Issue #29


by Juan Carlos Lope

2007 Colorado Pro - AM

2007 Colorado Pro - AM Review

2007 California Pro and NPC Cal State

2007 California Pro and NPC Cal State Review

2007 NPC Contra Costa

2007 NPC Contra Costa Review

2007 FAME West Review
by JP Erickson

20 Questions with Cover Model and Tri-Fitness Competitor Darla Benfield

Pictorials Darla Benfield, Danyell Leavitt,
Juliana Malacarne, Tammy Jackson and Shina Mitchell

Pocket-size Buff Beauty Interview with figure competitor Anniina Krökki
by Kaisa Piippo

Video Interview with IFBB Figure Pro Liane Seiwald

Road to 2007 Jr. Nationals
by Brandie Gardner

Final Testing
by Jean Jitomir

Video Interview with NPC Figure Kelley Greene

Ask Misty Green
by Misty Green

Importance of Sleep
by Rebecca Slatt

Video Interview with NPC Bodybuilding Roseanne Desmarais



20 Questions with Cover Model and Tri-Fitness Competitor Darla Benfield

Darla Benfield

1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Darla Benfield?

Hi Readers…My name is Darla and I have been involved in the fitness Industry for 20 years as a Galaxy competitor, athlete, and trainer/team coach…..so what makes me special….I AM 43, have had 2 children, and walking the fitness talk by running my own business, Fitness-4-You, working as a Certified Massage Therapist…and Drum Roll…. Fitness Modeling at age 40!!!!  I hope to inspire women that they can be fit, healthy, and sexy over 40…celebrating that 40 truly is the new 20. 

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

I have 2 awesome children.  My son is 19 and in college, and my daughter will be 16 and attending high school. My parents and 2 siblings all live in the area so I enjoy family time during holidays, special events and anytime.  I have wonderful friends who have been very supportive and I cherish those relationships.  I am a homeowner in California in a typical neighborhood, drive a Mazda, and have 2 miniature dachshunds.

3) How did you start competing in tri-fitness? For those that don't know about it can you describe how it differs from figure/fitness? 

Actually, I competed in the Galaxy and the Eliminator where I met Al Rosen, the director of the WTF.  My affiliation with his organization has been going 6 years strong now and I have trained several Fitness-4-You teams for his competition.  The Women’s Tri Fitness, similar to the Galaxy, is an event that consists of an obstacle course, grace and physique round, skills, and routine.  It truly brings out the beautiful athlete for all those entering the show. 

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

I am an advocate for health….my motto…Stay Healthy!!!  I believe an athlete should train and be the best they can be with the genetics they were born with.  A woman can be lean and muscular with proper nutritional intake, exercise regime, and hydration, and look absolutely ready for stage.  When you see a vision of health on stage, she will be muscular, lean, radiant skin, beautiful hair, and never drawn in the face.

5)  What is your idea of what judges want in a Figure/Tri-Fitness competitor (physique round)? Do you think judges are clear enough with competitors about how they want you on stage? It seems in Canada they are very clear unlike in the USA.

Darla Benfield

Being involved with WTF for several years now, I have had the opportunity to prepare women for the grace and physique round.  Prior to the show, Al Rosen explains the expectations, rules, scoring, etc., so there is no surprises here.  The judges are looking for overall tone, symmetry, poise, confidence, and beauty.  Training for this show will give you the kind of body the judges are looking for. 

6) If you were to compete again what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise? If anything!

I maintain my physique year round by eating clean, and constantly challenging my muscles…to include the heart.  I feel good year round and am ready for a photo shoot at a moment’s notice.

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 like to do cardio almost daily and before I lift.  So a workout could consist of 30-45 minutes of cardio and hitting one or two body parts hard.  A back/chest workout is probably my most challenging since I perform 80-100 pulls/chins variety grips 15 reps per set….so that means 5 to 6 sets.  I throw in one arm rows for 10 reps at 50lbs. My chest consists of flat press, incline press, flyes, and push ups. My max bench press is 115lbs, 75lbs for incline, and 25lbs for flyes.  I love to finish off with push ups.

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

My diet is the same everyday….healthy and clean.  I will show you a sample:
Oatmeal with protein powder for breakfast or my power pancake
Protein shake for 1st snack
Baked potato with N/F cottage cheese for lunch
Yogurt mixed with a scoop of protein and a few nuts
Large salad with grilled chicken or fish on top
Peanut butter on a rice cake before bed with a cup of herbal tea
1 gallon of water per 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.

