Oana Hreapca Interview

Oana Hreapca (25) is a rising star in bodybuilding. She was born in Romania, and got numerous titles in bodybuilding and powerlifting. In a unique interview she tells how she builds her qualitative muscle mass, the winning combination of trainings and nutrition and what it takes to compete in the hardest sport in the world - Bodybuilding.

Author: Jonathan.L - owner Models Observer
August 2007

* Oana, in 2006 you won 1st place at powerlifting nationals, 1st place at an international trophy in bodybuilding and you were Overall champion in bodybuilding in Romania. Moreover, a long time ago you even won 1st place at national championships in athletics hammer throw and javelin throw. In everything you do you are the best. What is the secret of your phenomenal success?

Oana Hreapca: There is no secret at all to what I do. I think the way to succeed is through hard work, commitment and determination, and I have these qualities . I don't consider my successes phenomenal yet, but I am striving for that kind of success. I hope one day that I will be known around the world, not just for my body, but also for the quality of person that I am. I am an honest, caring person. I look for the good in people and hope for the same in return.

* You've reached the top of the bodybuilding and powerlifting sports in Romania. When you are such a great champion Oana, do you still have someone to compete against in Romania? You've beaten them all!

Oana Hreapca: I do not consider myself the best. I do not know if I will ever be "The Best", but I am trying to improve every day. I think I still have a long way to go, but someday I hope to show to the world just how good I can be.

* From your rich experience in bodybuilding, is it possible to build muscle fast? What is more imprtant for weight loss and muscle building: training or nutrition? Why do you think so?

Oana Hreapca: Yes it is possible, but it is not easy and some of the issues involved are beyond your control, like the genes you were born with for example. A lot of it depends on your determination and your willingness to really commit yourself to the work involved and the mental challenges you will face as you work through plateaus in your development. There are times when it seems like nothing is happening, you do not see any changes happening, etc. and it is very difficult to continue to put in the time and the work involved when it does not seem like you are getting any results. You have got to be mentally strong enough to keep a positive attitude and continue the hard work in the gym all while carefully controlling your food intake.
There really is not a way to build muscle with either one, training or nutrition. The two work together. You can train as hard and long as you want to, but if you are eating the wrong food you will still not get the look you are looking for. It goes the same with nutrition… you can watch what you eat and be on a very strict diet, but without the time in the gym, you will not see any gains either. I know this from experience. Experience is a good teacher and it takes time to learn how your body responds to different food and different training. You also learn a lot about yourself during the difficult times when it does not seem like you are making any gains in the gym. There is another factor too. How fast does your body recover after a hard workout? Everyone is different and some people take longer to recover than others. Your body goes through a lot when you are training hard to gain muscle and you have to give your body time to recuperate or you can end up doing damage to your body, and that can really slow you down. Until you have been through this first hand, it is very hard to describe the experience.

* What do you think about bodybuilding in Romania? Is the sport popular in your country?

Oana Hreapca: Unfortunatelly in Romania, bodybuilding is not very popular. People in Romania do not have a good view of this sport, and this is especially true for women. We are looked at as being masculine because we have muscles. There is very little support countrywide for the sport, so most of us do it for the love of the sport and the desire to be the best we can be.

* How would you describe your nutrition (number of meals, types of food, calories)? And which supplements do you use?

Oana Hreapca: I take my nutrition very seriously. Many women bulk up in the off-season and they loose a lot of definition. I remain dedicated to my diet year round. I do not like to bulk up so I watch what I eat very carefully. I have found that healthy foods high in protein and low in carbohydrates works best for me. I take time to rest my body when I need to and I use supplements that work together with the food I eat and the different phases of training that I am going through, whether I am working to add size or if I am dieting down and getting cut for competition. When you are getting ready for a contest there are supplements that you need so you do not loose too much of the muscle you worked so hard to add.

