Monday, April 25, 2011

Shannon Goering Interview

With a mother who competed in bodybuilding and being a long time gymnast, you could say Shannon Goering was made for competing in Fitness. But being made for it, doesn't mean it's easy and Shannon is proof of that. She is clearly a hard working and dedicated woman and that shows in those 1st place finishes on her competition history. Also very impressive that in her most recent show she took first in Fitness and Bikini. You also can't help but admire her desire to keep learning and help others learn. Yes, Shannon may have been made for Fitness, but it is fans of Fitness who are thankful she was.

Q: First, Shannon, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for the opportunity to share a little about myself and what I’ve learned and have yet to learn about the fitness world.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I’m from the small town of Effingham, IL, as is most of my family. I say small town because my grandmother lives only a couple of blocks away from my mother and my brother lives right behind me. However, I do have to say the area is growing rather rapidly, we’ve recently added a Kohl’s department store!

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I was, from the time I could walk I think. I started dance when I was only 3 or 4 years old, but every time I would go, my mom had to pull me off of the dance bars, which is also the same time I found my love for gymnastics and tumbling! Since then, it was always gymnastics or tumbling and cheerleading and sometimes softball with an occasional football game with the neighborhood boys.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: Through competitive gymnastics at an early age, I was always trained to do “exercises” for the sport (i.e., pull ups, pushups, V-ups, etc.). Then when I started playing other sports, like softball and volleyball, other exercises were involved too (running, sprints, etc.). Once, I hit high school, we were required to start lifting in a weight room, and that’s where it all really began!

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I’ve always been a fairly muscular person, due to training in other sports, especially gymnastics and tumbling. So training was something that I picked up pretty easily. At the time, I didn’t realize I had really packed on quite a bit of muscle, but when looking back at some of my pictures from high school, my arms were pretty jacked!

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time
A: My mom had actually competed in bodybuilding when she was about my age, which now days, it would be more like figure. That was part of my motivation, the other, was that I was working at the student rec center on campus at Eastern Illinois University, which always hosted a local competition for the students every year. I did not choose to compete in this show because I wanted to be able to advance in the level of competition. So, I then decided to start training for a regional show in the Chicago area.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Absolutely, even if they don’t understand it, they still support me 100%.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I guess with any sport you compete in, you learn as you go. There are always surprises and expectations, but once I decide to do something for the first time, the first thing I do is research! I like to be as prepared as possible for whatever it is I’ll be doing.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
*2009 ABA/INBA Natural North American Championships – 2nd Place Fitness
*2009 Fitness Midwest – 3rd Place Fitness
*2010 ABA/INBA Natural Illinois Championships – 1st Place Fitness
*2010 ABA/INBA Gateway Championships – 1st Place Fitness
*2010 Ms. Fitness USA – 11th Place
*2011 Midwest Novice Championships – 1st Place Fitness, 1st Place Bikini Short, Bikini Overall

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: By far, my back and delts :-) They usually require less focus on development but always seem to be the most developed.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I really like to train my triceps (cable pushdowns and pushups), always have. But I LOVE my leg days, especially when I get to shaking and can barely walk normal and from time to time feel like I’m going to vomit. :-)

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: Off season, I generally weight train about 3 days per week and do cardio 2 days per week, 3 if I’m feeling spunky. For contest prep, I’m still weight training 3 days per week, but ramp up the cardio to 3 times per week while incorporating HIIT and plyometric exercises. As competition time approaches, I tweak the cardio depending on how my physique is looking. Also, being a fitness competitor, I designate 2-3 times per week for routine and posing practice.

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: Most of the time it’s positive. Because of my gymnastic background, I always incorporate some sort of tumbling in my routine which generally captures people’s attention. It’s up to the rest of the routine to hold their attention, and I try my best to choreograph the routine so that it does.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: Unfortunately or fortunately, I don’t hear a lot. One comment I did get from a judge once though was, “You’re look is not mature enough”, aka you have no boobs. Needless to say, I was upset, but I also know that some things you just can’t change, unless you spend an ungodly amount of money on surgical procedures.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Countless times I’ve heard, “When can you eat?”, “She’s not eating right now”, “Do you ever eat?”. AAHH! All because I choose to eat healthy. If I’m not eating a greasy, fatty burger and fries, people assume I’m not eating. So untrue! I eat ALL the time, I’m always eating, thinking about what I’m going to eat, or making something to eat! It just happens to be typically be chicken, eggs, fish, veggies, etc.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part is to see the results you’ve worked so dang hard for and being able to share it with other competitors, judges, and fitness buffs. The worst is saying no to that big fatty, greasy burger and fries. :-)

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Of course, everyone has idols. I love the spunkiness of Adela Garcia, and the creativeness that Tanji Johnson incorporates in her routines. Oksana Grishna has crazy flexibility and performance skills that I could only pray to have one day! And I admire those pros who are unable to compete and continue to give back to the fitness industry (Amy Nelson) and those who have no problem giving amateurs pointers (Erin Riley).

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I LOVE cheesecake and freshly baked gooey chocolate chip cookies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream :-)

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: Depends on if she was training for herself with or without the intent of competing. I’ve helped with contest prep before, and generally, I say, if you think you know how hard it’s going to be, you truly have no idea. Be prepared to make sacrifices, a bunch of them. A lot of girls think they know what it takes, and they may very well know, but it’s another thing to be able to do it day in and day out. Of course, I follow it up with a positive note, you are fully capable of doing it and you will see amazing transformations you never thought possible, you just have to be ready to do it.

Q: Do you think its becoming more common to see women using the weights in the gym as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: I still see many cardio bunnies, they are usually the ones staring and a lot of times judging me. But, there may be just one who sees me and decides to pick up a weight instead hopping on a treadmill that day. In the gym where I train, I’ve seen many more women pick up weights in the last year than I had since I’ve been training there. So, I hope more women are starting to incorporate weight training into their workouts.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Definitely. Softball picks up in June, I just started playing on a co-ed team last summer and it’s a blast! Of course I still like to tumble around and see if I’m getting to old to throw certain skills. Love to dance and choreograph routines for my Zumba classes. And when I want to wind down, I grab a good book.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Shannon Goering.
A: Well, right now I’m about 4 weeks out from another show. So, it’s wake up, hello cardio. Eat. Work. Eat. Gym for weight training. Tan. More Cardio with my dog (he likes sprints). Eat. Sleep. In other words, Eat, Sleep, Train.

Q: Describe Shannon Goering in five words.
A: Disciplined, Energetic, Passionate, and my boyfriend says Charismatic and Assertive :-)

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I’m finishing up my thesis right now for my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Illinois University and I work full time as a Medical Case Manager for DCFS through the local health department.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Yes, I will be competing in 4 weeks in Chicago at a National Qualifier!

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I wish to thank Siemerworks (Ben Siemer) for all of his guidance and knowledge regarding my training programs and nutrition, as well as Get Fit Family Fitness for all of their support and pleasant greetings even when they see me 3 times a day! And thank you guys for this opportunity to share more about myself and share my knowledge with others!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors?
A: YES, I’m always looking for potential sponsors to help offset the cost of competing!

Q: Shannon, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this.

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