20 Questions with Assunta Catalano
1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Assunta Catalano?
I'm Assunta Catalano, a Brooklyn-born and raised Italian girl who moved to Long Island at the age of 10. I've always been a little athlete, whether it be competitively swimming, track, or dance.
2) Please tell us a bit about your family, friends and surroundings?
I have an extended family and quite a large one. Growing up in Brooklyn, I lived in a 3-family house in Bensonhurst with my father, brother, cousins, aunt and uncle, and Nonna and Nonno. My mom passed away of leukemia when I was just 3 years old. 7 years later is when my father remarried and we moved to Long Island. As if having a big old school Italian family wasn't enough, my newly extended family was extra large, loud, and Jewish. My upbringing from 10 years old and on had continued with the traditional Italian Roman Catholic traditions, however, I also learned and celebrated the Jewish holidays as well.
3) How did you start competing in bikini?
I started to compete in bikini when a college friend of mine was stepping into it b/c her boyfriend at the time was trying out physique. She kept begging me to do it and I honestly fell in love with the blinged out bikinis. I decided, if I buy one of these, I am absolutely doing a show...and then after that, it was all history. My first year I did 4 shows. My second year I did 5 and onto my third year! Safe to say I caught the bug.
4) What is your personal policy (not what the judges want) about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show? Soft or hard?
I prefer a harder look because it shows more effort, more work, more dedication, more discipline. I typically come in harder and leaner and have come in softer for judges liking, but coming in how I'm not preferred does take a toll on my stage presence. My confidence is not soaring through the roof, my presence is not as great as it would be if I had come in just how I like for a show. This year, we're going to try an in between look, if that makes sense.
5) What is your idea of what judges want in a bikini 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'd like to think that the judges are looking for proportion, a general proportionate overall look. A classy, sexy, confident presence. For bikini, I think there is not a clear understanding of what the judges are looking for and I think for each judging panel it differs. It's unfortunate but it's just something us bikini competitors acknowledge. I know for me, I do it for the love of the sport, I love to be on stage and feel a certain way and look a certain way. I understand I am being judged but most important to me is being happy with my overall look which 100% effects your stage presence which is what a lot of bikini should also consider when taking the stage.
6) For the next shows what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise? If anything!
I always feel posing can be worked on, changed, etc. I also want to work on raising and rounding my glutes and creating a deeper glute and hamstring tie in.
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?
Before I show, I tend to do 30-45 mins fasted cardio and 30 mins post workout cardio. I train 5-6 days a week and don't do too much when it comes to sets and reps. I have gotten feedback from judges that I am having too much muscle for bikini so right now I'm just getting a good pump and just concentrating on sculpting (not building) that booty.
8) What is your pre-contest diet? (per day, 1 week before the show)
That's top secret ;) But generally, lots of egg whites, chicken, tilapia, sweet potato, and veggies.
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 like to do everything naturally so I literally drop my intake of water. Each day it's less and less. In the past, I have taken a diuretic but I don't prefer it bc the day after a show, I feel swollen and just blow up from all the post contest goodies and treats.
10) What motivates you to train/diet and compete? Are there any competitors you looked up to?
Each year, there is a different motivation that comes from within. Each year, my goals with the sport have changed. My first year was a trial...I fell in love with the sport, with the stage, getting glitzed and glammed up. My second year I was all gung-ho about turning Pro... but a lot has changed for me in the past 6 months; you can say life changing. My relationship, my living situation, even my career...I have grown as a person. I've learned more about myself, what matters most in life, and while sure I do want to turn Pro and it is a goal of mine, it's not the only thing I want in life. I became almost obsessed with the idea of turning Pro last year...and I lost a lot because my head wasn't right...and to be honest, even in the sport, it did not do me well. I continued to do shows when in reality my body just needed a rest. My mind and body have had some time to rest, to heal, and I am really looking forward to stepping on stage soon and showing off all the work and dedication I have put in for2016 with different heart, different motives....and I do believe they will shine through : )
11) Please tell us an interesting experience you had at a show recently, be it a fun thing or something rather not so fun?
Hmm...interesting experience. So for some of you who know me, I can be a bit of an airhead. One show my first year of competing , I was competing in novice and open. After my individual routine of novice, I was ready to go on for open and asking one of the expeditors whereto go. I'll never forget the look he gave me when he said, "Hun, you still need to do comparisons". LOL
12) What is your personal opinion about the figure, fitness, bodybuilding industry we are in? Anything you would like to see changed?
I don't have much of an opinion. With anything, there are ups and downs...people will talk. For me, I just do me. I'm kind to everyone. I'm not fake, just me, myself and I...if you don't like it, you don't need to associate with me.
13) What has been your hardest challenge to overcome either in your personal life or competing career?
Balance between the two. I think that is the hardest struggle. This year, I find other competitors asking me how are you going out to these restaurants and coffee shops with delicious pastries while on prep? It's called having the right mind set. Balance. Sure I'm sitting there watching my friends eat pizza while I sip on an espresso and want some, but I have goals I want to crush. That pizza will be there for me years to come...let me accomplish what I want now.
14) Did you make any changes to your contest prep for your last show? Water intake, carbing up, etc...
New coach, new meal plan. So yes, of course.
15) What do you think of bikini division?
It needs a fine set of rules. What are the judges looking for. There needs to be consistency.
16) What are your favorite foods to eat right after you compete on a Saturday night?
Oreos. Donuts. A burger and fries. Cheesecake...if you can give me a oreo cheesecake donut, I'd be in heaven.
17) Please tell us about how you were raised and did you have any interesting experiences while growing up?
(Answered this above)
18) Do you have an athletic background?
Gymnastics, soccer, volleyball or what? Yes, I grew up doing dance, karate, swimming, and track and field. All competitively
19) What is a typical day in the life of Assunta Catalano? From waking up to until going to bed?
Wake up, fasted cardio, shower, eat, work, eat, work, eat, work, gym, eat, shower, eat, sleep.
20) What is your current occupation? Please tell us more about it, what do you specifically do in your job?
I'm a social media and content manager. I have worked in the beauty and/or parenting industries w my entire career, which this year would make it 7 years. I manage a brand or brands and strategize about their social media presence. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube etc. I build strategies to elevate a brand's digital presence. And sometimes ...I manage projects where I secure talent for shoots, secure crew members for shoots and secure locations for shoots. I capture still photography, conduct interviews, oversee video editors, edit video myself and handle any paid media around our content on social platforms. Then, at the end of the quarter, I create reports to show growth and present ideas on how to tackle the next 3 to 6 months.