Issue #54


by Juan Carlos Lope

2009 Jr. Nationals Photos and Results

2009 Jr Nats Review

Interview with IFBB Figure Pro and Cover Model Mascha Tieken
by Anne Pietila

Video Interview with NPC Bodybuilder Andrea Thiel

Video Interview NPC Bodybuilder Laurie Smith

Mascha Tieken, Michelle Watson, Meagan Swain, Clenet Vaughn & Jenny Lynn

Video Interview with NPC Figure Soleivi Hernandez

Video Interview with NPC Bodybuilder Tracy Mason




Interview with Mascha Tieken IFBB Figure Pro by Anne Pietila

Mascha Tieken

1. First of all Mascha, even though you are a really familiar name in the game, could you shortly introduce yourself to us?

- Hi! My name is Mascha Tieken and I`m the first Figure Pro of the Netherlands. In 1990 I walked into a gym for the first time and from that time on I was hooked on the sport. In just one year I walked on the stage to do my first competition and I ended up first. My love for competitions was born there and then. I have done about 30 competitions in the last few years and I still love it.
When I was young I used to ride horses and because my parents owned a stable I had to help out. So at young age I had to clean the stables and walk with the wheelbarrow. I had to do all kinds of jobs on the farm and maybe that`s why, when I first started doing working outs, people told me I was very strong.

2. Like I said, you are no rookie in competing. You started already in 1991, and that was actually in bodybuilding. Could you tell us more about early years in physique sports?

- Well the reason I started competing was actually a joke. A boy at the gym told me he was going to compete, I laughed at him and told him ”if you are going to compete, I will also”  I never thought he would actually do it, well he did and I kept my promise.
Back in those days they did not have figure or fitness (at least not in the Netherlands) so my first competition was in bodybuilding. I was very excited because I had seen some female bodybuilders before (actually my best friend Heidi was a bodybuilder back in those days) and I was very impressed with their physiques. I never expected to end up in first place and take the Overall title as well.
After the competition a lot of people came up to me and told me I had talent and I should do more competitions and shows. One of the judges liked my physique  so much that she took me under her wings and thought me everything. She thought me how to diet, (my first diet was about 50 grams of rice and green beans - I hate green beans!!!-and 100grams of fish, that was all for one day) and how to do my poses.
I owe her a lot and she helped me to get better and better.
Somehow the competitions helped me to build up my self-confidence because I found something I was good at and something I liked to do.

3. Anyway after your start you have been competing a lot, you tried also other federations, turned pro and done shows every now and then. Could you give us a little review of your career and it’s highlights?

- As I said I have done more than 30 competitions. I have won several shows and there are several highlights of different kind of levels. I mean some are highlights because of the good result at the contest and others are because I have special memories.
Of course the first competition is special because it gave me a rush and a lot of things happened that day which I never expected.
The highlights of my amateur days are becoming World Champion twice and receiving my Pro card. I never expected to become World Champion, (you can imagine my surprise winning it twice), because I never won the Dutch Nationals or the European Championships. The organization invited me and the winner of the show to compete at the World Championships. Between these two shows there was only three weeks and I pushed myself to the limit. I changed my physique so much I beat the winner of the Dutch Nationals and won the World Championships. During these three weeks I had to go to the doctor because my joint were hurting a lot and my eyes turned red. To tell a long story short he told me I had bacteria also called spondylitis ankylopoëtica. Maybe that`s why I was more determined than ever to be in the best shape ever. I thought it would be my last show, oww boy I was wrong hahaha. But enough about that...
There is one competition that is very special to me and that is the Dutch Pro Grand-Prix, not because of the result...but because my dad got to see me on stage. My dad was my biggest fan and he was so proud of all the things I achieved, but he had not seen me on stage as a Pro.
My dad was very sick at that time, he had colon cancer and he had to take a lot of medicine. And although he felt very weak, he was there. The venue was dark but if you looked at his face you saw the venue light up. My dad died october 15th 2007.

