Issue #120


by Juan Carlos Lope

20 Questions with Cover Model Ashley Arampatzis

Video Interview with Pro Fitness Diva Julie Bonnett

Ashley Arampatzis, Beata Antoninas, Caitlin Wheeler, Jessica Kiernan & Christine Ray

Video Interview with Amateur Bikini Lindsay Kaye

Product of the Month
by Heather Hirmer

Video Interview with Amateur Physique Jazzy


20 Questions with Ashley Arampatzis

1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Ashley Arampatzis?

I’m Ashley Arampatzis, I’m partially Greek, total procrastinator, American, an avid reader, an aspiring writer, athlete, fantasy dork, and bodybuilder. I love nature, ferrets, rain, and heavy weights.

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

I was born and raised in Napa, California, and moved to Arizona about seven years ago for school and a switch of scenery. My parents are amazing people that have always encouraged and supported me in all my crazy ventures and ideas, and my younger brother Johnathan Arampatzis is my trainer, competition coach, and nutritionist. John moved out to Arizona about three years ago and became my roommate along with my boyfriend—my amazing boyfriend who is patient and resilient and has had to survive both my brother and I during our competition and photo shoot preps.

3) How did you start competing in figure? 

John had always been an athlete and lifting for six years when he moved out to Arizona. We lived together about a year when I became interested in lifting and he had mentioned competing before, so I decided that I wanted to work towards that.

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

When it comes to the shape and size of my body that is definitely going to be my preference and no one else’s, but when it comes to conditioning I’m going to try and come in the way judges want. I think of conditioning as something temporary and flexible, and when a show is over I can return to whatever look I’m most comfortable maintaining.

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.

I think that figure is a delicate balancing act of proportion, shape, and size. As far as inconsistencies go I can’t really speak from experience as I participated in my first NPC show just this past October. I do think that judging and comparing something as subjective and diverse as the human body is difficult.

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

My legs are my biggest improvement area. I was in an accident when I was twelve and had to have a small surgery to repair my left knee. I had my second, not-so-small-surgery a year ago on the same knee after developing complications. My leg atrophied quite a bit during recovery, so getting my legs symmetrical and more developed is my priority. It has been challenging.

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?

I don’t know that I have a typical routine. My training changes every eight or so weeks, and it obviously depends on if I’m bulking or cutting. I’ve gone through one longer bulk period, and a shorter term one. For the shorter term one, John had us doing German volume training, which was challenging and fun. During cutting the routine changes again incorporating higher volume but lighter weight, and during peak week our training resembles circuit training. As far as cardio, with my knee it was difficult at times to get the longer sessions in, and I had to work up to being able to handle doing stairs. I started cardio about three months out from my competition date, that first month just getting my knee used to the activity. The goal for my cardio sessions was thirty minutes, which I managed to reach about four weeks out. I’d finally built my knee up and I was doing morning cardio about six days a week for the last three weeks.

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

I’ve only prepped for one show, so I definitely do not yet have my “formula” for reaching my best condition. During my peak week I slowly carb depleted, and most of my meals were chicken or lean turkey with asparagus. For energy I’d consumed fatty meats during pre-workout meals, and I down those BCAA’s.

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.

With water I increased my intake to two gallons about four days out, then one gallon three days out, and then half a gallon, and the day before and day of are days when I drank water just as needed.

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

It’s my father’s side of the family that are Greek and comprised predominantly of athletes, powerlifters, and bodybuilders. I feel like this is in my blood, that my body was designed to be pushed, built, and tested. When I’m training for a competition it gives me a goal and adds a little drive to my workouts. As far as competitors that I look up to, Dana Bailey, Alicia Coates, and Christmas Abbott are some of the ladies I really think set an awesome example in the fitness industry. They all have a strong sense of identity, are successful, make an effort in keeping it real with their fans, and are just badass women in general with good, positive messages.

