I'm honored and privileged to have the opportunity to interview one of the top female physique supporters out there today, Jason Adams. For those that don't know, Jason is the founder of the Promoting Real Women (a blog that I highly recommended when it was taking off a while back (http://fitgems.blogspot.com/2010/01/fitting-review-promoting-women.html). I'm so glad I found this site, and I'm even more happy that I can call Jason a friend. His heart is in the right place, and I know he will do well in life and with his blog. Ladies, after you read this interview, I encourage you all to get in contact with Jason and see if you can get on his blog. You won't be disappointed.
Now onto the interview:
FitGems Nation: First off, it’s an honor to interview you.
Jason Adams: Honor is all mine. You have been doing what you do much longer than I have, so for me this is an honor and almost like validation for me, that I am accepted. Still seems weird anyone would want to interview me though.
FitGems: If you could, tell us a little about yourself.
Jason: Well, obviously my name is Jason Adams. Born raised and live in Lakewood, Ohio, which is a suburb of Cleveland. I have one sister. I don't always get along with her, and at times want to scream at her, but she always had my back when we were little and I will always be thankful for that. I am that almost 34 year old who still lives with his parents, and I am ok with that. In a year, I will be in Vegas and that’s what I care about. My parents have always supported me, even when I was the trouble making school skipping punk kid, and now in my bodybuilding goals, I couldn’t do it without them. And I have a nephew who is like my own. Love him as much as anyone. Love sports, (L.A. Lakers, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Penguins, and above all, Toronto Blue Jays), but MMA and boxing are my passions, along with obviously bodybuilding. Was always athletic growing up, until my hip screwed that. I was born with a degenerative condition called leg perthies, which is basically a medical big word terminology for messed up hip. Pain got really bad, and the activity ended. Now I am on a mission to compete in bodybuilding. I started at 292lbs, and am around 250 now. I am not doing it for any other reason than to say "If I can do this with my medical limitations, then anyone can". There are days it hurts and getting up is hard, but I do it. I am saving and in one year will be moving to Las Vegas to let Danny J Johnson do all my training. She does my diet now, and I have a great trainer here named JT Wood. So that is a long way of saying, I am a pretty boring person.
FitGems: What got you interested in the female side of the muscle industry in the first place?
Jason: Actually, when I was in middle school when I was "sick" and home from school I would watch Corey Everson's Bodyshaping show on ESPN and was in love. My first real exposure to female bodybuilders and thought it was so cool. Became fascinated by it. That’s when I decided I wanted to train, but never had the motivation. Then you grow up and learn about it and realize there is so much more to it than the cosmetic aspect. But back then it was that show, and the Fitness America stuff on ESPN. It wasn’t until recently, within the last 6 or 7 months when I actually got to start meeting and talking to some of the women when I got entrenched in it.
FitGems: How did you come up with the idea of having a blog based on just interviews you do with the female athletes?
Jason: I always enjoyed writing. I always wanted to write a book. Just wanted something to write about somewhere. My friend Georgia Tsao started her MMA Blog MMAggregate (www.mmaggregate.com), and I thought that was a good idea, but I have way to much respect for her to try and do what she was doing, so I figured why not do something else, and interviews kind of popped into my head. I couldn't decide if I wanted to do MMA or Fitness, and figure, why not both. There are some who probably think I only do women to kiss butt, or try and impress them, but the reality is, it is because as you know in Fitness, and it is like this in MMA, the women do not get the coverage, credit, and respect men get. That is not right, and I wanted to try and help fix that. Also, it is a way to pay back. Outside of my trainer JT, all the people who have helped, guided, and taught me, are females, and this is my way to say thank you.
FitGems: Where did the title Promoting Real Women come from?
Jason: I got the first interview sent back to me and was all excited and ready to post it, and then I realized I needed a name for the thing. I sat there for probably an hour trying to come up with a name. I knew I wanted the word “Promoting” in it. I said "I need something that will make a statement and show these are real women not just eye candy, and that shows the naïve stereotypes are wrong" Then the words “Real Women” just kind of stuck in my head, and that was it.
FitGems: Promoting Real Women has partnered up with NPC Figure Competitor (and fellow FitGems member) Skye Fisher and her non-profit organization, Fit Physiques Fight Cancer, created to battling cancer. Can you explain how that partnership came about, and may you share the website for Fit Physiques Fight Cancer?
