Elizabeth Bradshaw - IFBB Physique Pro
Follow-up interview with Elizabeth Bradshaw.
1. Elizabeth, how are you? Thanks for joining me again, now as a Pro.
Thank you very much Jonathan for your interest in learning about my experiences in the NPC and IFBB and for the opportunity to share a bit about my journey into the IFBB and now as an IFBB Physique Pro competitor. So far Iím feeling fantastic and focusing on making huge improvements during this offseason. My goal continues to be the same; to someday share the Olympia stage with the best in the world.
2. SoÖ please share experiences from the NPC Universe.
The NPC Universe was my fourth national competition but my second in the womenís physique division. I began competing in Figure and then decided after the Jr. USAís in 2014 to re-qualify for nationals as a physique competitor. We kept running into Lee Haney 8X Mr. Olympia at every national competition and he kept advising me to switch to physique. Boy was Lee Haney ever right! It seemed I was better developed for the physique division than figure. I was hesitant to switch because I knew with my time constraints it would be challenging to prepare for the physique division.
Quickly I fell in love with the mandatory poses in the physique division which give us women with more muscle a greater opportunity to showcase our hard work. After the North Americans in Pittsburgh and a 5th place finish in the open class and 7th in the masters my coach and I decided it was time to take a break from competing and continue training hard. The goal was to improve so much I would undoubtedly earn a pro card at the next national competition.
It was important to have an off season; after all I had competed in three national qualifying shows and three national shows back to back within one year time. The time off allowed me to gain muscle I had not been able to while dieting down for so many consecutive shows. My coach is also my husband; and he was right about me winning my pro card at the NPC Universe. He has always and continues to believe in me and support me 100% every step of the way. One key ingredient to succeeding in this sport is having an important person in your life supporting you every step of the way.
The competition was tough in New Jersey; the women brought amazing physiques, astounding routines, and friendly attitudes. We had a great time meeting so many competitors from all divisions as well as couples who train and compete together. The amount of mutual respect the athletes shared was inspiring. One of my most favorite moments next to earning my pro card was meeting IFBB Physique Pro & 2X now Ms. Olympia Juliana Malacarne and IFBB Figure Pro Candice Keene. They were both even more beautiful in person, so incredibly friendly, and extremely down to earth. When we see the menís bodybuilding division we often think bigger is better. After speaking to Juliana Malacarne who is actually my height and about my weight I was more determined and convinced I too could someday be at the same Olympia stage as her.
3. How was your prep different this time from previous contests? What would you attribute the improvement to?
The prep to the NPC Universe was completely different from the other previous preps I had done. I also had ten months to prepare for it after competing at the North Americans in August of 2014. This allowed me more time to focus on my posing, develop an impressive 60 second choreographed routine and a flawless presentation.
During the offseason prep I allowed myself to gain a higher percentage of body fat so I would have the energy to train as hard as I could without any injuries. The goal was to gain as much muscle as possible and still be in conditioned shape. This was a tough balance but achievable. I think this is one of the toughest things mentally because as an athlete I enjoy being leaner and looking and feeling sexy. Having to put on more body fat can have a negative affect mentally if it becomes a primary focus.
For the Universe I had to increase the intensity in my workouts and allow more rest in between my training sessions to recuperate and grow. As I changed physically my diet was adjusted accordingly. It was crucial to be on point since so much time and energy had been placed on this prep and I was determined to showcase my hard work and endless dedication to the sport.
My choice in music for finals was ďItís a Manís Manís Manís World,íí by Seal. It sends a powerful message and I feel women have really made a huge impact in this sport. I completely placed my trust in my prep coach and in doing so we reached our ultimate goal and earned my pro card.
4. What does being a Pro competitor mean to you?
Being a Pro competitor means a lot to me. Achieving this monumental goal was no easy feat; training to earn my pro card took a lot of work, energy and many sacrifices. I missed out on so many family gatherings and social events. I believe as a pro we have a huge responsibility to live by higher standards. We represent the IFBB (International Federation of Body Building); the biggest and greatest organization which allows us to compete at the Mecca of all competitions the Olympia.
