Bodybuilding champion Peggy Schoolcraft came onto the bodybuilding scene in early 1990 when she won the Overall at the Ms. Delaware County competition. Over the next ten years she worked her way up, winning competition after competition, until she became an IFBB pro and amateur world champion in 1997. Welcome to the world of Peggy Schoolcraft, Ms. Universe, IFBB pro, mother, wife, and World Champion.
What was it like on the Jenny Jones show? What was her worst moment in bodybuilding? What do her kids think of her physique? Find out all this and much more!
BB.com: What was your experience on the Jenny Jones Show like?
PS: Well... It was different. I guess people are right when they say I can go with the flow. I was called two days before the show was to tape. They told me the show theme was about someone who was skinny and now is buff. That was the name of the show. So they are calling like chickens without their heads on asking me to give them the name of someone who I hadn't heard from in a long time who wouldn't believe what I looked like now. Well I couldn't think! So I came up with my college gymnastics coach. They called her and she couldn't do it as she was going to be at NCAA's. They wound up finding my old assistant coach and he was who came on. I hadn't seen him since 1981.
Then they asked me to e-mail them pictures from when I was skinny and now pictures. All this and I was to fly out the next day. I had to pack, pick out my outfits, make-up. I was frantic. I flew in late in the day after being delayed and was met by a film crew who wanted to take me down to the waterfront to shoot a video clip. You know posing, frolicking! I had not eaten, no make-up, no nothing. I said I just couldn't do it. I found out later that all of the other guest had been in town for a few days! So that was finally nixed after my husband (who is also my agent) called the producer and negotiated!
The next morning they picked us up and took us to the studio. They had the best hair and make-up people I had ever worked with. They did a fantastic job. Back stage was nothing special. No buffet etc. We all changed in the same room. Well now it got crazy! As we did the walk through the producer went nuts stating that, "This woman has the best body they had ever had on the show", and I needed to change outfits... Change into what? I brought outfits that I thought were professional and did not want to look sluttish! J
Well they asked me if I would wear a thong! They sent crews out to the department stores in town to buy me an outfit, with only minutes to taping. I had brought the little pink shorts and the producer wanted me in as little as possible. He liked the shorts but my top covered too much. Well one of the other guests had this little pink bathing suit top that They had me try on and let me tell you it covered only the important stuff. So that is how I got my outfit.
Once the show started I was the first one out. I learned from that experience that the more outrageous you are the more airtime you got. I was not going to be made a buffoon of on that show. That is not my persona. Woman bodybuilders have had a rough go with the demeaning way we are portrayed. Jenny related to the audience that I could leg press 1000lbs. Then proceeded to ask me to lift some guy from the audience over my head or do push-ups with him on my back. That is just not my scene. The talk shows try to shock the viewer and if you are willing to play you get the airtime. I am professional and wanted to portray that for my fans. As soon as the show was over, they hurried me, as I didn't even get to say goodbye to anyone, to the airport for my return trip.
Last year I did the "Arabella" show in Germany. It's the largest talk show in Germany and I had a blast. I spent 10 days in Munich and they treated me like a queen. They had food, wine, fruit, cheese, and champagne back stage they asked great questions. I would definitely go back there. They actually paid me for my appearance. Not so, here in the states. Other girls have had similar experiences with the American talk shows.
BB.com: What do your kids think of your career as a bodybuilder?
PS: My kids have grown up with me as a bodybuilder so it's not anything but the norm. That is what mom does for a job. They think it's cool when I'm TV. But it is just a way of life around here. They are both athletic and have learned that handwork, and intelligent training will lead to success. My daughter is a gymnast and competitive cheerleader and my son is an All State football and baseball player. Many D-1 top football schools are recruiting him. It's a very exciting time for him and us as a family.
BB.com: What does your husband think of your career as a bodybuilder?
PS: Well my husband is the driving force behind what I do. He is my coach, trainer, nutritionist, and agent. He has degrees in Physical education and sports science, and is a sponge to the latest products on the market. I have been able to achieve the success I have through great genetics and his knowledge.
Winning the "Natural Bodybuilder of the Year" and placing in the top five in my first pro show, drug free is a testament to his knowledge, and our teamwork.
BB.com: What is your current workout routine? How many times a week do you train?
