20 Questions with our Cover Model: Mindi O'Brien
1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Mindi O'Brien?
My name is Mindi O'Brien. What makes me special is my
wonderful 13 year old son Alex. He is my everything.
2) Please tell us a bit about your family, friends and surroundings?
I grew up in a very sports oriented family. Being Irish Canadian, Hockey and Golf were at the top the list. My grandfather played for the NHL for a few years, my uncles and father all played competitive Junior A hockey and my sister Danielle and I were competitve gymnasts. I have an amazing relationship with both of my parents, and my sister Danielle is my best friend.
3) What does it feel to grace the stage of the Olympia the greatest show in earth in this industry?
When I first decided to compete in Fitness Competitions, my dream was always to become an IFBB Pro athlete and have the opportunity to compete in the Fitness Olympia and compete amongst the best fitness competitors in the world. My dream came true after winning my very first pro show, and earning a position to represent my country at the Fitness Olympia. I was overwhelmed and felt very honored to be competing with these amazing athletes....the ones that I have only read about in numerous magazines for many years! This was an experience that I will never forget.
4) What is your personal policy (not what the judges want) about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show? Soft or hard?
I try to bring in the best overall package that I can for each show. I focus on overall conditioning, coming in lean and tight and presenting a physique with beautiful lines and overall balance and symmetry.
5) What is your idea of what judges want in a Fitness competitor? Do you think judges are clear enough with competitors about how they want you on stage? I must admit it has gotten harder to tell who is the winner from behind the camera.
I have learned that you can't and won't always please the judges. Presentation is key......it's all in how you present your physique, and overall package. You need to exude confidence and be happy with what you are bringing to the stage. At the end of the day, you should only please yourself.
6) For the next shows what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise? If anything!
After reviewing some photos from my last competion, I feel I could still put on a little more size. I think I would look and feel better 2lbs heavier. I am always striving to improve....
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?
During my off-season training I usually break my body parts up into a five day split, training one body part a day. I never do the same workout, keeping my body in shock and I focus on developing and improving my weaknesses. I will pick 5-6 different exercises and will keep my rep range for my upper body from 8-15 reps depending on the muscle group being trained and my lower body rep range will stay between 15-50 reps depending on what is being trained.
Closer to a show I will incorporate more of a circuit training routine, keeping my weights moderate to heavy. I usually do two cardio sessions a day before a show. I will usually perform one 30 minute session of explosive/intense interval training and one session of 50-60 min of moderate cardio output. I take my training very seriously and am always looking to improve on my weaknesses.
8) What is your pre-contest diet? (per day, 1 week before the show)
I am always on a high performance nutritional eating plan. My off season is when I work on my weaknesses, therefore my nutrition has to be perfect for proper muscle repair and development. For the past 10 years I have made sure that my nutritional intake has been clean, and as close to perfect as possible for the optimum results. As my competition gets closer, I will change my nutritional intake on a daily basis depending on how/what look we are going for.
9) How do you go about dropping your water before the day of the show?
I don't cut my water out completely. I usually drink about 5-6 litres of water on a daily basis. I will cut my water back gradually the week before the show. The day of the show I still drink up to a litre of water to avoid cramping during the routine rounds.
10) What motivates you to train/diet and compete?
Being a competitive athlete all of my life, I have learned
at a young age that to be successful and to achieve your goals, you
need to disciplined and self motivated...no one is going to do it for
you. I never want to look back and say if only....or what if.......
it's all or nothing with me.
11) Please tell us an interesting experience you had at a show recently, be it a fun thing or something rather not so fun?
I had an amazing experience at the Fitness Olympia. It was a dream come true and such an honor to compete amongst such amazing athletes. During athlete registration, Stacy Hylton handed out good luck cards to all of the competitors. She made me feel very welcome and made me feel like I belonged with the rest of these incredible athletes.
12) What is your personal opinion about the figure, fitness, bodybuilding industry we are in? Anything you would like to see changed?
I love the fitness industry. I feel every woman in the sport of fitness, figure or bodybuilding are all incredibly dedicated and disciplined individuals all striving for creating the best physique possible. The one thing that I would like to see change in the industry is more female coverage in the magazines....figure, fitness and women's bodybuilding.
13) What are some of the physical activities you participated in before competing in Fitness?
I competed in gymnastics for 15 years, competed in Track and Field, played soccer and ran cross country.
14) From the beggining of your career until now what are something that you have learned in this sport?
I feel that you can only strive to do your best.and not to get discouraged with your placings. Try to keep improving every competition and try and come away with a positive outlook/experience.
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?
I think that each athlete should come in the way they feel best, feel healthy, and confident with their hard work and dedication. You can't please everyone, so just make sure you're happy with yourself.
16) What would you recommend to any competitor just starting in fitness and wanting to grace the Olympia stage? What should be her game plan regarding marketing herself and competing?
Don't be in a rush to turn pro. I would recommend getting as much experience on stage as an amateur, work on getting as much exposure as possible,(photoshoots, websites, etc) At the end of the day, it's expensive to compete and travel, so building your popularity in a local area is easier and less expensive then flying all over the world.
17) Please tell us about how you were raised and did you have any interesting experiences while growing up?
I was raised by both of my parents in a strict household. Both of my parents worked for the Niagara Regional Police Force, so I really didn't get away with too much!!! I have one sister who is two years older than me, but we are the best of friends. The most interesting experience that I have ever gone through,was finding out that I was pregnant when I was going into my 8th month. Only having 1 month to decide what to do, this brought my family closer and tigher together.
18) What are some of the aspects that you think are important when creating a fitness routine?
There are many aspects that I feel are important when creating a fitness routine. Here are some things that I focus on when I choreograph my routines: find music that will allow you to bring out your personality, include skills that demonstrate, strength, and flexibility, but allow you to present a clean, polished routine with smooth transitions. I want to present original skills and I try to execute each move to its fullest making each move clean and polished. My overall presentation should be crisp and clean and keep the audience wanting more!!!
19) What is a typical day in the life of Mindi O'Brien? From waking up to until going to bed?
My day usually starts at 3:30am. If I'm not doing my morning cardio session, I am responding to emails or completing computer work. I have to be at work for 5:30am to train clients. I will coach athletes from 5:30am-11am and then Dennis and I train during the afternoon which usually entails 50-60 min of weight training and 50-60 min of cardio. After our weight training/cardio session, we go back home, eat, work on the computer, spend time with Alex and then back to the gym for my routine practise and sometimes more cardio/stretching. When I get home, I get Alex into bed, prepare my meals for the following day and I try to get into bed at around 9ish.
20) What is your current occupation? Please tell us more about it, what do specifically do in your job?
My current occupation: Coach and Owner of a Competitive
Fitness and Figure Team-TEAMOBRIEN.