Bodybuilding competitions expose an athlete to absolute scrutiny; their bodies are on display for the judges, the crowd and opponents. A 'complete' look requires complete dedication to preparing the body for the rigors of competition.
Tina Chandler came close to completing her look at the Tampa Pro (second place). The great Olympia is next for the Houston native. Qualifying for the biggest event in bodybuilding can't pacify the competitor. But to win … that requires greatness.
Hello Tina! Great to talk with you again! Congrats on your 2011 success thus far!
Tina Chandler: Thank you so much, Mark! It's great to be back talking with you!
You were invited to compete at the 2011 Ms. International at the Arnold Classic this past March, what did this mean to you? What did you think of the experience?
To reach status of an invitation to the Ms. International at the Arnold Classic is definitely a dream come true for me! It represents a certain level of respect and acceptance on such a grand scale in the sport of bodybuilding, which I love very much.
My experience was one of the highest pride and gratitude to have been chosen to display what I worked so hard for. It was an experience of being noticed and acknowledged. Just that alone, for most all of us in our lives, is a great accomplishment! It just makes ya feel good on the inside and gives yourself a big smile.
Did you get to meet Arnold?
No, I did not get to meet Arnold. I have visited the Arnold Classic 4 or 5 times and still have not met him. I do, however, completely accept the fact that maybe I will not meet him until the day I win first place and we meet each other on-stage when he interviews me as he does all the winners! That will be fine with me.
You have now competed at two of the largest and most important bodybuilding events in the world, the Ms. International and the Ms. Olympia, what do these competitions mean to you? How do the two compare?
Of course, we all know that the Ms Olympia is the biggest title to achieve. The Arnold is an Olympia qualifier. However, the Arnold is an invitation-only event, you have to qualify for the Olympia and be invited to the Arnold.
In my opinion, they are equally as prestigious. It is a great honor to reach a level of respect in the sport for 'who you are in the sport' and receive an invitation to the Arnold. It is the greatest accomplishment to reach the very top of anything you set out to do, like the Olympia.
To truly be considered great, how hard you work, to be noticed and appreciated for who you are as a person and a competitor. To me, realizing both [honors] is truly hands-down respect inside and out. Therefore, it's the epitome of achievement.
You recently placed 2nd at the 2011 Tampa Pro show, earning you an Olympia qualification for the 3rd year in a row, congratulations! The Tampa Pro seems to be "your show." You placed well there the last 3 years, what's it going to take to finally win that show?
LOL ... All I can say to that is "just be better than ever!" What it's going to take is showing up with a physique that leaves no question in the judges' minds that I am the winner. They cannot deny me at that point. I cannot leave any room for error and must be 10 times better than the second-place finisher.
Both times it has been a matter of one or two points, so I have to make it a difference of five or 10 points!
What did you do differently, with your training, prep and diet for the Tampa Pro versus the Ms. International this year?
Basically, I went back to what I knew about being dry and conditioned on-stage as opposed to experimenting with being fuller and more vascular, as I did for the Arnold. I have and will go through a 'figuring out' process as most of us do. I have only been competing for a total of seven years and am really coming into my 'own' as far as getting closer and closer to perfecting my look for stage.
How are you preparing for the 2011 Ms. Olympia? Will you be doing anything different with your prep than in your two previous shows this year? What are you doing to improve your physique for the 2011 Ms. Olympia?
I am not doing anything too different as I did for the Tampa Pro, especially being that it was one of my better looks. I have been working on the size of my arms, legs, thickness in my back and always a work in progress are my abdominals!
So far, I think you will see a nice and complete package, even more than before!
What do you have planned for your last week of prep leading up to the 2011 Ms. Olympia? Would you take us through it?
The last week is really just putting the icing on the cake, but not baking the cake, so to speak. A little bit of final workouts and working on the last few inches of weak body parts, lots of posing and squeezing and practicing and the last few sessions of cardio.
In your two previous Olympia visits, you placed 10th in 2009 and improved to 8th last year, what's it going to take to get in the Top-6 this year?
Oh, Lawd, I'm not sure, a lot of praying I guess. LOL.
No seriously, I am definitely hoping for that Top-6 placing! This year, however, has a deep line of great athletes and I am simply honored to be competing with them all! Good luck everyone, and I'll see you there!
Third trip to the Ms. Olympia, and they say "Third time's the charm!" So are you excited? Nervous? Overwhelmed? How do you stay focused and keep your emotions in-check leading up to such a large show like the Olympia?
Hmm, third time's the charm! That sounds great. Generally, I try and stay focused by reminding myself of what I want out of life. Usually, this becomes a small potato in the grand scheme of things and keeps me going, so I can reach even higher.
I just remind myself that this is my path and all I have to do is keep walking it! I can do no wrong from there and have the greatest faith that I will be guided!
Out of the class of Female Bodybuilders to earn an IFBB Pro Card at the 2007 NPC National Championships, you have been the most active and successful of the group. What does this mean to you? What keeps you motivated?
I think that one of the things that helps is that I was very new, just 3 years, to competing as a whole. I came in with fresh energy and ready to climb higher from there. I was really just beginning.
I stay pretty motivated, mainly because I have so much to do in the world. I really want to help others in their lives, and the way I see it, I can do that better if I achieve more in this wonderful sport of bodybuilding!
What do these names mean to you, Rachel McLish, Cory Everson, Lenda Murray, Kim Chizevsky and Iris Kyle?
Corey Everson and Lenda Murray were my all-time idols while growing up. I looked up to both of these women for their beautiful achievement in molding their physiques to the most aesthetic in history. To me, both of these ladies were truly ladies of grace, charm and professionalism! All the things I aspire to!
I also want to recognize Iris Kyle, who is now being acknowledged for all her hard work and longevity in the sport. She worked her way up and is now reaping the benefits! Way to go!
The NPC/IFBB seems intent on ending Women's Bodybuilding in the near future with the introduction of many new classes (Figure, Bikini and now Physique), giving away pro cards like water at many of the national amateur events, while the NPC/IFBB has not done much to promote women's bodybuilding, no additional pro cards, Women's Bodybuilding not being included at pro shows, or being cancelled from a show, what do the female bodybuilding competitors and fans have to do to stand up and be heard? How do we keep Women's Bodybuilding alive?
I really think it's absurd to get rid of bodybuilding. It really makes no sense to me. If they were to do this, let's say hypothetically, don't you think they will run into the same problems in about 3-5 years? The same problem of not having a class for those girls to go who have been competing at a certain level and have found themselves with a little more muscle than when they began.
This is the same problem they have had with the figure girls, and so now they have physique, so what do THOSE girls do in a few years? Not compete? Why would anyone want to hold anyone back from achieving truly their potential?
All I know at this point is that we will continue to be allowed to compete if we have the money for the shows. So, please, sites like yours keep putting back into the sport and we will all eventually have security again once they see we are all worth it!
Thank you Tina! We always enjoy speaking with you and having you here on the website! From all of us here at FBBFan.com, we wish you all the best at the 2011 Ms. Olympia!
Thank you so much, Mark! It truly is my pleasure and an honor to be a part of the sport and your website.
Special thanks to Tina for taking the time to speak with FBBFan.com. All photos courtesy of Tina Chandler.