Thursday, August 18, 2011
Renee Hart Brown Interview
Q: First, Renee, thanks for taking the time to do this.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I born in a small town called Zachary Louisiana. I grew up in Baton Rouge. I grew up with my mother and my stepdad and my step brother and half-sister…I have quite the blended family! I went to a private Catholic school 9 years in LA before moving to Florida in 89. I started my high school years in Cape Coral, FL. I currently live in Fort Myers, FL with my fiancée and my two children Emily 12 and Zachary 8. We have five children between us the oldest at home is 17 Tom’s son Tommy. The other two are in college Erica and Tori.
Q: Before the gym, were you especially athletic? Play any sports?
A: I wasn’t especially athletic growing up. I was active in the local swim team during the summers and I did play soft ball during grade school, I also recall trying many different activities and never really sticking to any of them for long.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I must say I became complacent in my early years when I got married and I didn’t eat well or really exercise much. I reached 207lbs when I had my daughter and hardly recognized myself. My husband at the time was not supportive of the gym scene so I educated myself on diet and started exercising with videos and small workouts I would cut out of magazines. I began to run out side and crave more. I had lost a lot of weight but just looked thin not fit! I was actually a little less than my high school weight by then. I went to play it again sports and bought an Olympic weight set. I put it in the garage and then added an elliptical a treadmill and mirrors and made my own gym. I remember some nights out there it was over 95 degrees but I was determined to continue on my path of transforming my body! I would work out after I worked all day got kids home took care of them put them to bed and did the financial books for my ex-husbands business…..It didn’t matter what time it was I did it anyway! To make a long story a little shorter one of the first things my fiancée did for me was get me a gym membership and I have been there ever since. I love the gym :-)
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you saw results?
A: I picked up training pretty easily and the gym made it all that more satisfying, I made lots of friends and developed a strong circle of support. I started going to some of the classes there and increased my intensity and even hired a trainer. My fiancée took before pictures and in several months I made still another transformation. I get results pretty quickly when I apply a clean diet and intense exercise.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: There are several women at my gym that compete, the woman I was training with some started competing in bikini competitions and suggested with my body I consider it. Also a few of the trainers were supportive also. So I decided to meet a nutritionist to start gathering the information and requirements of diet. I told him I just wanted to learn and to give me some basic knowledge that I could apply but that I wasn’t going to stick to its requirements 100% I really enjoyed going out on weekends and a few beers on Sunday when out on the boat. But even with that knowledge of how to weigh my food and numbers to apply to my type of body and muscle mass. I still again made improvements. So the next year I went to him and said let’s do this. I had a show picked out locally and I was ready to commit.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: I am lucky to have a very supportive family my fiancée is wonderful and diets with me when I am on mine he packs his food the same way I do (of course he gets way more food) but we enjoy the process together and spend many weekends cooking and planning together. My children also understood! Don’t touch mommy’s buckets of food! My parents at times were concerned with me getting too lean. But they were very proud of my level of commitment and discipline! Most of my friends were very understanding also. I became somewhat antisocial at times due to the strictness of my diet and reduction of temptation. I find my attitude better with these issues this go round.
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you?
A: I had no idea besides what my friends/competitors had told me about competing and I initially thought I would just try it once! But WOW I was so amazed at how I looked and felt and the final reward for my journey that I had shown myself and others I could accomplish! My dad told me after he saw my pictures “the world better watch out when you put your whole self into something!” I did the best I could and brought the best I could and with no expectations at all it changed me forever!
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: My first figure competition was The Gulf coast Championship in Cape Coral FL on May 21 2011. I placed 1st in novice and 1st in Masters 35+ and overall Masters Winner! I am currently prepping for All South to take place in St. Augustine November 5th!
Q: What do you feel is your best body part?
A: As far as body parts I feel that my legs are very naturally muscular I am always getting comments on my calves….which I do not specifically train. Genetics! But I must say on stage I loved the way my abs looked!
Q: Do you have a favorite part to train?
