|Photo credit to the original owner. FitGems does not claim rights to this photo.|
FitGems Nation: What is your main profession?
Anna Watson: I am a full time student at the University of Georgia. I also cheer for the dawgs and work at the Ramsey student center in the strength and conditioning department.
FitGems: How did you get into cheerleading?
Anna: I started cheering my sophomore year in high school after ten years of competitive gymnastics. I was burnt out on gymnastics but wanted to continue to tumble, so I decided to try cheerleading. Over the last five years I have learned a great deal about the sport and have a much greater respect for it and the athletes who participate in it.
FitGems: How did you get into the fitness industry in the first place?
Anna: I have always loved keeping myself busy and active, so I guess Ive really been a part of it my whole life! Exercise and the benefits it offers intrigue me and keep me coming back for more!
FitGems: While it seems that many cheerleaders these days wouldn’t be out of place in a fitness show, it seems you are far and away the most muscular female cheerleader that has emerged in quite some time. Do you consider yourself “America’s Fittest Cheerleader”?
Anna: Oh I doubt I am the fittest cheerleader in America, but I may have the biggest biceps among the girls!
FitGems: Photos were posted of you at the Georgia/Kentucky game on November 21, 2011, and in some sites, they were among the most viewed photos in those sites’ history. How do you feel about that?
Anna: I think it is hilarious that those pictures have gotten some attention on several websites. I am honored that people would post my picture on their site and think its exciting!
FitGems: I’m not kidding when I ask you the following question: Has anyone from the Georgia Bulldogs football team encouraged you to join them on the field? You seem like you could hold your own out there! LOL. :)
Anna: No, I have not had any offers! I definitely get some stares on the sidelines though! Maybe if the team hadn’t picked up some steam in the second half of the season, they would have started recruiting cheerleaders!
FitGems: In all seriousness, though, the mainstream public (as a whole) is (unfortunately) very subjective to what they like and don’t like, and one of those things they still can’t accept as of yet happens to be a woman with muscles. How do you deal with criticism from some who think you are too muscular?
Anna: I haven’t really faced too much criticism, but I try not to let it get me down. I love to workout and the muscles that come along! I think that women can be muscular and still feminine. Strong shoulders, buns of steel, and washboard abs are striking attributes that I’m pretty sure any woman wouldn’t mind having! I am confident in who I am and proud of my muscles!
FitGems: Have you competed yet? If so, what organization and division was it in?
Anna: My first show was the NPC Georgia this past July. I competed in the tall figure division.
FitGems: Do you see physique competitions being something you might do in the future?
Anna: I would actually like to get into the fitness side of it. I think my gymnastics and cheer background would allow me to make that transition well.
FitGems: Who are you favorite people in the fitness industry?
Anna: Erin Stern is my favorite figure competitor. I think she has a beautiful physique that is the epitome of femininity and strength.
FitGems: How have you been a positive influence in the University of Georgia?
Anna: I have only been there a short while, but I hope that I have made a positive impact. I consider myself a joyful and considerate person, so I hope that others have noticed and been inspired and encouraged by that.
FitGems: Have you encourage your fellow cheerleaders to follow your lead to living healthier lifestyles?
Anna: I am not sure if they have made any changes, but they have commented on my healthy eating and dedication to working out. I hope that I have influenced them to be healthy and love themselves!
FitGems: What advice do you give to those who want to pursue the fitness industry, especially women who are under the assumption that having muscles is manly (when there’s PLENTY of proof that it isn’t the case)?
Anna: I would encourage others to just be true to themselves. I don’t think that muscles or a great physique define who people are. It is important to know who you are inside and let your light shine wherever you go! Also, make sure that working out and exercise remain something they enjoy and don’t turn into feeling like a job.
FitGems: What are your future plans after college, and will it involved the fitness industry in some way, shape, or form?
Anna: I plan on graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in exercise and sports science and then pursuing a career in the strength and conditioning industry. I would love to train athletes and give them the tools they need to be the best athletes they can be. I also plan on getting certified as a personal trainer.
FitGems: Any final words you want to share to the FitGems audience?
Anna: Keep working hard and remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made! Psalm 139:14 God Bless and happy training!
Again, we thank Anna for doing this interview with us, and we wish her the best of luck as she continues to pursuit her dreams and completes her education. Best of luck to you, Anna!