The social network of Muscleweek Senior Editor, Shane Ray is something to behold. When told by his Editor In Chief that the site needs more interviews with “women with some flavor” it was an easy pick for Shane. Immediately picking up his cell phone and scrolling down 294 names to get to Redding, California girl and Bikini competitor, Sondra Blockman.
On a late Friday night and after a couple Four Loko’s to get into the zone, Shane Ray gave Sondra a call and told her she was being recorded for an exclusive interview with Muscleweek.com .
And so it goes…
MW: Sondra. Welcome to Muscleweek! Right off the bat tell us what about your on stage swagger you displayed recently at the 2012 NPC USA’s in Las Vegas. It seems like lots of critics blasted you for adding in a little extra. Did you have that planned or was it spontaneous?
SB: There were some parts of my “swagger” that were heat of the moment! I tend to ad-lib when I get anxious. Part of the criticism came from me unintentionally leaning too far forward on my back shot, which I completely understand. Judges want to see the BUTT! Not anything else. However, my signature Hand behind the head pose was called out as being “stripper-ish”? It’s Ironic to call it that when bikini girls are taught to parade around the stage doing far more suggestive things. I fail to see how being cute and having my hand behind my head is stripper-ish? That was just me having fun and making my posing different than the rest with-out being obscene. I got first place at the governor’s cup doing it, and no one said anything about that being suggestive or obscene.
MW: It goes to show the closeted sexuality of the guys at the judging panel. So are Bikini competitors athletes? Can they call themselves athletes? What’s the difference between what you do and a Miss Universe contest or a Miss Hawaiian Tropic contest? Can they call themselves athletes?
SB: Yes. REAL bikini competitors have to be athletes. I stress “real” because there are many out there who do not work hard enough to call themselves so. Constantly cheating, flimsy workouts, and crash dieting the last 2 weeks does not deserve the title of an athlete even If you have a rockin’ bod. Yes. I think some pageant girls are athletes as well. The difference between Bikini girls and Pageant girls is not dedication (they both have to have it), but rather mode of training. Pageant girls can display and train for a wide variety of talent impressive or unimpressive as it may be but Bikini girls all want to meet a certain aesthetic goal which requires A LOT of hours in the gym and a hardcore dedication to clean eating.
MW: You seem to be from a family very into health & fitness. I know you have a sister very into the scene. Was this lifestyle something that was taught to you growing up by your parents or was it something you adopted over time?
SB: Our whole family is pretty involved in the fitness lifestyle and we were molded to be active since we were young by participating in sports like martial arts, track and field and competitive gymnastics. I had always had a secret urge to do a bodybuilding contest (I use to watch bodybuilding shows with my dad when I was young), but didn’t have time to train for one until I was done with College and college sports.. My twin sister Erykah is a Figure Competitor and was able to get her foot in the door earlier then I could. After seeing her do it I really knew I wanted to myself.
MW: Lots of people claim that backstage at a show there is a lot of tension & animosity between the girls and even the other girls in different divisions such as Figure & Bodybuilding. Any truth behind those rumors?
SB: Eh, it’s hit and miss. Just like in any sport, people get nasty. I have met some of the nicest girls I have ever met backstage but I have also seen some of the snootiest and most superficial bimbos I’ve ever come across in all different divisions. For the most part, even though there are high levels of tension, most girls are ready to help one another out and are pretty friendly.
MW: How did the girls or even the promoters treat you backstage after the USA’s. I can’t imagine that bad since you placed pretty well at that show.
SB: Very well! They are very congratulatory and shared in my excitement and I got a lot more attention. Others, unfortunately treated me with disdain and resentment but that’s fine. I’m not losing sleep.
MW: You’re somewhat new to the game of competition in the NPC. What’s next for you? At your next outing will you do on stage what you did at the USA’s or will you conform to the judges wishes and play it conservative in a division with absolutely nothing conservative about it?
SB: Good question! I’m going to be working with posing coaches now (Team Dreamquest and Noel fuller), So I will have some things cleaned up to help me present myself and avoid unintentional blunders like my issue of leaning to far forward but I can’t see myself totally conforming. I’m not trying to stir the pot but I’m not going to change a pose because one person thinks it’s “stripperish” especially in a sport that is so subjective. One of the poses that I was blasted for [like mentioned before] was raising my hand behind my head and popping my hip, which is the same thing I did at the Governors cup (in which I won first place in my class) and nothing was ever said about it being inappropriate. to one person it is acceptable, but to the next it may be too much. Sometimes it’s very confusing and frustrating! I’m sorry, but how is flaunting your butt and bobbing your hips around stage and being told to act sexy conservative in the first place? All I can say is I will not do anything that I think is trashy or inappropriate on purpose. I want to keep everything as classy and fun as possible. There are children and families in the audience.
