NOTE: Suzanna McGee's answers are in YELLOW.
Having traveled to Europe myself, I have walked passed many women with this description, but none of them were Suzanna McGee. A university professor in computer science, speaking six languages (Czech, Slovak, Russian, Swedish, English, Serbo-Croatian), Suzanna moved to California and became a personal trainer. "I found what I love to do."
Standing 6' tall, this 25 year old role model is a 100% natural bodybuilder, who competes more often than most. "I competed in fitness in 1995, then my second time was when I moved to the US in 1996. The judges told me I was pretty big and I should try bodybuilding. So I did, and I was hooked and competed in 19(!) contests my first year." Suzanna has always been a heavy weight. "I am about 40 lbs over the limit." She says with a smile. "I am now 188 lbs, and on stage, around 175 lbs."
Her bench press is 200 lbs, deadlift 315 lbs, power clean 175 lbs. and leg press at over 1100 lbs. "I don't do really heavy stuff, but this is what I remember that I've done before." Have a look at what else this swedish goddess has done before:
Border States, San Diego 9/26/00 3rd, heavy weight
Tournament of Champions, Redondo Beach 8/26/00 1st, heavy weight
Ironman Magazine Naturally, Culver City 8/12/00 2nd, heavy weight
Natural Olympia, Redondo Beach 8/14/99 1st tall
Ironman/Ironmaiden, Redondo Beach 12/4/99 3rd heavy
Strict Curl Champ. 6/17 98 183lb class 1st, world record holder
Muscle Beach Venice, Venice Beach 7/4/98 1st heavy
California Strict Curl Champ, 7/18/98, 183lb class 1st, world record holder
Tournament of Champions, Redondo Beach 8/15/98 1st novice, 2nd heavy
Baldwin Hills Muscle Classic 9/2798 2nd heavy
Natural Olympia, Greece 11/8/98 3rd tall
Ms. Aerobics 3/23/97 4th
Ms. Aerobics 4/5/97 1st
USA Muscle Classic 4/5/97 1st
USA Gold Cup BC 4/12/97 2nd
California Natural BC 6/14/97 2nd
Pinnacle Gold's Classic 6/21/97 3rd
Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach Venice 7/4/97 1st
Pinnacle Ironman Magazine Naturally 7/26/97 2nd
California Open BC 8/2/97 Overall
World BC 8/9/97 2nd
Tournament of Champions 8/16/97 3rd
Muscle Beach Venice Championship 9/1/97 Overall
Baldwin Hills Muscle Classic 9/28/97 1st
Amateur Grand Prix 10/4/97 2nd
USA Natural BC 10/25/97 1st
Steel Rose 11/8/97 2nd
Muscle Mania 11/22/97 4th
Ironman/Ironmaiden 12/6/97 2nd
Natural Universe 12/13/97 2nd Strength, Power lifting, Olympic Lifting
Freestyle Skate Dance Champ 8/23/98 3rd
Freestyle Skate Dance Champ 5/23/99 1st
Having been an athlete since she was 11 years old, Suzanna competed in cross country skiing, tennis, ball sports, running,...you name it. She utilized the act of lifting weights to enhance her ability in sports. "Lifting weights helped me to get faster and stronger."
Her legs and glutes are Suzanna's favorite body parts to torture, while preferring to skip her biceps and calve. "Guess these are my weakest parts. My biceps are 14.5 inches and calves 16 inches." Weakest?! I would have to disagree with you Suzanna, since you won a strict curl contest and made a world record for your weight class! Suzanna was pleased and shocked with the strength of those bi's of hers. "I couldn't believe it, with my tiny biceps."
Suzanna's bicep building (career) began in 1994 and 95 when she started taking weight training seriously. "I decided to compete in a fitness (Galaxy) contest back in Sweden. So I began to do a lot of weight training. Looking back now, I did not really know what I was doing." Learning from her mistakes, Suzanna can honestly say that she has a firm grip on her training and dieting. "I do my training and my nutrition on my own. Trial and error... I've tried a lot, so I am getting it down now. I really know my body well." Receiving assistance for posing and routine choreography is all the help this champion has had during her already sucessful journey.
