Alina Popa Prepares For The 2012 Arnold Classic

Find out how IFBB female pro bodybuilder Alina Popa is preparing to unleash her formidable physique at the 2012 Arnold Ms. International.

A relative newcomer to the current IFBB pro women's bodybuilding scene, Alina Popa has been turning heads with her finely-crafted physique. She had an impressive 2011, with a 3rd-place finish at the Ms. International Arnold Classic and a 5th-place finish at the Olympia. With arguably the best symmetry - which includes a set of fantastic shoulders - among the current roster of female professionals, Alina never fails to impress. Her meteoric rise combined with her yet untapped potential and desire to be great suggests she will be among 2012's top pro contenders.

Born in Romania, Alina has spent much of her pro bodybuilding life living and training in Zurich, Switzerland. With a new home in Colorado, a new trainer, and a renewed focus, Alina feels she has made the best gains of her pro career. She increased her muscle density, in particular fleshing out her spectacular back, shoulder and thigh development. She poses a serious threat to her fellow 2012 Ms. International contenders.

Alina Popa at the 2011 Ms. International and Olympia.

Alina emphasizes heavy lifting, a tactic that is responsible for much of her muscle size. This 168-pound champion can biceps curl 65-pound dumbbells, bench 242 pounds, and squat 375 pounds.

Alina lists squats as her favorite exercise; her legs, some of the most complete pins in all of female bodybuilding, are a sight to behold. Alina has the 2012 Arnold Classic in her scope, and hopes to again showcase her powerful, symmetrical physique.

Interview With Alina Popa

What about your physique do you feel may boost your chances of winning the title at this year's Ms. International?

I've made a lot of changes in my life and preparation system. I moved to the USA and have changed my trainer to Dylan Armbrust. I decided to put 100% of my time and effort into this year's Ms. Olympia preparation. I chose the Ms. International to be the qualifying event because in last year's Olympia I placed one position short of requalification.

As for my physique, because I am so focused, I have no other distractions or excuses to get out of my prep cycle. My conditioning is better, so I'll present a more streamlined physique. I've also brought up some muscle parts, so I look more symmetrical.

Aside from what you just mentioned, what improvements have you made to your physique since you last competed as a pro?

It's only been six months since my last show, but because of Armbrust's training and my diet, I've managed to improve my thigh sweep, tapered my waist and capped my delts more; I have brought in my calves and added more muscle density to my back.

What adjustments have you made to your training program to prepare for the 2012 Ms. International?

I am working with a new trainer and this means a new method. This is the first time I have had someone literally training me through each session. I think this is so beneficial, especially toward the end of a diet when my body is tired and it is harder to focus. He assists and pushes me each session; that ensures that I add volume and intensity every day. This higher-intensity system has improved my conditioning and made my muscles look fuller.

Can you describe your current diet? Have you made any changes in this area since 2011?

I used to diet on a low carb diet with no additional fat. This preparation was reintroduced as well as a carb cycle. I've also switched to eating more lean white fish than chicken and lean red meat.

What would you consider to be your main strengths as a competitor?

At this point in my muscular development, I consider my main strength to be my symmetrical lines, the way they tie in together.

You are considered one of the physically strongest of today's pro female competitors. Do you try to lift heavy through your contest prep, and how does this style of training translate to onstage results for you?

I lift as heavy as I can within a volume training framework; I look fuller and better conditioned on stage.

Who do you see as being major competition for you at this year's Ms International and why? How do you plan to overcome the threat these individuals pose?

All the women competing at this year's Ms. International are great and I respect all of them. I'm trying to work on being the best I can be - it's the only thing I can control.

What is it about pro bodybuilding you love most? What keeps you motivated to compete?

I started my bodybuilding career 15 years ago in the Eastern part of Romania. Sometimes, it's hard for me to believe how far I've come, how much I've achieved. But ever since I laid my hands on a dumbbell, I loved the idea of sculpting my body to make it look the way I want it to. I can strip it of fat, and see the structure Mother Nature made. I can also improve it in line with bodybuilding standards. I love being muscular and strong. I love playing my game at the highest pro level; and I believe each and every one of the competitors makes a statement by presenting the results of their hard work and dedication.

What is your current bodyweight and what do you hope to weigh onstage at this year's Ms International?

I am two weeks out now and weigh 168 pounds; I estimate I will be 161 pounds onstage.

Where do you realistically hope to place at the 2012 Ms International, and why?

I train to win!

What can the 2012 Ms International audience expect from you come show-time?

A whole new look!

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