|Photo credit: Muscular Develpment|
FitGems Nation: If you could, may you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Tracey MacDonald: I'm 39 years old. Live in California, and a Canadian citizen. Ive been competing since 2000, and am currently getting ready for my 18th show (I think!!) (NOTE: Since the completing of this interview, she competed in the the CBBF Natural and placed 4TH in short figure and 3 weeks later did the Atlantics (Eastern Canada) and won masters, short figure, and the overall title in figure)
FitGems: What was the moment that made you decide that, “I’m going to compete”?
Tracey: I can't remember. I was 102 pounds and I was sitting in the audience at my first show, still trying to convince my friend who helped me prepare, we should go home!! I won my first fitness contest much to my dismay and was hooked ever since!
FitGems: Who inspired you to compete?
Tracey: Kelly Ryan…
FitGems: What is your approach when you train? More focus on weight-training, cardio, etc?
Tracey: I cross train, hitting each body part 1x a week, usually 5 days a week and then when contest season comes around, I incorporate cardio drills into my daily routine as well.
FitGems: Have people mistaken you for something else due to your physique, such as a MMA fighter, wrestler, boxer, runner, etc?
Tracey: no not really.
FitGems: What do you do when you DON’T compete (as in, do you have a job or hobby besides fitness competitions)?
Tracey: I part time personal train. I teach seasonal boot camps here in my town from spring thru fall. I am a retired junior high special education school teacher. I have a masters degree in mild/moderate disabilities.
FitGems: You’ve competed for a while, but what contest did you think was the best you ever looked (as your best is yet to come…)?
Tracey: I really liked how I looked my 2nd year at figure nationals in Canada, although I placed 3rd…
FitGems: Not including yourself, who do you think had or has THE ideal muscular female look?
Tracey: I like lots of people, of course, Monica comes to mind, esp in her transition to the WBFF at her first contest there. I also love Julie Palmer- she is always in shape 365…. Another is Myriam Capes, we competed together at our first nationals and we kind of bonded there- she was amazing then, and she has gone on to be more amazing every contest.
FitGems: You’ve competed in Canada and the U.S., where the looks are different. Is it just me, or does it seem like muscle is a bit more accepted in Canada then in the United States, in terms of the federation and judges and not the fans (as the fans seem to like the more muscular look on fitness/figure competitors)?
Tracey: Yes, I'd agree… although it can very from class to class and from year to year. I cant seem to figure Canadian judging out. They say look at the overall winner from the year before, Ive come in similar to that look and did terrible in my last contest in 09.
FitGems: You have competed in women’s bodybuilding, fitness, and figure. May you give us your opinion on the divisions?
Tracey: Fitness is awesome, if I had the skill set and back for it, Id be doing that. Figure Is my better choice for the above mentioned reasons. I did try bodybuilding, but after a year of building and “trying” it, I didn’t like the look FOR ME and I didn’t enjoy the stage experience. I really do like the glitz, glamour and more feminine look of the figure and fitness girls. (I hated being barefoot on stage!!)
FitGems: I heard that the bodybuilding contest you did, despite doing well in it, would be your last time to compete in women’s bodybuilding. May you explain to us why do decided “never again” when it comes to women’s bodybuilding?
Tracey: Think I answered that above. It was too extreme for me, I cant put on the size I'd need to be competitive on a national level. I don’t have a perfectly symmetrical body (I have a severe pinched nerve in my upper back that has altered my upper trap development and I ve always had a problem building the sweep on my left leg in comparison to my right). I also just didn’t like the social stigma that went along with the “bodybuilding” look- I was always being asked why I was “trying” to look like a man, being asked to arm wrestle, I felt very self conscious with the extra size on my short frame. I totally appreciate it on others, but realized that it is simply just not for me!!
FitGems: The fitness numbers are pretty low, despite the talent being pretty good. As a former fitness competitor, what do you think needs to be done in order to get fitness back to a decent number again?
