When I grow up…I want to be a Fitness Competitor.

20 02 2012

For many  of us fitness enthusiasts there have been many  moments where we think, I would have loved to have been that, done that, or tried that. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I say that often. I could have played sports but my parents worked full-time so I wasn’t allowed. I could have been a singer but I ruined my voice yelling in spin class. I could have been a professional biker had I started riding younger. I coulda, woulda, shoulda ….the list goes on and on.  At one point in our lives we put our dreams, wishes and desires aside because we either doubted ourselves, didn’t have the passion, the drive or the dedication to go for it, or thought we are to old, or some have even given up on a dream because of someone else’s. I do believe that each person has something they excel at and most go through their entire lives never finding that special gift that they have. Lance Armstrong talks about that in his first book, about how lucky he was to find biking. I may never find my “thing” so I’ll keep looking, dreaming and hoping for more chances. In the meantime I want to talk to the people who have succeeded in finding their “thing”.

Today I start my first of a series of  blogs called: When I grow up.

 When I grow up I would like to be a Fitness Competitor.

Meet Carrie Simmons, I.F.B.B. Pro Fitness competitor, aerialist, personal trainer and coach. When I have a question about training I usually e-mail Carrie. Since she is surrounded by serious fitness folks I know if she doesn’t know the answer, she will find it for me.  Carrie moved from Conshohocken, PA to LA to pursue her dream of becoming a fitness professional.  I spoke to Carrie recently…….

Q- When did you start working out?

A- I started training when I was 23. I was dating a National level BBer who dragged me kicking and screaming to the gym.

Q- How old were you and what was the first competition you entered?

A – I was 26 I think. It was a regional Ms. Fitness USA competition.

Q- How did you do? What one thing did you learn from this first competition that stayed  with you and made you prepare better for the next show? 

A- I think I was like second to last… LMAO! I learned to diet more than 4 weeks for a show and don’t carb up on Frosted Flakes!!!!!

Q- You turned pro in what year and how many years after your first competition?

A- Turned pro in 2009, 12 years after starting.

Q-That’s a long time. Did you ever want to quit?

Hell YEAH. They weren’t 12 continuous years, I’d get fed up and take some time off, then the itch would come back

Q- What was the name of the competition and how did it feel to get your pro card? 

A- It was the NPC Team Universe in NYC. It was AWESOME!

Q- What is your biggest struggle to stay  in top shape?  

A-  DIETING!!!!!!

Q- When you are not competing are you still strict with your diet and exercise?

A- I’m still strict, but more reasonable. I’ll eat a wider variety of foods.

Q- What type of food or supplements should I take before and after my workouts to help me see results in gaining lean muscle and losing fat? 

A- BCAAs and glutamine afterwards for recover and I like a pre workout supplement  that has no caffeine and sometimes caffeine for a kick.

Q- How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food? I crave chocolate all the time. I have no willpower for this. It literally cannot be in my house in any form. 

A-  I do the same thing… I don’t keep it in the house!

Q- When I first saw you at Superfit gym when you still lived in Philadelphia I was so intimidated by you.  I am sure that most women are, but how do the men in the gym react to you? Intimidated? Jealous?  Impressed?  

A- LMAO!!!! YOU intimidated me! I remember saying to Greg, (owner of SuperFit Gym) “Wow does she always stay in that kind of shape??” I get a mix of reactions, mostly positive.

Q – What is the best compliment you have ever received? 

A- Probably when a woman tells me she wants  to look like me.

Q – I was in a club at the Jersey Shore (Yo)  and some little guy told me I was too big  and that it wasn’t feminine or sexy.  I’m not even that big.  Do people say stuff like that to you? 

A- I’ve gotten it before. My response is usually “f**k off” I look this way for me. I like it and that’s all that really matters.  I lucked out and found a great guy who likes it too.

Q- How do you deal with all the beautiful people in California (LA) who buy their appearance?

A- That great guy I found lives in LA. Yes, there are plenty of folks who have been surgically altered here, but there are a lot  more who spend hours in the gym just like us.

Q- Tell me the difference between people in an East Coast Gym and a West Coast Gym. 

A – I think the East coast guys are more “meat head”… more concerned with strength and muscle size not necessarily leanness. The west coast boys are all about being lean and pretty.  As for the girls, there are more ladies in the gyms on the west coast for certain.

Q- Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat on  a typical day to stay in shape. 

A- That’s easy it’s pretty much the same all year! Differences between off-season and contest prep are the types of proteins and the amount of carbs I eat.

Meal 1 – shake and oatmeal

Meal 2 – oatmeal and egg whites

Meal 3 – protein, carb, veggies

Meal 4 – protein, carb, veggies

Meal 5  – Post workout shake

Meal 6 – protein, carb

Meal 7 – protein

Q – “Carbs”, I can’t stand when my clients don’t eat any carbs and don’t understand the  good carb/ bad carb rule. Do you eat carbs? 

A – YUP!

Q – What guidelines do you recommend for daily protein intake? 

A- I’m of the 1.5-2g per lb. of body weight. The higher end of that being for quality muscle gaining.

Q – When you are not competing are you still strict with your diet and exercise? Because sometimes I see a post and your eating at a burger place or some other joint and I am saying no way is Carrie eating that crap. 

A – LMAO!!! Are you referring to my trips to the cheesecake factory and the Counter (awesome burger shop in LA)???? Hey, I love food. But even when I diet for a show, I get one cheat meal a week. I take it on a Saturday or Sunday so Michael and I can have somewhat of a “normal” time out. But even if it’s not a cheat meal,  the places we eat out at in LA don’t look at you like you’ve got 2 heads when you ask for something grilled, or without butter or dressing on the side. That’s another thing I like about the West coast, it’s way more health conscious than the East coast. I ask for my food prepared a special way and stuff on the side.  Back home  in Philly it would come with a heaping serving of spit.

