1. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure! I am a mother of 2 sons; 4 years old & 8 months old and I also have 2 Step Daughters; 18 years old & 13 years old. I am a WBFF Bikini Model Pro, a Fitness Model, a successful business owner and a certified Master Trainer. I have been published in several international magazines. I am also certified in Sports Nutrition, I’m a Pre-Natal and Post Natal Yoga Instructor, wife, former International Flight Attendant, world traveler, certified Scuba Diver, graduate from the University of Oklahoma (in only 3 years for a 4 year degree with Honors), and I am working on my first book — a soon to be author.
2. When did you become involved in fitness?
I have been involved in fitness to some degree my entire life. I played tennis with my family, I kick-boxed, I was a cheer leader, and I took my high school tennis team to state my senior year — placing 2nd. But in my adult life it wasn’t until after I gained 50 lbs with the pregnancy of my first son that I wanted to take my physique to the next level and go beyond loosing the baby weight.
3. What made you decide to start competing in fitness competitions?
It was a bit compulsive actually… I went to one of Monica Brant’s F.E.M. camps about 8 months after my first son’s birth and I was hooked. I decided to challenge myself even further. Like I said, it was compulsive… I stuck my toe in the water with Europa’s “Hot Mom” contest with only one week of prep and got 3rd place and won a huge trophy. It felt so good to be standing on that stage with all of those seasoned competitors after I had just had a baby and lost all of that weight. It was a tremendous personal accomplishment for me. I even brought my son on stage with me as a part of the contest to prove that I was a mom. He was the youngest child on the stage by far at 8 months old. Monica congratulated me back stage and I was just beaming with excitement over my weight loss, hanging with Monica back stage, and doing well in my first show.
4. How many competitions have you been in so far and what titles have you won?
- Europa’s Hot Mom Contest – 3rd Place 2008
- Tampa Classic Bikini Short Division – 2nd Place 2008
- Florida Classic with the Fitness America Shows – 2nd Place 2008
- NPC Nationals Bikini B Division 4th Place – 2008
- The Arnold Classic Bikini Division Short Class – 2nd Place 2009
- NPC Junior Nationals B Class – 2nd Place 2009
- WBFF Worlds Bikin Diva – Pro Card Earned 3rd Place 2009
5. For those new to fitness competitions, can you tell us the benefits of being a WBFF Pro Diva? How do you earn a Pro Card and what does it mean once you have one?
Regular sports that most people are familiar with have 2 divisions, Pros and Amateurs. Physique shows are no different. Anybody can compete as an amateur, but you have to place top in your class at a qualifying show to earn your Pro card. After you get the Pro status, you obviously are no longer eligible to compete as an amateur… you can only compete in Pro Level shows. Everyone likes to see the pro shows, because that’s where the best of the best compete against each other. Even though the pool of people you are competing against is smaller, the competition is fierce because all of those girls are Pros and each and every one is at the top of her game.
You really have to “bring it” to compete at that level. My husband says “Those girls eat glass.” Of course he doesn’t mean they literally eat glass… What he means is that every one is a serious competitor, they ALL have their nutrition down to a science, their bodies are angelic, and he is right – every one is a champion, and every one is there to win. No one competes to take home second place.
6. You competed in both the Arnold Classic and the WBFF Bikini/Fitness divisions. Can you tell us about your experiences at the shows and top 3 tips for someone who wants to compete at that level?
Setting your sites at the bigger shows is very exciting because it really gets your name “out there” in the fitness industry. If you do well, you will begin to be recognized as a competitive, national level competitor or Pro competitor. This is the attention that you need to get into fitness magazines, and be seen as a role model for confidence, grace, and a leader for helping others achieve their fitness goals with the tools of your successes. So, here are my top 3 tips to do well in these shows:
- Stage Presence is key to any show. Ask yourself “Why should the audience or judges look at me on stage and not everyone else on the stage?” You must have mastered the art of stage presence. Every step, every turn, every smile. It’s a dance. Then practice it every night (in your show shoes) and video tape yourself and critique yourself. Fine tune and repeat.