With an extreme drive to achieve the best physical body she can, you'd think her parents were Olympic athletes, and drill sargents. Suzanna's father was completely anti-athletic and still is, while her mother has chosen a different path. "My mom is a sport mom now in her old age."
Watching her mother strive for the best health she can may have been the triger which has subconciously influenced Suzanna in her choice to say 'no thanks' to using steroids. "Never ever and never will. I just honor my body and I want to have it healthy. I train for being healthy and strong, with the contests being a personal challenge. By the way, I would probably turn into a freak if I would use steroids, weighing 230 lbs."
As you can see, Suzanna has never even been the slightest tempted by steroids. I asked her to explain for the rest in the sport how they can stop taking drugs, or if they haven't tried them, how can they remain clean? "I think that the bodybuilding should be about health first. Yes, it is building a body, but a healthy body, a life time commitment. The body grows faster with drugs, but we don't have any hurry, right? We will live for many many years if we are healthy, so why to rush?"
Being 100 % Natural
Suzanna doesn't mind informing people outside of the business, about how the body looks when someone is using steroids. Those who do workout, can tell instantly how natural Suzanna is.
"Sometimes people ask me if I have done steroids, (mostly people who don't really understand bodybuilding), they think I am very big. People who are into bodybuilding can see in a second that I am completely clean, my face, voice, features, hips... everything is still feminine. I don't think that people think that I am lying, I always explain to them what the difference is between drugs and no drugs and how the body looks."
As a natural bodybuilder, Suzanna needs to ensure her diet is working for her, not pushing her away from winning 1st place. She has learned that having a cheat day once a week during her contest preporation can push her back a few steps. "I used to have a wild cheat day once a week, on Sundays. I could eat 10,000 calories that day (yes, 10, TEN). I don't do that anymore. I worked on my subconscious mind and learned how not to crave sweets.
So I am doing well without cheat days, or cheat meals. I am pretty strict. I might have one cheat meal every two weeks. And it's still pretty healthy, it's just more calories than I would normally eat." Talk about a strong will; with the ability to use her mind to overpower cravings, Suzanna is a great example that your mind is one of the most important 'muscles' in the body, and should not be taken for granted. Suzanna, much like the rest of us, still has her vises. "Nuts! All kinds." Check out this meal which she can eat every meal:
"One of my favorites are oats / barley / rye flakes cooked in egg whites, with some peanut butter in it." Knowing the importance of keeping her menu appetizing she loves to take chances with her ingredients. "I am trying to avoid 'rut eating', but this is on my menu very often. I like to experiment with my foods, so I am putting together funny looking healthy mish-mash-dishes."
Hmmmm, guess I can't say anything about that creation since I used to mix peanut butter, maple syrup and raisins with my cottage cheese. Before you leave with the image that Suzanna has the strength to avoid 'treats', "I am a nut junkie... cashews, walnuts, peanut butter, anything nutty... Now, it's not a secret anymore, everybody knows it about me. I have to really control myself so I don't eat a pound of nuts every day." She also enjoys adding Thai food and sushi to her nutty menu.
Consuming so many nuts each day, what body % would Suzanna have? "OK, this year is different, as I mentioned before, I don't have my cheating and bingeing off season. I am staying in a pretty good shape all year around."
- 12 weeks before you compete: I am about 14%
- When you compete: I am around 9%
- One month after you compete: I want to be less than 14%
We all know that bodybuilders tend to gain weight fast following a show, and the women competitors are no exception. "In the past, I went from 16-18 % maybe 4-5 months out, to 9.8% at the contest, then back to 16% just a few weeks afterwards. Crazy. I don't want to do that anymore."
I asked Suzanna if she would feel fatter and more bloated one month after your show, then she would 3 months before her show? "I used to, yes. I gained 20 lbs in 2-4 days... wow! Now, I've got my eating habits in better order, so I plan to stay in good limits."
When preparing for competition, Suzanna will use fat burners, while extremely aware of the doses she's taking. In the off season, she'll take a break and train with nothing in her system. "Sometimes, before the contest I will use thermogenics, mostly 1/3 of a daily dose, only in the morning when I do cardio on empty stomach, just to preserve my muscles."
