Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Women's Physique Division Interview: Kerri Bolen

As you all know, women's physique will be making its debut in the NPC in a few weeks at the Jr. USAs in Charleston, SC on May 21. No one knows the look for the new division, so it's going to be interesting to see how things play out. Between now and May 21, FitGems Nation will be posting interviews from those that will be competing in women's physique. Our first women's physique interview is with Kerri Bolen, a former lightweight bodybuilder and figure competitor from Williston, SC. What better way to debut in women's physique than close to home! 

Photo provided by Kerri herself.

FitGems Nation: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us! If you could, may you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Kerri Bolen: I am a Christian wife and mother - I have a wonderful, supportive husband and two good boys: a son, Dalton who is 19 and a step-son, Cullen
who is 22. I'm very active. I enjoy working out, competing, water skiing, hunting, fishing, horseback riding,playing the guitar, and

FitGems: What made you decide to get into female muscle competitions in the first place?
Kerri: Initially my uncle, Edward Givens, got me interested as he was real big into lifting. After that, I picked up every issue of "Muscle and Fitness" magazine I could get my hands on. I loved the way the female bodybuilders looked - the pioneers like Cory Everson, Rachel McLish, and Carla Dunlap - that sparked my desire to compete.

FitGems: What are your feelings about the NPC/IFBB having a women’s physique division?
Kerri: I am very excited about the new division - I think it will be a good fit for me. There are a lot of other ladies that aren't
big enough for female bodybuilding but are too muscular for figure that may also fall into this category.

FitGems: What are your expectations of the new division?
Kerri: I would expect the new division to be a good "middle ground" between the figure division and the female bodybuilding division because there is obviously a big gap there.

FitGems: Which show(s) are you competing in this year?
Kerri: I am definitely competing at the Jr. USAs in Charleston, SC this May. After that, I am not sure - I may take a short break.

FitGems: What kind of preparations (weight-training/cardio) have you done to prepare
for women’s physique?
Kerri: I weight train 4-5 x a week (kind of heavy), cardio 6 x per week, and practicing my posing routine, also.

FitGems: Who do you feel needs to compete in women’s physique in the IFBB?
Kerri: I like Lori Steele's look. I'm not sure of any other competitors, right off hand.

FitGems: With the new women’s physique and bikini added to women’s bodybuilding, fitness, and figure, do you think every woman who wants to compete FINALLY has a division to their liking now?
Kerri: There may have been enough divisions already if more of a distinction between bikini and figure had been made; so surely there are enough now.

FitGems: Along those lines, do you see each division eventually having a clear distinction as to an “ideal” look? There are some thinkingthat the winning looks for figure and bikini are dangerously close to being the same, while there's a somewhat clear look for women's bodybuilding and fitness.
Kerri: I feel like the physique division will be distinct and I'm hoping there will be more of a difference between the bikini and figure divisions because yes, it is getting mighty close between those two.

FitGems: What made you decide to compete in the women's physique division?
Kerri: From what I have heard, they might be going for a softer look in figure this year. I like the look I get from lifting heavy, however, I don't have the size for female bodybuilding. I believe I may have found the division where I will be a "perfect fit".

FitGems: Are you a new competitor in this sport or have you competed in a different division prior to women's physique?
Kerri: I have competed in women's bodybuilding several times and placed well in the lightweight division. Last year I competed in in three figure shows and placed real well in that, also. But I feel my style and appearance are better suited to the new physique class.

FitGems: Some people think that eventually women's physique will indeed replace womens bodybuilding going forward. Do you see that happening or do you see the division remaining separate for the time being?
Kerri: I hope female bodybuilding is not eliminated. But who knows? It will be interesting to see how all that plays out.

FitGems: What's one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you?
Kerri: My husband and I sing at church on a fairly regular basis and my husband plays the guitar for me.

FitGems: How would you convince people to join women's physique or any female muscle division for that matter?
Kerri: I would tell them that competing in any of the divisions takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but having a goal to work towards keep you motivated and on the right track throughout the year and it's a lot of fun!

FitGems: How big do you see women's physique becoming (as in participants and growth - not necessarily the size of the competitors)?
Kerri: I think there will be a big turnout, even for the first show (the Jr. USAs) coming up this May. A lot of the figure competitors thathave too muscle will end up competing in this division and I believe some of the female bodybuilders that are really too small for the bodybuilding division will be able to come down and compete in the physique division.

FitGems: How can people contact you if they want to know your upcoming plans and/or sponsor you in the near future?
Kerri: They can contact me through my email address: kerri.bolen@yahoo.com
Any help is appreciated, but I especially could use some help with competition expenses such as entry fees, etc. I would also like to thank Shawn Beach from ChizzledWear for sponsoring me with awesome workout gear (www.chizzledwear.com) and Kristal Richardson from Top Secret Nutrition (www.topsecretnutrition.com) for sponsoring me with some amazing supplements.

FitGems: Once again, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Good luck in womens physique
Kerri: Thank you very much - I enjoyed doing the interview!

Once again, we would like to thank Kerri Bolen for taking the time to conduct an interview for us. Kerri will be part of history next month at the Jr. USAs!!!

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