Issue #6


by HardFitness

2005 Chicago Jr. Nationals Contest Coverage

2005 Chicago Jr. Nationals Review
by HardFitness

Tanning Video, Part 3 by Shelly Leversage

Can Caffeine Make You Stronger?
by Allison Jones

Video Interview: Randi Post

Training for the Emerald Cup and Interview
by Karen Patten

First National Show Experience: Taking 2nd Class A at Jr. Nationals
by Alex Galvez

Muscularity by Shelly Pinkerton

My Journey to Turning Pro
by Amy Peters

20 Questions with our Cover Model by Andrea Giacomi

Video Interview: Andrea Giacomi HardFitness Sponsored Athlete

Video Interview: Breean Loepp

Fitness Competitors: Help Prevent Injuries
by Kristi Wills

Interview with Traci Redding, a pro physique, competing in the amateur division

Andrea Giacomi, Monica Guerra, Shelly Pinkerton, Traci Saba and Zhanna Rotar

Video Interview: Jodi Miller speaks up

Video Interview: Sarah Dunlap about Female Bodybuilding

Jr. Nationals Experience by Andrea Giacomi

Video Interview: Nikki Warner

Motivation: It is no Myth
by Jodi Leigh Miller



20 Questions with our Cover Model: Andrea Giacomi

1) Having just competed at Jr. Nationals what were your expectations coming into the show?

Being my first National show I was not expecting a whole lot. I was a new face and going to be competing against some top competitors that only compete at the National level. So I went in to do my best, come in the best I can and get a feel for what it's like at the National level. With each and every show I learn more about my body and what I can do to improve. The Jr. Nationals was an awesome experience for me. I enjoyed that the competition was more muscular and conditioned than the regional level.

2) What changes in training/diet/contest prep did you make from the San Francisco Championships to Jr. Nationals?

When I did the S.F. show in October of 2004 I realized I was carrying too much muscle for figure. It was a great learning experience and I was ready to make some changes. My training is probably the biggest thing that has changed since then. I have been doing alot of high reps and super setting. Also alot more cardio. As far as dieting, I have been eating "cleaner" protein. Alot of white fish and egg whites. I do eat chicken and lean ground turkey but as I get closer to a show I usually stick to fish and egg whites. I have been cycling my carbs with high, medium, and low days. I've learned alot about my body in the 2 years of competing and I'm still learning. After every show I have done I see changes that I need to make and there is still room for improvement. As long as I keep improving within...that's my biggest accomplishment of all.

3) What do you think about steroids in the world of Figure and Fitness? Do you think drug testing should be mandatory? The bar has been raised high with some Pro physiques therefore many competitors are trying to obtain those bodies.

I feel this is a personal choice of who takes what. It is nobodies business if one chooses to take this route. You see steroids in every sport and personally I get sick of hearing them talk about it on the news lately. We just need to remember that we cannot be a competitor for the rest of our lives and some of the side effects from steroids could have irreversible damage. You can't be the best from steroids alone. Strict dieting, hard training and most of all TIME will get you the best results if you are consistent. And no I do not think drug testing should be mandatory.

4) What is your personal policy about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show?

I personally like the muscular leaner look but with femininity. I have seen girls that can hold alot of muscle and still look feminine. I have also seen girls that are more appealing with the softer look. It's all about how you are comfortable and think you look best. I still have not came in as lean as I would like to for a show. I am still working on downsizing a bit and getting my precontest dieting/training down. This doesn't happen overnight but I have time and time is the key.

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?

I would like to think they are going for the most symmetrical well toned physique on stage. One with muscle and leanness, but still with femininity. I did see a better judging criteria at the Jr. Nationals in most classes. I think as time goes on it will get better and more consistent. Figure has had such a HUGE turnout. Having to choose the top 5 out of 45 girls in one class is tough. I wouldn't want to do it. Especially when 75% of them look great. I just keep in mind that I can only bring my personal best on stage that day. I do this for myself and not for others. If I keep beating myself up about "what are they looking for this time" or "why did one competitor place higher than another" It would lead to frustration and I probably would throw in the towel.

6) For the next shows what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise?

I would like to come in leaner and tighter. Add more roundness to my shoulders to compliment my legs, have more ab definition and bring my waist in. I have incorporated track work this time around. So hopefully it will bring my legs down and tie everything in better. I'm still trying to get the right combination down of my training and dieting. But as long as I keep coming in better condition with ever show I am happy.

7) What is your typical training routine in the gym (per day, include sets and reps!)

Well after the Jr. Nationals I have changed things up a bit. This is what I am currently doing.

Monday: shoulders/abs
Tuesday: Track; sprints, bleachers, plyometrics, jogging
Wednesday: back/abs
Thursday: Track; sprints, bleachers, plyometrics, jogging
Friday: shoulders/tris
Saturday: back/bis
Sunday: legs/calves

I do cardio in the morning before work. After work I train at the gym/track and do more cardio after weights. I keep my reps anywhere from 20-30. Legs I usually do just my body weight. Cardio is the key for me. Just if I can learn to love this whole jogging thing because I feel that it will really benefit me in many ways of bringing my legs and overall size down. I do not have a typical day off from training. I listen to my body and when my body says you need a day off, I take it.