MaHuang Extract: 334mg
Guarana Extract: 910mg
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Tanning beds are a must in Suzanna's lifestyle. "I love tanning beds. I have an unlimited membership in my salon and I go there about 3 times a week, to take a 20 minute nap after my workout." In the summer you will see her laying out in the California sunshine. As for self tanners, Suzanna uses 'ProTan' two to three days before a contest.
A few days prior to the big day, Suzanna will use natural diuretics such as 'dandelion root' or 'uvi ursi' to assist the body in loosing water. "I don't really believe in using diuretics during normal/regular training days though. I also drink 2-3 gallons of water, and water is natural diuretic." List all diuretics.
Moments before displaying her hard earned physique to the critical judging panel, Suzanna will consume specific foods in an effort to appear more vascular. "I will eat something a bit sugary like raisins, and I also eat rice cakes... but I don't think it makes such a big difference on my body."
Back stage, you can bet all the athletes are doing everything 'legal' to give them a visible edge. "Hey, we know that there are red wine bottles going around." Bodybuilders, more often then not, to have very little energy left to walk or even hold a conversation and Suzanna has seen a competitors faint back stage. Testing mother nature, female bodybuilders are pushing their body's further then ever before, so it's not a surprise that many simply pass out.
Television and Magazines
Suzanna has her own international TV fitness show, which airs live (weekly) on Pars TV network. Loving the camera, she's enjoying acting and modeling. "I've also done some national commercials and movie extras... of course, this is LA. I've been featured in the Swedish B&K (similar to 'Muscle & Fitness'), and I am the next "Planet Babe" in 'Planet Muscle Magazine'."
Is Bodybuilding For YOU?
Are you, yes YOU, are you thinking about competing and and making bodybuilding your career? If so, Suzanna would like to let you know: "Do it because you love it. Don't do it to be rich, or to be in a magazine; that pass's. You have to love the sport and training, because it is a lifestyle. You train, eat, and rest is bodybuilding." Having completed myself, I can agree with Suzanna and suggest that anyone interested in competitions to enjoy the entire process, not just the 'placing's'.
Seeing what Suzanna has conquered in the past few years, she is still training full speed, preparing to compete in the NPC shows in Contra Costa and California championship this May. "I may do more later. I still need to check the schedules".
In several years, Suzanna will writing a book with all the knowledge that she has collected over the years. "The book will be connecting the extremes of bodybuilding, with the opposite extremes of eastern medicine/life style. I want to find a happy medium for a bodybuilder's well being."
Besides being a writer, which not many people know, here's another peek into who Suzanna is. While most of us feel fortunate to get out of the country and enjoy the tastes of another lifestyle, Suzanna has witnessed a few differences between Americans and Europeans.
"I keep really low key, I think that's the European mentality, we don't brag so much. Well, this is your chance to brag! Please go right ahead and 'toot your horn'. Besides, who else will? "If I look at my life, I've done a lot of interesting things. I am not just an athlete, I also have a great education, I speak 6 languages, I am well traveled and have lived in different life styles and cultures (communist, socialistic, now here in US. There are a lot of differences).
With her baby girl Peanut... (A three year old mix of labrador and red nose pitbull), Suzanna enjoys the outdoors. "I love nature. I like all sports and dancing on roller skates. I love animals, music (hip-hop and R&B) and shaking my booty to it. I like to read and write (non-fiction). I like to create things."
Talking about creating, with what you have created within your physique, I must personally congratulate you and commend you on all the sweat bursting, and sugar free hours you have put into your body!
Arnold Classic 2002
The Arnold Fitness Weekend consists of the Arnold Fitness EXPO, the Martial Arts Festival, Arnold Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship, the Arnold Gymnastics Challenge and the 5K Pump and Run. Even more was added for 2002! Held in Columbus Ohio, this contest featured hundreds of athletes, one being Suzanna McGee. "I was working in the booth for Planet Muscle, autographing the magazine where I was featured as Planet Babe. I enjoyed posing with fans and taking pictures. It was a long, BUSY weekend, but lot of fun!"
Next year I'll be looking for you at the Arnold Suzanna! You are a great inspiration, and I am thank you for coming to America and bringing your great booty with you!
Suzanna McGee @ Angel City Fitness
4144 Glencoe Ave
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA
For more pics, click here!