INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

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Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones

Female Bodybuilding Interview of the Month

January 2010
FBBFan.com Q&A interview with NPC Women's Bodybuilding Competitor Tammy Jones.
Editor's Note:
Special thanks to Tammy for taking the time to speak with FBBFan.com. All photos courtesy of Tammy Jones.

FBBFan.com: Hello Tammy, Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to share a bit about yourself with FBBFan.com readers!

FBBFan.com: Would you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? Current Residence? Relationship Status? Family Life?

Tammy: I am a single mother of one, from Ft. Myers/Cape Coral, Florida.

FBBFan.com: What is your current profession?

Tammy: Group Fitness Director, Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor.

FBBFan.com: How did you get involved in the sport of Women's Bodybuilding?

Tammy: It's a long story. But to simplify, as I continued to battle anorexia I was looking for an alternative lifestyle/hobby/way to live healthier yet still enjoy the same intensities I was used to through exercise and food. Basically no food tasted as good as skinny felt, and there was no better high than the one I got from exercise. So I combined the powerful exercise regimen, the extreme diet, and the obsessive behaviors into another intense concoction where I transformed the same infatuations into this exciting, special physique! Hahaha. Full circle, I guess. I began dating a National level bodybuilder who swore I had the potential to be big both physically and in the sport of female bodybuilding. I began this new project in hopes of changing my bad habits and distracting myself.
Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones
Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones
Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones

FBBFan.com: What do you enjoy about being a bodybuilder?

Tammy: Love carrying the strength and power I work so hard to possess around with me all day long! My physique is a billboard for my hard work and dedication to the weight room. It shows my knowledge and passion for lifting weights. I love the attention (good or bad) from the public. I love how the submissive men come out of hiding for me! And I love the control and power they easily hand over to me because of my build, my strength-- my way of life.

FBBFan.com: How do your friends, family and the general public react to your physique?

Tammy: My Mother and Sister have always supported me no matter what. They both respect me and love how strong I am. They tend to "show me off", and brag to everyone! My Father is no longer living, but to say he did not like it would be an understatement. He hated my bodybuilding with every fiber of his being. He thought I should carry myself with as much femininity as possible and obviously bodybuilding was exactly the wrong way to do that! He passed away at the very early stages of my building career so if he could see me now I am pretty sure he would disown me.

My friends are inspired by me, by my ability to stand on my own and walk with pride, even though I do not fit in with the mainstream public. Although they do not wish to have the build I have, they work as hard as I do to attain their own level of fitness and physique and thank me for motivating them to do so.

FBBFan.com: What is your long-term goal in the sport of bodybuilding?

Tammy: To attain my Pro status and become a bigger part of the scene somehow, whether it's through physique photography, recruiting competitors for various reasons, writing articles or judging. I am not sure what opportunities will be available when I am ready, but before I can feel valuable to the sport of Women's Bodybuilding, I have to become a pro.

Becoming a professional in the sport means everything to me. It is important to have credentials and before I can think of anything else, this is what I need to feel accomplished.

FBBFan.com: What has been your best personal moment in this sport?

Tammy: There is not one single best moment. I enjoy every day, living as a strong Woman and athlete. I have enjoyed photo shoots and meeting fans of female bodybuilding, as well as reaching max weight on sets in the weight room. I am ecstatic about breaking records on my lifts and sweating while doing cardio. I love posing and flexing and being on stage to show it all off. I have fun making personal gains through time and knowledge of my body... and the tricks I have learned over the years are seriously exhilarating. I like seeing the contrast in weight on the scale from off season to contest shape. I adore seeing veins and I get a high from the pump when pushing out intense sets and reps. I am arrogant and I walk around extremely proud of my accomplishments, so when people stare and comment and discuss me, I totally dig it, soak it all up, adding fuel to my fire. I am conceited. I have admirable moments every day that are beyond description and can only be understood by those that have reached a level where they surrender to it all.

FBBFan.com: Would you please share your competition history with us?

Tammy:
  • 2002: Ft. Myers Gulf Coast - Overall
  • 2003: Sunshine Classic - 1st Place
  • 2003: Florida State - 3rd Place
  • 2004: Florida State - 2nd Place
  • 2005: All South - 2nd Place
  • 2006: NPC Nationals, Miami Beach, Florida - 13th Place Heavyweight
  • 2007: NPC Nationals, Dallas, Texas - 12th Place Heavyweight
  • 2008: NPC Florida State - 1st Place Heavyweight and Overall
  • 2008: IFBB North American, Cleveland, Ohio- 4th place Heavyweight
  • 2008: NPC Nationals, Atlanta, Georgia - 7th Place Heavyweight
  • 2009: IFBB North American, Cleveland, Ohio - 13th Place Heavyweight

FBBFan.com: When are you planning to compete next?

Tammy: I am planning on a few contests in 2010, not sure which ones. I will do 1-2 in the summer and one in the fall. My plan is to do 3 shows this year.

FBBFan.com: What is your current height and weight during off-season and contest?