- Exude Confidence on stage that says you ARE the winner. But be careful! This can be tricky! Confidence is different than being pushy, cocky, or stuck up. You must be personable, friendly, and give the audience/magazines/supplement companies the impression that you can and will be a great representation for their brand. You will not crack under pressure and ALWAYS wear a smile.
- Study up on the “Total Package Look” of what is winning in that particular style show. This sounds obvious, but I get so many questions about this. “The look” that the judges are looking for varies from federation to federation, from year to year. One suit type and color is preferred for the WBFF bikini and another for the NPC/IFBB bikini division. While you can and should put some of your personality into your presentation and stage presence, you are going to have to get over some of your own personal obstacles on what you don’t like. Study what hair/ makeup/ suit/ walk/ posing/ shoes/ jewelry/ tanning/ physique body fat levels/ etc… are winning and don’t be too far off of the mark. Don’t leave any stone unturned. With so many competitors at each show you can and will be disqualified for a top position for any little thing that isn’t the “entire package.” It would be a shame to diet down and train so hard and not be recognized for your hard work because you forgot your jewelry!
7. What is your diet and training like when trying to get in peak condition?
This is a complex question that changes with every show that I train for. My nutrition plan is based off of how much time I have, where my starting point is, and the federation or photo shoot that I’m training for. Depending on all of those elements, certain aspects of my diet and training will be tweeked. There are some commonalities though. About 8 weeks out, I will come out of my off-season maintenance workout schedule of 3 times a week and increase to 6 days a week. Second I will reel in my diet to a more strict meal plan and cleaner preparation. 3rd thing is I will increase my water to my training intake of 1 gallon per day to flush the toxins and fat that I’m burning. 4th thing is I will schedule regular massages every other week to soothe sore muscles. And last but not least, I will boost my reading of positive affirmations and stories. I will call my fitness minded friends, and attend my Yoga classes to keep my spirits high and motivated and not loose sight of my goals in the “why” I am doing this. This is important to me because my body goes into this “machine mode” and it is easy to loose sight and feel lonely if you don’t boost your support system both internally and externally.
8. You are a Mom, Fitness Model and an Entrepreneur. How do you balance your life between fitness and parenting?
This is the hardest part, “The Infamous Balancing Act” that so many books and articles are written about, but each woman must find her own way with this one. Some of the things that work for me are: 1. To make sure to each day to have at least one “quality moment” with your kids no matter what comes up each day. Whether it be sharing a meal or a Prayer together at the end of the day, a phone call to say that I love you, or “good Job today” or spending a quality moment with your infant and cooing with them. If I can get in at least one of these moments, it helps to not loose sight of one of the most important things in my life, my kids. 2. At the same time, I find it very important to carve out time for myself prepping food or getting my work outs in, as I am a more centered, healthy, happy, and balanced mommy for my kids each day. I know that this is setting a better example for them to live their lives by than a frazzled, self depreciating, over weight, unhappy mommy is setting for their kids.
9. What was your experience getting back into shape after pregnancy?
This is a great question and the exact topic that I am writing my book on right now! I have been thinking about this a lot through 2 pregnancies, and I get a lot of questions from other women on this. There is so much information to write on this topic you will have to get my book to get all the detailed information on this. But…. I will NEVER forget when I was pregnant with Daxton on my first pregnancy and looking in the mirror at my rear end and spotting my first patch of stretch marks. I cried. It was at that moment that I was determined to get my body back after Daxton was born and even take it to a level that I had never done before.
10. What advice would you give to new moms who want to shed a few pounds?
Some important points that I’ve learned after Levi (my second son) was born reiterated to me what worked for me and what didn’t:
1. I advocate that all women practice in a pre-natal yoga class 2-3 times per week during their pregnancies; and post-natal yoga after the baby is born will not only help you find your center and cope with the life changing event… it also helps the uterus contract.
2. Keep your hydration levels high during and after your pregnancy. A lot of people walk around in a perpetual state of dehydration. BTW, Soda is not counted as water. No, not even diet soda. Ditch the soda ladies, it is not doing you any favors.
3. If you are physically able, breast feed your child. This bonds with your child, burns an amazing amount of calories, and contracts your uterus faster back to its pre-pregnancy shape.