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

My brother and I entered the Phoenix Europa show in October 2014. We were at the athletes meeting, everyone in the room excited, anxious, tired, sticky with tanner, and carb-depleted. During the welcome and event announcements, the event coordinator went into lengthy detail about the Amazing Bread Pudding that had been provided at every one of their shows as tradition, and that would also be provided to us on the last day of the two-day show. They took great pains in describing the bread pudding sauce and consistency, and the previously demur room of athletes came alive, everyone squirming at the thought of food for taste. So close, and yet so far. I thought there might be a riot.

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

There has been a recent surge in interest with people and fitness and a lot of our culture is starting to reflect that. Crossfit, HITT training, obstacle course runs--all have picked up in popularity, and there is an emphasis being placed on whole foods, nutrition, and care of our health. This interest also reflects in the increase in competitors, there are a lot of new people competing which is exciting. Of course with this fitness boom there is also a lot of business growth in the fitness community, and with that the development of things that may not be always be healthfully-minded. One thing I can think of are waist trainers—corsets, essentially. I don’t believe in using a device to force your body into a different shape. These trendy items are advertised to women, by women (often other athletes) promising “fast” and “dramatic” results with months of consistent wear. Whatever your body accomplishes through diet and exercise should be the standard, not what you can force it do by physical constriction.

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

My biggest challenge is me really, I have a tendency to worry. A lot. I have difficulty not second guessing, re-thinking, and over-focusing in all areas in my life. I recently read a quote that said, “Worrying is literally betting against yourself.” I try to remind myself of that.

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

The first time I went through a prep, I carb cycled, and then depleted for the last week. My second prep, I slowly decreased my carbs and only went a few days carb-depleted. Energy was much better the second prep.

15) What do you think of bikini division?

Bikini has a strong following, and I feel its popularity benefits the shows. I’m also a big believer in working with your body, finding the category that fits your frame and structure. Obviously people can accomplish most anything with dedication and work, but I think that finding the category that your body is receptive and gravitates towards will make people more successful and happy in competing.

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

I put down a pizza the night after finals.

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

I had an awesome childhood. I grew up playing outside with the kids in my neighborhood, running around until the sun went down. We had a big open field by our house and we would catch frogs in the creek, re-enact battle scenes from Xena (who was my role model through most of my childhood and adolescence) and climb trees. My grandparents also have had a huge influence in my life. They had a cabin at Lake Berryessa, California, for over forty years. I spent every summer, all summer up there with my five cousins and grandparents until I was nineteen. I learned to double ski at six and solemn ski by ten, I have great boat and swimming skills, and no fear of the water. My grandfather at eighty-five still wake-boarded. My grandfather is now ninety-two, still works, and bicycles fifteen miles several times a week. He tells me my grandmother is the reason he’s alive with all of her, “damn vitamins” she makes him take.

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

My parents kept me active growing up. I did martial arts for several years, played softball, volleyball, and have been swimming and water skiing. I was a runner for about five years before my knee gave me issues, and then a year and a half ago I started to focus on lifting as an outlet, only to fall in love with it.

19) What is a typical day in the life of Ashley Arampatzis? From waking up to until going to bed? 

I wake up, eat, go to work or class depending on the day, eat, train, eat, do homework, eat, take care of my ferrets, eat—my typical day is pretty typical. I’m naturally bad with managing my time, I constantly have to work at it. When I’m on prep, I actually appreciate the robot-mode I go into and just move from one thing to the next, and get it done no matter what. I’m so productive when I busy like that. It’s when I have too much free-time that I tend to waste it.

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

My goals and ideas of happiness have changed throughout the years, so has my career focus. I’m currently finishing an English degree, and after that, I have a few ideas I want to pursue. I’m going to keep writing and hope that I may be one day published, I want to be competing and training, and I’m thinking of getting into the medical field. But if there’s anything I’ve learned about my eclectic interests is to seize the opportunities that come my way, so I have a plan, and keep in mind that it may not end up being the plan.

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