This is my first official interview for Bodybuilding.com and as fate would have it... I have the honor of interviewing the person who was my first ever interview in print on the pages of Real Gainz Magazine (www.realgainz.com). The amazing, incredible, beautiful, sexy, fit mother of the year, and one of my favorite people in the world... (drum roll) Gina Ostarly!
For those of you that don't know or know of Gina (shame on you). Gina Ostarly is a 39 yr old Mother of three and is married to her wonderful husband Walt. Walt and Gina star on the O Show, which can be found here on Bodybuilding.com.
The O Show is a podcast which shows all aspects of the fitness modeling and contest prep world. So be sure to check it out. Walt is also world renown for his work behind the camera. He shoots some of the most beautiful and fit women in the world. OK, OK that's enough about Walt! Ha-ha!
Gina was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She now resides in South Florida with her husband of twenty years and her 3 beautiful children. Gina is a Gym Owner, Personal Trainer, National Level Fitness/Figure Competitor, and a Fitness/Swimsuit Model.
Fitness has always been a part of Gina's life. It became increasingly more important after she turned 30 years old and having had three kids. She soon realized that her tight, toned body was slowly disappearing. She refused to fall prey to the myth that her body could never look as good as it did when she was younger.
She did not wish to become one of those slightly overweight mothers who say, "Well, I look pretty good for having children." She wanted to look great and prove that it can be done. Her motivation is to be an example for mom's everywhere. She is living proof that you can still enjoy children and aging and still look as good as any twenty year old!
[ RC ] Gina thanks again for doing this interview with me. I felt it was only fitting since you were my first ever interview, for you to be my first here on www.bodybuilding.com. What, at age 30, triggered you to become who you are today?
[ GO ] Rob, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be your first interview at www.bodybuilding.com. I am very excited!
At age 30, give or take, something definitely TRIGGERED! I decided I did not want to become part of societies myth of the stereotypical woman in her thirties. The one that has us believing that because we are not 20 anymore and have had children, we have to be homely in terms of looks.
My question was, "Why can't I look as good or better than I did when I was 20?" That very question became my motivation. I set out to prove to the world and more importantly to myself that women and mothers can be in great shape at any age.
[ RC ] Well... You certainly have proved your point. I believe you are a role model to mothers everywhere. What prompted you to become a certified personal trainer?
[ GO ] On my quest to becoming healthier and building a better body, it became commonplace to be approached by others with questions regarding my training and diet. In the excitement of transforming my own body, I unknowingly helped others do the same just by sharing my knowledge.
It was extremely gratifying for me to see that I could make a difference in someone's life. In 1998 I decided to make a career change after being a certified orthodontic assistant for the previous 5 yrs. Fitness and health had become my passion.
[ RC ] Hmmm! You went from reshaping peoples teeth to reshaping their bodies. LOL! At what point did you decide to open your own training facility and why?
[ GO ] In 2001 I opened GOFitness, a personal training studio in Stuart, FL. This decision came after almost 3 years of building my clientele. I worked as an aerobics and kickboxing instructor as well as a personal trainer at several different gyms. I also ran the aerobics program at a local community center and worked part-time at a health food and supplement store. I decided it would benefit me, as well my clients to centralize myself!
[ RC ] Do you still have this facility? If so tell us about it.
[ GO ] Yes, I still have my studio. The mission at GOFitness is to provide an upscale and trendsetting facility which encompasses all aspects of wellness. Wellness being the condition of good physical and mental health which can be attained and maintained through proper diet, exercise, and everyday habits.
My studio offers Magnum, Cybex and Hammer Strength equipment along with a variety of cardio equipment. The studio caters more to one on one personal training but does offer open gym memberships as well as a limited class schedule.
Its a small facility that offers a unique atmosphere not found in bigger gyms. You will always be greeted by name, handed a towel and bottled water when walking in. If you disappear and we don't see you, you get a phone call. Its all about ACCOUNTABILITY! My members often refer to the gym as a second home and its members as a family.
[ RC ] I like the personal touch! I think it makes your members look forward to going to workout... instead of turning it into a chore.
You are one of the most sincere and caring people I have ever had the pleasure to come in contact with. Tell our readers what training and making a difference in someone's life does for you?
[ GO ] Rob, I can honestly say "I love what I do!" I look forward to getting up everyday and going to work. My days in the gym are so gratifying. I am blessed to have a career where I can share my passion, knowledge and what gets me excited.
