1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Nataliya Romashko?
I think the main distinguishing feature is that I’m a master in the three men dominated sports such as powerlifting, weightlifting, bodybuilding. However many find me very attractive woman in such type of sports.
2) Please tell us a bit about your family, friends and surroundings?
I was born in a creative family. My mother was an opera singer and actress of the theater. Father was an actor of stage and screen. My elder sister linguist by training. In general, the first athlete in our family was my husband. When we met we were 16 years old, he was a budding sportsman and novice coach, I was a student of medical university. Last 10 years I spend nearly all my time in the gym mainly in the men’s society and most of my friends are men. But it's even like me; men are less emotional and not offended by trifles. As well I have a very close friend, with her we are friends since childhood. Our friendship is very important for me. After all, she supported my choice and always helps me in difficult situations.
3) How did you start competing in bodybuilding?
I've always liked bodybuilding but this sport was not very popular in our country, especially among girls. After my daughter was born, I gained weight. I soon went to work as a coach in a sports club. After 2 months of training, I am well acquainted with my colleagues; some of them had experience in bodybuilding competitions. In one conversation I said, “Maybe I should to try it too?”, and the guys have supported me. My husband started working on my programs of nutrition and exercise. After that I started the first phase of preparation for a competition in bodybuilding.
4) What is your personal policy (not what the judges want) about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show? Soft or hard?
In my opinion the best is a "golden mean". A woman in any field of activity should be beautiful. When an athlete is too hard her face looks rough and to dehydrated and it creates a different outlook among ordinary people about women’s bodybuilding at all. Visually always possible to distinguish male muscles from female, but when it becomes impossible, I think that is too much.
5) What is your idea of what judges want in a bodybuilding competitor? Do you think judges are clear enough with competitors about how they want you on stage? It seems in Europe they are very clear unlike in the USA and now in Canada things are confusing.
I got the impression that our judging is based on only one criteria for assessing the quality of this muscle, the so-called dry. Of course this shows tremendous will power, but it puts the athlete in a life-threatening condition in the race for maximum degreasing and dehydration of the organism.
6) For the next shows what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise? If anything!
For the next competition I plan slightly increase the volume of arms and make my muscles more quality that is the main task on which I am working on.
7) What is your typical training routine in the gym (per day, include sets and reps!) How much cardio do you do before a show?
I do not have an ongoing program of training, my body quickly adapts to all changes. So every month we try something new. The last time I did a lot of cardio between 40-60 minutes in the morning and before sleeping. But it did not give the expected results so I will try something new next time.
8) What is your pre-contest diet? (per day, 1 week before the show)
This is usually 400-600 grams of boiled chicken or veal, 1-2 cucumbers, 1 lemon.
9) How do you go about dropping your water before the day of the show? How much water do you drink the day of the show. Please be specific.
The day before the competition I do not drink the water.
10) What motivates you to train/diet and compete? Are there any competitors you looked up to?
Perhaps the best motivation for me is my reflection in the mirror in the off-season time. In fact, I love to compete for me, competition is one of the ways to express myself. Participation in the competition allows me to visit many different countries and to communicate with other athletes.
11) Please tell us an interesting experience you had at a show recently, be it a fun thing or something rather not so fun?
It was a very funny moment on my first competition. I took third place and after it was announced I left the stage, after few minutes I was asked to come back and awarded a medal and a diploma, I again left the stage and I was one more time asked to come back to take a photo of the top three. I was very excited and felt uneasy and that is probably why I tried to retire so quickly as possible.
12) What is your personal opinion about the figure, fitness, bodybuilding industry we are in? Anything you would like to see changed?
Most insulting is that the prizes for winning in the men’s and women’s competitions are very different. After all in fact, women work much harder to maintain the desired shape. Therefore, there are many other areas that give possibility to earn extra money for women athletes.
13) What has been your hardest challenge to overcome either in your personal life or competing career?
