As some of you may already know this week Beast Sports picked their first two ever Beast Sports Girl Bloggers. Erin Rass and Beth Polisson. We are thrilled to have them as part of the Beast family and we spent a little time doing a 'get to know you' session. Here is how it went: Jane: For those of our readers who are not familiar, can you tell me a little about yourselves? Beth: I am originally from Boston, MA, where I lived for the 1st 16 years of my life. My boyfriend will tell you that it gives me a 'tude, but I like to think I'm just assertive. I majored in Biopsychology at Tufts University and graduated in 2004, at which time I moved to North Carolina. I've been here ever since, and I love the South - the weather, the people, the BBQ - it all gets an 'A' in my book. By day I am a Project Manager at a pharmaceutical company, where I supervise the conduct of various clinical drug trials. By night I am either on a quest for perfect glutes and round shoulders or I am screaming at people to pedal faster at SyncStudio. I have a dog, who is truly the best thing on 4 legs and provides me with hours of endless entertainment. I also have a wonderful boyfriend who is supportive of my every move. He diets down for shows with me, hides peanut butter from me during prep, and helps me BEAST out grueling sets of military presses with 45lb dumbells. My family still lives in Boston, and my brother lives in England - but I swear he has good teeth. He is a Professor of Economics at Oxford and College of London. He's, as we say in Boston, 'wicked smaht." Erin: I was born and raised in Maryland, where I lived with Mom, Dad and a little sister. My Dad played semi-pro football, and was a marathon runner, and my sister and I lived and breathed soccer growing up. I was a tomboy on the field, but a total girly-girly off of it, and started apprenticing as a stylist when I was only 16. I've been working as a hairdresser ever since, and still love making people beautiful! I've been married for 2 years, and my husband has been my biggest supporter as well. Whether waking up at 4:30 to train with me, grilling up more chicken, or just reminding me how far I've come on those days when motivation isn't at it's highest. I also have a rescue dog that I love more than I ever thought was possible. I work crazy hours, train 6 days a week, and am in the [painstakingly slow] process of getting a series of certifications that will roll into a degree in the field. Jane: Two soccer buffs! Amazing! And BOSTON? I love it! Did you pahk your cah in Hahvahd yahd? I lived in Boston for many many years...Of note someone in the office is a Yankee fan, so when you come into town please make sure to wear your BoSox's hat! B: I always pahk my cah in Hahvahd yahd, and everything is always wicked pissah. And don't worry about coming in wtih my Sox hat on. I will come in adorned in head to to Boston gear. I'm obnoxious like that. J: Did you keep tabs with what was going on at Olympia? What did you think of the winners? If you ask me (which you didn't) I thought the fitness ladies looked really great...healthy, strong and fit. J: Did you keep tabs with what was going on at Olympia? What did you think of the winners? If you ask me (which you didn’t) I thought the fitness ladies looked really great…healthy, strong and fit. B: Of course! I watched it all live on bodybuilding.com. I thought all the winners were very deserving; none of them came as a suprise to me, as their physiques were definitely worthy of their reward. The fitness ladies always rock the house - I have SO much respect for fitness. I dabbled in it BRIEFLY a few months ago, and it is so, SO physically demanding. I can't even imagine trying to do a routine while consuming minimal calories. Oksana, I have to say, is always my favorite. Gorgeous physique, incredible dancing skills and strength moves, and she glides across the stage effortlessly. I love her. E: The degree of discipline required to even set foot on a stage like that makes them all winners in my book. I hoped to see Tanji Johnson walk away with a title that she has been coming SO close to, but all the girls more than earned it this year. J: Have you ever competed in any fitness related event? B: I have been playing sports since I was 3, and I played all the way through college. I hung up my cleats in 2004 and picked up running. I ran a half marathon a few years ago, but that was too much running for yours truly. I am a short and sweet type of gal when it comes to my cardio - I despise cardio. It was also rough on my knee - I had a total knee replacement when I was 18 (I had an unfortunate run-in with a very tall, very large Swedish soccer player in 1999), and all the miles I logged while training really took a toll on my poor little knee. So, that left me with nothing to do........until I found figure competitions. I am SUPER competitive and I constantly