I usually have 5 -6 meals a day. I really watch the fat content of the food I eat and focus on the foods with more protein and less carbs. I prefer chicken and fish, and sometimes eggs, milk, yogurt, rice, potatoes, cereals, vegetables, fruits and of course in the off-season I cheat sometimes with something sweet. In this period I can train really hard with heavy weight to grow as much as I can. When I am preparing for a contest I try to eat less carbs, and almost nothing with lactates. I limit the amount of fruits and cereals and I do a lot of cardio work. The training is longer and I do a lot of supersets and reps for cutting. The specific supplements I take include a high percentage of glutamine, creatine, and with the creatine you have to take a lot of vitamins or you could find yourself adding fat instead of muscle, and antioxidants. In season I use some fat burners too. They help to get that ripped, contest ready look as you try to get your body fat as low as you can before the show.

* Powerlifting is consisting of three events: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. Which one of them do you find harder than others?

Oana Hreapca: For me the deadlift is the hardest because I do not have long arms and it is hard to pick up the barbell from the floor and go through the motions required to do the lift and maintain the form required for competition, but I can manage because of many years of experience and working on my technique .

* You were graduated in Sports Faculty 2004, from University "Al.I.Cuza", from Iasi Trainers School in Bucharest, in weightlifting 2004 and in February 2006, you were graduated with master in "Management and marketing in sport". How does your rich academic background help you in preparations for bodybuilding and powerlifting contests?

Oana Hreapca: My studies have helped me in many ways. It might sound funny, but the biggest thing I have gotten from my studies is commitment and discipline. It took a lot of work to get my masters and I really had to force myself to study. It is this discipline that I have incorporated into my preparations for bodybuilding and weightlifting. In my studies I also learned how to bring the best out of the people I was teaching. I now apply the same principles to my pursuit of being the best I can be in bodybuilding and weightlifting. Unfortunately, here we are not paid so well, so financially I am not so satisfied, but who knows... someday it may be better.

* Please describe your work as a fitness trainer at school for weightlifting and bodybuilding. How do you adjust for each athlete the best strength training, weight training and powerlifting training programs?

Oana Hreapca: I like people and I like to help them succeed, so it is very important for me to do a good job with the people I am training. I want them to be satisfied and happy about the training services I provide for them. Right now I am more involved with bodybuilding and it is very time consuming, so if someone comes to me for training I try to determine what their plan is and what their goals are. I know many of the trainers around, and I try to help them by putting them in touch with the right trainer. I train people from time to time, but for the most part, I am focused on my own training. I do work with them to make sure they understand everything involved in reaching their goals, once we have established exactly what their goals are. A lot of the people that come in have no idea how much is involved with the sport, and many decide it is not for them after we discuss everything they are going to have to do to reach the goals they tell me they would like to reach. If they are willing to put in the work I will help them put together a program that will deliver their desired results.

* In your opinion, why are so many women afraid of building muscle mass? What would you tell them?

Oana Hreapca: Most of them think a woman with muscle is masculine, but this is not true. You can combine muscularity and femininity. I consider myself a better person since I started bodybuilding. I feel good about myself and the way I look and I have learned a lot about my body and myself. I have been told that I have maintained my femininity while adding the size and definition that I desire. My body has changed a lot and my mind has changed too. I have gained a lot of confidence and I just feel better about me. I suggest to men to look inside the female bodybuilder and get to know her as a person and not just judge us by how we look. We are real people too and not just a woman who has muscles.

* Do you consider yourself romantic?

Oana Hreapca: I think I am a romantic. I love nature, peaceful and quiet time with the one I love, good friends, good food, slow music, and other people who simply enjoy life

What makes you happy in life?

Oana Hreapca: I am happiest if I see other people happy and enjoying life, living in peace with themselves and with others. I like being free to follow my dreams. I love and liked to be loved, and I am... hehehe (smiles) I have great friends, true friends who really care, so yes, I think I am very happy!

* I see your zodiac is Cancer. Does your zodiac sign accurately match your own personality, or is it completely opposite?

Oana Hreapca: Hehehe, yes...sometimes I go one step forward and then I go three back. But I have learned that you need to remain positive no matter what happens in life and since I am a positive person I think I am totally opposed to this "cancer".

* What are your future plans?

Oana Hreapca: My future plans... hehehe. There are many plans. I have a lot of dreams to follow, but the most important is to be a quality people no matter where I end up and no matter what I end up doing. I will continue to try and improve everyday in everything I do. My biggest goal is to make sure I give my best effort in everything I do.

Oana's site: www.Oanafbb.com

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