MW: Lots of girls who compete in Bikini around Chicagoland, where I live, are reportedly already dabbling in alchemy and pharmacy to compete. We both know it is 100% necessary to use drugs if you compete in Bodybuilding, Physique and Figure in the NPC but is it also required in Bikini?
SB: NO! I have very strong opinions about illegal physique enhancing aids and I don’t care if others don’t agree. Many men and women in Figure, Physique and Bodybuilding don’t dip in it look great and WIN! The look that’s wanted for bodybuilding may require it but to each their own. But Bikini girls? Worst joke I’ve ever heard! There is ABSOLUTELY no need for that. The only changes Bikini girls need to make to there bodies can easily be acquired naturally. Them taking it would be unnecessary and I would even call it cheating. If you can get the look that’s desired naturally from your own efforts then do it. Don’t be lazy.
MW: You’d be surprised how many girls I know are already using mild anabolics and growth hormone just for Bikini, Sondra. Lots of people have a hard time understanding how people can spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to compete in any bodybuilding division with virtually nothing in return. I know not everything is about monetary reward but how does one justify this?
SB: My motivation to keep doing competitions in such an expensive sport is the intrinsic reward I get. Don’t get me wrong, extrinsic awards like trophies are awesome but people who place the value in the extrinsic reward are the likeliest to burn out the fastest and completely fall off the band wagon when things go wrong. It is depressing and defeating to train 12-16 weeks for a brief moment of recognition only to go home empty handed. For me ?My body is my trophy and if I am happy with the end result of the months of training and dieting makes it worth it if I happen to go home empty handed. I love to push myself to the limits and it is thrilling to watch my body change. I also believe as a personal trainer I need to be a walking poster board for what I do. Training for these keeps me fit and motivated for myself and my clients. It’s important to practice what you preach!
MW: You’re a pretty busy girl. Working on the corporate side of personal training and along side of physical therapists. Come contest prep time how do you manage your schedule? Cram it all in and hope for the best or do you plan everything wisely?
SB: I’m not going to lie it started out as a struggle. That’s how bad I wanted it. I had to manage my day down to the last minute it feels like. I would start my day at 5:30 for morning cardio, head to the Physical Therapy clinic at 7-1, then I head to my Corporate job from 2-5:30. After that I would do resistance training from 6-7:30. I am completely exhausted by the time I got home. My schedule is much better now. After doing that for so long it became routine. I rarely complained about it.
MW: America is the most obese country in the world. It is not completely taboo for an American to be into health and fitness. In America it is norm to have an expanding waist line and to be somebody who drinks like a fish and live on fast food. Where did we go wrong?
SB: We went wrong in a lot of different places. There isn’t one simple answer as we have been snowballing in this direction for a while. Lack of personal responsibility, food industries, and socioeconomics are some of the big ones. We live in a society where everything must be convenient, easy, cheap and fast. Exercising and eating healthy for most people is none of those. We spend most of our time at 8-5 sit down jobs, spend way to much with our faces buried in technology while eating way to much junk food because it’s easily accessed. So all in all, there are numerous factors that contribute to the epidemic but it seems as though pure ignorance and lack of personal responsibility is the main cause for our countries Michelin Man physiques. We need to spend more time educating our youth so we can improve our countries image and our overall health.
MW: Facebook is loaded with every schmoe in the galaxy. I imagine that your inbox is flooded with propositions or suggestions from many different ghouls. What’s the weirdest private message you’ve ever received? I spoke to somebody who told me this one creep offered her money to pee on him.
SB: Yikes!! Fortunately I haven’t had anything that forward. I am badgered a lot with rando’s asking really stupid loaded questions. I have had a few pretty putrid thugs write me telling me the very specific things they wanted to do to me. I usually ignore them but sometimes I respond with the things I would love to do to them- Unfortunately, it’s probably not what they wanted to hear. There are some pretty stupid people out there.