PS: Well, I train differently depending on what I have coming up. When I decide to compete I train 5 days on and 2 days off. I have a strict diet and I do 2 thirty-minute cardio sessions daily. My splits are:
Monday - Quads and calves
Tuesday - Chest and front shoulders
Wednesday - Back and rear delts/traps
Thursday - Glutes and hamstrings (yes that is how the "Shred Queen" gets striated glutes)
Friday - Arms
Saturday and Sunday - off
Because I have such an active video and modeling career and I need to shoot constantly for website materials for my "Members" area, I train 3 to 4 days per week and do one 30 minute cardio session. I don't eat the quantities of food during this stage as I don't need to be as big, nor do they want me as big as when I compete. I actually diet up for shows. I rarely go above 8% in the off-season.
BB.com: What supplements have given you the best gains?
PS: Well as a Drug Free athlete, I have tried just about everything. My husband has been integral in sifting through the crap and we seem to have found the right mix.
My staples are a good multi vitamin, Chrome mate, vanadyl (Sportpharma VanadylPH), glutamine, and creatine. (Prolabs for both) When 19Nor came out I got great gains from that. I have since switched to Primavar II as it makes me grow like crazy and I have had no side effect from it. I only use pro-hormones when I compete. 12 weeks and off. I also use Yohimbe and have so since the early 90's. Dan Deuchane suggested I try it and it does work at reducing the fat in the lower body. It shuts off the A2 receptors and makes it a great fat burner for women in lieu of Nolvadex. I loved both Triax and Adipokinetics, but as all too often the stuff that works go by the way side. I also use an EPH stack when I need to burn some extra calories.
My MRP is Isopure and I use MetRx to fill me as a last meal during contest prep. I use designer Protein also.
BB.com: Do you think women's bodybuilding is getting bigger, staying the same, or decreasing?
PS: How is dying!! Women's bodybuilding has been dying for years. The inception of fitness and now figure has all but decimated the ranks of female bodybuilders. Women have the choice now to go in a different direction. I was a bodybuilder and will always be.
Understand the "look" that is required to be a FBB, is not the look that is attainable by many women period! Our sex hormone is estrogen and it allows us to be "soft and cuddly". So in order for the normal woman to achieve that look, she has to take male hormones. Thus we get the look that would scare Medusa! The women push the line between what is male and what is female. Women are just not supposed to shave their faces! Women use anabolics to make up for the physiological differences between men and women. There are genetic anomalies that do allow women to achieve that thin skin, lean, muscular look, but that is the exception and not the norm.
I'm not sure anything can be done about the state of women's bodybuilding. It will never be accepted on a broad base. Being more mainstream will never bring the contractual gratification to the women that they want. How many women are under contract with a supplement company? Out of those how many can support themselves with that contract. I have looked elsewhere to capitalize on what I have accomplished. The prize money was a total of $6000 at the Jan Tana. Divided between 3 classes and the over-all. I make more than that on my website in a month. The women need to market themselves in a different direction. I really don't see the sport lasting long.
BB.com: What is the reaction of an average person like when they see you in public?
PS: It varies. In the bigger cities where health and fitness thrive, it's of appreciation. I get great responses in Miami, New York and LA. The smaller towns where they have never seen a female bodybuilder in person it can be quite comical. In my small town on the west coast of Florida, it's a lot of retirees. They just don't quite know what to make of me. Guys want to know how much I bench and women want my butt! =)
BB.com: How did you get to where you are today?
PS: I am starting my second decade of competitive bodybuilding. I began back in 1988 after the birth of my second child. I was 5 feet tall and 88 pounds. Not a very attractive picture! I had always been muscular from my years of involvement in sports, especially that of an elite gymnast. I had just lost a lot of the tone I had once had. I loved being a mother; I just didn't want to look like one. I went to the local Y.MC.A. To just get some muscle back. That is where I ran into a gentleman by the name of Bob Mc Mahon (a masters national champion) who asked if I had ever thought of bodybuilding. The rest is history! My first show was in March of 1990. I dieted on yogurt-covered raisins for two weeks, learned the madatories and won the over-all! I guess I was hooked.
BB.com: What did it feel like to turn Pro?
