Jolene Galvin: Keeping it on the low with Jo Jo.

On a recent work-related vacation to Phoenix, Arizona Muscleweek’s Senior Editor, Shane Ray spent 3 days at the Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix where he attended the 2012 Emergency Medical Service’s Staying Alive conference on new pre-hospital procedures on patient intubation during asthmatic emergencies.

Always looking to get in his workout no matter which city he is in, Shane took a cab west on Van Buren Dr to the 101 Freeway over to East Shea Blvd. where he found a Lifetime Fitness that accepted the Free Day Pass he printed out. In the middle of his workout he also finds local NPC Bikini competitor and local, Jolene Galvin.

After a brief introduction Jolene decided to give the Chicago native his interview so they sat at the juice bar, ordered some post-workout nutrition and spoke about Bikini, Phoenix city and the nitty gritty.

MW: Jolene. Welcome to Muscleweek. Tell the readers at home a little bit about yourself. You’re from MA, right? What brings an East Coast girl so far west to Phoenix?

JG: Yes I am originally from MA. I vacationed in Phoenix during the month of January and I thought why anyone would want to live anywhere else. A year later I made the move and have been here for 6 1/2 years. It’s HOT in the summer but it beats shoveling snow, driving on black ice and defrosting your car.

MW: Word up! I know all about that noise. So you compete in Bikini. I have to ask this or I wouldn’t be doing my job. Would you consider yourself an ATHLETE? It has been argued that Bikini competitor, even bodybuilders for that matter aren’t athletes just mere pageant contestants. Your thoughts?

MW: Absolutely. I am an athlete. Through diet and 2-3 hours a day at the gym I possess the acquired traits of strength, agility, and endurance which are necessary for competitive contexts and this makes me an athlete. The “pageant” look is only on competition day with hair, makeup, cosmetics and a nice posing suit won’t get you far if you haven’t trained like an “athlete”. And if golfers are athletes then Bikini competitors are athletes too!

MW: So what’s the criteria here? Is it more or less a beauty contest with a banging body or is there a distinct look that is set in stone? It seems like every single show the judges change their minds with what looking they are letting win a pro card.

JG: Pro cards are given to those who posses the traits of a banging body, beauty and glam. There is an outline of what the judges are looking for, however it is very general in my opinion. Many local judges attend a class and get their judging certification. What was taught at that class will set the standard for how they will judge. At local shows I have placed Top 3 one week and returned a few weeks later and placed Top 10. This makes me question the criteria. On the national level you see more consistency with the judging. Now that Bikini has been around for a few years a standard is devolving and the girls are coming in leaner, rounder and tighter. As a competitor I focus on the face, waste and bootie then leave the rest for the judges!

MW: Agree. Bikini girls are starting to evolve into what Figure should have been. Anyway. Shit rolls down hill. I remember when Figure hit the scene the female bodybuilders and Fitness girls resented them and now the Figure girls resent Bikini. Who does Bikini have to hate on?

JG: I know some Master’s Bikini competitors who compete in the Open Classes and they resent the 18 year old competitor who placed first but then again I have resented the Master’s lady who beat me and had her 5 kids in the stands cheering her on. [Laughter]

MW: These days not a single person steps on stage without a coach or being a part of some Team. Not a single one. I remember when competitors used a mirror only. What’s the benefit of having a “coach” and how necessary is it?

JG: Having a coach lead you through a plan including diet, supplements, cardio and lifting takes much of the thought out of competition prep. Posing, suit selection and all other details that go into getting on stage will be assisted by a good coach. There are plenty of “Coaches” out there. Having the right coach is what makes the difference. Being backstage as a female competitor can be very intimidating and really messes with your mind if you start comparing yourself to others. Being part of a team gives you support and encouragement. I see girls backstage that are a hot mess and their teammates are telling them.. “girl you look good, your are going to kill it”. At the end of the day 5 people leave with a trophy and the others with a competitor number so you need to make the most of your time backstage and have fun.

MW: Let’s elaborate more. Over the last few years I’ve seen Teams merge with an obvious political connection to the upper echelons of the NPC power brokers. Is this the main reason why people, especially the girls flock to one particular “coach” or Team?

JG: It’s all about marketing and branding. A successful coach builds a brand through advertising their success causing the rest of us want the same. When you see a coaches competitors winning top titles and landing on the cover of magazines why wouldn’t you want to sign-up to their program?

MW: There is one particular Team that is very dominant on the NPC level sending most of their members to the professional ranks. Is their “mama” a nutritional genius or is she just the face of the silent owner which is “the prez” ?

JG: Mama is a nutritional genius. Her diets work. Shoot she looks great herself!

MW: I read lots of books about Cults. From Heaven’s Gates to The Branch Davidians. Even Charles Manson had his own Cult. I contend that a certain Team that caters to the Bikini and Figure girls to be very in line with classic symptoms of Cult-like behavior. Do you see the same?

JG: That Team has a very successful leader who was smart enough to protect her brand from those not a part of the team. This is a lifestyle for girls to live by year round and not just 12 weeks out from a show. If you want the same success this Team has produced you need to follow what the leaders say. Some might see this as cult like behavior. It’s competition just like any other sports team. I see it more like a football team that keeps play calls a secret. Everyone just wants to be #1.

MW: Jolene. Let’s say you win a pro card. How does your life change at that point? Do the opportunities just pour in or is it just another $200 expense annually?
Going pro would be another assist to have but like anything in life it’s all about what you choose to do with it. Let’s face it, if I look good enough to win my pro card I would hope I look good enough to promote a product or land in magazines. I can wait to have a title before my name too!

MW: So what the heck got you into this whole bodybuilding scene? Were you a total square in highschool and now everyone must look at you now or was it some transgression from sports?

