Sunday, March 27, 2011
SNBF Pro Leslie Hasselbach Interview
An athlete all her life, Figure competitions seemed like a natural progression for Leslie Hasselbach. natural progression or not, Leslie has achieved some incredible things in a short time. Winning her first show, earning her SNBF pro card in no time, and now competing and constantly improving in NPC shows. She has a great physique. She says her legs are her best body part, and they are amazing, but I would put her back up against anyone. I expect even bigger things from Leslie this year.
Q: First, Leslie, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for giving me this opportunity! :-)
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: My name is Leslie Hasselbach, I am 34 years old and I currently reside in Clemson, South Carolina. I am originally from Fremont, Ohio. I moved to Clemson eleven years ago to accept the Head Men’s and Women’s Diving Coach position at Clemson University. I truly love my job as a coach because I get to help motivate young people to reach their dreams and goals in all aspects of their lives. My athletes keep me young and vibrant and I can still keep up with them! :-) I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Then I moved on to earn my Master’s Degree in Student Affairs Administration/Counseling Education from Clemson University.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Athletics have always been a part of my life. In high school I was a cheerleader, ran cross-country, was on the diving team, played softball, and ran track. When I was younger I was a gymnast which is what ultimately led me to the wonderful world of diving! I earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Toledo and was a member on the diving team for 4 years of my collegiate career. Immediately after my collegiate diving career, I became the diving coach at the University of Toledo. I also was a professional high diver for 13 years! Yes, performing in diving shows was an awesome summer job! :-) I still cannot believe that I used to high dive from 80 feet high into 10 feet of water! Yikes!
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: As a young girl, my first memories of going to the gym were with my dad. That was our time! I was such a daddy’s girl and I felt so special going to the gym with him! It was through my father where I learned to love the gym and how important is was to have in your life! All through college I was in the weight room and while my teammates would complain about having to lift, I was busy on the leg press machine having fun beating the guys on the team! Those boys were so mad that I could leg press more than them…it just made me love the gym even more! :-)
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I have always had the determination and inner drive to have what it takes to train hard. I truly did not start seeing results from my training until I learned how to properly nourish my body. When I changed my diet, it started to change my body composition. It felt so great to finally be able to work out, eat right and see results! I could not have accomplished the changes in my body composition without the help of my amazing coach! :-)
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: After I finished my graduate degree at Clemson in 2008, I decided it was time to get myself back into shape. So, I started training with our Strength Trainers in our athletic department. They saw how hard I worked in the weight room and they knew that I would be able to wear a teeny-bikini in front of hundreds of people because of my diving experience. So, they told me that I needed to look into competing in Figure competitions. I had never heard of them so, I did some research and it looked like fun. I signed up for my first competition and the rest is history! I was hooked!
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: I am very fortunate that my family and friends have been so supportive of every step of the way in my new adventure!
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I remember my first competition and I was so clueless about what I was supposed to do and where I needed to stand, etc. But, I guess that I was able to fake it well because I won! :-) I also thought that the ladies backstage might be a bit mean and feisty, but that was not the case at all! I have made so many great friends and met so many inspirational people along the way! All of the competitors I have met have been fantastic!
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: My first contest was in June of 2009 with the SNBF and I won the novice figure title. My next competition was in the SNBF in November and I won the open figure short class and then won the overall AND my Pro Card! My first SNBF Pro event was May of 2010 and I finished 3rd. Then it was on to the NPC! My first NPC contest was the Palmetto Cup in May and I finished 2nd. Then it was on to an NPC contest in Detroit, August 2010 and I finished 2nd. Then finally, I ended the 2010 season with Jr. USA’s and finished in the top 5 of the figure B class!
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I have been told that my legs are my best body part! I always have guys coming up to me at the gym and ask me if I could pass along my leg workout secrets to them! It’s no secret…it’s all genetics and proper training tactics from my coach!
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I love training shoulders and back! It is always a “hurts so good” type of training and I love it!
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
a: Currently I am lifting 4 days a week and have metabolic workouts twice a week. My lifts are mostly super-sets and they really keep me moving! Each week my rest intervals for my supersets change and my workouts are set up in 4 week phases. Each week I go to the gym, my workouts get more intense! Early in my contest prep, I have very minimal additional cardio because I get my “cardio” during my lifts. As we get closer to contest time my cardio increases and my food decreases…boo-hoo! I have never dieted the same way yet, in preparation for contests. My coach continues to change up my diet according to the changes my body and metabolism make along the way. I am cherishing my diet right now because soon enough it’s going to change closer to showtime! :-)
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: For the most part people react in a positive way. However, I always have to explain to them what figure competitions are etc. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me about what figure competitions are…I’d be a very rich person! :-) I live in a small college town and not many people around here have even heard of physique competitions. So you can imagine how much fun it is explaining what it is I do and why I do it!
