She's consistently at the top of the most viewed profiles on BodySpace and now we bring you a bit more with the BodySpace star, ChickenTuna.
Born In: Islip, New York
Current Residence: Charlotte, North Carolina
Occupation: Real Estate Broker
[ Q ] Do you still "Sit on your @ss" for your day job?
[ A ] I still sit on my ass sometimes, but nothing like I did when I served five years hard time in my cubicle job in NY.
[ Q ] I know it's not polite but I must ask, how young are you?
[ A ] I'm 39 and I'll be 40 on December 16th.
[ Q ] The question every guy wants to know on BodySpace... Are you single?
[ A ] I'm married. I was single up until age 36 when I went to Vegas with my boyfriend and we got married at the Little Cupid's Wedding Chapel at 3am on Halloween. He is 9 years younger than me... so even more motivation to stay fit and keep up with him.
[ Q ] I understand you have a few nicknames, what are some of those?
[ A ] 'Bunklers' is the name I started out using for fitness on the internet. I found a stray dog in 2002 who had 5 puppies following her. She was very sick, had no fur and looked near starving to death and her paws were swollen and bleeding. So basically she was a homeless mom of 5, on the run, no one taking care of her, and nothing to eat.
I wound up keeping her (Bunklers) and 2 of her babies and she motivated me to keep going and push myself to do better at everything in life. She was dealt a bad hand in life and she made a comeback. She needed my help and I was going through a tough time when I found her, so we both got stronger together. I think of Bunklers as my motivation to push forward and never give up when things are hard.
[ Q ] Where did "ChickenTuna" come from?
[ A ] I really didn't put much thought into that one. When I joined Bodybuilding.com, I guess chicken and tuna was on my mind since I eat so much of it. I love chicken and tuna, not so much for the way it tastes but for it does for me.
[ Q ] What prompted you to join Bodybuilding.com's BodySpace?
[ A ] I love being in a community of people who all want to be fit and have a big interest in it. I never had that before and I'm really enjoying it now, being able to watch everyone's progress, learn new things and see people of all ages as role models.
There are people at all different fitness levels, from completely just starting out, to amazing professionals. I especially like seeing the mid 30+ role models... people who are in outstanding shape and still pushing harder... like 'startinover-68', 'LADarling', and 'Heyzeus909' (aka: Mountain Man), just to name a few.
[ Q ] What type of emails and responses do you get from BodySpace?
[ A ] Mainly I get people asking what the 'secret' is to be in shape. I know most are probably disappointed with my answers, but I tell everyone to workout consistently, never cancel and try not to overcomplicate it. Also... to not eat any junk food, candy, cookies, pizza, ice-cream, cakes, etc..
I wish there actually was a "trick or secret" I had to tell them, but everyone's progress depends on how dedicated they are, how hard they are willing to work and what they are willing to give up as far as tasty treats and drinking bar drinks.
I am very straight forward with my answers to the questions I get. I've never been a sugar coater with anything, and although my replies are probably not what people want to hear, I really think most people appreciate the blunt honesty. There's no "one right way" t0o stay fit and I think it's all about trial and error and finding out what works best, it's different for everyone.
I still can't get over all the encouraging comments I get everyday. They really keep me going and I can't possibly stop now and get lazy, after all the amazing things everyone has said about my progress.
[ Q ] What's the weirdest thing anyone has asked you from the site?
[ A ] That's a tough one. Every once in a while I get surprised by something. One of the more recent messages I got was from a guy wanting advice for his girlfriend to start weight training. He said, "What do you do? MILDLY work bi's and tri's?
This question really killed me. MILDLY? (I could picture him sitting his girlfriend down with 2lb dumbbells to do some curls) I know my muscles are little, but it just goes to show that so many people are completely in the dark about what it takes for a woman to have muscles.
I do not work my bi's and tri's mildly. I have to push my self to the ***king limit every single week just to get and keep the little bit that I have. Everyone is so scared women are going to get big muscles and it just can't happen naturally. It takes lifting heavy for me just to get a little bit of muscle.
