She has a long list of titles behind her (including Miss Nude BC) and has even branched out to market her own fitness and exotic dancing videos. Fawnia has been an inspiration to me for a few years now both as a dancer and as a fitness guru but most importantly as a person.
Fawnia has this wonderful ability to make you feel at ease and make you feel counted as an individual not just a fan asking questions. She is down to earth and has maintained centered throughout her career. This girl has her feet firmly on the ground and knows where she is headed.
Q. What is your current training program like?
When I am training for a contest you'll find me in the gym twice a day 3 - 5 days a week. At the least I am there once doing my weights and cardio. I have trained with doing two body parts a day before a show and also just one part, I feel that working one part and hitting it hard works best for me.
An Average Training Day May Be:
Before eating: 30 - 45 min cardio
After 3rd or 4th meal (about 6-8 hours later): weights and 30 - 45 min cardio.
These days, while I still have time before contest preparation I train once a day, just after breakfast to make sure I don't put it off. Working out before noon sets the mood for my day and I make healthier meal choices when I feel energized from the gym.
My Training Is:
Day 1: Legs
Day 2: Chest
Day 3: Biceps
Day 4: Triceps
Day 5: Shoulders
Rest or repeat
I do a min of 20 cardio each day. Sometimes I will add Triceps to my chest day. I may make day 4 a rest day.
Q. How did this way of training develop for you?
From reading various bodybuilding and fitness magazines I learned a variety of training routines. Since I want to build size in my legs I always do them at the start of the week when I am fresh. Often I will do just quads and calves and devote time to hamstrings and glutes on another day.
Starting out with weights in 1995 (on a serious level) I did:
Day 1: Chest & Triceps Day 2: Back & Biceps Day 3: Legs & Shoulders
* This the same split I feature in my workout DVD, "Making Fitness Fun".
Q. What is your nutritional philosophy?
I eat clean almost all the time at home, so when eating at restaurants my choices are not as limited. I eat five to six small meals a day spaced about 2.5 - 3.5 hours apart.
For the most part I eat slow burning carbs: oatmeal (organic is best though I eat quick cook most of the time), yams/sweet potatoes and brown rice. For protein anything goes and I always add a little Udos, Flax Oil or have a little avocado with my meals.
Fibrous carbs such as green beans, spinach, peppers, asparagus and broccoli I eat as much of these as possible with my last four meals. Organic peanut butter and almond butter are treats I have once a day, and in my coffee/tea I enjoy Stevia or Sweet-n-Up. Water is with me at all times and I try to drink about 3 liters a day. Pre-contest I am drinking about 6 liters a day (1 ? gallons).
Q. You mentioned eating clean. Can you elaborate a little on this term?
Eating clean means to be consuming foods that are as close to their natural state as possible in other words foods that have not been processed. For veggies, I may buy them frozen since the nutritional value is not too compromised by freezing them. I am normally not one to eat organic, free range or soy but as of yesterday I am changing my ways. I want to put into my body what I expect out of it. You have caught me trying something new.
Q. Personally, I am a big believer of this and have been eating organic for the last 10 years (I started very young). Organic food seems to have much more energy and taste to it. Besides all that, trying new things is always important.
I agree with you and I will be adding more organic foods to my
diet. However around contest time when I am eating about 6 full chicken breasts a day - it can be pretty costly. Time to take out a loan! LOL.
Q. What do you supplement you diet with and why?
L-Glutamine all the time since it helps speed up recovery and keeps my body in a more anabolic state.
PVL protein powder is something I often mix with oatmeal to make it taste like dessert. You have to try the Vanilla Ice-cream Royal flavor.
Q. What got you started in weight training, and more importantly what keeps you going?
I remember watching bodybuilding contests on television when I was about 12 years old, then in school I was introduced to weight training.
For Christmas I asked my grandmother for a pair of 5 pound dumbbells. For up to an hour at a time I would make up exercises at home and train. At that time I was 13.
When I left my career as an exotic dancer, I knew that I had to join a gym to ensure that I could maintain my new weight and shape. I was 140lbs at the age of 19. At just 20 years of age, I left the stage and weighed about 108.
Weight training added a few pounds to my proportionate frame but it did more than that. Weight training gave me shape, sped up my metabolism and improved my self confidence. This was enough to keep me going.
Q. I noticed you have studied acting and have been in a few films. What drove you in that direction and how was the experience for you?
Though I was very shy growing up, I had an interest in theatre. Starting in grade 8, I took acting classes. This turned into being on the theatrical team and touring various schools educating students about the risks of drinking and driving, speeding, and the importance of wearing seat belts.
My shows as an exotic dancer were very theatrical; re-enacting Spiderman, and turning from a cop into a robber or an angel into a devil. I felt a creative void when I left the stage and this I filled by taking acting classes for film & television.