Over my years of training clients, I have learned that when they are not happy with themselves, it trickles into every aspect of their life. If I can get someone from point A to point B in respect to health and fitness, things seems to fall into place in all areas of their life.
It's such a wonderful feeling to see people reach goals and truly become happier more productive individuals. For me, knowing that I had a part in that makes my days AMAZING!
[ RC ] Yes it really is a great feeling to make a difference in someone's life. Being the kind of person that you are, do you ever feel people take niceness for weakness? Have you been taken advantage of either personally or professionally because of your caring nature?
[ GO ] Niceness for weakness? Unfortunately this is a common occurrence in the world we live in.
I am the one who often says, "Can't we all just get along?" I always try to see the good in people and it gets me in trouble sometimes. But, even the nicest people can be pushed to their limits.
[ RC ] Talking about being pushed to your limits and niceness for weakness. Without mentioning any names or Companies. Has this happened to you in dealing with other businesses or Magazines in the fitness industry?
[ GO ] I wish I could say no, but that's not the case. I would never mention any names or companies. I really try to pride myself on not bad mouthing anyone, even if they have done me wrong. Anyone that knows me, knows I hate confrontation and will go to great lengths to MAKE IT ALL BETTER.
If I am asked by a business associate or friend about a business and or person I may have or had dealings with, I answer any question as honestly as I can. I may be too nice and not always see it coming, but in the end this tendency works in my favor. Because I tend to be the way I am, when I do get asked, the people doing the asking BELIEVE ME!
[ RC ] I think that's what makes you the person you are. Your husband Walt is one of the premier fitness photographers in the nation. Tell us about him and his business?
[ GO ] Yes, I believe Walt has made his mark. We started out at about the same time in the photography/modeling industry, embarking in it on a whim. The original intent was that it was going to be a "hobby" and what we would do "for fun."
Walt had previous training in photography at photo Intel school during his 12 yr. Navy enlistment. Photography is something that always interested him. Before the digital era, it was not uncommon to have one of my bathrooms made into a darkroom for film processing, which by the way, drove me crazy! lol
Walt has the "eye" for great images. Anyone can pick up a camera. learn settings and shoot, but it takes "talent" to produce amazing images! He is also very easy going and personable, always making models feel comfortable. Because I am on the other side of the camera, I know how important this is. When a photographer makes you feel comfortable, great images are a result!
[ RC ] I've only heard good things about him and he's always been great to me. Are you and Walt working on any projects together that you would like to share with us?
[ GO ] Projects, projects, projects! Yes, we have them!
We are excited about Walt's first photographer/model workshop, "Shooting for Publication." The details are still coming together, but we are SHOOTING for... no pun intended... a mid to late summer date.
I am excited about my new swimsuit line and keep my fingers crossed for a feature on the them in the upcoming Oxygen swimsuit review issue.
I am also having a great time writing for Debbie Baigrie's Natural Muscle Mag. Look for my monthly column, "Nutrition in the kitchen with Gina Ostarly." The articles offer recipes and helpful tips on heath and fitness.
And... of course, we have our Bodybuilding.com podcast show, "The O Show." Show #3 is in the works!
The 'O' Show With Walt & Gina Ostarly:
[ RC ] Tell us about these things! The "Shooting for Publication" and "Nutrition in the kitchen with Gina Ostarly"?
[ GO ] Walt and I are very excited to be planning and hosting the first "SFP" workshop. The workshop will be limited to 10 photographers and 5 models. During the course of a weekend, Walt will guide photographers from start to finish on how to shoot and submit for publication.
I will be on the other side of the camera with the models offering makeup techniques for shooting, wardrobe prep, and posing. Great images are the result of both photographer and model bringing creativity, and "know how" behind and in front of the camera.
[ RC ] I am so an old stick in the mud! Tell me about "The O Show" and what exactly is a podcast?
[ GO ] You? A stick in the mud? LOL! Hardly!
The "O" show, hosted by Walt and I is the first podcast at www.bodybuilding.com that explores both fitness/figure modeling and competition prep. The show is for those with an appetite for cutting-edge female modeling and photography information, delivered in an entertaining format.
[ RC ] WOW! "The O Show" sounds like a great concept! You Walt and Bodybuilding.com are ahead of the times. How has it been going and what kind of response have you been getting?