Every one competing dreams of some day standing on the very stage as Mr. Olympia Sergio Oliva, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo, Frank Zane, Chris Dickerson, Samir Bannout, Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman, and so many great competitors. For the women I believe we all want to be as unforgettable as Rachel McLish, Cory Everson, Lenda Murray, Iris Kyle, Dana Linn Bailey, Juliana Malacarne, Nicole Wilkins, and Amanda Kuclo. Whatever our division is we all want the same thing in this sport and that is to be the best we can be.
5. Whatís your favorite part of competing?
My favorite part of competing is the satisfaction I feel when I achieve my goals. Itís important to set short and long term goals in this sport and in life. The way to measure accountability and success is through goal setting. Every day my goal is to set foot in the gym and train to the best of my ability, eat for my sport and be happy with the choices I make. My long term goals are the legacy I leave behind and hopefully itís one I and my heirs can be proud of. Competing gives me the opportunity to travel and visit different places and meet diverse groups of people from competitors, photographers, promoters, judges, vendors, potential sponsors and most importantly the fans.
Every competition is important and produces opportunity for growth. Taking criticism from the judges is vital for change and taking something of value from each competition can lead to much needed improvements and wisdom. I look at each competition as a stepping stone towards greater success. I must say I do love the freedom of creating a posing routine to express myself and display my muscularity.
6. How do you stay so motivated?
Staying motivated hasnít been an issue for me. Growing up I always dreamed of looking like the fitness women in the magazines but at a young age I lacked the tools and knowledge. Once I began my fitness journey my yearning for improving became this innate hunger to achieve what seemed to be the impossible. Many people see my photos and think my husband married me because of how I look now, but in reality he fell in love with me because of my kind heart, willing to help others, my yearning desire to always be a better person, and my great love for life and him.
I do owe my transformation and success partly to my husband and his vast knowledge and wisdom. The reason I say partly accredit my husband is because even with his ability to create a champion none of this would be possible without my drive, determination and desire to develop a pro card winning physique. With his help I have been able to achieve the look I have so desired and need to compete at a higher level. Together as a team we have focused on bringing up my weaknesses and developing a more symmetrical body. Team work is secret to our success!
There are times I have to train alone and I find my passion for the sport fuels me. Consistently wanting to improve and be better today than I was yesterday motivates me daily. When I first began working out I started by myself and I didnít have a clue on where this journey would take me but I knew I was driven and my will and determination would help me reach any goal. Perhaps what drives me is seeing the look in my husbandís eyes as we share a moment every time we train or I step on stage, and accomplish a goal. My husband competed for several decades and since retiring his main focus has been in me realizing my dreams. We jokingly say he ďpassed the torch,Ē and now it is my time to shine.
7. In your pro debut at The IFBB Prestige Crystal Cup (July 18th in Boca Raton, FL), you ran into some tough competition and placed 7th out of 22 athletes in the wpd. What was your pro debut experience like and how was it different from the amateur ranks?
My pro debut at the IFBB Prestige Crystal Cup, July 18th in Boca Raton, FL was very exciting and surreal. To be recognized finally as a pro meant so much to me and to be able to share it with my husband meant the world. All of the women competing alongside me had phenomenal physiques, astonishing choreographed routines, and impeccable poise and beauty. The competition was definitely fierce, and I was honored to be amongst so many seasoned pros. For me, to place 7th out of 22 other women physique competitors at my pro debut felt pretty fantastic and there were no words to describe how I felt.
There was a real sense of camaraderie back stage and I finally had the opportunity to catch up with my friends Lisa Grasso and Lisa Horrigan. I also had the opportunity to meet and visit with fellow competitors Andrea Holliday, Jill Dearmin, Karen Yoakam, and Sheri Gray. I even had a photo op with the champer Kira Neuman, Jennifer Hernandez, Jill Reville, and Roxeanne Edwards.
The Womenís Physique Angel Project started by IFBB Pro Tycie Coppet brought both Lisa Stark and Lisa Horrigan and I closer together in a gift exchange. The project allowed us to meet and greet and share a little about ourselves. The wonderful project is intended to join women physique competitors and celebrate together their time on stage in spite of whatever our struggles and challenges may have been during competition prep.
