Sunday, October 9, 2011
IFPA Pro Alex Ellis Interview
Q: First, Alex, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: No problem. I really appreciate the opportunity.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I am the youngest sibling of four. I have two older sisters and a brother. Born, raised, and still living in St. Louis. I am a full time student and currently studying for my degree in dietetics. I am the co-founder of Nizami Pro Fitness, an up and coming clothing line.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I was extremely active. I played basketball, cross country, softball, swimming, and was a heptathlete in college. I have always been very competitive.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: College life took over after I stopped running track. I was twenty and loved to party. I completely let myself go for about two years. It wasn't until July of 2008 that I got ahold of myself and got in the gym to work the weight off and started eating clean. I really wanted to focus on my health so I joined a gym.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Training was hard at first, but I knew it had to be done. I spend hours in the gym on a daily basis. I was 165 lbs the day I got a gym membership. I followed Jillian Michaels' book "Making the Cut" It had everything from my diet that I was following to descriptive workouts. I caught on quick and lost 20 lbs the first month from circuit training and dieting. I could see results the first week.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: Powerhouse Gym in St. Louis has a history of bodybuilders, fitness, and figure competitors. The inspiring pictures on the walls of my gym motivated me to set a goal to compete.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: I have always had 100% support from my boyfriend. He has been there though everything. My family wasn't so sure about what I was getting myself into at first. Now that they know how much this sport means to me, they couldn't be more supportive. They travel with me to my shows and are always there cheering me on. As far as friends...well lets just say I lost my old ones but have gained many new ones in the fitness industry. Its always nice to have friends that share the same interest in the sport as I do.
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I didn't know what to think of it for the first time. I knew that I trained for 7 months to be on stage and show off my physique for ten minutes and it was SO worth it. I always heard people say the diet is the hardest part. I disagree with that. I think the diet is the easy part for me just because though my research and working on my own diet, I know exactly what my body needs. Then I just have to eat it.
Q: Can you share your contest history.
*3rd Place IFPA Pro North American 5/11
*1st Place NGA Pro Heart of America 5/11
*1st Place NANBF Southern States Classic Open figure Medium Tall and Overall Champion **Earned Pro Card 4/11
*3st Place NANBF Southern States Classic Open Bodybuilding
*1st Place NANBF USA's Open figure short 11/09
*3rd Place NANBF USA's Open Bodybuilding11/09
*2nd Place NANBF St. Louis Gateway Naturals Open figure short 10/09
*2nd Place NANBF St Louis Gateway Naturals Open Bodybuilding 10/09
*3rd Place NANBF St. Louis Naturals Open figure short 7/09
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Legs. I love training them!
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Pistol squats. Its a love/hate relationship. They hit glutes, quads, hams, and even core.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I lift heavy and eat clean all year long. I am trying to put on some size even during contest prep.
My splits are
As I prep for a show, I carb cycle and the cardio increases. Starting 4 weeks out from a show, I incorporate High intensity interval training on the stair climber.
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, it is positive. People are interested in hearing about it and seeing pictures. It can be motivating especially if they have a common goal or they like to work out.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: "You need to eat." or "do you just drink protein shakes all day?" Little do they know I am constantly eating 6 meals a day every day and I have been for the past 3 years. It doesn't bother me. I just wish people were better informed about the sport.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I wish people would understand how big a role that your diet plays a part in building muscle, and loosing fat. I truly believe that diet is 80%, training is 10% and genetics are 10% in achieving your goal.
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: There is not anything that is bad about training for me. I try to stay positive. I do have some tough days where I don't have any energy but I just have to keep my eye on the prize. The prize is in the practice. I love seeing results and coming into a show with a better physique each and every time.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I admire every single person who can dedicate the time and energy into competing. I have met so many strong women on this road and I am inspired by them all. Sometimes there can be a few bumps in the road during contest prep, but seeing a competitor push through and keep working hard is inspiring. Kudos to the moms out there! Its tough to compete without kids but when I see a mother in the gym doing cardio and training hard, its inspiring too!
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Sushi! I'm not a pizza or burger chick. I can throw down some sushi!
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: Be consistent an don't always expect quick results. Stick with the diet and training. Rome wasn't built in one day.
Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: Absolutely! I see more and more women all the time lifting weights! Being fit is sexy!
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Yoga is my second passion. If I had time to take a yoga class every day, I would. My favorite is Power Vinyasa. I take my classes at Yoga Source. The instructors there are absolutely AMAZING! Kim, Kathy, Jen, Emmet, Julie and Chris are awesome.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Alex Ellis.
A: My day starts off with food. I am always super hungry in the mornings so that is the first thing I do when I wake up. I like to get my lifting and cardio out of the way before class. Then, more eating, more cardio, study time, catching up on emails and phone calls and spending time with my boyfriend.
Q: Describe Alex Ellis in five words.
A: Positive, dedicated, driven, energetic, and organized.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Before I started competing, I couldn't stand the taste of vegetables.. Now I incorporate them into every one of my meals! I eat to live now. Not live to eat.
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I have two shows coming up. IFPA Pro Yorton cup on October 29 in Washington DC and NGA Pro Universe in Ft. Lauderdale on November 12. This will make five shows this year. As for 2012, I wont make any decisions until after my shows this year.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: My sponsor, Probody Solutions. They are an awesome company that carry amazing products. Check out the website and try out the supplements! Everything from their pre-workout to their protein tastes delicious.
My boyfriend, Chinga Moalusi and I would like to invite you to check out Nizami Pro Fitness at out site www.facebook.com/nizamipro. You can find daily inspiration, recipes, workouts, and general health information. "Like" our page and stay updated.
Suit designers, Tamee Marie and Anita Rae. Beautiful suits to show off the physique that you work so hard for.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors?
A: I am currently sponsored by ProBody Solutions. I love to promote their products that deserve to be in every athletes home.
Q: Alex, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A; I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this interview. I want to share a quote that I love.
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.... it's about learning to dance in the rain."