Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Interview with Bodybuilder Janet Kaufman.

It is my pleasure to interview national level bodybuilding competitor Janet Kaufman.  Thanks, Janet for agreeing to be interviewed!
You have been bodybuilding for nearly as long as I have been following the sport, which in itself is an incredible achievement.  I believe your first contest was in 1987.  Can you tell us how that came about?
I was going to college out of town and came home to see my parents and brother. Keep in mind that I wasn’t athletic in high school.  I tried track and tennis but just never seemed to do any good at it.  When I left to go to college I fell into the usual scene of eating and partying like most college students but if one isn't active, well we all know what happens, I was about 140 pounds of flab.  So when I came home for that visit 23 years ago my brother, who is brutally honest, told me my butt was getting really big.  Well no girl wants to be told her butt is big especially from her brother.  I was pretty mad.  The same weekend my brother asked if I wanted to attend my first bodybuilding show.  As I watched, still fuming from what he had said I told myself I was going to be competing on stage.

Obviously, bodybuilding has become a large part of your life.  What keeps you motivated to keep at it?
It’s weird that I have to think about what keeps me motivated. I have been doing it so long that I just do it. It’s like going to work every day. But my goal is to someday get my pro card. So that drives me to go the gym every day.  I also told myself that I want to be active into my 80’s and bodybuilding keeps me healthy.

That's great!!  Do you work in the fitness industry (e.g., training clients)?  If not, what sort of work do you do?
I do train clients at Gold’s Gym in Lewiston  part time to help pay for contest expenses. But my main profession is purchasing clerk at the Lewiston school district.

Over the years, how has your level of muscularity been viewed by the general public?  Is there more acceptance now, and more awareness of the sport of bodybuilding than, say, twenty years ago?
I have always had good support here in my home town.  But I am sure that there were negative comments as well.  Everyone has their opinion on what is pleasing to the eye.  I do believe that the bodybuilding is better understood now than it was twenty years ago.
What sort of workout philosophy do you follow (e.g., volume training, high-intensity, low rep training)?  Has that changed over the years?
My workout philosophy is base on muscle confusion.  I mixed it up from workout to work out so I am never doing the same exact workout.  I feel I get better growth out of this.  I may not be big but I feel the muscle I do have is good quality muscle.  When I first started training, I trained with my brother who did the typical heavy weight training workouts.  It got me a good base but not the detail that I have now.

What is your favorite body part to train?
I love to train legs.  I like the feeling of total exhaustion when I am done.

I’m interested in your off-season diet.  Do you allow yourself greater freedom in terms of what you eat, or do you continue to eat according to a strict plan?
I loosen my diet up a little . I eat more carbs off-season but the food is still pretty clean.  I do have a scheduled cheat meal once or twice a week.  Off-season I don’t get heavier than 15 lbs above contest weight.

I’ve been impressed by your back development.  Any secret to how you built up your back?
Lots of weighted pull ups and doing a variety of exercises  to get the detail.

What advice would you give to a young woman just starting out in bodybuilding?  
Eat!  and persistence ...
When I first started I didn’t eat enough so the first  5 or 6 years I didn’t put on the size I could have had I been eating the way I do now. Also be persistent gains don’t happen over night.

I read that you were a judge at the very recent Emerald Cup.  Can you tell us about that experience?
The Emerald Cup is a huge show and I was honored that Brad and Elaine Craig asked my husband and I to judge.  All the competitors looked great and it was tough to judge.  Some classes were very close.
I love watching the fitness competitors.  Something that I would love to do but don’t have the coordination, flexibility, or strength to do that and I could go on and on.  Those girls rock!

What would you consider one of the high points of your bodybuilding career thus far?
I have won my weight class twice at Masters Nationals which was pretty exciting.  But I think the high point for me was placing 2nd at this year’s Nationals and getting a phone call from Steve Wennerstrom telling me he hopes I  stick with it and thinks I am close to getting my pro card.   To me that was big.

Did you have anyone who mentored you during your early years in the sport, or did you figure things out all on your own?
When I first started, my brother helped me with the working out part of it all and then I had a gal that ended up being my workout partner for a few years that taught me contest prep.  But contest prep is an evolving process.  I find that my body adapts quickly and sometimes doesn’t respond to the same things every time  I do a show.

Are you planning on competing at Masters Nationals in July? 
I am planning on competing at Masters

Thanks, very much for agreeing to be interviewed!
Thank you for the opportunity.