Meet Antonia Daniel
Meet Amber Corbino
Meet Ashley Jones
Meet Kerry Regan
Meet Kristi Lees
Meet Makeda Benjamin
Meet Ariana Twitchell
Meet Kirsten Haug
Monty Python and the meaning of Fitness
Hey, whatever works...
Hard As A Rock
Heaven and Hell have the same address...
Walking the Labyrinth
Meet Holly Powell
Ironman: All in Your Head
The 10 Step Rookie's Guide
Train Like a Woman!
By Kristin Reisinger, MS RD
I recently got into a heated debate over the internet about figure as a sport and whether or not the figure girls needed to have as much discipline as female bodybuilders. At first I was annoyed... the email debate with this stranger carried on and over time I realized that, yes, these are two totally different "sports." No agreement was ever made on this but I came away with a new-found appreciation for the dedication, drive and discipline of the female bodybuilder as well as a new friend... meet Kirsten Haug!
KR: Please tell me a little bit about yourself: age, athletic background, childhood, etc. Anything you might feel is pertinent to where you are now in terms of fitness and competition.
I live in Seattle with my five year old son. I work full time in an office for a cancer care/research center and I also do personal training part-time.
Gymnastics was my first athletic outlet and it proved to be a wonderful experience up until my body grew out of it. I craved the intensity and difficulty in a physical activity and just happened upon bodybuilding. It feels as though it's a perfect fit, for my personality and my goals.
My life is busy, but without bodybuilding I wouldn't feel right... the demands and discipline help me find balance. The training is the best source of mental release I know. This sport is a sacrifice, but I also believe strongly in being a living, "approachable" example to others.
KR: How long have you been involved in the field and how did you get involved?
I did my very first competition (fitness) as a senior project when I was in high school. I had been a competitive gymnast and thought fitness was a place I could use my skills as an athlete. I enjoyed the experience, and had never taken notice to what bodybuilding was about despite that I appreciated the lean muscular look I saw in my muscle magazines. I did my first show at 18 and was hooked. I was a beginner, but had a solid physique due to my serious gymnastics background.
After a couple of year's I got pregnant and stopped working out completely. It wasn't until my son was 2 years old that I finally got back into a consistent training plan. I knew I wanted to compete again, so in 2002 I made a come back stepping on stage at the Emerald Cup for the first time. I took 3rd in a very competitive heavyweight class and was elated to say the least. And so here I am.
KR: What is your training philosophy in terms of women looking to reduce body fat levels and increase musculature?
My emphasis is for balance, keeping total body development in mind. Cardio and diet are essential yet resistance training has so many great benefits, I would advise anyone trying to lose body fat to learn about lifting weights.
KR: What is a typical training week for you?
Monday: Legs (Basic movements-heavy day)
Wednesday: Legs (Volume day)
Thursday: Abs & Shoulders
I'm preparing for my 2004 competition season so I do cardio daily for 45 min in the AM and 30 minutes in the PM. I did not begin with this much cardio at the starting point of my prep though, it has progressively added up to this amount of time. Something different for me is that I'm doing at least 20 minutes of high intensity cardio as apart of my training. It has helped me by getting into great cardiovascular shape which also lends itself to more benefits coming from my weight training.
Also as apart of my preparation I practice posing almost every day, which is quite a workout, especially in my apartment since it never cools down in this summer weather and it's at least 80 degrees or hotter inside.
KR: Give us an idea of what dieting for women's bodybuilding is like year round (of course, be general since I know this could be a manifesto!):
I try to keep my diet fairly well balanced even in the off-season, yet I tend to eat a few more treats and seem to justify it when I know I'm not preparing for an event. Each time I compete, I learn a new aspect of living this lifestyle and I appreciate the positive aspects it provides for healthy living.
I think the longer you are around healthy habits, the easier it becomes. I prefer to stay leaner therefore I do regulate how heavy I get when I am not preparing for a competition by paying attention to my calorie input and expenditure.
KR: If you were to train a woman starting out for the first time, what would your approach be?
We all have different goals, different ideas of what we want our bodies to look like. Some women focus on being a size 6 and some just want to lose 10 lbs. I would talk to her and ask questions to guide me towards presenting her with a plan that would work for her goals.
KR: How do you feel about the new NPC Figure division and do you feel that it's helping the sport of fitness or hindering it?
I have an ongoing debate about this very subject with someone :)
There are plenty of positive aspects to the figure divisions, but the flaw to me seems to be in the quantity of competitors. There are so many women with beautiful physiques and yet when every height division is overflowing someone will be overlooked. It's great to get women involved in the industry, but it doesn't seem to have a direction. I see fitness as at least providing entertainment and hope it does not get pushed aside, but have you every tried to sit through the whole judging of a figure competition? Quarter turns after quarter turns, even on some great bodies can be a bit boring.
KR: What are your fitness goals for the future?
I would just like to continue to make improvements. I have very strong opinions about my limits with the sport and I intend to compete regardless of the trends that come and go with judging criteria. In the end I have to be a good mother, and remain true to me.
KR: If there were 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?
I think as long as she is doing it for herself, and is realistic about her goals, then go for it!!
For more information about Kirsten, please visit her site at: www.kirstenhaug.com
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.