Issue #117


by Juan Carlos Lope

20 Questions with Cover Model Valerie Garcia Giovanoli

Video Interview with Amateur Physique Valerie Garcia Giovanoli

Valerie Garcia Giovanoli, Rachel Rivera, Summer Hendricks, Tamara Mendoza & Aimee Cosban

Video Interview with Pro Physique Rachael Loftis

Product of the Month
by Heather Hirmer

Video Interview with Pro Physique Tish Shelton


20 Questions with Cover Model Valerie Garcia Giovanoli

Valerie Garcia Giovanoli

1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Valerie Garcia Giovanoli?

My name is Valerie Garcia Giovanoli. I'm not special, I'm just like anyone else. I believe everyone has skills and talents at which they are better than others. The hard part is finding out what are your best skills and talents, and then honing in on them. I am lucky that I have found a few of mine. I enjoy, and am good at, being a wife to my loving husband, a mother to my 15 year old son, practicing law, pursuing fitness at a competitive level, helping others attain their fitness goals, and running a gym. And, I get to do all of those things!

2) Please tell us a bit about your family, friends and surroundings? 

My husband, John Romano, and I have a son and two boxers. We live in Guadalajara, Mexico, where we own and operate a gym. We have only lived here for 2 years and although we have made many friends, most of our dearest and oldest friends live in the states. I was raised in Lexington, South Carolina. My mother, older sister, best friend, and grandparents (as well as other family and friends) all live in South Carolin so I like to visit a lot.

3) How did you start competing in figure? 

I had a mentor/friend who was a national level figure competitor when I was younger, college age. She always inspired me to compete and I would dream about it, but there was always something that held me back. I had a lot of self-doubt, food issues, and zero support from those around me (boyfriend, family, friends).  It wasn't until I later met my now husband that I had the courage, support, and confidence to just do it! John has a wealth of experience in competition preparation and he always told me that I could do it and I would be good at it. I finally trusted him enough to begin my prep for the 2013 Musclemania Mexico, which is the first show I did and won!

4) What is your personal policy (not what the judges want) about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show? Soft or hard? 

The harder the better!

Valerie Garcia Giovanoli

5)  What is your idea of what judges want in a Figure competitor? Do you think judges are clear enough with competitors about how they want you on stage? It seems in Europe they are very clear unlike in the USA and now in Canada things are confusing.

Femininity!! They want feminine lines, good complexion, muscle, but not too much nor too hard. They want a tiny waist with visible abs, tight, curvy legs, round glutes, and capped shoulders. An overall feminine X-shape. And I don't always think it's confusing... sometimes they just have to pick the best out of the line-up. And that's not always easy, especially when each girl has good qualities, just not ALL of them.

6) For the next shows what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise? If anything! 

Well, switching from Figure to Physique gives me lots of room for improvement. I don't think I need to do much as far as conditioning, like I said, the harder the better... but I need to grow! Especially my arms and back. 

7) What is your typical training routine in the gym (per day, include sets and reps!) How much cardio do you do before a show?

Mon: Arms (since this is a priority for me, I start the week with it!)
I do about 4 exercises for biceps and 3 exercises for triceps. My reps vary depending on the exercise and weight. I do a lot of heavy exercises with reps 6-10 for biceps, but for triceps I do more reps with moderate weight (12-20)
Tues: Legs 
Since I train legs 2x a week, I start the week with a heavy leg day. I will usually only do compound movements (squats, deadlifts, lunges, presses) and do them heavy! Often I pick one of those exercises and do 10-12 sets, increasing the weight each set and maxing out. 
Wed: Back
I will do anywhere from 4-6 exercises for back depending on my energy level and what exercises. My rep range varies from 8-12, generally.
Thurs: Shoulders
I love the shoulder press, any variation (millitary, smith machine, dumbells, plate loaded) and I usually start my workout with 6-8 sets of presses. I press heavy with my lowest rep range around 4-6. Afterwards, I do lighter movements like side laterals, front raises, and upright rows with a higher rep range of 8-12. 
Fri: Legs (concentrating on glutes)
This second leg day is more focused on the back of my legs, mostly glutes and secondarily hamstrings. I do a lot of isolation work and time under tension movements. I do about 6 exercises with reps ranging from 8-20, depending on the movement.

I do about 30min of cardio, 6x per week (resting on Sundays) until about 2 weeks out from a show and at that point I do 60min of cardio 6x per week.

Off season, I do about 2-3 days of cardio for 20-30 min.

8) What is your pre-contest diet? (per day, 1 week before the show)

My diet is very basic. I'm on a 50/30/20 protein, carb, fat diet. I have carbs with every meal except my last one before bed. I don't change much at all from what I eat leading up to the show, just some sodium manipulation.

