Bodybuilding.com's fun section heats up! A smoken hot interview with Firefighter, Paramedic and IFBB Pro Ally Bookless. This chica has a no BS approach to everything she does, but don't let the hardcore attitude scare ya. Ally takes time to give back and help others when she could be tying to grab an extra hour of sleep during her hectic schedule.
I've been fortunate enough to work with Ally and meet her in person. She's a true gem and ya can't help but get caught up in her energy. Take a few minutes to check out what Ally had to say - I guarantee she'll have you laughing at some point.
[ Q ] Name:
[ Q ] Born/Grew up in:
White Plains, NY (30 miles north of NYC).
[ Q ] Miss your hometown?
Hell yeah! We get back to visit 2 times a year but that is not enough. If the fire departments had lateral transfers, we'd be living/working in NYC.
I came to Ohio to dive for the olympic coach at OSU and stayed after I graduated. I got a great job and the cost of living is crazy ass cheap here!
[ Q ] Current Residence?
Columbus, OH - Home of the Buckeyes and the
[ Q ] Aight - everyone wants to know, including me, what the hell is up with all these fitness/figure superstars living in Ohio?
It is something they put in the water baby. Most states put flouride, we put fitness potion. Oh yeah, did I mention the super star trainer from hell, Mike Davies, lives here also. He has alot to do with all our Success. :) We have people coming from all over the nation/world to train with him. It makes it very
We also have Jim Lorimer here who owns the Spankin' World Gym and put on the Arnold Classic with Arnold.
[ Q ] If that's the story you're going with I guess we'll have to believe it.
[ Q ] You graduated from OSU in?
Molecular engineering... just kidding. I have a B.S. in Education. I also just received my Associates Degree in fire science from Columbus State Community College.
No joke, you have to come here for a game. That is an invitation Isaac. Go with us to the OSU/Michigan game because there in nothing quite like it. I grew up going to NY Giants games with my dad and you cannot even compare the two.
Columbus shuts down for the OSU games and it is an all football town. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it! And when you hear the OSU marching band... pow, Aly's on fire.
I actually have the OSU fight song programemd into my MP3 player to stoke me up for cardio.
I did my 2001 Arnold Classic fitness routine opening with the fight song. I bleed scarlet and gray. :)
IH: Thanks for the invite. OSU fight song in your MP3 player? That's just weird.
Now you're sounding like a Nebraska Cornhusker freak.
[ Q ] You were a platform diver at OSU - cool - tell us how you got into that...
I started competitive swimming at age 5. At 12 years old, the team needed a diver and I raised my hand. I wish I had a heart felt story but it's that simple.
I started out competing as a springboard diver. But while I was at a diving meet in Pittsburgh, PA, I jumped up on the 10 meter platform and started fooling around after the diving meet was over. I was a natural and my coach went with it. My speciality was definately platform (33 fee above water).
Unfortunately, my area of N.Y. does not have any indoor platform facilities so we had to travel. We would drive to Philly, PA to get out platform practices in. I had to decide at an early age what I wanted to do. Compete and be the best platform possible or have a normal childhood.
No brainer... I went with the diving. My weekends were filled with travel and practicing. We would go to Montreal, Canada over Christmas break to train in the Olympic center. I never went to any high school football games because I was always at practice. I left school early so I could practice (we had 3 a days). So, my social life was non-existant. But it kept me out of trouble (LOL).
[ Q ] Still do any diving into the water?
Not that much. My husband always gets me to do stuff when we are hanging at our local pool. Then the lifeguards yell at me because the stuff I do "looks dangerous". But I have not been off a platforn since I graduated. It is not like there are to many out there.
[ Q ] How did you injure your back?
Which time? (lol)
In 1987 I had a C-6 compression fracture of my neck. Yes, all the years of hitting the water jacks your body up. You are traveling hard (about 35 mph) when you hit the water and it tears you up. We spent much of out down time at Grant - Sport Med getting iced and worked on by the physical therapists.
I recovered and went on to finish my diving years at OSU but I was in constant pain. I still have nerve damage in my head (no, that is not an open invitation for an Ally joke), so if you smack me up-side the head... I won't get too pissed. I bet I won't even try it. No, don't everybody line up to hit me upside my head. It is pins and needles from the damage I did way back when.
But it is all good and I dont even notice it unless I really think about it. It is one of those things that grows on ya. I have no pain from the 1987 injury anymore.
