Felicia Romero garnered a string of top placements in 2011, including first place at the California Pro Figure and fourth at the Arnold Classic Figure International. So far it's been a bountiful fifth pro season for the talented IFBB figure contender. Romero is on track for 2011 Olympia success.
She placed fifth at last year's Olympia against stiff, cut and shapely competition. With fellow Top-6 athletes Kristal Richardson and Heather Mae French out of this year's line-up, Felicia is almost assured Top-3 inclusion at the 2011 Olympia.
Romero, from Mesa, Arizona, promises to bring to this year's Olympia figure lineup her "most balanced body to date." Felicia will undoubtedly do herself proud as she seeks to make the coveted Olympia Top-3 for the first time in her relatively short career. Her motto is "reach for your dreams to make them a reality." She is living proof that the right mindset, coupled with requisite sacrifices at her level of competition, can engender tremendous results.
Felicia looked every inch a champion standing in the 2010 Figure Olympia line-up. The only barrier to her ultimate success (the Sandow trophy and accompanying winner's check) was the experience needed to dial her physique down to the definition of muscularity required to take on the elite of the elite. With one year of solid training and competitive experience behind her, she is ready to move upward in the ranks of Figure Olympians.
Felicia is a self-confessed "own worst critic" and "type-A personality." Since the 2010 Olympia, the 5-foot-3 figure model rigorously planned and executed a game plan likely to secure her top 2011 Olympia honors. In the following interview she details how she made her improvements and what she expects to achieve September 16.
Q: What improvements have you made to your physique since placing fifth at the 2010 Figure Olympia?
I am going to be presenting a more balanced body. My legs need to match my upper body and that has always been a challenge for me. At this year's Olympia, everything is coming full circle and I will present my most balanced body to date.
Q: What do you think it is about your look that gained you a Top-6 placement at the 2010 Olympia?
I think I have the kind of overall package that helps me place well. My structure usually gets me through, along with the fact that I am not too soft or hard â€¦ I have just the right balance.
Q: What kind of physique are you hoping to present on stage at the 2011 Olympia?
I am going to present a conditioned, tight, balanced body from head to toe. I want a very clean polished look when I walk on stage, so everything has to come into consideration, including hair and makeup.
Q: What do you do to achieve such great shape and how do you maintain it from show to show?
I work just as hard when I am not training for a show. I try to stay in good shape year-round so I can always see how much muscle and fat I have on my body. I just try to live healthy year-round so when I do diet it's not something foreign to me.
Q: How often do you include cardio training in your regimen? And when do you, if at all, cut it from your program pre-contest?
I perform cardio year round but usually increase it closer to a show. I will perform cardio all the way up until 2-3 days before competition.
Q: What do you like most about pro figure competition? What keeps you motivated to compete year after year?
I like goal setting and try to improve my placements with each show. I am an athlete and that keeps me motivated. I enjoy pushing myself to the limit. I also love being on stage.
Q: How would you describe your current approach to training?
My current approach to training is very basic; basic movements when it comes to shaping the muscle. I lift 4-5 days a week and generally perform about 4-5 exercises for each body part.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a competitor?
I am extremely disciplined and work very hard 365 days a year. I am my own worst critic and I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed. I am a total type-A personality, so this sort of lifestyle just suits me. I love structure, discipline and working toward something.
Q: Have you made any changes to your training over the past year? If so, what have these been and how have they helped you to improve your physique?
Yes, I have incorporated more plyometric movements to help build more athletic legs. Also, adding different leg movements during heavy leg training days have helped add shape to my legs.
Q: Could you describe your current nutritional approach?
Currently I eat roughly 80-100 grams of carbs daily. Types of carbs include oatmeal, sweet potato and Ezekial bread. I eat about 120-130 grams of protein [daily] in the form of chicken, fish and steak. Fats make up for the rest of my nutrients and I include them at around 50 grams a day in the form of almonds, almond butter and olive oil.
Q: How do you address post-training nutrition? What do you do following your workouts to begin the muscle re-building process?
For post training nutrition I am always sure to drink BCAA's (branched chain amino acids). I usually eat whatever the next scheduled meal is — unless I am building. Then, I usually have some sort of carb and fast digesting protein.
Q: Which supplements do you take and why?
I take most of the Gaspari Nutrition supplements. I like Myofusion, a whey protein, which is great as a meal. I like using SizeOn pre-contest. This supplement helps to build muscle during the dieting phase. I also like Superpump Max which I take 30 minutes prior to weight training. This product helps me to get a good pump.
Q: This year's Figure Olympia will host the usual top line competitors, you included. Who do you see as being major competition for you and why?
Erin Stern: she won last year and has a great, solid physique. Nicole Wilkins: she won in 2009 and her structure is undeniably great.
Q: What are your major strengths as an IFBB pro competitor?
My strength is, without question, my upper body. I have always had broad, capped shoulders, a V-taper and good shape.
Q: Where do think you will place in the 2011 Figure Olympia?
I will place top three at this year's Olympia.
Q: What message would you like to give to your fans, those who will be coming to watch you compete at the 2011 Olympia?
I just want to say that I have appreciated all of the support throughout the years. They are what push and drive me in the gym each day. I am so grateful that they read my blogs and keep up with what is going on with me. Even through the toughest times there was always an email or message from a fan that uplifted my spirits and reminded me of why I do what I do. So thank you!