Interview with NPC Figure Brandie Gardner
1. Please tell us about you before competing in
I was an avid long distance runner for several years; ran cross country in high school and continued on as an adult with my Daddy in a running club in Clearwater, FL. I also was a cheerleader in a small close-knit town called Plant City. My passion for running had to come to a halt when I became pregnant with my first son, Reece. I transferred my energies to teaching group aerobic classes at the Plant City YMCA. Originally, in 2000, I was encouraged to compete in physique contests so I sought out a trainer for bodybuilding. Figure was just being added to the NPC calendar.
2. What has been your greatest motivation towards competing and staying healthy?
Real simple, TEAM BODY*TECH; our competition team keeps me motivated and driven. Our team consists of over 380 Nationwide athletes; novice competitors, State & regional competitors, NPC National level competitors and IFBB Pros, such a wide array of levels but we are all equal together and we are a solid family. We lean on each other and push ourselves to excellence, to be the best at whichever level we may be competing in. That's what our sport should be about - self improvement and self gratitude.
3. As far as training goes what body parts do you
I tend to favor my back, shoulders & glutes in training, they are the most responsive body parts on me when I am in a training mode. I would have to say I focus least on my biceps, but, this year I am putting 100% in all of my training because one outstanding body part will not win a show.
4. What is your ideal physique on stage? Describe in
When I judge a contest I look for balance; I like a clean aesthetic look, rounded shoulders & tapered back, sweeping hamstrings, full calves and my favorite are indented side glutes. Suits which compliment one's physique, not too high of heels and of course, poise.
5. What are your favorite cheat foods? Any recipes you like to prepare?
Every year my cravings seem to change, but sushi is always my top choice. I try to stay away from processed foods and I love to make plantains and my homemade chocolate pecan pie.
6. What are some of your pet peeves about competing in Figure?
Hmmm, pet peeves, there seems to be no consistency in judging the different height classes. It appears to me that as the classes progress in height that once they get to the taller classes, after choosing more tone and athletic gymnast-like shapes, the judging sways toward a softer look for the taller girls. I'm not saying I want to look like a bodybuilder but I do want to show what I've worked hard for and not smooth it all out right before a show.
7. What could you recommend other girls that are just starting to compete and are confused with the placings and judging nowadays?
Be persistent. Take time to study every aspect of competition in your region. There will be a pattern formed of what the judges are looking for in your state. To be safe, long & tone feminine lines, good color, darker suits which taper your body and do not distract from it and elegant presentation, total package at any level.
8. Which show do you think was the show you came in the best as far as conditioning and why?
I'd have to say the 2006 Grand Bahamas Invitational, I was full & hard. I woke up that morning and loved my look - it was athletic but still very feminine.
9. If you were to change the format of NPC shows what would you change if anything?
For figure, I would have the sequence of heights to be the same for round one and then reverse them for round two, class F to class A. I also would have all competitors wear mandatory black suits for the preliminaries; can't hide any flaws that way.
10. Can you tells us an interesting story that you
After placing 4th at the 2003 NPC Jr. USA's, I took a year off of training, Tim and I concentrated on opening another gym, Body*Tech Fitness Emporium in Tampa. I decided in 2005 to compete in the USA's and quite honestly didn't take it seriously. I thought that I would just breeze on through with a smile, boy, was I wrong. I was in the fourth callout, left in the wings just wanting to die and it hurt bad! I learned real quick that you have to work even harder as you go up the ladder of competition and that nothing is just handed to you, you do have to earn it. I decided that after my successful 2006 season, I would pretend that I already acquired my IFBB Pro card and am staying on that healthy track of eating and a sound workout regime preparing for my IFBB pro debut, right? I know that my next step on that Pro-qualifying stage that I will be my most mentally and physically prepared ever and very confident of myself.