Issue #48


by Juan Carlos Lope

20 Questions with Cover Model and NPC Figure Petra Onhajzerova

Video Interview with IFBB Figure Pro and Cover Model Petra Onhajzerova

Nina Loos Interview
by Anne Pietila

Figure Competitions: Part of a Balancing Act
by Michelle Craven

Petra Onhajzerova, Tiani Thorne, Monica Brant, Tiffany Whitmore and Heather Udy

Video Interview with NPC Figure Lynn Fitzhum

Ask Misty Green
by Misty Green

Video Interview with NPC Bodybuilding Casey Daugherty

New Year's Body
by Jean Jitomir PhD (c)

Video Interview
with NPC Bodybuilding Yahaira Agosto


Figure Competitions: Part of a Balancing Act
by Michelle Craven, IFBB Figure Pro

Michelle Craven

Happy New Year! It’s 2009!  The start of every year motivates people to make resolutions and set new goals.  It is a time to start over, to make positive changes, and to hopefully live a healthier, more successful and fulfilling life.
For me it is also a time of self-discovery and reflection over the preceding year.  And what a year 2008 was for me!  I won my very first national NPC competition in September at Team Universe and qualified for pro status as an IFBB Figure competitor!  It was an unexpected, yet amazing, life-changing experience that suddenly added a new dimension to my already hectic life as a physician.  To say that my work schedule as an anesthesiology resident is demanding and stressful is an understatement!

Michelle Craven

Although I try to give 100% during the time I spend pursuing an endeavor, I cannot devote 100% of my time to any one facet of life.  Over the years I have discovered that life is about priorities and finding the right balance.  I constantly prove to people that “being too busy” is never an excuse.  I work over 70 hours a week at the hospital and still find time to train and exercise five or six days a week.  My co-workers often find little time to workout and are astonished that I can even make it to the gym.  I don’t have more hours in my day.  I just have different priorities.  With the addition of figure competition in my life, I am confronted with balancing my career, family, friends, and other personal endeavors.  If one aspect of life starts to take too much precedence, those other areas suffer as a result. 

Michelle Craven

I have quickly learned that a figure competitor’s journey is filled with ups and downs, encouragement and frustration, praise and criticism, victory and defeat.  The mental and physical metamorphosis that takes place in preparation for a show leads to an amazing sense of self-awareness.  This serves as a driving force to achieve the perfect physique, sometimes at the expense of other priorities.  The same empowerment a competitor gains from optimizing her physique and trying to attain her goals can sometimes lead to an unbalanced life with the potential to destroy relationships, hurt her career or neglect family and friends. 

Michelle Craven

It is important to be aware of some of the possible negative effects of competing that result from an imbalanced priority list.  If all is kept in balance, then there are many positive aspects to being a figure competitor that go beyond titles, trophies and recognition.  As a physician, I have been able to inspire and motivate others in the healthcare industry (who are often among the unhealthiest of people) to make strides in improving their health and physical fitness.  I take every opportunity to promote a healthy lifestyle to my patients through my actions as well as medical advice.  As I embark on 2009, I challenge myself to discover my goals and aspirations as a woman, anesthesiologist, figure competitor, family member and friend.  I seek not only to realize my dreams, but to maintain a sense of balance and happiness in my professional and personal life. 

Michelle Craven

I encourage each competitor to do the same.  May she reflect upon her journey thus far and picture her destination.  To what lengths is she willing to go to get there?  How will this impact the other significant elements of her life?  I challenge her to analyze her priorities and establish her goals in every facet, regardless of whether figure competitions hold center stage or are merely part of the backdrop.  Whether she dreams of being the next fitness icon, Miss Olympia, or simply enjoying the experiences of competing, may she discover HER perfect balance among her priorities that lead to a lifetime of happiness and continued success. 

For questions or comments contact Michelle Craven at: ifbbpromichelle@gmail.com

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About the Author...

Michelle Craven is a resident physician specializing in anesthesiology at UT Southwestern in Dallas.  She received her M.D. from UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, and her B.A. from Rice University in Houston, where she also played on the Varsity Volleyball Team.  Michelle earned her IFBB Figure Pro Card in September 2008 at Team Universe in New York City and made her pro debut at the Sacramento Pro in November.  Look for her to make strong showings in her home state of Texas at the Europa Supershow and Houston Pro in 2009.

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