[ Q ] How's the ol' back doing now?
Smashing... thanks for asking. I just have to watch it when I am up all night at the firehouse. When I get tired, I can notice it and I am more susceptible to injury.
Last year I could not train like I wanted to. But this year... Game on baby. Sprints were non-stop. Stairs were a breeze. Bootcamp was every week. I think the time off improved the old Ally. :)
The altitude kicked your ass when you visited Colorado a few months ago? (my current residence). I could not miss a workout and found a gym while we were snowboarding at Winter Park, CO. Lifting was cool but I was a complete slug when it came to cardio.
I was huffing-and-puffing like I was a pack-a-day smoker. A 70 year old lady was kicking my ass on the treadmill next to me. I bowed my head in shame and suffered through the workouts.
[ Q ] When did you turn pro?
In 2000 at Team Universe. It was so memorable because my family came to watch me compete (they all still live there). It was the first show they ever came to watch. I need them to come to all my shows because they were good luck!
Anytime I compete in N.Y.C., my hubby, myself, and our 2 dogs stay over and make a vacation out of it with my family. My parents always hook us up with a new restauraunt.
[ Q ] What made you start training with Mike Davies?
That was the smartest move of my career... eh? I am one of the original Davies girls. I started with him in 1997 when I switched from bodybuilding to fitness. My trainer at that time (Jeff Horst) did not know anything about fitness. So he was cool with me going to Davies. I met Davies and
Hendershott at JR Nationals (I was doing bodybuilding) and it went from there.
[ Q ] For those who don't know, you're a professional firefighter and paramedic, right?
Yes, I work 24 hours and have 48 hours off. I love it to death. I have been full time for 7 years now. I also teach out at the Ohio Fire Academy part-time. The firefighting schedule works wonderfully with the figure/fitness competing
Me stress... nope. I thrive on it. Hovever, it did take a bit telling all the guys about my strange eating habits. I am the only female here and I just wanted to blend into the job. Well, it is hard to blend when you carry a small cooler with all your dieting food with ya to work.
[ Q ] As reported on Terry Goodlad's Bodysport.com, you "quietly give back". How did you get involved with the mentor program?
It just fell into my lap and I ran with it. I love it. I am so proud... Lerch, my first mentor student ever just got hired full time with our department. It just became official two days ago. He will start work on my shift at the end of the month. I am so proud of him!
[ Q ] Bookless, you're an animal, our hats off to you. What do you do to relax?
Relaxing stresses me out! I hate to sit still. I'll rest when I'm dead. I've got to much to do and I love it.
But I'll go out on a limb and say going to Carribou Coffee with my hubby early on Sunday mornings. We will sit ouside, read the Sunday paper and enjoy our morning coffee. But then I am fired up and cannot sit still because I just drank coffee. It is like a double edged sword, isn't it?
[ Q ] Those who know you, know you have a dry sense of humor, how did you pick that lil' dilly up?
My dad. He is very quiet about his humor and it is almost said under his breath so you have to really pay attention.
But it fits into the firehouse lifestyle and humor. Not everybody gets my dry sense of humor.
I only cry when I am sick and on my death bed. It is funny, if I have a high temp/sick... I might produce a few tears. That is the only time I am some what emotional. But only for my hubby so don't hold your breath. It is funny because if I cry, my hubby will say "go to the doctor, because you are sick". It is like clockwork.
It is good that I am not emotional because you cannot be crying on a fire run or a medic run. "There's no crying in baseball", Tom Hanks once said!
[ Q ] What songs are you humming along to?
I don't hum... that's queer!
[ Q ] You've got a new web site - it's pretty raw and hardcore. What made you decide to go with Lift Studios for your site redesign?
The egg man drew me to Isaac.
My buddie and egg supplier Lana has a kick ass site with an egg man on it.
He is the coolest egg ever! I contacted Lana to see who created the egg man. Isaac. I needed to move on from my old web designer, and Isaac and I clicked from day one. I still thank Lana every chance I can for the major hook up! By the way... buy her egg whites ASAP. They are the best ever. I just had some for my last meal. She is linked to my site so please check her out and order today. You got to love that egg dude. That is what caught my eye and drew me to Isaac. Deep... Aren't I?
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Isaac definately did the hardcore thing for me. I told him no pastels and flower crap. That was not me. I wanted the site to represent my personality. He hit it dead on! Smooch dude... A long distance kiss for all your time and efforts.