When I order my boyfriend cringes, especially when I say “write this down” . He says, you forget to tell them no tomatoes and extra spit please. lol 

Q- What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.) Currently  I’m hitting everything 2x a week

Answer

Mon – legs (quad specific, some ham)

Tue – back and biceps (heavy movements)

Wed – chest, shoulder triceps (chest and triceps specific)

Thu – legs (ham specific, some quad)

Fri – back and biceps (light and detailing)

Sat – chest, shoulder triceps (shoulder specific – military presses etc)

Cardio right now is treadmill mostly. Early AM empty stomach before work (lifting is at night after work)

Q – Six pack abs. Made in the kitchen or in the gym?  

A – Some gym, mostly kitchen!

Q – Do you train everyday? 

A- Sunday right now is off, but I wind up going to dance class.

Q – What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change:

  1. Set goals. Whether it’s a competition, some party you want to look good for, your birthday…
  2. Track what you eat… FOR REAL. Every bite. Most folks don’t realize how much they really consume.
  3. Find a work out that’s fun. You hate weights? Try rock climbing. Hate the treadmill? Take a Zumba class
  4. If you fall off the wagon, jump right back on. Don’t give in to the “screw it, I already messed up, may as well keep going” pitfall.
  5. Surround yourself with positive people who will support your efforts

Q -What do you consider to be your strong points as a competitor?

A -With fitness, we have 2 rounds – physique and routine. Physique is definitely my stronger.

Q – What body part is the hardest for you to train? 

A – Legs are hard, but I love training them.

Q – Do you measure your body fat on a regular basis? Weigh your self everyday?

A – I don’t get my BF tested. Those handheld gadgets and home scales are always off. I had it done a few years back at a training facility. I measure my bf by how many striations, muscle fibers and veins I see. Weight I do once a week but only when I’m in contest mode.

Q – Who do you look to in the fitness industry for inspiration? 

A- One of my really good friends, IFBB Pro Fitness competitor Tracey Greenwood. She’s a PhD and a college professor. She retired from competition as one of the top girls of all time. She has a great work ethic and balance of fitness and work. She also helps to rescue dogs. (She also from the East coast! DE)

Q -What is the #1 thing you like about being into fitness?

A- How working out makes me look. I’ll admit it, I’m vain.

Q -Don’t you think you either have to be vain or insecure to be this dedicated?  I hate to admit this but I think personally my insecurities push me.

A- I think everyone is a little of both, its just how you let those 2 shape you and control you. We use ours to shape these physiques; someone else may allow the insecurities to drive tem to overeat…

Q – Coolest person you ever met? –

A – Randy Couture

Q – Person you’d love to meet? 

A – George St. Pierre

Q – If you could work out with one famous person who would that be.

A –  George St. Pierre

Q -You and your boyfriend are both in amazing shape. Could you ever date a regular guy.  You know what I mean. Mike is huge.

A – I couldn’t date anyone that doesn’t work out. They don’t have to be a BBer, but they need to train. I spend most of my free time in some sort of workout facility – be it lifting, gymnastics, dance, aerial. If that person didn’t work out, I’d never see them!

Q – Your also an aerialist. Explain to me what that is?

A – Think Cirque du Soleil. I perform on rope, trapeze, silks and hoop.

Q – I hate the age thing. I find myself at the gym busting my ass more. Wish I could turn back the years with each rep. How do you deal with the age thing.  Do you find that the older you get the harder it is to stay in shape, keep your muscle definition, stay lean? 

A – Honestly, not yet. I’ll be 40 in April and I’ve never looked better. I know it’s gonna catch me one day, but today ain’t that day!

Q – Recently someone I know posted on her Facebook that women over the age of 30 shouldn’t wear just jog bras when working out.  I of course had to comment why not? I am one of those gals that does wear a just a sports bra.  I was bombarded by a slew of women  who agreed with the poster.  Should a woman over a certain age not wear a bikini, a sports bra, etc.  Your thoughts? 

A –  If you look good, rock it. She was probably mad because SHE can’t wear one.

Q – Most girls look in the mirror and say “I hate my …..”  or “I wish I was…..” What does Carrie say? 

A – I don’t like my calves. Unfortunately, they’re genetic so I am stuck with them. But I’m ok with everything else right now. Butt could be tighter…

Complete these sentences: 

 When I grow up I want to be ……. I refuse to grow up!

If I could switch bodies with one person it would be…… No one. 

If chocolate chip cookies were fat-free and calorie free I would eat it all the time. 

I am scared of  failure.

Q – What’s one sport or event you wish you could do? (like  a triathlon, tennis, golf, etc.) 

A – Gymnastics.

Q – Favorite body part  on a guy (keep it clean) lol. 

A – LMAO!!!!! It depends, I love nice thick pecs and cannonball shoulders, but they gotta have legs too.

Q – There is a saying that I love it’s  “STRONG WOMEN ONLY INTIMIDATE WEAK MEN.”  True?

A – Weak mentally!

Carrie lives in Marina Del Rey, California and works as a Creative Director for a Personal Care Manufacturer.  If you are interested in training with Carrie or taking an Aerial class, or have a question for her  you can contact her at www.carrie-simmons.com or carrie@carrie-simmons.com. You can also find Carrie on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carrie-Simmons-IFBB-ProAerialist/159354270759333  and on twitter http://twitter.com/IFBBProCarrie.

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