Interview with UK IFBB Amateur Figure Louise Rogers by Anne Pietila
1. Louise, let’s start with an easy question! Could you shortly introduce yourself, who you are and what do you do in your life?
- Hi there! My names Louise Rogers, I’m 26 years old, nearly 27! I live in Fleet Hampshire UK, although I’m originally from the south coast in Dorset. I am just in the process of graduating from university, just finished my exams! However during my degree I have been working as a recruitment consultant. I have been competing for a year in the IFBB Bodyfitness (Figure) class!
2. Wow, looking at your well developed physique I could never believe you are that young! I guess you have been training your whole life? So, could you please tell us about your sport backgrounds and your training history with weights?
- Yes, I’ve pretty much been training to some extent for as long as I can remember. Whilst in school I used to compete in athletics, particularly sprinting. From here I went on to be an avid cardio queen! I used to spend hours doing cardio in the gym.. until 2003 when I trained as a Personal Trainer. I went on to start working in a local gym; where I was linked up to work with a man who was training for power lifting and strong man type competitions. This was an unlikely pairing however he introduced me to power lifting, and shortly after I went on to switch to bodybuilding. So I have been training with weights since I was 21 years old...
3. And what made you start competing and when and how did it happen?
- Well I was thinking about competing in 2007 although I wasn’t completely sure what to do and how to go about it! I also wasn’t sure which class to opt for, although I particularly liked the pro figure look and wanted to do a class which reflected that.
I decided that it would be a good idea to contact someone that may be able to help me. I wanted to contact IFBB Physique Pro Kimberley Anne Jones as I had seen some of the women she’d trained to pro level, plus I knew what a successful career she had in bodybuilding. I plucked up the courage to call Kimberley’s gym and she wanted me to go up to her gym and see her. I booked a time to meet and off I went! Upon meeting with Kim we had a chat and she had a look at me in the changing rooms and decided I should compete in an upcoming show. Kim initially wanted me to do the Stars of Tomorrow show and I started dieting for it. However I decided to opt out as I was feeling totally nervous, plus I suffered from the flu for a month which really hampered my diet and training.
We then opted for the Southern Qualifier in Portsmouth, which would actually be more local for me anyway!
At my first competition here I remember feeling extremely nervous and bewildered! The whole scenario of tanning, registration, pumping up etc was fun although rather stressful for my first experience. I remember losing my jewelry on the day, plus having problems with my hair sticking to my tan ha-ha. Also being on stage seemed to pass by rather quickly, and before I knew it I had won! I was totally thrilled and amazed, and realized I now had an invite for the UKBFF (IFBB) British Finals in Nottingham.
4. After your win at qualifier you continued to British Nationals, could you tell a bit about your journey to that show and how was the result?
- Well I immediately started training for the British Finals, although I didn’t continue to diet throughout this time. I am normally careful with my food on and off season anyway... However I realized that I would need to become leaner for the British Finals, plus my coach and my partner also analyzed my weak areas and we focused on bringing better condition to my legs.
I began dieting at 13 weeks out for the British Finals, and continued on a very strict diet throughout the whole 13 weeks. Most days I ate the same sort of food, and weighed my portions to ensure I didn’t over eat. I actually dieted so strictly that I was becoming much too lean for the class. My pictures at 5 weeks out are very vascular and lean looking. My coach became concerned at 3 weeks out from the show and we decided to up my carb intake, and stop my evening cardio sessions. Admittedly I found this very difficult as I had become quite accustomed to my diet and training routine! I was concerned about making sudden changes so close to the show.
However adding some carbs and ceasing my cardio worked a treat and I won the British Finals on Oct 2008, as my second ever show!! I was totally amazed and really quite over whelmed..
5. Louise, that is simply amazing. You first won qualifier and then in the end of last fall you suddenly were British Nationals Figure Champion. Nearly no one knew about you and talked about you before the contest. Did you expect yourself to do so well? And how does that all feels now afterwards?
- To be honest I don’t think anyone would expect to do that well in only their second competition. However I must admit I trained with the mind set to win the British. Although in reality I knew this could be an unrealistic expectation. I tried to keep a good mental attitude throughout!
After winning the show I felt almost disbelief.... I couldn’t quite believe what I had achieved. I had accomplished a dream! I sometimes still find it bizarre that I managed to win such a show. But I’m trying to concentrate on my next show now, and bring a better package again.
6. What that victory meant to you and did it change your life somehow?
- It’s certainly changed my belief in what I could potentially accomplish. I always thought I would be doing local shows, certainly not international shows.
7. Your contest history is not so long but what is the most important thing you have learned during your competing career?