For about a year I studied with David Simmonds at the Screen Actors Studio in Victoria, BC. I landed roles in The Outer Limits, The X-Files, and appeared on Millennium five times. In 2000 and 2001 played the lead in two films produced in the Czech Republic.
Q. How did you get your first break into fitness modeling?
Prolab Nutrition hired me on to work their booth at the 1999 Arnold Classic on the advice of a friend. From there I expected it all but I took to entering The Malibu Body Wear Spokes model contest (by Alex Ardenti) in 2002.
I did many photo shoots before and after the contest including a cover for Muscle Mag International in Mar 2003. After that, I started turning Robert Kennedy's head. Robert is in charge of several top publications, so when he phoned me in Oct 2004 to say how impressed with the images I have been creating as of late I was on cloud 9. I can now say that I am an accomplished fitness model.
Q. Along the way have you ever doubted yourself or the path you were on? How did you deal with that?
Just today I was talking with a wonderful friend Michelle about where I am headed. She told me how amazed and proud she is with all that I have done and gave me guidance in terms of my choices on health and emotional stability. Many people often view models as people that really have it made and are enjoying the 'good life'.
Do they not stop and think that there are those of us who have broken hearts, or are dealing with death in the family or drug addictions? I am not sure where I would be without Michelle in my life. I am in complete aw that she admires my strength, which I often do not see.
Q. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Being on the cover of Muscle Mag International (03/03), having three layouts in Muscle & Fitness (06/03) and working for Bodybuilding.com at the Olympia and Arnold. I have also been published in 4 issues of Playboy's Special Editions and Playboy's Girls of Canada 2004 Calendar.
Left: Fawnia & Valentina with a fan at the 2003 Olympia.
Right: Fawnia at the 2004 Arnold with the BB.com gang.
Q. Are you training for anything in particular right now?
Right now I am training to gain size in hopes that I will improve my placing in 2005. In Feb, 2005 I plan on starting my diet for the Emerald Cup, held in Bellevue WA.
In May or June I will do the BC's again and if I place in the top 2 in those shows I will be at the Canadian Nationals a second time.
Q. What other projects are you currently working on?
In 2002, I started producing and hosting a television show: Fawnia & Friends. (
www.fawniaandfriends.tv) I believe that 2005 is my year to get this fitness show off the ground however with a more enticing concept.
www.Fawnia.com will have info on my new show as the information is permitted to be released. Believe me though, you'll enjoy watching this show!
Q. If you had an extra hour in your day what would you do with it?
I would read since reading lets me enjoy another world and still be conscious. When putting a book down I am often more relaxed and have witnessed another side I may not have known existed.
Q. What is a typical day/week like Fawnia?
Today, I ate, trained chest and did 20 min of cardio, came home, showered and made a snack. I ate that in the car on my way to Michelle's for some guidance and pep talk.
After that I had lunch with my graphic designer Chuck at Re-Bar (Organic Restaurant) where I enjoyed buckwheat pancakes and a wheat grass drink. Started on this interview about an hour ago and took a 5 min break to eat some chocolate cake (yes I'm human) and some green tea.
My last meal tonight will be a salad with lettuce, tuna, sweet potato, and green beans plus my oil and vinegar dressing. I will do email for at least 3 - 4 more hours, and finish the night be reading more of 'The Notebook', but Nicholas Sparks. Last week I read his book 'The Wedding.' It was simply amazing!
Q. What is life about to you? Fawnia's meaning of life if you will?
I knew you were going to ask this. I am still learning, as we all are, but for me I think life is about learning. Experiencing new things and learning from them. Living and being alive is not watching TV for hours on end.
Life is about interacting with others, with nature, and letting those experiences shape who I am. Please don't think I have this down to a science, as I think I just learned this answer today.
I regret a lot of what I did this year, and am doing my best to learn from my experiences, to shape who I am into a stronger person. One that is far stronger then I was at this time last year.
Q. Have you ever experienced any negativity from others in relation to your past as a dancer and your appearances in Playboy Magazine?
Most certainly, but when they let me give my point of view, they often change theirs.
I am not ashamed of being a dancer and feel that the natural art of the body is something to be celebrated, not shunned. It's important to take into account that the dancer is of legal age and is enjoying her work, not using it as a crutch from being abused in the past or a way to support unhealthy drug or drinking related habits.
At the time I worked as an exotic dancer I didn't even drink coffee or pop let alone drink alcohol or sleep with costumers. I was very straight edged, and put my heart and soul into my shows (which were commented on being more like theatrical concerts than a strip tease).
Q. How have these experiences shaped you as a person?
I chose to work as an exotic dancer because I wanted the money and I enjoyed toying with the thought of being on stage; a performer. On Canada's West Coast at the time I danced (94-96) there were no private shows.