Mascha Tieken

4. Right, you turned pro in 2003 and made your pro debut at New York show. There has always been much talk USA versus Europa in pro issues and many wonder why there are not so many European pros competing. How would you describe how it is to be a pro figure athlete in Europe and why do you think that just a few Europeans have turned pro?

- Well I think it`s because we do not have so many occasions where we can earn a pro card. Ok a federation of a country can send in a request for you to the IFBB and some of them are approved.
And maybe it`s because the European athletes ( the figure girls) usually are more muscular and ripped than the USA athletes, no offence ladies. I mean a lot of the Europeans think they do not make a change of winning because the guidelines are so much different. It`s also a big step to turn pro because all of the pro competitions are in the USA so you have to have enough finance to pay for all the tickets to travel overseas. And as you can imagine a lot of athletes can not afford it.

5. Well all in all, you have made a long career and specially in 2005 and 2006 you looked phenomenal, and according to many, you would have earned much better placings. How do you as an athlete would comment this issue?

- Thank you for the compliment! That`s a hard one because as an athlete you always hope to end up high at a competition. And yes I think my physique was very good at that time. Why I did not end up higher??? I think because although I`ve been around for a while the judges simply overlooked me. I remember one time, Bill Dobbins was in the audience and he started interfering and saying things about me being overlooked. The judges told him to be quiet. The next show I did I ended up a lot higher than I ever did before at a competition in the USA, why??? Well you tell me....

6. Anyway, over 18 years competing, you are quite experienced physique athlete and you must have learned a lot. If you could give 3 tips to rookies, what would those be?

  1. Just keep yourself focused, do not let anyone get you off track.
  2. Look for the persons who can help you. The wheel is already invented so why try to invent it again.
  3. Just stay the way you are, do not let anyone change YOU.

7. During your career time contests, sports, criteria and whole bodybuilding and figure world has definitely changed. What changes do your eyes notice, both negative and positive?

- I think a lot has changed. Back in the day when I first started working out you where considered a freak if you went to a gym. The word ”fitness” was not invented yet so everybody was doing bodybuilding. Gladly this has changed and nowadays going to the gym is a ”normal” thing to do.

When you look at the competitions a lot has changed too. Especially the women’s division. The bodybuilding women are getting bigger but they still are very feminine.
The fitness ladies are getting more ripped, muscular and flexible. The shows are so spectacular. And yes then the figure girls. Well... when I started competing there was no figure class at the IFBB. But the NABBA did. The women did have muscles and were very hard and ripped. After a few years the IFBB started with the figure class as well and it was a big hit. The women who did not have so much muscle as a bodybuilder or did not have the flexibility as a fitness competitor finally had a class of there own. And in the beginning the girls did have muscle (not so much but they did have muscle development on there shoulders, legs and there abs where visible) and they were allowed to have a harder physique than nowadays. To be honest I think the girls who where happy back then with there own class have fallen in a cap again. And that`s a pity. I hope there is going to be a new class soon for women who like working out hard but do not want to have so much muscle as female bodybuilders. I`m praying for the Classic Bodybuilding for women, and I hope it will be there soon!!

Mascha Tieken

8. Watching photos of your whole career, besides the fact that you look totally phenomenal, you seem to carry a good amount of muscles. Is it just genetics or do you simply train heavy and want to add size?

- Thank you for the compliment. Well yes I know I have a lot of muscle on my frame. I tried loosing it because that`s the look the judges want to see. But what ever I tried I can not get the muscle off of me. Ok, I did loose some but I had still too much muscle. I work with Charles Glass and everytime we were working out he shook his head and said ”damn girl, you only have to look at the weights and your muscles start growing hahaha”.
I also stopped working out some body parts, but in the long run I almost could not work out at all. I love working out so I started to train them again. Not with so much weight but my muscle grow anyway. So yes I think it is genetics.

9. Talking about your photos, you have done quite many shootings and the result of all of them is actually exceptionally good! How do you prepare for the shootings and what are your principles in shootings, how to look REAL good?

