20 Questions with IFBB Fitness Pro and Cover Model April Fortier
1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is April Fortier?
2) Please tell us a bit about your family, friends and surroundings?
My immediate family would include my mother, DeAnn, daughter, Jayla, and pink maltese dog, Mazie. My extended family would include my clients, body workers and all those folks at the gym who are so supportive! I own my own home and businesses in Danville , CA. I am blessed!
3) How did you start competing in figure?
I knew I needed a goal to get me in the gym. I became interested in fitness competitions as a challenge for myself. You get to create your own routine, theme, outfit and choreography. I really got hooked once I saw how my physique was improving, as well as feeling other great health benefits.
4) What is your personal policy (not what the judges want) about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show? Soft or hard?
I have always taken the approach that I am competing with myself, and simply try to improve from the previous show. Once you have done it enough, you start to know how your body works and how it looks its best. For me, putting muscle on has been difficult, yet I lean out pretty quickly. I prefer to be hard enough that I can pose more relaxed onstage, and still look very fit.
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.
The judges have always preferred a well-balanced physique, emphasizing a V-tapered back. Overall appearance and presentation can give you the few extra points that can change your placing. This year, the judges have really enforced less muscularity and leanness for figure competitors. I believe they want us to be just as conditioned, but more relaxed on stage to give the appearance of a softer look.
6) For the next shows what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise? If anything!
Shoulders have always been my problem area for muscularity and gluts for conditioning. Also, suit selection and presentation will improve with more experience.
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?
In the off season, my only cardio is going to gymnastics twice a week. Not sure if it really counts? About 6 weeks out, I will start to do 45 mins of cardio 5 days a week. My leg workouts are never the same. If I always mix it up, I am guaranteed soreness! Weightlifting:
8) What is your pre-contest diet? (per day, 1 week before the show)
I leave it all to Kenny Tali at Max Muscle in Walnut Creek. It is well worth it to hire a nutritionist. They can look at your physique on a weekly basis, and advise you as to what you need to eat and how you need to train in order to get ready for a show. Usually I am well depleted a week before the show then we slowly introduce carbs and/or fats into my diet the week of a show. Every show and every day varies. It’s never the same twice!
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 consume at least a gallon of water every day. Two days prior to a show I will consume ½ gallon. Usually I can still drink up to 12oz of water the day before the show, and very minimal the day of.
10) What motivates you to train/diet and compete? Are there any competitors you looked up to?
My motivation often comes from simply feeling so much better after working out. I love to do anything that is a physical challenge. Often times it is just as much a mental challenge. You can top that off by saying training is also an emotional relief. It is a way to go within and find an inner space for a while. You can put away the cares of the world on focus on your own health for a bit.
11) Please tell us an interesting experience you had at a show recently, be it a fun thing or something rather not so fun?
I love doing California shows, so my family can be there with me. At the 2008 Cal State Pro Figure show, my daughter helped me back stage a lot. It is pretty cool to see how much she looks up to me. She was really thrilled when our picture showed up in Sept ’08 Iron Man magazine’s Cal coverage. I’m glad she feels like she’s a part of my success!
12) What is your personal opinion about the figure, fitness, bodybuilding industry we are in? Anything you would like to see changed?
The NPC/IFBB is a great organization that gives athletes an opportunity to show off their hard work and talent. It has been an incredible experience! I have met so many supportive people in the industry. All of my fellow competitors are amazing! I am blessed to have some great new friends in my life!
I set out to do Jr. Nationals in 2007, as my first and ONLY National-level show (just for fun!) I was very ill for 4 months prior to the show and after lots of medication, I finally felt better 4 weeks out. The entire time I was still determined to do the show. Glad I did because I placed 4th in both fitness and figure. I was encouraged to do the Team Universe show 6 weeks later, and placed 3rd in both fitness and figure. Four weeks later, I earned my pro card by winning the D class at the USA championships in Las Vegas. My hardest challenge now is trying to pay off the debt I acquired with all that unexpected competing. My advice would be don’t let anything get in the way of your dreams, be it health or wealth. Where there’s a will…there’s a way!
14) Did you make any changes to your contest prep for your last show? Water intake, carbing up, etc...
For the 2008 Cal State Pro show, I cycled my carbs, which helped to lean me out quick, but also keep my body guessing. If you do too much of the same thing, whether it’s diet or training, your body gets used to it, and results are harder to achieve.
My latest discovery happened by mistake. I woke up the morning of the show a royal tanning mess. I HAD to shower it off, then reapply another layer of Jantana. Good thing I do tanning for a living and have my own airbrush machine. The tan looked wonderful! It was flawless, and everyone complimented me. I plan on making it a habit.
15) What is your opinion about the 20% rule the IFBB issued to some female athletes in which the more muscular competitors had to loose 20% of muscle mass? Why do you think they did it? Do you think competitors will follow it? Or it will get lost around somewhere?
I believe the request was greatly needed, although it is only the natural progression of a hard training athlete to get bigger. The judges want competitors to maintain their feminine appearance. As an individual, it is sometimes hard to have an objective perspective. It is easy to always think “I need to get bigger” in order to be better, faster, stronger…
16) How do you balance your family life with competing and dieting for shows? Do you have a support system around you (family, etc...)?
My only family in California is my mother and daughter, who are both very supportive! I make sure I make time for fun! Eating out together has become a great treat, especially for me! We make sure to take a few vacations together every year. My favorite is either snorkeling in Hawaii or snowboarding in Tahoe!
17) Please tell us about how you were raised and did you have any interesting experiences while growing up?
I was raised in Florida and moved to California when I was 15. I was a very independent and adventurous kid. I lacked any fear, but I think I just had a lot of guardian angels at work. Growing up on a ranch and having horses was a big influence on who I am today. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many different animals, but the deep connection I had with my horses really developed my spirituality and intuition. Being able to sense and feel without words is a wonderful quality I cherish.
18) Do you have an athletic background? Gymnastics, soccer, volleyball or what?
From age 3-13, I studied ballet, then quit when I was offered a scholarship to the New York Ballet. Never really regret it though. I moved to a ranch and became quite the equestrian. In high school, I was a cheerleader and won the All-American title junior and senior year. I also was a track and field athlete. I qualified for state championships in hurdles & high jump. I soon realized I really enjoyed any sport that involved jumping or flipping. Most of my gymnastic and cheerleading stunt ability was self-taught in my own back yard.
19) What is a typical day in the life of April Fortier? From waking up to until going to bed?
No day is ever typical, but a good summer day would be waking up later than the rest of the world. A usual day means the alarm goes off at 7am, so I can get my daughter to school, and myself to the gym. I juggle training clients or working as an esthetician. Usually, I find time to train midday. I pick up my daughter at 3pm, which from that point on its all about her…swimming, Spanish or art classes. Twice a week we take gymnastics at the same time. About 6 weeks prior to a show, I will start doing cardio 5 days a week in the evenings. I definitely spend a lot of time in the kitchen, too. Whether it’s cooking, eating or cleaning up the mess.
20) What is your current occupation? Please tell us more about it, what do you specifically do in your job?
I have owned my own skincare business for almost 10 years. As an esthetician, I perform facials, waxing, massage, tanning and makeup services. In the last year, I became a personal trainer due to demand. Many people in my life saw how fitness improved my body and mind. I have built close relationships with many of my clients, so it came natural for them to seek my advice regarding nutrition and fitness. I am just glad to be a source of knowledge for others! I really enjoy helping other competitors as well, whether it’s with posing, tanning, makeup or photo shoots. The fitness world has allowed me to grow as a person, and for that I am grateful!