Quite possibly the most resilient champion in pro women's bodybuilding history, Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia has been competing at the elite level longer than a great many of her fellow pro athletes have been training. Upon marking her pro debut with a respectable sixth place finish at the 1994 Prague Grand Prix, Yaxeni, over the course of 26 pro outings, sought to refine her impressive raw talent, seldom placing below fourth at the biggest contest of them all: the Ms Olympia.
In 2005, after 11 years of gradually rising through the IFBB ranks, Yaxeni was rewarded for her efforts with an Olympia win. Word quickly spread. Here was a champion who had all of the attributes necessary to maintain a firm stronghold on pro bodybuilding's most prestigious women's title. Having placed third at this event in '03 and '04 - both times bested by Iris Kyle and Lenda Murray - Yaxeni showed winning potential, but lacked the overall refinement needed to take the title. This all changed in 2005 and she has getting better ever since.
Standing 5'8" and with around 170 pounds of solid muscle adorning her perfectly balanced physique, the 44-year-old Yaxeni is one of the largest female bodybuilders currently competing within the IFBB ranks. What makes her physique arguably the most impressive on today's pro scene is the symmetry and proportion she is able to convey without in the slightest lessening the impact her superior size makes.
And when she nails her conditioning, as she did when placing second (again to Kyle) at this year's Ms International Arnold Classic event, the result is a look that represents the best combination of aesthetics and dense muscularity to be seen among today's increasingly impressive crop of pro women's bodybuilders.
Presenting a career-best combination of size, shape and crisp definition, Yaxeni entered the 2010 Ms Olympia as one of the hot favorites. In placing a controversial second to reigning and seven-time Olympia champion Iris Kyle she received confirmation from many that, should she persevere, the title would someday soon be hers again. Indeed, receiving the runner up spot in 2010 has, it appears, fired Yaxeni up to again present the look she is known for while setting up a showdown with Iris Kyle that she hopes will secure her a second Olympia title and recognition as the best female bodybuilder walking the planet.
In the following interview Yaxeni explains how she hopes to once more wrest the Ms Olympia title.
Q: What improvements have you made to your physique since you competed in the 2010 Ms Olympia?
I believe my back has improved and, in general, I have more mature and lean muscle. I did not rest at all after the 2010 Olympia so as to try and gain more muscle mass.
Q: What do you think it is about your look that gained you a respectable second place finish at the 2010 Olympia?
I came in my best condition ever, even better than when I won the 2005 Olympia. Not to take anything away from Iris, but I believe I should have placed first in last year¹s show.
Q: You are known for your excellent combination of size, shape and conditioning? How do you continue to get better with each passing year?
As I continue to gain experience throughout my professional career, I have learned that one must work 365 days a year in order to perfect the finer details.
Q: How often do you include cardio training in your regime? And when do you cut it from your program pre-contest?
I do cardio daily Monday through Friday, and I increase it to twice daily about eight weeks out from the show and suspend it for two days before getting onstage.
Q: What do you like most about pro bodybuilding competition? What keeps you motivated to compete year after year?
I am very passionate about bodybuilding. God has blessed me with good symmetry and a fighting spirit. Competing onstage is not only challenging, but it is an opportunity to display the art I have worked so hard to create.
Q: How would you describe your current approach to training?
I train hard. I'm very organized, and focused on bringing up my weak points.
Q: Have you made any changes to your training over the past year? If so, what have these been and how have they helped you to improve your physique?
My husband Tomas Garcia has been my trainer for the past 10 years, and he continues to help me with my posing. We both felt that my improvements were beginning to plateau, so we wanted to try some new things. Since the 2010 Arnold Classic, Mr Alberto Calabrese of Argentina has been preparing me via internet. I also added my brother-in-law Omar Garcia (NPC bodybuilder) as a training partner. We have seen improvements, and feel that we now have all of the angles covered.
Q: Could you describe your current nutritional approach?
I eat six meals a day off-season, and increase these to seven smaller meals per day pre-contest. I try to take in all of the necessary nutrients to maintain muscle mass.
Q: How do you address post-training nutrition? What do you do following your workouts to begin the muscle re-building process?
We do not subscribe to very many of the post-training supplementation philosophies out there. We focus on training heavy and keeping the muscle saturated with amino acids all day long.
Q: Which nutritional supplements do you take and why?
No particular brands. Again, we focus on keeping the muscle saturated with amino acids. We also feel that anti-oxidants in the form of multi-vitamins are important for muscle repair.
Q: This year's Olympia will host the usual top line competitors, you included. Who do you see as being major competition for you and why?
As always, Iris Kyle will be in tip-top shape to defend her championship. However, there are always surprises with the newer girls who are hungry to win. For this reason I never let my guard down.
Q: What are your major strengths as an IFBB pro competitor?
My spirit, determination, and desire to improve are my major strengths. I believe I look hard and dry onstage, but I never lose my femininity.
Q: What do you love most about competing at Olympia level?
The challenge! I won the Olympia in 2005 and will not rest or retire until I repeat this placement.
Q: Where do think you will place in the 2011 Ms Olympia?
I will achieve first place.
Q: What message would you like to give to your fans, those that will be coming to watch you compete at the 2011 Olympia?
I would like to send my fans a very warm thank you for all of the love and support they have provided me with over the years. They are a great source of motivation for me. Most importantly, they recognize that I am happily married and the mother of a wonderful 20-year-old son. I will always welcome emails from those who need motivation to make positive changes in their life through physical fitness and religious faith.