JG: Well, I definitely look different then I did in high school and I do love the reaction I get from people from my past when they see me now but that’s not my reason for getting into this scene. I have worked out my entire life both with a trainer and on my own. I have competed since I was 3 years old showing horses’ so competing was in my blood. In 2010 I had no horse to show and decided I wanted to get into bodybuilding. I contacted a local trainer, Karen Mullarkey and told her I wanted to train to be a bodybuilder. She schooled me on what a bodybuilder was and I found myself training for bikini instead. Spring of 2011 I competed in my first show and was hooked.

MW: Lots of you competitor chicks feel a need to date a bodybuilder. Do you date lazy unemployed lying turd burglar bodybuilders who lay on your couch all day long eating you out of your paychecks or do you date real men with actual J-O-B-S who have a future with health insurance and a pension plan?

JG: To be with me you have to have a J-O-B! There is a life outside of bodybuilding and I plan on living a long time so yes my man must have a stable job with benefits and a pension plan. I work two jobs to pay for my lifestyle so there is nothing left over for anyone else.

MW: Good answer. Refreshing, actually. Often I say that couples who train for shows together, never ever stay together. Is there truth behind my philosophy?

JG: I have no personal experience with this but could see how it could cause problems. Jealousy might be an issue or the pressure to always be on plan or look a certain way.

MW: Jolene. What’s your best memory in your time on the stage and in the bodybuilding industry? For me it was my drunken nights staggering around Columbus, Ohio during the Arnold peeing in alleys trying to find my hotel. What comes to mind for you?

JG: I too have a similar story but I haven’t made enough of a name for myself yet to share this story without ruining my reputation. My best memory to date is competing at the USA’s last year. This was my first National Competition and I felt so proud of myself to be on stage with the best of the best. My personal goal was top 15 and I made it. It was a learning experience in so many ways. I also added a new best friend for life, Jean Loveridge who changed my life during this time. Jean is a straight shooter who keeps it real and that’s what I needed! That story I didn’t share took place when I first met Jean for the first time. Someday I will share the story with you.

MW: Jean is a friend of mine and of Muscleweek. Tell me that story off the record and I’ll try not to run with it. If you could change one thing about the bodybuilding industry what would it be?

JG: I have been waiting to share my answer to this question so listen up! I believe that there should be more of a true standard to the judging guidelines for Figure and Bikini. It is stated that Bikini judging is based on “balance and shape” as well as “overall physical appearance including complexion, skin tone, poise and overall presentation”. There needs to be more detail and description to the criteria the judges are looking for regarding “balance and shape”. You, yourself asked me earlier, “What’s the criteria here?” If I don’t know the criteria as a competitor how do I know what the judges are really looking for? Even with regards to posing there are no criteria other then a front pose and a back stance with hands on hips. Depending on the state I am competing in I will alter my posing to appease the judges. I have seen judges’ cards with no consistency in the placing. The judges are clearly as lost as the competitors. With no true criteria how do we know what’s too muscular, too skinny, abs too hard or too soft?

MW: You’re right. I believe they don’t want a definitive criteria so they can place who they want where they want and have nobody to answer to. So what does Jolene Galvin want her legacy to be?

JG: I want to be known for my will to succeed in all I do. I want people to know me as being a humble person with great sportsmanship. I keep a great attitude in all I do and help everyone I can. My gym friends call me Mama J!

MW: Who’s your industry husband? If you can squeeze any dude’s glutes whose would it be?

JG: I have my eye set on someone as far as my industry husband and working on the next move. I would definitely squeeze Phil Heath’s glutes. He is tall, dark and handsome and those eyes! Plus I am curious how a Mr. Olympia’s glutes feel!

MW: [Laughter] I bet. We all saw the facebook post where he alerted the press that his eyes matched his shirt. Supplements. Tell me 3 things you are always stocked up on?

JG: ISO-X Whey Protein, Vitamin C and Vitamin B-12.

MW: Tell me about some of your interests outside the glitter and glitz of the bodybuilding world.

JG: I am a professional horse trainer and instructor as well as a judge. I instruct children and adults with their show horses at Matthew Roberts Stables in Cave Creek, AZ. We travel all over the USA showing horses on a national level. I am a huge sports fan. I majored in Sports Management at UMASS. Football is my favorite sport. Go Colts! My dream job is to be Head of Operations for a NFL team. Currently I am a paralegal for a very successful Commercial Civil Litigation law firm in Phoenix. I also am very involved in my church and lead a women’s Bible study. I work 7 days a week and I am a lady in the streets but I know how to have a good time as well.

MW: Excellent. I like the Coyotes since Jeremy Roenick played for them. If you were stuck on an elevator for 24hrs what 3 items would you wish for and please don’t tell me your paperback copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.

JG: Well since you put it that way I would wish for my iPhone, my 6 Pack Bag filled with my meals and supplements for a day and a gallon of water.

MW: All I am wondering now is what you’d do if you had to pee with all of that water. Okay. Who in the bodybuilding industry would you like to kick square in between the shoulder blades?

JG: This answer I am going to keep that name to myself. For now..

MW: Fine! Jolene. You survived Muscleweek’s Hot Seat. Is there anything you would like to promote? How does someone get ahold of you for sponsorship opportunity or modeling work?

JG: or you can find me on facebook.


– Favorite Exercise: Squats
– Favorite Cheat Meal: Pizza and pancakes
– Favorite Clean Meal: Orange roughy, asparagus and sweet potato
– Favorite Gym: Lifetime Fitness Scottsdale, AZ
– Last Movie You Loved: The Blind Side
– Favorite Drink: Coffee
– Favorite Vacation Destination: Anyplace along the ocean


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