Tuesday, July 27, 2010

IFBB Pro Michelle Battista Team Universe Interview

Winning a Pro card is amazing. But coming from where Michelle Battista came from to earn her Pro card at Team Universe is even more amazing I think. I could sit here and tell you about it, but she address's it in the interview, so I will let her explain it. Winning the Pro card is just one step in where Michelle will eventually end up, as there is no limit to just how far she can go in this sport. Rarely do you see me implore sponsors to look into a woman in these introductions, but Michelle is someone, who if you sponsor competitors, you need to get involved with.

Q: Michelle, thanks for taking the time out to do this.
A: You are so welcome and thank you for having me an opportunity to be interviewed.

Q: For those who may not be familiar, can you tell a little about yourself?
A: My name is Michelle Battista and I am a new IFBB Figure Pro. I started competing about 4 years after transforming my body from being almost 80lbs overweight. I had herniated two disks in my back from competitive horse riding and according to the surgeons, surgery was my only option. After 14 years of miserable pain and depression (plus countless different types of treatment), I knew that I could not continue down this path. I knew that I had to dig deep within to find the courage to get back to the gym and strengthen my back the right way (and not always look for the easy way out). After losing the excess weight, I found myself needing to challenge myself to a whole new level. After a lot of thought and self-doubt, I decided to go for it and compete in my first show. After two years of competing I became a national level figure competitor with very little help. I have been competing for almost 4 years now and won my pro card at the 2010 Team Universe.
Besides, competing in figure contest, I work full time as an independent technology consultant.

Q: First, I must say congrats on earning your Pro card at Team Universe.
A: Thank you so much. I was in total shock and still waiting for it to sink in :-)

Q: What does the Pro card mean to you personally?
A: This means more to me than you know. During my years of transforming my body and competing, I really have gone through this journey pretty much alone and no family support.

Q: As a show itself what did you think of it?
A: I really enjoyed the show. I met some wonderful people and hopefully some new friends. I think that is why I like competing so much because of the people I have met along the way.

Q: How confident were you going in?
A: I was not feeling as confident as I would have like to. I didn't sleep the night before (not even 10 mins) so I was extremely tired but still managed to find a way to compose myself and be as confident as I could.

Q: After pre-judging how were you feeling about your chances?
A: After prejudging I felt like I knew I made Top 5 but not necessarily that I had taken first.

Q: How did you feel about the overall package your brought to the stage?
A: I very happy with my posing and presentation but felt that there was room for improvement in certain areas of my physique.

Q: What part of your physique would you say was the one you have improved the most the last year?
A: I would have to say that my shoulders improved the most over the past year. I have been training them twice a week which really helped.

Q: Was there one aspect of your physique you thought could have been better or you wan to improve on?
A: Yes, most definitely. I want to improve on my glutes and hamstrings.

Q: Did your prep go as smoothly as hoped for?
A: The initial contest prep was going smooth but towards the end of the prep it got really difficult for me since I had to seriously cut out my carbs.

Q: Is there a point in the prep process where you say "O.K. I am ready"?
A: No!! I think as a figure competitor you never feel like your ready. I wish I had a few more weeks to prepare.

Q: Anything about the prep process that you can say you want to do different next time?
A: I want to manage my off-season a little better so that the contest prep goes a little smoother.

Q: After a show like that, are you mentally drained at all?
A: Not really mentally drained as much as physically drained. I think that "winning" gives you a mental high you're not prepared for.

Q: The week before a show like that, what were you thinking about? Nervous or excited, or what?
A: I was more excited than anything. I don't seem to get too nervous before going out on stage. I just have to think that I have done all that I can and be happy with how far I have come in the past 4 years.

Q: How about those last 5 minutes before you hit the stage, what were you thinking about?
A: I was thinking just about making sure to hit my poses and "to have fun". We all do this sport because we love it and we can't loose sight of why we compete. If you stop having fun then it takes away from the enjoyment of competing.

Q: When you are on stage did you try and read the judges reactions at all or just focus on what you are doing?
A: I always try to stay focus on what I am doing and I try not to worry about anyone else on stage.
When being on stage I just make sure that I am presenting yourself as well as I can.

Q: Whats the first thing you ate once it was over?
A: I went to Cheesecake Factory (I think that is the official after show restaurant). I had half of a salad, a pizza and half slice of peanut butter cheesecake and carrot cake cheesecake :-)it was yummy!!!

Q: Was there any other competitors you noticed who really impressed you?
A: I always like watching the pros because I can learn so much from them such as Ann Titone and Gennifer Strobo. But someone that stands out to me is Tamee Marie. She competed in fitness and she is so powerful on stage and has a phenomenal physique. Her athletic talent is amazing and couldn't be a nicer person.

Q: Anyone you got to meet or see for the first time that you were excited about?
A: I got to finally meet some people that I had talked with on Siouxcountry and Facebook that really made my trip fun such as Lisa Zisa, Tamee Marie and Gennifer Strobo.

Q: How important is support from family and friends at a show like this?
A: I think it is extremely important. I don't know what I would have done without the support of my boyfriend and a few of my friends through this process. My boyfriend put up with my crabbiness for three months and every time I thought I wanted to quit he pushed me forward. I couldn't have done it without his support.

Q: Have you decided when you will be on stage next?
A: I will be making my pro debut at Europa in Dallas, August 14th.

Q: Anyone you want to thank for helping you in the process?
A: I want to thank a few people. To my trainers Jack and Ann Titone for working with me on prepping for this contest which included my diet, training and posing. They have been extremely supportive and have helped me to bring me to the next level. To my girl Lesley Bodine for training with me, for pushing me in the gym, for encouraging me and for taking care of everything while I am way and just for being there as a friend. To my friend Michelle Shepherd for always checking in on me and giving me the added support I needed when things got tough. To my friends Juan Segura and Rigo Lopez for being like brothers to me and always looking after me and being there when I needed a shoulder to cry on. Time Rice for all the help and support over the years. To Siouxcountry.com for being such a great website for information, photos, results and bringing people together. And last but surely not least, my boyfriend Miles McDonald for being my rock!!! I so appreciate his support, encouragement, love and patience with me during this process.

Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: I would like to tell anyone that is looking for contest prep to become part of the Jacked Up Divas Team. It was so nice having support during the contest prep and actually at the show.
I will be seeking sponsorship so if there is anyone out there that would like to sponsor me during my competition efforts, please contact me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/michelle.battista

Q: So how does this sound: IFBB Pro Michelle Battista?
A: Amazing!! Unbelievable!!

Q: Michelle, again, congrats, you really deserved it. Any last words before you go?
A: Just want to say "Thank You" to all of the people that have given me advice along my transformation journey. Realize that you can do anything you put your mind too and you are never too old to accomplish your goals. My motto is "My body is my trophy and my placing doesn't define me."

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