PS: Well that's a story in itself! The feeling was unlike anything I had ever felt. I had accomplished something that I never should have! That is my greatest triumph as not only an athlete but as a person.
So what is my fondest moment or memory from bodybuilding? That has to be my lightweight or 52 kg. Win at the 1997 IFBB World Amateur Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia. I had retired from competition after my 3rd place finish as a middleweight at the 1995 NPC Nationals. But my competitive drive told me I had some unfinished business and I wanted my Pro Card. Silly me, I decided to do that the hard way. I talked with Sandy Ranalli (NPC Women's Chairperson) about the particulars and entered the NPC Team Universe Competition. This is our Drug Free National Championship. The class winners then get to represent the United States at the World Championships (A.K.A. Mr./Ms. Universe) Winners would also be awarded their Pro Cards. The Team Universe was held on August 16,1997 in NYC. (Also my daughter's birthday) I started my contest prep in May I called the NPC office and the IFBB Headquarters to get the details on the drug test.
Since it was an IOC tested event I wanted to know the particulars on what was tested and the amounts one could use. As you may know ephedrine and caffeine are all IOC banned substances. Do you know I was told that there was no such list!! I showed up at the show totally supplement free... shredded glutes and all! I passed the polygraph and the urinalysis (amid some really derogatory comments from some of our magazine writers.) I won the lightweight class and the overall unanimously (I am still the only Lightweight to win the over-all) and set my sights for the World Championships, scheduled for two months later.
For the next two months I got calls from the NPC Headquarters and many members of the press and media expressing to me that I was the best chance the United States had had to win the Universe since the inception of the drug testing procedures in 1992 We really hadn't done well (The U.S. had not won and have not won since) and they wanted to make sure I was on target. Talk about pressure!! Finally Steve Wennerstrom (Flex&Women's Physique World) called. (Steve has been my strongest confidant during my career) and reminded me that I had to be undeniable. He gave me the insight of the task at hand and I proceeded with the intensity that not only was I representing myself, but was also representing my country.
Because the Worlds were an IFBB event, the class weight limit was 52kg. (114.5lbs.) I had a hard time making weight. I informed Sandy that I wanted to travel to the event on the Tuesday before (the rest of the team would arrive on Friday) so I could settle in and be sure I would make weight. (I had to pay for the extra days) So on Tuesday I set out on the trip of my life. Alone..Scared..And uncertain of the outcome. I traveled from the U.S. to Vienna with my entire luggage, Food, Water (6 gallons) etc. Dragging this CARGO by myself throughout the airports. I boarded a train in Vienna, bound for Bratislava.
On the train, unaware that my U.S.A. warm-up would draw attention I was searched by what were KGB type police (Berets, machine guns, bullets over the shoulder and all!) My belongings in disarray, I feared for my safety and if I would ever get to the Championships, let alone back to my family!
Upon arriving in Slovakia, I was to be met at the train by the Slovakian officials. To my dismay, no one was there. Finally after dragging my belongings through the train station and up and down stairs for over an hour, someone finally arrived to take me to the hotel. No worse for the ware, I was there and ready for war!!!
From the time I arrived everything that could be done to derail my attempt to win, was done!
We were told to be at the event hall at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning for pre-judging. When I arrived Steve Wennerstrom frantically greeted me and told me to hurry back stage. When I got backstage the lightweight class was oiled and ready to go on stage!!! During my panic, I realized that I had not eaten (which I do in order to be as full as possible) I was not oiled and no pump. We were sent to the World's with no coach or chaperone. My teammates needed to get themselves ready so there I was again, all alone. The other countries had entire entourages to help with their preparation. Someone to oil them, get them water, tighten their suits, pump them up, and even a medical staff. We had nothing. Sandy was there, but she was on the IFBB Committee. I used the backdrop to push against to get a semi-pump.
Due to the lack of food, and because I was being called out so many times, I began to feel very sick, and felt I was going to pass out. To top it all off we had no judge representing the United States, so in essence, I should have and could have been buried! How could my country not send a judge (which I found out later was due to financial reasons) to the largest and most prestigious event in amateur bodybuilding!! I summoned all the strength I had and willed myself that they (the politics) would not beat me. During the introduction of the athletes there was a great applause for all the competitors, but a deafening silence when I was introduced. What had I gotten myself in to!