strive for perfection, so it seemed like a good outlet. I did well in my 1st show (won my class), and competed again in 2010 at Jr. USAs where I placed 5th in E class. Not a bad year for yours truly. My next show is in 5 weeks - feed me. E: I was a year-round soccer player growing up, and a distance runner in my early 20's. I have the highest respect for competitors, but so far haven't felt a huge pull to become one. I'm more focused now on getting educated in the field and turning my passion into a career. My goals are always evolving, though, so you never know! J: Well that's impressive girls! I hung up my Mizunos when I found out I had a little bun in the oven. I love the thrill of competition and admire those who do it- even more so if you're standing out there in the middle of a stage wearing a speedo or a teeny, weeny tiny bikini...that's gotta be rough. J: OK- I know, some women would LOVE to achieve a look like yours, but the work that I think is going to take to get there for some is so exhausting that it make some want to go cuddle with a cup of Hagen Dazs (Swiss Almond Vanilla!)- What do you say to women who want to transform themselves but feel overwhelmed by the industry and all the different things that are being thrown at us in order to get fit (zumba, pilates, step-aerobics (yes! STILL!), spinning, weights, etc)? B: Women should have fun while transforming their bodies. So, if that's a mix of Zumba, weights, spinning, and pilates, then so be it. Whatever program they choose, it needs to be something to which they will adhere, otherwise they'll give up. I personally am a big fan of weight training for women, as adding muscle truly will re-shape the entire physique. Zumba, spinning, and other forms of cardio like them will help women to lose weight, but they will NOT change the way the physique appears in terms of its shape. You gotta pick up some iron, ladies!! I feel like women are afraid of lifting because they think they'll get big and bulky. That cannot happen, because we don't have testosterone, and we don't consume enough calories to build tons of mass. But, if you're eating too much of that Swiss Almond Vanilla (strong choice, by the way), then I could be wrong! E: It can be extremely overwhelming! Knowledge is key, you have to start with a specific goal (fat loss, muscle building, etc) and then find a few reliable sources of information and go with it. When I first started training, I read so much, from so many different sources, that building my routine bacame a lot like work. Now, I work my program around whatever my goal is at that time, and I only go to one or two websites and a handful of trainers for advice. The internet is a blessing and curse, in that respect, but having the right information is so important. And like Beth mentioned, whatever program you choose, it has to be something you love or you just won't stick with it. J: You had me at 'strong choice'... J: I think exercise is like a marriage- you gotta keep the love alive and interesting. How do you keep your workouts from boring the lives out of you? B: I love my workouts. My trainer knows that I am a former athlete, so she gives me exercises that tap into that part of my persona. She puts things on my program that remind me of old soccer workouts, or basketball drills, or track workouts. I do agility ladders, sprints, lots of plyo, and I move heavy weights around VERY quickly. When I'm getting ready for a show, my workouts are entirely metabolic, meaning, that my heart rate RARELY dips below 160 for the entire duration of my workout. I am constantly moving, constantly sweating, and pushing myself well beyond my physical limits. I surprise myself every week. She knows I want to feel like a total gangsta' in the gym, and she delivers. Working out like this also saves me from hours and hours of mind-numbing cardio that most other competitors do to prep for shows. Most competitors end up doing close to 2 hours a day - I simply don't have the time for that! E: I'm with Beth 100%, metabolic training is key to getting lean and staying functional. Who cares if you can squat 300 lbs if you can't bend over to tie your shoe?!?! I LOVE gasping for air and feeling the burn in my muscles at the same time! You will NEVER find me walking on a stairmaster for an hour plus. My workouts are about an hour, and I'm working far beyond the point where I can think about being bored. We do lots of speed drills, weighted jumpropes and plyo work mixed right into the resistance training, and there are endless combinations to keep it fresh and fun. J: Ok Beth, you have a trainer and yet you do this as more than a hobby? Would have never thought of that! And Erin, you sound like the dream trainer! I have yet to find a trainer who doesn't make me want to take a nap or start comparing outfits; I think I've been looking in the wrong places...no wonder I can't feel