8) What is your pre-contest diet? (per day, 1 week before the show)

Well I usually eat 4 things the week of...Oatmeal, white fish, egg whites and asparagus.
I find myself to be carb sensitive so I keep them low. I usually am okay with it as long as I have my caffeine. Redline or Shockwaves are good to throw in from time to time too on those low carb days! I usually stay depleted until the day of the show. My body responds instantly to carbs, sugars and fats so I try not to overdo it before prejudging. The last week happens to be the most crucial for me. So I try to stay away from doing anything too crazy and drastic that last week.

9) How do you go about dropping your water before the day of the show? Please be specific.

This has been the toughest for me to figure out. I've cut out water on a Wednesday night before the show and I've tried drinking all the way through. I have found out through trial and error that when I don't drink any water I am flat. If I sip when needed I feel and look better. For the Jr. Nationals (prejudging Friday night and Saturday morning) this is what I did and so far it has worked best. Drank 2 gallons up to Tuesday, 1 gallon on Wednesday, 1/2 gallon on Thursday up until 8pm. Friday and Saturday I sipped with meals.

10) What motivates you to train/diet and compete? Are there any competitors you look up to?

I have been training for 12+ years. This is a lifestyle for me and I am fortunate I am surrounded by loved ones who understand and live this lifestyle too. You have to have a good support system in this industry. I cannot see myself not going to the gym everyday after work or ordering take out for dinner (that would be nice just once though) My daily routine is work, gym, sleep. I wouldn't want it any other way! I don't intend to stop living this lifestyle until I stop enjoying it. (which I do not see happening) As far as competing, this is my second year and I am really enjoying it. I enjoy the process of getting ready for a show and seeing my body change for the better. It keeps me focused and dedicated to what I love to do. Everyone that competes pretty much goes through the same feelings of being hungry, tired, craving and stressed out but we all have a goal at the end. To achieve that goal is the best feeling of all. Whether we compete to obtain a pro card, just lost 50 lbs. and feel good about our selves or do it for self gratification. We have all accomplished so much. More than the average person I would say.
There are so many awesome competitors out there but we all have those certain ones who we admire. I admire the physiques are Mindi O'Brien and Monica Brant-Peckham. All around beauty and personality would be Jenny Lynn. At the amateur level, Alexis Ellis, Shelly Pinkerton and Michelle Troll are the ones that stand out most in my eyes. I also admire and look up to the Moms that compete. I get so caught up and busy with the daily precontest regimen. I cannot imagine what it would be like if I had kids. You ladies are awesome and you are all true motivation!

11) Please tell us an interesting experience you had at a show recently, be it a fun thing or something rather not so fun?

Nothing too exciting, but I guess that is a good thing. The day of your show is no time for jokes or anything to go wrong. One thing I can think of is at the CAL I put my one piece on and had a friend attach the rhinestone strings in the back. Well one of the loops was not a loop anymore. I had nothing to hook it too. Thank god someone had dental floss to wrap around and around to make a loop. It held perfect and from now on I will carry extra string or dental floss with me just in case it happens again or to someone else.

12) What is your personal opinion about the figure, fitness, bodybuilding industry we are in? Anything you would like to see changed?

I am thankful that an industry of competing in bodybuilding, figure or fitness even exists. I'm happy I found something that I love to do and actually compete at. Just hope this industry continues to grow like it has.
What would I like to see my opinion I feel there should be more shows for fitness. It seems like some shows that used to be bodybuilding and fitness are now bodybuilding and figure. I understand that figure has taken over but it seems like the fitness girls have less shows year round to do. I also think that a figure competitor should not be able to cross over into bodybuilding. I know if you are extremely muscular in figure you get docked so why would they let you do both. But were talking money here, the more classes you enter the more money there is to be made (understandable). As far as bodybuilding, it seems at the pro level there are less shows for them to compete in. It is really sad and unfortunate for this years Ms. Olympia. Bringing it to a sideshow at the Expo. I know there are still many people that would pay to see the Ms. Olympia. I know I would. I give much respect for bodybuilders. We all train and diet hard, but bodybuilders have to make weight, come in extremely lean and hard, plus hold a good amount of muscle. On comp day they have this small window where everything has to be perfect and to the T. Give them the respect they deserve.

13) Please tell us about your school days. Are there any female or male competitors that currently compete that you knew in school?

My high school days were athletics. I was involved in sports and hung out with the girls on my team. I was a tomboy. Didn't hang out with the "in crowd", didn't drive a nice car, was just happy going to practice or games after school. One female competitor I went to school with was Malissa Robles. She has been doing bodybuilding for the past 3-4 years or so. I have followed her progress on line from time to time. She looks awesome and has made some huge gains over the years. She is one female bodybuilder that can carry alot of muscle yet still be feminine.

