TP: How was it growing up? How did you overcome the obstacles and become a functional independent person?
BG: Growing up was very often difficult. I hated being different. I was always afraid of what people were thinking of me. Kids were very cruel. I spent many nights in tears over things kids had said or done at school. Kids are cruel to everyone though. They will make fun of other kids for all kinds of things...being too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, big ears...whatever. I didn't understand that, though. All I knew was how bad I felt.
As far as learning to function and become independent....that was again mostly because my parents forced me; especially, when I was a teenager. I had to either do things on my own or depend on my mom...which I was NOT about to do! Typical teenager!! There were plenty of obstacles, but we managed to get through them! I've had to learn to be very creative to do things. To this day, I will still occasionally need to figure out how to do something that I haven't done before. Like they say, "Where there's a will, there's a way!"
TP: I am sure many people wonder how you do daily activities with no arms-- cooking, driving, and writing to name a few.
BG: All I can say is... my feet are my hands. I do everything with my feet. I type with my toes. I drive a regular vehicle. I use my right foot on the steering wheel and my left foot on the gas and brake. NO stick shifts for me though!! When I'm at home...cooking, doing dishes, brushing my teeth, putting on my make-up, etc, I just hop up on the counter and sit so I can use my feet. I do have some special tools that I use for dressing. Getting dressed takes me a little longer than most and it's a real pain in the ass, but I do it....buttons, zippers, and belts included! If I do need help with something, my kids or my boyfriend are usually willing to help.
TP: You're a fitness competitor. What kind of background do you have for your sport? Do you have help customizing your routines?
BG: I was athletic pretty much all my life. I played soccer, did swim team, and took dance. I also played football outside with my brothers and their friends. As I got older, I started running and doing "aerobics". It was after I had my first baby that I REALLY got into fitness and the lifestyle. When I discovered weight training, I fell in love:)
As far as my routines go.....I am very limited and can't do 3 of the mandatory moves, but I do what I can and focus on the things I do best!! I can usually choreograph a lot of my routine, but always end up stuck and needing help filling it in. That's when I turn to friends in the biz! I've had other local competitors help, and I've had help from Jenny and Adela!! They are awesome!!!
TP: How do you train? I am sure you have learned to be very creative in the gym over the years.
BG: I actually don't train much differently than anyone else. Sure, there is plenty that I can't do. For example, I don't train back, shoulders, chest....or arms:) I do a full leg workout once per week, and a ham/glute workout on another day. I incorporate alot of plyometrics in my training. I like to do them between sets. I don't do free weight squats, but I can use the Smith machine, with help. Sometimes, I lie down on the floor under the Smith machine and do vertical leg presses. I have a weight vest that I wear to do step-ups, lunges, sump squats, and sometimes plyos. I wear that because it's really the only way to load me since I can't hold dumbbells:) I sprint the stairs a lot at my gym too. Other than that, I just use the machines and weights like everyone else. If I need help with anything, whoever is around will usually help. I just ask for help if I need help. So far, nobody has ever refused to help me!!
For cardio, I do treadmill mostly, but I also do step mill and elliptical. I don't like the bikes. I feel like there's something wrong about doing cardio while sitting on my ass!! haha
TP: You are close to your next contest. What show is it? How has your prep been this season working with Dave?
BG: My next show is Saturday March 28! I'm hoping to re-qualify so I can go do Jr. USA's and Jr. Nationals. Right now, I'm trying to see the food at the end of the tunnel. 6 more days!!!
Working with Dave Palumbo has been great. His diet is NOT easy!! I have really struggled with it, BUT it works! Dave has been totally awesome! I've always heard how he's so brutally honest and frank, but he has been extremely supportive and encouraging all the way through! He's also very funny! He cracks me up!! I'll be working with him after this show again until Jr. Nats!!
TP: You have children, what do they think of you competing? Do they share your fitness lifestyle?