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I have many…but, I will stick to one. I really get sick of people asking me what I eat and what I do for my training in order to get these results. It especially bothers me when they ask me those questions WHILE I am trying to train! I am a very sweet, nice and accommodating person, but when I get to the gym, that is my time to put the work in and make gains! I have no problem if they want to ask me those questions, after I am finished training. That is a very involved question that they asked and will take time to explain! :-)
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I feel that most people think that competitors don’t eat very much when in fact most of us eat more than that normal person would eat. We just choose to eat very nutrient dense healthy foods and maintain high protein diets. Yes, we do have to weigh everything and we eat 5-6 smaller meals a day but, to me that is normal! I would not be a happy person if I only ate 3 bigger meals a day! I really wish more people would embrace the idea of eating healthy instead of just making excuses!
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training is the fact that it is my time to make improvements for me! My job requires me to help make my athletes better in all facets of their lives in order to help them achieve their goals. When I am at the gym that is time that I have to help me achieve my goals and make me feel better and in turn serve as a more complete role model for my athletes! The worst part of training for me is when I have to take a day off! I really do hate having a day off but, I know that it helps my training efforts by taking a day for my body to recover! :-) Also, the worst part of training is being patient! Sometimes I just want my body to be where it needs to be right away. But, I understand that transforming your physique is not a microwave process…it takes time! My coach tells me all the time to be patient with the process.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I truly admire Ava Cowen! She is so humble and is always a class act!
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: My favorite cheat foods are anything Italian and Ice Cream and cookies! :-)
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 recommend that she finds herself a reputable trainer. It is so important to go through this process with a trainer who knows how to properly train and diet you for a competition. I have seen a few competitors hire the wrong trainer and it has done damage to their bodies making them walk away with a negative competitive experience. So, find a coach you trust and stick with them!
Q: Do you think it is becoming more common to see women working in the gym with the weights and not just doing cardio and things?
A: Let me tell you…ever since our gym has brought in the Les Miles Body Pump class…it is PACKED! It is so great to see both women and men using weights to train with in that class! We also have a “women’s only” gym in our facility and that has seemed to help the women feel more comfortable to pick up some weights and make them move! :-)
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I enjoy hanging out on the lake and going boating, skiing, and fishing! I also enjoy reading a good motivational book! I love being outdoors and going on adventures! And I cannot forget shopping…love it! :-)
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Leslie Hasselbach.
A: Ok…here we go! I wake up in the morning around 5:51 AM, get dressed and head to morning diving practice from 6:30-8:00AM. After practice, I drive home, hop in the shower and then get ready for the office. I make and pack3-4 of my meals for the day and my pre and post workout drinks and workout gear and head to the office! I am typically in the office from 9AM-2:00 PM and then its practice time, again! I am typically at the pool for practice from 2:30-6:30 PM. After practice, it’s gym time! My workouts are usually an hour long and then I get home make my last meal and am usually in bed before 11PM and then I do it all over again! J Now that’s excitement! Ha ha! During our season I also travel a lot so, I have become very good at making and packing a weekends worth of meals in a hurry!
Q: Describe Leslie Hasselbach in five words.
A: Loyal, Hard-working, Patient, Happy, Open-minded.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: In the summer time I used to perform in diving shows. One of our company’s productions was called “Mermaids and Mariners”. I received training to be a mermaid in the show! So, not only was I a diver in the show but, I was also the Mermaid! It was so much fun but, yet it was hard work trying to swim around underwater and breathe from an air hose while your legs are tied together in a mermaid tail…not to mention all while smiling and performing underwater! :-)
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Currently, I am training for Jr USA’s on May 21st! I would like to improve upon my top 5 finish at Jr USA’s from last year! From there, my coach and I will plan out the rest of my season.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I would like to thank Herb Cables for being such an amazing coach. I could not do any of this without his guidance and vision. You can check out his new transformation endeavor at www.equationtransformation.com or his competitor website at www.herbcables.com if you would like to join Herb’s Hotties or Herb’s Hulks. I would also like to thank Charles Usry from the Esso Club (a famous sports bar) in Clemson for being one of my sponsors for the 2011 figure competition season! I am so thankful for his support!
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Leslie Hasselbach the athlete and competitor?
A: I would be truly honored if someone wanted to become a sponsor! :-) If I would be so lucky to earn a sponsorship, I would represent their company with the utmost respect in a first-class manner. I am an out-going young lady who loves to network and build relationships. I am also a fierce competitor by nature and I will bring my best to the stage each and every time I compete. :-) You can get in touch with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Leslie, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you once again for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts! I admire your vision and drive to help promote women in the physique and fitness world! :-) All the best to you and I will continue to be one of your #1 fans! :-)