Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Interview with IFBB Bikini Pro Angela Leong

Angela Leong is an IFBB Bikini Pro who is part of the Bombshell Fitness team. One of the most promising bikini pros in the industry today, Angela was gracious enough to conduct an interview with us.

All images were provided by Angela herself and belong to their respective owners.

FitGems Nation: State your name and profession to the FitGems audience.
Angela Leong: My name is Angela Leong and I am an IFBB Bikini Pro Athlete.

FitGems: How did you get into the fitness industry in the first place?
Angela: Before I got into bodybuilding, I was a former tennis professional. Growing up, I trained in the gym all the time as a part of my training for tennis. I always loved training in the gym… sometimes more so than being on the tennis court. That was the part of training I enjoyed the most throughout my tennis career. After having to retire competing in tennis, I started coaching and training young juniors and to this day, I still do that. However, three years ago, I was at my lowest with regard to my health and fitness level. Starting up my tennis academy consumed all of my time and efforts and I neglected myself to a point where I was literally 30+lbs overweight. Yikes!!! I was the biggest I have been in my life. I was not at my best and I needed to make a change and start getting back to taking care of myself. For most of my life, I was always active and being inactive for 2 years straight took its toll on me mentally and physically. Thankfully, I chose to hire a trainer to force myself to be accountable to showing up at least 4 days a week to train. In April of 2009, I competed in my first show at the Emerald Cup in the new Bikini Division. I was introduced to the sport when my trainer suggested I train for one. Before officially deciding, I went to the Emerald Cup in 2008 and was in awe of the amazing physiques. Seeing the competitor’s fearlessness and confidence portrayed on stage was refreshing to me. From a spectator’s view, I found it fascinating to see them practically naked, being thoroughly examined from head to toe and rather than be intimidated, they were fearless. Seeing how the audience was so supportive, I made the decision then and there to commit to doing a competition. I knew the training and diet was going to be hard however, the biggest challenge for me was overcoming the fear of being on that stage.

FitGems: How’s a typical day in the life of Angela, and what (if anything) changes come time to prepare for a contest?
Angela: I wake up at 4am to get ready for work, have breakfast, head to Domination Fitness to train my 5:30am client. After all my appointments, I eat again and then head to ClubSport, Oregon to train myself. I will lift and do my first session of cardio afterward. I then head home, shower and eat again and work in the office for LTA, my tennis academy… I usually spend two to three hours in the office, eat again, then head to work to coach at the academy. I am on court from 3:00 to 9pm and in between I am eating and coaching. When work is over, depending on how close I am to contest, I will head by to ClubSport and do my second round of cardio. I will get home, shower, eat and go to bed. Pretty typical right? LOL!!!

FitGems: The bikini division has been around for a decent bit now. Do you think people are finally accepting it being part of a physique sport, or are the naysayers still outweighing the supporters (in your honest opinion)?
Angela: Oh yes, I feel people are definitely accepting the Bikini Division as being a real sport. Each year, the quality of competitors improves. It’s so obvious and you can see it plain as day. I just hope that it doesn’t get to a point where we are required to be way too conditioned and overly lean. This past year, I feel it was getting to that point and there were a few shows that rewarded it and a few that kept it as is should be. For example, at the Europa Supershow Dallas, the majority of the girls were way too conditioned and overly lean and the judges rewarded the curvier softer look that Bikini needs to be.

FitGems: With women’s physique now part of the NPC and IFBB, do you think there’s a division for every woman who wants to be part of the sport?
Angela: Yes absolutely. There is a division for all physique types now and it’s great!!!

FitGems: Who are your favorite people in the fitness industry, as far as who do you look up to the most?
Angela: I have to say that my coach Shannon Dey is my one of my favorite people that I look up to the most in this industry. From the very first time I met her, she impressed me with her class and her selflessness. Her passion to help women be the best they can be is intoxicating. She genuinely cares about every bombshell she works with and always encourages us to celebrate the accomplishments of one another and use each others victories to make a positive difference in the world. Shannon is the INSPIRATION to Team Bombshell’s success and I believe she has become an important ambassador to all women in the fitness community.

FitGems: The rules for Olympia qualifications have changed to make the event more prestigious to the industry. Already qualified, how do you feel about the changes?
Angela: Of course, it makes it even harder now to qualify, but how rewarding would it be to make it? You have to win a show to qualify. To win a show would be a dream and then to also get the Olympia invite. That would be an awesome accomplishment. That’s how I see it. It would literally be an epic accomplishment if that happened to me.

FitGems: Has anyone mistaken you for something OTHER than a bikini competitor?
Angela: To be honest, most people who are not in the industry don’t know what I am… they stare a lot and look me up and down… don’t know what they are thinking but some come to me and tell me I have an amazing body and what is it I do to get such a small waist. Or some just ask if I workout? Its funny but I am getting used to it.

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 these days)?
Angela: I would tell any woman that lifting weights helps create a wonderful feminine body. Its such a misconception to think that weights make u manly. Having manly genetics make you manly haha. I often ask women what celebrity body do you admire? Most times they answer with women who have personal trainers and they lift weights regularly.

FitGems: What are your future plans in the industry? Going to the 2012 Bikini Olympia is obviously on the list!
Angela: Yes, I set goals all the time. A few of them include:
1)Working on getting more exposure in the fitness community.
2)Continually improving my physique and having it show each time I step out on stage.
3) Earn 2012 competition sponsorship
4)Win a pro show and qualify for the Olympia.
5)Get published features in my favorite fitness magazines (IronMan Magazine, M&F Hers, Oxygen, FitnessRX,)

FitGems: Any final words you want to share to the FitGems audience?
Angela: I just want to thank FitGems for the opportunity to interview. I love what you do for the promotion of our sport. I also wanted to thank all my friends, family, and all my fans that have followed my journey to becoming an IFBB pro. I truly do appreciate all your love, support, and kind words.

Once again, we want to thank Angela for taking the time to do this interview with us. For more on Angela, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter at ANGELAHLEONG.