Interview with Lisa Rooney
Lisa Rooney was born in Caribou, Maine and graduated from college with a degree in Radiologic Sciences. She was always an active child, ran cross-country and long distance and started lifting weights when she was 12 years old. She was the youngest in her family and decided to “get stronger” to fight back. It stuck with her and gave her an outlet to channel her energy.
As her weight training progressed, women in the magazines like Oxygen and Muscle Media became her role models and helped her to expand her knowledge and repertoire of exercises.
In her early 20’s she had enough of the skinny-fat cycle many people go thru and decided to do a 12 week transformational program that she saw in a book. In that short 12 week span she dropped from 22% body fat to 12% without any help from a trainer. This proved to her that once she set her mind to something, she could stick with it and have the self motivation to complete her goals.
She also discovered she was able to motivate, inspire, and encourage others to become healthier too. Five co-workers began doing the same transformational program that she was following and were able to drastically change their body fat as well.
As a physique specialist and fitness coach Lisa offers online programs in fitness training and nutrition through her company, Lisa Jill Fitness. http://lisarooney.com
Most recently she competed in the 2011 National Championships and is training for future competitions.
“ I’m an athlete in a competitive sport. Who I am I competing against you ask? Myself. I want to continually improve as an athlete and always bring a better package to the stage. “ – Lisa Rooney
Lisa, you mentioned once that you were small and felt picked on as a child. Do you think this was partly the reason you worked so hard at developing your body?
My childhood experiences definitely motivated me to become stronger on the outside. What I found out in the process of developing my body on the outside was that the real strength I gained was on the inside. Like many teenagers, I needed a healthy place to channel my energy and build a stronger self-esteem. Lifting weights and developing my body helped immensely.
Who were some of your idols growing up?
Some of my sheroes (female heroes) to name a few:
Jenny Lynn was at the top of the list for many years. She was in the magazines and I admired her strength and determination. She is 12-times IFBB Pro Figure Champion.
Adela Garcia, Mandy Blank, Monica Brant, were some of the amazing figures that I admired and had seen in the fitness magazines.
What made you decide to start competing? Did you have a bodybuilding coach help you get started?
My friend who is a track coach said to me one day “you already have the structure you need to compete, all you have to do is lean out.” He said this without prior knowledge of my admiration of the women competitors.
I decided to get a second opinion, so I went to my gym and asked one of the trainers who had previously worked with competitors. He said “pick a show, I believe you can do this.” I had started with some rigorous workouts with this trainer, but what was lacking was dieting down (the biggest key to show prep). I had studied what the girls had looked like and 8 weeks out from my first show, I didn’t look ready at all. From that realization point, I hired my first figure coach, Sarah Malone, a former IFBB Figure Pro. Sarah did a great job getting me ready the remaining 8 weeks until show time.
How difficult was training for you when you first started?
Training for a show is intense, but I welcomed the challenge. I really feel like this sport is a good fit for my life as I enjoy training for a purpose. I read somewhere that competing is 99% hard work and 1% glamour. I would have to agree. The sense of accomplishment afterwards is like no other.
So what is the bodybuilding training routine that you use to have that killer physique?
Thank you for the compliment! I have a 4- day split right now, breaking up the muscle groups:
Day 1: Shoulders
- Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
- Front Raises
- Upright Rows
- Rear Delt Fly
- Side lateral raises
Day 2: Legs
- Front Smith Machine Squats
- Hamstring prone curls
- Leg extensions
- Walking lunges
- Standing and seated calf press
Day 3: Back
- Wide Lat Pull-down
- Dumbbell pull over
- Low cable row
- Dumbbell row
Day 4: Arms & Chest
- Dumbbell bicep curls
- Rope pull downs
- Triceps dips
- Incline chest press
- Pec Deck Flies
- Decline cable cross-overs
I work shoulders twice a week right now as that is the area that I would like to see the most progress.
What about cardio? How much cardio do you do and at what times?
It’s my off-season from competing, so I normally do 20-30 minutes of cardio 5 days per week. During training season, I typically do 2x per day of cardio starting at 30 min each and increasing weekly as the show date gets closer.
I’ve learned to stay leaner in my off-season to make for less work during competition prep. This also prevents over-training. I really want my body and metabolism to understand the difference between leaning out for a show and what everyday life is like. I’ve also learned to take that “off-season” time to make improvements.
Now that we have talked about training, can you tell our readers what does your diet consist off?
A typical day for me consists of 5-6 small meals. It might consist of:
Meal 1: 5 whites, ½ cup dry oats. I mix this in a skillet and create a pancake out of it. I vary the flavors by seasoning (nutmeg, cinnamon) and sometimes put almond butter on it. Yum!