The most difficult thing for me is to be a gentle, kind, loving, attentive wife and mother during the process of preparing. I put a lot of effort to fight with myself, my weakness, fatigue and problems. My daughter 4 years old and she do not understand why I am so rarely stay at home. But sometimes your child just needs to embrace you and she wants to hear how much you love her!
14) Did you make any changes to your contest prep for your last show? Water intake, carbing up, etc...
As I said I do not have a permanent program in nutrition and training, each preparation provides a new experience which we then use. In bodybuilding, we have not studied the features of my body yet. So it can be easily said that we are now in the way of experimentation.
15) What do you think of the new physique division in the USA?
This is a great opportunity to take its place in the sport girls that have an average figure between fitness and bodybuilding. I think that new direction has many adherents. I fully support this idea. What concerns me I’m still going to stay in bodybuilding, my volume does not allow me to go into class physique. Also, I present a kind of exotic in the women's bodybuilding, and I like it.
16) What are your favorite foods to eat right after you compete on a Saturday night?
This pizza, bread, cookies, ice cream.
17) Please tell us about how you were raised and did you have any interesting experiences while growing up?
I wasn’t rather healthful in my childhood – often had all kinds of allergies and colds, but it didn’t prevent me from being a strong child. While being a primary school pupil I liked to measure force with my schoolmates and arranged competitions, for example arm wrestling, straight in the classroom. At that moment no one of the boys in my class couldn’t beat me. I fought a lot at school and was a difficult child for my mom because dad left the family when I was about two years. And I never had an older brother so I had to settle skirmishes with peers on my own. Mom worked a lot to keep our family; we were very poor so I had to wear the hand-me-downs from my elder sister. Crime flourished in the country and martial arts circles became popular.
In such a way I started Judo class, but my interest quickly passed. There almost weren’t girls of my age, boys excelled me in mastery and simply worked out their skills on me. Then was Wushu. You did not need a sparring partners, we just had a lot of physical activity, flexibility, tactical endurance exercises and exercises with various fighting subjects. I liked it and went in for Wushu more than one year.
In senior classes I lost interest to sports – I was lovelorn in spite of the fact that I never experienced deficit of attention from man.
Having left the school I entered the medical institute on dentistry faculty.
Increasing of my knowledge in anatomy and physiology led me to the gym.
It was very difficult to study, I catastrophically had no time while I combined studies with regular training. Education was expensive and we had no medic in our family. I no longer had time and made a choice in favor of sports. Many people will probably say it’s foolish to change medical education for training. But I decided to be rather a good sportswoman than a bad doctor. In a year of studying at the medical institute I filed documents to the institute of physical culture and sports to the weight lifting department and graduated from it with honors.
18) Do you have an athletic background? Gymnastics, soccer, volleyball or what?
Yes. When I was 17 I came to the weight lifting gym for the first time. I actively pumped iron and went in for powerlifting till 21 years and during that time I managed to reach a qualifying standard master of sport of international class in this two kinds of sport and also managed to be a part of national team of Ukraine in weightlifting.
19) What is a typical day in the life of Nataliya Romashko? From waking up to until going to bed?
My day begin in such a way: near 8 o’clock I take my 4-year old daughter to the kindergarten. While she is there I have some time for myself. It is an inter-season period for me now and I am on vacations, so I can allow myself to sleep a little more. During the day I spend a lot of time in the Internet, watch scientific films and communicate with my fans.
In the evening pick up my baby from the kindergarten and we go to the children tae kwan do training. In those days when my daughter doesn’t train, I have my training. On weekends I with my husband go to the cinema, receive guests, meet with our friends, or simply have a walk in the city.
20) What is your current occupation? Please tell us more about it, what do you specifically do in your job?
I work as a trainer in the gym in the best sports club in Kiev. I spend a lot of the time on my work and I love all my clients very much. But I’ll have to work hard in 2012 if I want to realize all my plans. That’s why now I have holidays to have a rest in a proper way and restore myself before the beginning of hard work.