- I have realized that anything is possible, if you put your mind to it. Mind set is extremely important in this sport, along with consistency of your diet and training.
8. Anyway, your victory gave you a chance to attend in European Championships in Slovakia. You chose not to, why?
- I have just been far too busy with university. I have been taking my university final exams for my degree – so I didn’t want to risk competing as well. I put 100% into my competitions and I didn’t think I would be able to put 100% into the European Championships. Although I must admit I would have loved the opportunity to do it!
9. So after last fall’s contest season, what you have been doing training and nutrition wise? Anything you have been focusing in your physique?
- I’ve mostly been concentrating on my glutes! I have been focusing on the condition of my glutes, although I must admit I have found it difficult because I have a slightly damaged sacroiliac joint. However I’ve been seeing a chiropractor who seems to be fixing it!
I am just generally focusing on my leg training, as I won’t change my upper body for my next competition.
10. By the way, I am impressed by your size in figure, could you please share more about your main training principles?
- I keep a few principles in mind for my training in general, including:
11. So as you said, you have now been in off season, but you do have next goal in your mind, right?
- My goal for this year is competing in the IFBB Women's World Championships in Como, Italy!!
12. Could you share a bit more about your coming prep to the IFBB World Championships?
- I will be starting my diet at around 13-14 weeks out from the show. I only intend to drop about 12lbs in weight. I competed at the British Championships at 60kg. Although the criteria for judging in Europe and the rest of the World seems to be fairly muscular and tight for figure, so I may drop to around 59kg. (It would be different if I was competing in the states.. I would adopt a softer/smaller look)
I am going to follow a similar plan as to the British Finals. I opt for weight training 6 days per week, cardio twice a day (short bursts). My diet isn’t too low in carbs because I find it too difficult to train when carbs are too low. I will stick to around 130g per day, with no carbs at all at night.
13. What about your goal and expectations there?
- Well I will be competing in the tall figure class I believe.. and I really hope to come in the top 6. In the UK to receive a pro card in figure I must try and place in the top 6 at the Worlds. Although I know this will be extremely difficult as the level of competition at the Worlds is outstanding.
If that doesn’t happen I will have a rethink! And try again at the Europeans or in the States if its possible.
14. That is something many in the States do not really get that in some countries it is not that easy to turn pro as in many countries even to win the Nationals is not enough. So, in UK it is pretty tough too?
- Yes it’s extremely difficult in the UK to receive a pro card. The UK gives out one pro card a year, to the overall men's winner at the British Finals. Women in the UK no longer receive pro cards, the rules were changed in this respect several years ago. My only route to turning pro is at the European Championships or the World Championships.
To be honest I never expected to receive a pro card as I was aware of the UKBFF's rules in regards to women receiving pro cards. I never actually thought I would be good enough to receive one either... However my thinking has changed now and it has become my ultimate goal. It would be beneficial if Europe gave out more pro cards to women, as it would allow the sport to grow. However on the flip side, it does mean that to achieve a pro card in Europe you really must be such a high standard, and it would certainly be an amazing accomplishment to receive one.
15. As you do have plans to turn pro, so what kind of thoughts do you have about pro figure nowadays and how would you see your own chances in it?
- Well figure in the States seems to be a different look to Europe... I have been out to LA and noted how smaller the figure girls are in comparison to Europe. I think I would probably adopt a slightly softer look if I were to compete in the States.. and whilst I know shoulders and width seems to be important in pro figure I may actually have to stop training my delts, as they will otherwise grow out of all proportion and be too big! J
16. Year after year all over the world constant debate goes on about what figure should look like, what is your own opinion in this issue?
- I appreciate the classic figure look, as in the likes of Monica Brant. It’s women like her that inspired me to compete in the sport. To me, the figure class is a balanced, toned figure, with lines and some muscle separation, although no muscle striations. Wide shoulders, narrow hips, small waist and proportionate legs.
17. What about your own physique then, strong points and flaws in your own opinion?
- I feel my strong points are most definitely my shoulders and back! My weaker area is my glutes! Although I’ve been working hard this last year to bring them up to the same standard as everything else.
18. You are still quite young and just started with your competing. How do you see yourself as a part of this sports in the future? What is your ultimate goal you head to?
- My ultimate aim is to compete within the IFBB Pro Figure division. I know it may potentially be a long road ahead.. but I would love the opportunity to compete in the pro classes one day J I would also love to represent my country within the pro figure division!
19. What else we should know about elite Figure Competitor Louise Rogers?
- Well I’m 100% devoted to training, I just love it!
20. I wish you best luck with your prep, this is the end and you can now add what ever you want to!
- Thanks very much J