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Train Like a Woman!
By Kristin Reisinger, MS RD
My academic partner in crime, geek girl extraordinaire and female powerhouse... Amber and I both graduated from the same Master's program in NYC. She contacted me last season to help prep for her first figure competition and we instantly hit it off. Snubbing her nose at becoming an RD in lieu of pursuing a PhD, meet Amber Corbino!
KR: Please tell me a little bit about your background: age, athletic background, childhood, career, etc. Anything you might feel is pertinent to where you are now in terms of fitness and competition.
AC: I was born on August 13, 1977. I have always been a very active person. As a child I would ride my bike everywhere, ran around my neighborhood playing manhunt, kickball, or baseball, and I would swim almost everyday. I started very young in dance... ballet, tap, jazz. I then switched to the Pop-Warner dance team and then onto cheerleading. I competed in cheerleading from my Pop-Warner days right up to Varsity level in High School.
After graduation it was a very difficult time for me. I was entering my freshman year of college and knew that I did not want to compete in cheerleading any longer and wanted to solely focus on my academics. As a result, my physically fit condition started to deteriorate. I did not experience the dreaded "freshman 20" because I would, for the most part, watch what I ate. However, I started to see a huge difference in my shape. In my sophomore year of college I met my then boyfriend who was very much into bodybuilding. He was in fantastic physical condition and he pretty much taught me everything I needed to know. Anything I know today is just building up on the foundation that he laid down for me. I have been hooked ever since.
I always knew that I wanted to compete in a figure competition, however, there were too many other things to focus on at the time. Now, I am ready and fully committed to compete in a competition. I have my heart and soul into this...I don't know if this has happened to anyone else about to compete, but when I was ready and the stars were in line, everything in me went for it with full force.
KR: I understand you're going to Teachers College, Columbia University for your Masters degree in Exercise Physiology. Tell us a little bit about the program as well as what you hope to gain from completing your degree there.
AC: I actually graduated this past May. The program was a career change for me. I went from marketing and finance to exercise physiology. The transition was tough because I needed to go back and fulfill my fundamental science courses such as organic and biochemistry, general chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. I plan on going forward with my academic career and enter into a PhD program in nutritional science. I want to completely understand exercise physiology and nutrition on molecular bases, as well as, applied.
KR: You've recently decided to begin training for your first figure competition. Which show are you prepping for, why and what is your strategy for getting ready?
AC: I am shooting for the NPC on June 3. I have been combining a great diet (complements of you!) weights, and cardio everyday, sometimes twice a day.
KR: What is your training philosophy in terms of women looking to reduce body fat levels and increase musculature?
AC: Lift heavy or go home! Women do have a thing toward lifting heavy weights and becoming bulky. Each week I try to challenge myself a little more either with heavier weights or new exercises. I also feel that cardio is a must in reducing fat levels.
KR: If you were to train a woman starting out for the first time, what would your approach be?
AC: I am trainer. During my first sessions I begin by understanding my clients past history with exercise and diet. I then figure out their fitness goals. I then begin with simple stretching, cardio tests, and core movements. This will give me a world of knowledge about their strengths and weaknesses so I can be more efficient with their sessions and getting to them to their desired goals. I am also a very involved fitness advisor. I actually wrote up a client's weekly schedule so she could fit in cardio time in her day. She was convinced that she did not have any time, I showed her otherwise.
KR: What are your fitness goals for the future?
AC: I will also have fitness as a part of my life. It is a lifestyle for me. I want to see how I do with my first show in June and then I will take it from there. This is no doubt one of the biggest challenges of my life so far, I will see where it takes me.
KR: If there was one thing you could tell a woman looking to get into shape and pursue a career in fitness, nutrition and sport, what would it be?
AC: Find a good mentor... someone who is wiling to share the same passions in achieving your goals. A mentor should be proactive everyday, even if it is a quick email cheerleading you on to remind you of your goals. Also, take every challenge on full force, but know when to give your body a rest.
Kristin Reisinger, MS RD, is a New York City-based nutritional consultant, fitness trainer, freelance health + fitness writer and musician. She holds a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology + Nutrition from Columbia University and is a Registered Dietitian through American Dietetic Association. She is also a competitive figure athlete, former Galaxy competitor, avid snowboarder, rock climber and surfer. She has been competing for over five years and will continue to do so until she is 80. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.