Well….I apply the same policy to photo shoots since I do not compete right now.  I may decrease my water by 1/2 …..so half a gallon and I drink a detox herbal tea as a natural diuretic starting 1 week away from my shoot.

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

Being healthy, looking fit, and feeling sexy motivates me to keep training….the compliments are nice too;)  I have always looked up to Cory Everson…She was/is a vision of beauty and strength even to this day.

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

Darla Benfield

Well this was not recent, but during one of the shows where I accompanied an athlete for show prep, I happened to be backstage to see a girl collapse after her comparisons.  Paramedics were on scene, but the girl had not eaten and had taken lasix, a medically prescribed diuretic given to remove water from around the heart, or for other medical conditions where water removal from the body is imperative.  The sad thing was that her friend was unsympathetic and in fact did not even want her to go to the hospital…..

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

Probably the inconsistencies in judging.  The athletes work so hard to become what they think the judges want only to find out they are too hard, too soft, over developed, under developed….well….you get the picture.   

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

Being married to and divorcing a very controlling and manipulative person who damaged the relationship I once had with my daughter.  I have had to let go of those things I can not control and move forward changing those things I can.  I believe that goodness and truth has its way of winning in the end.

14) Tell us how you are currently involved with the tri-fitness industry?

I am a Tri-Fitness Certified Trainer and prepare teams for the show.  I am also a feature model for WTF and have appeared in their magazine.  I am also on the Fit Dream Team which is a wonderful group of women/athletes in support of each other. 

15) Do you think competitors are getting smaller and smaller everytime and that quality is being lost or do you think things are headed in the right direction as far as physiques?

I really do not see the physiques getting smaller….I see some pretty developed physiques out there….lean, hard, and vascular…  I think the right direction is being the best you can be through nutrition and working out. 

16)  As far as modeling you are one of the best models I have worked with, what can you tell other competitors in order to improve as models and look for opportunities?

Darla Benfield

First of all…thanks for the compliment.  It really is about having fun…like dancing when you think no one is watching….playing with facial expressions, body movements, positions, etc….You have to be comfortable which comes with practice….it is so important to shoot as much as possible until it feels absolutely natural.  You have to be a trooper…I have shot in freezing water, in the cold, heat, and rain, and hiked to location.  It’s also all about having a good attitude.  My advice: If you have a good attitude, are a trooper, can move in front of the camera like no one is watching, you will have NO PROBLEM getting asked to photo shoot. Your reputation as a good model travels and photographers love to work with good models.  HAVE FUN!!!!

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

I was raised in a pretty strict Christian home.  I look back and am thankful for the structure my parents provided because it has shaped who I am today.  You may find it interesting that my father taught us to be responsible for what we owned….so when I was 16 and driving my own car….guess who was replacing clutches, changing spark plugs, oil, and everything related….MEJ

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

I do have an athletic background.  I participated in sports starting in junior high, high school, and leagues while I was in college.  I enjoyed playing basketball and softball, loved running track, and excelled at cross country.  I still love running dirt trails today for cardio.

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

I wake up early since I see my first client at 6:30am.  My first meal of the day is at 5:30am.  I usually have 3 morning clients.  I eat a snack between my 2nd and 3rd client of the morning.  I then make time for my workout which consists of cardio and weight resistance training. Meal 3 comes next prior to my afternoon clients which I may have one to 2.  I make time for another snack usually while answering emails, working my web sites and talking with my fans.  Dinner is next and I usually hit the computer for a bit more.  Snack time and tea and off to bed;) 

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

Darla Benfield

Currently I am a Certified Personal Trainer and run my own business, Fitness-4-You.  I  am also a Certified Massage Therapist specializing in Swedish, Integrated, Deep Tissue, and Sports Massage. My training business is dedicated exclusively for women where I offer comprehensive fitness consulting, training, assessment, nutrition plans, program design, fit image fashion consulting, in home gym consulting, and workshops.  My massage therapy business provides services to women and men which include chronic pain relief, reduction of muscle tension and soreness, and relaxation.  In addition, I enjoy Fitness Modeling in order to be a role model and inspiration to the 40+ women.




Back to Issues


© 2004 HardFitness Design All right reserved.