Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Lisa White Interview
Q: First, Lisa, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for the opportunity. It’s my pleasure.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I came to the U.S. from Korea when I was a baby. My dad was in the Army, and I was raised with my brother Chris. I also have another brother and two sisters from my biological father, whom I met when I was 26. All of us kids are of mixed ethnicities, and look like a mini United Nations. I’m married and I have two fabulous gingers, too. My daughter Jaden is six and my son Marcus a.k.a. Chunk is four. My family keeps me on my toes.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Yes, I was. When I was younger my parents were very supportive of sports participation. I’ve participated in everything from ballet to bowling. My parents were adamant that my brother and I finish any sport we started, but if we didn’t like it we didn’t have to continue it the next season.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I ate my way through college on Papa John’s Pizza and midnight grilling parties, but I wasn’t heavy. It wasn’t until after I graduated from Georgia Southern University that the weight began to “stick.”
I gained weight in my midsection, and wore a size 10 to 12 at 135 lb. I was working with little down time, and was sick of having a donut around my waist. I jumped in head-first and bought a two year membership at Cosmos Fitness.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: Yes, the training came easy, but I was also determined to make changes. I weight lifted four days a week and in six months gained five pounds. My weight was 140 lb. but my pant size was a four or six. My body composition was changing steadily.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I trained to compete ten years ago, and backed out one week before the bodybuilding show. I had severe stage fright. Again, in 2007, I decided to compete. I was two weeks into contest prep when I found out I was pregnant with my Chunk.
Finally, in 2009, I didn’t like the way I felt or looked. I was reverting. For years I spent my time running a business and raising kids while eating donuts and coffee well into the night. I was tired of being the mom that looked like the mom stereotype; haggard and fat. I decided to compete to give myself a goal.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Most of my girlfriends are active, and a few compete so they are very supportive. My dad is supportive, and has seen me compete. On the other hand, my mom is not. My mom is old school Korean and thinks I look like “Skinny-bones-Jones” when I’m in contest prep. She likes everyone to be heavy.
My kids walk around flexing, and my husband is also supportive. Josh was a power lifting athlete while attending Elon University, and he understands the training, diet, and mental aspect of what it takes to compete. He evaluates all of my photos and gives advice; but only when I ask for it. He’s become very wise over the years.
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Absolutely not! It was nothing like I expected. The girls were very catty, and ambitious. I thought it would be more sportsmanlike, but it wasn’t. As for being on stage, it was as scary as I expected. The lights are so bright, and everything moves very fast. Of course, I had the terrible fear that one of the judges would call my number and say, “Your other left…”
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: Sure. In my first show I placed sixth and I’ve placed first through fourth since.
*2011 NGA Mount Rogers, November 19, 3rd place open medium class
*2011 Charm City Classic, October 22, 3rd place masters class, 4th place open short class
*2010 OCB Midwest States, November 20, 1st place novice 2 Class, 2nd place masters 2 Class, 4th place open class
*2010 ABA Natural North American Championships, August 7, 3rd place short class,
*2009 Muscle Mania October, 10 , 6th place open class
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I would say my shoulders. My shoulders are naturally broad and square, but I am careful when posing. In certain poses my shoulders over power the rest of my body.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Actually, I really love to workout regardless of competing. I’d have to say, in this order: back, shoulders and legs are the best. I have two favorite exercises. I love close grip lat pull downs without a seat. I sit with my knees on the floor and do the lat pulls from there.
My second favorite exercise is plate pushes on the basket ball court. I use a 45 lb. weight on a towel and push it across the court. Do enough of those and you’ll vomit.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: In or off-season I try to train at least five days a week. I do a basic split of back, chest, legs, shoulders and arms. I train seven days a week when in contest prep, and on the additional days I do short sessions of plyometric exercises and cardio. I have been known to take days off if my body needs it.
In the off-season I eat what I want. I don’t think twice about having chicken fingers and fries if that’s what I crave. I love to live life, and worrying about my caloric intake verses my caloric expenditure in the off season isn’t going to happen.
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: Actually, both the positive and negative comments are about the same. When my husband and I owned a gym a woman came in for a personal trainer. Her goal was to get in shape, but she said, “I don’t want to look like you.” When I asked what was “wrong” with me she said I was too big.