Meal 2: 1 Scoop Whey Protein, and 8 oz low-fat yogurt
Meal 3: Side salad, 4-5 oz of chicken, turkey, or lean meat. 4 oz yam
Meal 4: Greek Yogurt
Meal 5: 4-5 oz of filet mignon, chicken or turkey with stir-fry veggies, and I vary the carbohydrate of either brown rice or sweet potato
Meal 6: 1 Scoop Protein Shake before bed
What supplements do you feel are essential when doing a bodybuilding or figure show?
The supplements I take are year round:
- Evogen – Pre-workout formula
- Cell Kem – Post-workout formula
- L-Glutamine – Recovery amino acid
- L-Carnitine before any cardio
- Vitamin C
- Digestive Enzymes
- EFA’s (Essential fatty Acids)
Which shows will you do this year?
I have plans of doing NPC California State Championships – May 2012, and will look to do Nationals to follow in July 2012.
In my time off the stage this year I plan to do fitness related photo shoots as I am an aspiring fitness model.
You not only train, but compete and work a regular job. How do you do it? What does your daily schedule look like?
My daily schedule sounds pretty busy, but it’s manageable.
Upon wakeup I do cardio 20-30 minutes. To follow is cooking breakfast, getting ready for work and my commute. Work is an 8 hour day for me. Once that is done, I finally get to go lift some heavy weights! Evening time for me is relaxing and coming down from the day. I respond to emails and then have some quiet time either reading or doing yoga. If I were to tell you one word that defines my home, it’s tranquil. I’ve learned the importance of resetting after being so busy.
What drives you to keep competing and getting better at what you do?
I’m a very goal driven person. Having that show date or photo shoot booked ensures that I need to be at my peak at a given time. I tackle my goals with a driven, warrior mindset. I’m also the type that if you told me that you thought I couldn’t achieve it, I would set out to prove you wrong. I tend to be an all or nothing type of person. My mother says “once she gets something in her head, just stand aside.”
I also find a lot of drive in daily life. I work in the medical field, and taking care of patients each day is enough to motivate anyone to be in their best health.
In addition to competing, what else do you see yourself doing within the fitness industry?
I can see myself modeling in the fitness industry. In a way it would be my way of giving back and inspiring someone else to adopt fitness as a lifestyle, like many of the women I admired so long ago. Some of the publications I desire to work with are Oxygen Magazine, Muscle & Fitness Hers, as well as other fitness related. It would be such an honor to be recognized in such reputable publications as well as a dream come true for having used their resources for inspiration since I was a teenager.
I am also making my debut in the fitness industry as a body coach. I offer transformation programs online. I have a drive to help others and the opportunity really presented itself to me. People were continually asking advice on diet or training advice. I began getting clients wanting me to help them with a variety of goals. It’s been a fun process to develop each program offered. Then it’s even more rewarding seeing my clients transform! My client Julie has lost 22.5 lbs. so far in her 12-week program and is continuing on.
Any advice you would like to give any ladies out there who want to get started in bodybuilding or figure?
Don’t be scared of the big weights! Ladies are programmed to think that they will “get big” if they lift heavy. Genetically we just don’t have the makeup for getting big. We don’t have enough testosterone for it. So don’t be scared to lift heavy once you have the form down!
Also, if you are going to compete: Get a clear goal, vision, and determination for your new competing path. You will need to reference back to these things when the prep gets challenging.
Of the courses offered on your website what would you recommend to someone who needed weight control?
All of the online training programs have the capabilities of weight control. Based on a new client intake form, I am able to get their primary goal: lose fat, weight control; increase muscle mass, or even gain weight. From this information, I create a custom nutrition and exercise plan specifically for their goals.
The difference between the programs is actually the mental and emotional support around changing. A lot of diet type of programs does not address this component. Without this, many people backslide to their old habits, making their diet a temporary fix.
My programs promote lifestyle and habit changes. Based on my experiences personally and witnessing others, I was able to come up with my own “Support Methodology”. These powerful coaching lessons challenge and enable new habit formation for my clients.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would love to take a moment to let you know how thankful I am for the opportunity of this interview. I’m also thankful and grateful for the support of my family, friends, and those who have taken the time to cheer on my progress. I’m also very fortunate to work with my coach and nutritionist, Kim Oddo.
To those of you reading this interview, thank you for taking the time. I would love to stay in touch and hear from you. Be sure to sign up for my free fitness newsletter by visiting my website and completing the Newsletter Sign Up box. I will also be posting a blog every other week. Thanks in advance for following!
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