What age did you start lifting and getting involved with bodybuilding/fitness:
Got involved with bodybuilding when I was 21.
What made you stick with it and continue to pursue competing?
After becoming involved with pro and amateur bodybuilders I started to really love lifting. As I continued to train and learn I began to see the results that I wanted to achieve.
I was motivated to stick with it and strive to achieve more as I continued to train. I completely transformed my physique and within a few years of dedicated training I entered my first bodybuilding competition.
What have you learned about competing and staying focused when outside things influence your training?
I have learned how important it is to remain centered and focused during easy and difficult periods in life. If something external begins to influence or compromise my traning I have take a look at the big picture and put the situation into perspective.
If the external factor is unavoidable I have to adjust to the situation in the best way possible. This way my training doesn't suffer and I can take care of what I need to - inside and outside of the gym. I have learned that involvement of any negative influence is detrimental to overall well being.
I have learned to sever all ties in that type of situation. it is vital to let go of unhealthy people and atmospheres in order to continue to move forward.
What made you transition from bodybuilding to figure?
I transformed from bodybuilding to figure because I wanted to try something new. I also have a small frame and keeping up with the larger women of bodybuilding was becoming tough for me.
Figure allows me to remain more mainstream, keeping a feminine, yet muscular physique.
Do you enjoy competing in figure?
Yes, I enjoy competing in figure. It's great making new friends and traveling to different venues.
What's your thoughts on the judging of figure on an amateur and professional level?
My thoughts come down to consistency. I don't feel that there is consistency with what look the judges want. some girls get ripped to compete and some girls come into a competition softer. So, if a ripped look is what the judges are looking for then the competitor that comes in a softer doesn't have a chance. Then visa versa in this case.
I believe there should be tighter guidelines for figure judging on both levels to let the competitors know exactly what the judges are looking for on both levels. Then there won't be any confusion for the competitor during her training up to her competition date. She will be able to train exactly the way she needs to to come to the show at her best.
Who's inspired you outside of the sport?
Honestly, I don't have any one person in particular. However, I would have add that I am inspired by those who overrome difficult periods in their life to achieve what they are passionate about. "Those who don't give up".
Favorite competitors in the sport?
I don't have one particular person in the sport that I would call my favorite.
You seem to be a very spiritual person, how has this helped you in life and being able to apply it to training?
Wow! Great question. I have become more spiritual in the last 2 years of my life after experiencing a truly very difficult time in my life. I could fill up this interview with this question alone.
I'll try to keep this a little shorter than doing that. The best thing that I can tell you my spirituality has done for me along the lines of competing and training purposes is that I train mindfully and have more patience and compassion for myself. Thus, giving me strength to remain focused and strong through any circumstances in my life.
Turning point in your life that has helped you stay focused:
The turning point in my life that has helped me stay focused was becoming aware of the spiritual path I have learned about through my spiritual advisor. He helped me get through the most difficult period in my life. I was going through a complete transition in my life, moving andwalking away from my home and overcoming a severe physical injury after two surgeries.
He encouraged me to continue competing in the summer of 2003,and i'll admit it wasn't easiy. I didn't give up and I trained to compete in my first figure competition where I qualified to go to nationals. I have learned that if you can pull through a hard time in your life you will become stronger and wiser, and you can achieve anything you heart leads you to.
If god gives you the opportunity in your hands nobody or situation can take that away. Pulling through this period has given me the confidence and courage to persue anything I want to despite the hard times.
What do you do in your free time?
I study the dharma in my free time, and I enjoy spending time with my close friends.
Socks and sandals or no socks?
Both! socks "depending on the type of sandal", and no socks if it is hot or the socks look weird.
All those men in the heart of texas want to know... are you single and available?
Yes, I am single.
I have two great sponsors who have hlped me out tremendously. Gus samuelson and the performance fighting center in Richardson, Texas as well, as Dr. Jim Weiss at the Longevity Institute Of Houston.
Anything else you'd like to share with those reading this?
Yes, believe in yourself and follow your heart.
Thanks amber. best of luck to you in your personal training as well as your future competitions. you can learn more about amber by visiting her web site at: http://www.amberblack.net.