Interview with Mascha Tieken IFBB Figure Pro by Anne Pietila
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
16. What else there are going on in your life now and in the near future?
17. What else should we know about figure pro Mascha Tieken?
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!!!!