MW: Sondra. You seem like a cool, hip and well articulated girl. You seem like you have a lot going on and that you’re going places. I hope to assume you date a man with a real J-O-B with health insurance and a pension building and not some lying loser broke-dick-dog bodybuilder who surfs your couch all day long and doesn’t pay any of his bills, right?
SB: Nicely worded! Unfortunately, I just recently came out of a 5 year engagement that has me pretty torn up inside. We loved each other very much but we couldn’t make it work. I will NEVER even consider being with or waste my time on someone who doesn’t have their priorities set straight and or a bodybuilder/jersey shore wannabe d-bag who spends more time in the mirror then I do and worries about when their next gym session or invest most of their bill money towards GH. I like men with goals, good morals, standards, are health conscious, have faith and heart. A traditional man that knows how to treat a woman. A pretty face and nice body is a plus, though. I am still hurting and not at all searching. I will wait for the right man God wants me to be with.
MW: Let us both pray that God sends you a man who works for a living and has a real future. You don’t deserve a man who stays chronically unemployed getting by selling drugs and selling his body to wealthy gay men to foot the steroid bills. Moving on. Can girls even compete these days without having some nutritional coach in her corner or some political affiliation with some Team? Gone are the days competitors used their own wit and a mirror.
SB: I’ve trained myself for all my competitions so it’s do-able if you have the right amount of training/nutrition know-how. The only part where I really suffered was posing. Having help makes things much easier and your chances of success will probably be a lot better with a trainer and team to be behind you. I advise any girl who doesn’t have a strong background in kinesiology/physical education to get a trainer/posing coach or hitting the stage might be a complete disaster.
MW: Fun Stuff: Ready? Who in the bodybuilding industry would you like to kick square in between the shoulder blades straight down a long flight of stairs? JM? Lee Thompson?
SB: Nobody to specifically call out by name but definitely the one backstage staff member that lines up the Bikini girls. It always seems like WHOEVER this person is despises us with every cell in their body and make it a goal to treat us so much like dirty cattle as possible. I feel like I’m ready to be branded. I don’t know what it is but Bikini girls seem to be treated like jokes by these people and we are always doing something wrong or treated like we are too stupid to understand directions. We train to hard and spend too much money to be treated like that. I would love to swift kick this person in the face with my heels and THEN push them down a flight of stairs.
MW: Who is your industry husband? Whose glutes do you want to squeeze?
SB: Sorry. I’m so lame. I don’t have anybody that comes to mind.
MW: If you can change one thing about the bodybuilding industry what would it be?
SB: I know this would be a hard thing to change but the nature of bodybuilding is FAR to subjective. Political favor and other b.s factors need to be taken out. People train way to hard and long to not be recognized for their hard work.
MW: Tell me 3 things you can never go to the gym without.
SB: My gloves. My water and my TUNES! Workout is extra painful without the tunes and with the big headphones people are less likely to bug me.
MW: If you can go back in time 10 years what warnings would you give yourself?
SB: None! Any mistakes made I’ve learned very important life lessons from but if I had to I would assure myself that everything will be Ok and that I should stop stressing about things that are out of my control and worry about the things I can.
MW: Where does Sondra Blockman see herself in 5 years? Paint the picture for me.
SB: I see myself doing what I love! Motivating and training others to meet their goals and hopefully seeing a little bit more $$ from it! I can see myself still competing and living a fit and healthy life.
MW: Sondra. You survived a Muscleweek.com interview. Congratulations. Is there anything you would like to promote? How does one get in contact with you for possible sponsorship or modeling opportunities?
SB: Thanks! This was such a fun interview. Message on Facebook or email me at Sblockman@westmont.edu .
B O N U S Q U E S T I O N S:
– Favorite Cheat Food: Oatmeal cookies!
– Favorite Clean Eating Food: Yams.
– Favorite Gym: Everyday Fitness.
– Favorite Exercise: Power Cleans & Pull Ups.
– Favorite Cardio Music: The Tron soundtrack.
– San Jose Sharks or LA Kings: Sharks.
– Oakland A’s, LA Dodgers or SF Giants: Giants.
– Favorite Movie: Any movie by Marvel or DC. I’m such a comic book nerd.
– Current Book You Are Reading: It isn’t 50 Shades of Grey.
– Favorite Drink: Coconut Water.
– Favorite Vacation Destination: Any of Italy’s famous beaches such as Capri or Amalfi.