Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Janis Garofalo

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Janis Garofalo! - Pics and info and more!
  • Name: Janis Garofalo
  • E-mail: janisg72@verizon.net
  • Age: 39
  • Where: Laurence Harbor, NJ
  • Height: 5'5"
  • Weight: 128 lbs contest, 140 lbs off
  • Years Bodybuilding :1
  • Favorite Bodypart: Shoulders
  • Favorite Exercise: Legs
  • Favorite Supplements: Isopure, Anavite, Spirodex

How Did You Get Started?

I've been working out for the better part of 20+ years. In high school I was a cheerleader and didn't play any sports, though I was a huge tomboy growing up. So my exercise focus was mainly to be thin. Doing a lot of cardio and running to stay thin, not much weight lifting.

As I approached college my workout strategy started to change. I took a part-time job at an all-women's gym giving clients their free assessment and workout session when they joined. As I started educating myself in the world of health and fitness, I was bitten and my hunger for knowledge and desire to be immersed in the fitness world grew. I started to develop a real passion for it.

From there I went on to start teaching group classes, one of which was a "toning" class. That's where my love of using weights began. So while in college I began lifting weights and though my desire was still there and I was still working out, at times it gave way to late night eating, drinking and typical college sorority antics.

After graduating college I was back and my fitness and health goals really kicked into high gear. I was determined to correct the damage I allowed college to put on my hips and thighs. I dialed in my nutrition and workouts and started taking Tae Kwon DO as well. I got as far as a purple belt until circumstance forced me to hang up my Karate gi. During this time I was l really developing my knowledge and applying it to my workouts. I was seeing great results and was at a fitness level I could be proud of.

Then after 9/11, I lost my job and while looking for work a friend suggested to me "why not become a personal trainer, you're in the gym all the time anyway." In that instance it clicked and my love of lifting really took off. I started buying fitness magazines and searching the internet for reputable PT certifications that I could take. I became AFAA certified. It was such a great feeling. That's when I became an avid Oxygen Mag reader.

I picked up so many tips and useful moves from the magazine that I not only could use for my clients but for myself as well. When I started seeing the contest coverage of figure competitions, I completely fell in love with the look of a figure athlete and set my mind to achieve that look. I started lifting even more and with the nutrition knowledge I was acquiring and applying, I started developing some great muscle.

Fast forward to July 2010, though I was no longer a personal trainer I still called the gym my second home. I still loved the look of the figure competitor and over the years thought about competing, but never knew how to go about getting involved in it nor did I have the discipline at the time to commit to it.

So, this past year when it a friend brought up competing and told me he knew of a coach, it just seemed like it was perfect timing, and I jumped at the chance. I saw this as my opportunity to live out one of my dreams. After a bad experience with the horrendous coach my friend recommended, I found my current coach, Vanessa Adams Pierce, 9 weeks out from my first show and it's been moving along nicely from there.

Since I started working with Vanessa, who is absolutely amazing by the way, my workouts evolved even more. I began working out with more of a purpose. Training for a figure competition is much different than training to stay fit and healthy. That first contest prep really hammered my body. But it didn't matter I was bound and determined to get on that stage and compete. And I did, and did it well. For my first show I took home 4th in my height class and 5th in Masters. I was so happy and so hooked.

Over the past year while working with Vanessa I competed in two NJ NPC competitions; the Gold's Classic where I placed 4th in my height class and 5th in Masters as I mentioned, and the Suburban where I placed 2nd in my height class and 3rd in Masters, where I became nationally qualified. She's also worked me through successful off season and most recently a rehab program.

I was scheduled to compete at Masters Nationals which would've been my first national show this past July 2011 but was sidelined with a shoulder injury. She has been more than just a great coach, at times she is my voice of reason, my sounding board and my reality checker. I really owe her a lot for playing such an integral part in fulfilling my dreams. Now I'm back and prepping for my next show Eastern USA's in November 2011.