[ Q ] Ah thanks Bookless. See not so tough all the time. Safe to say you're happy with the results?
Happy is an understatement. Elated, over-joyed, thrilled, pumped, stoked, on fire, speechless, happy as a fly on crap.
[ Q ] Any advice for people who have a web site or considering creating one?
Fire your web man and hire Isaac. No joke, Isaac is the best web designer ever! The exposure, positive feed back from my peers, the amazing work that truly represents me, and the friendship we have created. :) Isaac created the site for me... He listened to what "I" wanted and gave it to me. (
No I did not pay Ally to say all that.)
[ Q ] Any freaks, geeks or weirdo stories since you've been in the public eye more?
Yes, but I better not print it. I've had wierd things happen after magazine articles have run. If I print it, I might have the "freaks" coming to kill me for their wierd behavior. Today is not a good day for me to die so I will hold off on the stories.
When I see children traveling in cars and they are not in car seats! That just pisses me off!
Thanks... now I am all fired up. Good thing I am headed to the gym in a bit and I can relieve some of this anger. Nice going, Isaac.
[ Q ] If you had a million dollars what would you buy first? (Besides Isaac a shiny new car.)
I'd buy my hubby a Harley bike. He has supported me for so long and done so much for me. He has wanted a Harley for some time and I'd love to be the one who could give it to him. I just entered a "diva contest" with hopes of winning $$$ to buy him that bike.
Then I'd hook my family up. Tom just totaled his bike (he's an Ironman Tri-athlete) when a car hit him. Luckily he walked away from it. But he needs a new bike.
I'd send $$$ to Todd and Mer for their new house. Todd is in the army and Mer is a trooper doing it all on her own. Extra cash would definately make their lives less stressful.
I'd buy vacationing house in Flordia. They have been there for me all the time and are the best parents ever. I cannot believe how much they sacrificed for us as we were growing up. It was all about the children and never about what they wanted.
Then I'd hook up all my close friends with an all-expense paid trip to Vegas... Top of the line on everything! (Isaac, you'd be top of the list my friend!) A fun filled trip with Ally and luke to Vegas. I love Vegas!
Can you tell that I have thought about this million dollars alot? :)
[ Q ] Too funny Bookless. What's with this "American Choppers" show you're so fond of?
It is a tie! The POW bike that Pauly Sr. did. Man, I was getting choked up when the vets viewed it. And it is by far one of their best bikes ever designed! The detail that went into it was amazing!
And of course the firefighter bike, it is such a tribute to the firefighters. How could I not love that bike. All the time and effort that they put into that bike! You could tell Pauly Jr. was honestly touched by 9/11.
[ Q ] Next show?
GNC Show Of Strength in October.
[ Q ] Sponsors:
None. My full time job (firefighter) and part-time job (teaching firefighting) helps to pay for my fitness habit.
I just spent the past fews day writing letters. "Please Sponsor Ally". I have been trying to find that sponsor ever since I turned pro and I have had no such luck. Everybody thinks you turn pro and bam it starts rolling in. Maybe for some girls but not the majority. I have spent endless hours trying to find my "sugar daddy supplement company" with no avail.
If anybody wants to have an Ally Bookless work at their booth or represent their company... just contact me. I am always in shape, low maintenance, have a freaking awesome web site - that is the best in the industry (so I am told), and I am funny as hell (only I think so).
I am housebroken and looking for a good company I have to give a shout out to my pal Steve Ward at Champion because he has let me hang at his Champion Nutrition booth for a few Olympias and Arnolds. He will hook me up with supplements every so often.
So, I have to thank him big time. I wish champion had the $$$ to sponsor me but it is not in the cards. But Steve and I have become close friends and that is worth a million dollars. What a top notch guy!
[ Q ]Any words of wisdom for the young grasshoppers looking to turn pro?
Remember where you came from and remember to thank the people who helped you along the way. Have fun, make friends, and enjoy every second. Do it because you love it... it is a lifestyle.
[ Q ]Ally it's been a pleasure to interview you. Thanks for taking the time to share more about yourself with everyone. You are truly one of a kind. Good luck at your upcoming show and I'm going to hold you to that trip when you win your million.
For more info and photos on Ally please visit her Web site at:
http://www.allybookless.com - tell her you read about her bad ass on Bodybuilding.com.