Jason: First, the website is www.fitphysiquefc.org. For those who don’t know it is basically Skye trying to get items to auction off from people in the industry or donations to battle a terrible disease. I would love to sit here and give you a great story of long hours of meetings and negotiations, but it is really simple. I have been offered a couple sponsorships, and turned down every one. I am not doing this for personal profit. Doing it my way and to help women. However I love Skye. She is an amazing woman and a friend. It just kind of hit me one day to see if Skye was interested in being my blogs sponsor, but not a real sponsor, because she doesn't pay me or anything. More or less just my way of helping an amazing woman with an amazing cause.
FitGems: Is Promoting Real Women seeking sponsorship at the moment, and if it is, may you tell the readers how they can contact you, and if not, is there a reason why that you wouldn’t mind sharing with us?
Jason: Well I kind of jumped the gun and sort of answered this in the last question. No, I am not looking for sponsors. It has been offered, and I will never reveal by whom, but I turn them down. If it was a website as opposed to a blog, then yeah, I would probably accept. But for now, it is my blog, done my way. I can post 4 interviews in a day or go two days not posting any. With a sponsor I would not be able to go two days without doing it. But really it comes down to this. I really am not doing the work. The women are. I type out some questions and they do all the work answering, so why should I profit. I would rather help the girls get sponsored. I will not use them to make my own profits. Again, if it was a website where I was doing the work, sure, I would accept the right sponsors. And the plan is at some point to be website, so I will address that I guess, when it happens. Now I am not going to be ignorant either. If the right offer came from, say a supplement company that I actually use, and it was too good to turn down, sure I would listen. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
FitGems: It hasn’t been a full year, yet you’ve received a bigger following for your blog site than most people in a lifetime. Seriously, you have one of the biggest followings out there today. Did you ever think you would be as popular or successful as you have been?
Jason: NO WAY.LOL. Never thought it. I figured most of the people I asked would turn me down, when in fact, I think 4 people have turned me down. Including those yet to post or be sent back to me, I have done over 300 of them. If you would have told me when I started that eventually Pros like LeslieRae Newton, Zoa Linsey, Colette Nelson, Ann Titone, Debbie Bramwell, Nicole Ball etc., or top fighters like Sarah Kaufman Erin Toughill, and Roxanne Modafferi would be doing interviews I would have laughed. When I started I hoped I could get ten women to do interviews. I credit it mostly to three women. IFBB Pro's Victoria Larvie and Tonia Moore, and future Pro Allison Moyer. First they are three of the people I most admire in this industry, but I believe them doing interviews early on gave me some credibility. When you ask someone to do an interview and can tell them "Look two pros did these interviews" it makes you look more legit. Plus Allison is so popular and it got me a lot of readers when I posted hers and again she gave me credibility with people. So I will say it now, if not for Allison Moyer, Tonia Moore, and Victoria Larvie, I really do not know if I have this blog right now.
FitGems: Will we see Promoting Real Women as a full-blown site or message board someday?
Jason: Maybe. I mentioned earlier, it is the plan, but to say the plan as fact, is to overstate it. Part of me wants to, and part of me doesn't. Part of me does because it can help me increase the exposure of the women, and maybe move to my goal of sponsoring some girls. Part of me doesn't because I suck at computers LOL, and it is so much more work, and between two workouts a day, looking for a job (and hopefully working again soon), I don't know if I have the time. But if you are putting money on it, yeah, most likely, when the time is right.
FitGems: If you could, please provide the addresses to your sites for the Promoting Real Women brand so others can view and support you and your cause to help provide respect to the industry and its competitors?
Jason: OK, the blog is www.promotingwomen.blogspot.com. Also I have a fan page on Facebook, which is also run by three competitors but mainly IFBB Fitness Pro LeslieRae Newton. That address is http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Promoting-Women-In-Bodybuilding-Fitness-and-MMA/112681648755406?ref=ts On that page I also post links to the interviews as well as have a cover model contest each month where fans can vote on who gets to be the main profile picture and a photo album of the winner, plus links for other things like contest certain girls may be in or tips and advice kinds of stuff. Also LeslieRae answers questions people have needing tips or advice.
FitGems: What do you feel about sites such as Siouxcountry (www.siouxcountry.com), Hardbody News (www.hardbody.com/news ), Bodysport (www.bodysport.com), and FitGems Nation (http://www.fitgemsnation.net) being great sites for women to get information on the industry and be actively involved without having to deal with the sexual, rude, and obscene behavior from other sites out there, who clearly have a small outlook on the women in this industry?
