Sunday, August 29, 2010
Stephanie Mule Interview
Very happy to post this interview with Stephanie Mule. She is someone who since first finding out about her I have become a big fan of hers. She combines beauty, physique, and attitude into a package that is among the best in this industry. Want proof Bikini competitors are dedicated and work hard in the gym, look no farther than Stephanie Mule. I see a Pro card in her future.
Q: First, Stephanie, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Hi Jason, my pleasure. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself?
A: I'm the oldest in a family of 3 children (my brother is a NYC cop and my sister is a high school senior). I grew up in Staten Island, New York, where most of my family still lives. I have been employed at a private biotechnology company for the last 8 years where I worked my way up from a front desk receptionist to being the coordinator of business development. I don't have a formal college degree, though I have taken various steps towards furthering my education in the last several years including business courses, web design certificate classes and cosmetology school. Hopefully by 2011, I will have taken my state board exam to obtain my license in esthetics (skincare).
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I danced (tap, jazz, ballet) for three years when I was in junior high school, but that was the extent of anything semi-athletic for me. I was into riding bikes, rollerblading and playing kickball with my friends... but I wasn't involved in competitive sports.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I was "skinny fat" and like most normal girls, I wanted to lose some weight be "toned". I just didn't truly understand how to go about reaching my goals. I tried to pay attention to my diet, but made lots of critical, common mistakes (crazy diets, not eating enough calories or calories from lean protein sources, not exercising enough, etc). When I met my boyfriend Jon, who is a competitive bodybuilder, I began to learn about how to live a healthier lifestyle. I also educated myself through message boards and magazines such as Oxygen, Muscle & Fitness, Flex, etc. When I first attended an NPC show that Jon competed in and saw the ladies on stage, I knew I wanted to take my training to the next level so I could look like them.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: It was, actually. I started using light weight and high reps, mainly using machines. After a couple months, I got bored and wanted to challenge myself more. I put my insecurities aside and began training with free weights . I saw results pretty quickly. Before I even began altering my diet, the pounds began to slip off. Once I trained my body to eat 6 small meals throughout the day, more changes took effect. I became addicted to the results, so it was easy to keep the momentum up after that.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: A few people told me I should consider a trip to the stage, but I didn't feel my physique was where it needed to be to compete in figure. When the NPC announced the birth of the bikini division in late 2008, I decided I would test the waters by getting on stage that spring.
Q: Was competing something your family and friends supported at the time?
A: My family and friends always support whatever makes me happy. I think they thought it was just a phase, at first. Now they get excited when they hear I do well and ask about my upcoming shows. Usually they want to know when my shows are over, so I can indulge in some yummy meals with them.
Q: Was competing what you expected? Did anything surprise you about it?
A: Honestly, I didn't have any idea what to expect. I just went into it figuring it would be a fun experience. Never did I imagine that I would be competing and placing at the national-level, so I guess you could say that that has been a happy surprise!
Q: Can you share your contest history.
April 25, 2009 - NPC Suburban Championships ~ 4th place
June 27, 2009 - NPC Garden State Classic ~ 1st place
June 12, 2010 - NPC Garden State Classic ~ did not place
June 19, 2010 - NPC Junior Nationals ~ 1st place, Class A
July 10, 2010 - NPC Team Universe - 3rd place, Class B
Q: Do you feel Bikini competitors are being taken more serious now by others in the industry?
A: Yes, I do. I think the physiques that are being rewarded are ones that reflect a level of commitment to the gym and to a fit lifestyle.
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: There's always room for improvement, but I would have to say my back is my best body part.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: My legs/glutes are my weakness, so I'm currently training them three times a week. I used to hate a love/hate relationship with leg day, but it is now my favorite. There's so many variations of squats and deadlifts that I can mix it up every workout and never get bored.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like, and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I train 5-6 days a week. When I'm preparing for a show, I'm in the gym 7 days a week (sometimes twice a day) to complete all my cardio and lifting.
Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: It is almost always positive. People are usually intrigued and ask about my diet and training routine.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I can't think of anything I'm sick of hearing, but I do have questions that are asked frequently. I like that people are interested enough to ask. One thing alot of people have wondered is if my tattoos have hurt my placings in competitions. It's a fair question... I have never once heard of them counting against me and I have requested feedback from the judges, so it makes me happy that they are open-minded enough about a little personality, especially in the NPC bikini division. My ink is part of who I am, so if it was a problem, I might have to reconsider my competitive career.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I wish people understood that lifting heavy weights will not make a woman bulky or look like a man. Putting on muscle is hard work. It takes time, discipline and dedication in and out of the gym. Diet is another key factor.
Q: What is the best and worst part of competing?
AA: The best part for me is knowing that I committed myself to a goal and I accomplished it. I want to display an improved version of myself each time I'm on stage, so if I can do that, then I can walk away from the experience feeling really positive about it. The worst part (if I had to pick one) would have to be how expensive it can be to compete, especially if you have to travel for a show.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Wow, this is a long list... there's so many! Pauline Nordin, Gina Aliotti, Felicia Romero are a few of the top ladies who come to mind.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: A warm, gooey brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. Mmm... Also, pad Thai and Japanese hibachi.
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: I would tell her not to give up! It can be easy to become frustrated when progress comes to a halt or if you are struggling with a lagging body part, etc. The key is to remain positive and be patient.
Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women in the gym working as hard as men?
A: Absolutely! I think it's sad when people generalize lifting weights and assume it is a male activity. The benefits of strength training are so significant, I wish I could help everyone I know transition into this amazing lifestyle.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love to watch mixed martial arts. I'm a huge UFC fan! Other than that, I'm just a regular girl. When my budget allows, I am all about shopping! Every few months, Jon and I like to travel down to Atlantic City for a couple of days to relax, gamble and just get away from daily life and focus on each other. I love trying new cuisines too, so when the diet allows, I like to try new Thai, Japanese and Portuguese restaurants and indulge a little bit.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Stephanie Mule?
A: It's pretty simple, especially the last several months since we have both been prepping... Work, train, relax at home. Sometimes on weekends, we will take a trip to the outlets for some shopping or go to the movies.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Most people are surprised when they learn that I have a corporate job. Between the tattoos and facial piercings, I think it throws people off. I can be a chameleon though. Everything is hidden under my corporate casual wardrobe.
Q: Describe Stephanie Mulé in five words.
A: Loyal, Loving, Disciplined, Responsible, Wicked.
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I just competed in 3 shows within the last 5 weeks. Pending feedback from the judges, I'll consider what my next steps might be.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I don't have a website yet, so people can contact me by email StephanieWicked@gmail.com. I'm also on Facebook, www.facebook.com/StephanieWicked.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Stephanie Mulé, the athlete and competitor?
A: I would be honored to represent a company within the fitness industry! I enjoy attending expos and shows and networking with others who have an affinity for the bodybuilding lifestyle. If someone thinks I might be compatible with their company/image/product, I welcome the opportunity to discuss a potential sponsorship opportunity.
Q: Stephanie, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you again, Jason. I look forward to hearing from everyone!! :)