Meanwhile, I was stopped by a woman the other week who said I looked fantastic. I told her I was a figure competitor, and it intrigued her. She asked me questions in the grocery store about the process.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: For many athletes, the most avoided or annoying question is, “Are you on steroids?” For me, I get a lot of flak from friends and acquaintances because I don’t use enhancement drugs. I don’t care who uses gear, but I never thought that not using enhancement drugs would be disapproved of.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Hands down—Turning into She-hulk. It just doesn’t happen unless you have a great combination of genetics and the right “pharmacist.”
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: I love to lift, but I hate, and I mean hate, cardio. I’m a weights kind of girl. Cardio sucks ass.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Beni Lopez. Kris Murrell. Both women are power houses. Lopez and Murrell are crossing over to physique and I’m interested to see the changes. IFPA Pro Patricia Beckman has some of the best posing I’ve seen. She’s artistic and creative without posing like an “entertainer.”
Monica Brant of course. She’s one of my favorites for several reasons. She’s lasted a long time in a tough industry, and she’s an astute business woman. She wouldn’t have lasted otherwise.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: I’m such a foodie that there are days I wonder why I bother to compete. When in contest prep cheat foods are usually Nutella, BBQ or a cheeseburger.
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 tell her how much time it really takes to compete. Most people have no idea how much time it takes to prepare for a single bodybuilding show. They don’t realize every minute counts. Training, cardio, posing practice, tanning and food prep all take time. Add your life away from bodybuilding into the mix and time management is the top priority.
Q: Do you think it’s becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: No, I don’t. I wish it wasn’t the case, though. Women are still so fearful of bulking up, and looking like their husbands. It’s an old myth that keeps persevering.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activates you enjoy?
A: I love to hang out with my kids, read, play scrabble, cook, and travel, visit museums and go to plays or shows. I’ve seen the Lion King on Broadway. Miss Saigon in London. Phantom of the Opera in Hotlanta. Henry the V in Stratford-upon-Avon. O in Las Vegas.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Lisa White.
A: I’m very, very predictable. My alarm sounds at 3:3O a.m. I head to the laundry room, start a load of wash, and fold whatever remains. I heat water for coffee, and begin cooking breakfast. I eat breakfast, and check my emails and websites so I can start writing. If I’m in contest prep I do cardio after checking e-mails.
Then I’m off and running once the kids get up. I get them ready for school by 8:40 a.m., and head to the gym where I train for an hour. When I’m in contest prep it’s two hours. Then I’m back at the house to write articles between taking care of my Chunk, cleaning and cooking. I pick my daughter up from school, and then its dinner, baths, story time and bed by 8:00p.m.
Damn, that’s boring!
Q: Describe Lisa White in five words.
A: Confident. Harsh. Honest. Bold. Sensual.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I am a complete nerd, and a huge fan of reading. I don’t get to read as much as I like, but I used to read a book a day. I also have many other aspirations besides competing. I plan to go back to school to become a registered dietician, and I don’t care if I’m 60 when it happens.
People are very surprised to find that I don’t speak Korean. My mother wanted to me to be very “American” and never taught me.
When it comes to competing people are always surprised to learn that I loathe water, and anything on a competition diet. I don’t care how you dress it up; a sweet potato is just a gnarly root.
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: The additional cardio and tight diet is very taxing during contest prep. I like to take six to eight months off between shows to recover and grow. As of yet, I plan to compete in October or November. I’m not sure which shows I’ll do though, since I was recommended to crossover to the NPC. I’ve been doing natural bodybuilding shows and have never done NPC.
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: Thank you for the opportunity. People can find me at CPT Lisa M. White™ or CPT Lisa M. White™ Bodybuilding blog, or check out my column as a National Bodybuilding Examiner.
I am also the owner of Bodybuilding Event Tips. The site offers tips on things that occur during bodybuilding shows, information on products, or answers to questions that are commonly asked. Please don’t be shy and “Like” the Bodybuilding Event Tips Facebook page, also.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you?
A: Yes, I am. Thank you for asking. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My resume and photos are available upon request.
Future sponsors can also see that I’m a sponsored athlete of Vandella Costumes. 2012 will be my third year being sponsored. Thank you Vandella Costumes.
Q: Lisa, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I’d like to say don’t get lost along the way, and forget to enjoy the journey. This is about having fun. Once again, thank you for the interview invitation.