[ Q ] You have some pretty revealing photos, do you ever get any negative comments from them?
[ A ] How am I supposed to show muscle if I'm wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt? I've seen only a few negative comments (can't please everyone), but I focus on the positive which has been very overwhelming. If I'm having a bad day, all I have to do is start reading my comments and it turns my attitude around.
I am an artist and love to paint with oils and acrylics, so I think photography has also become a creative outlet for me, I love it and hope to keep becoming more creative with fitness photos.
[ Q ] Do you still suffer from Asthma and how have you be able to overcome being sick with it?
[ A ] I still have it but not nearly as bad as it used to be for me. My mom always tells me the story about how I had my first asthma attack when I was an infant. She didn't know what was wrong with me and was so scared. She had to rush me to the hospital.
After that, I had been hospitalized on a regular basis throughout my childhood. Mostly after I had a bad cold, it would go down to my lungs and I would have to be on oxygen, get adrenaline shots and countless medications. I was getting allergy shots for over 20 years and then decided I really had too much with the shots so I stopped getting them and I've been fine ever since then.
I definitely still have limitations as far as my physical activities. I've never been able to run. I'll get a few blocks at most and then need to stop and catch my breath. I also can't do high intense cardio at all.
I've been successful at using exercise videos for my cardio. I can take them at my own pace, and if I need to rest for a minute or so I just pause it. I have an albuterol inhaler that I still need to use a few times a week or so, but other than that I am completely fine now overall.
[ Q ] You've completely changed your physique over the last few years and look great. What to you attribute the most to your transformation?
[ A ] Consistency. I am consistent with all parts of my fitness program. I lift weights consistently, I eat right consistently, and I do cardio consistently. In the last few years, I finally learned that it takes a combination of weights, cardio, and nutrition to really get results, so I am finally doing it right.
Before that, I was only doing the exercise videos (cardio) and I was in ok shape, but I was half @ssing it. Half @ssed work equals half @ssed results.
[ Q ] Many women (and men for that matter) want to know your secret to keeping six pack abs.
[ A ] My 'secret' is that I don't eat any crap and haven't for years now. I eat only plain foods like oatmeal, fish, veggies, nuts, and fruit. I drink at least a gallon of water a day, and I eliminated all artificial sweeteners and diet colas over 18 months ago.
My sister gave me my first Taebo video over 10 years ago and I've been doing it 3 times a week since then. That means I have done Taebo a minimum of 1,560 times. I think it is entirely possible that I've done it more times than Billy Blanks himself.
I've never done any direct ab work but since I get so many questions about abs I figured, why not start doing crunches. A few weeks ago, I started doing 3 sets of 25 crunches after I do legs and I can already feel the difference after a few weeks. They feel stronger and tighter now so I will keep it up.
[ Q ] Give the readers a sample workout of what you would do for training shoulders:
- Think 'Negative' To Grow! - By Christopher Mohr
- A Primer On Eccentric Repetitions! - By Charles Ridgely
- Positive Muscle Gains: Eccentric Training! - By Chris Goulet
- Other Negative Articles...
The exercise that has changed the shape of my upper body is without a doubt the pull up. My husband bought me a pull up bar in December of 2003. When I first tried to do one, I did not even come close and it felt like an impossibility as I would hang there on the bar trying to lift myself.
I was determined to be able to do one, and I tried every single day for at least a month before I did it. I would just hang there and try and lift a little bit each day. Then I started doing negatives, where I would jump up to the raised position and slowly lower myself down.
I finally was able to do one after trying and trying and haven't stopped since. It was a huge accomplishment for me. I do a set of 5 of them everyday before I leave the house now, just because I can.
I always tell other women that the pull up isn't something that you either can or can't do. It is something you have to learn to do and if I can do one, I seriously think anyone who keeps trying can accomplish the same.
[ Q ] How do you split your workouts up for the week?