the love! B: Yep! When it comes to contest prep, I want someone else to make the decisions. Contest prep is an interesting time, mentally. I need the guess work completely eliminated. We are our own worst critics, and if it was left soley in my hands, I'd probably be way too aggressive and peak early. I have prepped other girls for the stage and have no doubt that I could do it for myself; I just have no desire to. In an off season, I do my own thing, though. I like having autonomy with my food, in particular. I love experimenting in the kitchen when I'm not competing. J: Many use the "I'll start the diet next Monday" line...ok, I may use this SOME the time - How do you stay on track and not let a one day diversion become a trickle down effect that lasts days/weeks/months? B: I hear that all the time, but you cannot let 1 day, or 1 meal, sidetrack your progress. We're all human; we're all going to mess up from time to time. I have. I chalk it up to just having a moment of weakness, or being lazy, and I pick myself up and move on. Remember, you can only control the effort that you put into your weight loss goals. You cannot control the outcome. So give 100%, and you'll never have any regrets. Also, when you truly stay on track and are compliant with your diet, you SEE the changes in your physique. To me, seeing my hardwork paying off in front of my eyes is great motivation to stick with it. I have said this so many times, but diet is 80% of the physique game. You could run 50 miles a day, but if you're eating pizza and doughtnuts all day, you're going to look like crap. Eat boring food, have an exciting body. A friend of my trainer's said this, and it's totally accurate. E: I love that! It does get a little boring, but when you are really clear on your goals and what you want to achieve, you can walk past the candy jar, head high, knowing that you are getting a far greater reward for your efforts. When you feed your body right, the old "treats" suddenly don't seem so appealing, and it truly becomes more about fuel. In order to perform and do what I love, I have to have a steady flow of nutrients, and they're not coming from snickers. That said, I also listen to my body and if I need to ease up a bit temporarily, I do that. You can't let unneccessary guilt snowball and sabotage all your hard work. J: For many of the women out there who have 100 things to balance and keep in check with family, kids, work, you name it; How do you help the people you work with stay motivated and committed to exercise? B: There is always time. I have LOADS of friends who are working moms and they are so committed to their exercise routines. Is it easy? Hell no. Do they struggle at times? Absolutely. The time may not be the best (ie early in the morning, on your lunch break, or later at night), but there is always time somewhere in the day. This is another reason that I'm a fan of the weights for ladies. You can do A LOT in an hour with weight training. If you keep moving you WILL change your body. Less can be more! E: Deinitely! You have to tap into what you really want on a gut level. Sometimes I work 14 hour days, but I love working out and I deserve that time! We are all SO busy, but out of 24 hours, no one can tell me that I'm not important enough to take one hour that's just for me! J: For those of us out there looking for a trainer, what kind of things should we ask to make sure we are getting the right fit? B: Any good trainer should fit a program to you, NOT you to their program. There are a lot of trainers who perscribe the same diets and exercises to all of their clients with no regard for personal goals. A good trainer will ask you what your short AND long-term goals are, what foods you like or dislike, what your areas of weakness are, and what you expect from personal training. If they don't seem like they care, or are disengaged from the conversation, it's time to move on. E: I think chemistry with a trainer is so important. I have been so blessed with wonderful trainers throughtout this journey, and my experiences have shaped not only my body, but who I've become as a person. They should understand (and care about!) your specific goals,should push you further than you are willing to go on your own, and be able to foster a belief in yourself to do what you never thought you could. J: Sigh...so true- some trainers out there are more interested in what they have to say than what you are trying to achieve! J: Do you have an exercise you absolutely hate to do but have to do it? If so, how do you get through it? B: I hate all leg exercises. No exaggeration. I despise working legs. If I had to pick 1 exercise that I hate the most it would be anything with a forward lunge: walking lunges, plyo jump lunges, plyo split jumps, plain ol' front lunges - gah!! I just worked legs tonight and let me tell you - I am MAD that I had to do that to