Jason: If it wasn’t for those sites, then there wouldn’t be my blog. You guys showed women in the fitness industry can be treated with respect, and if it wasn't for that, no one would trust me with what I do. Each site is different, but the goals are the same. These women are athletes not sex objects. I mean let's be honest, I am a guy, so let's use Allison Moyer as the example (hope you don't mind Allison). When I first found her, I thought she was the most beautiful thing on two legs. I still think she is beautiful. But I don't look at her like that anymore. I look at her as Allison Moyer the Figure competitor (should be Pro Figure competitor), Allison Moyer the athlete, and Allison Moyer the woman. Every guy looks at a woman and can find her beautiful, but that does not mean she is eye candy. They have careers and things and should be respected for their achievements in their chosen career. In this case, fitness. It is ok to look at a certain girl and find her attractive, but that does not mean you have the right to think of her or treat her like a sex object. Respect the hard work and dedication they have. These women are actually for the most par very appreciative of the support. Part of what makes them beautiful is how hard they work to get their physique. Too many people think these women train to make them more appealing and things and that isn't true. The sites you mentioned showed the women in this industry can be covered and done professionally and respectfully. It is just too bad for every great site like FitGems or Siouxcountry, there are ten sites or blogs that choose to go the other way and treat them like sex objects.
FitGems: How do you feel about the treatment of the ladies today, as opposed to about a decade ago?
Jason: That’s tough because I think there are pros and cons both ways. I think there are more people treating them with respect and as athletes now then there was then, but I also think there are more people treating them as sex objects because with the internet and things they are more visible and more known. The years ago I think the general feeling by society is that female bodybuilders were manly, very naive thinking, but the thought none the less, and that they shouldn’t be looking that muscular. Now I think there are more people respecting them as athletes, but more people also thinking of them as sex objects. But all in all, I think things have improved, and will continue to. I think what needs to change is that the people writing the magazines and sponsoring the athletes needs to change. You want your magazine to sell? Stop putting Jay Cutler on two thirds of the pages, and put Iris Kyle on some, put Heather Armbrust on some, Put Heather Mae French on some. They don't realize with the fans, I think there is more interest in the women. Same with sponsors. Just look at the Olympia. How many sponsors does Jay Cutler have and how many does Iris have. No disrespect to Jay Cutler, he is awesome, but really how many consecutive pages do I need to see him on when I read a magazine. I may get some heat for saying that, but it is just the facts. After the Olympia every magazine basically said "Jay Cutler wins Mr. Olympia....... and by the way Iris Kyle won,too".
FitGems: Would you ever think in your wildest dreams that bikini would be considered a part of the IFBB/NPC organization?
Jason: Never!!! Usually you say Bikini competition and you think of being on the beach with twenty girls on a stage jumping up and down to see who can bounce the most. Finally REAL Bikini competitors are getting their chance to show how hard they work and I think it's great.
FitGems: I personally have NO problem with bikini as part of NPC/IFBB, but unfortunately there are those that feel that it has no place in the federation. Do you agree with them, or are they just not giving the division a chance to shine?
Jason: Bikini competitors work just as hard as any other competitor. Vanessa Prebyl writes a weekly column for my blog and is a sure think future Bikini Pro, and I know how hard she works and I have such respect for her. Jenny Phantharath has become a friend and I know how hard she works. I will not name names but a Pro bodybuilder told me she thinks it is disgusting that Bikini girls get to share her stage. That is terrible thinking. How hard did she fight to get her respect? This is a top competitor. She worked hard to get there and had to fight naive stereotypes. Now you want to do the same thing? Use your false beliefs on how hard these women work and say they don't belong on stage with you? Some people say it takes away from their attention, but I disagree. I think it brings fans who otherwise wouldn’t not attend a bodybuilding or fitness show, to those shows, and helps open people’s eyes to the other competitors, be it Fitness, Figure or Bodybuilding. They may not bench 300lbs but they work just as hard. For fans who don't like it, the answer is simple......don't watch.
FitGems: How would you improve NPC/IFBB fitness, figure, and women’s bodybuilding?
Jason: That is a loaded question for me because I am a “speak my mind” person and likely to offend someone, but here goes. First, too often it is a popularity contest. It isn't always who looks best, but who knows who. That is not always the case, but it is sometimes. I have heard stories that disgust me. I do not believe anyone should ever be allowed to judge unless they have competed or are trainers, and I mean legit trainers. A competitor knows how a competitor should look. This is drastic, but lie detect the judges. I say for example. have ten judges for a show, after the scoring test each judge to make sure his scoring is what he really feels, if he fails, throw his card out, and use one from an alternate judge.
FitGems: Besides the IFBB and NPC, what other physique organizations do you follow?
Jason: Name one LOL. I have become friends with so many who compete in all different organizations, so pretty much you name one and I will follow it.
