Issue #153


by Juan Carlos Lopez

20 Questions with Cover Model Alexis Collins

Video Interview with Amateur Bikini Danielle Eells

Alexis Collins, Ashley Carpenter, Danielle Barbato, Jada Smith & Kanani Gonzales

Avoid Getting Hamstrung While Maxing Out Your Hamstring Training
by Tina Jo Orban

Video Interview with Amateur Bikini Allyssa Robbins



20 Questions with Cover Model Alexis Collins

1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Alexis Collins?

I'm a small town girl from Michigan who grew up on a lake with two dogs and went to Catholic Schools my entire life. I always played sports and was active as a child. My dad taught me how to ride motocross at thirteen years old so camping and trail riding has been a staple in my life. I started weight training around the age 15 when my parents got me my first gym membership and I've been in love with training ever since. I have a bachelors degree in Human Biology, a certification as a registered Phlebotomist Technician (I draw blood on inpatients in the hospital) and Im currently pursuing my Masters Degree in Public Health and Nutrition. I am also training to earn my professional card as an IFBB Pro Bikini Competitor. 

2) Please tell us a bit about your family, friends and surroundings? 

I have a happy and loving family background. We have always been a very strong unit and always make time for each other. My younger brother is one of my best friends and I love being able to say that. We are extremely close with our cousins, uncles and aunts and always have get togethers to spend quality time with family. I lost my grandparents on my mothers side which represents the tattoo on my back, Mazurek being my mothers maiden name. My grandmother on my fathers side is alive and kicking at 93 years old and still working 1-2 days a week and maintaining a garden the size of my kitchen! Holidays are always crazy because we are all loud Polish people who love to drink and eat! 

I have a small circle of friends but thats exactly how I like it. Im not huge on partying, clubbing or going out real late and neither are my friends! We all would rather hit happy hour and be in bed by 9pm then leave the house at 9pm for a night out! Yes, Grandma status all the way!

3) How did you start competing in bikini? 

I think it always starts out with scrolling through Instagram and seeing all the beautiful women and their physiques and thinking, I could do that! When in reality, you will never know what it actually takes to get lean and shredded until you go through the process yourself. But I wanted to and I thought I could, so I did. I found bikini competing in 2016 and knew that it was something I wanted to do as a bucket list item. I was lucky enough to get a recommendation for my coach, Adam Atkinson, because he's been amazing through the whole process and being on his team, See You Later Leaner, has been such a blessing through this whole process. We started prep January 1st 2017 (New Years Resolution anyone?!) and finished off my season strong. I competed in 3 regional shows qualifying for nationals at each of them and then competed in Miami at NPC Nationals and finished with 8th place, something I was very proud of accomplishing. I never thought this would be something I was actually good at but Im definitely determined to compete at the Professional level.

4) What is your personal policy (not what the judges want) about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show? Soft or hard? 

My personal preference for my physique when competing is to come in as lean as possible with exceptional muscular development. This takes TIME to develop. As I said above, Ive been weight training for 13 years and technically been bulking that entire time! I could not have answered this question in the beginning of my season because I believe its important to see how you body develops through a cutting phase in order to see what type of physique you can bring to the stage. I don't think Im 'soft' when I compete but I also don't think I'm 'hard' either. I believe finding a blend of both is beneficial for a bikini competitor but it always comes down to the overall package you bring to stage. I want to hit the stage very conditioned which will ensure that I have a lean enough physique to be competitive. 

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? It seems in Europe they are very clear unlike in the USA and now in Canada things are confusing.

For the bikini division, what the judges want is always up to them at the time, which is why its important to take the stage with total confidence and rock what you have! I know the desired physique has changed throughout the years and it seems like bikini is moving towards a harder more muscular look but that can all just depend on who is judging the show. One thing I do know for sure that the judges like to see on bikini competitors are full glutes with a distinct glute-hamstring tie in and great shoulders!

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

My weak area is definitely my abdominal region. A lot of women have great chunky looking abs and I just don't! So ill definitely be working on my core as well as my shoulder development and always the coveted glute-hamstring tie in!

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?

With cardio, if you've always done a lot of cardio then you're body is used to that so when cutting you'll have to do more cardio that your body isn't used to in order to shed the fat. So I was doing an hour and sometimes more than that per day about 2-3 weeks out from my National Show. I was OKAY with this! I actually enjoy my steady state cardio so this wasn't terrible for me. As far as training, my splits were shoulders and arms, back and hamstrings, and glutes and legs twice a week. I would always do three circuits consisting of 3-4 exercises all supersets of roughly 10-15reps. I would implement a full  rest day as well. 

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

1 week out is peak week! To some this is a magical week where you lose a ton of weight and drop training down to a minimum, and to others this can be a dreaded week of water and sodium depletion with grueling long depletion workouts. Peak week is supposed to be a time to 'peak' and prime your body for show day. This can only be accomplished if you are lean enough to begin with and basically stage ready 1-2 weeks out from the actual show. Having a great coach that can prep your physique for this is essential. Im usually already lean enough 7-8 days out from the show so thats when I get peaked. We steadily bring up carbohydrates and fats each day and decrease training which decreases the stress levels on the body creating a great spot for additional fat loss. 

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.

I NEVER deplete water or sodium for that matter. A week out my protocol is to consume 1 gallon of water and roughly 2000-3000mg of sodium daily. When I take the stage I usually have half a gallon of water in me at least and two sodium rich meals. We use water and sodium to pull glycogen into the muscle in order to make the muscle fuller and tighter to the skin. this gives a harder more conditioned appearance on stage. 