BG: My kids are supportive....as supportive as kids can be, I guess. They hate when I have to diet and can't eat all the yummy stuff with them that they're eating. Sometimes, they get aggravated with how much time I spend at the gym, but on most days, I get all my gym stuff done before they get home from school. That means cardio or training and cardio in the early a.m. and more cardio in the early afternoon so I don't inconvenience them. I want them to be kids and go play outside; not make them spend every afternoon stuck at the gym. Right now, they just keep telling me that they can't wait until I can eat regular stuff. It's a tradition for me to go out for pizza with them when I get back from a show! It makes them SO happy for me to EAT pizza with them! I'm looking forward to that next week!!!
TP: What are your hobbies outside of the gym?
GB: Well, I do have 2 kids. So, if I'm not at the gym, I'm probably running them around. I'm a girlie girl though. I like to go shopping, go dancing. I'm on the computer a lot. I like to go see movies, karaoke. OH!! I LOVE to eat!!! Did I mention that I get to eat next week???!!!
TP: What reaction do you get by people when they see you? What are some of the stupid things people have said to you?
GB: I get ALL kinds of reactions. Some people just stare. Some give me weird looks. Some feel they need to tell me their whole life story or about their uncle's friend's brother's daughter who lost a finger or something. For some reason though, many people see me and just feel they need to say SOMETHING to me. I don't know if it's because they feel sorry for me or maybe they think I have low self-esteem and need to hear something nice? Who knows! They usually end up saying something really stupid though. Their intentions are pure, but they don't think before they speak. One lady told me I have nice legs for a lady with no arms. One man said he bet I could bench more than him! One man stopped me on a busy street when I was out running just to ask me how I run without arms!!! Didn't he just see me running...without arms? A few months ago, when I signed my son in at my gym's kids club, a little boy asked about my hands. I told him what happened and how I use my feet for everything. He just said, "Oh!! So, you're just like a monkey!!" That made my day...so funny, so cute. Out of the mouths of babes.......
TP: Who do you look up to-- in and out of the sport?
GB: I look up to my parents. They are both so strong! I look up to my little brother, who has been fighting for his life for the past 7 years. HE is a fighter!!! In the sport, I look up to Adela because of all she's accomplished. She had no background for fitness, yet she pushes on! She's in her late 30's and still going!! I also look up to Jen. I love her passion!! She loves what she does, and she's passionate about what she does! She has the biggest heart of anyone I know!! Also, Idris Ward-El and Troy Alves. Idris was the guest poser at my first show, and said some nice things that really encouraged me. Troy is also one who has supported and encouraged me over and over through the years!
TP: What do you find attractive in a man? What turns you off?
GB: I find a good heart and strong character very attractive! I also appreciate and expect loyalty and honesty! For a man to treat me like a lady is something else that attracts me! Physically, I'm attracted to big shoulders and backs.....and glutes...and legs. I love a beautiful smile and kind eyes!
Turn offs....oh geez! There are so many: bad hygiene, bad breath, rudeness, cockiness, a controlling man, dishonesty, users, bad shoes, dirty/long finger nails. I could go on and on, but I'll stop there.
Lucky for me, I finally found a good man, who is attractive to me inside and out! I can't wait to marry him!
TP: Do people treat you differently when they 1st meet you? What is a big misconception people have about you?
GB: Some treat me a little differently, like they are afraid to hurt my feelings or something. Some people just try to be helpful....or OVERLY helpful. Once people have been around me for a little while, they forget all about my arms and realize I'm just a normal person!
I just got stuck on the misconception question!! I had to go ask my boyfriend. His response was, "People think you're handicapped." He's right! I don't think of myself as handicapped. I have limitations, but so does everyone!
TP: What is your pet peeve?
GB: In general or in my situation? In my situation, I hate when people feel sorry for me. In general, slow drivers, rude people, people who are inconsiderate of others, liars, and people wearing spandex who should NOT be wearing spandex!!
TP: What is your favorite...
food? Pizza, cheeseburgers, fries, chocolate, avocados, peanut butter, steak, brownies
music? country and hip-hop
prized possession? my kids and my man
TV show? Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs, Reba, American Idol, Will and Grace, Golden Girls;)
movies? What Happens In Vegas, Fireproof, Tyler Perry movies, The Sweetest Thing
TP: Thank you so much Barbie for the interview. Good luck at your show and we will see you around the RXM block!
From: Barb Guerra
www.FitnessUnarmed.com/bodybuilding-protein.htm,,From: Barb Guerra