Figure Pro Alicia Harris Sits Down With A Week Before The 2011 Arnold.

The competitor may be nicknamed “Smiley,” but she has her game face set for the Figure International in Columbus, Ohio.

An Interview With Figure Pro Alicia Harris

IFBB Figure pro Alicia Harris finished the 2010 season with a fourth-place finish at the Ft. Lauderdale Cup. Over the weekend of March 3-6, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio, she'll pick up where she left off when she competes in the Figure International.

I caught up with Alicia "Smiley" Harris one week out from the big dance. She shared her views on cardio, dieting-and who would win every time if the competition were a sprint. First things first: How devastating was it to see the Bears not make it to the Super Bowl?
Alicia: Ya know, I knew it was going to happen as soon as Green Bay won to get in the playoffs.
I had the thought in my head--I didn't want to believe it but I knew the Packers were going to come back and beat them.
Q: You are featured in the BEARS online store. How did that come about?
A: I did a photoshoot with OAMG and threw on a bears shirt and some Bear bottoms 'cause I thought it was cute the picture turned out great so I was just sending it in to some of the Bears personnel that I knew from when I did some marketing and customer service stuff with them. I was just showing them how I represent my home team.
Then he said, "OK well I'll send it to the pro shop merchandise peeps." It ended up working out and there I am.
View The Chicago Bears Online Store Here.
Q: What was your favorite race when you used to run track?
A: I actually liked the indoor 600 meters. I still hold the record at Eastern Illinois University. But the 400 was still my race.

Q: Do you think you could still hold your own in that race?

A: Yes, I know I could still hold my own in a race.

Q: There was some chatter last year about who the fastest IFBB Female Pro is. Do you think you're the fastest in the IFBB?
A: Yup, I sure do! [Laughs] Confidently!
Q: Okay, enough track talk, how did you get into competing in figure?
A: After my collegiate track days were over I had nothing to get into. I went to a [physique] show with a co-worker and saw the girls and I said to myself, I can do that! So I did!
Q: Do you feel like your time as an athlete in high school has helped you in the IFBB?
A: My time as an athlete in high school? I guess in general my experiences throughout the years play some roles in my mentality and how I approach different workouts.
I did tear my ACL in high school so that was a reality check and a motivational factor to prepare my mind that life and everything done in it is work.

Q: Last year you struggled a bit in the beginning of the year, but turned it on at the end of the season. What was the key to turning things around for you?

A: The struggling time was just life getting to me. It motivated me that I didn't want to fall back into how I felt preparing for that first show.

It is a struggle every time I prepare but cold weather and gloomy days and sunken spirits really mess with focus when your trying to stay disciplined.

Q: What have you done differently this time around to prepare for the Figure International?

A: I keep in my head that I refuse to feel the way I did preparing for it last year. Honestly it's not the best prep but it's way better than last year.

I could tell you a bunch of excuses why I am not in the best condition but the beginning show this early show just doesn't work well with me.

I am doing my best though and praying my way through this.

Q: You're featured in Optimum's ads. What's your favorite Optimum protein?
A: They have a casein chocolate peanut butter protein and I think it is my favorite. I can blend it with some ice and water with a small piece of banana and it tastes wondermous! Yes, wondermous!
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Q: What other Optimum products would you recommend to others?
A: I'm loving one of the newer products the AmiN.O. Energy. It's a light energy and it has a great taste.
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Q: What's your last meal of the day look like?
A: Boring fish and veggies [smiles]. I drink some tea and try to go to bed so I don't think of food.

Q: How many meals do you eat in a day?
A: Five or six.

Q: How much cardio are you doing?
A: Right now, two sessions of 45 minutes. They might be a little longer or shorter depending on whether I do intervals.

Q: What's your favorite cardio workout?
A: Two hundred meter sprints on an outdoor track on hot days.

Q: What areas are you working on improving? Anything specific?

A: Probably better control on my diet. My training is always good but the diet is always the hardest and dealing with everyday issues and trying to stay balanced.

It's hard work but God sees me through someway.

Q: You're pretty vocal about your faith. How much of a role does faith play in your daily life and how did it come about?
A: I grew up in the church but went to college and got away from it a bit. After college is times when confusion sets in--frustration about what path to take.
A good friend of mine took me to a Bible study and I started getting motivation and encouragement to just capitalize on every opportunity.

Q: When you're not competing or training for a show what do you enjoy doing?

A: I enjoy being on a structured schedule with the diet and working out but pressure sets in when you have to prance around on stage.

I enjoy movies, I enjoy dancing (xboc dance central is the best), and I love to travel and get away and find a beach to just sit on peacefully. And walks in the rain ... not really but seemed like it went along [laughs].

Q: What are your goals within the industry?

A: My goal is to capitalize on every opportunity that comes about. As I am going on these personal journeys with all the events in the industry I have been involved in, I have had the opportunity to come across others that I have inspired.

To continue to work for the greater good and find my true purpose for my success in this industry and use it for the greater good would be a goal of mine!

Q: How important has it been to have a trainer in your contest prep?
A: It's very important to utilize outside eyes, for accountability, for support, for help to get through the prep and leading up until the show.
I honestly say I don't utilize my coach enough, but it is a lot of self discipline and inner strength.

Q: Do you have any advice for others when looking for a trainer?
A: When looking for a trainer, make sure it's someone who is working for your best interest. Someone that will be brutally honest on changes but also a support that will be needed when times get hard.
Q: What are your favorite workout shoes?
A: My favorite workout shoes to run in are [made by] Nike and Asics. I do want some of the wrestling shoes to weightlift in but have not yet purchased them.
Q: Are you a "hat on, don't mess with me" girl in the gym, or the "happy bouncing smiley girl" in the gym?
A: I am a hat-on, earphones-on, hoodie-on girl in the gym. I will speak but hopefully they don't get offended when I am not making eye contact and I go about my workout and answer the question in between sets.
Talking to me on cardio is okay, just as long as it isn't my morning cardio. I am barely awake when I start!
Q: What's one thing you've picked up over the last few years of dieting that has helped you stay on track?
A: Well, honestly, I am still trying to figure that out!
Preparation of course, as far as having the food measured out and available to just grab and go. Lots of spinach and salad to make it feel like I am eating a lot. Still trying to find that balance!
It is an ongoing battle, for each preparation is different.
Q: Any seasonings or special ways to cook that has helped you out?
A: I put garlic on everything, in my spinach, on my eggs, garlic powder on my chicken on my fish.
Red Wine always helps with the salads and getting that fish down. Like my meats burnt and well done as well!
Q: Of your fellow competitors, who inspires you?
A: I would say all the mothers that compete. They have so many responsibilities yet they juggle their lives and still step up to the challenge and discipline themselves even though their lives are still heavily devoted to their children!
I could probably pull a little inspiration from each of them. All of us have our own battles going on and our own challenges when preparing for a show.

Q: What's your goal for the Figure International?

A: Number-one goal is to get better placing than I did last year [laughs]. But I am just trying to better myself in all areas that lead up to getting on stage.

It's a whole process for me and each time I do the Figure International I learn more about myself because it is the hardest prep usually.

Q: Where can people learn more about you?
A: Facebook, BodySpace, Optimum Nutrition Ripped Academy, or any expos I attend.

Thanks, Alicia!