Everyone from the promoters, to the expediters and fellow competitors made me feel welcomed on the pro stage. So many of the competitors took a moment to say hello and visit with me backstage. My experience has been similar with the NPC amateur competitions. Everyone competing shares similar struggles and challenges therefore we know the sacrifices we all have made to be on stage. Often I see competitors helping each other with tanning, glazing, bikini bite, hair, makeup, and jewelry and suit malfunctions. I feel even though we are competing against each other for the first place title we also feel a sense of community and family within the organizations.
8. In a poll at MSN.com, "What's your secret to weight-loss success?", 33% of responders chose More protein, fewer carbs. What do you think?
My secret to weight-loss success has been the increased intensity in my workouts. Eating for the level of activity is just as important as the amount of physical exertion. The reason so many people fail when trying to lose weight is because the focus is all on the intake of food instead of incorporating a more intense training regimen. Diet alone cannot ensure success; a significant amount of importance should be placed on physical activity.
9. What is a day in the life of Elizabeth Bradshaw like?
A day in the life of Elizabeth BradshawÖwell letís just say Iím waking up the rooster. Some days Iím awake before the alarm goes off. Usually six days out of the week Iím up by 2:30am and I rarely have a pause button. Most people gasp when they learn this about me but if I want to train with my coach this is what I must do. For several years I worked full time, was a full time student, a personal trainer and an NPC amateur competitor and all at the same time. Then later I had the opportunity to focus solely on my education and my training. Competing takes a huge commitment, dedication, persistence, and a strong will. Going back to college and earning my degree after a long break gave me the confidence and ability to believe in myself and to accomplish all goals I set for myself.
Recently I have been able to focus strongly on my competitive career since graduating in August of 2014 with my bachelors in business management just weeks before the North Americans in Pittsburgh. Being able to focus on competing was a contributing factor to my success at the Universe. Currently my time is spent with my husband and my dogs. For now Iím catching up on quality family time at a beautiful resort. The dogs and I have daily excursions. On our daily adventures we encounter horses, chickens, wild birds, lizards and frogs, rabbits and the occasional rattlesnake. We get to meet new people and their friendly loyal pups. For now Iím enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation but certainly not from training. There are so many projects and ideas in my head I would love to tackle but for now they will have to wait. I have learned it is better to focus on one important task at a time and be successful at it then to become overwhelmed with too many.
10. What are your interests outside of the bodybuilding world?
My interests outside of the bodybuilding world include my family and my pups, the beach, traveling, cooking, and meeting people and human resource management. During the offseason I try to make extra quality time for my family. For now my travels are limited to cities within Texas but I look forward to visiting Australia, Spain, Austria, Brazil, and the Cayman Islands. Iím a huge fan of food so lately I have been trying new recipes and substituting unhealthy ingredients with healthier ones. As we age our bodies change and certain foods become intolerable. Food plays a vital role in the development and maintenance of our bodies and I enjoy learning about the benefits of different foods to help alleviate symptoms, heal the body, and maintain a healthy immune system.
11. Future plans?
My future plans include competing once again at the IFBB Prestige Crystal Cup in 2016. Winning a pro competition and qualifying to compete at the Olympia is my ultimate goal. I for see myself standing on the most coveted Olympia stage next to Juliana Malacarne, Kira Neuman, Tycie Coppet, and Dani Reardon, and all of the best in the world.
One of my dreams is to be on the cover of a fitness magazine such as Oxygen, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Womenís Health, FitnessRX, Iron Man, Muscular Development, and Flex. I would love to work closely with a childrenís nonprofit organization especially one fighting child obesity such as the Spring Cure Foundation. Being an ambassador for health and nutrition has always been on the top of my list. Eventually I look forward to developing a website to inform and inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle.
Facebook: IFBB Pro Elizabeth Bradshaw
Competition Prep Guides
Go to Elizabeth's first appearance
on Models Observer (Feb 2014)