I performed for 18 minutes (about 4 songs) and gave my heart and soul into each show. I created theatrical shows complete with theme outfits, fire (going off with electricity and gun powder), and of course the best pole moves I could.
Entering and winning 6 out of 7 contests earned me the reputation of being one of Canada's top Exotic Dancers. Since 1996 I have been teaching pole work, and exotic dancing (dance, lap and floor moves) not just to dancers. These days through my website www.exoticdancelessons.com my main students are aged between 30-65 and are learning not just for entertaining their partners at home but to boost their self confidence. To release their inner diva which I know we all have. Men are also learning and returning the favor with Male Exotic Dancing, volume 6.
Exotic dancing has helped me loose weight, travel to various places in Canada and work in Europe at the age 19 and later branch into www.exoticdancelessons.com which is one of original instructional exotic dance sites to be online.
Q. Of all the titles/awards you have won, what was the most rewarding and why?
Most rewarding was Miss Nude BC. Some of the others, such as 'North Americas Exotic Dance Champion' may sound more prestigious but Miss Nude BC at the time held more clout. From winning that show you are the top in the Industry next to Miss Nude Canada.
At the time I won I had been dancing for just a year (09/94 - 09/95) with no formal training and being formerly 'overweight' or what society rewards as average. I was then known as The Best Dancer and was most in demand by the agents and clubs. I could ask for three times my show price, and work when and where I wanted.
Q. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most?
As a performer, Madonna was a wonderful role model. She still is with her belief in Kabbalah, a writer, and excellent mother.
For her kind spirit, I love my mother more then anything. She loves those around her unconditionally and in spite of her disabilities she can laugh and thank god for what she has. My mother doesn't dwell on what she doesn't have and I have learned many lessons from that.
Geoff, my partner of seven years is another dear person who I must thank for believing in me. Geoff was my guide in fitness and nutrition.
In fact I didn't even know that orange juice had carbohydrates when I met him! I believe that Geoff and I are soul mates and are meant to be partners for life. My quest for the next year is to win his love back.
Q. A woman on a mission, I like that. You are a hottie and a wonderful person so it shouldn't be too hard for you to recapture his heart!
Thanks for the vote of confidence. It's through example that I will do this rather then empty promises.
Q. What are the plans for the future? What are you most looking forward to?
Two experiences at this point. One is that I am looking forward to the process my television show will take to get to the stage of you watching it!
Next, I would like to marry in the next three years and start a family.
Q. "Some things happen by chance, what happens next is by choice" I noticed this quote on your website. Where does it come from? What does it mean to you?
My dear friend Denisa, who I ran a modeling agency with and shot 'The Decision' (breast augmentation documentary) with said this to me once. It really hit home since she and I met as dancers. I felt that we seemed to be the two that were not wrapped up in the negativity dancing often portrayed.
A quote another friend introduced to me today is, "Live with the law of detachment." This means to live life with goals in mind but to not be so attached to the outcome that you lose sight of the process and what is going on around you. Some people may want to make a large sum of money, but lose sight of their relationships and themselves.
Q. What do you think the future will bring for the fitness industry in general?
Look out everyone because the fitness industry is growing, and there is no stopping it! From the people that choose to compete, to those who are enjoying the benefits living the lifestyle, it's simply gaining in popularity each year in all parts of the world.
Q. Any plans to star in any more movies in the future?
I was in Jamaica in October, 2004 shooting
"National Lampoon's, Strip Poker". The first of the 500+ hours of footage is due out in Jan, 2005. I may return to the Czech Republic in 2005 to shoot my third film with North American Pictures.
Q. Is there anything about you that you would like people to know that perhaps they don't?
I have a workout video entitled "
Making Fitness Fun". It's available at
www.exoticdancelessons.com as one complete DVD and 2 parts VHS. This video is also available on
Q. What advice would you give someone who is starting out in the industry?
I would congratulate them for choosing a career that places its focus on health. I know that preparing for a contest is very draining but for the most part fitness and nutrition is the primary focus of being in the industry.
Next I would let them know that working in the industry is not always a huge money maker. Unless you are one of the top on your class (if you compete in the pro ranks) you may not make any money at all, except for working trade shows such as the Olympia, Arnold and the GNC Show of Strength.
If being in the industry makes you happy then you are in the right place. Think about what you are doing each day; you, the person reading this now. Are you happy with your career choice? What about your hobby? Do you have any hobbies? Being in the industry for 90% of us is a hobby and we are here because we are enjoying ourselves. Happiness is key.
Q. The secret to your success is:
I believe in myself and let others know that.
Doing interviews like these help me look at who I am, and I thank you for this experience.
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