FitGems: If you could change anything about the NPC and/or IFBB itself (not the actually divisions), what would it be and why?
Jason: I think this goes back to the previous question. The judging at times sucks. And I do not mean that as the winner should not be the winner. I mean that in all parts of the results. Not just first place each time. And please start treating the women as equal. Also, do something, and I don't know the answer, to get Fitness back on track. Too many girls are moving to Figure and it is going to make Fitness obsolete.
FitGems: I’m aware that you have respect for all female competitors, but which females have inspired you to be the best you can be?
Jason: Now I know why everyone hates when I ask this question. Fear of leaving someone out. There are sooooo many. I will name the ones who are a personal help or influence to me, and please if I forget you, don't be upset.
Megan Melone- Megan has been so supportive of me and encouraging and makes me believe I can do anything.
Tisha Rodrigues- Tisha actually is an MMA fighter now, but used to compete. She also has been so supportive and always pops me up when I am down. She is that beautiful, sweet woman, who can also kick your ass.
Teri Chadwick Edwards- Not a competitor, but trains just as hard as any competitor and has believed in and supported me so much.
Shirley Madera- Shirley makes it so each day I was up and there is a text with a motivational quote for me to get me up and ready to train. She is a special woman.
Tiffany Forni- Her success story speaks for itself. Lost like 100lbs and is now the owner of one of the best bodies you will ever see. So inspiring, and willing to help me out.
Lisa Zisa- Honestly did not know her before the Arnold's and meet her because she is one of Jack and Ann Titone's Jacked Up Divas. Glad I did because she has become someone I truly admire and respect. There should be more people like her in the world.
Tonia Moore- She was already a favorite, but now with her battle with Cohn’s Disease and the way she is tackling it head on, she is amazing.
Vanessa Prebyl- For all her great writing for my blog and being a special person.
Jenny Phantharath- For being a friend when I really needed one. Jenny you rock.
Victoria Larvie- The first Pro to do an interview with me. But on top of that she is the first person I asked for advice n training and she helped more than once. IF she hadn't I may never have asked anyone else. Victoria I owe you big time.
Jamie Eason- I was ready to quit training one day because too many people were trying to advise me. Jamie out of nowhere commented on a Facebook post encouraging me. Several months later at the Arnolds she remembered me. And she has since encouraged me. Jamie you rock.
Skye Fisher- Already mentioned the respect I have for Skye. So excited to get to train with her one day. Skye has helped metro. Such an amazing woman.
LeslieRae Newton- Been such a help with the fan page and giving me some advice. She is battling her leg injury and it helps me know I can battle my leg problems. LeslieRae I hope to always have you as a friend.
Laura Kline_ Getting ready for her first show. She is what I call an advanced me. She transformed her body and is such an inspiration to me. She is a beautiful woman with a big future in the industry. She made me believe I could achieve.
Jill Crean- Two time cancer survivor says enough. But Jill is the nicest person I know. Always encourages me. I admit, I saw photos from her last show and was in tears. I was so happy for and proud of her.
Eryn Strickland -For your inspiration, encouragement you have given me
Allison Moyer- For sure the coolest person you will ever meet. Our first time talking wasn’t even about fitness. It was her trying to cheer me up from my depression. Allison you are a special woman.
Sarah Kinney- Sarah you are my studdette (inside joke). Always has my back. Took time out to offer so much help to me. Would not be where I am without you Sarah.
Ann Titone- How cool that an IFBB Pro offers her help for free with making your diet. Ann is everything that is right about this industry. She believes in me and her support means everything.
Belinda Hope- Belinda you rock. Your support, help, encouragement, all mean so much. You know I think so much of you.
Danny J Johnson- If you know me, you know what Danny means to me.....EVERYTHING. She is my trainer from another state. She is my nutritionist and helps with training, and in one year I am moving by her and letting her handle everything. She is amazing and my goal is to make her proud. I want to be her greatest success story. When I compete I don't care if I win or finish last, as long as I can look out and see her face and see her proud of me. Danny you are my HERO.
OK, sorry that was so long.
FitGems: You have mentioned that you plan to be on stage one day. Can you share with the readers what made you decide to join the bodybuilding rankings?
Jason: Always wanted to be the big muscular guy, but a combination of my hip, lack of motivation, and flat out being scared to be the new guy in the gym held me back. I don't have that fear anymore, I am full of motivation, and I won't let my hip beat me. It was just something I wanted to do, then it turned into saying if I can do it, anyone can do it. Now I have some haters. Gotten some mean emails trying to stop me, so now it is also to say F.U. to them. I am down over 40lbs since I started training and won't stop. I think I can do it. I have the most amazing support system and with JT training me here and Danny J doing my diet and helping with the training, I feel I will. I said when I started five years. Everyone said three, JT said two and Danny said one if I work for it. I am shooting for two. I am still learning and have a way to go, but I am enjoying the journey. I actually have a blog about my training, www.jasonsjourneytothestage.blogspot.com
FitGems: In addition to interviewing female physique competitors, you interview female mixed martial artists (MMA). How did you become a fan of female MMA in the first place?