4. Make time to work out. Even if it is at home with a workout DVD, lunges on your floor with some hand weights, running with your stroller, running up your stairs, utilizing the nursery at your gym. This sounds obvious, but you need to lift weights or your body weight in some fashion 3-5 times per week to get results. Women wonder why they are not loosing weight, but in the next breath say that haven’t worked out. There is no magic pill. Get creative.
5. Seriously analyze your diet. Pull out and throw away everything in your pantry that is derailing you. Set yourself up for success with clean food each week by setting out a plan each Sunday afternoon during the kids nap time. Eat smaller mini meals, have a quality protein with each of your meals. Paired with each protein in every meal should be a veggie, a fruit, or a clean whole grain starch, and a good fat. Ditch the processed or high calorie meals or sauces. I cook with lots of seasonings, even a little bit (I said a little bit!) of olive oil or coconut oil and some sea salt. Some of my favorite meals are international fare. I love Indian food because they have the best flavorful spices, Thai food, Greek Food, Japanese food etc… The Japanese population is not as over weight as the American population….Hmmm look at the fish, Sushi, and clear broth miso soups that they eat every day compared to our processed American Comfort food of Hamburgers and Macaroni and cheese.
6. Don’t put your husband as last on your to-do list. He can be a huge support to you with helping with the kids, motivation, your diet and your work out, and “getting busy” with him not only lifts your spirits and feels good… it has the bonus of burning additional calories and working the abdominals and posterior chain. I’m just sayin’… 🙂
7. Set realistic, healthy goals and reward yourself along your journey for your little successes along the way. Enjoy the journey and document it so that you can see your progress with pictures, a weight journal etc… Realize that it took 9 months to put on that weight. Don’t expect it to come off in two weeks. Set the realistic goals and stick to the plan.
8. Make your healthy lifestyle a family event not just a mommy event. Everyone eats clean food and drinks, everyone uplifts each other in a positive and affirming manner, everyone gets active and walks/swims/bikes together… even the dogs!
9. Take control of your life ladies. If you aren’t happy with something in your life…. Change it! You are in the driver seat of your own lives. No one else is going to do it for you. Ditch the excuses.
11. As an entrepreneur, can you tell us a little bit about the business you are involved in?
I own and operate a furnished housing company that basically puts people up in furnished condos or apartments when they are away from home for a medium to long period of time. For those not familiar with this industry it is called “Corporate Housing”, but really anyone may find that they need it at some time in their life, not just “corporate” people. I have all kinds of guests staying with my company; professional athletes, people moving into the area that haven’t yet closed on a home, in-laws coming into town to support the birth of a baby, insurance situations when peoples’ homes get damaged, military guests, training classes, etc… Corporate Housing is different from a hotel in that it is a full up condo or apartment — it has it’s own kitchen and washer and dryer in the unit. But it is similar to a hotel in that you pay one price, and everything is included; utilities, internet, cable, furniture, appliances… everything. You might opt to stay in corporate housing for any stay that would not be comfortable in a hotel. Many of my guests stay anywhere from 3 nights to over a year, but our average guest stays about 6 months.
12. What lies ahead for you in the fitness industry?
I would love to make a cover! Also, I am currently diversifying my portfolio to cross over to mainstream commercial modeling, I’m working on developing a spokesmodel reel, I’m writing my book on getting body back after baby, and I’m considering competing in my Pro Debut show or Natalie Minh’s Powertech Bikini/Fashion/Fitness Model Show.
13. Any shout outs?
I would like to thank Natalie Minh for this interview, her website development team with Manuel, her industry advice, and for an amazingly fun photo shoot! I would like to thank my husband for supporting me through all of these shows and photo shoots with prep and help with the kids to achieve my goals and dreams. I would like to thank God for my pregnancies with Daxton and Levi for awakening in me the healthiest fittest mom possible for the greater good of our family.
14. Where can we find you on the internet?
www.MichelleCagle.com, Twitter, Facebook, and please “like” my Fan Page on Facebook as my athlete page is maxed out on the Friends. I post the same content and pictures on my fan page that I do on my FB athlete page.