20 Questions with Cover Model and HardFitness Model Search winner Petra Onhajzerova
1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Petra Onhajzerova?
I grew up in a small town in Slovakia. During socialistic regime and very early after its collapse the opportunities for organized sports were very limited, especially for girls. My foray into fitness started when I moved to the United States five years ago. Initially I did some modeling but what really touched my heart, and gradually grew into passion is the world of fitness. I have gained valuable experiences working as a trainer at LA Fitness. This fulfilling job reinforced my belief that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s the best feeling when I’m told I motivate and inspire people to improve their health. The fitness industry is like home for me! I currently attend college with major in sport management. I am a student, certified personal trainer, figure competitor, and fitness model.
2) Please tell us a bit about your family, friends and surroundings?
3) How did you start competing in figure?
I started only a year ago. Everybody at La Fitness where I was working at that time was convincing me to do a show. So I gave it a shot and I got hooked. It was worth it.
4) What is your personal policy (not what the judges want) about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show? Soft or hard?
I would say “not too soft, not too hard”. I think that it is all about well balanced and proportional body.
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.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any experiences with competing in Europe so it’s hard for me to do judge that. I think that judges know the best what are they looking for. Either you have it or you don’t.
6) For the next shows what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise? If anything!
I know my weaknesses. I have to put some size on. I will be focusing on my back and legs. Mother Nature gave me a lean body…but I have to work on my size.
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 usually start with weight training then finish with 30 minutes of cardio. My workouts are always intense. Currently I follow a 7 day cycle with 2 days completely off. After the shows I took couple of weeks off and now I am back at full speed working on my strength – very heavy lifting, 3-4 exercise per body part with 4 sets per exercise (not including warm-up sets), starting with 10 and ending with 6 reps. On day 1 I do heavy back and biceps, on day 2 I do shoulders and triceps, on day 3 I do chest and light legs, day 4 is my day off, on day 5 I do light back and calves, on day 6 I do heavy legs, and day 7 is my day off. I do cardio every day after weight training and abs every other day. Before the show I do cardio in the morning (on empty stomach) + cardio after weight lifting too.
8) What is your pre-contest diet? (per day, 1 week before the show)
That’s easy… chicken and oatmeal. About 5 times per day. I get my carbs, I get my protein and I can keep the sodium low. I can eat chicken everyday and it still tastes pretty good. But for variety I eat egg-whites for breakfast and white fish like haddock for dinner.
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 always try to drink about 1 gallon of water. Week before the contest I increase that to 1½ gallon, then on Wednesday I drop it to ½ gallon), on Friday around 4 pm I shut the water intake. The day of the show I just sip water. This, along with keeping the sodium intake at minimum for at least 2 weeks before the show, is working for me.
10) What motivates you to train/diet and compete? Are there any competitors you looked up to?
Every show I’ve done so far was a lot of fun. Great people, great atmosphere and great experiences. I can’t wait to do some more.
12) What is your personal opinion about the figure, fitness, bodybuilding industry we are in? Anything you would like to see changed?
13) What has been your hardest challenge to overcome either in your personal life or competing career?
Decision about competing was the hardest challenge for me. It took me a while to give it a shot and found out that this is what I really like to do and I want to do. Other than that, I think that every day is a challenge in certain way. I like everyday challenges because they make me stronger and more mature.
14) Did you make any changes to your contest prep for your last show? Water intake, carbing up, etc...
It’s all about the priorities. If I don’t have time to work out, I have to find the time. My husband’s support means a lot to me. He always supports me in anything I do. I have a favorite quote that hangs in most gyms: “Sweat plus sacrifice equals success!” That keeps me going.
17) Please tell us about how you were raised and did you have any interesting experiences while growing up?
I grew up in Slovakia and went to schools there. I’ve had very normal childhood. I was responsible and quite disciplined child. I preferred to hang out with adults instead of playing with kids.
18) Do you have an athletic background? Gymnastics, soccer, volleyball or what?
Not at all.
19) What is a typical day in the life of Petra Onhajzerova? From waking up to until going to bed?
I love to sleep. That’s the best relax for my body and mind. If I don’t have to I am not getting up early. Then it depends on my schedule. Usually I have to go to work or school. Afternoon, around 6 pm I go to the gym. When I am done with my weigh training and cardio I go home and get myself ready for the next day. I fix my food (doggy bags) because I try not to eat junk food while I am on the run. I always have to have some snack with me. Around 9 pm I like to watch a movie or a football game. After that I am ready to hit the bed.
I have a part time job as a stylist for a high fashion oriented boutique Bebe. I am also a student. I’ll be moving to Texas at the beginning of the year 2009. My plan is to start working for a fitness center or a gym over there.