Jason: I watched the second UFC on pay per view, and loved the sport ever since. It is my favorite sport. I think there is nothing more pure in sports than two men or women getting in a cage or ring for 15 minutes one on one. The respect in that sport is great. Most times after a fight they hug and show respect. You never know if it will be a stand up fight or more grappling, and it is great to see two contrasting styles clash. As far as women, same as in fitness, they train just as hard, fight just as hard, and don’t get the respect. Watch an MMA show with a women’s fight, usually it turns out to be the most exciting fight of the night.
FitGems: Who is your favorite MMA fighter: male AND female?
Jason: OK can’t do just one, so can I do a top 5?
Men: Chuck Liddell (favorite athlete period), Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin, Brock Lesnar, and Joseph Benevidez
Women: Tisha Rodrigues, Sarah Goodlaxson, Lacey Schuckman, Roxanne Modafferi, and Michelle Ould.
FitGems: About five to ten years from now, where do see the following:
a. Women’s bodybuilding
e. Women’s MMA
f. Promoting Real Women
g. You personally!
Jason: A: I see it being a lot more popular. I truly believe female bodybuilders are getting more popular and I don’t see that stopping. In ten years I see really big things for female bodybuilding.
B: God I hope I am wrong, but I wonder if it will be around. The field seems to be getting smaller and smaller at a lot of shows. Hopefully with the right people trying to help it, it will make a big comeback.
C: Huge. I think Figure is that thing where people who like some muscle but not too much muscle go to, and where the people who like Bikini type girls but with a little more muscle go to.
D: I see Bikini being as respected as any other competitor and becoming a major part of the industry.
E: I think it will be right where it is now honestly. Popular but not popular enough for a major mainstream US women’s only company. There are some smaller ones here and in Japan but not major ones. There are a lot of really talented young fighters like the ones I mentioned earlier and many others and I think that helps.
F: Hmmm. Depends. If I make it a site, hopefully huge.LOL If it is still just a blog, right where it is, hopefully just more popular. As long as I can promote the women, I will be happy.
G: Living in Vegas that’s for sure. At that point hopefully, I will have competed many times, and actually be a trainer myself. I want to be someone people can say "He did that. People said he couldn’t do it, and he did, that inspires me".
FitGems: Anything else you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote, whether for you or anything else you’re passionate about?
Jason: Yes, please check out my trainer Danny J Johnson's website www.dannyjfitness.com, LeslieRae Newton's at www.leslierae.com, and Ann Titone's at www.anntitone.com. If you want to be trained and on stage learn from Ann and Jack and the Jacked Up Divas, and of course, another great trainer and competitor Allison Moyers site www.allifitness.com. Also my store. I sell shirts, pillows, all sorts of things. Some featuring competitors who let me put them on the items. The goal is not for me to profit, but make enough to sponsor some competitors. All proceeds go to that. www.cafepress.com/fitwomen.
FitGems: Once again, Jason, thank you so much for being interview for FitGems Nation. Any last words for your fans, followers, and those learning about you for the first time? Also let the readers know how you can contact them to do an interview for Promoting Real Women.
Jason: It was my honor. Like I said, you are one of the leaders and I just follow. Cant believe anyone wants to interview me, but this was really fun. Any female competitor who wants to do an interview just shoot me an email at email@example.com. Thank you to every single person who has done an interview and every single person that reads it. There are so many amazing women and it is my honor to present them in a positive light. And please take it from me, someone who has a few haters for some reason, DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU "YOU CAN"T DO SOMETHING". Someone told me once, and I believe it to be true, "When you have that moment, that moment where you achieve the goal people said you couldn’t achieve, do the thing people said you couldn't do, when you prove everyone wrong, you earn that moment, you take that moment, that isn’t being a success, that is being heroic". Everyone deserves that moment, if you want yours, take it.
Once again, thank you so much, Jason, for taking the time to be interviewed by FitGems Nation. Please check out ALL the links posted throughout this interview, especially the Promoting Real Women links. And ladies, once again, I would highly recommend you getting an interview with him if you haven't done so already. He does this out of the goodness of his heart and asked for no money doing this. To get interviewed, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.