Friday, September 11, 2009

FitGems Olympia Interview: Meriza DeGuzman

One of the smallest yet most complete figure competitors out there today, Meriza DeGuzman will be entering her second Olympia contest after competing in her first one in 2007. With her recent top five placings this year, not to mention Jenn Gates (current Figure Olympia champion) and Zivile Raudoniene (current Figure International champion) are not in the show, there will be a new Figure Olympia champion crowned, as well as a different look in the top six. Meriza took time from her extremely busy schedule to do this interview for FitGems, and I thank her for that.

All pictures belong to their respective sites and/or companies.

FitGems: State your name and profession (fitness/figure/female bodybuilding/bikini/other).
Meriza DeGuzman: Meriza B Deguzman IFBB Figure Pro
FitGems: How many years have you competed?
Meriza: 2 years amateur NPC figure and 2 years Pro IFBB figure
FitGems: I’ve heard from a particular favorite site of mine and yours (
Siouxcountry) that for your size, you can lift some crazy weight around. May you share with us how strong you really are?
Meriza: Although I have not trained this way lately, last year I squatted pretty heavy to build more shape to my legs. I have front-squatted 225lbs for 10 reps and I have been known to lunge the parking lot here at World gym with a 100lb bar on my back! Lol! One-arm dumbbell rows with 80lbs 15 reps used to be easy for me…
FitGems: What are the advantages/disadvantages of competing at your height?
Meriza: Honestly, I have always thought being a shorter competitor in the PRO ranks sucks! Lol! I stand out like the sore thumb besides Erin Stern! Standing alone, I believe I have pretty good flowing lines, shape and symmetry, but standing right beside a taller competitor that has longer lines, can make me look more muscular…which has always been my downfall since I love having a bit more muscle on me! Advantage? Shorter competitors are cuter on stage! Lol! Just like female shoes in a department store, they always have size 6 on display not size 10! Lol!
FitGems: What (if anything) would you change about your profession?
Meriza: If you are referring to my figure profession, I would love to see a little bit more muscle and conditioning on stage…I believe that women can be strong- looking and still look sexy and feminine, if they are careful with their development…regarding my other profession, I am a professional fitness trainer/coach and I LOVE what I do with a passion! I LOVE to see all my clients evolve into healthier, sexier, more confident women! And that is such a great feeling!

FitGems: With the addition of the bikini division, what do you see will happen with the evolution of figure, which is to many still an unsolved puzzle in terms of consistency within the NPC and IFBB?
Meriza: Hopefully the introduction of bikini will allow figure athletes to get back to training again…I know both myself and I know a bunch of other figure athletes that have downsized their training time because of being too muscular.
FitGems: Who do you look up to the most for your inspiration, whether competing or in life in general?
Meriza: Inspirational people in my life: 1: Peter Ciccone ( National Level NPC BB) my fiance’ he always inspires me to work harder in life…2: my daughter Alexis ( 13 years now) for inspiring me to be a better mom and to live my life by example; 3: all my clients that inspire me to be a better role model for them!
FitGems: For those that just don’t see figure in the same league in respect and dedication as fitness and women’s bodybuilding, what would you say to them to try and change their mind…or at the very least, let them see it from your prospective?
Meriza: I know that the other girls may think we “just stand there” when we are being judged, or say that we “don’t really do anything.” The truth is, Figure may be even tougher than the other two sports in the sense that in Figure, we don’t have a posing routine to present, or mandatory poses to show to the judges. With Fitness, the routine is a huge part of your overall score. In bodybuilding, the women can tweak their poses to best suit their structure and development. But, in Figure, you have NOTHING to present except your body. You present your physique and the way that you have shaped and tightened it after months or years of hard work - using the same tools as these other athletes – months and months of cardio, careful weight training and meticulous nutrition. We have very limited variation to our posing and presentation – which I believe makes Figure just as challenging, or even possibly harder in some ways, than Bodybuilding or Fitness.
FitGems: If there was any celebrity that would be a perfect fit in female physique competition, if giving time to be able to condition themselves? Along those lines, what division could you see her competing in?
Meriza:Jessica Simpson! Definitely bikini! Fergie has a great body. She could do Figure, I think, in about 2 years tops!
FitGems: The Figure Olympia is looking to be a very competitive one, with Jenny Lynn coming back in form, and Jennifer Gates and Zivile Raudoniene out of the show. What do you expect coming out of this year’s event for you personally?
Meriza: For any one of us stepping on that O stage, everyone wants to be #1! Lol! But realistically, I am praying for TOP 10! I did not place at the 2007 Olympia (it was only my 2nd Pro show)…I was just happy to be there. But this time my goal is to make at least TOP 10!

(Meriza @ 2007 Olympia)

FitGems: What are you doing differently now to prepare for the show than what you’ve did in your first Olympia show in 2007?
Meriza: For 2008, I put on size and muscle that did not do well for me! Lol! So for 2009, I had to really finesse my training to refine my body…and thankfully, it seems like the judges like it better! Lol! So for 2009 Olympia, I am planning to be on my A game and to have longer lines but still curvy. I plan on still have great conditioning! I can’t be on stage looking “chunky”! loll!
FitGems: What’s your goal for this year’s event?
Meriza: see # 10 answer! (go two questions up from this question, and that's your answer)
FitGems: If you could improve the Olympia in any aspect, what would you do and why?
Meriza: Better venue/host hotel! Orleans too smoky for me! Microwave and refrigerator in the rooms…
FitGems: What are your future plans in this industry, short-term and long-term?
Meriza: I am currently working with my sponsor MAN Sports…we’ve got some really exciting projects coming out in 2010 - I will make sure to keep you in the loop! I plan on growing my FIGURE posing and presentation clinics…we scheduled 6 full clinics this year, and so far, they have been e a huge success! We plan on running at least as many next year. I will continue competing as long as my body will allow! Lol!
FitGems: Do you have any final words for your fans before you compete in the 2009 Figure Olympia?
Meriza: Thanks for all the support, thanks for all the positive energy and love! And mostly, thank you for believing in me! xoxoxoxoxoxo

For more on Meriza, visit her website at

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