9) How do you go about dropping your water before the day of the show? How much water do you drink the day of the show. Please be specific.

I do sodium manipulation the week before the show. I drink 6-8 liters of water all the way until the night of the show. Then show day I only sip water as necessary.

Valerie Garcia Giovanoli

10) What motivates you to train/diet and compete? Are there any competitors you looked up to? 

Sure, I've always been inspired by the figure girls back in the day, Elaine Goodlad, Davana Medina, Gina Aliotti, Mary Elizabeth Lado. But my biggest motivation comes from within. For me, competition prep is an internal battle for discipline and strength EVERY DAY. It makes me stronger as a person. And it gives me the self confidence I think everyone deserves to have in life.

11) Please tell us an interesting experience you had at a show recently, be it a fun thing or something rather not so fun?

Well, since my first shows were in Mexico not long after moving here, I wasn't completely fluent in Spanish. I had a really hard time understanding the emcee, not only because he was speaking spanish, but it's also just really hard to hear when you're up on stage. So, there were times when he would have to repeat instructions to me, and I felt so lost, with everyone's eyes on me! It wasn't so bad when the other girls were on stage, because then I could basically follow their lead and do what they did, whether it was walking to side stage, or a quarter turn. 

12) What is your personal opinion about the figure, fitness, bodybuilding industry we are in? Anything you would like to see changed?  

I love it! I would just like to see less bashing and more unity, support, encouragement, and friendships amongst all competitors. Yes we compete on stage, but we don't have to compete off stage too!

13)  What has been your hardest challenge to overcome either in your personal life or competing career?

Personal life would have to be getting through law school. It was a major feat for me. In my competitive career, it would have to be overcoming my issues with food. I've always had issues with binge eating, which I really have to control post-show. I'm also very emotionally attached to food, so I've had to learn to handle my feelings and cravings with other more productive hobbies, like reading, creating healthy treats in the kitchen, outdoor activities, as well as others.

14) Did you make any changes to your contest prep for your last show? Water intake, carbing up, etc...

No! Contest prep is a lot of trial and error. Fortunately with the help of my wise husband, we got it right the first time. And why fix something that ain't broke?!?

Valerie Garcia Giovanoli

15) What do you think of bikini division?

Generally, I don't think highly of it. Between the rear bent over vag poses and a lot of "soft" bodies I've seen on stage, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. HOWEVER, I've seen some amazing and classy bikini girls on stage too. It's easy to make generalizations about the class, but they really are all unique so I try not to judge them as a class.

16) What are your favorite foods to eat right after you compete on a Saturday night?

Anything Japanese... especially sushi. And anything sweet afterwards, chocolate, ice cream, cake, etc.

17) Please tell us about how you were raised and did you have any interesting experiences while growing up?

I was raised by my mother in a southern town. My father traveled the world with his job so I got to travel a lot for vacations to visit him. My mom was my biggest influence growing up and she always pushed us to be the best. I think because of her influence, I excelled in many areas. I also graduated high school early as well as college and law school.

18) Do you have an athletic background? Gymnastics, soccer, volleyball or what? 

I played a medley of sports growing up, including gymnastics, swimming, softball, soccer, until I settled into volleyball, which I played from middle school through high school.

19) What is a typical day in the life of Valerie Garcia Giovanoli? From waking up to until going to bed? 

As of lately, my day starts waking up to my beautiful, but crazy, boxers. I spend the morning playing with them in the park and cooking/preparing all of my meals for the day. I get ready and head to my gym to start training clients. I have my morning clients back to back and then I have time to train. I usually do my cardio at this time. My husband and I then have a few hours between clients to go home, hang out, eat, nap, run errands, etc. We return back to the gym for more training and clients and this is when I usually weight train, often times with my son. I love the buzz of our busy gym in the evenings and have a blast training at that hour. We don't get home until 10pm or so, when we all sit down to eat our last meal. Then it's off to the shower and bed for me. I usually read before falling asleep.

Valerie Garcia Giovanoli

20) What is your current occupation? Please tell us more about it, what do you specifically do in your job?

Although I am an attorney, since moving to Mexico, I do not practice law here. I left behind my Assistant State Attorney position with the State of Florida, to run a gym in Mexico. Although I appreciate the change of pace and the ability to capitalize on my passion - fitness (helping others and pursuing my own fitness endeavors) - I often miss my career as an attorney. I offer personal training and competition prep both here locally and abroad via internet. So far, I have made many clients happy and intend to continue doing so. As I  learn more, I am constantly spreading and applying my knowledge to my clients.



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