Tammy: Currently I am 190-200 in the off-season (nice and thick, but not fat) and on stage I suck because I am never lean enough... usually 155-160, and I need to be at least 10-12lbs leaner. I hate going by the scale though. I hope to weigh in this year at 150-155 nice and tight, my best package yet or I won't step on the stage at all.
Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones
Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones
Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones

FBBFan.com: What do you consider your best feature?

Tammy: My overall symmetry and balance- everything flows. I carry good size and roundd, full muscles, with tons of veins. I am big, wide and hard. Each muscle is developed, although I continue to improve as muscle maturity slowly creeps in and time under training is on my side. Finally!

FBBFan.com: Would you please tell us a little about your workout schedule? Contest and Off-Season, does it vary much?

Tammy: Usually I train in the evening because I feel better then. I start my day as a mother before a bodybuilder and can't get into training mode in the morning because my mind is going in too many directions. I gotta get my daughter fed, ready for school and on time to class. I then head to work where I have tons of projects going on all the time. Lots to do, so about the only thing I can focus on as a bodybuilder during those hours is taking in my protein. I rely on shakes a lot, but I do get quality, solid breakfast, lunch and dinner. At the end of the day when I have accomplished all my responsibilities I can relax and really get my head into my training, fully focused. It also helps that I crash/nap for about an hour before training.

Off-season I am in and out of the gym in about 1.5 hours. I pick one muscle group and dig into it from every angle, as heavy as I can. Most times I stay between 4-8 reps, no more, unless it is a first or last set and then I hit it for 10. I also do lots of sets, typically 5-6 sets per exercise. And I may do 3-4 exercises, depending on how I feel. Some days I pick one exercise and do 10 sets, 10 reps each and call it a day. Every week it's different, unless I feel like copying what I did the week before. I usually let my energy levels, the mirror, and my physical irritations annoy and guide me through my workouts. If I want more thickness in my back I'll work on that, if I don't feel that I am wide enough I'll go that route on back day. If I am feeling annoyed with the outer quad sweep I will spend my workout shaping that. I always tackle each muscle from different angles, varying range of motions and different contractions-- although at times I will add more focus to one thing or another and isolate in diverse ways.

I never rush my workouts in the off season- if I want to train for a long time I will. If I want to get in and out I will do that.

Contest time doesn't change too much as far as weight training goes, I work in rep ranges of 10. I usually don't go into higher ranges unless I am finishing an exercise or the entire workout, burning out or depleting. I never go lower than 10 reps when preparing for a show. I try to maintain my strength as much as possible even though most days I have no energy. I do cardio morning and night and sometimes mid-day if I need to. The details are different with each show, my progress, my results, and what phase I am in.

FBBFan.com: Do you have a favorite exercise?

Tammy: I love all the exercises, really. I do not have a favorite. If you gave me a million dollars to choose just one though, I would have to say... nope, I still couldn't do it. I will say that my least favorite is the Dead Lift. My body just feels un-natural moving that way, feels funky, like it just isn't meant to move that way.

FBBFan.com: What is a day-in-the-life of Tammy Jones like?

Tammy: In the off season I have more free time since I am not tied down to all the cardio, posing and extra things that preparing for a show requires. I get to stay up later and sleep in later as well! I typically wake up around 6:30am in the off season, grab a protein shake, take my vitamins, caffeine and a warm shower to wake me up. I get my daughter ready for school (hair, breakfast, etc.). I pick out all her clothes and make her lunch the night before. Feed the cat and head out the door to take her to school, unless she wants to ride the bus. Get to work around 8-8:30am. Work half a day and run errands before heading home for lunch. Allison, my daughter, gets off the bus around 3pm or so and we talk about her day, have a snack, do some homework and take a quick nap before I head out for my own training around 6-7pm. Before training I have another protein meal or shake. I train for about 2 hours (I take my time) and then I head home to eat again. Sit with my daughter for a little bit, get our stuff ready for the next day (cook, clean, prepare), and get her off to bed around 10pm. I then get on the computer to check emails, catch up on work, and possibly do webcam for about an hour or so. Off to bed around mid-night.

My schedule changes all the time since my daughter is in softball and her practices are in the evenings during her season. If it is competition time for me, I of course have to strictly manage my time and it's tough. Minute by minute my day is overwhelmingly packed with things to do, it's tight and there is no time to relax or even breathe. I have to factor in my cardio bouts, strict meals, (which means cooking constantly) and spreading my energy out wisely. Thank goodness that strenuous routine does not last too long. The activities and duties overlap and then unload each other helping me roll through the process and transition quickly. I've got the routine down now so I am pretty comfortable with the harsh reality of how certain times of the year I will get my ass kicked. That is why when I am done competing and Alli's softball season ends and summer is here (no school responsibilities) and the holidays near, I take full advantage of my time to RELAX.

FBBFan.com: What are your hobbies and interests outside of the bodybuilding world?

Tammy: I enjoy reading just about anything. I love music and art, nature, outdoor sun sports, shopping (of course-- who doesn't, right?) projects with my daughter, decorating, yard work, and anything that allows me to be creative.

FBBFan.com: What's currently on your iPod?

Tammy: Everything from Hip-Hop to Country, Rap and Rap Metal, Alternative, Classic Rock, Disco, Techno and New Age, Soul Jazz, R & B, Soft Rock. My whole life surrounds around music.