[ GO ] The "O" show is going great! The response has been very positive. We are always being asked when the next one is, so I would say that is a good sign! We have a lot of fun doing it, but it does take some getting use to. My goal for the second show was to not say "um" a million times... I did pretty good!
[ RC ] How is your swimsuit line going? Let me know if you need my services? I'm quite a site in a 2 piece!
[ GO ] My first line of suits got great feed back. I received lots of positive compliments and some girls were sweet enough to send me pictures of themselves wearing my suits! It's been very exciting! My new line will offer a little more coverage with fun, bright prints. I have the perfect 2 piece in mind for you Rob!
[ RC ] How is your website www.ginaostarly.com doing?
[ GO ] My personal website needs some serious updating! It's on my list of things to do. You know... one of those never ending lists!
[ RC ] Since you are such a kind and giving person. Is it hard for you to get the "eye of the tiger" while getting ready for a competition... OR am I the exception rather than the rule in that I have to get mad at the world to motivate myself?
[ GO ] I am very competitive by nature. This must be what SPARKS "my eye". I love pushing myself to the next level and setting new goals! I don't get mad at the world. Fact is, I would rather take them with me!
[ RC ] That is very impressive! Go internal for your motivation. Speaking of which... tell us about your competitive career... the favorite and not so favorite parts of it.
[ GO ] I compete because I love it, from start to finish! I was hooked after I entered my first NPC sanctioned show, The Southern Classic in 1998. I competed in the fitness tall class (one of the only times I am ever considered tall...lol) and placed in the top 5. Since then I have competed in numerous shows at a local and national level as a fitness, figure and bodybuilding competitor.
When I started competing, it was fitness or bodybuilding. The figure division had not been introduced yet. I had a dance background and did not possess the muscle I thought I needed to excel in bodybuilding so I chose fitness. After many years of competing in fitness and a neck injury I switched to figure. I miss fitness very much and have not totally given up the thought of trying it again... ONE MORE TIME!
A friend posed the question to me, 'How much longer do you think you will compete?" My answer was, 'When its not fun anymore, or someone tells me I shouldn't be on stage!"
[ RC ] Well you certainly look fantastic! I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future. Speaking of injuries. How has you're body been holding up in training for your next competition?
[ GO ] I always train with quality not quantity in mind. Overuse and abuse of weights is what leads to injuries and overtraining. I am not willing to chance being "out of the game". Being able to workout and compete as a national level figure competitor is what I love doing.
Overall I feel great! I think athletes have an ailment or two they must learn to work around. I stay on top of my past injuries with regular massage, chiropractic care and have become creative in the gym with a "SMARTER NOT HARDER" way of training.
[ RC ] I am trying to incorporate the "smarter not harder" mentality now in my own training. HOWEVER since I am back to powerlifting again, I think I am the antithesis of your last answer. What advice and encouragement would you give to someone, say in their 40's, 50's, 60's or more. That think they are too old or don't have the time for an exercise program?
[ GO ] You are never too old and you can always make time.
I like to ask my clients a simple question after they have told me that they ABSOLUTELY had no time to eat breakfast. My question is, "Did you have time to brush your teeth?" I usually get a look of confusion and then the standard "Uh, yes!" My point is, you make time to drink your coffee, shower, get dressed, brush your teeth, etc.
Its all about your routine. It may be tough in the beginning, but you can make time to exercise. Once you have established your new routine that incorporates exercise, the thought process is gone. You no longer have to think about when you are going to exercise, it just becomes what you do.
Continuing to exercise in a responsible way at 40, 50, 60 and beyond, will keep you active, healthy, and allow you to the things you love! Think outside the box when exercising. Exercise is not limited to the gym. Get outside, walk, run, ride bikes, golf, anything that keeps you moving. To make exercise part of your lifestyle, it has to be something you like and look forward to doing!
[ RC ] Where do you see yourself 5 and 10 years down the road?
[ GO ] I enjoy what I do so much, on this particular day, I can't imagine doing anything different! I see myself always being involved in the fitness industry, in some form or fashion.
[ RC ] That sounds great! I know the fitness world is a better place with you in it! Do you have any parting words?
[ GO ] Rob, I would just like to thank you for the opportunity to do this interview with you for www.bodybuilding.com. Its been so much fun, when is the next one? It's been a pleasure working with you. I think we make a great team! I hope that my story has inspired a few, hopefully many!