I am just so happy that things lined up the way they did and the opportunity to compete presented itself in such a way to make it attainable. I am making memories that I can look back upon and say "I did that", "that was me" but most importantly I'll never have to go a single day from this point forward wondering "what if?

Janis Garofalo
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Janis Garofalo

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

My contest prep workout schedule is different than off-season, exercises and rep ranges change often. But weight training followed by cardio works best for me. 4 days a week weight training, 4 days a week cardio and one day plyometrics. Right now my workout is designed to work on my specific muscle development goals while protecting my shoulder from further injury/re-injury.

Day 1: AM Cardio/PM Legs/Abs Circuit
Day 2: Delts/Calves
Day 3: Cardio Only
  • Cardio: 20 min HIIT, 20 min LISS
Day 4: Back/Biceps
Day 5: Plyo Circuit/Cardio
  • Plyo Circuit: 4 rounds
    Pop Squats: 15 reps
    Burpees: 15 reps
    Jumping Lunges: 15 reps
    Toe Taps: 15 reps


  • Cardio: 20 min HIIT, 20 min LISS
Day 6: Triceps/Glutes/Hams/Abs
Day 7: Off


Janis Garofalo
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Janis Garofalo

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

Again off-season meal plans are different than contest prep. But here is my current meal plan. This meal plan was designed for my specific needs going into my next show. Including a gallon and 1/2 to 2+ gallons of water a day.

Lifting Days:

Meal 1: 6 AM
Meal 2: 9 AM
Meal 3: Noon
Meal 4: 4 PM
Meal 5: 7:30 PM
Meal 6: 8:45 PM
Non-Lifting Days:

Meal 1: 6 AM
Meal 2: 9:30 AM
Meal 3: 1:15 PM
Meal 4: 5 PM
Meal 5: 8:45 PM
Janis Garofalo
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Janis Garofalo

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

My supplements change with what my needs are at that particular time for that particular show. Vitamins and protein are constants. Right now, 14 weeks out, I'm off all stims, pre-workout, and training supplements. The supplements that have yielded the greatest results for me in the past before a show have been Driven Sports Lean Xtreme, Gaspari Spirodex and Phenorex.

After Meals 1, 2 & 3:
With Meal 2:
With Meals 2 & 3:
With Meal 2 & Post Workout:
After Meal 3:
3 Hr Pre Workout (Off-season, lifting days only):
  • Gaspari Nutrition PlasmaJet: 3 caps
Post Workout:

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I enjoy the work and discipline that goes into weight training. I've always been strong and each gym session for me was a test in strength and to see how far I could push it. I love seeing the gains and changes in my strength, in my muscle and my physique.

What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

Myself really, working out keeps me "up." Besides, I enjoy being healthy. You get one body in this life; you should respect it and take care of it.

What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

Though I started late on my figure journey a quote by George Elliot always stuck in my head "It's never too late to be who you might have been." So I never want to have to look back upon my life and say "what if?"

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

My immediate plan is to compete in the Eastern USAs this November 12th in NYC at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. My goal shows for 2012 are Masters Nationals and Nationals and to get an invite to the Arnold Classic. I'd love to get sponsorship and I'd love to earn my pro card and possibly some recognition in a magazine like Oxygen or Muscle & Fitness Hers.

Janis Garofalo
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Janis Garofalo

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Find what works for you and stick with it. Don't listen to the nay-sayers, do it for you and most of all have fun. It's such an amazing and worthwhile experience.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Definitely Davana Medina, Monica Brant and Jenny Lynn. You can't think of figure without them coming to mind. They are the true originals. Of recent competitors I'd have to say Erin Stern. Felicia Romero and Ava Cowan are amazing as well.

What Features Do You Use On Bodybuilding.com?

I keep an active BodySpace account. I keep track of my progress, including pics and stats. I use the store and frequently visit the forums.