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

Motivation is found within yourself. No one can give it you and no one can show you how to get it. Your goals should motivate you enough to stick to the plan. This doesn't mean you won't make mistakes because I definitely did, but I know what my goals are and that motivates me enough to get my butt to the gym and do the work that needs to be done. 
A few competitors Ive looked up to for a while now would be Emily Hayden, Angelica Teixeira won took the titles at both Arnold Classics this year as well as Ms. Olympia, Lauren Irick, Laurin Conlin, Katie Kerner, and Casey Samsel. All these women are so inspiring for me as an athlete and they have put in a lot of work as well to achieve their goals and be where they are at in their careers. 

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

Honestly the best experience Ive had at all my shows is being around all the competitors. The atmosphere is just so amazing and inspiring! I respect each athlete for what they have done to get to the stage regardless of what category we are all in! At my first show I was actually amazed at how nice and compassionate all the girls were. I thought we would all be cranky hungry bitches back stage but everyone was extremely nice and so relatable! Ive definitely made life long friends just chatting with other girls back stage and its such a blessing!

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

I believe the bodybuilding industry can be an amazing sport for anyone willing to put in the work. A few things that scare me about the industry though would be the overuse of drugs and supplements as well as eating disorders and body image issues that can develop or that become more prominent in someones life because of competing. As glamorous as competing is, I don't think anyone should damage their health or put their bodies as risk for the brief moments on stage for a trophy. Don't get me wrong, I want that trophy too, I want to win too, but I will never put my body in such a detrimental position for something like that. 

What has been your hardest challenge to overcome either in your personal life or competing career?

One thing I will always pride myself on is being an open book. I really have no filter when it comes to anything in my life. If you want to ask me something then I will most likely give you a straight honest answer. However if i don't want to tell you something or talk about it then I won't! But I will always be open with this particular struggle because I know how many women suffer in silence about it and thats my eating disorder. Ive suffered from binge eating and bulimia starting in 2010. It was definitely a dark place to be in but I found ways to manage it and eventually stopped suffering after three rough years. I was able to find a healthy 'balance' with living life and maintaining a body I was happy with which is why I believed I was ready to compete. After two shows and hard dieting I entered into my first post show reverse phase where I didn't actually reverse diet and I ate my way back up past my starting weight. It was hard to accept that some of my disordered eating tendencies were coming back to play but it was definitely a life lesson that I had to go through. I learned a lot about myself during prep and after prep and I'm happy for those lessons. 

14) Did you make any changes to your contest prep for your last show? Water intake, caring up, etc...

My coach and I didn't make any changes from my first prep to my second prep. We both know what needs to be done and how my body reacts to training and my allotted macronutrients in order to get me ready for stage. The biggest difference between preps was my mentally towards it. I had more focus and more drive in my second prep probably because I lived and learned from my first one. 

What do you think of bikini division?

I think the bikini division has been growing in popularity. The types of physiques the judges seem to want are changing as well. Some want a softer leaner look, some want a harder more muscular look, but it all comes down to the overall package that the athlete brings to stage. That includes everything from hair, make up, bikini color choice, the heels you wear, how the tan looks on you, your posing routine, how you present yourself on stage, how you hold yourself on stage, how you smile, how you look at the judges, etc, etc! You can have the best body, the leanest look, the most developed muscles but none of that matters if you can't show it off on stage in a respectable and graceful manner. 

16) What are your favorite foods to eat right after you compete on a Saturday night?

DONUTS! right?! Isn't that what bikini girls do? Its crazy because I NEVER wanted sweets or treats until I competed. Its the sugar high that gets us amped up for the post show treats. While I do love donuts and all the other homemade goodies that are backstage, I really want a great meal like sushi or a nice piece of salmon with potatoes and roasted balsamic brussel sprouts. YUM! Can't forget a glass of red wine as well!

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

I was raised in a loving home with two hard working parents that definitely spoiled us but also taught us the value of a dollar and how necessary it was to earn an education and work hard for the things you want in life. My parents have always wanted the best for my brother and I and have supported us so much with our education. I am definitely blessed to have the upbringing I've had and don't take any of it for granted. My family members are also my best friends and thats something thats more valuable to me than anything. 

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

It seems I was always doing something from the time I was able to walk! My mom had me in dance class as a child, then I hated how girly dance was so she moved me to jazz. Then I hated dancing in general so I started playing soccer in middle school. Then I got bored with that so I tried out basketball and softball. I was not good at either of those sports probably because I'm ambidextrous (i can throw or shoot a ball with both hands). I found my love with volleyball and tennis and my dexterity actually benefited me in both of those sports. I played varsity all through high school and then on an intramural volleyball league my first two years of college. My true love is motocross trail riding though. Theres nothing like flying through narrow trails barely missing trees on a monster of a machine and then getting back to camp for a good fire and a brew in hand!

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

A typical day currently would be waking up around 8am brewing some coffee and taking my morning supplements. Then I usually make myself some protein waffles for breakfast and head to the gym. When I get home I make myself some lunch and either get ready for my work day or relax with my two kitties on my off days. I usually plan a dinner date night once a week because I absolutely love going out for a nice dinner and treating myself!

20) What is your current occupation? Please tell us more about it, what do you specifically do in your job?

I currently work at a hospital as a registered phlebotomist technician. A lot of people know that occupation as being a professional vampire. I draw blood on all the inpatients and make sure all specimens get to the appropriate lab department for processing. I currently have a part time afternoon position so my shift usually starts around 3pm and ends at 11pm. This allows me a lot of time before work to prep my meals and get in my training session so I am not a 5am gym goes like a lot of people! I love my routine and structure throughout my day because thats what really sets me up to be consistent and successful. 


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