Tracey: I have NO idea… Fitness is a HARD sport. I have complete admiration for those girls. Having muddled through some routines myself, I can say, even the “poor” routines (as mine probably was…) are extremely hard. And I would say out of every category, fitness competitors work harder than them all!
FitGems: Bikini has taken off in a great way with big numbers, but there are still those that don’t see it as a legit division and have no place in NPC and IFBB whatsoever. Do you agree, and if not, how would you attempt to change their minds?
Tracey: People can think whatever they want. I do not agree with that, I think that at the professional level especially those girls are total athletes and I give them a lot of credit- every body has a body type, and I know I could never look like that and I could certainly not present myself like that on stage. They are sexy bombshells!! I say GO girls!!
FitGems: Along those lines, many people think the new softer look that’s being rewarded in figure is no different than the bikini division. Do you think figure and bikini are getting dangerously close to being unrecognizable?
Tracey: YES , after just attending my LAST local figure show, I left half way through the contest. Very disappointing in my opinion.
FitGems: As you know, the NPC/IFBB are opening a new division called women’s physique. What are your opinions on it, and what are your expectations of the new division?
Tracey: I think it will be a great division for people who are caught between being too muscular for figure and not a bodybuilder… (maybe like I had looked last year)- I personally decided not to pursue it because the Canadian federation has decided to deny us permission to compete at a national level at the North Americans.
FitGems: Will we see you compete in this new division this year, or sometime in the near future?
Tracey: Doubtful. I am 39 this year and have decided to play the figure game one more time and tentatively plan on hitting all three Canadian nationals in figure.
FitGems: Some people think that eventually women’s physique will replace women’s bodybuilding going forward. Do you see that happening, or do you see the division remain separate for the time being?
Tracey: You know, I think every category has a competitor. I don’t think one is going to overtake another, because there will always be “bodybuilders”, “bikini” models and “figure”… When someone is passionate about their training, which all competitors are, they aren’t going to quit because their category isn’t as popular as it used to be. There will always be bodybuilding.
FitGems: With 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?
Tracey: Absolutely. I think there is a stage for every athlete. (Much more than there was when I started… Figure hadn’t even been invented!! ) you either did fitness or bodybuilding!! I kinda laugh when I hear figure girls making fun of the bikini girls back stage at contests… Because I think back to when the first figure competitors came around.. Both the bodybuilders and fitness girls were laughing at them!!
FitGems: The World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (WBFF) has been picking up serious steam ever since Monica Brant joined their organization. Others are following her footsteps, it seems. Could we see you join the rankings?
FitGems: What’s one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you?
Tracey: I am teased for being a “holly homemaker”. I love to cook, be at home, entertain friends, be creative and decorate.
FitGems: If you were not competing, what would you be doing right now?
Tracey: Maybe teaching. I complete to validate myself and what I do for my clients and myself. To me, it is completely a hobby; competing that is. I try to not take it too serious as far as how I place. I know a pro card, although the goal, will NOT change my life. I truly do it because I love the personal satisfaction and challenge of pushing myself. I have never even back when gotten into the whole self promotion thing, chasing magazine shoots or a name for myself. I show up, I try to be in shape and then I go home. To me what is really a passion of mine is teaching people how to be healthier, change their lives through physically being fit and healthy.
FitGems: How would you convince people to give female muscle competitions a shot?
Tracey: ???? (Guess to say, that means...no comment)
FitGems: What is the one thing you want people to remember you for when you’re gone?
Tracey: Honestly, I don’t think I am that memorable!! I want to be remembered as a consistent competitor, always bringing my A game.
FitGems: How can people contact you if they want to know your upcoming plans and/or sponsor you in the near future?
Tracey: My website, www.fit2aTworld.com
Again, we thank Tracey MacDonald for taking the time to conduct this interview with us. We at FitGems Nation want to wish Tracey best of luck in the rest of her competitions this year!