FBBFan.com: What are your "Top 5" favorite movies? Favorite actor and/or actress?

Tammy: I don't get into movies too much, but when I take my daughter to the theatre we watch Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks. I love the animated kid stuff.

FBBFan.com: Who are your role models? And/or who do you look up to in your life?

Tammy: My role model has always been my Father. He was a perfectionist and he taught me how to WIN at everything I do and how to get everything I want. He was a business man- a successful one, and showed me what it takes to earn a good life. He passed a few years ago and now my role models are my friends and associations. I learned how to choose them from my Father as well. My friends are the positive influences that guide and teach me every day and my associations lead me by example. I am motivated by those with power and authority; those people that use their abilities to progress as individuals respectfully, honestly and in good time. I motivate myself by watching others succeed.

FBBFan.com: What advice do you have for women who would like to get involved in the sport of bodybuilding?

Tammy: This is a tough question because I want to say a few things that may be out of line and not what most would want to hear actually. I would say do as much research as you possibly can, hire many trainers with different views, connect and communicate with other athletes that are on the level you would like to get to, take your time, start young, have kids first (because after bodybuilding it may never happen) or never have kids because they need your TIME, love and attention. be yourself, get the look you want, don't get caught up in the negativity, be proud of your accomplishments, and get out before you get old and ugly. Too much, right? I knew it.

FBBFan.com: Who are your favorite bodybuilders?

Tammy: Yaxeni Oriquen, Heather Armbrust, Lenda Murray, Denise Masino and Kai Green.
Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones
Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones
Female Bodybuilder Tammy Jones

FBBFan.com: Where do you think the sport of Women's Bodybuilding is headed and where does it need to go in the future?

Tammy: On a few different notes here:
  1. I believe there will always be the obsessed maniac Women, like myself who will compete and do whatever it takes to get the look they want, the physique, the hard-core muscle, regardless of any titles or placings on the stage. The rest of the population can only admire it (or hate it), but cannot (or do not care to) make the chemical adjustments, put in the time, sacrifice necessary to attain it. Great to look at, but unrealistic. So bottom line, only the extreme will survive for the long run.

  2. The sport of bodybuilding comes down to time/knowledge, drug use, and judging. As long as the judging criteria calls for us to come in un-naturally conditioned (some call it shredded, whatever) with large, hard muscles as females, we will continue to push Women away from the competitive scene. It is next to impossible to obtain a professional status with certain organizations without the use of illegal substances. Not to mention it is unhealthy and abnormal to make such demands on our bodies as Women. But so goes it for the majority of competitive sports. That being said, most Women will never know the joy of the sport of female lifting and physique art. They will not come on board under these situations and the demands are too strenuous for anyone to stay in the game for any length of time without negative consequence. As in any sport though, these are the rules, we have accepted them, and all of the players are on an equal playing field (aside from genetics). If one athlete does it the others have to follow to be successful and in the running. The look of a drug user is definitely noticeable and most Women are scared of it, but it is inevitable to acquire the physique we need to win. The price tag is high in this industry-- the less obvious, the better. The healthier we can be, the longer we can last. We have to lighten the load so we can keep the beauty and get the respect we deserve for the HARD WORK we put into this.

  3. It is also very costly to compete, and there is no financial reward for the winners. SO all this being said, the sport of Women's bodybuilding needs a complete makeover, IN MY OPINION. Let me also say though, that I am committed and loyal to this sport. I love it, I need it, it is my LIFE and I am not discouraging anyone from doing it. I am only stating the cold hard facts as I have experienced and as I see it.

  4. Now there are new divisions available on the stage that will give more opportunity to Females to showcase different physiques. Basically making it more appealing to the masses. Ok. Smart idea. OR as I see it now, the judging is siding with a more attractive, feminine look mixed with hard muscle. Less harsh, still hardcore, and respectable. Female Bodybuilding should be made to be more interesting and pleasing to the eye! This coming from someone who lives life believing the bigger the better, the harder it is, the more extreme, the more intriguing. Whatever. to keep the sport alive, we have to tap into everyone.

FBBFan.com: How can people contact you? Do you have a website?

Tammy: My email address is: crosstrainer 33905@msn.com. My website is www.tammyjones.biz and my contact information can also be found there.

FBBFan.com: Thank you Tammy, for taking the time to speak with us and share a little bit about yourself with FBBFan.com members and readers, is there anything else that you would like FBBFan.com readers to know?

Tammy: Yes, I would like to note that it does take a lot to be a Female Bodybuilder, but it takes extraordinary MEN to stand BEHIND us (or in my mind below us, haha!). Yay to the men that love Female muscle (or superiority, however you want to look at it), you are so special. I don't like to give men too much, but those that support, serve, submit to and stimulate the Female bodybuilding community are always in my heart. Without men giving the helping hand and showing their passive, submissive side it would just be a battle, a constant power struggle. Thank you for the respect, admiration, encouragement, and motivation you give us every day to help us prosper. Men that love what we do and can acknowledge our accomplishments are truly unique!! xoxo

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