14) Being Jr. Nationals your first National show how did flying into the show compare to just driving to it? What mechanics backstage did you notice were different from local/regional/state shows?

Living in California there are many shows to compete in. So loading up the ice chest and driving is what I was used too. This being my first time flying I was nervous because I heard of all the stories of losing your luggage. So I carefully packed my carry on items with my must haves. One being my cooler with all my food for the show and the other with my suits, tanning products, heels and make up. The Jr. Nationals was one of the best well organized shows I have been too. Staff backstage were so helpful. They gave us exact time frames of when we would be on. Gave us water if we needed it since the lights on stage were extremely hot from being on all day. They even had ProTan staff there to help with oil and final touch ups. It was an awesome experience with no regrets.

15) What is your opinion about the 20% rule the IFBB issued to some female athletes? Why do you think they did it? Do you think competitors will follow it? Or it will get lost around somewhere?

Athletes kept coming in leaner, harder and bigger year after year. When does it stop? So I think they had to set some standards on how they want us women competitors to look. I think it's all about personal preference and what you are comfortable with. I personally like the leaner muscular look. So I go for what I am comfortable with and keeping in mind that they don't want bodybuilder muscles on figure. I think the big thing they are targeting is femininity. They want to keep this sport marketable so others outside can say "I can do that!"

16) I must admit that you are a pleasure to work with, not only do you have a great physique with a good amount of muscle, a pretty face, but more than anything a great personality. You are also very intelligent that's why I dubbed you "the most cerebral competitor in our industry". All these traits have made you obtain a sponsorship with What can you tell other girls out there that are looking for sponsors? What is your secret to your success?

Wow, thanks for the comments JC. Just getting started in figure I have not been able to network and get my face out as much as I like. So I am very fortunate that I ran into JC when I did which at the time I was not competing at all. Just a spectator at a local NPC show watching a friend of mine compete in figure. All I can say is be yourself. Let others see you for who you are. People will respect you more and you will get recognized for that.

17) Please tell us about how you were raised and did you have any interesting experiences while growing up?

I grew up in a close, healthy, athletic home. My Mom had my brother and I involved in sports and always cooked healthy food. It was a big deal to us if we got to order pizza or get to choose a "junk" cereal. (I do blame my obsession with sweets on my Mom cuz we never had them ha ha) When I graduated from high school my Mom was competing in bodybuilding at the time. I would train with her and when I saw what working out did for me I was hooked.

18) Do you have an athletic background? Gymnastics, soccer, volleyball or what?

I was fortunate to have a Mom that encouraged me to play sports. She had me in gymnastics and soccer outside of school. In school I ran track, played volleyball and basketball. As soon as I graduated from high school I was in the gym working out with her. So you can say I have had my fair share of athletics. I have always been competitive and enjoyed every moment of it. I give alot of credit to my mother for bringing myself up in a lifestyle of eating healthy and staying fit. I will continue the "tradition" when I have kids someday.

19) What is a typical day in the life of Andrea Giacomi? From waking up to until going to bed?

Right now I wake up at 4:40am, off to the gym for my hour cardio. Eat my egg whites and oatmeal at 6am on my way home from the gym in my car. (it should be a prerequisite to be able to eat & drive at the same time if you wanna compete) Come home take a shower, get ready for work at 8am. Off work at 4:30, come home, take the dogs for a walk, eat, go to the gym or track and usually home around 8:30 unless I have to go to my MANY trips to the grocery store. We all know how fast our food goes. I eat my dinner around 8:30-9 and make all my meals for the next day. Then I am glued to the computer. Online checking my emails or just surfin the net. By now I'm realizing its 11:00 and I need to take a shower and try to get some sleep because I have to wake up early. Don't get much sleep during precontest time.

20) Last one I promise... What is your current occupation? Please tell us more about it, what do specifically do in your job?

I work at a printing company as a graphic designer/prepress. We are a commercial printer so we run large format jobs in large quantities. I do everything from design work to color separations. I have always been involved in art somehow and when I was introduced to graphic design I was hooked. Only downfall...I sit ALL day so I can't miss the gym. Don't want my butt getting as big as the chair I sit in! My job works out perfect for when I am getting ready for a show. I can eat when I want and the restroom is right around the corner. Drinking 2 gallons of water a day, yeah ladies we all know we make at least 5 trips to the restroom in about an hour.
My coworkers are great, they have gotten over the part..."why are you eating that, why can't you have that, don't you get sick of eating the same thing every day?" Now they know not to ask me to go out to lunch or if I want a DAMN DONUT! : )

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About the Author...

Andrea Giacomi just competed at Jr. Nationals in Chicago. She is an excellent competitor who improves at every show. A very intelligent and very reliable competitor. One interesting thing about Andrea is that she has a lot of muscle and had no trouble stepping on stage with other seasoned National level competitors.

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