Following the pre-judging an official came to Sandy Ranalli and requested that I be drug tested again. I thought, "What else can they do to me?" Sandy agreed and it was done. That night at the hotel I asked Sandy how I had done and I was sorry for not being ready that morning. She said I looked fine and do the same thing tomorrow. "FINE." What the hell did that mean. I couldn't have looked worse.
The following day I showed up at the scheduled time and immediately was confronted by another official who informed me that my suit was not regulation, it was cut too narrow in the back. It was the same suit cut and style I had worn the previous day just a different color. Again Sandy stepped in and the suit was allowed. Not knowing how things stood I went out and gave the performance of my life. When it came time for the awards, I held my breath. Low and behold I had won and a once hostile crowd gave me a standing ovation. Of course they did not have the American National Anthem, but I guess they did not expect for me to win. But I did finally have my Pro Card! I had won unanimously!
Sandy later told me that I was so far ahead after pre-judging; I technically did not have to show up the second day. Thus her, "You looked fine" answer. This is why this is this best memory I have of bodybuilding. I did it on my own, despite everything they threw at me. My mental strength was challenged, and it made me a more self-assured person. I achieved the impossible with no help and many doubters.
BB.com: Ok, Peggy what was your worst moment in bodybuilding?
PS: Well, that had to be the 2001 Ms International at the Arnold Classic. I had gone through my entire career with the signature trademark of my conditioning, hardness and vascularity. My striated ripped to shreds glutes gave me the nickname with my fans and media of "The Shred Queen". I had won the Jr USA, placed in the top 5 of every national show, Won Worlds, placed in the top 5 at my Pro Debut, and put the same exact physique on stage in Columbus that I had always done. Well I was dumped!
As you know the judging criteria for women's bodybuilding has changed and they want less extremes. The judges have followed my career and know I achieve this look though great genetic, good nutrition and proper supplementation, not drugs. An IFBB Official told me that I was too hard, too muscular and too vascular. He also said that they wanted to discourage the other women from this look, as it would promote the use of anabolics. I responded, "So I am being penalized for a God given gift that I have?" He responded "yes" My response was so what next, Tell Michael Johnson he has to wear ankle weights because he runs too fast? I was devastated. I had never been out of the top 5 in my life. I haven't been back on stage since.
BB.com: So what are your future plans?
PS: Well competitively, I would like to compete again. I've been watching how the placements are going and what type of physique they are putting up. I'm still confused. At the Olympia last year they put up the hardest physique in the show in the heavies and one of the softer in the lights. I don't know. If I compete again it will be for my fans. I want to give back to my supporters. They constantly tell me to not give in and go on stage the way the "Shred Queen" should. Maybe I will. It would be like that line in the moviem Batman, "Wait till they get a load of me!"
From a business standpoint, I love what I'm doing now! I love modeling and doing videos. I love my work on my website www.peggyschoolcraft.com and I want it to be the best site on the web. I love giving back to the fans that have made my career so rewarding.
BB.com: Why do you love bodybuilding?
PS: Well I'm not sure I love bodybuilding! =)
The competitive sport of bodybuilding is extremely demanding. A woman at 5-7% body fat is not all that healthy, even though we look awesome. I love bodybuilding from a healthy lifestyle aspect. I train many clients a week that do it to feel and look better. I have knowledge to help these people. That is rewarding. I love the business aspect of what I do now. If a photo layout or video of mine helps change someone's outlook on health or changes the way someone looks at a woman with muscle than I can say I have done all I can. I want to be remembered as someone who was a pioneer and did something to positively change the sport.
BB.com: What gives you inspiration?
PS: That's easy! My family. To see their faces last year after the Arnold, and be able to say, "Mom we are proud of you, you looked great" What else could you ask for!
BB.com: Is there anything else you'd like to say or let us know about Peggy?
PS: Yes, I am actually a very normal person. I am so NOT the celebrity type. I am so not the calorie counting, tuna and rice cake-eating persona. I enjoy life. I love my family and I look forward to every day!
I have enjoyed giving the fans and customers of Bodybuilding.com a chance to get to know me better. Thank you for this opportunity.
I look forward to hearing from many of you with your questions and comments and I plan to do some articles here in the future! Stay tuned! E-mail me at email@example.com.
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