Date of Birth: Dec. 29, 1972
Location: Durham, NC
Years Training: 8
Years Competing: 3
[ Q ] First of all, congratulations on earning your IFBB Pro Fitness card! You must be very excited! How did it feel to know that you accomplished your dream of becoming a pro?
Amy: It is unbelievable! I am so excited to compete in the
Southwest Pro Show! I have been walking on air since
Nationals in November. I feel so blessed to be able to compete as a Pro.
[ Q ] One of the biggest changes from NPC to IFBB competitions is the added mandatory fitness routine. With four rounds in pro-level competition, the emphasis on quality routines is equal to that of an outstanding physique. What have you done in preparation for the Pro Division in regards to your fitness routines?
Amy: I am working with Stacy Hylton on choreography. She has the best moves and ideas. Both of my routines are fabulous! I can't say enough as to how much I have enjoyed working with Stacy and getting to know her. She has such amazing talent.
I have been spending more time in the gymnastics studio working with my coach, Ryan Coles. He is really a talented instructor that knows exactly what I think and feel before I do, when it comes to tumbling. Mike Davies, the best trainer there is, has been working with me as well to increase my strength and my anaerobic capacity.
[ Q ] You will be making your pro fitness debut at the Southwest Pro show in August. How have you altered your contest preparation for this milestone event?
Amy: I have been training as hard as I can and making sure that I stay focused on my overall
goal, to just do my best. The competition at the Pro level is so intense, and all of the competitors are just amazing.
I hope to perform my best and to come in to the competition in my best shape. Mike Davies has also adjusted my training routine to make sure I look my best at this competition.
[ Q ] Many competitors sacrifice relationships in pursuit of their fitness goals, as it is difficult for a lot of spouses to comprehend this kind of lifestyle. Do you find it difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with your husband while being a fitness competitor?
Amy: My husband has a ton of patience. He is very supportive and understanding. It has been a difficult year for him. After all that we have been through, competing is difficult for us, but not as difficult as cancer.
He is very understanding about my goals and my ambitions. He is a wonderful man, and I am so blessed to have him in my life.
[ Q ] You and your husband Shawn have recently overcome his struggle with cancer. Fortunately, he is doing much better now and has an optimistic future. How did this significant personal event affect your fitness career?
Amy: When Shawn was first diagnosed, everything stopped - my training, my focus, and my ambitions. All I could think about was seeking out the best care for him and beating the odds against cancer. I couldn't even think about competing. Watching him go through chemotherapy and not being able to do anything but take care of him was very difficult.
I wanted to somehow make him well and I couldn't. Luckily, we did find the best doctors for him and he is doing great now. It has been a long, difficult year, but thankfully Shawn is very strong and is now an inspiration to other cancer victims. All of this has allowed me to look at fitness with a new light and a new energy level. After fighting cancer, everything else just seems different and manageable.
Dieting and training for hours is hard, but compared to seeing the man you love the most go through cancer, it isn't that bad. I feel a new sense of optimism. I feel privileged to compete and to have this great opportunity before me to do the best that I can. I view everything now as a privilege and a blessing.
I took a lot of things for granted in the past, and now I have a new sense of appreciation for fitness - for all that it has to offer and just for the fun of competing. I have more energy now to devote to fitness, and a better understanding of what is important in my life.
[ Q ] With the inception of the figure division, many girls are shying away from fitness competition, causing the number of shows and the amount of competitors to dwindle. What are your thoughts on this?
Amy: Fitness is very hard on the body. I have spent many hours at the chiropractor's office just trying to fix the
injuries I have incurred. I can understand why competitors are moving to Figure.
I do feel that Fitness will continue because there are quite a number of us that still love to perform, just to entertain and to wow a crowd. I think the quality of the Fitness athletes has actually increased with the onset of Figure. I do hope that more and more athletes will decide to compete in Fitness in the future. It is such a great sport.
[ Q ] What advice do you have for girls currently competing in figure who are contemplating crossing over to the fitness division?
Amy: I think they should give fitness a try. The roar of the crowd after you finish performing a routine is amazing. It is a feeling that you cannot recreate no matter what else you do. If you do want to compete in fitness, start with simple strength moves and move on from there.
Learn more about the mandatory fitness moves,
Learning the mandatory moves takes some time, so definitely be patient. It is such a sense of accomplishment though, when you begin to master the moves and really start to put things together in a routine.
Being your personal best and competing in an area that continually challenges you and rewards you at the same time is the best gift you can give yourself.
[ Q ] Every competitor has her role models in the industry. Are there any particular individuals who have influenced you more than others? If so, whom, and in what way?
Monica Brant has always been my role model. She always looks amazing and is kind to all of her fans. I was privileged to meet her at her competition, The Monica Brant Fitness Classic, in July of 2003. Monica spent the entire day talking with the competitors, and even helping us get ready!
She helped all of the girls with anything they needed, including applying Pro Tan. She has such a wonderful spirit and attitude. I felt honored to compete in her competition. I was so elated when I won my class and she handed me the trophy. That was one of the best moments of my life.
[ Q ] What are your future plans and competition goals?
Amy: I plan to compete for a long time. I hope to steadily improve with each competition. I hope one day I can even attain a sponsor to help with expenses; that is one of my goals. I dream of the day that I qualify to compete in the Olympia! I can only imagine how that may feel, to compete against such an elite class of athletes.
Another goal is to help at the state and regional level with competitions. I love working with competitors and to try to put them at ease when they are nervous during a competition. I also want to give back to the community.
I want to teach the importance of physical fitness to children and adults through my gym with a few upcoming projects that involve getting parents and children to be active together.
[ Q ] Thanks so much for your time, Amy. Best of luck at the Southwest Pro and in all your future endeavors!
Amy: Thank you so much for the opportunity to be on such a great website! I really appreciate all that you are doing for fitness and figure.
About The Author
Alissa is the current NPC BodyRock/Monica Brant Fitness Champion and is the Owner and Webmaster of Fit Figures and www.fitfigures.net. Her site highlights female physique athletes by featuring interviews, profiles, and articles, as well as contest coverage.
The site also contains a huge bodybuilding and fitness directory of over 400 links and competitor resources. Fit Figures offers full website design and administration services to female physique competitors and models.