myeslf tonight. I just grin and bear it, truthfully. I just remind myself that these exercises are giving me good cuts in my quads, and are essential for strong, defined legs on stage. I picture myself on stage in my suit, with glorious quad separation. It seems to help. Some. J: So appreciative of your honesty here; for me the erg was brutal...hated every minute I spent with that machine. J: I'm a firm believer of eating smaller meals every three hours and with the help of supplements (Amphetalean or 2Shredded are my favorites!) I can achieve this with no problems whatsoever. Can you give me a peek into what a typical training day and diet looks like for you? B: I eat 6 times a day right now, and am consuming about 1300 calories. When I'm not competing, I take in about 1500-1700 and have an entire cheat day (yes, day) on the weekends. Currently, I am lifting metabolically 4 times a week, doing 2 days of HIIT, and 1 day with my trainer and the rest of the girls who are competing in October. In an off season, I just lift 4-5 times a week, some are MET, some are not. It just depends on my goals. Oh, and no cardio. Ever. Just the way I like it. E: I'm doing 4-6 total body circuits, boot camp style, and 2 HIIT days, also. I added in one steady run a week just to prepare for some endurance events I have coming up. The diet is in the same range, though due to health ndition, cheat days are off the table for me. It's still important to feed your muscles, so once a week I add 500 calories of healthy carbs to keep my metabolism up. J: Erin, no cheat days for you? Dang girl! you are a stronger woman than I ever could be! :) J: What do you consider to be your biggest achievement? B: I played on an Olympic Development soccer team when I was a senior in high school. We went to Denmark and England and played the England women's national team and beat them. That's pretty badass (that's also when I busted my knee). I also placed 5th at Jr. USAs last year, which was a great accomplishment in my 1st year of competing. And, obviously, getting chosen as a new Beast Sports Girl definitely ranks up there in awesomeness. J: Impressive Beth and amazing indeed! I stopped playing because of injuries, is that why you stopped? J: Beth, I know you like to cook - what is your favorite dish to make? Are you going to be sharing some recipes with us? B: I am obsessed with cooking, and I love eating; not just because food tastes good and keeps me from being hungry. Eating is a complete sensory experience for me. I like textures and intense flavor combinations. When I go out to restaurants I eat very slowly and try to figure out what ingredients were used. I am a bigtime foodie. I have been cooking with my mom since I was old enough to say "I want pancakes." My favorite dish, hands down, is my mother's homemade spaghetti sauce. I serve it with whole wheat pasta and turkey meatballs or chicken sausuage. It reminds me of home, and it is the ultimate comfort food for me. I make it on cold, rainy nights and it warms my belly and makes me smile. I make huge batches of it at a time and then freeze it. That way, if I need marinara for anything, I've got it handy. Damnit, now I want spaghetti. And............of COURSE I will be sharing recipes. I am putting together a bunch of recipes for a cookbook, as well. J: Can't wait!! J: Erin, I've heard you rock at the hair salon and do boot camp classes...what do you do to relax? and did you know that part of your duties as Beast Girl is to give makeovers to everyone at the Beast Office? (me first!) (just kidding! sorta!) E: I do rock at the salon ,and it would be my pleasure to provide Beast makeovers! When I have some downtime, I like to be outdoors, even if its just sitting on my patio with a good book. I definitely make it a point to get out and connect with nature as often as possible. J: Ok yeah be careful what you say! We may take you up on it! J: So Beth/Erin, now that you have been selected as one of the first ever Beast Sports Girl, what's next for you (aside from Beastly World Domination of course)? B: Well, I'm hoping to do well at my next show. I'd like to win my class - that's always my goal going into a show. The show is an OCB pro-qualifier, so I do also have the opportunity to win my IFPA pro card. I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a goal of mine, either. E: I really want to share my passion for fitness and nutrition with as many people as possible, so my focus this year is to complete at least 2 of my certifications, so I can start working with clients one on one. And of course, integrating myself here at Beast :) After that, the sky is the limit! -Thank you girls for answering my questions...anything you want to plug? B: I hope people continue to read the blogs and provide feedback! I always want to know what readers think of what we post. -Alright thanks for your time and see you soon!