A: I don’t have a favorite body part to train! I just love to train anything but I do often find myself training legs, delts and back to improve! Always room for improvement.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: My normal training is 5 days a week and a generally clean diet during the week with a few indulgences on the weekends. But for contest prep it’s all measured and prepared (no chance you will find me unprepared) and training is 6 days a week! All fresh ground nut butters are removed from my pantry! I never allow myself any excuse to stray. If I have a cheat meal it’s planned and I take advantage of it for sure!
Q: When people see or hear you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction?
A: When someone sees my physique and notices especially when in contest prep, as I am leaning out people will ask; are u a body builder? Are you a personal trainer? But mostly it’s I WISH I HAD YOUR DISCIPLINE!
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: Most asked questions after my competition are "what do you eat" and "how do you train" and "can you help me to look like you?????" It can be somewhat frustrating. I have helped a few friends but only one I know of did the work and actually lost the weight she wanted to and completely changed her lifestyle! Oh one other girl I hooked up with a few people, and she is going to compete in September. It is very rewarding to hear I am their inspiration and have helped them make positive changes:-).
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Many people don’t understand women who train and lift heavy and compete. The biggest misconceptions I run into is are you going to look like a man? I try to explain that quickly! NO! I have been training for years and I am still very feminine and I laugh it off!
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training is setting new personal records all the time and watching my physique change. I love to continually change the way I train and the different tools I do it with. I can’t say there is a worst thing, because there isn’t!....Well it is time consuming but I love it!
Q: Are there any competitors you are a fan of?
A: Yes I love Ava Cowen, Erin Stern, Monica Brant, and a few local pros Amy Vetter and Shannon Hart Dittmer. Their commitment and success are truly amazing!
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Yes my contest diet is low in fat so I love to eat sushi and seared ahi tuna. They are not included of course fresh ground nut butters and chocolate….lots of chocolate!
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 someone who wanted to start training to stay vigilant and they will get the results but it’s not just the training you must commit to a clean diet to really see results!
Q: Do you think its becoming more common to see women working with the weights as opposed to just cardio and things?
A: Yes its becoming more common to see women near the weights and not just all cardio they are learning through great articles and studies and of course watching the women that do the benefits of lifting weights as well as a well-rounded cardio plan. I personally don’t do tons of cardio if you lift weights hard and heavy it’s a cardio workout itself!
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Outside of training I enjoy boating with my family to the beach and love date nights with my fiancée I don’t have tons of extra time for other hobbies training has been a big part of my life for years now and nothing else has stolen my attention from that.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Renee Hart Brown.
A: A typical Monday and Wed. would be up @5 get ready for work and kids ready for school of course pack my cooler and head out the door by 7am drop kids off scrub in cataract surgery then off to the gym I go for 1.5-2.5 hours depending on training plan. On Tues and Thursday, Friday and Saturday I’m at the gym early am then on with the day.
Q: Describe Renee hart Brown in five words.
A: LOYAL, LOVING,ORGANIZED,STRONG,ACTIVE
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I think most people would be surprised to know that I was very overweight at one point in my life….Once a girl from the gym said to me your one of those skinny girls that eats whatever they want right? I laughed and said NO.
Q: Any set plans for the future as far as competing or anything?
A: Yes I am planning to compete in November and if I qualify I may try to go to a National level competition after that. I would love to achieve my pro card! I am planning a wedding for December so I will definitely be taking a little time off to enjoy.
Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: I can’t say enough positive things about clean eating and what it can and will do for you and learning and studying what works for you! I am a firm believer in what you eat shapes your physique.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors and if so, how can they reach you?
A: I would love to be involved with a great company if they are interested they can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Renee, again, thanks for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: I love to cook my food and I enjoy being creative lots of my friends ask me for recipes but I just fly by the seat of my pants. I’ll post pictures on Facebook and many friends start messaging me for recipes if they don’t ask right then I have no idea how I made it exactly, I make some yummy clean food!
Thanks you for the opportunity :-)