[ A ] I typically do Back/Bi's on Monday, Chest/Shoulders/Tri's on Tuesday, and Legs on Friday. And cardio 5x a week (usually an exercise video like Taebo or Reebok step) for 30 minutes. I don't have any kind of strict schedule and will always work it all in by the week's end. For the past few weeks, I've been focusing on legs more and have thrown in an extra leg day for now.
[ Q ] How long have you been working out?
[ A ] I started when I was 23. I did home exercise videos three times a week or every other day and have never stopped exercising since. I seriously have not missed more than a week away from exercise since 1992. I may not have known about weight lifting and nutrition back then, but I actually did get something right.
I knew that if I didn't commit to always working out consistently, I would be wasting my time. Anyone's given fitness status is just a temporary state and requires work and dedication to maintain, so I knew if I started taking months off, my efforts would be wasted.
I would always say to myself:
and it takes just as much work to stay in shape
as it does to get in shape."
Working out isn't a hobby or a fun past time for me. It is a necessity to stay fit, and I've decided to try and do the best I can with it. I started weight training in 2005 so I'm still pretty new to it. Lifting weights has changed the entire shape of my body, tightened everything up, and made me stronger. I will definitely always be doing weight training from now on for the rest of my life.
[ Q ] What's the most challenging thing when it comes to working out?
[ A ] Being consistent with everything will always be challenging. There are things that come up everyday and many situations in life that make it difficult to stay the course.
Lifting weights and pushing myself in the gym will always be a challenge as well. It doesn't come natural for me to push myself harder and I tend to want to quit when it gets hard.
If I'm doing a set on bench presses for instance, I'll do 8 reps and think... Ok, now this is really hard. So my first instinct is to rack the bar, when that is exactly the way to never get better. Progress happens when it gets hard and when I bang out that last rep and give it everything I've got.
[ Q ] Any advice to women who look at your physique and think it is unobtainable?
[ A ] Fitness and eating right isn't a quick fix, it is a life time commitment. I think keeping fit takes up a small part of my life, but has huge life time benefits. And I also used to think I was stuck with my weak body.
I never knew I had the power to change it completely based on my choices... mainly because I never saw a real life role model as an example for me to follow. So for anyone willing to work at it... You have the power to change your body and bring yourself to be your best. I see the potential in everyone.
[ Q ] How's your diet book entitled, "Get fit with Pop tarts, M&M's, and booze." coming along?
[ A ] The sad thing is, there are books out there pretty close to that and they aren't joking. I've thought about really writing a book, but it would only be one sentence..."Eat right and exercise consistently for life"-- the end.
[ Q ] What are you fitness goals for the next 3 years?
[ A ] I have always exercised at home and have only been a gym member for a little over 2 years now so I'm just getting started. I still have plenty to learn and more progress to make. I am going to keep pushing ahead and see where it takes me. I won't know unless I try.
[ Q ] Do you have any children?
[ A ] No children, just dogs. The dogs keep me busy constantly and I don't think I can handle any more responsibility.
[ Q ] What are a few of your favorite supplements?
[ A ] I really haven't experimented with many supplements but am open to try some. I used to use protein powder in my oatmeal, but I like eating egg whites instead. Fish oil and flax oil are good fats and take them everyday along with a multivitamin.
[ Q ] Website?
[ A ] www.bunklers.com- I made it myself and I am attempting to make it look better. I have a lot more rants and content to add, especially in the confusion section. I wanted to put up a website to help clear up some confusion about women and muscles.
I think it helps people who are interested in becoming fit, to see that it's not all fun and games, it's hard work and it's very worth it. I can't believe how many emails I get from people thanking me for being honest about what it takes to stay fit and it makes me very happy that I put up the site.
[ Q ] Any parting words for your fans?
[ A ] I love everyone here at Bodybuilding.com and I'm grateful beyond words for all the encouragement I receive everyday and I appreciate it more than anyone will know. I hope to keep giving it back and seeing more and more people commit to get and stay fit.
[ Q ] Thanks for your time Mrs. ChickenTuna. You look great and I know the readers will enjoy reading your interview.
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