Issue #173


by Juan Carlos Lopez

20 Questions with Cover Model Mandy Harbin

Mandy Harbin, Theresa Shupe, Iveth Carreon, Renee Porter & Rinnah Chapman

Training Your Shoulder Girdle for Good Posture
by Tina Jo Orban

Video Interview with Amateur Bikini Diana Pelaez


20 Questions with Cover Model Mandy Harbin

1. Please introduce yourself. What makes you special? Who is Mandy Harbin?

I am a mom of 3 and happily married to my dream guy. I was born and raised in GA and moved to AL 3 years ago after meeting my husband.

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

I love being a mom, my kids keep me on my toes, and all play different sports, so we are always going. My husband and I love to workout, we go to the gym together 90% of the time. We love to lift!! Being new to AL I have only met a few new friends but the few I have are supportive and there for me.

3. How did you start competing in figure?

Before moving to AL I was just a “skinny” girl. I would go to the gym maybe 2-3 time a week and had no concept of what foods were good or bad. My husband knew about bodybuilding and had a friend over one day who said to me “you ever thought about competing” …. Insert blank stare. I didn’t even know what that meant. So, we all discussed, and I started doing some research, this was March 2018. I decided I would do a local show for fun. I was in the middle of planning my wedding and during prep even went on my honeymoon. It was a very short prep (6 weeks) I went to the show and won my height class in figure and placed 2nd in Bikini. I was no where near ready to compete, body wise. I fell in love with it and did my 2nd show in November 2018. Again, placed well, won my height in figure and placed 3rd in bikini and this was the point I decide to change and focus completely on figure.

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

For me, I want to come in super conditioned and lean.

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 the criteria is clearly laid out, but I don’t feel as if the judges always follow that criteria. I say this because I have seen top 2 get pro cards and one can be super soft and the other super lean and conditioned and to me that contradicts the judging. Which were you looking for if they look completely different?

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

Been working on the feedback from the judges, which was bigger shoulder, wider back and fix back pose. I have developed much more muscle to display thus far.

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?

Back Day - Monday & Thursday
Quads - Tuesday
Chest/Triceps/Shoulders - Wednesday
Hams - Friday
Glutes - Saturday

My workouts take 1 hour to 1 hour 25 mins.

Cardio is Hiit 3 x per week and steady state 5 x per week.

During peak week I will do 45-1 cardio a day.

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

Usually, it doesn’t change much from the weeks prior. Not trying to shock the body the last week. Just maintain. The goal is to always be stage ready a couple weeks before show day.

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 will drink 1-1.5 gallons through out prep. Day before show I will still drink when I am thirsty and day of just sips when needed.

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

I am very motivated by myself!!! I do follow some competitors and I look up to my coach Autumn Cleveland. I just hired her because she was the first competitor I started following.

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

So, In NJ last year at the Universe competition. Top 2 get their Pro Card, the 2 that won figure also won Physique before figure went on. So, I thought the rue were if top 2 got their pro cards in a cross over division then the pro card would go to “3rd and 4th” but apparently the rules changed the year prior and I was in 4th place at this show. I felt defeated a little but then bounced back.

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

I just wish the judges followed the criteria so when us competitors are prepping our bodies, we knew what to bring to the stage. But my motto is just bring a better version than the last time.

Also, it would be nice if there was a little prize money. Shows are so expensive.

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

Finding someone to keep my kids when I go to these shows.

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

No changes, I was coaching myself my last 2 national shows. Actually, had almond joys before going on stage.

15. What do you think of bikini division?

It is great for girls who can’t grow a lot of muscle. They always look gorgeous.

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

Really depends on where we are. Love a cheeseburger & fries though.

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

My dad was an interim preacher. Very conservative family. My family knew nothing about health or gyms. I was really never introduced to this until 2 years ago.

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

I was a competitive cheerleader.

19. What is a typical day in the life of Mandy Harbin? From waking up to until going to bed?

Get up, Drink coffee, elliptical, Kids up, breakfast, work 8 hours, go to the gym, cook dinner, get everyone ready for bed. Rest on the couch and usually in bed by 10 pm.

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

I am a Product Owner for a medical software company, I am blessed to work from home full time with only a little bit of travel a few times a year. I work with the patient portal for doctors’ offices, I also write training and meal plans on the side. 

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