- When I do a shooting I simply want to look my best. I do not do shoots when I`m not preparing for a show. Not that I`m totally out of shape, I try to stay in shape all year because I do not like the bulked up look. But I just do not feel comfortable and I think that`s very important. I also think about what to wear, my make-up and I try to have a little tan.

10. Like I said, you have a good amount of muscles, what are your main principles in your training?

- I simply do multiple sets for one muscle group and sometimes I mix-up the muscle groups. I try to have as little time between sets as possible. So I keep my body going all the time.

11. Many figure girls have said that they have changed a lot in their training after criteria changed and there are not so many figure girls any more doing really heavy weight work outs at gym, what is your opinion in this issue?

- Well I think, as I told before, the girls have to do what they like doing. Ok, you can change your physique by working out different but if you do not feel comfortable try to make some subtle changes and see how your body reacts. The criteria for figure, in my point of view, is that the girls are getting smaller and smaller if you have the genetics to put on muscle you have a problem if you want to compete (or you have to switch over to bodybuilding and I know some of you do not want that). Also really heavy workouts you do not have to do but just mix them up a little and try to feel every muscle burn.

Mascha Tieken

12. By the way, we already talked about this a bit, but what is your opinion in nowadays’ figure? Specially the result of Figure International caused much talk here in Europe, what kind of figure look do you prefer?

- I think I have already made my point in the other questions. Although I thought the winner was a very beautiful girl.

13. Anyway, you are now training with your next contest in your mind, right?

- Yes I`m competing at the Atlantic Pro +35. I`m planning this show because they have the +35 category.  And also a friend of mine, Khalid Almohsinawi ( I`m also his manager) is competing as well.

14. What kind of Mascha will we see at Atlantic City? What is your game plan and goal?

- I am not going to tell you, hehe! Just wait and see, I hope to surprise a lot of you!

15. Awesome, I am thrilled to see you on stage again! What about after Atlantic City, any more shows this year or what’s next then?

- I think this is going to be my only show this year where I`m going to compete. But you never know, maybe I will change my mind.
One thing I hope for is to get the change to compete at the Arnold Classic once in my life. And I`m going to compete as long as it takes to get an invitation! ;)
Besides being on stage I`m going to cover some competitions for the Dutch Fitness Magazines. I will cover the Olympia and I will do the Photography and do some shoots with athletes.

Mascha Tieken

16. What else there are going on in your life now and in the near future?

- Well I hope to do a lot of shoots, as a model and as a photographer. I`m the first Dutch Figure Athlete and up till now the only one that has been on a pro  stage and I`m planning on making history!
Also I have a gym back here in the Netherlands (www.forfunsport.nl)  where I work every day but I planning to come out more to the USA to give Personal Training sessions. I have done this several times before and I`ve started my new agenda for the upcoming period. So I will be in the States very soon ;)

17. What else should we know about figure pro Mascha Tieken?

- Well if you want to learn about me you can look at my website www.maschatieken.com or become friends with me at myspace.com/maschtieken. And if you have any questions just sent me a message!

18. Thank you for the interview, Mascha. And finally you get a free word to say what ever you want to!

- No Anne, thank you for this interview! And I want to thank all the sweet people who believe in me and help me to achieve my goals and of course my fans, thank you guys you`re the best!!!!
Especially my fiance Rob, he makes a lot of things possible and he helps me where ever I need him.
Charles Glass for teaching me so much and helping me with a lot of things. And for being the kind person he is.
My best friend Heidi (and her husband Rich) who is always there for me and has been from the beginning.
And of course my sponsor XXL-Nutrition (www.xxlnutrition.nl) who helps me and provides me with all the nutrition I need.  And my dad for believing in me and be my number one fan.
I love you all.

Mascha Tieken



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About the Author...

Anne interviews and coverage have appeared in Finnish BODY magazine and Pro Body Magazine. Anne is one of the best recognized reviewers in Europe. Her main focus is to give more publicity and coverage to the competitors and fitness industry.

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