family structure helps you all encourage each other during contest prep given that you all can relate to how each other are feeling?
A.) Yes, we are very fortunate to all be involved in fitness. It does make things much easier when it comes to contest prep. My Husband (Scott Stein) is a National level competitive bodybuilder and has competed as a welterweight, middleweight, and a light heavyweight. Our daughters were in competitive gymnastics since they were very young and they have also competed in Teen Fitness and Teen Figure. My husband and I sometimes worried about making our kids too obsessive about health and fitness but in the end I think it has given them a solid foundation to lead healthy lives.
Q.) How have your diet and training evolved over the years? What has been the key to maintaining your consistency?
A.) I think that everyone is different in how their body responds to specific diet strategies and exercise regimens. I have learned a great deal about my own responses over the years mostly through trial and error. One thing that I have really found to be true is that I need to change up my workout routine about every six weeks to avoid getting stagnant.
As far as the diet goes I try to eat as clean as possible year around. I think of it as a way of life rather than a specific diet. As a contest approaches I clean up the diet progressively until I am left with mostly proteins, vegetables and complex carbs. I have also found that, as I get older, I have to work just a little harder and longer to get the response that I want.
The key to my consistency is my perseverance. I may not be the first one to get there but I will get to where I am going no matter what. When I was in college I worked full-time and went to school part-time so it took me almost seven years to get through. I was a little older when I started med school and it took me awhile to get there but I still did become a doctor. Like my mom always told me "Patience is a virtue". I am a very patient individual and I think that has taken me a long way.
Q.) Looking back, if you could give the younger version of yourself a word of advice, what would it be?
A.) Do not try to change yourself to fit into a certain criteria. Just try to keep moving forward with your physique every year. You may not win all of the time but you have to be true to yourself first and foremost. I think that I spent a lot of time trying to change myself to meet the criteria from the various divisions. I went from Bodybuilding to Figure, then back to Bodybuilding and now to Physique. I have burned off a lot of hard earned muscle over the years trying to scale down to fit some criteria. The sport is always evolving and if you don't quite fit the division, don't worry about it.Just keep trying to be the best you that you can be and that will serve you well in the long run.
Q.) Over the course of your career you've won a number of overall titles and had many other top three finishes, yet you still strive to
climb even higher and earn your IFBB Pro Card. What would you say isyour ultimate goal in the sport?
A.) My ultimate goal in the sport is to compete on the IFBB Pro Physique stage. I have come close to the pro card but never quite with the right physique at the right moment yet. I have developed an attitude of persistence and I just keep pushing on and coming back. i know that I will eventually get there.
Q.) Let's say you finally earn that coveted pro card in 2013. Can we expect to see Margaret Negrete on a pro stage this year?
A.) From your mouth to God's ear! Once I do get there, I would like to get on the pro stage as soon as possible.
Many of us can only dream of compiling the impressive resume onstage that Margaret has managed to compile thus far and from the sound it, her journey is far from over. With Nationals only a few weeks away Margaret is dedicated to bringing a bigger, harder, and leaner package to the stage. Despite already owning the titles of mother, wife, and doctor she’s looking to add the title of National Champion and place a few more letters after her name – IFBB Pro.